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Mike

40K RPG

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Good question, I´d say mostly it´s the setting.

The rules are nice but nothing too special in my opinion, one could use D20 Future and have the same amount of fun or epic situations.

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I'd also cite the compatability with Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay's system - you can port across a lot of the already published materials and considering the shared major nemesis (Chaos/the Ruinous Powers) there's plenty of stuff you could use.

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  1. Critical hit tables.
  2. Lots of support and some great upcoming supplements.
  3. Critical hit tables.
  4. ???
  5. Critical hit tables!
  6. The combat is fast, furious, and turned up to eleven.

Personally I much prefer the WFRP / WH40KRP rules to the d20 system. Player characters stay in their profession instead of jumping around, and no matter how powerful you get - there's always the chance of getting killed by a lucky shot or two in a surprise gunfight or hectic battle.

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I would recommend the Dark Heresy Ruleset because it is a game specifically designed to handle many of the 40K "unique rules" (such as Insanity and Chaos Corruption) in addition to having a very similar flavor to other published 40K products such as Necromunda, GorkaMorka, etc. the rules (especially the errata on Dual Shot/Strike) reflect much of the brutal flavor of 40K from back in the 80s and early 90s (3rd ed.)

Unlike Generic Systems (see GURPS, HERO System) or easily modified systems (d20 Future - UGH) you can pick up the book and play.  No modification (save the errata), no guesswork, no rules haggling, etc. - It's all go.  The game is also designed to allow the characters to play characters from 40K - you get to play a Guardsman or Tech-Priest as opposed to a Strong/Fast character or a 150pt character.

The books also contain a massive amount of fluff - and ruling on the fluff.  Details on knowledge skills, how tech-use works, etc. are all in there.  It gives everyone in the group a starting page instead of having everything behind the GM's "conversion screen."

I highly recommend it.

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Mike said:

 

Suppose I wanted to get myself a Warhammer 40K roleplaying game. What makes Dark Heresy so special?

 

 

 

First thing you need to know is that Dark Heresy is NOT a 40k RPG.  It is a 'redshirt/footsoldiers' of the Inquisition in the Calixis sector, set within the 40k universe.

Dark Heresy gives you a very narrow, themed focus into the 40k IP, and is very much a parochial approach.  Very few of the icons of 40k are rendered in the rules, and those that are, are often glossed over or 'statted' unsatisfactorily.  And the epic qualities of 40k are missing almost entirely (although you undoubtedly play heroes in DH).

That said, it does provide a very interesting 'Cthulhu / pseudo-Medieval / Name of the Rose' style set-up, and seems to expect you to play an investigative 'dark-horror' style (while packing the book with combat rules and armoury goodies).

The rules are nothing new, and while directly 'ported over from WHFRP, somehow tweak those tried and tested mechanics enough to warrant 16 pages of errata.  Also, the scope of a '40k RPG' is beyond the rules capacity to cope, although they serve the limited premise of Dark Heresy quite well.

That said, you really need the Inquisitors Handbook to fill in a lot of the blanks left from Dark Heresy...serio.gif...and even then the picture's far from complete, but luckily the community has forums such as this, and over at Dark Reign, to put in a lot of time and effort to try and fill some of these blanks.  gui%C3%B1o.gif

What makes Dark Heresy so special is simply that this is the only officially produced, GW-backed RPG that is set within the 40k 'verse.  Its the only lens through which we're currently able to roleplay 'officially' in that setting (although i myself have used many other systems to play within 40k over the last 12 years, and i'm sure many others like me contnue to do so).

 

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Also I really like the homeworld and career system (but then not played to much else so don't know if they are unique) plus *uses very quiet voice and hides behind a Chimera* I like the psychic power rules (post errata of coursegui%C3%B1o.gif )

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Dark Heresy functions perfectly for what it set out to do. You play low level characters who investigte low level threats, as you gain experience you become mid level characters investigating mid level threats. THe biggest flaw overall, and what prevents you from actually playing broader 40K style games, IMNSHO, is the career systema nd character pregression rules. Other then the Psyker and perhaps Tech Priest, getting more experience doesnt mean a thing unless you get better equipment and armour. Sure you can get a talent here and there to give you bonuses to damage, better chances to hit, more chances to hit and so forth, but you have to wait several ranks to get a good set of them, sacrifice just about any other kind of developement to do so and walk away from it feeling like a cheese munchkin playing 3E with the perfect set of feats.

