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How can this be a viable RPG?

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miles1739 said:

pes·si·mism (ps-mzm)
n.
1. A tendency to stress the negative or unfavorable or to take the gloomiest possible view: "We have seen too much defeatism, too much pessimism, too much of a negative approach" (Margo Jones).
2. The doctrine or belief that this is the worst of all possible worlds and that all things ultimately tend toward evil.
3. The doctrine or belief that the evil in the world outweighs the good.

 

The dreaded pessimism bug has infected this thread!! Please report to the the nearest commissar!!!!!

 

Pessimism and 40k go together like peas and carrots.

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Theofonias said:

 I don't see how this can't be a viable RPG.  

Heck why stop at Deathwatch?  You can use the rule to homebrew your own Chapter and play it like that.

I think that with careful consideration and some creative approaches, this can be made into an interesting RPG (and maybe FPS videogame tie-in! angel.gif).  There are a number of "gimmicks" that can be used to make the Marine inherently more interesting without necessarily going too far down the Horus Heresy approach to Marines (well pretty much all the modern materials now that I think about it).  

If there is a roleplaying problem it will be because they don't feel like Marines, just big humans in power armour.  Beyond that it is up to the individual GM to determine how they are going to integrate them into their campaign (be it Deathwatch, Rogue Trader or Dark Heresy).

Perhaps when we get to see more information on the system we'll feel a bit better about whether it is going to be a "viable RPG" or not.  After all, if you can play an RPG as a rabbit, I think it's going to be possible to play a Space Marine. 

Kage

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I was a bit apprehensive about this as many are/were, but came up with an idea which I posted in the "No female characters" thread.  Depending on what the focus of the game is, there are LOTS of possible ways to run a game.  There can be inter-party conflicts, such as each character from a different chapter puts their needs before the others, or a friendly one-up-manship as they egotistically try to prove who is better.   The irony of that being that such an idea could humourously come about while fighting orks who exemplify this mentality. 

 

Heck, if you have all three RPG's in this line you could do a huge over-arching story line that involves a Rogue Trader with his ship, flying around with a group of Space Marines on board that he unleashes on planets that need to be either subjugated or folded into the empire, and the Inquisitors that try to keep Chaos from spreading amongst the crew-scum, while exploring the century long sealed sections of the ship that no one talks about. 

The players using characters depending on the situation.  In fact, FFG powers that be, when Deathwatch comes out you should think about a super-campaign book that does just what I suggest.  Over-arching story arcs that can impact the other tier characters.   It would be LEGEN- (And I hope you're not lactose intolerant) -DARY!  The 40k equivalent of the Worlds Biggest Dungeon, or other crazy long campaign.  Epic. 

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Running a campaign set around a squad of Adeptus Astartes is no harder than running any other military-based RPG, of course there will be intense combat, probably a fair bit more than in a vanilla Dark Heresy or Rogue Trader game, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. If anything Deathwatch will be easier to have a coherent and enjoyable ongoing story in than with most military-centric RPG's and the Deathwatch is the obvious choice for a Space Marines RPG setting. Don't forget that as members of the Deathwatch, their direct superiors are Inquisitors, so the kind of assingments you could be tasked with are nearly limitless. Some examples of scenarios that involve more than just a prodigious body count are;

- A rival Inquisitor may try to pull some strings to have your squad recalled or reassigned, requiring your squad's Captain to pull some strings of his own to remain on-task with their current investigation. This could see the Kill-Team protesting the request overtly at a conclave of Inquisitors, requiring negotiation skills to resolve, or even disappearing into the depths of a Hive complex hunting for evidence.

- Your Inquisitor may request the presence of your Kill-Team to serve as his Honor Guard in a negotiation with another Inquisitor or an Alien dignitary, both to intimidate his political opposite and to provide the squad with a cover to complete some other, covert operation while on-planet.

- Your Inquisitor may "loan" your team to an ally. Who the hell knows what will happen next? Maybe you'll cut to a scene in the sumptuous dining hall of one of your Inquistor's must trusted allies, a Rogue Trader, regaling him with tales of your days with the chapter or of your homeworld while your squad's heavy weapons specialist tries to sip from a human-sized cup of tea.

- You may be tasked with hunting down a missing Starship, taking a vessel of your own out into the void, chasing leads, questioning criminal scum and blasting apart anyone foolish enough to block your path.

