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Boss Gitsmasha

Starting Talents

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I've noticed that very few backgrounds/roles allow the PCs to start with what are otherwise starting talents in Dark Heresy 1, namely Low-Tech weapon training and Linguistics (Low Gothic). Every starting class started with both of these things in DH1, and yet they're conspicuously rare in DH2. Has this been fixed in one of the updates, or is there a reason they were left out?

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IIRC when you buy ANY linguistics skill (like high gothic, underworld), you get low gothic free, but that still doesn't solve the issue, unless the answer is to spend more XP, also, in RT universal weapon training melee meant you could use ANY weapon except exotics and normal weapons (so power sword is fine, powersword with field off is -20) by RAW.

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And what about the Low-tech weapons? Many classes can use a shock baton or a chainsword, but suddenly they don't know what to do if they pick up a regular sword or a baseball bat?

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I'm a little disappointed by starting talents too, especially the Weapon Training talents. Adeptus Arbites background gives only 1 Weapon Training (Shock or Solida Projectile) whereas Adeptus Astra Telepathica and Adeptus Ministorum get two - just as the Imperial Guard characters, by the way.

So the guy sorting the holy bones on the shrine world gets better weapon training in his job than the police force?

Doesn't make much sense to me. Despite the fact that Acolytes are recruited from the best people around, an Only War starting character feels more powerful than a newly created Acolyte.

 

 

Concerning Low Gothic it says on page 3 in Update 6:

Note that all Acolytes are capable of basic verbal communication in Low Gothic that would not require a skill test, such as normal conversation or reading standard Munitorum manuals.
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To be fair, Arbites also get shock maul OR shotgun for gear choices and start with the best armor....that said, it still sucks and I do get the feeling like you said. But maybe we are spoiled by every other system being higher power (even OW) than DH, so going back to it feels a step back/down.

 

For low gothic, not giving it trained is just dumb frankly. A game should not make you have to search in depth to see if your character can speak/write/read basic english. This is compounded by the fact that the language in question IS a skill that costs XP.

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To be fair, Arbites also get shock maul OR shotgun for gear choices and start with the best armor....that said, it still sucks and I do get the feeling like you said. But maybe we are spoiled by every other system being higher power (even OW) than DH, so going back to it feels a step back/down.

 

For low gothic, not giving it trained is just dumb frankly. A game should not make you have to search in depth to see if your character can speak/write/read basic english. This is compounded by the fact that the language in question IS a skill that costs XP.

 

I'm not sure about this. I used to enjoy that literacy was an advanced skill in DH1/WHFRP it seemed very fitting with the fuedal style of the world that some of the populace simply would not know how to read (especially given its influences from medeaval Europe). Speaking skills and reading skills are very different, for example after living in China for a while now I have  basic handle on Mandarin Chinese, but I can't read more than a couple of characters. If education is no longer a major factor for a portion of the populace (such as a Agri world of farmers) it seems perfectly fitting that while they could speak Low Gothic (or some dialect thereof) they might not be able to read all them funny squiggles.

On the subject of dialects, that would be a good reason to include Low Gothic. If the setting is remotely realistic the character might not know 'standard English'. There are many people in the U.K who speak their native dialect very well (and some of these, like my dialect "Tyke" or Glaswegian are often unintelligable for people from the U.S, or even those from too far south) but they have a poor grasp of R.P (The Queen's English as American's annoyingly insist on caling it sometimes). Chinese has a similar thing with what they call putonwa (standard chinese) as opposed to a dialectual variant. Its not a huge stretch to see how if this can happen within one country, it would be a HUGE problem on an interplanetary scale.

 

So no, its not dumb at all. Its incredibly realistic both from a 'real world' perspective and in keeping with the game's setting. It just depends how far you want to incorperate those kind of mechanics into gameplay.

Edited by Cail

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The characters are not "uneducated" though. They start out having a pretty good measure of training. While a commoner might not be able to read or write, for the sake of character creation, it's fine that they start with Low Gothic and Low-Tech.

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I did like it that your homeworld said how skilled you were the literacy, low gothic and high gothic in DH1e. Then your career or such can override that. And as long as you had the skill as an untrained basic (for any of the 3), you could do it normally.

