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It might also be tied to the fact that FFG isn't exactly a huge company, so resources are likely limited. It is possible IMO that somebody in a leadership position did the math and that RPG design man-hours would produce more revenue if invested into more material for the Star Wars RPG.

 

All of the above is speculation OFC, but it didn't exactly seem to me that FFG was flooding the market with new 40k RPG material before they lost the license, so it's possible they had given it up already in practice.

While this is certainly possible, it seems more likely that FFG saw the writing on the wall and didn't release anything new because they knew they couldn't recover their investment! Sad though; if these forums are any indicator, Rogue Trader was one of their more popular lines. I would have liked to have seen it updated!

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It might also be tied to the fact that FFG isn't exactly a huge company, so resources are likely limited. It is possible IMO that somebody in a leadership position did the math and that RPG design man-hours would produce more revenue if invested into more material for the Star Wars RPG.

 

All of the above is speculation OFC, but it didn't exactly seem to me that FFG was flooding the market with new 40k RPG material before they lost the license, so it's possible they had given it up already in practice.

 

I mean when you get the license to print money that is the Star Wars IP most other things become money holes on non recovery.

 

 

While this is certainly possible, it seems more likely that FFG saw the writing on the wall and didn't release anything new because they knew they couldn't recover their investment! Sad though; if these forums are any indicator, Rogue Trader was one of their more popular lines. I would have liked to have seen it updated!

 

There was that line people saw in one of the DH2 books that everyone thought was a RT2 hint.

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Yeah, dropping the entire 40k product line seemed unusually drastic, given the previous years. They've been doing this for almost a decade, and suddenly, in the midst of its 6th edition, they notice they cannot recover their investment? Ehh...

 

I'd say having two licensed Space Opera games can be a problem. Too many conflicting priorities in the market.  I'd bet the Star Wars license that FFG got included anything not video-games--much like the Hasbro-Wizards of the Coast license probably did.

 

[...]

 

The general public would recognize the Star Wars brand over the Warhammer 40,000 brand--though the Horus Heresy books have helped the brand get some recognition as NYT Bestsellers and such. No where near Star Wars brand recognition.  That's the dominant market position.

 

But who cares about "dominant market position" if the other products are still making money as well? Dropping them just because they don't make as much still means you're sacrificing profits. Just look at all the other games FFG is producing: if they were all about Star Wars, why do they still have stuff like Grimm, Midnight, Dragonstar, Dawnforge? Why did Wizards of the Coast do Star Wars alongside D&D, and why has White Wolf split its WoD attention among so many different lines?

 

Of course it could be that the license itself was just too expensive, though. Or they'd want to bring the 40k writers over to their Star Wars line, which may well be FFG's new flagship when it comes to RPGs.

 

I guess we'll know the answer when/if a new RPG is announced, and who is going to make it.

 

Huh, now that is an interesting rumour. GW could design the core rules and basic books and then farm out different content to different designers and publishers sort of like how Wizards did it back in the days of OGL.

 

Huh, I hadn't even considered that. I was more thinking about something like different studios all publishing their own take on the setting (just like novel authors do), with their own rules. Like there's going to be two different Elite RPGs simultaneously, or how Star Wars went through several very different editions written by different people, albeit not at the same time.

 

OGL, or what Green Ronin is doing with AGE, might be interesting too. Of course it is also a risk in that if GW's rules were "meh", it'd condemn the entire product line with no alternative for anyone who would think this way.

 

Amen to that!

 

Well, looks like I'll at least be able to enjoy Necromunda on PC!

 

https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2017/01/18/necromunda-underhive-wars-pc/

 

This is a good day. :D

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On 1/12/2017 at 0:47 AM, ThenDoctor said:

Eisenhorn and Ravenor were fine, subtle.

Subtle? Recently read Ravenor and the obsession with women's bodies was one of the things that immediately struck me... had forgotten that it was similar in Eisenhorn as well until that point.

Now, to be fair it does pale in comparison to the... bizarre relationship in Inquisitor, but subtle is not what I would call it.

On 1/12/2017 at 2:04 AM, Lynata said:

Cain's cheese is okay if you keep in mind that he is an unreliable narrator rather than taking his claims for gospel. I still wish GW had outed him as a Captain of Koepenick kind of scam, though, who found his Commissar's uniform in a dumpster and then just got dragged along. :P

One of my issues was that it wasn't even what it was advertised to be. It wasn't Flashman in space, as Cain is basically ok, just he perceives himself to be a coward etc (this is called out in the footnotes by the Inquisitor), while Flashman is genuinely a cad.

To be fair, it was a kind of one note joke, which I don't think could have sustained a series in itself, so I guess it had to change.

On 1/12/2017 at 9:07 PM, Nimsim said:

I've had fun with the 40k games, but I don't know that I'd call them influential. They feel more emblematic of the game design of the late 90s/2000s that came along with 3.0/3.5 D&D. Set classes, talents/feats, a pile of skills, a bunch of rules for simulating physics, and a heavy focus on adding mechanical options to players as a selling point. That's a style of RPG that is now being turned away from the same way we turned away from games that read like math textbooks from the 80s and games following the White Wolf Vampires/Splats style in the 90s. People seem to be looking for things that are simpler and evocative. Video games have made most people much more literate in game theory and design, and the ease of publishing have allowed people to be more experimental with game designs and not just copy things rote from D&D. The popular culture of RPGs seems to be shifting away from gameplay and more into story and story-evoking mechanics. 

