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Starting a Deathwatch campaign


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#26
RipOffProductions

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speaking of Genestealer Cultists, I have a ton of the Dark Heresy books, and in the "Creatures Anathema" supplement it has rules for Genestealers, but not for their hybrid spawn, saying "The full scope of such an infestation is beyond this book", was there ever another supplement that covered this? and if so what is its title?

 

 

As far as I am aware, no, there was never anything officially produced, however, there was some fan service that produced their own book - which looks good too!

 

You can find a link to it here.

 

Diclaimer:  This isn't my work, I have nothing to do with it and if you have a Genestealer infestation in your house as a result, I never heard of you. ;p

 

MR

 

 

 

The Deathwatch starter game "Final Sanction" has rules for baseline cultists which I used. When I used an Aberrant in the game, I used the profile for the Stigmartus Ogryn Brute from The Achilus Assault, P.73.

If you're looking to play Dark Heresy against a cult, you might want to be less abstract than if you're playing Deathwatch; in such a case, the fanmade project Mazer links to might be useful for you.

ah, that's a shame, GSC seem like a perfect fit for Dark Heresy; seeing how it's basically "Pulp Call of Cthulu: Ultra Violence & Cyberpunk Edition" the absence of the faction that is so heavily inspired by 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth' feels like a serious missed opportunity.


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#27
Lord Marshal

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Ah, that's a shame, GSC seem like a perfect fit for Dark Heresy; seeing how it's basically "Pulp Call of Cthulu: Ultra Violence & Cyberpunk Edition" the absence of the faction that is so heavily inspired by 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth' feels like a serious missed opportunity.


It might've been that GW didn't want FFG to touch GSC since they were in development to receive their new tabletop army, and with the turnaround for RPG content being much, much, shorter than tabletop armies there was a risk of spoilers/contradictions.

Then again, there was always a distinct lack of Ordo Xenos inclined content from Dark Heresy.

Edited by Lord Marshal, 27 April 2020 - 10:45 AM.

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#28
Inquisitor Eisenhorn

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Wanted to update everyone on my Deathwatch campaign progress.  So far we have done 3 sessions.  The first two were a split of the extraction mission in the back of the core rules, and now we're doing the Avalos mission from the QuickStart rules PDF, and we just got the the point where we are briefed by Syndalla after fending off the rebels from overwhelming the PDF forces near the chapel where our drop-pod touched down.  

 

So I think that the most important thing is that the players are having fun and our fourth meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday so I guess I'm not messing up too badly considering this is my first stab at GMing.  That being said, I definitely feel like I have a lot to improve upon in terms of how I'm handling the rules of the game, and how I'm balancing things for the players in terms of difficulty, which I'm aware is a central struggle of GMing.  

 

I thought I could give you friendly folks a bit of context about the squad and hopefully maybe get some guidance on how to create some more meaningfully challenging encounters for them.

 

There are two marines in the squad, Aajz (Raven Guard Tactical Marine) and Kaggod (Iron Hands Techmarine).  Having the techmarine has created some interesting narratives hooks for the extraction mission given we were retrieving a magos biologis.  The Raven Guard player was mainly there as an escort who kept their footprint light so as not to attract the attention of the tyranid forces too overwhelmingly (at least at first).  

 

The main problem I'm having is that it seems like I can't quite find the right approach of how many enemies to throw at them.  Hordes seem difficult for a two-man team that doesn't have a devastator, because under the best of circumstances their bolters are only going to throw out 4 hits per attack, and it felt like even with some colorful descriptions fighting them was just an exercise in shooting a semi-auto burst every turn while hormagaunts rushed them.  I stuck to mag30 hordes for the most part but I'm not sure that was the right call.  

 

Several times I just sort of juiced the numbers to say the horde scattered when I felt they had killed enough because I thought combat was dragging.  

 

So for the next encounter I had them attacked by surprise by 2 hormagaunts in close combat, and they just smashed them.  Later I had them go up against a tyranid warrior but they just shot it to pieces really quickly.  

