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Why all the ascension hate?

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I'm new to the system and just got the book and i don't see whats wrong with it yet. Can someone elaborate? Sorry if its very obvious I'm still new to DH.

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People are never happy?

I mean, they complained because DH characters were too weak, so then they went and made Ascension and now everyone hates that. Personally I don't get it. I really like Ascension. It's not flawless (Ascended Psychic Power thresholds are way too low, the Vindicare is invincible, etc.) but it's certainly not bad by any stretch of the imagination.

Better yet it's not an essential book - it's an expansion for Dark Heresy that takes it beyond the standard boundaries of the regular game (much like the Grey Knight career in Daemon Hunter). I don't see anything wrong with expanding the game. If you don't want that part of the game, you don't play that part of the game. Simple.

BYE

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There a quite a few reasons.  It shoehorns existing characters into the new classes, but many of the original translate poorly into ascension.  There are numerous loopholes and abuses, specifically with the Vindicare and Primaris.  Vast portions of the skills charts are rehashed skills or influences, considering a lot of classes have to pay a ton for fellowship it feels forced.  My game died at 8th level because too many of the characters didn't have epic level equivalents that would have continued the character in the same vein.

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My view is that Ascension is a radical shift in tone and game play that most people don't quite grasp. Ascension takes DH into the realm of Rogue Trader. Free form galactic conflict and political maneuvering is at Ascensions core. It has it's flaws, but those can be dealt with.

First and foremost is the Vindicare. Is he broken? No. Is he a Temple Assassin? Yes. The Vindicare needs to have the same approach taken as the Dreadnought in Deathwatch.  GM supervision and player/GM understanding of what a Temple Assassin is and what that means.

The Primaris can be overpowered. With a simple adjustment, as was done in the other game lines, his powers come back into line. Base all the powers on PR instead of WP and he is far more tempered. Still hugely powerfull, just not earth shatteringly so. 

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ItsUncertainWho said:

My view is that Ascension is a radical shift in tone and game play that most people don't quite grasp. Ascension takes DH into the realm of Rogue Trader. Free form galactic conflict and political maneuvering is at Ascensions core.

Except there is nothing in the book that allows you to actually do any of this beyond "well, you're supposed to run Sector-wide intrigues now... somehow".

ItsUncertainWho said:

First and foremost is the Vindicare. Is he broken? No. Is he a Temple Assassin? Yes. The Vindicare needs to have the same approach taken as the Dreadnought in Deathwatch.  GM supervision and player/GM understanding of what a Temple Assassin is and what that means.

A Dreadnought in DW can easily be challenged in various ways, including the very same enemies that challenge the rest of the Kill Team. A Vindicare is just an "I Win" button.

ItsUncertainWho said:

The Primaris can be overpowered. With a simple adjustment, as was done in the other game lines, his powers come back into line. Base all the powers on PR instead of WP and he is far more tempered. Still hugely powerfull, just not earth shatteringly so. 

Your ability to houserule a game to your satisfaction has no effect on the quality of the game.

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Personally our latest group got too fractioned as it reached ascension. I don't care too much about stats or whether the vindicare is broken or not. Most in our group can handle being overpowered or such without abusing it. What became our problem was the politics in the group. We got divided into two factions and more or less tore ourselves apart. Which was really sad because before ascension we worked quite well together.

 I’m sure ascension works fine for some groups, characters and players but it is a delicate situation and the risk of it not working is quite big. Get the wrong player overpowered and the group might falter, get the wrong political views and it might falter etc. Risky business but it is playable.

 The change for us was that when we were acolytes we had someone to answer to and who made sure we got along, when we became the powerful ones we fractioned.

 I’m thinking that when you make a group at the beginning of a game you might want to have how the group is going to work in ascension in mind if that is what you’re aiming for. If you want to avoid some of the problems that is.

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Morangias said:

 

Except there is nothing in the book that allows you to actually do any of this beyond "well, you're supposed to run Sector-wide intrigues now... somehow".

 

 

There is nothing that bars you from it either. The appropriate application of peer talents and other skills and a shift from a footslogging mindset to a research and command mindset helps.

 

Morangias said:

 

 

A Dreadnought in DW can easily be challenged in various ways, including the very same enemies that challenge the rest of the Kill Team. A Vindicare is just an "I Win" button.

 

 

I disagree. If the GM can't handle a Vindicare then he/she shouldn't allow them. If a GM allows a Vindicare, then it is up to that GM to understand how to deal with them. The same as with the Dreadnought in DW. 

The player of a Vindicare needs to understand his role and status within the party. He is servant and tool to be used at the discretion of his master, the Inquisitor. If he deviates from his duty or fails in following commands he will be hunted down and killed by one of his own.

Morangias said:

 

Your ability to houserule a game to your satisfaction has no effect on the quality of the game.

 

I never said I used it, I was only re-posting a very good suggestion. This simple house rule would bring all the Primaris powers in line with all the other systems. I don't have a problem with the Primaris as is. Yes, he is powerful, but that doesn't mean I can't deal with one as a GM. 

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ItsUncertainWho said:

Morangias said:

 

Except there is nothing in the book that allows you to actually do any of this beyond "well, you're supposed to run Sector-wide intrigues now... somehow".

 

 

There is nothing that bars you from it either. The appropriate application of peer talents and other skills and a shift from a footslogging mindset to a research and command mindset helps.