Meh... I do realise some of the big innovators in the market are very narrative, but I don't think the d&d style has actually been usurped, it is more that the people that play that kind of game already often have their games, so it isn't an obvious place to break into the market. If you want d&d style games, you have D&D 5th (ok, it is streamlined compared to 3.5) or Pathfinder (which is just 3.5 with the bumps smoothed out), and they are still pretty big fish on the market. If you want to break in big you have to have a blockbuster franchise (Star Wars as in FFG's case) or something very different. Crunchy systems are even still being made, it's just a lot of them are just more recent iterations of something that was already in place (Shadowrun *shudder*, D&D), but even then you are getting new ones (Eclipse Phase... its quite a crunchy % based system... can't get my head around how to play the game narratively though. GMing it would be an utter nightmare for my style of play, but that isn't down to the mechanics but the setting).

Narrative systems are having a time in the sun, but I don't think they are taking over, just currently in vogue as there haven't been a huge number of games like that in the past, and so those that prefer that style of play are getting a chance to play those kind of games, while those that liked (and still like) d&d style games have plenty to try out (we are currently playing WFRP 2nd ed). 

However, I can agree on your point about 40k's influence. I don't think it has driven mechanical design much elsewhere in the market. 

On 1/13/2017 at 2:34 AM, Lynata said:

Either way, there was potential for more. The world and atmosphere built by the rule- and sourcebooks are quite evocative, to a point where I'm convinced a videogame set in this framework could be supremely interesting, primarily because there is little else on the market that compares to 40k's dystopian civil life. Everyone in sci-fi has their cool space marines and nasty aliens, but they are not what makes 40k grimdark and special. Mankind itself is. The "banality of evil" that exists on every street where the Arbites gun down impoverished food rioters, and in every tunnel through which a mob of religious fanatics hunts a group of innocent mutants for their sin of being born.

 

Alas, it's the same kind of disappointment I hold for there still not being a Necromunda videogame. Who knows, maybe in time -- Mordheim got something rather cool, after all. :P

A Dark Heresy computer game, an RPG in the mold of Baulder's Gate, Mass Effect or similar is a game I would love to see. I don't want high powered running around as Space Marines or Inquisitors, I want to be a band of scrubs digging about in bowels of humanity, rife with corruption, conspiracy and cool storylines. However, I don't think we will ever see anything like that, as I think it would involve handing too much creative control outside GW for them to consider it. Also, I think any company that wanted the rights would want to do something focussed around Space Marines, who are dull characters... one of the reasons Deathwatch was one of the weaker lines.

On 1/16/2017 at 0:12 AM, Popdart said:

If I had to rank my top 4 most influential RPGs of the past decade, they would be (in no particular order):

1. D&D

2. Apocalypse World

3. Shadowrun

4. Star Wars FFG

While Star Wars is similar to 40K in that it banks heavily on the popularity of the IP, at least they went out and did something novel and innovative with their narrative dice system. 40K just stuck with a tried and true d100 system that hadn't really changed for two decades. 40K hasn't really inspired any clones or systems that emulate or recreate what 40K has done like how Apocalypse World has spawned an entire branch of RPGs. It also hasn't had much of an impact on the psyche of the RPG community as a whole like D&D or Shadowrun which define their respective genres.

Well, I personally wouldn't call the Star Wars that innovative (at least in it's context). It was a re-purposing of the WFRP 3rd systems, just with many of the kinks ironed out and actually removing some of the more innovative elements to make the game more approachable (and cheaper). All that is really left is the dice mechanic, as otherwise it is very traditional. However, yes, the system was quite innovative when it initially came out. How influential it has been is a different question. There are still not many (are there any others?) games which are using custom dice at the core of their mechanics, and I believe there were games before that had multiple axes of success (Godlike, from what I am aware of the system, has an ability to do these kinds of things). Without the Star Wars IP I think the system would have died a death, and I am not sure it will generate many others like it.

On 1/16/2017 at 8:39 PM, ThenDoctor said:

DH2 had the only real interesting expansion on the system with the character generation and even then it was limited because we didn't get all the options possible or were present beforehand. 

I liked the 1st edition career system. It had its flaws, but Black Crusade, Only War and DH 2nd's system is bloody time consuming, and also fails to deal with the issue of certain abilities being intended for more powerful characters. Now,1st edition did have it's problems, and the new system provided greater flexibility for adding in new abilities (as in the older system new Talents etc had to either only be included in new careers or clunkily provide a rule saying "add this to x career"), but otherwise I felt it was was a downgrade. However, I generally thought most of what 2nd edition did was worse than 1st edition (after most of the errors of 1st edition had been solved by FAQ and Errata, of course). 

On 1/18/2017 at 0:59 AM, Popdart said:

Huh, now that is an interesting rumour. GW could design the core rules and basic books and then farm out different content to different designers and publishers sort of like how Wizards did it back in the days of OGL. GW could still make some decent cash by coordinating with their contractors and designing specific terrain and models to suit whatever is being made.

GW are very possessive of their IP. Yes, they seem to have started handing the lisence out to anyone, but only in ways where they can still control the setting, ie largely games where the setting is purely a backdrop and not immersed in. Aside from the 40k RPG they have yet to make a game which really gets into the background, and if they ever do again I suspect it will only be in the context of a license like the FFG where they can have a lot of oversight.

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30 minutes ago, borithan said:

Subtle? Recently read Ravenor and the obsession with women's bodies was one of the things that immediately struck me... had forgotten that it was similar in Eisenhorn as well until that point.