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IIRC, the devs mentioned that many careers do not start with Low-Tech training because it seemed odd when everyone was capable of using bows and flails right out of the gates. This is a fair concern, but I think it is even stranger when both Arbites and Outcasts don't know how to use a club.

In my future games, I'm going to houserule that all characters start with Low-tech training. It's just too weird to imagine an orginization as powerful and vital as the Inquisition sending its field agents into battle without any melee weapon instruction.

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Low-tech is where I really wish melee and ranged were split up properly. Especially now IIRC that it is officially ruled that an unpowered x-weapon functions as the weapon minus the X bit.

 

Powersword -> Sword

Chainaxe -> Axe

Shock Maul -> Maul

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Tim Huckleberry told me repeatedly that he felt characters shouldn't start with Linguisitics (Low Gothic) and that he was concerned they had too many Weapon Training talents already. I ultimately told him he was flat wrong. Personally, I think he's being a bit of idiot on this point... sorry, Tim but it's true.

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Then split up low tech into a ranged one (like SP) and a melee one (like SP), that way most folks can pick up and use a club like a normal person, but not be able to use bows, crossbows, muskets, etc. Same with literacy being a separate skill from speaking

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I really like this idea, splitting these skills up.

 

Every ape can figure out how to use a club but there's no chance they'd figure out how to use a bow or bolas effectively. Two Weapon Wielder, for example, splits it up too. So make it Low-Tech Melee and Low-Tech Ranged and give Low-Tech Melee to everyone as a starting talent. Also, I don't really see why a shock maul should be used differently than a normal maul. I've never used one myself but I'd say I try to hit the enemy with it, and hitting hard might be a nice bonus.

 

Linguistics might be handled the way some other RPGs do it: The skill itself determines who good one is at actual linguistics, that is the theoretical knowledge of languages, so it might even become a Scholastic Lore specialty in that respect. Learning languages could be a XP cost based on aptitudes Intelligence and General and the complexity/strangeness of the language. High Gothic might be a Tier 1 language (talent?) because it has similarities to Low Gothic while that language from the remote jungle planet (which is made up by a series of tongue clicks, gestures and groans) might be a Tier 3 language. The XP costs should be low enough to make characters actually get a language and not say "I'll try my best with Low Gothic", so going with Tier 1-3 talents might be too much for complex languages, compared with the usefulness of the language. Maybe I'm just judging from the folks I know and myself but getting a "fluff" skill isn't attractive when it's setting me back one or two useful skills.

 

Literacy could either be linked to a Scholastic Lore specialty (e.g. Academic Knowledge) or be a specialty Talent with aptitudes Intelligence and Knowledge, to be taken each time one learns to read and write in specific characters (not languages), because if I can read English I can mostly also read German and Italian but that doesn't mean I can understand it (I'd need to learn the language too).

Myrion likes this

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Literacy could either be linked to a Scholastic Lore specialty (e.g. Academic Knowledge) or be a specialty Talent with aptitudes Intelligence and Knowledge, to be taken each time one learns to read and write in specific characters (not languages), because if I can read English I can mostly also read German and Italian but that doesn't mean I can understand it (I'd need to learn the language too).

 

That's actually less true that you think. For example, while Dutch uses the same alphabet (Roman) as English the pronunciation is completely different (technical term, the phonetics do not share the same relationship to the graphemes).

The sentence for 'I don't speak Dutch' is 'Ik spreek geen netherlands' (Lit. I speak no Dutch). But the pronunciation is closer to what would be written in English as 'Ik Sprake Gain Nederlunds'.

 

I'm using Dutch as an example because linguistically its the most similar language to English (infact if you go back in history long enough they become 'West Germanic Continental Dialect' and 'West Germanic North Sea Dialect' respectively.

I'm not sure the comparison to high and low gothic is great either. High gothic is often represented as being more similair to latin. How many of you can use Latin correctly just because you know English, or in some cases simplified English (US English).

Dutch and German were also historically called low German and high German, but my girlfriend (from Flanders in Belgium) cannot speak to my friend Nico (from Munchen, Germany).

Edited by Cail
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Literacy could either be linked to a Scholastic Lore specialty (e.g. Academic Knowledge) or be a specialty Talent with aptitudes Intelligence and Knowledge, to be taken each time one learns to read and write in specific characters (not languages), because if I can read English I can mostly also read German and Italian but that doesn't mean I can understand it (I'd need to learn the language too).

