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Niqvah

Threatening a Vindicare

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ItsUncertainWho said:

Morangias said:

 

Vindicare is broken, news at 11.

 

 

The Vindicare isn't broken, it's a Temple Assassin. There is a difference and that fact needs to be taken into account. 

It's the GM's responsibility to understand what things are and how they will impact their game. If a GM allows a player to take something, a class, weapon, etcetera, that is "broken" in relation to their game, because said GM doesn't know how to deal with it, then it is their fault to begin with. 

 

ItsUncertainWho said:

Morangias said:

 

Vindicare is broken, news at 11.

 

 

The Vindicare isn't broken, it's a Temple Assassin. There is a difference and that fact needs to be taken into account. 

It's the GM's responsibility to understand what things are and how they will impact their game. If a GM allows a player to take something, a class, weapon, etcetera, that is "broken" in relation to their game, because said GM doesn't know how to deal with it, then it is their fault to begin with. 

 

lol no.

Temple Assassins may be uber in the lore and in the TT, but if they are to be made playable in a roleplaying game, they have to be balanced with the rest of same-tier options. If they aren't, I'm calling shenanigans, and no amount of BS talk about GM's role is going to change it. While the GM is indeed responsible (along with his players) for the campaign, the books are accountable for either helping create an enjoyable experience for everyone or leaving the GM with a mess to clean up himself, and Vindicare career falls squarely into the latter category.

You know how Deathwatch warns you that despite similar experience levels, Space Marines may be too powerful to field alongside Rogue Traders and Throne Agents? Well, a Vindicare is so buff, he makes DW's elite Astartes cry, and Ascension tries to sell him as a balanced addition to a team of Inquisitors, Desperados, Interrogators and Storm Troopers. He's not, not even by a long shot, and whomever wrote him into this book should feel ashamed for himself.

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I agree that it is the writer's responsibility to balance classes against each other, at least modestly. Combat classes should roughly equal other combat classes, but look at the gulf between the Vindicare and everything else and you see this is not true.

If the player likes the fluff or the feel of the Vindicare, they won't mind if you tone down Temple Assassin a bit. If they like the power of the class, they aren't playing the game for the right reason, and you should explain that one character being overwhelming more powerful makes the game less fun for the others, and as such you have to bring the class in line.

Simple fix. We shouldn't have to fix it, but we do, so that's life.

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I'm currently in a play-by-post game of Ascension where our Vindicare has been off on a little solo jaunt to infiltrate and cripple a Slaugth mothership.

Whatever happened on his little escapade (He appears to have been successful but has gone MIA) we know the player had to burn a fate point. Considering that we've already seen combat where Slaugth warrior-constructs got off twenty shots at my character in a single turn, I get the feeling our GM might just be sadistic enough to have finally managed to overwhelm even a Vindicare. I'll have to get back to you guys when I find out what finally did it.

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<GM> "Alright people, this is Ascencion. You are the major power players now. From now on the game will be about you forging alliances, assembling resources and guiding the war against Heresy by moving your pawns about the sector. I am afraid you will no longer be running about in dungeons, that work is for footsloggers, not major politicians like Inquisitors."

<Assassin player> "But... My kick-ass stat block...?"

<GM> "Well, I guess you will be guiding your assassin trainees to missions and trouble spots now. It is Assassin: Brotherhood from now on."

<Assassin player> "But it is unrealistic to keep a major asset like my skills hidden in the background. And my char is totally rad and independet and kick-ass, and will go on missions himself."

<GM> "I know he will, Emperor bless his dear little soul, and we will play those out as endeavours. You designate a objective and resources allotted, I tell you to roll one or two things, and that is it - Unless it is a major operation against statblocks equal to your own, you know, actually interesting stuff."

<Assassin player> "So I only get boss fights from now on?"

<GM> "Yup. Capes are optional."

*     *      *

I would say it is time to change your style of game entirely. Or just admit that the game is over and try something new.

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Mister Zipangu said:

I would say it is time to change your style of game entirely. Or just admit that the game is over and try something new.