Subtle in comparison, but I meant the actual relationships that existed in the book (like between the Doctor and Kys (I think it's been a while), or Nayl and that one barbarian woman).

31 minutes ago, borithan said:

I liked the 1st edition career system. It had its flaws, but Black Crusade, Only War and DH 2nd's system is bloody time consuming, and also fails to deal with the issue of certain abilities being intended for more powerful characters. Now,1st edition did have it's problems, and the new system provided greater flexibility for adding in new abilities (as in the older system new Talents etc had to either only be included in new careers or clunkily provide a rule saying "add this to x career"), but otherwise I felt it was was a downgrade. However, I generally thought most of what 2nd edition did was worse than 1st edition (after most of the errors of 1st edition had been solved by FAQ and Errata, of course). 

I never said I didn't like 1E's character system it's just an extension of WFRP2E's system crunched down into single life paths and switched in and out with Alternate Careers.

And I heartily disagree with the problems of 1E being fixed. All the WH40KRPGs have issues that were never addressed in one way or another.

What specifically about 2E do you think is worse? The only thing that comes to mind for me is Psychic powers, but I never liked the Fettered system.

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I did say "most" of the errors. There were still some problems (some of which are inherent to the system, so hard to solve), but most of the actual broken elements of the game ended up fixed.

I don't like the change to swift/lightning attack attack, I think Influence is bad, I think the character system is a failed attempt to fix something inherent to the system (in some ways even 1st edition was too free for the system as designed, but it was a good halfway house), I think the setting is just less interesting than 1st edition.  Also the general sense of power creep in the game, and not just mechanically but thematically, but then this dates right back to 1st edition's Blood of Martyrs, so wasn't 2nd edition's fault. Now, I don't think it is awful, it is the same system at core, I just think they fixed stuff that didn't need fixing and I can't remember any change I thought was an actual improvement (though I may be wrong... haven't looked through the books in a while). 

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1 hour ago, borithan said:

Subtle? Recently read Ravenor and the obsession with women's bodies was one of the things that immediately struck me... had forgotten that it was similar in Eisenhorn as well until that point.

Now that you mention it, I haven't read much of those books, but I did notice the descriptions (and images) of Abnett's retinues in the Inquisition Illustrated Guide. That was certainly a lot of cheesecake, as they say.

1 hour ago, borithan said:

It wasn't Flashman in space, as Cain is basically ok, just he perceives himself to be a coward etc (this is called out in the footnotes by the Inquisitor), while Flashman is genuinely a cad.

To be fair, it was a kind of one note joke, which I don't think could have sustained a series in itself, so I guess it had to change.

Good point. I suppose the books may have turned more towards "standard bolterporn" in terms of the action as the series went on. It seems to work as a crowd-pleaser for most fans of the franchise, at least.

1 hour ago, borithan said:

Narrative systems are having a time in the sun, but I don't think they are taking over, just currently in vogue as there haven't been a huge number of games like that in the past, and so those that prefer that style of play are getting a chance to play those kind of games, while those that liked (and still like) d&d style games have plenty to try out (we are currently playing WFRP 2nd ed). 

It could just be that the market has "matured" to the point where D&D isn't being treated as the gold standard anymore, so now we end up with a bigger selection and more experiments. There'll always be people who enjoy crunchier systems, just like there are (apparently) a lot of people who enjoy ones that are easier to learn and modify and more focused on the narration (myself included). It may just be that the latter are currently more often in the news because some of them get boosted by having a major IP attached to their product line, similar to why Dark Heresy and its sister games are noteworthy despite firmly falling on the crunch side.

1 hour ago, borithan said:

A Dark Heresy computer game, an RPG in the mold of Baulder's Gate, Mass Effect or similar is a game I would love to see. I don't want high powered running around as Space Marines or Inquisitors, I want to be a band of scrubs digging about in bowels of humanity, rife with corruption, conspiracy and cool storylines. However, I don't think we will ever see anything like that, as I think it would involve handing too much creative control outside GW for them to consider it. Also, I think any company that wanted the rights would want to do something focussed around Space Marines, who are dull characters... one of the reasons Deathwatch was one of the weaker lines.

I think I'd prefer a happy medium -- neither scrubs nor high powered, but rather "heroes with weaknesses". Mass Effect is a good example, for Shepard certainly wasn't a scrub.

A game based on "Inquisitor" where you can gather a warband made up of all sorts of people would probably offer the most potential. You could have anything from a nimble hiver juve proficient with tech-hacks, pickpocketing and handguns, to an old scribe who is an expert on lore but sucks at combat, all the way to an expert Imperial Guard sniper, a feral world melee warrior, a Battle Sister or a Space Marine in a single party led by a fully customizable Inquisitor. Your mandate allows you to traverse the entire Imperium and beyond as an initially boring investigation lets you stumble onto a bigger conspiracy leading you right into a confrontation with multiple types of xenos, cultists and ultimately a major daemon. The plot is almost writing itself.

A scrub-only RPG sounds so limited that I doubt it'd feel much different from other cyberpunk titles as you simply wouldn't get around much, meaning you'd sacrifice a lot of what makes the IP special. That being said, I can't wait for Necromunda, for even though the above still applies, I'm unaware of any normal cyberpunk game that would offer similar gameplay. :D

As for the rights ... I dunno about that "creative control" or "oversight". Looking at some of their Black Library novels as well as FFG's take on the 40k setting, they seem to be fine with considerable amounts of artistic license. Gav Thorpe publicly denying the issue of canon on his blog is a symptom of why there are so many contradictions in the background in the first place; to many of the writers working with the franchise, this is a feature, not a bug. Even the foreword to the Deathwatch RPG included a preamble noting that the FFG team had "lots of different ideas" than the people at Black Industries. Looking at the Deathwatch's new organization and stat comparisons between the books, I can guess where these differences lie.

