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faceroll
2010-11-23, 01:45 AM
What are the playground's feelings on the mechanics for Dark Heresy? Clunky? Cool? Antiquated? Elegant?

firechicago
2010-11-23, 08:21 AM
Here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=159263&highlight=%22dark+heresy%22) are (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=156266&highlight=%22dark+heresy%22) a few (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=166708&highlight=%22dark+heresy%22) places (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=161107&highlight=%22dark+heresy%22) to (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=174083&highlight=%22dark+heresy%22) start. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=169755&highlight=%22dark+heresy%22)

Theo Hammond
2010-11-23, 08:35 AM
Been playing it for about 5 months now, at levels 1st thru 5th and revolving between two refs (so well all got a chance to play it).

Overall impression...i'd give it 8.5/10, but thats after we tweaked it a little.

The setting is great, far better from the books than you just get from GW's tabletop (and even Inquisitor game). Really well expanded, packed with depth and inspiration and with production values second to none (though you have to pay for it!). The errata for the core rules is pretty heavy and significant though so make sure you've got that.

We began with pre-written adventures before moving into our own written material once we'd gotten the hang of it. I heartily recommend the free pdf adventure 'Edge of Darkness' as it was a great intro, not at all linear and did really well at getting us started. By comparison the adventure in the main rules felt v poor, v linear and not the best balanced either with the difficulty of certain things at certain points (which will of course vary by party content).

Rules-wise it revolves around combat and the mechanics there are quite excellent. We've had great fun trying all different manner of weaponry and ways to use it, from shock&shield to full autoing, grenades to flamers. By and large its all felt reletively well balanced within the party, ranged weapons being more likely to hit and melee weapons doing more damage. Oh - but accurate sniping weapons are lethal. A good fight though will easily last all session, just like in Storyteller, so be prepared for that.

Skills and Talents are very broad (Talents being akin to D&D feats) though the latter often aren't really applied with a lot of logic around the varying levels of the varying classes (e.g. a psyker can Quick Draw from the start, but an Assassin not until 4th level, a Guardsman never gets Double Team etc etc). All a bit random, we felt, so what made the classes actually feel 'proper' was how we played them, rather than the skills/talents they get.

Skills are quite numerous, though there are a lot of trade/knowledge/lore skills in there. Also, and this was our biggest problem with the game - you're very likely going to fail your skill rolls. Even the easiest type of roll only has a 60% chance of success for an average person, which seems a little wrong. This game felt ripe for handling in a white wolf Story-Teller style but, as a ref, you simply can't count on the players making any skill rolls, which makes a lot of things quite tricky (especially as there isn't going to be the wealth of skill cross-over in the party you get in Storyteller). So this was our first house-rule - Outside of combat your skills worked from your stat x2, and the modifiers. If you didn't have the skill you could still have a go but at just your regular stat (and then modifiers). This really helped, saw a lot more of the PCs xp going into skills and thus made adventures easier to write for, flow better and have a lot more in them than just combat.

What else...Critical tables, we've loved those (though only the PCs and significant baddies use them in our game, regular baddies just die a 0 wounds). Psykers become easily the most powerful class (ruddy wizards *shakes fist*) and are never in any real danger of melting the party due to botched psionics (so long as they manage their Fate Points sensibly), but their element of random factor does make having them in the party quite fun.

Shopping is good fun. Getting xp each session that you can spend each session and immediately gain something from is great. No vehicle rules is a significant ommision (they appear in a later book but that is more ). Fear can be a bit too game-breaking.

Oh, and everyone agreed that the Adept class is the red-headed stepchild of the system :)

Grogmir
2010-11-23, 08:47 AM
I've played in two camps - a decent system but some inherent problems for me.

I find the setting leads to problems with the players and DM, as a world its a lot more 'railroaded' than others - there are things you really can't do otherwise you will be just killed. Felt a lot more restrictive as a PC, which for a change was nice - but I'm used to the freedom / centre of attention that DnD brings.

I played a psychic, great at highier levels, but redicously broken. And with so many dice it felt like I was playing a one person wargame.

Psyx
2010-11-23, 10:23 AM
Been running it since its release.

Obviously, there's a massive depth of background there. This is brilliant... if you know it. I wouldn't recommend running it if you're not familiar with the universe any more than I'd recommend running Starwars having only seen the films. Likewise, it's for the best if the players are familiar with the background too.

It also requires that the characters are essentially fascists in spaaaaaaace and happy with that role. They ain't strictly the 'good guys' and they will be expected to follow orders and operate strictly within a remit of sorts.

