Monday, June 7, 2010

Dark Heresy Experiment

I've been running a Dark Heresy game ... (FINALLY ... I've wanted to for a few years but just never had the right group). I have some concerns about the system for example that combats look like they could be a bit wonky and that the rules looka bit too big and GURPs/RIFTS/Shadowrun-ish for my taste. But all in all  at least as far as the character creation night the system is performing great (lol which doesn't mean much really). 

I have six more sessions planned in my story arch and then its either on to chapter two or we might move into the Rogue Trader system. I try not to plan massive 50 week long campaigns ... over the years I've seen game after game aspire to do that only to go kaput after about 8 or so sessions. I feel that for pretty much any game planning for between 8 and 12 sessions is best. If you aspire to do more ... fine ... best of luck to you ... but I'd advise to at least do things in 8 to 12 session "chapters."  That is how I will run any standard RPG system.

Anyway Just thought I'd comment about how much fun the system is so far

The group is comprised of a Sister of Battle (power armor clad nuns with guns), a Guardsman (who is actually an Imperial Naval pilot ... we sort of hodge podged together something for him out of the guardsman class and its working well so far), an Imperial Psyker, an Arbite (40K cop basically) and a Tech Priest. The group is really balanced and if nothing else we all should get a pretty comprehensive look at the rules.

I am hoping to get really good idea of what the system can do and can't after this run. I'm planning to accelerate leveling a bit and move the group up to around rank 5 or 6 by the time we are done. I'm not a fan of just saying "ok start out at rank/level 5" with a game generally. I find that whenever I've done that as a player or GM people just don't have the buy in they normally do and the game just isn't as much fun. Yet languishing at low level ... yet again ... for yet another game didn't seem that much fun either. So we'll see how this all works out ... so far at least I'm having a blast :)


Cyborg Trucker said...

So are you saying the system is clumsy, too complicated or both? Honestly I'm loving it as RPG systems go. Detailed enough but not so that you go crazy with minutia. But hey all opinions are valid I'm NOT knocking yours.
I think I can help you out if you like and send you some hand-outs for the players so they have something to look at instead of having to try to frantically search the main game tome for something.
Another thing I do to get players into learning the combat is giving out assignments between games. Like having them review burst, auto or cover fire. Cause the way I see it if I'm going to the trouble to run the game and create the adventures they can do a little work themselves. Besides I learned how those work and WILL be using it on them. I'm not a brutal GM but shouldn't be the bitch in the middle either.

The Lord of Excess said...

Well first to answer your question I'm not saying really anything yet. I looked over the rules and had some concerns ... hell when I first got the book I did that ... but I found myself doing it again when we decided to fire up a game. But I'm reserving judgement until we all get some extensive play under our belts. I've only played in two small campaigns of the game and this is my first go with DMing it. So I'm reserving judgment and remaining cautiously optimistic that the overall experience will be awesome enough to more than smooth out any little blemishes the system itself might have ... but at this point I'm not sure if it does have flaws or not ... minor ones or major ones.

To quantify where I'm coming from in terms of experience and preference relating to RPGs.
I've had pretty extensive experience with most of the main RPGs out there over the past 12 or so years (and some time as a kid with old school D&D). From white box D&D to 4e, from GURPS to RIFTS to Shadowrun. I've played Hackmaster and Savage Worlds and White Wolf stuff as well.

I've done most of the major indie RPG systems now as well. Based on those experiences I see RPGs as basically one of three styles of games ... one shot-beer and pretzels style games that aren't really designed for long campaign play. Massive simulator systems with a rule for every occasion that are intended for long campaign style play and/or just ultra rules heavy presumably with the intention of being more "realistic" (I personally have found that more rules don't necessarily add to the realism ... at least for me ... they just tend to stall the game and take away from the role playing, etc.). And then the standard systems which are the middle ground of RPGs and where I'd put 3.5 and 4e D&D, Savage Worlds, White Wolf stuff, etc. There are also some odd ducks out there that really are just nearly unique (Dogs in the Vineyard, In a Wicked Age, etc.). I see Dark Heresy as a "middle ground" game ... with a little leaning towards simulator system.

Anyway the reason I mention all that is that now that I've played some very well designed indie systems that one could really do anything they wanted to with and aren't astronomically complex AND facilitate deep roleplaying ... I find myself comparing every other game I play to them. Spirit of the Century/FATE, Diaspora, Burning Wheel/Burning Empires ... all have rules that facilitate role playing ... not just to simulate something ... yet the mechanics of the game aid the role playing ... they don't take away from it. But those games take serious players who actually want to do deep role playing. I have also found that most players and GMs say they want to do that ... but when you put alot of people into that kind of a game ... they find they really either don't want to do it or they just don't have the personality/focus to pull it off. So saying that the deep role play hippie indie games are superior ... is BS as well ... at the end of the day I've also come to believe that the different styles of games fit different players and groups wants and needs. There is room for em all. As for Dark Heresy the jury is still out for me ... I'm a GW fanboy though so I want it to be awesome ... *fingers crossed*

The Lord of Excess said...

On the handout offer ... I would happily take you up on that. Anything to get the players into things more. My group is 4, 40K fanboys and one experienced RPG fan who isn't a fangirl of GW stuff ... yet likes what she has seen so far (she is playing the sister).

And again I'm really trying to not pre-judge the system. Combat seemed potentially complex and we did a walk through in the opening session-character creation night ... and it actually went pretty smoothly. Character creation itself seems pretty beefy ... but actually goes pretty quickly.

The more I get into DH I'm seeing it as a big RPG "buffet" where GMs and players can sort of pick and choose what to take and what to use. The more I've read online it seems like that is the norm. I like that actually ... it is seeming like a pretty versatile system that can do pretty much whatever you want it to do in the 40k universe. Again though I'm reserving judgment ... I want to see how the game flows over my little story arch and how my players take to it, etc.

The Lord of Excess said...

Oh and on what your saying about using stuff against the party. I agree ... I am a big believer in providing a challenge to my players. I am not a "kill the players for fun GM" but I'm not a fudge the rolls/railroader GM either. I try to balance my encounters so there is some suspense and drama and a challenge ... but not make things so hard that the party has to basically make a full court shot to even have a chance at winning.

We did a walk through of combat and we really focused on stuff like ambushes and Overwatch ... and I explained that all those little tactical advantages would be used by me against them.

As my whole group is new to DH and one player is new to the GW universe in general ... I thought I should do a group tutorial session as much for my benefit as the players. I'm hoping it pays dividends ... I haven't done that with any other game before. I was pleased that my players actually showed up and all seemed to pay decent attention. They were asking questions and engaged ... so I took that as a good sign.

Cyborg Trucker said...

Do you have a copy of the Maggots in the Meat Scenario that came with the GM screen? I particularly like that one as a break in scenario especially if the players aren't up on the 40K universe.
If you haven't seen the scenario it takes place on a feudal world called Acreage where locals are showing up dead and then the dead go missing! Lot's of fun, interesting places and and viscous threat! I've ran it for 3 separate groups and never has it been the same. My latest group blazed through it and encountered the main threat in record time. I couldn't believe it. But as I'm sure you know a group will always surprise you when it comes to their actions.
So I'll gladly send you some things for the players and yourself to use. My email is in my blog profile so just drop me a line put something in the heading just to clue me in if your email address is something I may not recognize.