SO for a guardsman who supposedly was yanked out of his unit to provide firepower to the cell his career pretty much goes like this. Investigate mutant conspiracy, learn of mutant secrets, infiltrate mutant strong hold, fight mutants with his lasgun and axe, stop mutant psyker at last moment from summoning mutant warp energy, save the day. Learn to us a Grenade Launcher!!!!! What? Grenade Launcher? Why not Forbidden Lore Mutants, or Hatred Mutants? Well becasue those fall under other careers and a Guardsman must stay a shotgun totting ignorant thug.

DO NOT GET ME WROING....I love the game, the setting, the focus, the rules overall, its just the character generation and advancement that get me.

The second flaw is equipment. THere is a lot of equipment, but its abilities leap is humongous. TO go from a Laspistol/Autogun to a Bolt Pistol is staggering. A typical Laspistol or Autopistol has 0 Pen and 1D10+2 damage. A bolt pistol does 1D10+5 (tearing) wiht PEN of 5. Yes, a Bolt Pistol should be feared and powerful to a degree, but the general thought for me is equipment makes the game, not character.

Even the recently re-posted TS Luikart Volley Rules do not help lasgun armed Guardsmen hurt anything. They seem overly complicated and do not match the rest of the rule set. Basically my feelings on that is "the more shots fired shouldnt increase the damage but the number of times you get hit". 

Bottom line, combat should benefit from a variation of the Overbleed rules. +1 damage per degree of success after the first.

Now Psykers, they get new powers and abilities that eventualy put them leaps and bounds above the rest of the party. And tech priests get some cool talent/powers. and a Psyker can take out the entire party, without even trying. 1 in 400. That is the ration of a psyker using a power with 1D10 and a demon showing up to eat said psyker and party. A slight glitch. Reduce perils of the warp from 76-100 to 91-00 or even 96-00 and fill in 76-91 or 76-96 with other effects and bam, instantly fixed issue.

But like I said, overall it works. It works well if you can handle the character gen rules. It works fabulous if you dont mind the true power level of the game being weapons and armour. (hence why I run the thread on 2nd/revised edition LOL). I play it, I play it often, I run a web site for the game, I look forward to the new rules and books and hope Rogue Trader adds some cool **** to the game.

But that is what stands out to me.

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Mike said:

Suppose I wanted to get myself a Warhammer 40K roleplaying game. What makes Dark Heresy so special?

I have a love/hate relationship with DH.Since I got my copy, I must have read the book a hundred times.

It's a beautiful book, a gorgeous book, the kind of book I could take home to meet my mother if she wouldn’t look at me funny.

I love it and I hate it.

I wish I knew why as well, I like WFRP, the rules are in essence just WFRP. I should like it. The background is nicely written, plenty of story hooks for a GM to pick up on, plenty of 'blanks' for him to fill in as well. Despite the errata that people have banged on about the games eminently playable as it is.

But there’s still something about it irks me, something I can't put my finger on. Reading Luddites post, I think he's hit a nail, the game background revolves around exploration, investigation, paranoia and horror but the rules seem to revolve around shooting things with jolly big guns. It’s like the games confused about its own identity, it’s carrying all this baggage with it from the wargame and it’s confused about what it wants to be.

Regardless buy a copy, like I say it’s a beautiful book and at the very least it will look amazing on your shelf, plus it makes you more attactive to women*, cures cancer*, prevent tiger attacks* etc

*DISCLAIMER: These may be lies

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Other than the Critical Hit Tables, nothing really jumps out of the RAW.  It is pretty consice on its focus and the Fluff is just that, Fluff.  DH is a fine RPG for what it sells, you work for an inquisitor and you PURGE! BURNZ!  CLEANZEZ!

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Why isn't anyone mentioning beginner friendly? 'Tis my first, (and thus far only) RPG, and I understand the whole concept and ruleset with no difficulties. In fact, I love it. I am practically addicted! Whilst others have problems, I tend to look on the bright side.

Narrow scope? If you look at the big picture, you tend to miss out all the details, (which do tend to be the most fun parts,) so I'm fine with waiting for the next snapshot of it!