 

So far, neither player has taken a single wound.  LOL.  They seem to be having fun but I want to have them sweat a little, without having combat feel tedious, and without accidentally killing one of them outright.  

 

The current mission on avaios are basically cultist hordes and gene stealers as enemies so I'm wondering, if I have them ambushed by gene stealers, what would be a good number for them to encounter that would give them a workout and maybe feel a bit of heat?  Also, are there any narrative tricks for having hordes be a little less of a drag to fight?  Last time I had them try a turning point where they were going to go set an explosive charge on a building where some stub-gun nests were firing on PDF forces, but they decided they wanted to try to commandeer the nests and turn them on the rebel hordes, so I let them do that.  But they made comically quick work of the few teams inside the building.  

 

Anyways, I really appreciate the feedback/advice you all have given thus far!


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#29
Steel Company

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Sounds like you're doing okay so far, keep in mind that bolsters have the explosive quality, meaning they do one extra mag damage. Frag grenades are fantastic against hordes...

A 'Nid warrior is a beast in CQB, keep that in mind, they get the benefit of multi-armed so they could in theory get upwards of 4 meleet attacks around, rending claws are brutal....

Gaunts of any kind are meant to be a horde enemy, just two of them are going to get squished...

General rules for enemies:

Minion class = horde
Elite class (warrior/ stealer) = 1 per Astartes

Master = party


For a good idea, read through the current DW pbp going on right now, a lot of the rules are used in there and it's give you an idea about things.


Again, all that being said, sounds like you're off to a solid start.
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#30
Inquisitor Eisenhorn

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Sounds like you're doing okay so far, keep in mind that bolsters have the explosive quality, meaning they do one extra mag damage. Frag grenades are fantastic against hordes...

A 'Nid warrior is a beast in CQB, keep that in mind, they get the benefit of multi-armed so they could in theory get upwards of 4 meleet attacks around, rending claws are brutal....

Gaunts of any kind are meant to be a horde enemy, just two of them are going to get squished...

General rules for enemies:

Minion class = horde
Elite class (warrior/ stealer) = 1 per Astartes

Master = party


For a good idea, read through the current DW pbp going on right now, a lot of the rules are used in there and it's give you an idea about things.


Again, all that being said, sounds like you're off to a solid start.

There are some nuances to horde engagement I think I'm still missing.  I understood that firing at a horde with an explosive weapon bestows a bonus hit (so a fully successful 3 burst round actually hits 4 times) but how does the extra mag damage work?  Is it that a hit that does any damage reduces the horde by mag2 instead of mag 1, or would a successful 4 hit burst against a horde (where every hit causes damage) result in a reduction of simply an additional mag (so -mag5)?



#31
Steel Company

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Just an extra mag damage, so five in your example.

 

Another thing is in 99% of cases with Hordes, at 50% they need to take a break test at 25% they automatically break and run.

 

So in your example of a mag 30 horde, at 15 mag damage they take a test to see if the break and run, after 22/23 damage they just run. The only exception to this is fearless hordes, they never break.


To all you Space Wolf Players... Its called a Razor and the Soap isn't a Daemon.
--Dremen


The Iron Hands, they are the real emo marines. Seriously. The Dark Angels aren't the ones who sit around cutting off bits of themselves, wearing black, and complaining about weakness and ennui...

--Octavulg

#32
Inquisitor Eisenhorn

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Just an extra mag damage, so five in your example.

 

Another thing is in 99% of cases with Hordes, at 50% they need to take a break test at 25% they automatically break and run.

 

So in your example of a mag 30 horde, at 15 mag damage they take a test to see if the break and run, after 22/23 damage they just run. The only exception to this is fearless hordes, they never break.

Ah thanks!  I assume that means that a frag grenade which is blast 4, provided each hit causes damage, would also result in -mag5 as well then?  (I don't have the sheet in front of me but I assume they are also explosive damage)

 

I was aware of the break/run tests but unfortunately for the first mission I was using hormagaunts who at least within the strict rules don't ever break so they had to kill them to the man..er..bug.  