It should be run and played as quite investigatory. Kind of like CoC, but where you have a fighting chance of survival. The fear and insanity rules are good. If you just play the game to shoot things, you'd be missing the point a bit. Certainly: If you don't want an investigative game and just want to shoot things in the 40k universe, then Rogue Trader or (better) Deathwatch are better suited for it.


System-wise, I found it good, but in need of tweaks.

The Psyker rules are broken. Psykers will break your game, and then die messily. They need toning down, and I'd recommend filing the serial numbers off the WFRP2 magic system and using that instead. Failing that... ban psykers. It's probably for the best, unless you want to harken back to SWd6 days of 'lets follow the jedi around'.

As a GM, you need to streamline combat on your side of the screen and simplify the crits, to keep things running smooth and fast. As another poster stated: Combat can be lengthy unless you work to speed it up. I also dropped the 'you can dodge gunfire' rule.

Skill checks are difficult. Remember to use positive modifiers.
I avoided problems with this by allowing PCs to buy TWO stat advancements at each of the given costs, instead of one. Thus they could get up to +40% on a stat, at twice the price of getting 20% as per the rules.

The game is excellently supported. The additional material is great and well-written.

All in all: Excellent game, which requires a few small tweaks and an overhaul of the magic system.

MickJay
2010-11-23, 12:25 PM
It's also excellent fun when you get to know the system a little better and start finding all the silly loopholes and absurdities of the rules as written. This game requires some heavy houseruling to run smoothly, or things get comical real quick. That said, the setting tends to make up for it.

As for the psykers, they tend to affect the game most significantly not with their powers (some of which are truly broken), but by invoking perils of the warp. Reversed gravity can kill off the whole group more easily than a band of heretics or some lesser demons, and even lesser of the psychic phenomena can screw up for the acolytes the whole plan of action.

Zen Master
2010-11-23, 01:37 PM
My take on Dark Heresy is: Autofire kills all!

Stack bonuses, hold the trigger, and kill ... anything that can die.

Naturally, you can fiddle your way around that. Power armor, force fields, increased toughness. But playing the game (I think) it's made to be played, it's a game of fast-paced rocket tag, and if you don't plan well and make sure to get the jump - you don't live to tell about it.

Malbordeus
2010-11-23, 01:43 PM
heh, in the dh game i'm currently running, the psyker got a lesser daemon from their perils, whilst trying to heal after being blasted earlier in the day. the party wernt even second (level? teir? carrer? ... whatever.) the whole group flipped out, and hit 90's on the shock chart appart from the arbiter who managed to fail his fear test by 10 degrees... luckily the demon was only there for two rounds, but its fun for giggles.

i cant see too many problems with the game other than the standard - if your stupid and kick off on the wrong people - you die messily. normally due to heavy weapons fire.

faceroll
2010-11-26, 05:30 AM
I am playing a psyker. The minor fear power is pretty brutal. The invocation skill is also awesome, as it lets out of combat manifesting (is that the right word? I play too much D&D...) auto-succeed with low cost powers.


Skills are quite numerous, though there are a lot of trade/knowledge/lore skills in there. Also, and this was our biggest problem with the game - you're very likely going to fail your skill rolls. Even the easiest type of roll only has a 60% chance of success for an average person, which seems a little wrong. This game felt ripe for handling in a white wolf Story-Teller style but, as a ref, you simply can't count on the players making any skill rolls, which makes a lot of things quite tricky (especially as there isn't going to be the wealth of skill cross-over in the party you get in Storyteller). So this was our first house-rule - Outside of combat your skills worked from your stat x2, and the modifiers. If you didn't have the skill you could still have a go but at just your regular stat (and then modifiers). This really helped, saw a lot more of the PCs xp going into skills and thus made adventures easier to write for, flow better and have a lot more in them than just combat.

Good to know. I kind of remember that from playing the roll under mechanic in CoC. The GM also has a lot of leeway with degrees of success/failure and ad hoc bonuses.

Talkkno
2010-11-26, 07:30 AM
Play Rogue Trader or Deathwatch instead if you those themes appeal to you as well, they much better written.

Psyx
2010-11-26, 01:16 PM
I'm not really seeing how playing a multi-billionaire trader or the finest killing machine ever created by mankind explores the horror and investigation themes, which are DH's real strengths...

Both the other games are good, but neither are as thematically suited for subtle investigations.

Artemis97
2010-11-26, 06:29 PM
The goup I play with have been running our first game of Dark Heresy for about 6 months now, off and on. I, personally, like the mechanics. Everything is based around percentages, which is in ways easier to grasp than D20 might be.

