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egalor

Church of the Damned - anyone already?

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So, the quality of Black Sepulchre was... rather mixed.

How does CotD feel in this regard? Less or more room-after-room bashing? Choices / different paths to success? Investigation opportunities? Clues handling?

Also, a comparative example would serve good from the entire Warhammer Roleplay line (fantasy/40k). 

Thanks!

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i just picked it up today and while I have'nt had time to read through it, I have scanned it somewhat. It feels more loose and open ended in it's flow. There is a nice investigative slant to it as well. Only one map is included, but more maps aren't very needed. I would have liked to have seen more background on Gunmetal city. I think it has potential from what I've read so far though. I really need to read more to give you a proper review, however.

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Mithras said:

i just picked it up today and while I have'nt had time to read through it, I have scanned it somewhat. It feels more loose and open ended in it's flow. There is a nice investigative slant to it as well. Only one map is included, but more maps aren't very needed. I would have liked to have seen more background on Gunmetal city. I think it has potential from what I've read so far though. I really need to read more to give you a proper review, however.

Hi Mithras,

thanks for sharing information...as you will already have guessed, we will start milken you for such from this point on corazon.gif.

You already mentioned that their does not seem to be a Gazeteer for Gunmetal City (which is a shame!), but perhaps there is some Gazeteer about some other location? After all, the whole 40k-marketing-thing is heavy about "spreading information about the universe all over the products". So...some Gazeteer? No?

babeo.gif

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Yeah, I kinda thought someone might have questions. I'll try and avoid spoilers but I will allude to one in particular later in my post, so EXTREME caution, everyone (biggest spoiler in the sector to date) ! So...looking at the adventure, There are no gazeteers for any location, unfortunately. But, these locations are fleshed out rather well in the core rulebook as they take place in Hives Sibellus, Tarsus, and Gunmetal City allof which take place on Scintilla. Fotunately, there is a gazeteer on Scintilla somewhere, I beleive. I can't recall, now, however. And as far as background for these cities, Sibellus has lots scattered in other publivations and user created content. But Tarsus and Gunmetal....not so much. Anyway, I found a cool event in the adventure that occurs at the end that involves....REALLY heavy sector destroying mind blasting spoiler alert ahead....Saint Drusus himself!!! I wont give away the context of this though...but I thought it was pretty cool. i have'nt had much time to actually read it (only 10 pages in) as we've been doing Dark Heresy two nights in a row. Add real life to the mix and that equalls zero reading progress. But I will add to this thread in the future if I see something that deserves mentioning.

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Hi Mithras,

thanks for the information. The fact that they are =no= further tidbits about the named hives is good news for me...otherwise, I would have ended up buying the PDF copy. 

The spoiler you mentioned (which I am not going to repeat) tells me that if was right for me (based on my taste) not plan any purchase of any further part of the Apostasy Gambit... and I honestly fear which unscaling of events they will come up during Part III  preocupado.gif... well  "if I keep my eyes closed it is not true.."  angel.gif

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Gregorius21778 said:

Hi Mithras,

thanks for the information. The fact that they are =no= further tidbits about the named hives is good news for me...otherwise, I would have ended up buying the PDF copy. 

The spoiler you mentioned (which I am not going to repeat) tells me that if was right for me (based on my taste) not plan any purchase of any further part of the Apostasy Gambit... and I honestly fear which unscaling of events they will come up during Part III  preocupado.gif... well  "if I keep my eyes closed it is not true.."  angel.gif

Heh - when will they learn - setting detail is a draw for many of us GMs, even when the adventure itself is of no interest to us. I've not run the set adventure in any of the published modules, but have happily bought them and used Quaddis, the Haematite Cathedral, Sinophia Magna, and the House of Dust and Ash itself in my own games with different plots (and usually wayyyy less monsters/enemies).

Setting detail is usually the primary reason I buy new stuff.

Mithras - any chance you can email me a 2-3 line write up of the Drusus plotpoint/shock? - rockheimr@aol.com

My work on Hive Sibellas can be found on Dark Reign, as can Reason's excellent articles on Sibellas, there is some good fan work on Tharsus on Malleus DK.  

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Mithras said:

REALLY heavy sector destroying mind blasting spoiler alert ahead....[spoilerED] I wont give away the context of this though...but I thought it was pretty cool. i have'nt had much time to actually read it (only 10 pages in) as we've been doing Dark Heresy two nights in a row. Add real life to the mix and that equalls zero reading progress. But I will add to this thread in the future if I see something that deserves mentioning.

Oww, now this is really somewhat mind-blasting.

I just don't get it. Why? Are there no more challenges for a decent investigation in the whole Calixis Sector? Does always has to be the fate of the Sector (as one has already noted on these boards)? Ah, rhetoric questions.