 

How many genestealers would be a good number to throw at a two man team?  4?  They have like half the hit points that a Tyranid warrior has, and you said that was about a 1-1 PC/enemy ratio.


Edited by Inquisitor Eisenhorn, 30 April 2020 - 08:11 PM.


#33
Steel Company

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Just an extra mag damage, so five in your example.

 

Another thing is in 99% of cases with Hordes, at 50% they need to take a break test at 25% they automatically break and run.

 

So in your example of a mag 30 horde, at 15 mag damage they take a test to see if the break and run, after 22/23 damage they just run. The only exception to this is fearless hordes, they never break.

Ah thanks!  I assume that means that a frag grenade which is blast 4, provided each hit causes damage, would also result in -mag5 as well then?  (I don't have the sheet in front of me but I assume they are also explosive damage)

 

I was aware of the break/run tests but unfortunately for the first mission I was using hormagaunts who at least within the strict rules don't ever break so they had to kill them to the man..er..bug.  

 

How many genestealers would be a good number to throw at a two man team?  4?  They have like half the hit points that a Tyranid warrior has, and you said that was about a 1-1 PC/enemy ratio.

 

 

 

Oof...

 

yes Frag Grenades are explosive so they do the extra mag damage.

 

For Genestealers I'd still do a 1:1 ratio with Astartes, Genestealers can pump out some serious damage and can dodge like a boss. Thanks to having unnatural agility they get an extra DoS (Degree of Success) on all agility tests. They also have +20 to dodge, this is very, very powerful...

 

For example in the PBP game going on right now my character (Tyber) got stuck in with two of them and if I hadn't gotten lucky with dice roles (and some min-maxing on my part) that would've been me rolling a new character. As an example of what I mean, our tactical marine squad leader got hit once or twice and got put down, this was due to the ability of rending claws to jump up to pen 8 on two DoS. Genestealers usually get to pick the terms of the fight, since they are great ambushes as well, one on one they are a match for an Astartes.


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To all you Space Wolf Players... Its called a Razor and the Soap isn't a Daemon.
--Dremen


The Iron Hands, they are the real emo marines. Seriously. The Dark Angels aren't the ones who sit around cutting off bits of themselves, wearing black, and complaining about weakness and ennui...

--Octavulg

#34
Hfran Morkai

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I remember this was the first FFG RPG we played so we didn't know about Righteous Fury only being an additional single roll.

Cue the craziness of Heavy Bolters...

Made so much more sense when we read the errata haha.
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QUOTE (A D-B @ Jan 10 2011, 12:45 PM)
THE CUSTODIANS AREN'T PSYCHIC OH MY GOD I HATE YOU MIKAL.

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#35
Commissar Molotov

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Hi Eisenhorn, it's awesome to hear that your game is going so well!

This is the simplest truth to the game - if your players are having fun, you are succeeding. The FFG rpg games are very clunky and rules-heavy, and so sometimes the best thing you can do for your players is to waive some of the rules.

How are you running combat? With a map, or purely with theatre of the mind? Some of your questions regarding enemies will depend on terrain. For example, Genestealers are terrifying up close, but if they start at range, you can afford to have more than one per character.

Don't forget also that you can escalate or de-escalate combat. Your two marines could fight with a single genestealer, and if they find it easy, then another one (or two) appears. Having enemies arrive in waves allows you to be flexible. If things are too difficult for a small party like you've got, there is the possibility of giving your players some reinforcements or support in the form of PDF troops (or Syndalla herself as a Callidus assassin). Either would enable you to change up the way in which you can throw enemies at the party. As you will have seen in the fight for the Chapel, you can mix larger or more important enemies into hordes. For example, you can have a horde of cultists with autoguns, but then an individual cultist in the middle of the horde with a plasma gun or the like.
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Check out my Deathwatch Roleplaying Game:
QUOTE (voi shet magir @ May 31 2011, 05:38 AM) 
That is an unexpectedly strong assertion from a dead person.