I agree with some of the above posters that it can be difficult to make some rolls successful, but I believe this is deliberate. With maybe Psykers as an exception, you are playing normal human beings set against the terrible forces of Chaos. And for all the tech available to you, you're still vulnerable. If you don't play smart, you will get creamed. But, honestly, I enjoy that. It's the way the setting is meant to be. Dark. Gritty. Dangerous. I know I might lose my character if I make a mistake, or she could just get hit by a stray bullet. It makes combat much more exciting than like in DnD, where you almost always assume you'll survive the encounter.

Also, the crit tables are brutal, and there are 11 pages of them. They are, honestly, nightmare inducing. I'd suggest not reading through them before bedtime.

That's my 2cp.

Halae
2010-11-26, 06:43 PM
After a few sessions, my opinions on it are thus - pretty good, but get lucky in character creation and you can dominate.

The group I play with is fairly good roleplayers and we try to base the way our characters are around how the dice fall rather than the other way around. to this point, my DM said that we will get the things we roll, bar none. This was said in response to one of the players gaining a mutation which he didn't want. I also rolled a mutation. I rolled on the chart, just like it said, and it said "roll for a major mutation" I rolled again and got Daemonborn. Apparently I got recruited into the inquisition to see if my kind could be turned, or something to that effect

That's essentially godmode in this game, but because my DM is completely true to his word, he allowed it. My allies hide behind their Half-Daemon looking buddy during combat and interactions with things from outside their mortal ken. I'm more intent on roleplaying this character than overpowering everything we come across, so I focus on him being slightly emo but very friendly and protective towards those who have earned his trust and friendship. He's a beautiful character who I'm going to have to migrate to another game since this one is shutting down.

That said, for the most part everything is nice. Gods help you if an enemy rolls a critical, but nice, all the same

_Zoot_
2010-11-26, 06:46 PM
After a few sessions, my opinions on it are thus - pretty good, but get lucky in character creation and you can dominate.

The group I play with is fairly good roleplayers and we try to base the way our characters are around how the dice fall rather than the other way around. to this point, my DM said that we will get the things we roll, bar none. This was said in response to one of the players gaining a mutation which he didn't want. I also rolled a mutation. I rolled on the chart, just like it said, and it said "roll for a major mutation" I rolled again and got Daemonborn. Apparently I got recruited into the inquisition to see if my kind could be turned, or something to that effect

That's essentially godmode in this game, but because my DM is completely true to his word, he allowed it. My allies hide behind their Half-Daemon looking buddy during combat and interactions with things from outside their mortal ken. I'm more intent on roleplaying this character than overpowering everything we come across, so I focus on him being slightly emo but very friendly and protective towards those who have earned his trust and friendship. He's a beautiful character who I'm going to have to migrate to another game since this one is shutting down.

That said, for the most part everything is nice. Gods help you if an enemy rolls a critical, but nice, all the same

Wouldn't being Deamonborn in 40K be somewhat of a bad this, what with Ordo Malleus and the rest trying their very best to kill people just like you?

Halae
2010-11-26, 06:53 PM
Wouldn't being Deamonborn in 40K be somewhat of a bad this, what with Ordo Malleus and the rest trying their very best to kill people just like you?

Which is why I was confused as to my DM saying yes to it in the end, but apparently one of the high inquisitors thought they could save my humanity or somesuch and make me fight other Daemons. so far, it's working, but we'll have to see if it continues to do so since there's a good chance the current DM won't be able to continue running our games.

I've been working out my backstory to include my mother, who was originally a cultist who offered herself to the Daemons essentially giving birth to my character when the inquisition found her. The high inquisitor thought "Get em young and you can do anything" and BAM, I've lived my life in relative isolation, being studied and prodded by those who wish to combat the Daemons and being trained to fight them. The group he got sent with (our party) was wary of him at first, but when he showed he was even more trustworthy than some of the other players, he's kinda been the moral center of the group, strangely enough

_Zoot_
2010-11-26, 06:54 PM
Which is why I was confused as to my DM saying yes to it in the end, but apparently one of the high inquisitors thought they could save my humanity or somesuch and make me fight other Daemons. so far, it's working, but we'll have to see if it continues to do so since there's a good chance the current DM won't be able to continue running our games.

