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peterstepon

Any speculation about what being an Astartes will be like?

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peterstepon said:

BrotherAtrox said:

 

Well the first question to ask: Fluff Astartes or Tabletop Astartes?

 

 

 I would guess fluff marine, without a doubt.

The RPG would be more about "living in the Imperium of the 41st millennum" so it would try to capture the epic feel of the Astartes rather than run a simulation with play balance.  Even if you look at the sample marine in Dark Heresy, he was really tough.  If you compare him to many aliens in the suppliments, then you can see that ork firepower would just ping off his power armour and an Eldar would only cause damage on a lucky headshot.  The Emperor took over the entire Imperium with only a few legions of marines so they need to be extremely powerful. 

The flipside is that Space Marines are RARE.  A million sounds like alot but spread out through the entire Galaxy they are extremely spread thin.  Each one needs to count to make it worthwhile.  A planet can usually be assaulted with only a company of Marines.  However, they cannot really take casualties so any loss is a blow to them.  Deathwatch are even rarer still, with a thousand plus spread over the whole Galaxy they may as well not exist (Douglas Adams had an equation saying that a finite number of people divided by infinite space is zero).

Most of the fluff has hundreds of Marines fighting millions of Orks or billions of tyrannids.  I am hoping that they have thought about it and have a system of epic feats which would allow the players to think "yes, with sacrifice we CAN stop this Waaagh"

 

 

A few legions...yeah...

 

But remember, the pre-heresy, back then they weren't broken down into chapters (per se) and there was no Codex Astartes.  So the legions consisted of thousands of marines, with no set number other than how many viable canidates could be found.

 

And honestly, I think that they will aim for some of the more consistent marine fiction from the novels and short stories.  Codex fluff rarely specifies numbers, and codex fiction, while being cool, is written to make the army in it sound just super uber awesome, so, yeah, its a bit biased.  My guess would be something along the lines of what Graham McNeill, Ben Couter and William King has written, where marines are good, **** good, but not gods of war.   

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BrotherAtrox said:

 

Polaria said:

 

I expect a quite few people will be underwhelmed when they first see what kind of stats a starting level DW character will get.

Reason?

Starting level DW characters are most likely to be just that: starting level, run-of-the-mill linemen with little or nothing in common to world-destroying heroic archetypes of the novels. DW characters will have to be built in such a way that there is plenty of room for improvement that players can look forward to and plenty of challenges easily available for GMs to throw against them. Thus when you expect "hit-with-every-bolt-kill-with-every-shot-invulnerable-to-everything" heroes who can sweep legions of xenos aside in seconds you will be disappointed.

 

 

That makes terribly little sense though. Marines get brought into the Deathwatch because they show a particular talent, affinity for killing Xenos, or are very experienced - and typically its a combination of all three.

There's room for growth but if you make it too much about leveling and XP its going to feel even more like a dungeon crawl.

 

 

I just have one answer: Its a game, not a novel. You can write a novel about god-like character that succeeds in everything. Running a game with 4 to 8 minigods is something a *lot* harder. 

Take a long, hard look at Rogue Trader (the Game) and compare it with Rogue Trader (the Fluff)

I am convinced the difference is same as when you compare Deathwatch (the Game) and Deathwatch (the Fluff)

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Polaria said:

BrotherAtrox said:

 

Polaria said:

 

I expect a quite few people will be underwhelmed when they first see what kind of stats a starting level DW character will get.

Reason?

Starting level DW characters are most likely to be just that: starting level, run-of-the-mill linemen with little or nothing in common to world-destroying heroic archetypes of the novels. DW characters will have to be built in such a way that there is plenty of room for improvement that players can look forward to and plenty of challenges easily available for GMs to throw against them. Thus when you expect "hit-with-every-bolt-kill-with-every-shot-invulnerable-to-everything" heroes who can sweep legions of xenos aside in seconds you will be disappointed.

 

 

That makes terribly little sense though. Marines get brought into the Deathwatch because they show a particular talent, affinity for killing Xenos, or are very experienced - and typically its a combination of all three.

There's room for growth but if you make it too much about leveling and XP its going to feel even more like a dungeon crawl.

 

 

I just have one answer: Its a game, not a novel. You can write a novel about god-like character that succeeds in everything. Running a game with 4 to 8 minigods is something a *lot* harder. 

Take a long, hard look at Rogue Trader (the Game) and compare it with Rogue Trader (the Fluff)

I am convinced the difference is same as when you compare Deathwatch (the Game) and Deathwatch (the Fluff)

The better Space Marine novels are hardly about them "succeeding at everything". 

The idea that it would be hard to run a game with appropriately powerful Marines seems rather silly to me.  There's no shortage of extremely deadly stuff to throw at them in the 40k universe, and when it comes to non-combat situations it would be very easy to challenge them.

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Atheosis said:

The idea that it would be hard to run a game with appropriately powerful Marines seems rather silly to me.  There's no shortage of extremely deadly stuff to throw at them in the 40k universe, and when it comes to non-combat situations it would be very easy to challenge them.

Genestealers. Chaos Marines. Lots of Orks. Etc.

It's really strange how people can have such low opinions of what a Space Marine is capable of (mostly due to their TT performance) but also feel like they're somehow too powerful to translate into an RPG.

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 One thing to keep in mind with TT vs. fluff is that in the TT game a "dead" model doesn't necessarily mean the model died, he/she is just out of action, just like when a squad fails morale is lost.  Certainly some of the casualties from heavy weapons fire may be taking out astartes but most likely they are injured.  I still miss the old days when medic characters could revive casualties, though the book keeping on who had what injury slowed the game down it was still fun.  Obviously some balance has to be struck with other armies for the TT game, but it doesn't mean that "dead" means really dead.  I'm sure the Deathwatch characters will make starting characters in both DH and RT look pretty weak physically but they will probably lack much of the resource/influence of say a RT or Ascension character.  Either way, I'm excited to see what the game has in store.  I'm keeping my expectations low, I figure if it's a good supplement to RT and/or DH then I'll be happy.  I do hope I'll be pleasantly surprised though and then have a third game to vie for my roleplaying time.

 

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I hate to burst bubbles, but I wouldn't get any hopes up that everything about being a Space Marine will be uber.  Most weapons and equipment will more likely be the same as you've known then in DH and RT.  A Bolter is still going to be a Bolter in Deathwatch.  And I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Powered Armor still has the same characteristics.  There will probably be new equipment (such as Assault Marine jetpacks and armor and the mighty Terminator Armor). 

However, I think the improvements will be seen in the characters themselves.  I wouldn't be a bit surprised if you started with a character with much higher Strength and Toughness, making characters equal to Ascension level.  Space Marines are more resistant to toxins, more resistant to fear and psyker influence, more resistant to Fatigue, and I believe they can go further with less food, but I may have read that wrong.  There may be new Psyker powers for Librarians, Chaplains, and other personalities. 

What I'm personally hoping for is Vehicles.  I want to see the Land Speeder, the Rhino, the Predator Tank, the Land Raider, the Whirlwind, and most importantly, the Dreadnought.  I would be tickled pink if they allow PCs to be Dreadnoughts. 

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Wayfinder said:

 

I hate to burst bubbles, but I wouldn't get any hopes up that everything about being a Space Marine will be uber.  Most weapons and equipment will more likely be the same as you've known then in DH and RT.  A Bolter is still going to be a Bolter in Deathwatch.  And I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Powered Armor still has the same characteristics.  There will probably be new equipment (such as Assault Marine jetpacks and armor and the mighty Terminator Armor). 

However, I think the improvements will be seen in the characters themselves.  I wouldn't be a bit surprised if you started with a character with much higher Strength and Toughness, making characters equal to Ascension level.  Space Marines are more resistant to toxins, more resistant to fear and psyker influence, more resistant to Fatigue, and I believe they can go further with less food, but I may have read that wrong.  There may be new Psyker powers for Librarians, Chaplains, and other personalities. 

What I'm personally hoping for is Vehicles.  I want to see the Land Speeder, the Rhino, the Predator Tank, the Land Raider, the Whirlwind, and most importantly, the Dreadnought.  I would be tickled pink if they allow PCs to be Dreadnoughts. 