Agreed about Space Marines still being the default choice and the safe bet, though. On one hand it makes sense, from a financial point of view. From another it is really sad that this means so much potential is being wasted -- like a lexicon that, while interesting, discusses only a single country rather than the entire planet. And rather than other countries receiving their own lexica, you instead only see reprints of the original edition.

2 hours ago, borithan said:

There are still not many (are there any others?) games which are using custom dice at the core of their mechanics, and I believe there were games before that had multiple axes of success (Godlike, from what I am aware of the system, has an ability to do these kinds of things). Without the Star Wars IP I think the system would have died a death, and I am not sure it will generate many others like it.

I have to admit, custom dice are one of the reasons I'm not really interested in their SW RPG. I like to experiment with rules, but special dice sound more like a gimmick at best, an attempt to brute-force the sale of supplemental products at worst. Yes, I know the box includes stickers, but I think we can all agree on nobody enjoying to play with dice that look like some kid glued them together. :P

And that's before we get to custom dice also being problematic for online games (currently my main method of playing) where people would rather work with digital tools.

2 hours ago, borithan said:

I liked the 1st edition career system. It had its flaws, but Black Crusade, Only War and DH 2nd's system is bloody time consuming, and also fails to deal with the issue of certain abilities being intended for more powerful characters. Now,1st edition did have it's problems, and the new system provided greater flexibility for adding in new abilities (as in the older system new Talents etc had to either only be included in new careers or clunkily provide a rule saying "add this to x career"), but otherwise I felt it was was a downgrade. However, I generally thought most of what 2nd edition did was worse than 1st edition (after most of the errors of 1st edition had been solved by FAQ and Errata, of course). 

Really? Huh. As someone who enjoys character creation, I really liked the expanded freedom of chargen and how the game offers much more space for you to build whatever concept you had in your head. The only way DH1 remotely got close was by adding a gazillion Variant Classes, but aside from (1) still not covering everything and (2) adding a lot of unnecessary bulk, that didn't change that even many of the core classes felt unsuitably restricted in their advancement.

As for abilities for powerful characters, do you have an example? The only things I could recall are those that have prerequisites attached to them, in addition to considerable XP costs. Sure, I suppose more freedom also means more potential for powergaming, but minmaxers will always find a way. A group that is actually concerned about progression balancing won't have them, which means this should be a non-issue.

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9 minutes ago, borithan said:

I did say "most" of the errors. There were still some problems (some of which are inherent to the system, so hard to solve), but most of the actual broken elements of the game ended up fixed.

I mean you'll never get rid of the power creep that happened post Ascension lol. But yeah we did get Tearing Bolt weapons from the Errata which was nice.

Fair assessment on your grievances, I was just curious.

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23 hours ago, ThenDoctor said:

I mean you'll never get rid of the power creep that happened post Ascension lol. But yeah we did get Tearing Bolt weapons from the Errata which was nice.

Fair assessment on your grievances, I was just curious.

Oh, right, yes the power creep was problematic, and Ascension was an unbalanced mess. Most of my favourite stuff dates from pre-Ascension period (actually mostly the stuff Black Industries worked on, but the Creature's Anathema and the Radical's Handbook were also quite good), and I didn't like Blood of Martyrs (Rank 1 Battle Sisters? Really?) or the Lathe Worlds Books much, and allowing Grey Knights as player characters was ridiculous. I didn't think the Book of Judgement was too bad for it though, from what I remember. 

23 hours ago, Lynata said:

1) It could just be that the market has "matured" to the point where D&D isn't being treated as the gold standard anymore, so now we end up with a bigger selection and more experiments. There'll always be people who enjoy crunchier systems, just like there are (apparently) a lot of people who enjoy ones that are easier to learn and modify and more focused on the narration (myself included)...

2) I think I'd prefer a happy medium -- neither scrubs nor high powered, but rather "heroes with weaknesses". Mass Effect is a good example, for Shepard certainly wasn't a scrub...

3) A game based on "Inquisitor" where you can gather a warband made up of all sorts of people would probably offer the most potential. You could have anything from a nimble hiver juve proficient with tech-hacks, pickpocketing and handguns, to an old scribe who is an expert on lore but sucks at combat, all the way to an expert Imperial Guard sniper, a feral world melee warrior, a Battle Sister or a Space Marine in a single party led by a fully customizable Inquisitor. Your mandate allows you to traverse the entire Imperium and beyond as an initially boring investigation lets you stumble onto a bigger conspiracy leading you right into a confrontation with multiple types of xenos, cultists and ultimately a major daemon. The plot is almost writing itself.

A scrub-only RPG sounds so limited that I doubt it'd feel much different from other cyberpunk titles as you simply wouldn't get around much, meaning you'd sacrifice a lot of what makes the IP special. That being said, I can't wait for Necromunda, for even though the above still applies, I'm unaware of any normal cyberpunk game that would offer similar gameplay. :D

4) As for the rights ... I dunno about that "creative control" or "oversight". Looking at some of their Black Library novels as well as FFG's take on the 40k setting, they seem to be fine with considerable amounts of artistic license. Gav Thorpe publicly denying the issue of canon on his blog is a symptom of why there are so many contradictions in the background in the first place; to many of the writers working with the franchise, this is a feature, not a bug. Even the foreword to the Deathwatch RPG included a preamble noting that the FFG team had "lots of different ideas" than the people at Black Industries. Looking at the Deathwatch's new organization and stat comparisons between the books, I can guess where these differences lie.