Psyker rules screwy? Meh, not really had any psykers in my games, and even fewer psychic powers used! So that is mostly ignored.

PK_b, the problem with XP, can be solved with elite advances, to cover all the common sense ones. But you will have passed your logic test and realised that one by now... happy.gif

Now, to find my tiger...

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The system realy works well with the grimm setting, even if there are no official AA rules yet.
 

Though my opinion for AA as pc's should be well known by now...

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PM102 said:

Why isn't anyone mentioning beginner friendly? 'Tis my first, (and thus far only) RPG, and I understand the whole concept and ruleset with no difficulties. In fact, I love it. I am practically addicted! Whilst others have problems, I tend to look on the bright side.

It is very user friendly, and a very cery pretty book. Like I said, overall I like it.

PM102 said:

Narrow scope? If you look at the big picture, you tend to miss out all the details, (which do tend to be the most fun parts,) so I'm fine with waiting for the next snapshot of it!

I dont mind the Calixis Sector or the "narrow view" I just wouldnt mind a few more options added. Overall, I use my own worlds anyway and the last thing I want is my players trying to "modify the status quo", one player already declared he wants to "liberate" the Imperium.

PM102 said:

Psyker rules screwy? Meh, not really had any psykers in my games, and even fewer psychic powers used! So that is mostly ignored.

Psyker rules are fine, a few notes on how to role play a psyker and some more powers would be keen.

PM102 said:

PK_b, the problem with XP, can be solved with elite advances, to cover all the common sense ones. But you will have passed your logic test and realised that one by now... happy.gif

Elite Advances are more or less a cop out for when they realized there were flaws in the advancement rules. I understand their existence and how they work and do use them (just about all the acolytes get Autosanguine injections from the Inquisitor to allow players to survive better in the long term in my campaign, course it comes with a few insanity points and corruption points).

Its a good game. Its pretty. Its accessible, there is plenty of fan made supplements, plenty of fluff from other games for the setting and on the web to use. It is also, most importantly, fun.

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RichH said:

 the game background revolves around exploration, investigation, paranoia and horror but the rules seem to revolve around shooting things with jolly big guns. It’s like the games confused about its own identity, it’s carrying all this baggage with it from the wargame and it’s confused about what it wants to be.

You know, I noticed that on day one of having the book. 10 pages of critical charts, 20 pages of combat rules.

2 pages of character interaction rules.

1 paragraph for using inquiry.

I ported over some ideas and rules from Call of Cthulhu and DC Heroes for investigation and interaction rules. I should probably also take a look at the Warhammer FROP Companion for the Social Manuevers rules and see about porting them over to the game as well.

Heck, a good Dark Heresy game could logically never involve a single shot fired. Just interaction, reasearch, investigation and stopping those **** cultists.....

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Peacekeeper_b said:

.

...Heck, a good Dark Heresy game could logically never involve a single shot fired. Just interaction, reasearch, investigation and stopping those **** cultists.....

We've logged around 50 hours of play (I know becasue I've recorded the sessions) and have had zero shots fired and a single minor psychic power used (and that's with two Psykers in the cell.)

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Peacekeeper_b said:

 

You know, I noticed that on day one of having the book. 10 pages of critical charts, 20 pages of combat rules.

2 pages of character interaction rules.

1 paragraph for using inquiry.

And?

This might just be me, but I've never seen a need for elaborate 'social interaction' rules, and I've never found a set that satisfactorily replicated the nuances or vagaries of simply sitting down and talking. Dice rolls keep things going, provide a little more impetus, a potential for GM cues and hints where appropriate, and allow a character to succeed where a player might not (in my game, you don't get a deceive test unless you explain what the deception is and how you're presenting it... but even if the deception is a flimsy one, you still get to test... with suitable modifiers).

IMO, combat needs mechanics, interaction and investigatio only need vague guidelines - afterall, we all know how to communicate with other people (if we didn't, roleplaying wouldn't work in the first place), but the ability to cut down your foes with sword and gun is somewhat more specialised and not necessarily something you want acted out around the table. The rules are there to cover the things that you can't do... stringing a sentence together is both within the grasp of every roleplayer I've ever met, and entirely acceptable gaming table etiquette...