 


#36
Inquisitor Eisenhorn

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Hi Eisenhorn, it's awesome to hear that your game is going so well!

This is the simplest truth to the game - if your players are having fun, you are succeeding. The FFG rpg games are very clunky and rules-heavy, and so sometimes the best thing you can do for your players is to waive some of the rules.

How are you running combat? With a map, or purely with theatre of the mind? Some of your questions regarding enemies will depend on terrain. For example, Genestealers are terrifying up close, but if they start at range, you can afford to have more than one per character.

Don't forget also that you can escalate or de-escalate combat. Your two marines could fight with a single genestealer, and if they find it easy, then another one (or two) appears. Having enemies arrive in waves allows you to be flexible. If things are too difficult for a small party like you've got, there is the possibility of giving your players some reinforcements or support in the form of PDF troops (or Syndalla herself as a Callidus assassin). Either would enable you to change up the way in which you can throw enemies at the party. As you will have seen in the fight for the Chapel, you can mix larger or more important enemies into hordes. For example, you can have a horde of cultists with autoguns, but then an individual cultist in the middle of the horde with a plasma gun or the like.

Thanks for the thoughtful advice Commissar!  I've had inclinations to adopt some of your advice just based on my own instincts about what would work for certain situations, but with such little experience GMing I of course second guess myself and wonder if I'm doing the "right" thing for the group.  So it's great to hear these ideas affirmed by more experienced players.

 

A central tension that I encounter is that yes, this RPG system is so granular as to be pretty much impossible to catch every single stacking effect that would apply to a particular situation, BUT: if I just hand-wave away too much of the rules too regularly, it feels like the actual particulars of their the rules/skills/talents that make the players characters unique sort of meaningless, and also could potentially diminish a sense of progression as they level up and gain new abilities, most of which pertain to particular buffs with real numeric consequences.  

 

How do you all deal with this?


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#37
Mazer Rackham

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A central tension that I encounter is that yes, this RPG system is so granular as to be pretty much impossible to catch every single stacking effect that would apply to a particular situation, BUT: if I just hand-wave away too much of the rules too regularly, it feels like the actual particulars of their the rules/skills/talents that make the players characters unique sort of meaningless, and also could potentially diminish a sense of progression as they level up and gain new abilities, most of which pertain to particular buffs with real numeric consequences.  

 

How do you all deal with this?

 

 

To be fair, this is a group effort between you and the players and they must do their bit to tell you what their characters have that change things in their favour.  Really, all you have to do is remember the mechanics, tell them the situation and their modifiers and with the magical ability players have, they can say:

"I'm immune to that because I'm a Space Shark" or "No, boss, this electromagnetic sight means I never suffer more than -30 to hit" and that kind of thing.

 

I guarantee you that your players will know their own sheets better than you - but you've only got two players and all beginners, so go and scope their sheets regularly, this gives you the chance to say things like:

"Well, Chaplain Dave wants to beat the snot out of this guy, but it could be counter-productive.  Do you guys have a skill that could help?" knowing that they do.

It encourage them to get to know the characters better and help you.

 

It is unfortunately a learn by doing experience.  GM'ing is 1/3rd elbow grease, 1/3rd patience and 1/3rd plotting to kill your players.

 

You will never catch everything - ever.  Be comfortable with that and keep doing what you're doing (damn well from the sound of it!) - keep the game running smoothly and fun and the players will never notice...msn-wink.gif

 

MR.


Edited by Mazer Rackham, 02 May 2020 - 01:34 PM.

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#38
Inquisitor Eisenhorn

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Newest update from the campaign.  4th session last night, second session from the Lordsholm QuickStart mission.  Squad Sigma, having made contact with the Assassin Syndalla moved on to the Imperial Stores of the Portica District where they gained the support of another PDF unit and also re-armed with additional bolter clips, a power sword, 2 demo charges and a grapnel launcher.  

 

They then made their way to the House of Echoes, and the majority of the session was navigating a long passage of shelled buildings that were infested with rebel forces to get to the building where the astropath was housed.  

 

I changed it up for this session by setting up a ton of scenery to represent the final approach to the House of Echoes, and basically just stopped worrying about following the rules exactly, but rather let the terrain scenery I had set up guide me in terms of how to serve the narrative.  I basically would set up around 10 rebel models in any house where they would detect their presence, and treated them as mag 10 hordes, but with slightly higher damage bonuses to increase the level of threat they represented to the PCs . This seemed to work really well, and I basically treated the reduction of 1 magnitude by simply removing a single model, and gave a nice narrative description along with that.  I used my iPad camera to show the players what was going on since this is all remote, obviously.

 

I had initially planned on having them need to blow a hole in the side of the house of echoes to gain access, but one of the players decided that they want to use the grapnel launcher to see if they can gain access from the roof, so I let them do that and then drop in through a stain glass sky-light.  One of them roll-played a fellowship test to have the astropath's bodyguards stand down really well so I gave him a +30 to the test which he passed so they gained the bodyguard as another PDF unit instead.  

 

Next session they'll be headed to the rag markets to gain intel about the whereabouts of the Broodlord, and probably a fourth session later for the final encounter.  

 

There's a Deathwatch humble bundle deal up if anyone wants it:

 

https://www.humblebu...cle7_bookbundle


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#39
Mazer Rackham

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Sounds fantastic!  If it means anything, I use a very similar method.

 

Spoiler

 

Nice shout on the humble bundle - Brother Tyler has posted it up in the news threads too, so we might see a new face peep around the door down here! smile.png

 

Keep us posted with the game and as always shout if you need us, we of the Deathwatch stand a Long Vigil.

 

MR.


Edited by Mazer Rackham, 06 May 2020 - 09:21 PM.

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#40
Commissar Molotov

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Sounds really awesome! You're doing a great job!
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Check out my Deathwatch Roleplaying Game:
QUOTE (voi shet magir @ May 31 2011, 05:38 AM) 
That is an unexpectedly strong assertion from a dead person.

 


#41
Inquisitor Eisenhorn

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Sorry I haven't updated recently; campaigns been going gangbusters, we added a member of the squad!  I've learned to just relax and use the rules as a toolkit as opposed to worrying I'm missing some rules. 

 

We've played through the Avalos campaign and then Oblivion's Edge where they go onto the hive ship to take down the Tyranid fleet in the sector.  I built out an organic "ship" out of some pink insulation foam that was generously melted with acetone and painted with purple and green.

 

I have a few thoughts now that I've around 6 sessions under my belt. 

 

Techmarine servo arm:  Is this way overpowered?  Is there any reason one would ever use another close combat weapon?  Really high penetration, damage, can be used as a close combat weapon so I'm struggling with what sort of weapons would be a good upgrade for this PC.

 

Our third player joined as a salamander terminator with a heavy flamer and power fist.  They all went up against a Carnifex and neither the flamer or fist could do any damage to that thing.  Hellfire rounds from a hesh bolter did better, mainly because hellfire ammunition is so effective due to it ignoring armor for Tyranids.  Seemed odd. 

 

I'll try to upload some photos from our campaign soon.


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#42
Steel Company

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A trick for a power fist, remember they get 3 times SB, so a SB of 4 gives +12 damage with the extra from the TDA... combine that with the solo mode to give an extra SB mod (so times 4) can do some stupidly high damage. As an aside, mathematically speaking the Thunderhammer outshines a power fist by a good margin.

The reason for that is the special quality that forces a toughness test when damage is taken or be stunned for one round. On top of being a x3 SB weapon, again SB4 = +12 damage, with a really solid pen.


Are servo arms good, yup. But remember they are dangerous to use as you have to get stuck in CQB.
To all you Space Wolf Players... Its called a Razor and the Soap isn't a Daemon.
--Dremen


The Iron Hands, they are the real emo marines. Seriously. The Dark Angels aren't the ones who sit around cutting off bits of themselves, wearing black, and complaining about weakness and ennui...