- One of your squad may encounter someone they are sworn to protect by a generations-old pact with his parent chapter, causing friction within the squad as his word of honor endagers the greater mission. Now you must find a way accomplish the mission with a frail human in tow, for a Marine with no Honor is worthless to the God-Emperor.

- You may learn that your Inquisitor is a Radical of extreme views and feel compelled to confront or even turn on him/her if their plans are revealed to be openly heretical.

So that's just a few of the possible missions an imaginative GM could send you on, all entirely possible and fit with the ingame lore surrounding Space Marines, their political and military might and the sheer scope of missions they can be sent upon with the exopectation of resounding success. As a Marine you are a gentically enchanced super soldier, but your character is still a person with a personality and a history that is unique to them. Your enemies will fear you and your allies will fight over the right to command you, you are Adeptus Astartes, the Angels of Death, and you answer to none but your Inquisitor, your Captain and Him on Earth.

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 Im not sure if this has been brought up yet (didn't read the whole thread) but this is a deathwatch campaign. Most of these marines have never seen anything but how their chapter dose things. There will be tons of RP stuff with the team dealing with the culture shock of how each other deal with problems. That alone can color any simple kill strike or ambush mission. With a good group i am expecting it to be a lot of fun.

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"How can this be a viable RPG?"

Simple. I...mag...i...na...tion!

Use your imagination, be creative, makes stories. If you can't do that, you're not really a roleplayer.

Need some inspiration? Read any of the multitudes of space marine novels the Black Library puts out. Most have solid plots rife with what we would consider roleplaying "interactions".

Besides which, most roleplaying is just a vehicle to performing imaginary violence on imaginary people for imaginary rewards. Even grandaddy D&D boiled down to that in essence. How would this be any different?

And if there is one thing the imaginary space marines do in spades, it's perfoming imaginary violence on imaginary people (or things for you Tyranids out there).

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It's somewhat funny, as a lot of those argument make me think of what Vampire: The Masquerade players used to say about Werewolf: The Apocalypse (old school WoD > New WoD :P)... just because you play a killing machine, doesn't mean they can't be more depth to it.

The Rynn's World novel is actually quite a good read at that and goes a long way toward making Space Marine feel like people, rather than card board cut out.

 

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Tarkand said:

The Rynn's World novel is actually quite a good read at that and goes a long way toward making Space Marine feel like people, rather than card board cut out.

Precisely. It is an old-fashioned view of Space Marines that says they are purely mindless, indoctrinated automatons that are good for war and nothing else. Possibly some Chapters operate along those lines (you could RP that way if you desperately wanted to), but the majority have a lot more going on in terms of their Chapter's culture and their own personality.

Dan Abnett's stories (Horus Heresy or, if you feel 30k is too different from 40k, which in many ways it is, you could go for Brothers of the Snake) also portray the deeper side of Marines - Marines with "soul".

Deathwatch can be as rich and deep as the players want. Maybe they'll just need to invest a little more time in reading around the subject and considering a background than they would if they were playing a comparatively-normal Scum from an Imperial World in Dark Heresy, or a similar Arch-Militant in Rogue Trader. Ultimately, as with all roleplay, you'll get out of it what you put in.

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For my group, I would say that giving the marines personalities is not the largest hurdle, but more the idea of taking orders from someone else.  This is one of the reasons I picked up Rogue Trader to run, because there is more freedom to pursue the agendas of each character when they want, and even create as tey go. 

A defined military structure doesn't work for everyone.  Even Rogue Trader has a hurdle with making one character be the leader and have a command structure.  Not everyone jives well with this.  It's a tricky thing for many people, especially in a universe where you have to do what your told or be killed by your commanding officer. 

At the same time, a military game is good for a more casual pick up game (no intentional long running campaign) as you can run one mission then go play something else later that has more of a story. 

Of course, your personal experiences may vary.  I prefer games where I can have more a choice, or my players choose what to do and I run with it.  It all depends on your group and play style.

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( Yay my first post! )

 

Ok, I haven't read every reply in here but  I'll just lay my idea out there.  I've been waiting for hard bound rules for Space Marines for a while now. We have used them before in my gaming group, but they were mostly made up by who ever was running a campaign.