There is nothing that bars me from running Dark Heresy as a musical. Doesn't mean it's supported in the rules.

Anyone's ability or inability to play Ascension as a game of high conspiracy has no impact on the fact that the rules don't handle anything but personal scale play.

ItsUncertainWho said:

Morangias said:

 

 

A Dreadnought in DW can easily be challenged in various ways, including the very same enemies that challenge the rest of the Kill Team. A Vindicare is just an "I Win" button.

 

 

I disagree. If the GM can't handle a Vindicare then he/she shouldn't allow them. If a GM allows a Vindicare, then it is up to that GM to understand how to deal with them. The same as with the Dreadnought in DW. 

The player of a Vindicare needs to understand his role and status within the party. He is servant and tool to be used at the discretion of his master, the Inquisitor. If he deviates from his duty or fails in following commands he will be hunted down and killed by one of his own.

Unless said master orders the Vindicare to just step down from any combat, no, you can't handle a Vindicare. Because the moment he rolls for Initiative, he wins.

Social limitations on a combat character are not a balancing factor.

ItsUncertainWho said:

Morangias said:

 

Your ability to houserule a game to your satisfaction has no effect on the quality of the game.

 

I never said I used it, I was only re-posting a very good suggestion. This simple house rule would bring all the Primaris powers in line with all the other systems. I don't have a problem with the Primaris as is. Yes, he is powerful, but that doesn't mean I can't deal with one as a GM. 

Perhaps you have very nice players who agree with you on not breaking the game in half with their Primaris or Vindicare characters. Good for you.

It still has no effect on the quality of the rules, because if the rules were actually good, you wouldn't have to deal with anyone, you could just run the game for everyone and not worry about balance.

Also, how do you "deal" with any combat character other than Primaris or Vindicare being made obsolete by the rules?

 

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Dark Heresy isn’t just about combat, and you get out of an RPG what you put into it. If you say the rules ‘don’t support’ the type of play others are describing, then for you they never will. I’ve had half a session of Deathwatch go where it was just the players working out how best to describe their previous mission to their superiors, the arguments of opinion, and how one of the players was going to take the blame for all the things that went wrong – all done in character. And this is Deathwatch, the game people said was nothing more than a hack’n’slash dungeon crawl game with no real role-play. High-level conspiracy play in Ascension is possible because the GM can do anything they want. The game is what you make of it.

Your posts read like some MMO junkie who’s just obsessed with how good or bad things are in combat. Your posts in the other thread about how later books weapons make old one’s redundant speaks to that, as do your endless posts about how superior Black Crusade is due to its combat mechanics. This isn’t a game that’s totally focused on how much DPS/DOTs you can get when you draw aggro. It’s not a combat simulator. It’s not – dare I say it – a roll-playing game. It is a role-playing game. Perhaps you should treat it as such rather than looking, or at least appearing to be looking at it through some sort of combat-only slant.

If you want to play the game as a dungeon crawl, where all that matters are the combat abilities of each character and the quality of the rules is based on how 'broken' something is, then that's fine. But please don't act like that's the only way of playing DH or any of the 40K RPG's, because there is no one true or correct way to approach these games.

BYE

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Fact of the matter is, I've never run a honest dungeon crawl in my whole life, and I've never bothered with any MMO long enough to get concerned about DPS calculations. I just have this obnoxious habit of breaking games apart and seeing what makes them tick. I pride myself on knowing the ins and outs of every system I play or run, and there are a few. That's partly due to interest, and partly because on the few occasions when I didn't analyze a system properly, it blew up in my face.

Ascension was one of the regretful times when I jumped at the new product, and it destroyed my year long DH campaign, previously the most fun game I've ran and the one campaign my team will remember for years. I realized the problems in the span of few sessions, and used every trick in the book to compensate, but the damage had been done already. See, my team likes rules a lot. We don't roll for walking across the street or talking to every bum, but to enjoy ourselves, we need the knowledge that should the need to pick up the dice arises, the system will yield clear results and reward everyone's effort put into creating their characters. Ascension has failed us at both.

I believe everyone who claims to enjoy himself playing Ascension. But anyone's personal experience is only useful to himself, whereas game books should be judged by more objective criteria - how good the mathematical model is, what does the game do to support the playstyle it claims to encourage, how do various options presented to players compare against each other, and so forth. And Ascension is objectively very weak on most of those counts. I could back it up with a lot of hard math, but I don't think you'd actually be interested in it. Whatever rocks your boat, but don't mistake your campaign for the game book, because they are two different things and should be judged separately.

Also, I'm so disappointed in you for using the whole "roll vs role" cliche. I know you can do better than that.