I've been working out my backstory to include my mother, who was originally a cultist who offered herself to the Daemons essentially giving birth to my character when the inquisition found her. The high inquisitor thought "Get em young and you can do anything" and BAM, I've lived my life in relative isolation, being studied and prodded by those who wish to combat the Daemons and being trained to fight them. The group he got sent with (our party) was wary of him at first, but when he showed he was even more trustworthy than some of the other players, he's kinda been the moral center of the group, strangely enough

Ah, you work for a radical, ok, that makes more sense :smalltongue:

Halae
2010-11-26, 07:11 PM
Ah, you work for a radical, ok, that makes more sense :smalltongue:

Yeah, I think that's what the DM called him. forgive me, I'm not terribly familiar with the setting yet. On the upside, I found the picture I've been using as this guy's portrait!
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b283/pyranack/Hellbred.jpg

Sindri
2010-11-27, 01:55 AM
I haven't played DH itself, but Rogue Trader is the same system and universe, so I'll talk about that.

The combat system is very nice; any given shot is unlikely to hit, but every impact has significant meaning, and one bullet can kill. This means that the combat is very realistic, there is genuine danger in even minor encounters, and there is plenty of glory to be had for even inexperienced characters if they're smart and lucky.

The skill system is awkward at best. For simplicity they used the same system for skills as combat, but the same things that made combat realistic and gritty made the skills painful to use and ludicrously difficult. The most skilled person on a planet, under ideal conditions, performing a routine task, has about an 80% chance of not screwing it up. An average worker, doing what they've spent their entire life doing, has a 50% success rate on trivially easy tasks. And that's assuming that you know the skill at all; in our Rogue Trader game we discovered that several vital, everyday skills are completely unavailable until high ranks and never possible for some archetypes--in a game where the PCs are supposed to be the best of the best, running a starship containing thousands if not millions of people.

If this is really the skill system they use, I understand how the world got so crapsack. There's constant war because 2/3 of the natural resources were used up by failing skill checks, and the diplomats all had about a 15% chance of not accidentally declaring war by saying hello.

Flavor is great, but I'd translate to a better skill system before playing much.

MickJay
2010-11-27, 10:26 AM
Both combat and skill checks can be made significantly easier if you work to get the circumstances on your side. Firing at short distance, aiming, full auto, or having proper equipment and assistance for the task (and fate points to spend if you fail really badly) tend to make the wh40k character's life a lot easier. With good circumstances, equipment, upgraded skills and talents and a high characteristic you can get up to 130-ish total value, for at least some tasks, and it's not that difficult to get to around or over 100 on ballistics tests, either. It's one of those games where specialization gets rewarded, as long as there are people around to perform other important tasks which your character can't. That said, even generalist characters like Clerics/Missionaries can get quite good at more than just, say, social interactions and combat.

DeathsHands
2010-11-27, 03:36 PM
Played both Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader here, and I can definitely vouch for the skill issues; we basically have it so that skill checks to a certain extent can just be completely skipped, akin to taking 10/20.

faceroll
2010-11-30, 07:48 AM
I haven't played DH itself, but Rogue Trader is the same system and universe, so I'll talk about that.

The combat system is very nice; any given shot is unlikely to hit, but every impact has significant meaning, and one bullet can kill. This means that the combat is very realistic, there is genuine danger in even minor encounters, and there is plenty of glory to be had for even inexperienced characters if they're smart and lucky.

The skill system is awkward at best. For simplicity they used the same system for skills as combat, but the same things that made combat realistic and gritty made the skills painful to use and ludicrously difficult. The most skilled person on a planet, under ideal conditions, performing a routine task, has about an 80% chance of not screwing it up. An average worker, doing what they've spent their entire life doing, has a 50% success rate on trivially easy tasks. And that's assuming that you know the skill at all; in our Rogue Trader game we discovered that several vital, everyday skills are completely unavailable until high ranks and never possible for some archetypes--in a game where the PCs are supposed to be the best of the best, running a starship containing thousands if not millions of people.

If this is really the skill system they use, I understand how the world got so crapsack. There's constant war because 2/3 of the natural resources were used up by failing skill checks, and the diplomats all had about a 15% chance of not accidentally declaring war by saying hello.

Flavor is great, but I'd translate to a better skill system before playing much.

Hahaha, I'll pass this along to my GM. :)

Sir Swindle89
2010-11-30, 08:03 AM
I've lived my life in relative isolation, being studied and prodded by those who wish to combat the Daemons and being trained to fight them.

If i were managing that game i would have totally given you one of the psyker defect thing as a result of the prodding, a fear of bald robed women or somthing from that list.