Similarly, investigation is thinking, drawing conclusion based on available facts, and looking for facts where there are none... that's a matter of context and individual reasoning. The dice rolls keep things moving, but it's still the player's brain that's doing the work. A good Search result might yield better, more informative clues than a barely-successful one, which will help the player figure out what's going on, but that's something dependant on the situation, rather than a matter for strict rules.

Again, this might just be me, but surely the rules are meant to fade into the background most of the time, be as inobtrusive as possible, until the action heats up, at which point they're needed most.

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N0-1_H3r3 said:

 

...

Again, this might just be me, but surely the rules are meant to fade into the background most of the time, be as inobtrusive as possible, until the action heats up, at which point they're needed most.

 

 

I agree whole heartedly.

Also, extremely detailed social interaction rules would be awful and somewhat insulting: who are THEY to assume that we, the players, are socially inept retards? babeo.gif

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Necrozius said:

N0-1_H3r3 said:

 

...

Again, this might just be me, but surely the rules are meant to fade into the background most of the time, be as inobtrusive as possible, until the action heats up, at which point they're needed most.

 

 

I agree whole heartedly.

Also, extremely detailed social interaction rules would be awful and somewhat insulting: who are THEY to assume that we, the players, are socially inept retards? babeo.gif

Absolutely! It's up to me, the GM, to decide who is socially retarded or not! Who remembers the Blather skill from WFRP? It's all well and good saying "my rogue is a fast talker like Axl Foley" but a bit of roleplaying always beats a dice roll IMO.

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Inept Retards, Unite!  The idea of indepth social interaction rules is kind of insulting.  I and many of my "gamer" friends are well into our years and most of us are married.  I am fairly certain that while only one of us could possibly win a debate of any kind. I am quite certain that we all can communicate effectively around my kitchen table to each other whom we have known for years.  Usually a quick explanation and a dice roll tells us all that we need to know to get past the fluff and into the crunchty bits...  Boom!  There goes a heretic.  I have to admit, that in our old age, talk is cheap.  Action is where our money is, and we can't do that around my kitchen table.  It might chip the gravy boat.  Then I would be the one making the dodge check at a -30.  Or worse.

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I have only a few gripe with the system.  Otherwise, it is very strong.

1. Skills: 10+ different skills for Cipher, Common Lore, Dirve, Forbidden Lore, Navigation, Performer, Pilot, Scholastic Lore, Secret Tongue, Speak Language, and Trade.  They are so narrowly focused that it makes it difficult to broaden your knowledge base out without hurting your abilities elsewhere. There should be a few more skills available to all starting characters to round them out a little more and give them a little better chance to succeed.

2. Low level competency.  Character skills starting out make it difficult to investigate and get anywhere.  This dove tails in with the previous item and having just too many different skills.  Once you get a little experience under your belt, it is easier as you start buying the skills you need to do your job better.

3. The whole archetype system.  The characters are Acolytes for the Inquisition.  Being limited in what you can learn by your carreer seems a little problematic.  For example, if you play Cleric for an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor, you simply can't get the Xenos Lore skills except as Elite advances which doesn't make a lot of sense.  There should be some skill blocks that should be made available to a character based on who they work for and what experiences they gain during their time working for the Inquisition.

None of these are game breakers.

The game background is great and there is loads of material out there for inspiration - BL books, fan sites, etc.  The setting is great and a unique combination of sci-fi and horror.  Not that there aren't others out there, but the blending of it in the setting is what makes it unique.  It allows so many different directions for character development.

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Redeucer said:

I have only a few gripe with the system.  Otherwise, it is very strong.

1. Skills: 10+ different skills for Cipher, Common Lore, Dirve, Forbidden Lore, Navigation, Performer, Pilot, Scholastic Lore, Secret Tongue, Speak Language, and Trade.  They are so narrowly focused that it makes it difficult to broaden your knowledge base out without hurting your abilities elsewhere. There should be a few more skills available to all starting characters to round them out a little more and give them a little better chance to succeed.

2. Low level competency.  Character skills starting out make it difficult to investigate and get anywhere.  This dove tails in with the previous item and having just too many different skills.  Once you get a little experience under your belt, it is easier as you start buying the skills you need to do your job better.