So the third part will no doubt feature the Emperor, no less.

Anyway, thank you so much for sharing with us.

If you have time, please post more details. As I'm GMing it I don't mind against spoilers (however, please be sure to mark them for other players not to see them).

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Lightbringer said:

Adam France said:

 

Setting detail is usually the primary reason I buy new stuff.

 

 

Me too. That stuff is like fried crack for me!

Mmmmm... In batter... I love fridays!

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Crossposting from the DakkaDakka forums; H.B.M.C said this about the book:

 

(Obviously, SPOLIERS from here on)

 

 

 

"Now that this book is out I can actually talk a bit about it. I really like this book, and was lucky enough to be asked to write a (very) small part of it. The first chapter of the book, set within a cathedral, has a lot of great characters and a fair amount of investigation and even a little combat. There are some interesting ‘activities’ for the players to take part in, from identifying relics to performing an exorcism!! The book even has, I swear, the 40K version of Dr. Cox from Scrubs. The second chapter is something I really want to play with my group. It has such a Fallout-y feel to it being set within a shanty village inside an Underhive, and is complete with local bars, gangs, hidden agendas, ancient technology and dark conspiracies.

It’s not all roses though, as the third chapter is, in my mind, a little too linear. You’ll see it when your copies arrive (I assume you’ve all got copies ordered, yes? ). That’s not to say it’s bad – there are some interesting encounters including one mind-bending one that’s easily one of the most inventive I’ve read in ages. And, as you could probably gather from the awesome front cover of the book, you get to fight a Penitent Engine.

Anyway, yes, Church of the Damned should be a lot of fun, has a number of interesting encounters, and has a story that actually changes the status quo of the Calixis sector. I can’t wait to see how it ends in the next book."

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I don't like the concept of the major Calixis Sector figure being revealed to be a secret badguy/cultist in this module, without it being first 'earnt'.

The character in question has not be previously used and built up prior to this book, so it just seems a cheap 'whoa he's a badguy' plot trick, rather than it being better implemented over time, with him being used in other ways in other books first. Having a build up to a reveal, so it would be genuinely shocking for the players, rather than simply another important figure who's secretly evil.

 

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egalor said:

So, the quality of Black Sepulchre was... rather mixed.

How does CotD feel in this regard? Less or more room-after-room bashing? Choices / different paths to success? Investigation opportunities? Clues handling?

Also, a comparative example would serve good from the entire Warhammer Roleplay line (fantasy/40k). 

Thanks!

 

I GMed Black Sepulchre with my gaming group, and while we all had fun with it, the dungeon crawling left us a bit "meh". The players are enthused about the next installment though, so I went ahead and bought it. After having read through most of it, I'll venture to say Church of the Damned's quality is pretty much that of Black Sepulchre's.

 

There's less dungeon crawling. The two first chapters are done in "sandbox" investigation style. There's areas to explore, clues to uncover, before you move on to the next chapter. As in Black Sepulchre, some clues are absolutely vital to progress. I get the feeling that some might be easily overlooked, especially ones where there's just one way to find them.

The second chapter consists mostly of a subplot that has no connection whatsoever with the main plot. Your players may find the motivation to complete it, out of a need to be noble/stamp out heresy etc. but the outcome isn't vital in any way for the main plot. The only real reason why they'd want to follow it through, is that it's necessary to progress. This chapter also has a reputation mechanic which can, if the players fail hard enough, break the entire adventure. It'll effectively hinder any means the character's have to obtain a vital clue.

 

What's really irksome are the glaring errors. In numerous places, something is hinted at, and never expanded. The most glaring I've found yet is where three NPCs (three patients in a Hospital) are described as having information which will help the PCs, and only two of them are ever described. There's also another NPC in the same location who is hinted at having some dark secret, but there's nothing further on that. If this is simply a result of the editing process, as I can imagine there's a page limit on this adventure, why are several pieces of information throughout the adventure printed two times over?

 

The adventure, like Black Sepulchre is very epic in scope. The PCs have the chance to interact with some of the most powerful figures in the Calixis Sector Ecclesiarchy. The difficulty level is very varied - some ridiculously easy encounters, some hard - with very few pointers how to scale the encounters. One boss-fight in particular (yes, there's a penitent engine involved) might be nigh-impossible for acolytes who are not very martially minded.

 

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Hi Brother-Surge,

since you already have a copy of it, could you post the rules for the Excorzismn mentioned by H.B.M.C ? I will otherwise actually end up buying a PDF copy for five sentences preocupado.gif

Talking the "underhive settlement" mentioned by H.B.M.C. as well: would you say it is well established? Like (say) the Sinophian Gazeteer? Will one get a good picture of such settlements in general? In that case, the whole affair might be worth the USD-Pricetag for the PDF.

 

Thanks!

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It's very well realised (IMO). You even get a nice map of the town. There are lots of places to go, people to talk to, and while yes, the plot of the town isn't related to the overall plot, finishing at least part of it (the gang war) is required to progress to the next part of the main plot.

It's like any RPG where you've got Objective X, but before you can complete Objective X you have to go and do side missions Y and Z.

BYE
 

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egalor said:

I just don't get it. Why? Are there no more challenges for a decent investigation in the whole Calixis Sector? Does always has to be the fate of the Sector (as one has already noted on these boards)? Ah, rhetoric questions.

 

It's the same in the Jericho Reach and I suspect in the Koronus Expanse too. Why do RPG companies not understand that rescuing a sector for the umpteenth time makes it all become bland. If they published 15 scenarios (across product lines) and one of them was about saving a whole sector, now that would feel special, good and right. Huge plots are starting to turn me completely off - is an Acolytes life really only about such cases?

 

Alex

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ak-73 said:

egalor said:

 

I just don't get it. Why? Are there no more challenges for a decent investigation in the whole Calixis Sector? Does always has to be the fate of the Sector (as one has already noted on these boards)? Ah, rhetoric questions.

 

 

 

It's the same in the Jericho Reach and I suspect in the Koronus Expanse too. Why do RPG companies not understand that rescuing a sector for the umpteenth time makes it all become bland. If they published 15 scenarios (across product lines) and one of them was about saving a whole sector, now that would feel special, good and right. Huge plots are starting to turn me completely off - is an Acolytes life really only about such cases?

 

Alex

I agree, though I don't use the modules as written partly for that reason (on top of the general railroadyness and overpowering badguys most feature), it diminishes the setting if the continued existence of the entire Sector itself is literally under threat every adventure. Calixis Sector is enormous. HUGE. It would take some kind of plot to even scratch it's paint (so to speak).

I've always found it better to concentrate on stories that focuses on more localised stuff of importance or interest to players or pcs. For example, I recently ran an adventure on the Shrine world of Veneris, where the villain was a corrupt Imperial official who was plotting to one day (maybe) become governor of that world. He had schemed and plotted his way up to becoming essentially a trade baron and made quite a deadly enough foe for any group of pcs. You don't need to go to the absolute top of the pyramid to pick your villains - in fact for many reasons it's generally best not to. 

 

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What turned me away from Shadowrun was that I didn't like the development of the timeline and that scenarios were increasingly large scale scenarios. Boring.

What I want is average to a bit above average Shadowruns. Same with DH: I want your typical investigation or perhaps some of the more interesting ones. That ties in, btw, with one of the other aspects of RPGing (see my latest posts in DW forum): simulation. You can't sell me that your average acolyte cell is constantly saving entire sectors. But as a gamer I want to "explore" what the life of a typical acolyte (okay, heroic PC type but still) is like.

This sector saving business is messing with that in a major manner. I guess publishers think (maybe rightly so, maybe not) that anything less than epic missions don't sell.

 

Alex

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I don't see why it takes them so long to produce adventure modules. They're only 70 odd pages long. They don't need to be hardback. They could hammer out soft cover modules imho at a MUCH quicker rate - one every couple of months for each gameline would be easy to achieve. If we're not going to ever see a Sector sourcebook, then at least more adventure modules would give us more setting detail. 

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Gregorius21778 said:

 

Hi Brother-Surge,

since you already have a copy of it, could you post the rules for the Excorzismn mentioned by H.B.M.C ? I will otherwise actually end up buying a PDF copy for five sentences preocupado.gif

Talking the "underhive settlement" mentioned by H.B.M.C. as well: would you say it is well established? Like (say) the Sinophian Gazeteer? Will one get a good picture of such settlements in general? In that case, the whole affair might be worth the USD-Pricetag for the PDF.

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

'lo

The exorcism doesn't strike me as a this-is-how-we-always-do-it mechanic, more of a flashy way of letting players roll their various skills. Which is nice. Essentially, there's an NPC which leads the exorcism, Max Von Sydow-style. One PC is assigned to hold the possessed patient down, and the rest roll various  skills (like Performer (Singer) and stuff) to force the daemon out. If the acolytes succeed with a set amount of rolls, the exorcism succeeds, and doesn't kill the host. If they fail a set amount of rolls, the exorcism succeeds, but kills the host instead.

 

@Gregorius21778 / H.B.M.C regarding the underhive settlement

The underhive settlement is pretty well realized. There's no Gunmetal gazeteer, sadly (I like 'em too), but you can still piece some stuff together from the chapter that details it. Frankly, out of all the stuff in Church of the Damned, I think I like Blinding Gulch the most. It has a nice pace, lots of optional stuff the PCs can look up, and several different outcomes (which admittedly, matter very little to the main plot). It would have made a very decent stand-alone adventure.

My main gripe with chapter 2 is that the map doesn't correspond in any way with the area notes. There's a few areas marked and numbered on the map, but the area notes very often describe something else entirely. A few areas that are marked on the map aren't described in any way. I understand that GMs might want to put out red herrings, or have some extra areas to fill on their own, but then again, if we have to do all the work, why did we pay for the adventure?

I don't buy the argument that every big adventure/storyline requires a number of sidequests. Because the plot in Black Sepulchre and Church of the Damned is so epic in scope, all available pages should, in my opinion, be devoted to further that plot. 20 out of roughly 70 pages, that do nothing to further the plot, besides providing the acolytes with some piece of evidence which could, in all fairness, have been placed elsewhere isn't good adventure design. Especially when other things seem to have been cut/ommitted to keep to the page limit.

Making the Blinding Gulch area into an adventure of it's own would have done it more justice. Here, it just seems like a speedbump, even if it's a very nice speedbump.

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H.B.M.C. said:

 

It's not "hammy".

I'm amazed how quick people are condemn these published adventures.

BYE

 

 

I think that's because the last one was wall-bangingly terrible and, judging from what some folks have said, this one might be continuing some of the bad habits established in Black Sepulchre.  I don't know if this one has the plot holes, video-game logic, and off cannon fan-fic feel, but when a series starts that way, people tend to take a pessimistic view in regards to the rest of the series.

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But it's not just this time. I can't remember anyone saying anything good about Frozen Reaches, The Emperor Protects - even the Haarlock trilogy. People mock Shattered Hope, bitched about Broken Chains, and laugh at Maggots in the Meat. It seems that all these published adventures just get dirided for all sorts of reasons.

Look, I get that I am biased towards Church of the Damned, and I'm not saying that they're all perfect (I even said that I find the final chapter of CotD to be far too linear) but my annoyance with all this is not people disliking this book specifically but how every adventure book that FFG publishes gets all sorts of crap heaped on it.

And personally I thought that firing a Quake Cannon at a Daemon Prince was pretty cool. gran_risa.gif

BYE

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I dislike the negative remarks about the official adventures as well. Not that they are perfect , mind you. But the themes they imbue are amazing!...I firmly believe that you get what you put into DH. I have played almost every scenario created. But I have not played them "as is". I have taylored them around my players and have taken what I've concidered not needed and kept the cool stuff.  It's a nice comprimise from creating my own adventures and the published ones, and so far, my players are pretty happy...other than thinking I'm a cheap G.M.! (which I disagree with, of coursegui%C3%B1o.gif.) There ARE plot holes, cannon misfires, and typo's galore. But to be honest, the end result does NOT reflect that in my games. I'm hoping that FFG will improve as an expanding- 3rd best- (I think) selling game company. And they have, to some degree. And they'll hopefully get even better. And if their sales improve, their ability to imrove the quality of their products might improve as well. I have faith. But it's unfortunately, I think, a slow process. But I can sympathize with peoples impatience, and do not argue with it. I'm just stating "my" view, in that it seems to take a little more work for GM's in games like this, but I don't see it as a bad thing. Except for G.M's that want as little work as possible...which is a fair complaint.

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You raise a good point Mithras when you say that you haven't played them 'as is'. Modifying these adventures even slightly can have great results. Shattered Hope is a great example of that.

I've seen enough threads here from new players and GM's who are asking which scenario they should be playing and without doubt someone (and usually multiple people) will say "Stay away from of Shattered hope. It's just a boring dungeon crawl". Yeah, ok, maybe it is if you play it that way, but I've always said that you get out of an RPG when you put into an RPG. So, if you approach Shattered Hope as though it's nothing more advanced than a stock-standard dungeon crawl then guess what, it's going to play as a stock-standard dungeon crawl!

When we ran through Shattered Hope I amended the ending to fit with the overall campaign I was putting together (more AdMech/Genestealer Cult conspiracy rather than Chaos Obelisk of Mutation - although the Antithesis stone was still present), and added a couple of extra things for the players to do in the Guard encampment. It worked wonderfully well, the players got to move around and learn the mechanics of the game (which is precisely the point of Shattered Hope), have a few fun fights, interact with a few NPCs, and have a climatic showdown that leaves them wondering what’s next.

It was certainly not a boring old ‘dungeon crawl’.

BYE

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