Saph
2010-12-06, 01:54 PM
A story for those guys curious about exactly how bad Psyker misfires can get:

We just played the fourth session of our Dark Heresy campaign a couple of days ago. The party was in the middle of trying to get rid of a gang from the lower levels of a hive city, and had taken some injuries from the gang's guns and explosives. The Psyker's player arrived late, and for her first roll of the night, tries to heal the Assassin.

She rolls her power dice and gets a 9. Psychic Phenomena.
She rolls on Psychic Phenomena and gets an 88. Perils of the Warp.
She rolls on Perils of the Warp and gets a 92. Daemonhost.
She fails her Willpower check, fails her reroll, and turns into an Unbound Daemonhost with stats through the roof and nine Major Psychic Powers.

The Daemonhost kills, fears, or dominates everyone in the room, kills, fears, or dominates everyone in the building, then kills, fears, or dominates everyone in the city block as it starts ramping up to control the entire hive city. The one remaining party member still conscious (once he'd finished running away) calls in the whole thing to the party's Inquisitor.

The Inquisitor has the city nuked from orbit.

End result: no more psyker, no more daemon, and a smoking radioactive crater where a hive city of 60 million people used to be.

The Arbitrator's comment once he'd been woken up and had the whole thing explained to him: "Well, I guess we don't have to worry about the gang anymore."

MickJay
2010-12-06, 02:09 PM
Ooh, you actually had that happen! Worst we got was reversed gravity (twice), one of which turned what was supposed to be a brief, unexciting combat into one of the most memorable encounters we had (and if it wasn't for the fact we were on a boat in a canal, everyone would probably die in the end, too).

Rogue Trader significantly reduces both the chance and the severity of unforeseen effects, making the psionics much "safer" (though there's still a significant risk).

Halae
2010-12-06, 02:17 PM
If i were managing that game i would have totally given you one of the psyker defect thing as a result of the prodding, a fear of bald robed women or somthing from that list.

You know, we probably should. Nothing like having a strange fear to justify homeschooling! I'll talk to my GM about it, since we're going to be continuing

Ranielle
2010-12-06, 03:04 PM
It is not a combat game. Yes, there is a lot of it if you want ( to die ) but the feeling should be more of a survival horror detective story. Especially when you're up against another branch of the most holy Inquisition.

The game feels a bit railroaded sometimes because most of the people ordering you around will be able to destroy you in a few seconds if you disobey them, or they might even do worse.
Ideally, this could be used to make the players survive the first few levels as 40k is as usual very deadly and then give them a bit of freedom to get themselves killed in hilarious ways.

The way we play it is less combat intensive and more of a cloak and dagger sort of thing. We've just discovered that our dear Inquisitor is considered radical by some. We have of course no proof of this, and we don't even know the people feeding us information are not, in fact, traitors.

That's the sort of rock and a hard place problem you usually face, and openly siding with someone generally gets you killed, fast.

faceroll
2010-12-06, 03:36 PM
A story for those guys curious about exactly how bad Psyker misfires can get:

We just played the fourth session of our Dark Heresy campaign a couple of days ago. The party was in the middle of trying to get rid of a gang from the lower levels of a hive city, and had taken some injuries from the gang's guns and explosives. The Psyker's player arrived late, and for her first roll of the night, tries to heal the Assassin.

She rolls her power dice and gets a 9. Psychic Phenomena.
She rolls on Psychic Phenomena and gets an 88. Perils of the Warp.
She rolls on Perils of the Warp and gets a 92. Daemonhost.
She fails her Willpower check, fails her reroll, and turns into an Unbound Daemonhost with stats through the roof and nine Major Psychic Powers.

The Daemonhost kills, fears, or dominates everyone in the room, kills, fears, or dominates everyone in the building, then kills, fears, or dominates everyone in the city block as it starts ramping up to control the entire hive city. The one remaining party member still conscious (once he'd finished running away) calls in the whole thing to the party's Inquisitor.

The Inquisitor has the city nuked from orbit.

End result: no more psyker, no more daemon, and a smoking radioactive crater where a hive city of 60 million people used to be.

The Arbitrator's comment once he'd been woken up and had the whole thing explained to him: "Well, I guess we don't have to worry about the gang anymore."

I am playing a psyker for exactly this reason. :smallamused:

Isn't it a great setting where a hive city being nuked from orbit due to some bad rolls is par for the course? I think the 40k universe is hilarious.

jaybird
2014-01-30, 09:02 PM
I also dropped the 'you can dodge gunfire' rule.

...what. How many PCs do you go through a session? :smalleek: