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What next for 40K RPG?

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AtoMaki said:

This gave me an idea: what about Space Marines and "above-average normal humans" (example: Ascension characters) in the same party? that sounds plausible…
Depending on how it's pulled off in the rules, and what the setting provides as tie-in options, absolutely! But in this case, I feel it'd be problematic. What we've seen in the past couple games were rules that have elevated Space Marines far above normal humans, both to support a more epic and heroic narrative to appeal to their fans, as well as due to certain "heritage" weaknesses in the d100 ruleset, such as the way how characteristics and injuries work. It may also be a case of simple author/designer interpretation and preference; it's hard to say without official word or "designer's notes" on the subject.

To put it bluntly, I'm not sure anymore FFG is actually willing to deliver a ruleset that would support such mixed parties, at least not in a way similar to how GW's Inquisitor game did. And perhaps the majority of (potential) customers even prefers the approach that FFG has taken so far. Think about it - putting Astartes and normal humans on a level where both would be viable character options, even with a focus on combat, would ultimately let Space Marines appear as "weaker" as they are presented in the most popular sources (numerous SM novels), given that they are usually compared to said normal humans. How many Space Marine fans would be willing to accept this, just for an option to have normal people tag along? And given that the Great Crusade as a setting would mostly appeal to Marine fans, thus also rendering them the most likely buyers, this group would arguably also be the likely target audience for an RPG set in this era.

Which brings me to the issue of tie-in options. In the Great Crusade-era, what kind of "above-average normal humans" are there? The Imperial factions of M41 whose members are able to maybe stand up to Space Marines (and thus might qualify as semi-equal comrades to them) do not exist there - in M30 their presence truly dominates the Imperium, and they are doing many of the tasks which are only later filled by the elites of normal humans. The one exception that comes to mind are the SoB-knockoff Sisters of Silence that have been mentioned in one or two books, but from what I've heard they are apparently not allowed to talk - which might feel a bit limiting for a roleplaying game.

I suppose it'd be possible to whip up some special class like an "Imperial Army Veteran" or something, but even then, why would this guy travel with a bunch of Marines and deploy in their battles? (see also Face Eater's post)

It all just seems very … difficult to combine, with many drawbacks and very few advantages. It'd probably be better to just look at the rather popular novels and try to replicate what's in there, kind of like a Deathwatch 2.0. Perhaps the designers can also invent a reason for slightly more variance between squad members - an option might be to make the player characters a Company HQ, with their own NPC Marines and starships, kind of like an Imperial version of the Black Crusade RPG mixed with Rogue Trader and Deathwatch, where the players have to plan and personally lead invasions of entire star systems with the resources provided by their paternal Legion. Maybe FFG could even come up with fluff for a team made up of Marines from different Legions, although I have a feeling that everybody belonging to the same Legion would be okay for the players. Everybody being from the same regiment doesn't seem to be a problem for Only War, at least, and I know that some DW fans are already playing "normal Marine Chapter" campaigns. :)

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There's also the fact that the major events of the Horus Heresy are established history, and would not be subject to PC input. So players would have to be either spectators of history, or the GM would risk taking the universe completely off the tracks. -Which some people might like, I suppose (every rpg group plays in their own little parallel universe, after all)- but I would dread hearing from all the bozos posting about how they personally killed the Emperor…

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Ah, that's probably the smallest issue, I think. Yes, the major events of the Horus Heresy are fairly established, but you could say the same for "current" 40k right up until Abbadon shows up at the Cadian Gate. In theory, you could already have a Black Crusade campaign where the players go to Terra and kick in the doors to the Imperial Palace, for example.

The timeline in 40k as well as 30k has ample room to insert new events, and FFG could even invent their own playground again like they did already with the Calixis sector or the Jericho Reach. And then we have the cop-out that almost everything we "know" about 40k is just a huge mass of possibilities, anyways, "sanctioning" the many contradictions between the sources (and providing an in-universe explanation for them). As I've heard, even the Horus Heresy novel series itself has books that portray the same events in different ways - a rather clever idea from the authors, considering that this happens in short succession in the same series, whereas elsewhere such differences are likely unintentional.

I'd propose the writers fleshing out some new region of space and then setting up a plot about how the players' Legion is tasked with taking it. The players are then granted a certain amount of Imperial Army units (ground forces and naval assets) as well as command over a company(?) of Marines and then have to lead the Imperial forces to victory.