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Morangias, despite what you have posted, I have to agree that the vast majority of the posts you've put up on the forums recently do make you sound like an MMO-style combat-focused player/GM who puts little value on the role-playing aspect of the game. For example, you claim a Vindicare Assassin is an 'I Win' button whereas a Dreadnought DW character is not, and that the Vindicare wins as soon as he rolls for initiative. Having never played Ascension, I can't say for sure one way or another, but it seems to me that especially in 40K, there is A) Always a bigger fish/Chaos Marine/Trigon/Titan, and B) there is always a shadow for that bigger fish to be skulking in. A Vindicare may be a combat monster, but he is still a single-shot-only-sniper-rifle combat monster who may get off that single shot faster than anybody, but that in itself is a serious limitation. I see the "Perfect Shot" Talent, which lets him Aim again as a reaction, but that precludes his ability to load any special ammo or move anywhere. A Vindicare is going to eat up a lot of half/full actions or reactions while reloading, aiming, and shooting, so their firepower is going to be accurate but not completely dominant. While the example is not as extreme (because it's real life, not 40k), look at Randy Shugart and Gary Gordon in Somalia - two of the US's top trained Delta Force snipers, supported by blackhawk helicopters, but they were still overwhelmed by a horde of Somali militia armed with AK's as they tried to defend Mike Durant, the downed blackhawk pilot. The movie makes it all a little bit prettier than it was in real life, but the book really drives the point home.

I believe you recently posted in another forum about how 'nobody in your group ever need anything other than autoguns or autocannons because full auto beats sniper rifles every time', and yet here you are saying exactly the opposite now. A Vindicare, or any other combat-monster for that matter, is only effective when there is A) combat to be had, B) badguys to be found, and C) enough ammo. A relatively straightforward suggestion to deal with the combat threat of a Vindicare might include stealth/scout missions where there are dire consequences for being discovered - and leaving bodies with exitus-shell sized holes in them will cause far greater problems (like having to investigate a fellow inquisitor suspected of radicalism/heresy?). Also, it seems to me that if a particularly well-equipped badguy found out an inquisitorial band was hunting him, he would invest great resources in sucking a team into a trap where they could be, say, bombed from orbit. Some of the 40K fiction I've read included a short story about a Vindicare who had a 4 day infiltration/insertion just to take a shot at an Eldar Farseer, which was considered an extreme-high-value target. A group that has a Vindicare attached to them on a more-or-less permanent basis should be out there hunting down the most dangerous creatures the galaxy has to offer, not gunning down mook cultists armed with autoguns or autocannons.

Regardless, you also talk about how nothing in the rules supports play at a personal level, but there is an entire section of Ascension based around mapping the band's spheres of influence, reputation, power, and so on among particular social groups, networks and organizations. That doesn't even get into the threat of treading into radical territory and being declared excommunicate traitoris, or the flip-side of the coin, being targeted by an inquisitorial group that has gone radical themselves. (See "Always a bigger fish"). This doesn't necessarily mean the characters can be out-gunned, it means they may be cut off of resources, their ability to operate is hindered, contacts and cash dry up, and if they want to retain their authority to act as agents of the inquisition, they either disappear and make do with what they have until they can prove their innocence (and remember, innocence proves nothing...) or be declared excommunicate and get kicked out of the "This is my do anything and get away with it badge" club.

I have a hard time imagining what kind of circumstances could have arisen from playing Ascension that would completely ruin a game far beyond the GM's ability to handle it. You talk about being able to explain the hard math behind why the system is broken, which I actually _would_ be interested in hearing. As discussed on the DH vs. RT forum, you complained bitterly about how unfair it was that the astropaths got to use the fettered/unfettered/push tables to determine their chances of rolling on the perils of the warp table, but psykers either pulled off an uber-power that single-handedly won the combat or resulted in a total party kill. I demonstrated using the hard math how the cataclysmic TPK kinds of results that are possible are highly unlikely, less than 5% of the time at the highest levels pre-Ascension - but you seemed to feel that _any_ risk was unacceptable. And I say, exactly - and that's why thousands of psykers are shipped off to Terra to keep fuelling the Golden Throne, instead of allowing them to run around summon up random daemons.

I think the previous poster had it right, in that Ascension propels Dark Heresy into Rogue Trader territory where you play the boss, with minions out to do all thy bidding, but that brings with it a whole host of other issues that actually can serve to decrease the destabilization effect of having combat monsters in the party, and increases the usefulness of the Influence and reputation. Some Inquisitors don a suit of power armor, heft their daemonhammer, and go forth to kick @$$. Others have small (or large) armies of interrogators and acolytes, contacts and snitches, and rarely take a direct hand in matters themselves. Most fall somewhere between the two, and that for me is the appeal of Ascension - the satisfaction of a well-run investigation, piecing together clues from dozens of sources until you can finally identify, isolate and (with the aid of your resident Vindicare) eliminate your target.

If your PC's thrive on combat, then there's nothing wrong with sending them after bigger and badder badguys - Chaos Space Marines? Obliterators? How about a Defiler or a corrupted Land Raider? What about Tyranids? How hardcore is a Vindicare, staring down a horde of several hundred gaunts or genestealers? If your PC's prefer investigation and not combat, great - more role playing, investigation, red herrings, double-crosses, back-alley deals and undercover operations. If your Primaris Psyker is making things difficult, introduce an Untouchable. There's always a bigger fish.

Please understsand that I'm not trying to troll or attack you personally, but your posts do come across as being excessively negative instead of constructively critical, and I'm trying to understand why.

