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Wh40k Rp Tools + Casual Rp Tips

Discussion in 'Role Playing' started by Uriel1339, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. Uriel1339 Uriel1339 Lord of Posts


    Meaningful choices, as I learned during GDC'15 and should have thought about much earlier since it's kinda obvious, are important! But it seems I didn't see the forest, due to all the trees in the way. So what I want to tackle with this little thing here is: As GM you need to provide these, because meaningful choices are fun. If a choice is obvious, it's boring. If a choice makes no impact whatsoever, it's boring. If a choice is just a farce, it's boring.

    So what are meaningful choices? "You must mean to make epic story stuffz! Or things like going right and left, right?!" NO!

    Meaningful choices are so much more, which certain PnPs push harder than others. Let's take Deathwatch as example. There you get requisition points in order to swap your gear. Devastators start with Heavy Bolter, but they can easily grab a Las Cannon instead. Here is a meaningful choice in: Firepower vs. Fire Rate. It can and WILL have an effect during the mission. If against Tyranids both decisions seem more than legit, neither is obvious.

    Hive Tyrants, Carnifexes and other greater beasts easily will endure your Heavy Bolter, or well... At least they won't struggle with it as much as if you had a Las Cannon. But the hordes? Forget your Las Cannon! So here is definitely an interesting choice to be made. So as GM it's your choice to make it interesting and not just clean out punishing.

    While I am known as defender of keeping stuff juicy and interesting and hate pre-scripting, certain things SHOULD be scripted, or at least not clearly decided by the GM. Also be fair, but not babying. This means your players should have intel or capable of gathering intel to weigh their options. I.E. there was a report from the planet that insinuated a local Hive Tyrant, but beyond that there were no greater creatures spotted (yet). This means the Devastator in this example may choose the Heavy Bolter rather since it would be more useful overall, or the player decides to take the Las Cannon because it could work as 'Boss Killer' weapon.

    Now this report should not determine that in fact the Hive Tyrant is the only big monster there. Perhaps give the players the opportunity to send a vanguard? If a scout is in the party or a volunteer-assault or simply the Devastator player be like "Hey, why not send Astartes X ahead to see if the reports are correct?" Then why not let them do that if the group agrees to it?

    Go with the flow and be more creative, as GM it is YOUR job to offer hints of what players can do, but it is also your job to not force things that shouldn't be. Script the main scenario, but let side things open. I.E. The Hive Tyrant in this scenario could be the key-element to the entire campaign. If the Deathwatch Team decides to prioritize other big creatures or get too wounded to take care of the Hive Tyrant or perhaps even retreat from him because it is too strong or whatever else could have happened that they failed to slay him, perhaps a Hive Fleet comes and consumes the world and the Astartes failed to save this world.

    Don't just throw Deathwatch, Imperial Navy, or whatever else reinforcements in there. Let them feel their failure. Even if the players die, that is the consequence from whatever they did during the mission or team struggle (like rather arguing than focusing on the enemy).

    Remember: Be fair, but do not baby your players.

    Meaningful choices come in many faces. From where to go, how to react to someone, to ask critical questions, to remain silent, to sneak or go full frontal, which weapon to take, which weapon to use when, how to work together in a team or how dysfunctional it is, etc.

    Animate your players, but do not steer them (except they are lost, then feel free to be their shepherd).
    KroozaNob, Vulpas and High_Adept_Zeth like this.
  2. Uriel1339 Uriel1339 Lord of Posts

    LORE! - Guideline or Law?

    Similar as the Codex Astartes among the various Space Marines Chapters and being honored differently by each of them, we have to deal with the various honors of Lore. There are players who have no idea, except that the Tyranids look like Zerg, the Tau are kinda Protoss and that Space Marines look like Raynor and have super-sized weapons.