 

 

Other source books have made it very clear that Astartes gear is quite a bit better and more deadly than the normal versions.  Purge the Unclean actually provides stats for a fair amount of Astartes gear, and it is in fact quite a bit better than the stuff available to DH characters.

If anything what you're hoping for (vehicles and Dreadnought PCs) is far less likely than what your dismissing.

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There is almost certainly going to be some physical 'upgrades' compared to previous games. Space marines are supposed to be faster, stronger and tougher than normal humans (as evidenced in the TT version by having 1 higher in several stats than IGs. Yes, horrible example, but example none the less). Also, according to fluff, they can go days without sleep beause they can switch off pieces of their brain and still function perfectly, thus 'half sleeping' while being operative. There are several accounts of marines being active for days on one with no ill effects. Also, the effects of the various implants have been pretty well catalogued, so they're also likely to show increased resistance to critical damage, etc.

But, I'm withholding too much speculation until the book is out. However, I do hope we get to see both Chaplains and Librarians as well. Fighting xenos without a Librarian could be... quite unpleasant at times

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Urikanu said:

There is almost certainly going to be some physical 'upgrades' compared to previous games. Space marines are supposed to be faster, stronger and tougher than normal humans (as evidenced in the TT version by having 1 higher in several stats than IGs. Yes, horrible example, but example none the less). Also, according to fluff, they can go days without sleep beause they can switch off pieces of their brain and still function perfectly, thus 'half sleeping' while being operative. There are several accounts of marines being active for days on one with no ill effects. Also, the effects of the various implants have been pretty well catalogued, so they're also likely to show increased resistance to critical damage, etc.

But, I'm withholding too much speculation until the book is out. However, I do hope we get to see both Chaplains and Librarians as well. Fighting xenos without a Librarian could be... quite unpleasant at times

Librarians have been confirmed, but Chaplains are probably a no go.  There really have never been Chaplains in Deathwatch as far as the lore is concerned, so I would be very surprised (and a bit annoyed) if they were implemented.

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I'll point out that as fluff marines, you will be a two dimensional character.  In the Darkness of the Far Future, there is only angst. 

 

I'll also remind everyone that space marine novels tend to gloss over the part where in the back ground, millions if not billions of IG are soaking up the casualties and dishing out the bulk of the damage while the marines hog the spotlight while awaiting the Deus Ex Machina that they will use to exicute an asspull victory.  Unstoppable hoard of nids?  We'll create a poison that will cause them to all kill themselves.  Confronting the Nightbringer alone in a tiny chamber with no hope of survival?  We'll somehow manage to threaten him with a bunch of melta bombs.  (Never mind that he'd rise from the dead again shortly anyway according to fluff)  Gigantic fortress full of raving CSMs?  I wonder what this 'self destruct' button does?  

 

In the darkness of the Far Future, there are only James Bond Villians. 

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BaronIveagh said:

I'll point out that as fluff marines, you will be a two dimensional character.  In the Darkness of the Far Future, there is only angst. 

 

I'll also remind everyone that space marine novels tend to gloss over the part where in the back ground, millions if not billions of IG are soaking up the casualties and dishing out the bulk of the damage while the marines hog the spotlight while awaiting the Deus Ex Machina that they will use to exicute an asspull victory.  Unstoppable hoard of nids?  We'll create a poison that will cause them to all kill themselves.  Confronting the Nightbringer alone in a tiny chamber with no hope of survival?  We'll somehow manage to threaten him with a bunch of melta bombs.  (Never mind that he'd rise from the dead again shortly anyway according to fluff)  Gigantic fortress full of raving CSMs?  I wonder what this 'self destruct' button does?  

 

In the darkness of the Far Future, there are only James Bond Villians. 

Space Marines are not inherently two-dimensional.  Countless novels show that they can have a fair bit of depth.  You can play them as angry kill-bots if you like, but it's not necessary.

By the way do you actually like the 40k setting?