5) Really? Huh. As someone who enjoys character creation, I really liked the expanded freedom of chargen and how the game offers much more space for you to build whatever concept you had in your head. The only way DH1 remotely got close was by adding a gazillion Variant Classes, but aside from (1) still not covering everything and (2) adding a lot of unnecessary bulk, that didn't change that even many of the core classes felt unsuitably restricted in their advancement.

6) As for abilities for powerful characters, do you have an example? The only things I could recall are those that have prerequisites attached to them, in addition to considerable XP costs. Sure, I suppose more freedom also means more potential for powergaming, but minmaxers will always find a way. A group that is actually concerned about progression balancing won't have them, which means this should be a non-issue.

And this is where my lack of knowledge how to split quotes on this forum is really going to irritate me. Numbered the points instead.

1) I think that may be a valid point. I never personally regarded D&D as a gold standard... first time every playing it was only when the PHP 3 came out for the 4th edition, so level based pen & paper RPGs were just not what I was brought up with. The group I mainly play with sometimes irritate me with their expectations which have been shaped by D&D. Most of them love 5th ed, as it fits exactly what they wanted from D&D, streamlining it while retaining the flavour...

Personally as a GM I do like systems I can run on the fly. This partly comes down to experience with the system of course, but usually means a medium complexity system where I know what something represents. D&D is terrible for this, as a level doesn't actually mean anything in a real life context ("What does level 3 mean?" "Well... better than Level 2"). I have liked running WEG's D6 Star Wars which aside from not really having a workable melee combat system and the force powers being a little shonky (varying from the overpowered to the useless) was just about perfect for Star Wars as far as I was concerned, and running WFRP 2nd hasn't been too bad either. In both these systems I can go "Well, I want this guy to be average at whatever, so that is 4 dice/roughly 30%" or "Really awesome, so 8 dice/ 55%+" On the other hand, narrative systems, which are about contesting the control of the narrative? No idea how to run them (and I don't think my players would either).

2)I guess scrubs maybe not the right word. However, when I mentioned Mass Effect I was more talking about a story driven single player RPG, rather than the power level of the characters. Yes, Shepard wasn't a scrub (though that did cause the problem of your experienced character being rather crap at the beginning of ME 2 & 3). 

3) Well... I have always thought that DH's choice of a group of Inquisitor's investigators was an inspired choice, as it was about the only setting that let you do the traditional RPG party of a mixed group of people (in a society that usually ties you to a certain job) digging into things (which otherwise would just get you killed).  I also tend to be a person that likes the character arc, zero (well, not quite zero) to hero kind of approach to a game. Expanding character ability progressing alongside expanding scope of the narrative. I think starting with inexperienced characters also allows players without a background in 40k to be introduced to the setting in a natural way, as 40k being the way it is characters probably don't know a whole load outside their areas either. 

I also personally wouldn't want a Space Marine to feature except as an enemy, and show how seriously horrendous they are meant to be to their enemies.

4) Oh, I don't think GW are very concerned about the setting being consistent, and yes, the position on canon is... well complicated and just best resolved by making personal choices. But this is all in the context of things they could control. They controlled the publication of the books, so could go "No" if they wanted. What I understood of the FFG license while they definitely had a different interpretation than Black Industries did (towards the more "heroic" and powerful largely), they still had to run what they published past GW first to get it cleared. Yes, they were flexible, but they always demanded the final option to say "no".

However, I may have been misinformed.

5) I personally feel a system should have a character creation system that works with the system. Some systems do not work with free build, and that is just something that has to be accepted about the system. D&D actually can't (without an awful lot of work, as I guess Mutants & Masterminds kind of does it), for example. While the 40k RPG mechanically can do more open character building (as they have proven), it does run into certain problems. The truth it that the system was never designed with every option being balanced against each other properly, and while it does vary campaign to campaign, there are generally some abilities etc that almost everyone would likely end up taking if they could and some which no one would ever bother with unless forced. Limiting the choices ala first edition (or actually proscribing them like in WFRP) helps deal with this imbalance issue, and encourages choosing things that may not seem ideal but then may encourage players to think of ways to use them. 

Basically, I don't think the 40k rpg system is well designed for free build characters, so they shouldn't have created a system for it. Also, the faff of keeping track of the aptitudes, rather than just going "Ok, what can I choose now."

6) Well, in 1st edition abilities (characteristics aside, which did ramp up) actually didn't usually cost that much. I think they capped out at about 500xp, and were usually in the 100-300 range regardless of utility etc. Instead they kept the high level abilities for higher ranks. Fearless is a good example. Some particular background packages and/or alternative ranks aside you didn't get Fearless until the higher ranks (I can't remember what the original earliest rank was... 5? 6?) because it was intended for higher level characters who were meant to be badass and seen it all. Now, it had its (quite big) downsides, but if you had it available too early it just trivialised certain adversaries (Lesser Daemons, for example, who aside from Blootletters largely relied on their crippling fear effects to be a nasty challenge). 

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41 minutes ago, borithan said:

Oh, right, yes the power creep was problematic, and Ascension was an unbalanced mess. Most of my favourite stuff dates from pre-Ascension period (actually mostly the stuff Black Industries worked on, but the Creature's Anathema and the Radical's Handbook were also quite good), and I didn't like Blood of Martyrs (Rank 1 Battle Sisters? Really?) or the Lathe Worlds Books much, and allowing Grey Knights as player characters was ridiculous. I didn't think the Book of Judgement was too bad for it though, from what I remember. 