    So how much should Lore be a guideline? How much should it be law? You are asking me? You should be asking yourself, and what? Here, ask yourself these things:

    #1 - Do you know wide Lore or only of a certain faction or time period or so? i.e. you know all about Ultramarines, but only the 41st millenium events, none of the Horus Heresy. Or you know of the 13th Black Crusade a lot, but no idea of the 12 before that one. Or perhaps you know a good chunk of everything, but not details of all.

    => Include & reference only events you know a bit about or research them on Lexicanum & Wikia. Just because you don't know, doesn't mean you cannot learn. Since I have no idea about the Horus Heresy but sometimes needed knowledge of certain things, I ask those who know.

    #2 - What factions will be playable in your RP? Are they mixed or everyone belonging to the same one? What about sub-factions? For example you could have an RP planned where people can play Tau, Eldar and Imperium. Or perhaps instead every player is a member of the Deathwatch Chapter under the Ordo Xenos. Or perhaps you all are just those 'Dakka Dakka' Berserkers that react when you call 'Ork'.

    => Only include factions you know as GM about, or have someone explain to you before or during the RP what the faction is about and what is to be considered 'normal' and what is 'abnormal' among the faction. They are cultures of their own, respect them.

    My personal list of roleplayers who I ask depending on what faction I need more knowledge on:
    Imperium - @Grall_Stonefist (especially Space Wolves) & @Colapse & @High_Adept_Zeth (especially for Mechanicus) & @DeranVendar ; @Casavay (especially Sororitas) I may be somewhat of a local Deathwatch Expert & Matters on the Codex Astartes
    Chaos - @Colapse (especially Night Lords) & @Grall_Stonefist & @DeranVendar ; you also may wanna poke @Darthy
    (Dark/Craftworld/Exodite) Eldar - @Jorimel (knows all about them, ALL ABOUT THEM! If you got Jorimel, you need nobody else), other than that you also may poke me. And for Dark Eldar I know that @Colapse knows SOME stuff :p
    Tau - I am somewhat expert on them (according to people) but usually if I am unsure I ask @PorOborosCain to double-check
    Necrons - @ZceeNook & @High_Adept_Zeth
    Tyranids - I know a good chunk, other than that... @High_Adept_Zeth offered his knowledge.
    Orks - @DaBlackOrk , @DaKaptin , @Skarboy , @DeranVendar and also to a good degree @Grall_Stonefist

    #3 Did you ask your Players? There are those that are Zero-Tolerant to fan-lore if it contradicts with the mainstream lore. I.E. There are NO female Astartes or the general belief / assumption that Space Marines cannot impregnate women. And then there are those that have no problem with elaborating on Lore or making stuff up for things we don't know in order to add to the universe and make it more believable in aspects we don't know. I.E. instead of just using Fenrisian Ale which is famous, to also imply that other chapters may have signature drinks of their own (even if they were never mentioned in lore). Imagine Baal Red Wine which could be called Baals Blood. Or Macraggian Honor which could be some sort of White Wine. And so on. It is the GMs responsibility to make it fun for all, or at least majority of the players, therefor adapt to your audience. If you don't like Zero-Tolerance, but your players do - then don't fiddle too much with the lore around.

    => Players are the most important element of your RP, respect their wishes. Because without them, there is no game.
    It is common that those without a clue are more open to fan-lore than those with experience which are more true to the lore. It is a mere matter of knowledge. Those that know more can easier utilize, whereas those with less knowledge are afraid of stating wrong things.

    Based on your answers you then should decide if you should take the Lore as a guideline and general indicator for your RP or as book of law. In general my personal belief is to keep it as guideline is fair for everyone and that certain limits should be respected. Even if you are GM, you don't know everything and certainly are no Subject-Matter-Expert (SME) for everything. If there is a guy who has a Space Wolf army for 5 years+, read all story books, codices and the Horus Heresy - Don't argue with him about the Space Wolves culture except you have similar background.