 

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Atheosis said:

BaronIveagh said:

 

I'll point out that as fluff marines, you will be a two dimensional character.  In the Darkness of the Far Future, there is only angst. 

 

I'll also remind everyone that space marine novels tend to gloss over the part where in the back ground, millions if not billions of IG are soaking up the casualties and dishing out the bulk of the damage while the marines hog the spotlight while awaiting the Deus Ex Machina that they will use to exicute an asspull victory.  Unstoppable hoard of nids?  We'll create a poison that will cause them to all kill themselves.  Confronting the Nightbringer alone in a tiny chamber with no hope of survival?  We'll somehow manage to threaten him with a bunch of melta bombs.  (Never mind that he'd rise from the dead again shortly anyway according to fluff)  Gigantic fortress full of raving CSMs?  I wonder what this 'self destruct' button does?  

 

In the darkness of the Far Future, there are only James Bond Villians. 

 

 

Space Marines are not inherently two-dimensional.  Countless novels show that they can have a fair bit of depth.  You can play them as angry kill-bots if you like, but it's not necessary.

By the way do you actually like the 40k setting?

 

Also, in addition to this... It is quite often shown as the IG doing the heavy lifting. Take the 'unstoppable horde of nids' example, which I assume is from the second novel of the Ultramarines omnibus... There's a -LOT- of IG killing a hell of a lot of Nids before they finally manage to find a toxin, which is the inquisitions work, not the SM's... they're just the delivery boys after all.

As for 2-D characters... Not really. At least not IMO. There's plenty of  room for both mental, social and physical development within the SM setting. I evidence Ragnar of the Space Wolves as an iconic example. Granted, they do tend to move in their own circles, but being bio.engineered super soldiers, I don't really blame them.

I for one am looking forward to this product immensely, to round out the series of games focused on humanity. Between the Inquisition, the Rogue Traders and the Space Marines they've covered a fair bit of the options for RP characters (not that it is by any means exhausted yet )

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Atheosis said:

 

Space Marines are not inherently two-dimensional.  Countless novels show that they can have a fair bit of depth.  You can play them as angry kill-bots if you like, but it's not necessary.

By the way do you actually like the 40k setting?

 

I did, once, but I generally despise the directions it's been taken in.  I REALLY hate a certain Ultramarines author.  Sandy Mitchell isn't very original, but it's still good stuff on his part.   Kim Newman was probably the best of the Black Library writers but has mysteriously vanished being chased by a certain dashing Count... 

That and I detest retcons.  And Joe Queseda.  ....   Come to think of it, I would like one retcon.  That Queseda was working at Blizzard, Andy Chambers was running GW, and Joe Mad was in chage of Marvel Comics...  Or better that Queseda had simply been terminated...

 

...terminated...

 

  *pushes button on desk*

 

Get me Summer Glau...

 

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Wow, what did Kim Newman write? I don't think I've ever even heard of her... nor Joe Quesada.  You are leaving out the first BL author to actually get stuff in Hardcover (Dan Abnett) who does a fine job of showing the merciless IG meatgrindering that is 40k, not to mention what, half a dozen other authors who do work for them actually in the 40k setting. (like William King and Lee Lightner's Ragnar series, or Gav Thorpe's Dark Angels).

Originality? are you really complaining that Sandy Mitchell isn't original in 40k? The setting that doesn't have a single original thing going for it?  Orks (Tolkien), Space Marines (the guy who wrote starship troopers... add in original nids to that too, and imperial guard...), Necrons (Terminators), Tyranids (starship troopers & Giger's aliens), The Imperium as a whole? Starship troopers' totalitarian government lead by Space Jesus, c'mon man.  Tau? Giant Anime Robots to appeal to an Asian audience.  Am I leaving anything out?  Oh right, Eldar as Vulcans and Dark Eldar as Romulans, can't forget the space elves.  It's the circle of rip offs, D&D Ripped Tolkien (Tolkien ripped others before him), GamesWorkshop ripped off D&D, Blizzard ripped off GamesWorkshop.  What IS appealing about Gamesworkshop is more than the base, more than the unoriginal origins, but what they DO with the setting.  They've done a great job of making the Empire of Space Jesus believable for it's place. 