I think a fair amount of it happened after Ascension personally. Ascension was them playing catch up with Deathwatch's power level so it was going to be pretty intense. But opinions are opinions.

I've always maintained that Lathe Worlds is meant to be read, but never used, or at least used by players.

42 minutes ago, borithan said:

And this is where my lack of knowledge how to split quotes on this forum is really going to irritate me. Numbered the points instead.

You have to quote the same piece of text multiple times and delete out what you're not referring to. There's a limit to the amount of quotes you can have in a post. As I understand it.

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8 hours ago, borithan said:

I think that may be a valid point. I never personally regarded D&D as a gold standard... first time every playing it was only when the PHP 3 came out for the 4th edition, so level based pen & paper RPGs were just not what I was brought up with. The group I mainly play with sometimes irritate me with their expectations which have been shaped by D&D. Most of them love 5th ed, as it fits exactly what they wanted from D&D, streamlining it while retaining the flavour...

Granted, being from Germany I practically grew up on various editions of The Dark Eye (whose international release was sadly botched by the publisher), but every time you'd hear about pen & paper abroad, it was D&D. So I can't say if my perception was accurate, but it certainly looked that way, and when so many other game systems are based on d20 as well, and are using similar mechanics, then its influence seemed particularly widespread. To this day I suspect that 99% of all RPGs have extra rolls for damage (rather than using fixed values and/or the attack roll) just because that's the way D&D did it. :P

I too prefer systems you can "run on the fly", albeit for slightly different reasons. They're easier/faster to learn, meaning you can get gaming faster, and they are also easier to modify when you feel a need for additional mechanics. Not to mention that the more regulated a system is, the less flexible it will be for players thinking outside the box.

8 hours ago, borithan said:

I also tend to be a person that likes the character arc, zero (well, not quite zero) to hero kind of approach to a game. Expanding character ability progressing alongside expanding scope of the narrative. I think starting with inexperienced characters also allows players without a background in 40k to be introduced to the setting in a natural way, as 40k being the way it is characters probably don't know a whole load outside their areas either. 
I also personally wouldn't want a Space Marine to feature except as an enemy, and show how seriously horrendous they are meant to be to their enemies.

Ah, I guess this may be a matter of expectations and setting interpretation -- as well as a lingering skepticism concerning character progression over short timeframes. It's a silly thought in the back of my head, but every once in a while I look at how much better a player character manages to become over just a few sessions (often barely spanning weeks or months in in-universe time) compared to the years they've spent doing things before.

As for the former, I suppose my recommendation regarding higher characters is partially to allow the aforementioned travel freedoms, but also the inclusion of key elements of the 40k setting, as well as maintaining a certain narrative balance and setting consistency. What I mean by that is that I've grown up on a lot of Games Workshop's own material (as opposed to plot-armour-driven Black Library fiction) where, frankly, Astartes weren't all that special. There was a gap, but it wasn't nearly as big as to make it impossible for people to close up (which GW even specifically pointed out for the Sisters of Battle when it represented them as, to quote, "equals to their brother space marines"). Rather, you had a sort of linear progression in power from the lowly Guard conscript all the way up to Temple Assassins, and anything in-between. As such, tossing everything but Marines into one corner, and letting Astartes stand apart, does a disservice to all those other badass characters and continues the - imo - dangerous trend of hyping Marines to ridiculous levels, to a point where they come across like demigods unplayable in anything but a Deathwatch dungeon crawl.

This is particularly weird considering how and why Games Workshop invented the Deathwatch in the first place.

But of course mine is just one opinion among many -- though I will always maintain that offering all sorts of classes would also increase the game's appeal. Plus, I kind of like the idea of the "culture clash" it would involve. After all, in an Inquisition RPG, a Space Marine character would be like what Sten was to Dragon Age. :D

8 hours ago, borithan said:

Basically, I don't think the 40k rpg system is well designed for free build characters, so they shouldn't have created a system for it. Also, the faff of keeping track of the aptitudes, rather than just going "Ok, what can I choose now."

Ahh. Hmm, it's possible. I can't say I perceived the "conversion issues" to be as much of a problem (especially compared to much more glaring flaws already innate to DH1), but I can see where you're coming from.

As for keeping track of aptitudes ... okay, point taken. I would say you can easily get accustomed to it, but it may be a bit of a hassle at first. Still, not something I'd trade free progression for.

8 hours ago, borithan said:

I think they capped out at about 500xp, and were usually in the 100-300 range regardless of utility etc.

Unless you were playing a BoM Battle Sister, of course ... <_<

The trees really weren't perfectly balanced -- and many times, they felt quite constrictive. "You have to pick X before you are allowed to pick Y, even though it has nothing to do with it. But you need to spend these XP to get to the next level."

8 hours ago, borithan said:

Some particular background packages and/or alternative ranks aside you didn't get Fearless until the higher ranks (I can't remember what the original earliest rank was... 5? 6?) because it was intended for higher level characters who were meant to be badass and seen it all. Now, it had its (quite big) downsides, but if you had it available too early it just trivialised certain adversaries (Lesser Daemons, for example, who aside from Blootletters largely relied on their crippling fear effects to be a nasty challenge). 