    If your players tell you that your perception of a faction or that a 'typical' chracter of a certain faction would not be in a way like you wrote it down, then most likely they just try to help you to keep it more authentic to the characters culture. So do not defend your narrative or design decisions, but be open to change instead.
  3. High Adept Zeth High_Adept_Zeth Arkhona Vanguard

    ++dumping physical memory++

    Also one may hit me up for Tyranids also.I have acquired more then one data-stack on the Great Devourer and the various speciment from the colorful Hive Fleets.The laboratories of the local Magos Biologis are fun to visit!
    Uriel1339 and Jorimel like this.
  4. Uriel1339 Uriel1339 Lord of Posts

    Edited accordingly.
  5. Uriel1339 Uriel1339 Lord of Posts

  6. Uriel1339 Uriel1339 Lord of Posts

    How to do a proper Renegade Marine:

    So I haven't seen yet a Renegade Marine RP here yet (not really, anyway) so perhaps it is because people are unsure how to go on about it? Well first of all you need to understand what a Renegade is and that they are NOT chaos.

    Here are the 3 flavors of Marines:

    A loyal Marine is still in active duty in the name of a chapter or in worst case scenario serving the Deathwatch as a Blackshield. These are fighting for the Imperium against whatever threatens it.

    Heretics are fighting within a legion or a warband. Worst case scenario: They are Red Corsairs which are kinda Renegade but big and definite Anti-Imperium.

    A Renegade is something in between. There are 3 sub-flavors of Renegades:

    #1 The Loyal Renegade

    Somehow the Renegade(s) got exiled, declared traitor or something like that, but they believe it was a mistake or due to politics or go figure what. They still believe in the Imperium and do whatever they can to support it from behind the lines, even though knowing that should they ever be found they will be most likely killed.

    #2 The 'True' Renegade
    This guy ran away, got exiled or declared traitor. But where the difference to the loyal Renegade lies is that he actually ain't give a crap about the Imperium OR Chaos. He lives for his own goals, his own desires, his own life. He ain't listen to anyone (except he joins a Warband or so in order to survive) but in the bigger picture he cares little about the fate of the galaxy, clash of factions, etc. etc.

    #3 The Traitor Renegade
    This guy got perhaps thrown out by mistake or actually earned it. But he is definitely aware that he operates against the Imperium and probably desires that. An example of this are the Red Corsairs, though they are mixed of True Renegades and Traitors, especially given their size. The Traitor however doesn't care about Chaos. There is a reason GW called the Chaos Space Marines, CHAOS Space Marines.

    I am my own lore:
    Renegades always fight for their own cause and beliefs. The MOST COMMON reason they became renegade in the first place was anyway that their own beliefs contradicted with the Imperium or their Chapter.
    A good example of the loyal Renegades type are the Blood Ravens when Azariah Kyras declared Angelos and his company being the traitors. In the eyes of the Imperium, Angelos and his men were renegades until the corruption was uncovered completely.

    Now how well are Renegades equipped, mh?
    Well usually they still have their old Power Armor from their chapter, but fix it up with many other parts. So it is not uncommon to see a Renegade with Mark 4 Gauntlets, Mark 5 torso piece, Mark 7 Boots, Mark 3 Backpack, etc. The longer one is a Renegade, the more makeshift repaired it is.

    Weapon wise it varies strongly, they are basically marauders and therefore live off whatever they can find. Probably they even in times of emergency they use Las and Auto weapons. Perhaps to save ammunition of their Bolters and other more effective weapons, perhaps because they don't have anything better.

    A Renegades life span directly correlates to their skill and prior experience. Veterans that are Renegades are far far more dangerous than some random scout, especially since the older serving members are capable of withstanding temptations of Chaos to actually remain renegade and not be swayed to become a Chaos Space Marine.

    How do Renegades behave?
    Renegades are very very careful if they group together and usually join together in fragile alliances, except if they truly belong to a greater power like the Red Corsairs all act in unison due to Huron's influence among the entire Warband.