It'd be a mixture of space opera grand strategy and personal combat, with emphasis on the latter. Spending "Glory" points on recruiting new forces or buying advantages, assigning military forces to several "hotspots" on a map, and then having the players select a battle to personally show up in. The big battles would all be rolled for in the background by the GM using some mass combat ruleset like it already exists in Rogue Trader, but by roleplaying attacks on critical mission objectives that the players have picked themselves (using the intel available), they could add bonus points to their army, thus making victory more likely or softening the blow from a defeat …
Not sure if this can be pulled off in a meaningful way, but this is the angle I'd try it with!

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Your description is actually exactly how the "Flashpoint" sytem in BK is supposed to work! It could certainly work for a HH era game. I really like your Strategic overview idea as well!estrella

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Personally I would want either A.) Eldar RPG, so we can delve more into the mysteries of the universe and the Old One and deal with other aliens that Eldar have contact with or B.) Tau RPG for a more cosmopolitan characters and giving access to a ton of playable aliens

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Horus Heresy would probably be best served as a cross-game supplement like Ordo Malleus was supposed to be (a thick hard cover book almost as big as a core rule book but covered several of the lines.)  Given how much the Imperium likes change, most of the rules would still be fundimentally the same for Inquisitors, Rogue Traders, Space Marines, and Guardsmen.  Only the names and some of the organizational systems would change.   The main problem I have with the Horus Heresy era is that we already know how it's going to end unless the PCs are allowed some leeway for something like the Dorian Heresy.  Otherwise, the story will end the same way no matter what the players do; the Imperium falls, the Emperor dies, the end.

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I play an interrogator in a Deathwatch game, it works, and I'm having a blast playing a human amongst Marines. I remember the first edition of the Warhammer 40k tabletop, where an inquisitor was tougher than a marine, and I've had a hard time letting go of that ever since.

But I have to admit that Lynata is right, during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy, there are no humans that stand with the Astartes. The Inquisition and the Sisters of Battle do not exist yet. I don't think the Officio Assassinorum does either. This is a time of legends, of demi-gods, and even as the Horus Heresy novels shed light on that era, they maintain its epic mystique. There are seemingly no Marines as arrogant or as powerful as those portrayed in that series and unless your last name is The Sigillite, you will not find any humans who come close to the grandeur of the Marines of that period.

I think there is room for a two-tiered system though. In Deathwatch, you start out as a veteran, a full-fledged Marine on the cusp of your prime. This was probably done so that players could jump right in and feel like a Space Marine, akin to a well done action film that starts in media res. A different approach could be used in a hypothetical Horus Heresy game. Why not start as mortal adolescent combatants whose destiny it is to one day don the power armour of the Astartes? You could start as viking tribesman from Fenris, or gangbangers from Nostramo, or humans inducted into the Legion from a conquered planet. I think the ability to mould your humans into the Space Marines they will become could have great appeal.

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bloody malth said:

This is a time of legends, of demi-gods, and even as the Horus Heresy novels shed light on that era, they maintain its epic mystique. There are seemingly no Marines as arrogant or as powerful as those portrayed in that series and unless your last name is The Sigillite, you will not find any humans who come close to the grandeur of the Marines of that period.

Granted, it's all a matter of perception and interpretation - personally, I don't take the HH novels as an accurate depiction of what happened (and even the novels intentionally contradict each other) - so that if FFG really wanted, they could easily portray a more gritty Heresy era with heroes from the Imperial Army, or even making up new factions on the spot …

… however, it's just not what the HH fans would expect, and given that the primary clientele for such an RPG would be these same readers of the Heresy novels, it'd be a really weird business decision to disregard them just like that. "Tapping new markets" is a valid idea, but it can really work against you when one manages to scare the hardcore fans away, and I just don't think that the already small RPG market could have any studio take this chance.

bloody malth said:

A different approach could be used in a hypothetical Horus Heresy game. Why not start as mortal adolescent combatants whose destiny it is to one day don the power armour of the Astartes? You could start as viking tribesman from Fenris, or gangbangers from Nostramo, or humans inducted into the Legion from a conquered planet. I think the ability to mould your humans into the Space Marines they will become could have great appeal.

That's a rather clever idea! I do remember reading in the Index Astartes that at least in the case of the Dark Angels, they actually took grown-up humans and made them Astartes. It doesn't take much to speculate on the inability of "modern" Space Marines to recruit anything but children being just a product of a millennial quality decline in the "marinification" process, in that a lower tolerance for recruits is how the Astartes deal with the act of creating new Space Marines having become unreliable and shrouded in techno-mysticism.

The one downside I see is that … well, what exactly would people be supposed to play in their campaigns? A "native campaign" would not have to do much with 40k but instead feel like a game of D&D or Shadowrun, whereas newly inducted Space Marines should logically be subject to an NPC superior who gets to boss them around, given that you probably don't just become a Squad Sergeant right after joining a Chapter Legion.

In a way, I fear it might feel like an artificial delay not dissimilar to Dark Heresy where you're supposed to play the Inquisition … but actually you won't really do so until going Ascension. And how many people would think of some (comparatively) puny natives when talking about a Marine campaign? In this, I feel that Deathwatch did alright in its approach by letting people jump "right into action" as most fans probably expected (there's that e-word again).

On the other hand … you got me thinking: Perhaps there's a middle ground to be found, in that it could be a campaign with lots of time jumps and "phases" that aims to portray a character's entire life within the Legion? The first phase would be training, where the new recruits are presented with a series of challenges and get to form first bonds amongst one another. After gaining a few levels, the game goes WHOOOSH and suddenly you're fast forwarded X years into the future and the characters suddenly find themselves being members of a renowned squad (plus a couple NPCs to fill free slots and provide support) with one of them being the Sergeant. This would be the Deathwatch-like stage, except that instead of hunting aliens your squad is assigned specific goals they have to fulfill on their own in order to help their company achieve its mission objective, usually being deployed in the proximity of NPC squads which you may vox for help or which will vox you for help, presenting optional side-objectives (both would influence the post-mission rewards). Then, the last stage of the game, again X years later, has the players find themselves leading their company, with one of them being the Captain and the others members of his HQ Squad. This stage would open up further strategic gameplay options as outlined in an earlier post.

The bonus: Each of these stages can be skipped, for those players who would like to jump straight into one of the higher tiers. Yet completing a stage on your own would provide substantial bonuses for later gameplay, which would otherwise be replaced by some boring general stuff. Kind of like background packages, just that in order to profit from any epic things you'd have to do them yourself!

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MILLANDSON said:

Back around the time of Rogue Trader and Deathwatch, people kept asking if FFG would ever do the Horus Heresy, and the response was that they couldn't cover areas of the setting being covered elsewhere, hence why they had unique sectors, etc, for their lines.

If that still holds, I doubt we'd see anything covering the Horus Heresy era, sorry.

Just thought I'd reiterate this, given the thread turned into "How would you make a Horus Heresy game?". I honestly reckon they'll stick to M41, as with the previous books. I'd quite like books that covered the Eldar and Tau (the former for Rogue Trader, the latter for Deathwatch), but I'm not sure they'd be allowed to make an entire RPG about them, since it'd require a fair amount of the fluff to be made from scratch, considering neither Eldar or Tau have the developed background that GW have given the Imperium.

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I'd like to see an Eldar ruleset, using a cleaned up version of the OW rules. 

The Rogue Trader books seems to show the various Eldar paths quite well, and it would most certainly be a mix of Rogue Trader and Dark Heresy as I see it since Eldar would be mostly using the cloak and daggers approach.

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MILLANDSON said:

MILLANDSON said:

Just thought I'd reiterate this, given the thread turned into "How would you make a Horus Heresy game?". I honestly reckon they'll stick to M41, as with the previous books. I'd quite like books that covered the Eldar and Tau (the former for Rogue Trader, the latter for Deathwatch), but I'm not sure they'd be allowed to make an entire RPG about them, since it'd require a fair amount of the fluff to be made from scratch, considering neither Eldar or Tau have the developed background that GW have given the Imperium.

Good point and thanks for helping us get back on track.  Books for Eldar and Tau in RT and DW games would be useful.  As for seeing entire RPGs about them being unlikely… I'm not saying you're wrong but I'm also not going to say we didn't think the same thing about Chaos at some point.  So, don't know.

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It would be usefull also have rules to construct xeno-ships.

We have the careers of the Dark Eldars, but if we want play an all-Dark Eldar party we must use Empire Ships.

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I would probably support a rewriting of Dark Heresy with the more modern, streamlined mechanics. Not sure what to do with, say, the Adept, but still. Probably change it into a character past thing.

 

The other thing would be playing non-Imperial/non-Chaos characters, like a mercenary/trade/odd-jobs group, perhaps using the webway to get from planet to planet. Basically, non-Imperial Rogue Trader (but once again, more modern).

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Tom Cruise said:

I'd like a second edition of the system, myself. One centralised core book with up to date, standardised rules, with DH, OW, BC etc released as supplements for that system. The same approach the World of Darkness games use. It'd increase inter-compatability a ton, and mean any ruleset updates effect ALL of the systems.

Yes, please! So many good ideas, but so much work on us poor GMs to convert as it is. And with that unified system would come a unified "Monster Manual" that could actually have useful difficulty information.

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having read the rave desire for a HH game, and the problems with Human/Marine interaction, and character individuality, I got to thinking: why not custodes? 

it's my understanding that Custodes, as the Emperor's Guard, eyes, voice and hands when the emperor wasnt around, were all distinct individuals. even though they were well drilled in fighting as a unit, it wasn't bred into them as it was into Marines. Furthermore, (at least in The First Heretic) the Custodes travelled a lot. they were attatched to Legions sent out in their crusades, and *could* fight with the legion if they so chose. Finally, if Custodes were on your ship, it's because the emperor thought you needed watching. this could lead to all kinds of interesting out of combat roleplay scearios. I think such a game would have wonderful roleplay value

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Tom Cruise said:

I'd like a second edition of the system, myself. One centralised core book with up to date, standardised rules, with DH, OW, BC etc released as supplements for that system. The same approach the World of Darkness games use. It'd increase inter-compatability a ton, and mean any ruleset updates effect ALL of the systems.

This.

If FFG want people to play their games more often then they have to make an effort make it easier for people to do so not more difficult. 

Also, why are they so quiet about future plans? My guess is they will have a big announcement at GenCon. Probably announcing a second edition of either DH or of a unified game line but more along the lines of what they have planned for Star Wars (one set of rules but many rulebooks). 

If anyone reading this is going to GenCon please report back to us what the hell FFG is planning because this silence is deafening. 

One other thing to note is that since the release of DH there have been two editions of the WH40K miniatures game. It's time. 

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Everyone should take a few moments and think long and hard about what would happen if FFG produced a unified core rules set.

Simplified…

Step 1- Buy updated, unified core rules set. Don't expect as much content in each publication- in other words, expect to spend far more for the same quantity.

Step 2- Convert (through House Rules) every supplement that uses outdated rules, discarding sections that become redundant when the "splats" are released. (Many GMs will have already done this conversion work, resulting in no need for them to resort to Step 3, in which case buying an updated and unified rules set will be redundant, meaning many books will be printed without a genuine market demand, which in turn could drive FFG out of business.)

Step 3- Wait Tzeentch-knows how long for all supplements using outdated rules to be re-released with updated, unified rules. Expect glaring rules errors and contradictions, followed by yet more errata, and expect to spend more for the same (sketchy) quality.

If you only play Dark Heresy, then somewhere between steps 2 and 3 you'll spend upwards of $600 (again) on books that contain copy/paste text (complete with grammar and typographical errors) just to have updated rules mechanics. Black Crusade is a royal mess of rules loopholes, many of which found their way into Only War, so if you have amassed a complete FFG 40K RPG collection you'll spend well over $2000 just to have a complete set of updated and unified rules. 

Or…

Quit griping about incompatability, ffs, and either do the conversion work yourself or spend some considerable time searching the forums and blogs for the conversion work that has already been done. Home-use printers, ink cartridges and paper are cheap compared to flogging your wallet for a revamp.

To FFG: Quit outsourcing your supplements, dedicate in-house writers and developers to these RPGs, and produce publications with consistent quality. I strongly suggest you go back and look at the production value of Black Industries' contributions to the 40K RPG, particularly Purge the Unclean, and rethink your corner-cutting ideology.

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Brother Orpheo said:

Quit griping about incompatability, ffs, and either do the conversion work yourself or spend some considerable time searching the forums and blogs for the conversion work that has already been done. Home-use printers, ink cartridges and paper are cheap compared to flogging your wallet for a revamp.

 

I'd rather not houserule everything, thank you.  

Brother Orpheo said:

To FFG: Quit outsourcing your supplements, dedicate in-house writers and developers to these RPGs, and produce publications with consistent quality. I strongly suggest you go back and look at the production value of Black Industries' contributions to the 40K RPG, particularly Purge the Unclean, and rethink your corner-cutting ideology.

 

Eh, they just need a better editing team.

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Where is there left to go?

Dark Heresy kicked things off with the Calixis Sector, the hub around which everything else revolves. The Halo Stars have been breached, leading into the Koronus Expanse. Tucked away between Calixis and the Expanse is the Screaming Vortex and the warp gate into the Jericho Reach (getting crowded there). The Jericho Reach itself has been pushed to the "Outer Reach". And now we've been introduced to the gap between Calixis and Scarus, known as the Periphery. 

This leaves us the Ixaniad Sector. What would make it significantly different from Calixis? Or, Trailing- I doubt we'll see anything there- the Mandragora "Sector", a region of space lost to the Imperium, a place whose inhabitants were largely shipped into Calixis to populate its worlds, a place of ill reputation and Phaenonite cast-offs.

Nothing worthy of its own setting remains to be explored. Besides, do you really want to take the chance that a potential source book for one of the existing games morphs into yet another stand-alone game?

It's time FFG communicates their future intent for 40K RPG(s) with a bit more transparency. The likelihood of seeing a Xenos-based RPG are pitiful. I pity the FFG Star Wars customers- in five years they'll be where we are now. If they're lucky it'll all be for one game system. There is little excitement beyond Tome of Plague/Pestilence and Enemies o/t Imperium and this is not enough. Deathwatch and Dark Heresy languish in limbo.

Has the time come when Farmer Jones takes Boxer to the glue factory?

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Brother Orpheo said:

Nothing worthy of its own setting remains to be explored.
Whoah. That's kind of like saying that every author can put their pen down now because there are no more good novels or movie scripts to write.

You can always add something new and interesting if you have a good idea. You don't need a new sector for that either - just put down another name on the map and you've got yet another playground for your creativity!

And in theory, anything could be turned into its own game. You could have an RPG that deals about the adventures of a Tau Ambassador and their team as they venture out to make contact with new worlds. Or a game about AdMech Explorator missions, scavenging lost technology in a weird mixture of Blade Runner and Tomb Raider. A game about a squad of Battle Sisters undertaking mission after varied mission in the name of their God-Emperor. Or one about Orks that is laden with weird humour. Or how about gang warfare and underhive economy in a P&P version of Necromunda? Just to name a few examples off the top of my head!

I'd agree, though, that a unified rulebook for everything and everyone would be a much better thing to have - even though I doubt this will happen at this point, not to mention that such neutrality and "lack of focus" would be a crass departure from how FFG's other 40k games were basically each tailored specifically for their situation and narrative style.

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Brother Orpheo said:

To FFG: Quit outsourcing your supplements, dedicate in-house writers and developers to these RPGs, and produce publications with consistent quality.

You do realise that 99% of RPG companies basically run on freelance writers, artists and developers, right? The era of companies having full-time writers have been gone a good 20 years.

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MILLANDSON said:

 

Brother Orpheo said:

 

To FFG: Quit outsourcing your supplements, dedicate in-house writers and developers to these RPGs, and produce publications with consistent quality.

 

 

You do realise that 99% of RPG companies basically run on freelance writers, artists and developers, right? The era of companies having full-time writers have been gone a good 20 years.

 

 

Yes, I do. And that's exactly why I said what I did.
I can forgive you of this shortsightedness. You're just defending your own gravy train, no matter how thin that gravy may be.

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orks or eldar pretty please :)

 

 

 

 

 

P.S working on eldar supplement at the moment :) post on house rules forum

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I think a Titanicus RPG would be pretty bad a$$.  Controlling TItans would be a very interesting idea especially after the Dan Abnett book Titanicus.

 

Precedents :  Mecha games like Mechwarrior or Dragonmech.  There is a whole Genre of games based on Mecha.

 

Highlights:  Giving your characters an immense feeling of power.  Having Mass-Mass combat rules.  Having mouth watering stats for various classes of Titans.  Rules for generating your very own Titan Order.  Games become more strategic in scope and can really get into the geopolitics of the 40th Millenium. 

 

Problems:  Missions might be narrow in focus, hard to have a social encounter with a Warhound parked outside the cantina.  Be prepared for Characters to have the power to really really change the course of the campaign in one mission.

 

I thought that this might make the characters too overpowered, if they are running around with Titans (or 1 titan and everyone is part of the crew).  However, they have already done something similar with Rogue Trader.  If any thing, a Ship of Cruiser size or more has more firepower and armour than a Titan so giving the characters a Titan would be perfectly reasonable.  In addition, characters in Only War can probably get ahold of a Baneblade if they beg their Regimental commander enough and a Baneblade is basically a Titan-lite. 

Edited by peterstepon

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