 

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At least Sandy Mitchell wrote Ciaphas Cain, which is easily probably the best long-term series of 40k books in the Black Library at present (not including the Eisenhorn and Ravenor trilogies).

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MILLANDSON said:

 

At least Sandy Mitchell wrote Ciaphas Cain, which is easily probably the best long-term series of 40k books in the Black Library at present (not including the Eisenhorn and Ravenor trilogies).

 

 

I disagree. Mitchell is one of the weaker BL authors imo, his books all suffer from similar problems, all of them seem stodgily written to me, they all feature an endless cycle of -action-sit down exposition dump meeting-action-exposition dump meeting-action- etc etc. The core concept of the Cain books is an okay idea (Flashman in 40K), but the Cain books don't capture the magic of Flashman imho, Cain is neither a coward, or much of a womaniser, he's basically a self-deprecating 'nice guy'. That makes for a far less fun 'ride'.

Much better authors imo are Dan Abnett (of course), Anthony Reynolds (his Word Bearer series is waaaay better written and more imaginative imo than the Cain books), Matthew Farrer (okay he seems to be off the radar at them moment unfortunately, but again his Shira Calpurnia books are considerably superior to the Cain books), and Graham MacNiell (okay controversial this one I know - but he seems to have really upped his game lately - his Horus Heresy books have been excellent for example).  

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BrotherHostower said:

Wow, what did Kim Newman write? I don't think I've ever even heard of her... nor Joe Quesada.  You are leaving out the first BL author to actually get stuff in Hardcover (Dan Abnett) who does a fine job of showing the merciless IG meatgrindering that is 40k, not to mention what, half a dozen other authors who do work for them actually in the 40k setting. (like William King and Lee Lightner's Ragnar series, or Gav Thorpe's Dark Angels).

Originality? are you really complaining that Sandy Mitchell isn't original in 40k? The setting that doesn't have a single original thing going for it?  Orks (Tolkien), Space Marines (the guy who wrote starship troopers... add in original nids to that too, and imperial guard...), Necrons (Terminators), Tyranids (starship troopers & Giger's aliens), The Imperium as a whole? Starship troopers' totalitarian government lead by Space Jesus, c'mon man.  Tau? Giant Anime Robots to appeal to an Asian audience.  Am I leaving anything out?  Oh right, Eldar as Vulcans and Dark Eldar as Romulans, can't forget the space elves.  It's the circle of rip offs, D&D Ripped Tolkien (Tolkien ripped others before him), GamesWorkshop ripped off D&D, Blizzard ripped off GamesWorkshop.  What IS appealing about Gamesworkshop is more than the base, more than the unoriginal origins, but what they DO with the setting.  They've done a great job of making the Empire of Space Jesus believable for it's place. 

 

40k isn't original?  Please point me to all the gothic sci-fi that existed prior to its creation in the 80s then. 

Admittedly many of the elements of 40k, if taken individually, are derivative, but the way that the setting is constructed as a whole is pretty **** unique.

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Adam France said:

I disagree. Mitchell is one of the weaker BL authors imo, his books all suffer from similar problems, all of them seem stodgily written to me, they all feature an endless cycle of -action-sit down exposition dump meeting-action-exposition dump meeting-action- etc etc. The core concept of the Cain books is an okay idea (Flashman in 40K), but the Cain books don't capture the magic of Flashman imho, Cain is neither a coward, or much of a womaniser, he's basically a self-deprecating 'nice guy'. That makes for a far less fun 'ride'.

Much better authors imo are Dan Abnett (of course), Anthony Reynolds (his Word Bearer series is waaaay better written and more imaginative imo than the Cain books), Matthew Farrer (okay he seems to be off the radar at them moment unfortunately, but again his Shira Calpurnia books are considerably superior to the Cain books), and Graham MacNiell (okay controversial this one I know - but he seems to have really upped his game lately - his Horus Heresy books have been excellent for example).  

 

Matt Farrer has a new Calpurnia book coming out this year, I think. It's up on the BL website.