OP

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 I agree with OP. I just read through the Vindicare assassin again and found nothing to suggest an "I win" button. Even in a Combat heavy game, A Vindicare is only going to be deployed against the Direst threats to Humanity (Read: Daemon princes; Posessed [unbound] Daemonhosts or perhaps a well advanced [15000 xp or so] Chaos SM champion! ) In most of these cases, blowing away hoards of Mooks will only cause your quarry to disappear or, worse yet, compromise your position and presence! Even if your Uber bad Vindicare gets off his shot, He still gets the joy of trying to escape all of his victims merry minions! Since the infiltration part of the mission will likely require that the Vindicare operate independently getting away is more than just "Shooting your way out!" (Besides; A good assassin never wants to be in that position!). As a whole; I think players and Gm's need to realise what ascension is. Your characters are the movers and shakers of the Imperium! These people are all major "Boss" level figures who literally bring the weight of the imperium to bear on whatever task they set themselves. These are not "Dungeon crawlers" but rather those that decide how and where the dungeon will be built!  It takes a far greater degree of imagination on the part of the Gm and the players to comprehend the scope of an ascension level game. For those that have it, I see no problem with Ascension! For those that want to continue shooting up the underhive looking for random cult appearances...Stick with the base lvl DH. That's what it's meant for!cool.gif

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Orion Pax said:

 

Morangias, despite what you have posted, I have to agree that the vast majority of the posts you've put up on the forums recently do make you sound like an MMO-style combat-focused player/GM who puts little value on the role-playing aspect of the game.

 

 

That's because roleplaying is strictly independent from the system used, and anyone's personal experience with roleplaying in any system has absolutely no relevance for discussing the quality of that system. 

Orion Pax said:

 

For example, you claim a Vindicare Assassin is an 'I Win' button whereas a Dreadnought DW character is not, and that the Vindicare wins as soon as he rolls for initiative. Having never played Ascension, I can't say for sure one way or another, but it seems to me that especially in 40K, there is A) Always a bigger fish/Chaos Marine/Trigon/Titan, and B) there is always a shadow for that bigger fish to be skulking in. A Vindicare may be a combat monster, but he is still a single-shot-only-sniper-rifle combat monster who may get off that single shot faster than anybody, but that in itself is a serious limitation. I see the "Perfect Shot" Talent, which lets him Aim again as a reaction, but that precludes his ability to load any special ammo or move anywhere. A Vindicare is going to eat up a lot of half/full actions or reactions while reloading, aiming, and shooting, so their firepower is going to be accurate but not completely dominant. While the example is not as extreme (because it's real life, not 40k), look at Randy Shugart and Gary Gordon in Somalia - two of the US's top trained Delta Force snipers, supported by blackhawk helicopters, but they were still overwhelmed by a horde of Somali militia armed with AK's as they tried to defend Mike Durant, the downed blackhawk pilot. The movie makes it all a little bit prettier than it was in real life, but the book really drives the point home.

I believe you recently posted in another forum about how 'nobody in your group ever need anything other than autoguns or autocannons because full auto beats sniper rifles every time', and yet here you are saying exactly the opposite now.

 

 

It shows that you haven't actually played  Ascension. The problem with the Vindicare is not in his offensive potential, but in the fact that he's practically invincible with his 10+ dodges per round, all at 100% chance of success and more. He stacks all the best defensive options in the game, from not being seen in the first place to Reactions to Unnatural Toughness, to the point where the chance of anything harming him reaches zero for all practical purposes. And since he's invincible, it doesn't matter if his only weapon is a nerfbat - he's already won because he's guaranteed to still stand there at the end of the day while his opponents don't. So I guess it doesn't help that he's equipped with the second best dedicated sniper rifle in all 40k games.

And mind you, this is just assuming the Vindicare player sticks to his fluff, rather than cladding himself in power armor, strapping the best force field his Inquisitor can afford on, and going to town with a heaviest full-auto weapon available. Because the rules allow him all that without stripping him off his other capabilities. Obviously, at this point the GM is fully entitled to killing the player with the sharp edge of the book cover, but the sole fact that the rules allow it rather than adding a caveat such as "Officio Training relies on mobility and full access to all senses, so it only works when wearing a synskin or a Vindicare Stealth Suit" is a failure.

Orion Pax said:

 

 A Vindicare, or any other combat-monster for that matter, is only effective when there is A) combat to be had, B) badguys to be found, and C) enough ammo. A relatively straightforward suggestion to deal with the combat threat of a Vindicare might include stealth/scout missions where there are dire consequences for being discovered - and leaving bodies with exitus-shell sized holes in them will cause far greater problems (like having to investigate a fellow inquisitor suspected of radicalism/heresy?).

 

 

A Vindicare can easily exceed 100% on his stealth skills, his costume lets him use Hide as a Half Action, and he's fully capable of using a whole array of weaponry other than his precious Exitus set. Force the team into a stealth mission and you've given him yet another venue of completely outshining the rest of the party.

Orion Pax said:

 

Also, it seems to me that if a particularly well-equipped badguy found out an inquisitorial band was hunting him, he would invest great resources in sucking a team into a trap where they could be, say, bombed from orbit. Some of the 40K fiction I've read included a short story about a Vindicare who had a 4 day infiltration/insertion just to take a shot at an Eldar Farseer, which was considered an extreme-high-value target. A group that has a Vindicare attached to them on a more-or-less permanent basis should be out there hunting down the most dangerous creatures the galaxy has to offer, not gunning down mook cultists armed with autoguns or autocannons.