    If they operated all the time alone or in groups of 2-3 Marines, they would usually test a newcomer intensively to ensure he is neither Chaos or Loyalist. These tests could include killing loyal men of the Imperium or Chaos scum, perhaps even raiding, etc. etc. Renegades are not stupid, so they may give an 'impossible task' to a newcomer and if he succeeds they may execute him, just because he was not supposed to manage to succeed.

    I.E. Grey Knights test suspects in combat. The suspect is told to win, or else they die. But fact is that if they manage to kill the Grey Knight, it would prove they have powers of chaos and therefore are corrupt.

    Renegades may very well use tactics like these to recruit new members and ensure they are on the same wavelength. One also must keep in mind that Dark Angel (& Successor) as well as Raven Guard Renegades are being hunted forever and ever intensively. Raven Guard due to their low amount of gene-seed and the fact that each Raven Guard learns secret techniques (which makes them so sneaky). Dark Angels... Well we all know about The Fallen.

    Keep in mind that entire chapters becoming Renegade is very unlikely, if then only a handful of survivors or a single company at best. Renegades can conquer planets, but this is rather rare, given that they prefer mobility in order to escape their hunters and live unbound. They may either live in the Warp (Maelstrom or Eye of Terror) or have a spaceship for a base.

    Generally they are paranoid which makes them good survivors and difficult to hunt. But once they trust someone, they demand full respect and trust from one another.

    Possible Renegade RP Start Scenarios:

    #1 - A squad of Space Marines break free from their company and/or the chapter
    , stealing a frigate in the process. Either something happened (like the chapter falling to Chaos and they flee before being corrupted as well [Quite the Eldar Fall scenario]). This group may be a bit melancholic about their decision but they know it had to be done.

    #2 Individual Space Marines of different chapters (perhaps even a Deathwatch Kill-Team), fake their death or are even actually deemed KIA. For the individual marines it could be a major campaign where they served together. Like Armageddon, one of the Black Crusades or other major campaign where multiple chapters participated in.
    The fact that nobody looked for them, or that their ruse worked allowed them to take new identities on and pursue their own agendas. Trust is already established as the group operated together and disposed of everyone who did not agree with their decision to leave no possible predator behind.

    #3 Group forged in battle. Renegades are travelling the Eye of Terror. Someone raids a camp or so and during the ensuing combat the Renegades test one another to see if anyone is loyal or not. Slowly but steady the group eliminates the suspicious members, until far enough reduced to form a little group. Trust is still to be earned over time and the group clashes relatively often against one another, especially since nobody accepts anyone else as leader.

    There might be more, but these are what came to my mind.
    High_Adept_Zeth likes this.
  7. High Adept Zeth High_Adept_Zeth Arkhona Vanguard

    One can say the same about a Heretek.
    Uriel1339 likes this.
  8. Uriel1339 Uriel1339 Lord of Posts

    Hereteks I would write separately about since they come also in different flavors.

    There are the "I want to kill the Imperium" type of guys. Then the "I want the Dark Age of Technology back" type of guys. And then the "I was exiled and now I do whatever I can do to survive, and if that is serving myself, renegades or traitors.... Oh well..." types.

    So yeah they fall into similar categories, but they still vary greatly. Especially depending on how much machine they are and how much human. For example there are members of the Dark Mechanicus which are just scrap-code hacked and have no brain of their own ^^
    High_Adept_Zeth likes this.
  9. High Adept Zeth High_Adept_Zeth Arkhona Vanguard

    Do you challenge my vast quantities of data-stacks on the matter?I have researched (and still do) the matter and many other!Tho i am pleased you have a nugget or two on the matter.It makes the prosecution of the hereteks that much more easier. :p
  10. Uriel1339 Uriel1339 Lord of Posts

    I am not challenging you, but if you want to contribute - feel free to. The only thing I am saying is that Renegade Space Marine =/= Dark Mechanicus.

    Similar to the Adeptus Mechanicus pursuing own goals, despite being part of the Imperium of Mankind - so does the Dark Mechanicus and it's members their own goals within, or even outside of Chaos.

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