No idea what Flashman is, but considering some of the other material in the BL - Mitchell stands out like a beacon for me.

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BrotherAtrox said:

Adam France said:

 

I disagree. Mitchell is one of the weaker BL authors imo, his books all suffer from similar problems, all of them seem stodgily written to me, they all feature an endless cycle of -action-sit down exposition dump meeting-action-exposition dump meeting-action- etc etc. The core concept of the Cain books is an okay idea (Flashman in 40K), but the Cain books don't capture the magic of Flashman imho, Cain is neither a coward, or much of a womaniser, he's basically a self-deprecating 'nice guy'. That makes for a far less fun 'ride'.

Much better authors imo are Dan Abnett (of course), Anthony Reynolds (his Word Bearer series is waaaay better written and more imaginative imo than the Cain books), Matthew Farrer (okay he seems to be off the radar at them moment unfortunately, but again his Shira Calpurnia books are considerably superior to the Cain books), and Graham MacNiell (okay controversial this one I know - but he seems to have really upped his game lately - his Horus Heresy books have been excellent for example).  

 

 

 

Matt Farrer has a new Calpurnia book coming out this year, I think. It's up on the BL website.

No idea what Flashman is, but considering some of the other material in the BL - Mitchell stands out like a beacon for me.

Harry Flashman was a bully character from Tom Brown's Schooldays, a public schoolboy novel written in the 1850s. Flashman was pretty much the cowardly bully villain of the book.

In the 1970s (iirc) the British author George Macdonald Fraser had the genius idea of taking Flashman (who had perversely been Fraser's favourite character when he read Schooldays) and telling what happened next for the character. Flashman had been shown to be a clever liar, able to fool people, and handsome and charming when he wanted to be, so Fraser wrote a long series of classic books that were (for the most part) scrupulously true to real history where Flashman becomes an unworthy Victorian military hero despite actually remaining in fact a bully, coward, womaniser, cheat, cad, etc. The books are written as if they were written in old age by Flashman himself, just before WWI, and were so well written many reviewers (especially in America) mistook them for actual memoirs of an actual Victorian military hero.

They remain some of my all time favourite novels. If you want to judge Mitchell's failings read the Flashman books.

Hell, read them anyway, they are classics.

(Mitchell has been honest from the get-go his Cain stories are homages to Flashman btw, no secret or scandal there.)

Good news about the new Calpurnia book! :-) 

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Atheosis - I'll have to look, I'm sure there were pulp fiction writers who wrote about dark, gritty, gothic futures, most likely back in the 50's during the great depression.  40k is as original as... Shakespear, the baseline ideas, not original, what they did with the base ideas, very original AND extremely well done.  Heck, even Star Wars could be seen in a similar fashion, difference being, 40k is from the position of the Empire  as opposed to the rebels, that and they jacked up the scale of everything a thousand fold.   There's nothing wrong with not starting with original ideas and taking them to your own place, that's how some of the best games/movies/books end up coming about (Shakespear still one of the ideal examples of doing what people already know and making them argueably "better.")  Warhammer 40k is pulp fiction, fun, gritty and not meant to be literature, that doesnt' make it bad, just people need to know that kinda thing going into it and not nit pick it.

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Speculations on mechanics aside, I think a big part of what could make Deathwatch really awesome will be the roleplay aspect. To create a truly heroic warrior who has cut his way through countless battlefields and faced a greater variety of foes than most Imperial citizens even know exist: that has the potential to be pretty special. I hope (in fact, trust) that something in character creation will reflect this rich background.

I certainly look forward to playing a multifaceted character, with ambitions and regrets, and hundreds of years of memories; playing someone who has forgotten more dramatic and breathtaking events than most people will ever experience.

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BrotherAtrox said:

Matt Farrer has a new Calpurnia book coming out this year, I think. It's up on the BL website.

That's not a new book; it's an omnibus collecting together all the Shira Calpurnia novels. And about time too - tracking copies of those things is like finding phoenix teeth.

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UncleArkie said:

 For some reason I have a feeling that DW characters will start at the same place as ascension pc's.

If so, let's hope they've actually been play-tested this time...

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