 

 

It's fortunate, then, that the Vindicare is absolutely the best career for soloing the big bads. Armies of mooks can at least potentially outnumber him enough to exceed his dodging capability and pepper him with lead until he stops moving (good luck running that scene using the combat system, by the way). Singular, powerful enemies? He's completely immune to them.

Orion Pax said:

 

Regardless, you also talk about how nothing in the rules supports play at a personal level, but there is an entire section of Ascension based around mapping the band's spheres of influence, reputation, power, and so on among particular social groups, networks and organizations.

 

 

This section is absolutely useless, as all it does is slap bonuses on extremely vague and unintuitive Influence rolls. It doesn't help in mapping the team's political reach or available resources at all.

Orion Pax said:

 

I have a hard time imagining what kind of circumstances could have arisen from playing Ascension that would completely ruin a game far beyond the GM's ability to handle it.

 

 

Simply put, I stopped having fun with running the campaign when I realized over half my planning time is spent figuring out how to make the problem proof to the Primaris' ability to instantly solve it, and the players stopped having fun when they realized I'm spoon-feeding them their victories, because if I left them to their own devices, the psyker would become the star of each and every scene, whether I was trying to run a courtly intrigue in Hax's palace or a violent run through a daemon-infested planet. And that's despite the psyker's player being quite supportive of my efforts. All in all, we don't do freeform, and we didn't have the time to sit down and beat the system into a working shape, so the campaign died down due to a lack of rules capable of handling it.

Orion Pax said:

 

You talk about being able to explain the hard math behind why the system is broken, which I actually _would_ be interested in hearing.

 

 

I'll let you know when I find my actual calculations. In the meantime, I encourage you to ponder the following facts:

1. Primaris Psyker can manifest any power in the book on Fettered level, risking no phenomena but still getting the full effect.

2. There's a psychic power that lets you create an ever expanding globe of fire at the cost of accumulating Fatigue.

3. There's another psychic power that makes the psyker immune to Fatigue.

Who needs cyclonic torpedoes when you have a mobile Exterminatus in your retinue?

Orion Pax said:

 

As discussed on the DH vs. RT forum, you complained bitterly about how unfair it was that the astropaths got to use the fettered/unfettered/push tables to determine their chances of rolling on the perils of the warp table, but psykers either pulled off an uber-power that single-handedly won the combat or resulted in a total party kill. I demonstrated using the hard math how the cataclysmic TPK kinds of results that are possible are highly unlikely, less than 5% of the time at the highest levels pre-Ascension - but you seemed to feel that _any_ risk was unacceptable. And I say, exactly - and that's why thousands of psykers are shipped off to Terra to keep fuelling the Golden Throne, instead of allowing them to run around summon up random daemons.

 

 

There are two related but distinct problems here:

1. Sanctioned Psykers are expected to use their power at the behest of the Imperium. According to DH rules, even the most minor power has, by your own calculations, a 2.5% chance of going seriously awry (that's apart from the 10% chance of it just going awry in an unpleasant, but manageable way). Multiply those 2.5% by the millions of psykers in active service and serious accidents are bound to happen on a daily basis. How stupid does one have to be to let the psykers live at all if the supposed best of the best are that unstable?

2. In those not by all means rare situations when the Psyker doesn't blow up, he's simply too good. An Astropath can contribute meaningfully to team effort both in and outside of combat, but his psychic powers will not outshine the Arch-Militant when it comes to dealing damage. A Librarian can dish out heavy damage, but he risks a lot if he wishes to sustain such a high performance, and he's not really that much above the other hardened killers in Deathwatch - also, he has a very narrow choice of powers, so he's only useful in a handful of situations, combat or not.

Then, we have DH psykers, who can do a lot of things because they gain multiple psychic powers each time they increase their Psy Rating. They have minor powers which are crazy good compared with how easy it is to manifest them, and they don't come bundled in Disciplines so for every imaginable problem, you can count on the psyker having a minor power handy. They also have relatively easy access to multiple Disciplines, and pretty much anything they can get outshines every mundane way of achieving the same effect, from unrestricted healing to to dealing 40-50 damage per turn, often ignoring both armor and TB. And that's all before Ascension, where all their powers get an ungodly boost in efficiency while becoming 100% safe to use.

All in all, it creates a very unsatisfactory dynamic where the psyker pays with a chance of dying for being simply better than everyone else, on the hopes of surviving until Ascension and being better than anyone else with the chance of dying no longer attached. It's the classic "linear warriors, quadratic wizards" problem, and that's never fun to play unless everyone enjoys the idea of playing a wizard.

Orion Pax said:

 

I think the previous poster had it right, in that Ascension propels Dark Heresy into Rogue Trader territory where you play the boss, with minions out to do all thy bidding, but that brings with it a whole host of other issues that actually can serve to decrease the destabilization effect of having combat monsters in the party, and increases the usefulness of the Influence and reputation. Some Inquisitors don a suit of power armor, heft their daemonhammer, and go forth to kick @$$. Others have small (or large) armies of interrogators and acolytes, contacts and snitches, and rarely take a direct hand in matters themselves. Most fall somewhere between the two, and that for me is the appeal of Ascension - the satisfaction of a well-run investigation, piecing together clues from dozens of sources until you can finally identify, isolate and (with the aid of your resident Vindicare) eliminate your target.