Either way, I have already planned out a campaign for my Death Watch game. It's not exactly Death Watch, it's more Space Hulk in pen and paper form. I'm going to turn the game into basically one large dungeon. There's more to it than, go through the space hulk and kill everything. It's going to start with the group stuck in their own severely damaged strike cruiser, beyond contact with the Chapter, and unable to attempt a Warp jump to return to the chapter.  The idea being that they need the Space  Hulk to survive. 

I'll throw in the chaos taint of course, with flash backs and personal side stories melded into the campaign to flesh out their personal stories and give them a connection to who they once were and who they have become as Space Marines. Then throw in some tyranids, a twisted traitorous plot and let the bolter shells fly!

 

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Actually, according to what I'm reading, teh system will actually buff players for (what sounds like) steriotypical marine behaviour.  All those claiming imagination, now suffer under the wrath of munchkin!

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BaronIveagh said:

Actually, according to what I'm reading, teh system will actually buff players for (what sounds like) steriotypical marine behaviour.  All those claiming imagination, now suffer under the wrath of munchkin!

Well, that depends on your choice of personal demeanour (there are quite a few, and it's hardly difficult to come up with equivalent ones if you don't like the ones in the book), which can be changed over time as the Design Diary explains.

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BaronIveagh said:

 

Actually, according to what I'm reading, teh system will actually buff players for (what sounds like) steriotypical marine behaviour.  All those claiming imagination, now suffer under the wrath of munchkin!

 

 

Not so much mate, the Designer's Diary suggests that Demeanours are more along the lines of a once-per session "Super Fate Point" that can be used to encourage a little extra roleplaying, a good example that a lot of people will know would be during the final missions in the original Dawn of War, campaign, when Gabriel Angelos' confronts his former friend-turned traitor, the Librarian Isador.

Isador beats him down at first and soliloquizes as the Captain lies battered and winded, calling him weak and branding him a traitor. Then Gabriel Angelos "activates his Demeanour" (In this case, to regain some wounds!) and finishes Isador off with a short speech of his own and a Bolter round to the head.

And you can still activate it for the effects of a regular fate point if you're lacking in inspiration or opportunity that session. Sounds like a nice little mechanic to me. gui%C3%B1o.gif

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Niqvah said:

Tarkand said:

Deathwatch can be as rich and deep as the players want. Maybe they'll just need to invest a little more time in reading around the subject and considering a background than they would if they were playing a comparatively-normal Scum from an Imperial World in Dark Heresy, or a similar Arch-Militant in Rogue Trader. Ultimately, as with all roleplay, you'll get out of it what you put in.

Sorry for the old-ish post bump but I really wanted to comment and quote the above.

 

One other thing to keep in mind; there is a huge difference between the "tabletop universe" and the "roleplay universe" when it comes to 40K. This is the same thing as with Fantasy. In WHFB things are very black and white and pretty static to be honest. It has to be this way because its a tabletop war game. Things have to be over-the-top and really stand out to make a lasting impact on people. When you take that world and breathe life into it (ie: an RPG) you soften things a bit. WFRP has always done a great job of this (and I've played since v1).

Reading any of the Black Library novels will show you there are a lot of different opinions on how Space Marines "are". Some authors focus more on the pulp-action and thus make the characters pretty cardboard like. Then others actually give them personalities and "life" so to speak. The same will be true of players. Some will only see the tabletop view of Marines as a very static non-personality thing; while others will put more depth into the "who" and really make it a fun RPG.

Deathwatch will actually cater to both of these as well. You can make it as hack & slash combat heavy as you want if that is what your group gets excitement from. Or, you can have more interaction between the characters, between them and non-Astartes, perhaps even between them and Xenos from time to time.

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I'm glad you see it like that, kenshin!

Seems like a lot of effort's going into enhancing the combat rules for Astartes, but I am personally pleased to note that the mechanic enhancements so far either also apply to social and other non-combat situations (in the case of Demeanours, which to be fair are nice, but an unecessary addition), or have no impact on non-combat situations, as is the case with the newly announced Solo/Squad tactics and Cohesion rules.

I expect, somewhat cynically, that most groups will play "fanboy" games starring cardboard cutout marines and nothing but combat missions and platitudes, but I at least know that my group will be running a much deeper and more interesting show. We've been looking forward to Deathwatch since it was first announced all those years ago by Black Industries, and had such great ideas and expectations for our campaign that we actually now play a Dark Heresy game in which our Acolytes serve the same Lord Inquisitor that the GM inveted for use with Deathwatch. When we actually get our hands on Deathwatch our Marine PC's, their current master and the starship upon which they are based will be very deeply developed from the get go.