What you suggest is possible, however I feel that changing the entire game style just to stop one character class from being overpowered is an unreasonable requirement.

I have been playing an Ascension game for a few months now, and we have an Interrogator, a Desperado and a Magos. We are still an acolyte cell (more or less the same one we started with at Rank 1 in Dark Heresy) and are still expected to be out in the field.

For me, Dark Heresy (and Ascension) would stop being fun if you were purely puppet masters with no practical application of your skills. For me, that is just an (optional) element that would never be the sum total of the gaming experience.

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As much as it tries, Ascension doesn't really work well with the macro-scale play style. The rules for that are shoddy, at best, and about half existing Careers are going to feel left out on such a game. 

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Niqvah said:

Mister Zipangu said:

I would say it is time to change your style of game entirely. Or just admit that the game is over and try something new.

 

What you suggest is possible, however I feel that changing the entire game style just to stop one character class from being overpowered is an unreasonable requirement.

Mister Zipangu is one of the few people who seem to get what Ascension really is. Your no longer supposed to be the ones wading through the little stuff. Ascension is meant as a different style of game, not just the next 8 levels of Dark Heresy. A Desperado is a gang lord who might have hundreds, if not thousands of followers at his command, the Magos is going to be in the top ten, if he's not the top, most powerful Tech Priests almost anywhere he goes. The power and political influence is what should be driving Ascension games, not who can preform best in combat. 

The other thing to remember about the Vindicare, being a Temple Assassin, they are not free individuals. A Vindicare, unlike every other ascended class, is completely beholden to higher powers. They are tools, slaves to be used as they are directed, usually by the parties Inquisitor. Everyone in an ascended party may "work" for the Inquisitor, a Vindicare is and should be on a leash held by said Inquisitor. That is a major trade off for having the level of power a Vindicare does.

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ItsUncertainWho said:

Mister Zipangu is one of the few people who seem to get what Ascension really is. Your no longer supposed to be the ones wading through the little stuff. Ascension is meant as a different style of game, not just the next 8 levels of Dark Heresy. A Desperado is a gang lord who might have hundreds, if not thousands of followers at his command, the Magos is going to be in the top ten, if he's not the top, most powerful Tech Priests almost anywhere he goes. The power and political influence is what should be driving Ascension games, not who can preform best in combat. 

While obviously there are plenty of inquisitors that work in this way (either by choice or through injury), it certainly isn't the way for all inquisitors. You only have to look at the Ravenor and Eisenhorn books to see the kind of action top level inquistors still get into. Just look at tabletop, there are plenty of things that only an inquisitor will be able to deal with.

ItsUncertainWho said:

The other thing to remember about the Vindicare, being a Temple Assassin, they are not free individuals. A Vindicare, unlike every other ascended class, is completely beholden to higher powers. They are tools, slaves to be used as they are directed, usually by the parties Inquisitor. Everyone in an ascended party may "work" for the Inquisitor, a Vindicare is and should be on a leash held by said Inquisitor. That is a major trade off for having the level of power a Vindicare does.

This is definitely true, Vindicare's should really be loaned out rather than in every game. It would make for a more interesting game to have to player create two characters, one to have around when the Vindicare is on other missions. The problem still remains though, as said by everyone above, that the vindicare is so much better than everyone else that when he is along (occasionally though that would be), you'd have to be careful he doesn't just 'win the game', stopping anyone else from having fun.

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ItsUncertainWho said:

Niqvah said:

 

Mister Zipangu said:

I would say it is time to change your style of game entirely. Or just admit that the game is over and try something new.

 

What you suggest is possible, however I feel that changing the entire game style just to stop one character class from being overpowered is an unreasonable requirement.

 

 

Mister Zipangu is one of the few people who seem to get what Ascension really is. Your no longer supposed to be the ones wading through the little stuff. Ascension is meant as a different style of game, not just the next 8 levels of Dark Heresy. A Desperado is a gang lord who might have hundreds, if not thousands of followers at his command, the Magos is going to be in the top ten, if he's not the top, most powerful Tech Priests almost anywhere he goes. The power and political influence is what should be driving Ascension games, not who can preform best in combat. 