 

 

The thing is, Ascension is absolutely horrid at running large scale intrigues, because the Influence rules throw the entirety of Fellowship-based Skills and Talents out of the window, and introduces useless Infuence Talents in their place. You think your Desperado will be invaluable in currying favors and gathering information from the criminal underworld? Nah, everyone can get the same mileage because Influence is shared among the group. You hope that your correspondence with various sector bigwigs and carefully planted acolyte cells will make you the king of the hill? Forget it, they don't yield any results outside of ST fiat. Maybe your bitchin' secret moon base will give you the advantage needed? In your dreams, you actually harm your chances of getting anything if you set up one.

At the end of the day, the system doesn't help you adjudicate the outcomes of the shadow wars you're waging in any way, and all experience you've spent on it is effectively lost. You're better off investing it all in Talents that increase your chance of surviving as an individual and go the cowboy diplomacy rule. Except then you're back to psykers being better than you.

Orion Pax said:

 

If your PC's thrive on combat, then there's nothing wrong with sending them after bigger and badder badguys - Chaos Space Marines? Obliterators? How about a Defiler or a corrupted Land Raider? What about Tyranids? How hardcore is a Vindicare, staring down a horde of several hundred gaunts or genestealers? If your PC's prefer investigation and not combat, great - more role playing, investigation, red herrings, double-crosses, back-alley deals and undercover operations. If your Primaris Psyker is making things difficult, introduce an Untouchable. There's always a bigger fish.

 

 

The problem with the "bigger fish" approach is in the inter-party balance that you dismiss so easily. The same things that challenge a Vindicare or a Primaris can paste the rest of the team without even noticing, so while challenging those characters, I'm either risking TPK or giving them yet more time in the spotlight. Gandalf going solo against the Balrog because he was the only one who could hope to prevail was a badass scene, but imagine how you'd feel if you played anyone else in the Fellowship and the GM pulled that on you. In a self-admitted "Galaxy of Guns", where even the bookworm doesn't leave home without a hand cannon, there's nothing satisfactory in having to fall back and watch one character save the day.

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Radwraith said:

 I agree with OP. I just read through the Vindicare assassin again and found nothing to suggest an "I win" button.

Oh, it's there. Maybe you should read it again? As in, until you actually understand what's written there and stop mistaking fluff for rules?

Radwraith said:

Even in a Combat heavy game, A Vindicare is only going to be deployed against the Direst threats to Humanity (Read: Daemon princes; Posessed [unbound] Daemonhosts or perhaps a well advanced [15000 xp or so] Chaos SM champion! )

No, he won't. He's controlled by the player, so he will participate in all team activities. The fact that he shouldn't, according to all we know about Temple Assassins, is yet another failure of Ascension.

Radwraith said:

In most of these cases, blowing away hoards of Mooks will only cause your quarry to disappear or, worse yet, compromise your position and presence! Even if your Uber bad Vindicare gets off his shot, He still gets the joy of trying to escape all of his victims merry minions! Since the infiltration part of the mission will likely require that the Vindicare operate independently getting away is more than just "Shooting your way out!" (Besides; A good assassin never wants to be in that position!).

A Vindicare can easily out-stealth a Lictor. Threats capable of detecting his approach can be counted on fingers. And even if the dice fail him and he somehow gets noticed, he's still invulnerable to groups of enemies larger than you can comfortably adjudicate using the combat system. I hope you have your wargaming table handy if you plan to pester the Vindicare with mooks.

And, again, it's all just based on wishful thinking, because nothing in the rules stops the Vindicare from layering an Eldar force field and a heavy power armor on top of all those Reactions and his never-failing Dodge rolls. How do you deal with that, apart from crying foul?

Radwraith said:

As a whole; I think players and Gm's need to realise what ascension is. Your characters are the movers and shakers of the Imperium! These people are all major "Boss" level figures who literally bring the weight of the imperium to bear on whatever task they set themselves. These are not "Dungeon crawlers" but rather those that decide how and where the dungeon will be built!  It takes a far greater degree of imagination on the part of the Gm and the players to comprehend the scope of an ascension level game. For those that have it, I see no problem with Ascension! For those that want to continue shooting up the underhive looking for random cult appearances...Stick with the base lvl DH. That's what it's meant for!cool.gif

Show me how Ascension actually helps handle the large scale operations better than base DH does.

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Morangias said:

And, again, it's all just based on wishful thinking, because nothing in the rules stops the Vindicare from layering an Eldar force field and a heavy power armor on top of all those Reactions and his never-failing Dodge rolls. How do you deal with that, apart from crying foul?

Nothing in the rules except the GM. This is an example of a GM failure. The Vindicare gets his own toys to play with, he shouldn't be getting anything else. To allow a Vindacare in heavy power armor to get all his normal reactions is just pain silly.

Morangias said:

How do you deal with that, apart from crying foul?

As a GM you say NO. GM's get to say no, it's one of the preks.

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I agree with Radwraith.  Playing Ascensioin I feel like I'm playing a boss. 

I have no problems with Ascension.  At first I didn't like all the social talents on the advancement trees then ralized that they are optional, and i'm free to take them or leave them as I want.  Like every thing else, if you don't like it don't use it.  It's nice that the option is there, but clearly it's not for every one.  This is just common sense, you don't need the book spelling out every single thing for you... well at least I hope not.

Like I said we have no problems with Ascension, we so happen use everything and more. It's a great fame work to build uppon if the GM has any kind of immagination.