I don't consider that a problem. The way I see it, any character advancement a player wants to buy has to make sense for their character. If it doesn't, the GM can veto. And if it does, why not let them buy it? As you say, it has quite big downsides; that sounds like a justification for letting that character shine under those specific circumstances, especially when it is a part of who they are narratively. I mean, in some way it's like banning the psyker class, no? The only true difference is that the latter has a page in the RAW the player can point to.

Besides, if DH1 had those particular background packages and alternative ranks, the issue arguably existed back then as well, rendering this example moot. :P

I also see that Doc already explained how the quotes work. I have to say, as much as I dislike the new forum (no signatures, no dark theme), at least its quotes seem to be working a lot better than in the old software. Though I still wish there was an option to display and write in sourcecode, too.

Edited by Lynata

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11 hours ago, Lynata said:

Granted, being from Germany I practically grew up on various editions of The Dark Eye (whose international release was sadly botched by the publisher), but every time you'd hear about pen & paper abroad, it was D&D. So I can't say if my perception was accurate, but it certainly looked that way, and when so many other game systems are based on d20 as well, and are using similar mechanics, then its influence seemed particularly widespread. To this day I suspect that 99% of all RPGs have extra rolls for damage (rather than using fixed values and/or the attack roll) just because that's the way D&D did it. :P

Oh, D&D is a huge elephant in the room, and massively influential. It does seem to be what non-gamers think of when they hear about roleplaying, and yes, my experience is most gamers come from a D&D background (including the group I do most of my roleplaying with). I am a little unusual in this, but it was because I was introduced to roleplaying by a friend whose dad (who aged from the Ancient days of the early RPGs, back when you couloured in your dice with coloured crayons) played TSRs DragonQuest rather than D&D. It was an early fantasy rpg, like d&d, but not level based but skill based. We played with a simplified version created by his dad, and then moved onto the d6 Star Wars system, a brief stint with Last Unicorn Games' Star Trek system and the Buffy RPG, none of which followed the model of d&d with levels (though the simplified DragonQuest did use a d20, rather than the percentile dice of the original). 

So this has meant that when I came to gaming with other people I found all these expectations which were built on 3.5 d&d which I just did not have. Gear progression (I have a crossbow knife and armour... why do I need more?), complicated rule interactions, min-maxing ("But heroes in stories are generally competent... not useless at everything but their little area"). I remember a discussion online about the new Star Wars RPG and someone was praising a new mechanic as being so innovative (can't remember what it was), and I was just "Erm, but x,y and z all have something similar, and have done it for years. But if all people have played is D&D, it may have seemed innovative.

I haven't ever read the Dark Eye (even though I am the one in my group who is known for having all the games). I had heard it was really big in Germany... there is a new edition just come out, no?

11 hours ago, Lynata said:

Not to mention that the more regulated a system is, the less flexible it will be for players thinking outside the box.

Hmm... Since starting to play d&d I think the thing is in these kind of games for some players some of the enjoyment comes from playing with the mechanics of the system. They like poring over the character classes, feats, spells etc, and seeing what they can do in the constraints of the system. They want to feel like they have used the limits of the system to do something that is interesting mechanically. I have actually often had the problem that with lighter systems some players find they don't have anything to leverage on, so it just because bland and boring for them. I have since come to appreciate d&d as a sort of puzzle game, even though I don't think it is a very good RPG. Part of the reason why I am less impressed with 5th edition than the rest of the group, as if I wanted to play d&d, what I get from it is spoiled by the streamlining. If I wanted a simpler game I would play something else.

 

11 hours ago, Lynata said:

Ah, I guess this may be a matter of expectations and setting interpretation -- as well as a lingering skepticism concerning character progression over short timeframes. It's a silly thought in the back of my head, but every once in a while I look at how much better a player character manages to become over just a few sessions (often barely spanning weeks or months in in-universe time) compared to the years they've spent doing things before.

Oh, certainly that can be a little absurd at times (I have been doing this for years and I am now level 1... 6 months later I am level 15). One of the reasons I usually (and I think most games) kind of expect to start at a youngish age.

 

11 hours ago, Lynata said:

As for the former, I suppose my recommendation regarding higher characters is partially to allow the aforementioned travel freedoms, but also the inclusion of key elements of the 40k setting, as well as maintaining a certain narrative balance and setting consistency. What I mean by that is that I've grown up on a lot of Games Workshop's own material (as opposed to plot-armour-driven Black Library fiction) where, frankly, Astartes weren't all that special. There was a gap, but it wasn't nearly as big as to make it impossible for people to close up (which GW even specifically pointed out for the Sisters of Battle when it represented them as, to quote, "equals to their brother space marines"). Rather, you had a sort of linear progression in power from the lowly Guard conscript all the way up to Temple Assassins, and anything in-between. As such, tossing everything but Marines into one corner, and letting Astartes stand apart, does a disservice to all those other badass characters and continues the - imo - dangerous trend of hyping Marines to ridiculous levels, to a point where they come across like demigods unplayable in anything but a Deathwatch dungeon crawl.

I personally like the idea of travel freedoms being limited at the start... yes you get to travel, but at the behest of your masters.

