View Full Version : Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, & Deathwatch

2011-08-11, 01:08 PM
I'm a Dark Heresy player, but I know Rogue Trader is really popular and I'd like to be able to join in on RT games, and we're using a bad third party source rulebook in my gaming group for Astartes and would like to move to Deathwatch.

Unfortunately, I can't make heads or tails out of a few things:

How does character generation go in Deathwatch and RT?
How do psychic powers work in the two settings? (I play almost solely Psykers)
What's with the XP thing and characters starting with 5K XP?
What's the deal with the large XP quantities in general for DW/RT characters?
Do Ascension rules and DH/RT rules have any shared ground based on high XP?
How are you meant to transfer between the systems in general?
What's with talents that work differently, like Sound Constitution?

If anyone could explain any or all of this, I'd be delighted.

2011-08-11, 02:22 PM
Well, I'll answer your questions then hit some generalisms:

In no particular order:

1) Character Gen - Very Similiar, Minor Thematic Differences:

Works, more or less, the same. The biggest difference is in RT where you have sliding available options from your origin. So, each branch you take opens X options for the next step of gen, but takes away options as well, and ends with "potential careers." Neat, but probably ignorable with minimum rules hack.

DW has some gear gen as well.

2) Whats with the XP thing/ big XP? - So you can compare characters without people whining about "but we're all level 1, why is he awesome?":

The systems are designed to be interoperable. The starting XP for RT characters makes them roughly rank 5 characters for DH. This represents the fact that, in universe, a rogue trader and his personal entourage are likely to be better endowed, more powerful, and more experienced than a group of hapless acolytes on their first investigation.

For space marines, the 13,000 EXP represents the baseline of what it takes to be a battle brother, the codex astartes standardized training, and then some service time before being asisgned to the deathwatch. Naturally, they are going to romp and stomp a rank 1 guardsman off the bat.

Interestingly, a rank nine DH character can often stomp a starting DW character depsite "equal" xp...so, bonus points if you live that long (your GM is not grimdark enough!)

2) Pyskers - You cheesy munchkin. I hope the warp eats you. And your friends. And then after your soul has been stripped away, you are placed in the basilisk of torment until the end of time to be a plaything for the gods.

Pyskers in RT generally operate on the same mechanics as DH-Ascension pyskers with fettering and pushing. The navigators and astropaths have some powers tailored to (not surprisingly) navigating and astropathing.

Librarians are basically nigh-infallible battle pyskers who more or less ignore the other systems' pysker rules in favor of a handful of devastating techniques. They get a lot less in the way of possible techniques, but the chance of them being eaten by a demon goes way down.

The fact that each chapter only produces a handful librarians, each precious beyond a battle brother as a normal marine is to a guardsman, will somehow not stop Every. Single. Team. from having one.

3) Common Systems fo High XP - Hooray for influence / profit factor.

DH-Ascension and Rogue Trader share many similiar systems, especially concerning wealth and status. DW has some combat mechanics, but its very nature is that a lot of the social, gear, and expanding capabilities mechanics are different.

The Influence and Profit Factor rules are essentially flip sides of the same coin. Ways to get stuff without playing "how many thrones are in my purse?" and "if I loot his auto-pistol, can I sell it for two more rounds for my bolter?"

The spaceship rules can be used by any of the systems. Or you could hunt up old Battlefleet Gothic rules if you want a more tactical feel.

Items are pretty much interchangeable between all three. Except for astartes stuff, which is really only usable by the astartes.

Pyskers, as mentioned.

Base mechanics are pretty much the same for shooting people and talking to people, and anything in between.

Now on to playstyle generalities:

DW is not a very sandboxy game. It is, to a large extent, going to feel the most like a dungeon crawl / combat mission. And, being as how massive space marines in power armor are typically less than subtle, your solutions are somewhat limited. 95% of the time the game will be "recieve combat mission, plan and execute combat mission, be retrieved and debriefed, upgrade character." Now, there are plenty of opportunities for plot hooks, cunning, treachery, and despair in the middle of missions. But if your looking to execute DH style investigations, or run amok for your own good ala RT...not so much.

That being said, if played right it can be a fascinating political story of the interactions of the highest powers in the Imperium from the astartes POV.

RT is the most sandbox of games. By definition, Rogue traders are their own masters, and the rules and suggested campaign style is set out for player's to make their own destiny - with the help of more power behind them than most planetary nobles.

Its also the one most likely to allow special snowflakes and unfettered exploration. If you want to play an Ork Freebooter, this is for you. The down side is, naturally, its the easiest to get lost in, and the easiest for combat players to end up accidentally bored in.

I won't go in to DH, as you know it well.

2011-08-12, 08:40 AM
How Well does RT work without a dedicated GM to run it?

I am getting the book soon (hopefully the London Riot Problems don't affect the mail to much) and while i mainly am getting it to read i'd also like to play but don't really want to be the GM and a fiend of mine is interested as-well.

We are talking about a Explorator Themed game (Magos in charge vs a actual RT) with most of the crew being servitors where possible (kinda like the RT from the Esienhorn books)

2011-08-12, 10:04 AM
It's probably quite workable - each player might well run an adventure and then hand over the GMing to someone else, as it's perfectly possible to have separate endeavors with little to no connection to each other.

You would still need someone to hold the Warrant, but having a puppet RT manipulated by his Magos, or simply following his advice to the point where the Magos is in charge is not impossible. Remember though, that you will need someone to be the face of the party, and this is precisely what RT usually are. Missionary comes close second, but with different skills and skill focus he won't be nearly as effective.

Servitor crew is actually one of the optional "components" of the ship, with its up- and downsides.

2011-08-12, 10:49 AM
Why bother with a RT puppet or not if you are happy to play a Mechanicus ship

2011-08-12, 02:40 PM
Actually, RT and its format is very well set for rotatin-GM play. Because the overarching goals are usually the player's goals, one mastermind doesn't need to be orchestrating the cunning universe at large.

Instead, after you've nominated what your doing, and one GM has decided what the sub-components will be, you can have a different Gm run each sub component.

So, "explore the lost planet X-M-25" having been settle don as your explorator's goal, you as a group might decide this probably involves:

Finding the lost planet - Some sessions of hunting down information, star charts, deciphering rumors, etc. 1 GM runs this hunt.

Exploring the planet - Some sessions of mucking about planetside, finding lost technology, awakening sleeping necron lords, that sort of thing. 1 GM runs this mini-chunk.

Make Use of Your Find - The joys of publishing to academia, getting credit for your find, escaping the greater daemon of khorne who may have been tied to that last tomb, making sure the inquisition doesn't kill you and glass the planet, convincing the Mechanicus you deserve more influence and more stuff than Explorator B. 1 GM runs this chunk.

You can even set it up so that each GM gets to GM what he likes...or the least useful characters GM the period they aren't useful for. The combat monster GM's politics, the scribe GMs you walking in to the lost webway gate (his PC becomes a walking knowledge roll) and the subsequent hail of shuriken fire, etc.

And, as someone said, as a full blown explorator you would experience very similiar rights as a rogue trader, through you would answer to the mechanicus.