3. The whole archetype system.  The characters are Acolytes for the Inquisition.  Being limited in what you can learn by your carreer seems a little problematic.  For example, if you play Cleric for an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor, you simply can't get the Xenos Lore skills except as Elite advances which doesn't make a lot of sense.  There should be some skill blocks that should be made available to a character based on who they work for and what experiences they gain during their time working for the Inquisition.

None of these are game breakers.

The game background is great and there is loads of material out there for inspiration - BL books, fan sites, etc.  The setting is great and a unique combination of sci-fi and horror.  Not that there aren't others out there, but the blending of it in the setting is what makes it unique.  It allows so many different directions for character development.

Very much agree  with this post - and yes there is alot of adventure possibilities - I got quite a number of ideas just from reading the backgrounds in the Inquisitor's Handbook.  Alot of the groundwork in doing an Inquisitor game is presented to you, and having run Inuisition games using 2 sets of home brew rules, d20, roll n keep, and now DH I have to say that the groundwork (planets, organizations, plotlines) is really the hardest part.  Coming up with your own abilities, careers, and backgrounds is far more difficult than you would think starting from square 0.

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Whoa, lots of responses - and qualified and good ones, too! So I guess if I ever want to take Call fo Cthulhu to space, I'll get myself a copy. Though I do have to admit I actually *do* have a slight tiger problem...

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Redeucer said:

3. The whole archetype system.  The characters are Acolytes for the Inquisition.  Being limited in what you can learn by your carreer seems a little problematic.  For example, if you play Cleric for an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor, you simply can't get the Xenos Lore skills except as Elite advances which doesn't make a lot of sense.  There should be some skill blocks that should be made available to a character based on who they work for and what experiences they gain during their time working for the Inquisition.

That does depend on how you approach things. The way I've been running it since the playtest finished was that the Career Path basically covered the stuff that a character is naturally more inclined towards, the things that they're regularly training to be better at, and so forth - it doesn't take them anything special or extra beyond the XP cost to buy from their advance scheme.

Elite advances are, however, available to everyone, so long as the opportunity is there, and the inclination exists to take advantage of it. Anyone can attempt to learn anything (within the restrictions of prerequisites), so long as they've got the time and effort to devote to learning, and the means to learn it (it's difficult to learn about Xenos if you're on a feral world with no Xenos species, no research materials, and nobody to teach you). It's not something special, so much as something that requires a little extra effort on the part of the character.

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I agree whole heartedly with NO-1_H3r3, the basic career paths are what society expects you to learn, the Elite advances those little interests that come on the side (most people, for instance expect a shop assistant to be able to speak the local language, know how to operate the till and understand the concepts of representative trade, most people also expect them to have a vague idea with regards where stock is/what it is, but a shop assistant may know a lot about history, or play an instrument, or whatever that doesn't link directly to the job), thus the career paths are limited to the "you'll pick this up as you go along" stuff.

As for the whole "guns and equipment seem more important than the character, this perfectly captures the atmosphere of 40K, where the Imperium's normal answer to a problem is to shoot it and ask questions maybe.  Also, I can't remember where it was as it was back in the 1980s/90s, but I read somewhere that the High Command of the Imperial Guard/Army were more concerned with the recovery of weapons and armour from the battle field than the soldiers who wielded/wore them, as the soldier had a lower collateral value as there was always another shmuck to give the kit to, but the kit cost money.  The fact the game's caught that idea (while anathema to Heroic RPG players) is a selling point in and of itself... 

If you feel that combat is becoming too much a part of the game, you need to modify the way your characters think (a few near death experiences will quickly put an end to unnecessary combats...).   The setting is very much not the D&D, "we're good guys who are tough, we'll beat up a bundle of little goblins for some XP", rather the "Bloody hell, it's a scary world once you look out of your box...  um, do I have to go looking for that thing, couldn't I just throw myself at a Hive Tyrant, that way my death'd be quicker... No?  Oh hell..."  To use literary references, far more George Orwell than Isaac Asimov...  or Judge Dredd than Lone Ranger (and I mean the original Judge Dredd comics, not the film or any resultant spin-offs), very bleak, very dark, but also with an intrinsic horror-humour (an empire ruled by a corpse and held together by cargo-cultists who have little understanding of how the science they use actually works...  )...

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