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 I'm actually looking forward to get my hands on Deathwatch and run a campaign around a Deathwatch kill-team turned renegade. Pit them against the Ordo Hereticus (with rules pilfered from Dark Heresy (compatible?) and have them traipsing the universe with borrowed Ship rules from Rogue Trader as the personal muscle of a Pirate Captain.

Marines can "actually" BE interesting a la how Abnett and McNeill have portrayed them...not least in the Horus Heresy series.

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TBH I fail to see the point of the opening statement.  There are many many military based RPGs, and though SMs main focus is smashing Xenos/Corruption, the ways and wherefores of this are down to the actual adventure.

For a simple plot thought off top of my head - A compliant world has requested help with a xenos terror.  The SMs arrive only to discover the request was from 100 years ago, and all seems peachy.

They even have the emperors tariff ready for collection.

The SMs have spent some time getting here, and the Librarian feels something is wrong, and checking communication logs it seems that the world has been hidden by the Warp for the last 75 years. 

The Planetary Governer says that the situation was dealt with by the PDF, and offers battle logs and details of the Xenos terror and how it was dealt with.

Reviewing the document identifies some fallacies, and now DW need to discover what really happened. Once they discover the truth, they then need to destroy the Xenos threat.

In short, a request for help, an investigation, the tactical battle plan and then the battle resolution.

Throughout this brief synopsis the SMs have lenty of opportunity to RP out the various aspects prior to the fight - in fact like any other RPG.

Another possibility, which is always a clasic is the 7 Samurai.  A group of DW combining forces to overcome a superior force.  And no-one can sya that was a bad film, even the Magnificent 7 was a semi decent remake.

So in short the RP is what you make of it

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Regarding the original question:

My group had an ongoing CP2020 campaign where we all played grotesquely overpowered elite commandos working for a very fanatical corporation. Relatively to the strength of the world around us, we were literal demigods taking on entire platoons, sometimes head on. If it were ran on WH40K systems, it'd be like all Characteristics at 70%+ with Unnatural all over the place.

And you know what? It was the most RP-heavy campaign I have ever played. There was lots of asskicking, sure, but the real focus was on personalities, interpersonal relations, ethical and moral dilemmas, this kind of stuff. It was a blast.

Now, do you really think the same can't be achieved in Deathwatch? The premise of the game is nigh-identical to what I'm talking about. From what I understood from the recent "Search and Destroy" DD, Deathwatch isn't about clean-cut "go in, kill, go out" kind of operations. It's about those missions where you are dropped as a standalone unit into the middle of a warzone, only to realize that you landed 100 clicks away from your planned position, your objective has moved in an unknown direction and you are under mortar fire. Between cross-team relationships, briefings and debriefings, and whatever you encounter on the spot, there'll be plenty of roleplaying opportunities. Plus, as others have pointed out, the condition of Space Marines does lend itself to asking difficult questions.

Have some faith, people.

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In the end, it really doesn't matter what the attributes are and what the rules are. The system certainly works better at some things than it does at others, but it is the players who provide the actual content, and that has relatively little to do with the setting.

Our DH sessions, while having some investigation-type activity, often end up in horrible bloodfests. This is because the players like that sort of stuff, and favour a style of play that reminds me of James Ellroy's Underworld USA trilogy rather than Call of Cthulhu with bolters. Yeah, Dark Heresy is definitely guns-heavy, but there seems to be some intention for the characters to make regular Library Use rolls and such.

Same goes with Deathwatch. The premise is about witch-hunting super soldiers, but that's about it. Who's to say how you're supposed to go about doing that? With heavy bolter and powered armour, because there are rules for those and the equipment is available to the characters? So, what if those aren't available? Easiest thing in the world to come up with an explanation for that.

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Actually this experiment has been done succesfully before,by White Wolf with Exalted and it works. You remove the min/max by making everyone over powered, this forcing the munchkins to roleplay because all of the things that normally occupy their megalomainc little minds have already been given to them.

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One of the best rpg campaign's my gaming group ever played was Arc Dream's Godlike about super-powered soldiers during WWII. It was a blast for the players but also produced some of their most intense roleplaying moments. The trick was to give them more than just 'paper targets' to shoot at - difficult situations and objectives which highlighted the different motivations and characters within the group.

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