Nothing said on here will change my gameplay experiecne with Ascension (weekly since it came out).

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Playing the devil's advocate: Morangias has a point.

The Vindicare IS pretty much invincible unless you use planetary size weaponry. And let's admit it, that's kinda frustrating and to a certain degree ridiculous. And yes, gameplay suffers if you cannot find a way to seriously challenge the characters.

Therefore we can justly say that the Vindicare and the Primaris Psyker careers are broken rulewise. Of course you can limit it either with fluff ("no, a Vindicare doesn't use power armour, it's just not right!") or house rules ("no power armour for Vindicares period") but that's not the point. A career should never be designed in a way that makes such modifications necessary.

Further, if you start taking power away from your players, they eventually will start asking "so, why the hell am I ascended anyway?"

The crunch does not rule the game, true. But if your adventure should amount to a surprising horror with a pack of daemons and you have an a) Primaris Psyker who sees it coming one session in advance and b) a Vindicare who can take them all out without anyone risking their lives or souls... it's pretty boring.

My personal solution to this is "fluff over crunch". Meaning that as a GM I can break ANY rule if I think it's necessary for a good story. For example the Acolytes could theoretically buy powerswords. They have the money, they're in a hive big enough and they can use them. But I won't let them because fluffwise it's just not right for a bunch of expendebles to have access to noble grade armoury. My players know me and trust my judgement, so it's not problem, but not everyone can be so fortunate I guess. 

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ItsUncertainWho said:

Morangias said:

 

And, again, it's all just based on wishful thinking, because nothing in the rules stops the Vindicare from layering an Eldar force field and a heavy power armor on top of all those Reactions and his never-failing Dodge rolls. How do you deal with that, apart from crying foul?

 

 

Nothing in the rules except the GM. This is an example of a GM failure. The Vindicare gets his own toys to play with, he shouldn't be getting anything else. To allow a Vindacare in heavy power armor to get all his normal reactions is just pain silly.

Morangias said:

 

How do you deal with that, apart from crying foul?

 

 

As a GM you say NO. GM's get to say no, it's one of the preks.

GMs should not be in the business of saying flat-out "no" too much unless the circumstances really dictate it. As a player, how would you like it if every idea you thought was cool was summarily shut down? If something has very little chance of working, let the players try it. It might succeed! Or it might not, and they have another piece of information from their failure. It's commonly cited that the GM's job is to prevent abuse. I disagree on one level. The system should be able to contemplate blatant player abuse and preempt it, e.g. "the Vindicare's Temple Assassin trait and expanded stealth abilities only works while wearing his stealth suit." How hard is that? And thus you can point to the book and say "that's what it says," as opposed to levying an arbitrary houserule simply because you don't like the player being clever.

The notion that a GM saying "no" is the best way to curtail system-based problems is effectively a Rule Zero Fallacy.

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Kshatriya said:

 

 

GMs should not be in the business of saying flat-out "no" too much unless the circumstances really dictate it. As a player, how would you like it if every idea you thought was cool was summarily shut down? If something has very little chance of working, let the players try it. It might succeed! Or it might not, and they have another piece of information from their failure. It's commonly cited that the GM's job is to prevent abuse. I disagree on one level. The system should be able to contemplate blatant player abuse and preempt it, e.g. "the Vindicare's Temple Assassin trait and expanded stealth abilities only works while wearing his stealth suit." How hard is that? And thus you can point to the book and say "that's what it says," as opposed to levying an arbitrary houserule simply because you don't like the player being clever.

The notion that a GM saying "no" is the best way to curtail system-based problems is effectively a Rule Zero Fallacy.

Saying “no” to a player is neither arbitrary, nor a “Rule Zero Fallacy.” If I say “no” to a player they will get an explanation as to why I will not allow something if they need it. I let my players get away with a lot and I accommodate as much as possible. If I say “no” they know that it is for a very good reason and they move on.

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Dok Martin said:

The Vindicare IS pretty much invincible unless you use planetary size weaponry. And let's admit it, that's kinda frustrating and to a certain degree ridiculous. And yes, gameplay suffers if you cannot find a way to seriously challenge the characters.

My goal as GM in Ascension isn't for the players to be killed, it is for my villain’s to achieve their objectives. Villains in Ascension are not your run of the mill smugglers, heretics, and ne'er-do-wells. These are the movers and shakers of the dark side of the galaxy, Bond villains turned up past 11 to 28. These are the guys who would start a civil war on one planet so they can steal a musty, old, forgotten tome in the middle of the conflict, then scurry off and hide for the next three years to study the book.

There are plenty of ways to tie-up a Vindicare and Primaris that allows them to shine as well as takes them away form the others so they can shine. In other situations, if the party starts steamrolling everything with the psyker there will be consequences. If the Inquisitor uses the Vindicare willy-nilly or it gets out that a Temple Assassin is roaming freely, there will be consequences. 

Players must understand that while they are free to do as they please, the world they are in has rules and consequences, beyond just the game mechanics.

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ItsUncertainWho said:

Dok Martin said:

 

The Vindicare IS pretty much invincible unless you use planetary size weaponry. And let's admit it, that's kinda frustrating and to a certain degree ridiculous. And yes, gameplay suffers if you cannot find a way to seriously challenge the characters.