The other thing to remember about the Vindicare, being a Temple Assassin, they are not free individuals. A Vindicare, unlike every other ascended class, is completely beholden to higher powers. They are tools, slaves to be used as they are directed, usually by the parties Inquisitor. Everyone in an ascended party may "work" for the Inquisitor, a Vindicare is and should be on a leash held by said Inquisitor. That is a major trade off for having the level of power a Vindicare does.

Magos, Sage, Judge, Hierophant, Inquisitor, Battle Sister, Desperado even - sure, these guys are powers unto the world and can send entire worlds towards doom or salvation without leaving their offices.

But what about the Crusader? This guy's sole task is protecting his Inquisitor in combat situations.

What about the Interrogator? This guy is either sticking with the Inquisitor as a glorified secretary, or doing things out in the field when the Inquisitor can't be bothered to go out himself. So in a highly social setting, he's either superficial or nonexistent.

What about the Primaris Psyker? His main advantages are meaningless on a macro-scale, he needs to be personally present to contribute.

What about the Storm Trooper? He's nothing but a glorified grunt, and outside combat he can at best drill others like him.

What about the Death Cult Assassin? He's all about spilling blood in Empra's name, at best he can train others like him when not on a battlefield.

Then, there's Vindicare, who shouldn't even be there unless there's a specific target to neutralize - last time I checked, Officio wasn't lending out those guys as elite bodyguards or, Empra forbid, security consultants or other such nonsense.

That's 7 Careers having lots to do in a social setting vs 6 careers whose potential can only be realized out in the field. And out of the former seven, each one also has means and reasons to get their hands dirty.

And, again, rules for macro-scale conflict resolution are crap at best, nonexistent at worst. There's no system for tracking progress of "off-screen" endeavors, there's no system for foes countering your movements with theirs, or random occurrences jeopardizing your plans, there aren't even rules for keeping track of your macro-scale resources. At this point, I'd rather play/run Rogue Trader, which surprisingly has all the rules for this kind of stuff and leaves enough place for jumping into action personally.

Seriously, "cowboy Inquisitor" is the only way to play Ascension and still derive enjoyment from the game. Playing it on "strategic level" is one big make-believe where nearly nothing on your character sheet makes any difference. Just make a series of Influence rolls and describe to the GM how you move your abstract, uncountable and unstatted pawns, he tells you what happens, another big investigation concluded.

Oh, and regarding the Vindicare - being a slave kept on a tight leash is a poor balancing factor, because game-wise, it creates binary outcomes - either the Inquisitor tells you to stand down, and then you do nothing, or he tells you to engage, and you still overpower everything and anything with your broken special rules. Not to mention that if the GM lets me play an elite assassin, I expect the possibility to assassinate someone from time to time.

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Morangias said:

Seriously, "cowboy Inquisitor" is the only way to play Ascension and still derive enjoyment from the game. Playing it on "strategic level" is one big make-believe where nearly nothing on your character sheet makes any difference. Just make a series of Influence rolls and describe to the GM how you move your abstract, uncountable and unstatted pawns, he tells you what happens, another big investigation concluded..

You're reducing this to extremes, it seems.

Consider the second Eisenhorn novel - Eisenhorn himself has scores of "off-screen" contacts and agents, an entire organisation at his command... and he uses those resources to do all the legwork that he can't do (because he hasn't got the time or attention to spend investigating everything), so that he can move against the major threats personally.

Those things that're behind-the-scenes in Eisenhorn what you're doing when you play Dark Heresy with a group of Acolytes. When you hit Ascension, you should be dealing with bigger problems, and employing your resources to give you the information and opportunities you need to act against those bigger threats, while simultaneously juggling the responsibilities of command and the political burdens of your status.