 

That's actually less true that you think. For example, while Dutch uses the same alphabet (Roman) as English the pronunciation is completely different (technical term, the phonetics do not share the same relationship to the graphemes).

The sentence for 'I don't speak Dutch' is 'Ik spreek geen netherlands' (Lit. I speak no Dutch). But the pronunciation is closer to what would be written in English as 'Ik Sprake Gain Nederlunds'.

 

I'm using Dutch as an example because linguistically its the most similar language to English (infact if you go back in history long enough they become 'West Germanic Continental Dialect' and 'West Germanic North Sea Dialect' respectively.

I'm not sure the comparison to high and low gothic is great either. High gothic is often represented as being more similair to latin. How many of you can use Latin correctly just because you know English, or in some cases simplified English (US English).

Dutch and German were also historically called low German and high German, but my girlfriend (from Flanders in Belgium) cannot speak to my friend Nico (from Munchen, Germany).

 

I just wanted to say I enjoyed this comment for its informative nature. Thank you.

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I don't see any reason why all characters, or most, should be literate. Why would they be? It's an obscure specialist skill in a medieval setting.

 

The Latin/English thing doesn't really work because High Gothic is supposed to be an older form of Low Gothic, right? Latin isn't an older form of English. It's more like Anglo-Saxon/English.

 

"or in some cases simplified English (US English)." ooh burn! :)

Edited by bogi_khaosa

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Latin isn't an older form of English. It's more like Anglo-Saxon/English.

Er... no.

IIRC, modern english is so heavily influenced by other languages, in particular Danish and Normannic French (itself influenced by the scandinavian languages), that it is not really that closely related to Anglo-Saxon as one might think.

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There is something called Old English though. It was used during Shakespeare's time in which The Canterbury Tales was written in. However, Old English sounds far different than modern English and uses different pronunciation.

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Literacy could either be linked to a Scholastic Lore specialty (e.g. Academic Knowledge) or be a specialty Talent with aptitudes Intelligence and Knowledge, to be taken each time one learns to read and write in specific characters (not languages), because if I can read English I can mostly also read German and Italian but that doesn't mean I can understand it (I'd need to learn the language too).

 

That's actually less true that you think. For example, while Dutch uses the same alphabet (Roman) as English the pronunciation is completely different (technical term, the phonetics do not share the same relationship to the graphemes).

That's of course correct.

What I meant was really to make the understanding and pronounciation of a language a language talent, while tying literacy to a skill.

I can of course read Dutch. I might even be able to recognize a few words (Munich/German here ;)) but I will not be able to pronounce it or understand it completely, that's what I'd need the language talent for.

 

In your example, to be able to read and speak both English and Dutch, with my idea you'd need the skill Scholastic Lore (Academic Knowledge) as a known skill to be able to recognize the Latin letters both languages use. To be able to speak both languages I'd need the talents Language (Dutch) and Language (English).

Now if I'd like to learn Ancient Egyptian I'd have to raise my Scholastic Lore (Academic Knowledge) to learn the hieroglyphs and I need the talent Language (Ancient Egyptian) to be able to both understand what the hieroglyphs mean and to speak the language.

 

I always imagined the relationship of High Gothic and Low Gothic to be of a nature similar to Latin and maybe Spanish, a language derived from Latin but with its own grammar and words. So while many words might seem familiar you wouldn't be able to understand anyone talking it.

Edited by Lok Hambrock

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There is something called Old English though. It was used during Shakespeare's time in which The Canterbury Tales was written in. However, Old English sounds far different than modern English and uses different pronunciation.

Actually it's divided up in Old English (Beowulf), Middle English (Canterbury Tales) and Early New English (Shakespeare), plus modern English.

Old English was closer to the Germanic languages, then the Latin influences came.

 

Sorry for being a wiseass but I studied English linguistics :)

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I think we can all agree that:

 

  • All characters should be able to use knives, clubs and other simple melee weapons
  • That all characters should not know how to use primitive ranged weapons unless from Feral World or such
  • Every PC should be able to speak Low Gothic with no issue.
  • Their literacy depends on career/upbringing. A noble would be literate from the start (especially if they became an adept), while a Hive Born Arbites could read, just not as well and a Feral Worlder probably has no skill at all.
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