 

 

My goal as GM in Ascension isn't for the players to be killed, it is for my villain’s to achieve their objectives. Villains in Ascension are not your run of the mill smugglers, heretics, and ne'er-do-wells. These are the movers and shakers of the dark side of the galaxy, Bond villains turned up past 11 to 28. These are the guys who would start a civil war on one planet so they can steal a musty, old, forgotten tome in the middle of the conflict, then scurry off and hide for the next three years to study the book.

There are plenty of ways to tie-up a Vindicare and Primaris that allows them to shine as well as takes them away form the others so they can shine. In other situations, if the party starts steamrolling everything with the psyker there will be consequences. If the Inquisitor uses the Vindicare willy-nilly or it gets out that a Temple Assassin is roaming freely, there will be consequences. 

Players must understand that while they are free to do as they please, the world they are in has rules and consequences, beyond just the game mechanics.

All true, and that's exactly how I would do it. But one reason to play a Vindicare is that you can use all those great skills. And the moment that happens, it makes a GM's life extremely difficult. Of course I can (and will!) tie my players up in intrigue and political mayhem and whatnot. Up until the point where the Vindicare player will ask "so, why do I play a Vindicare now?"

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ItsUncertainWho said:

Morangias said:

 

And, again, it's all just based on wishful thinking, because nothing in the rules stops the Vindicare from layering an Eldar force field and a heavy power armor on top of all those Reactions and his never-failing Dodge rolls. How do you deal with that, apart from crying foul?

 

 

Nothing in the rules except the GM. This is an example of a GM failure. The Vindicare gets his own toys to play with, he shouldn't be getting anything else. To allow a Vindacare in heavy power armor to get all his normal reactions is just pain silly.

Morangias said:

 

How do you deal with that, apart from crying foul?

 

 

As a GM you say NO. GM's get to say no, it's one of the preks.

Le sigh. Please repeat after me: your ability to change the rules as a GM doesn't change the rules outside of your table and has no impact on the quality of the book.

We're not discussing playstyles here, or power level preferences. It's about a game book, and game books can actually be judged based on their content, not what you do with it.

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ItsUncertainWho said:

Kshatriya said:

 

 

 

GMs should not be in the business of saying flat-out "no" too much unless the circumstances really dictate it. As a player, how would you like it if every idea you thought was cool was summarily shut down? If something has very little chance of working, let the players try it. It might succeed! Or it might not, and they have another piece of information from their failure. It's commonly cited that the GM's job is to prevent abuse. I disagree on one level. The system should be able to contemplate blatant player abuse and preempt it, e.g. "the Vindicare's Temple Assassin trait and expanded stealth abilities only works while wearing his stealth suit." How hard is that? And thus you can point to the book and say "that's what it says," as opposed to levying an arbitrary houserule simply because you don't like the player being clever.

The notion that a GM saying "no" is the best way to curtail system-based problems is effectively a Rule Zero Fallacy.

 

 

Saying “no” to a player is neither arbitrary, nor a “Rule Zero Fallacy.” If I say “no” to a player they will get an explanation as to why I will not allow something if they need it. I let my players get away with a lot and I accommodate as much as possible. If I say “no” they know that it is for a very good reason and they move on.

And you're referring to your own experience as a GM which honestly makes you sound like a good GM if you actually explain your veto to players. I'd bet a lot of GMs expect just a "no" to end the issue. 

At the same time it's not unreasonable for the system to preemptively correct blatant potential abuses. Locking down the Vindicare in courtly intrigue after courtly intrigue is not a fix to the simple issue that Temple Assassin makes that character physically untouchable in a great number of circumstances. Nor is throwing only orbital strikes at the character. And as there is no rule saying that a Vindicare can't use power armor and still get all the effects of the Career, any ruling saying its not is inherently arbitrary (and from a pure system perspective it's a smart option: more AP on top of 10 dodges? Yes please!). Constantly throwing blanks at the Primaris Psyker or having him frequently and mysteriously dosed with psy-suppressing drugs is not a fix to the issuer the great power of Ascended powers and the Primaris's ability to obviate the rest of the group effortlessly. So you prevent these Careers from doing what they're designed to do. You've given the Hierophant and the Storm Trooper some time to shine...and the players of the Vindicare and the Primaris chose their careers for a reason and are now not able to use those careers to their fullest because the objectively weaker ones need time in the sun too. It's not a p,wasn't balancing act. 

I mean at a certain point the player will realize that you have to plan around them rather than for them, and what fun is that for anyone? My point is of course you can fix it, but it shouldn't be on each table to fix a systemic problem with a. Band aid. 

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 Being familiar with the setting really solves most of these issues.  If I told my GM that I'm going to make a Vindicare assassin it would not be an issue, as long as I play the vindicare true to character.  If I start acting like an idiot with the character obviously no on will be having fun, and GM will probably put a stop to it in that case.

Pretty soon I'm planning to play both a Vindicare and my Crusader.  They look pretty much equal stat wise to me with the Vindicare obviously better ranged, and the crusader a monster in close combat.  I've seldom ran out of reactions on my Crusader, so if my crusader had the same amount as a Vindicare it wouldn't change much.  I'm talking about getting into close combat with multiple genestealers at a time.  You could probably have put the Vindicare in there, but we would not have been nearly as effective at dispatching the buggers. 

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