--Octavulg

#43
Inquisitor Eisenhorn

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That's great about the 3xSB for powerfists, but how is that arrived at?  I was going off of the weapon chart and it says it gives 2xSB.  Does the Terminator Armor have an extra 1xSB that I'm overlooking?



#44
Steel Company

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It's in the write up about power fists, it states that if the use already has SBx2 then they get to add one extra level of unnatural strength to their damage. The one for thunder hammers is buried in the errata.

Basically if you don't know to look for it, you'll never know about it.
To all you Space Wolf Players... Its called a Razor and the Soap isn't a Daemon.
--Dremen


The Iron Hands, they are the real emo marines. Seriously. The Dark Angels aren't the ones who sit around cutting off bits of themselves, wearing black, and complaining about weakness and ennui...

--Octavulg

#45
Inquisitor Eisenhorn

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It's in the write up about power fists, it states that if the use already has SBx2 then they get to add one extra level of unnatural strength to their damage. The one for thunder hammers is buried in the errata.

Basically if you don't know to look for it, you'll never know about it.

 

Yeah you got that right!  What's the advantage of an Omnissiah Power Axe over the servo-arm?  The combi-tool, or thee power field?  Seems marginal.  Just looking for a good weapon to give my techmarine as a reward. 


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#46
Steel Company

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The servo arm can be used as a reaction. It means you give up a dodge/parry, but you can make something go squish.

It's a costly way to get a second melee attack, but it can be mitigated by getting a second dodge/parry action through talents.
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To all you Space Wolf Players... Its called a Razor and the Soap isn't a Daemon.
--Dremen


The Iron Hands, they are the real emo marines. Seriously. The Dark Angels aren't the ones who sit around cutting off bits of themselves, wearing black, and complaining about weakness and ennui...

--Octavulg

#47
Inquisitor Eisenhorn

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Oh whoa you mean a PC can hit something with an axe and then again with the servo arm as a reaction during an opponent's turn? That seems really monstrous.

#48
Steel Company

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It is.

That being said, an assault marine can get off a possible 4 attacks/round through a combination of two weapon fighting and the talent that gives a third melee attack a round starting at rank 2. Combine that with melee weapon master out of Rights of Battle and you could have an ASM using one power sword that hits with the profile of a thunder hammer and another that he uses like a power sword... and they can dodge twice in melee.
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To all you Space Wolf Players... Its called a Razor and the Soap isn't a Daemon.
--Dremen


The Iron Hands, they are the real emo marines. Seriously. The Dark Angels aren't the ones who sit around cutting off bits of themselves, wearing black, and complaining about weakness and ennui...

--Octavulg

#49
Inquisitor Eisenhorn

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It is.

That being said, an assault marine can get off a possible 4 attacks/round through a combination of two weapon fighting and the talent that gives a third melee attack a round starting at rank 2. Combine that with melee weapon master out of Rights of Battle and you could have an ASM using one power sword that hits with the profile of a thunder hammer and another that he uses like a power sword... and they can dodge twice in melee.

Dang.  My group has been getting by and having fun but conversations like these really make me realize that we're not getting the full mileage out of the rule set.  The system is so great but it's so hard to stay on top of everything, spread out across so many books!


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#50
A.T.

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Techmarine servo arm:  Is this way overpowered?  Is there any reason one would ever use another close combat weapon?

Well you can replace the servo claw with a breaching auger...

 

Techmarines hit very hard, but they don't have easy access to extra attacks, extra reactions, or combat talents for the most part, and they will appear very powerful in combat at rank 1 primarily because no-one else gets a power weapon. Dedicated assault types will outperform them but not out-hit them early on.

 

Do watch out for their toughness though, techmarines can quickly pass the point of invulnerability to small arms while the other marines are still getting chewed up (the servo arm is considered a torso bionic BTW - so +2 defense).


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