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Interrogator = The right hand of an Imperial Inquisitor and Inquisitor in training. They wouldn't be an interrogator if they didn't have the full trust of their Inquisitor. It should be assumed they speak with the full force of their Inquisitor master.

Primaris Psyker = One of the single most powerful individuals anywhere. Their usefulness off the battlefield is dependent on their background. Telepathy focused Primaris Psykers can and should be terrifying to anyone with secerets. The Telepath Primaris should be the single most feared psyker anywhere, especially in social situations.

Storm Trooper = The pinnacle of martial prowess, feared and respected by all military personnel. Should do well in any interactions with military personnel.

Death Cult Assassin = Are they all body gloved sociopaths or are there some that break the stereotype and are capable in more than just blood letting? How many noble born assassins are there out there that should be able to run rings around social settings, and then slaughter the majority of the party goers at the appropriate moment.

I'll give you the Crusader, Death Cult Assassin, and to an extent the Storm Trooper are less adept outside the battlefield but they still have possibilities. The Vindicare is a different beast and it is the GM's responsibility to understand that and make use of what the Vindicare represents when their presence is known. The presence of a Temple Assassin should cause all sorts of havoc.

 

I never said that macro play was the only way, or how to play. Basic things are taken care of by minions(Acolytes), planet hopping, sector wide conflicts and the culmination of investigations are what Ascension is about and that means actually role playing, not just dungeon crawling. 

 

Seriously, "cowboy Inquisitor" is the only way to play Ascension and still derive enjoyment from the game.

This is purely your opinion. Not everyone has to have fight after fight to derive enjoyment from a game. Some do, some do not. The players that enjoy not being pulled along by a string from fight to fight are the ones who drive my games and seem to get the most enjoyment out of them.

 

Playing it on "strategic level" is one big make-believe where nearly nothing on your character sheet makes any difference. Just make a series of Influence rolls and describe to the GM how you move your abstract, uncountable and unstatted pawns, he tells you what happens, another big investigation concluded.

Influence gets you things it doesn't accomplish them. Setting up a major operation should require the input of all party members and the use of their skills and areas of expertise. There is a reason Inquisitors surround themselves with the people they do. The plans they make and the skill checks that they pass of fail should help the GM setup the difficulty and chances of success or failure for the run up and boss fight. This type of “strategic” play shouldn't need rules, just a creative GM and willing players.

 

Personally, I think a Temple Assassin as a playable class wasn't the best idea, but I think they got the Vindicare correct to the fluff, and it can be used if the GM and player understand what they are doing and how it will impact the game.  

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I think we're missing each other. Let me explain what I mean by macro-scale and "cowboy inquisitor" respectively.

Macro-scale: the Inquisitor and his Agents move between their base of operation and offices of various Imperial institutions, but not much else. They have Acolyte cells to identify problems, and armed forces to neutralize them. Whether they make their presence known or remain well-hidden, it's all about managing assets on a planetary, or bigger, scale. If they see any action personally, it's because something went very, very wrong. It's basically a strategy game with elements of social interaction, and the odd fight now and then to build up the tension.

"Cowboy Inquisitor": the Inquisitor and his Agents are out in the field, tracking down clues, mind-probing witnesses, infiltrating cult-nests or exploring cyclopean alien ruins. They employ Acolyte cells, but that's because someone has to check out on the Skull Eaters gang while the Inquisitor hunts down a Slaugh infiltrator amidst Scintilian nobility. They have armed forces, and make use of them, but they stay within earshot of them to react if problems arise, or they use them as decoy while they deal with the real threat personally. They don't necessarily lead from the vanguard, but they don't lead from a warship's control room either, and they find trouble regularly. It's basically how Rogue Trader plays, or alternatively, it's like Dark Heresy except with heavy support and better intel.

Now, the first mode of play is not supported by rules, and if you want to play an Inquisitor as a silent presence in the Sector's courtrooms, you're entirely dependent on GM's fiat. Also, you might as well dispense with your team because there's no inherent advantage to keeping them.

The latter mode, on the other hand, is much more supported by the rules, and allows any Throne Agent a chance to test all his aptitudes in protection of the Imperium.

The downside is, sooner or later a combat situation is bound to arise, and then the friggin' Vindicare owns everything, making guys like Death Cult Assassins, Crusaders, Storm Troopers and Desperado Gunslingers entirely superficial. Heck, you may even roll with a group of Grey Knights and the Vindicare still comes out on top, he's so hax.

Again, I don't care how good the Vindicare rules reflect the TT and the lore. I do care that I was promised an option to play him (explicitly, by putting him in the book), but I can't, because he's a God Mode Sue that takes away all the fun of combat for the entire team.

 

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 I feel nothing is wrong with the Vindicare power leve, just that they should be NPCs only. They are supposed to be the last word in eliminating enemies of the Imperium from afar. However, they are so valuable that any other use would be a gross misallocation of resources. You might as well have a player want to play a Land Raider. Powerful? Yes, certainly. However, having our Vindicare or Land Raider just mosey around with everyone else all the time is truly insane. 

Mostly, I wish Ascension had rules for large power networks. I want my contacts to have contracts of their own! I want to be able to have various specialist assets to throw at different problems instead of having Inquisitor Dan and pals show up and take care of it themselves. However, that type of game seems to be best made with some sort of combination with the Rogue Trader rules, Inquisitor's Handbook contact rules, and perhaps some Deathwatch rules for those fun support assets. Using Ascension actually works against that goal. Some Influence Talents, like the one where you have correspondence with a variety of powerful individuals, could and should be replaced with rules for contacts. That would be easier to expand upon.

I do not want to play Eisenhorn. The man can't even smile anymore because he decided to infiltrate a place instead instead of using an infiltration specialist. Ascension's ruleset seems to encourage such actions, and a Rogue Trader often has to be in the spotlight so he leads from the front as well. But if you want to play an Inquisitor Marr or Nyxos, you had better look in a different book.

To be honest, I started trying to generate a few better Ascension careers before losing patience with it after I realized that no one I knew would seriously play it. It involved retooling some careers and replacing some entirely. No more Vindicare, replace Stormtrooper with an officer career, make Interrogator more of an alt-rank type deal, etc. I feel the best way to deal with a Vindicare is to not have one. A Vindicare is a living weapon, not some Inquisitor's toady. 

 

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numb3rc said:

You might as well have a player want to play a Land Raider.

That made me chuckle. I also agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment. I've come to believe the Vindicare is, at best, something to be deployed for one mission only, and even then with a great deal of care to ensure they don't instawin.

I see where you're coming from with wanting a more comprehensive network of operatives. While there is some of that in Ascension, as you say, it is a long way from really encouraging that sort of play.

I think I'd like a midground myself. My Interrogator is a heroic type (and a bit radical in that he tends to prefer minimising casualties, and frequently annoys the Desperado by "taking on charity cases") and would like to be out there in the field, but at the same time I've been gathering 'acolytes' since about midway through Dark Heresy and tend to think a lot about what they're up to, where and how they can best be deployed (and share this with the GM, who is very obliging about coming up with little pieces of plot around their activities).

I'd be interested to see alternative/expanded rules in the direction you're discussing.

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Personally, I don't mind that Ascension is about being the cowboy Inquisitor. My group wouldn't have it otherwise anyway.

My gripe with Ascension is twofold: first, it sends mixed signals, and can't actually decide whether it wants to be about hotshot inquisitors in the thick of the action or the calculating masterminds waging shadow wars. Seconds, it manages to screw up both venues of play by introducing totally imbalanced careers and equipment on one hand and making macro-scale rules prohibitively shallow and boring on the other. 

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Ascension has showed us how must not to be a good supplement: taking the characters from a TT and put them together without thinking if they will work away from battle zone.

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Sebashaw said:

Ascension has showed us how must not to be a good supplement: taking the characters from a TT and put them together without thinking if they will work away from battle zone.

Yeah, it's an object lesson in how not to port a wargame world into a roleplaying game environment. Staying true to the source material only takes you so far when the source material was never concerned with anything but combat by tactical squads.

I still can't fathom the amount of fail this book contains. 

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It may just be our gaming group and GM, but I'm really enjoying Ascension. It could have been more solid (and the Vindicare isn't really suited to being a regular character), but it's still fun. Maybe it helps that we don't have any of the more contentious character classes in our game...

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My main problem with ascension is that you simply can not keep every kind of char that you played though DH from rank 1 up.
The game is just not meant to be played with a char without lots of peers and good reps and stuff.

 

 

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Umbranus said:

The game is just not meant to be played with a char without lots of peers and good reps and stuff.

I'm sure a big part of it comes down to how your GM chooses to run your game but that's not been the case for me at all.

I'm currently part of a cadre consisting of: An untouchable Death-Cult Assassin; a near-mute Vindicare; a by-the-book faith-and-fury Stormtrooper; a Sage who is pretty much living in our Librarium and the Inquisitor - who is likely the only one of us with social talents or skills beyond Command. My general experience of Ascension has been that, unless you have a Desperado, you can only really count on your Inquisitor equipping themselves for the social side of things - sometimes, even then, under duress.

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So on what do those chars spend their XP? There are ranks in which there is nothing but peers, good reps and other social stuff.

My DH Character was a ugly as hell duskworld guardsman, and when time came for ascension, I looked at my options and wondered if it is at all possible to go on without buying the social stuff.

And as, in addition to that, I looked at the vindicare's options (we have one in the team) , did some math, came to the conclusion that there is nothing my char can ever be better in than the vindicare, if he decides to buy those melee talents and trashed my character.

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Vindicares are indeed bad-ass, but I think the main issue is in the way Dodge works.

I mean, nothing screams "opposed" check to me like dodging an attack, while as it is now, no matter how good your opponent is, your Dodge chances are always the same.

So, I'd make Dodge an Opposed Check. Not saying this wil completely solve the issue, but I think it would keep Vindicares bad-ass without completely being broken.

Just my two cents.

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Umbranus said:

The game is just not meant to be played with a char without lots of peers and good reps and stuff.

My Interrogator came from the Imperial Psyker class, and didn't start with very good Fellowship, so either I make a major outlay to improve it, or I accept I'm not the face of the party and work differently. We have a Desperado to whom I leave that sort of thing. My role is one of leadership and coordination.

I agree that it comes down more to GM and also player mix than necessarily the game itself. I plan to largely ignore the swathes of Peers and Good Reputation (which I don't currently qualify for) and focus on buying up stats and skills/talents from my Dark Heresy tree.

As to your comment about the Stormtrooper comparing unfavourably with the Vindicare: yes, it does. Definitely. I would suggest that comes down to a problem with Vindicare Assassin's being PCs rather than an inherent problem with Ascension as a whole.

Delazar78 said:

So, I'd make Dodge an Opposed Check. Not saying this wil completely solve the issue, but I think it would keep Vindicares bad-ass without completely being broken.

That would be a very helpful balancing factor!

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Stat advances, probably; I've been wondering that myself. I might just have to teach my melee-only Assassin to use guns.

Taking what you (Umbranus) said before:

It's not that the game isn't meant to be played by characters "Without loads of peers and good reps and stuff", it's that the design of the game is such that you really don't have a choice once you reach a certain point. It's not difficult for the Death-Cult Assassin to hit rank 10 and find that they only have three non-social skills available and that two of those are essentially obsolete. Ironically, the Vindicare Assassin is the only character whose advances aren't loaded down with influence talents, peers and good reps.

The problem with Ascension is that it's not really a natural progression of Dark Heresy. With the jump from the hands-on approach to the "Shadow War" and positions of responsibility, the game completely forgets that some characters, and backgrounds, quite simply aren't designed to handle social situations and doesn't really provide a whole lot for them to look forward to. Only the Vindicare is definitively designed to keep a combat focus in Ascension and it bloody-well shows.

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