Oh, and I am not some Space Marine superhero advocate (and one of my personal bugbears is people exaggerating their height. 7 foot tall damnit). I thought their presentation in Deathwatch was too powerful (though that also also had the mechanical the problem the system couldn't handle things on that scale). In my mind it would be a single marine as a boss, but not some hit point bucket shrugging off missile fire. Yes Marines are better than people, but they are scary not because they are demi-gods of the battlefield. Shoot one with a meltagun and it will still fall over. The issue is that they will leverage every advantage they have over you, they deliberately get into a position where you can't easily use that meltagun/missile launcher etc on them. Using the presentation of the Jedi as an example: in RotJ, during the sailbarge scene Luke is a holy terror, but not because he stands there deflecting bolts all day like the Jedi in the prequels (who are lame), but because he moves. He has notable advantages over everyone there, but it doesn't make him invincible, if he lets his opponents stand there blazing at him he dies. Instead he keeps on the move, deflects the occasional shot his enemies can get off, and keep his opponents off balance. He doesn't let them get many clean shots off.  Space Marines should be the same. You can hurt him, but you won't get many chances to do so.

Oh, though I disagree on Temple assassins... don't think they should be playable, and I think Ascension was daft for doing so. They are truly superhuman, and stand at a level even above a Space Marine.

11 hours ago, Lynata said:

Unless you were playing a BoM Battle Sister, of course ... <_<

Ah, hadn't realised that, but then I regard most of that book as nonsense, at least as far as character options go. The idea of rank 1 Sisters of Battle offend me, and if I had a sister I would use the Inquistor's Handbook model, not the BoM ones. 

11 hours ago, Lynata said:

The trees really weren't perfectly balanced -- and many times, they felt quite constrictive. "You have to pick X before you are allowed to pick Y, even though it has nothing to do with it. But you need to spend these XP to get to the next level."

Oh, I agree it wasn't perfect, and some of the decisions were a little weird. I think it was particularly the case with getting certain skills, at least in the first place, as Learning about X evil thing (or language, or how to look after a horse) should really be a plot driven thing rather than a character progression thing. Less bothered about getting later skill mastery, and for Dodge say, as they feel like things that should increase with an increasing scope and power of the game.

12 hours ago, Lynata said:

I don't consider that a problem. The way I see it, any character advancement a player wants to buy has to make sense for their character. If it doesn't, the GM can veto. And if it does, why not let them buy it? As you say, it has quite big downsides; that sounds like a justification for letting that character shine under those specific circumstances, especially when it is a part of who they are narratively. I mean, in some way it's like banning the psyker class, no? The only true difference is that the latter has a page in the RAW the player can point to.

Besides, if DH1 had those particular background packages and alternative ranks, the issue arguably existed back then as well, rendering this example moot. :P

I can't remember if I am right about being able to get Fearless earlier, but if so it was only meant for very specific things, and part of something that defined you as being very special. The system was designed with a growing power level in mind, like d&d (though not quite as mathematically or proscriptively as d&d), and so limits on when they can be taken are kind of required.

Do remember the system did just say "If you want to allow a player to buy something outside their advance scheme, do it." That was the whole point of elite advances. The career advances gave you a framework to work off.

The Fearless one actually comes from an actual example. Someone came onto the forums asking why Lesser Daemons were so rubbish, and not that scary to even rank 1 or 2 characters. People were puzzled by this and asked him questions as to how that could be possible, and it turned out he had given all his low level player characters Fearless. He had missed the fact that it was the fear affects themselves were the primary thing that made Lesser Deamons a tough prospect. "Now please make a Fear test at -20 (or was it -30?) on your starting willpower of 25-40. Ok, now 4/5 of you are now puking your guts out or gibbering on the floor." Fearless came with a downside, but then by the time you got it you were meant to be a character who could face down beings that offended reality itself without getting that bothered about it. 

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As I've said before, I've been enjoying D&D 5E, but I haven't gotten super deep into the mechanics (I don't even own a Player's Handbook :P) and I've been playing it mostly as a dungeon crawl (kill the monsters and take their stuff) though there was a bit with a hag's lair that was layer upon layer of illusion that was quite a thing *shudder* :D anyway, it's fun for me.

 

I suppose I'm just used to it, but I like the D&D system. Sure, it might not be super realistic or whatever, but I do like it (I dream of one day running an AD&D 2E campaign all the way up to level 30 . . . Probably never going to happen). I enjoy the way you unlock new spells/abilities/whatever. Dark Heresy has this too, though those advance tables are incredibly unwieldy (and a deterant to me wanting to write up my own Sister of Battle career).

 

Though I think part of it for me is that I apparently have a thing for older game systems :P so AD&D 2E appeals to me solely on that basis.

 

I think I like having mechanical restriction on character building, and then playing around with what kinds of things I can do within those restrictions.  Though really my reaction to a given RPG rule set is more emotionally driven than objective. It's just more fun to dive into something that feels more obscure (hence the older game thing)

 

This isn't old or all that obscure, but I'm really interested in this (but I haven't bought a copy . . . yet) 

https://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=18245

Edited by Servant of Dante

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15 hours ago, Servant of Dante said:

I suppose I'm just used to it, but I like the D&D system. Sure, it might not be super realistic or whatever, but I do like it (I dream of one day running an AD&D 2E campaign all the way up to level 30 . . . Probably never going to happen). I enjoy the way you unlock new spells/abilities/whatever. Dark Heresy has this too, though those advance tables are incredibly unwieldy (and a deterant to me wanting to write up my own Sister of Battle career).

 

Well, it's called gamism, probably the dominant factor saleswise when it comes to RPGs. Both D&D (in whatever iteration) as well as 40K RP feature essentially gamist-simulationist systems with an emphasis on gamism. That's where the market lies, that's what is mainstream. FATE didn't change that. Also, we shouldn't consider "influential" only in the context of system design. Dark Heresy has introduced A LOT of players to a play style different from D&D's hack & slash dungeoncrawling.

Alex

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