There is a bagpiper outside. It is midnight. This piper is nothing to do with any of the venues that I can see. It's days like this that reinforce that there is no god.
I didn't get along with WHFRP's chargen, despite liking the rest of the game. Time to see if it's younger brother will win me over.
The Game: Dark Heresy
The Publisher: Originally Black Industries, currently with Fantasy Flight Games
Degree of Familiarity: Not much
Books Required: I'm going to break out both Dark Heresy and the Inquisitor's Handbook
I'm more comfortable with Dark Heresy than I am with WHFRP, and I don't know why. Maybe because I was always more a fan of the universe, or maybe because the character generation puts "roll or choose" front and centre. Or maybe because it's got gyroget machine guns that fire exploding micromissiles.
Dark Heresy is a very pretty book to look at. Which is nice, but in typical GW style I could only pick out a couple of original pieces of art, the rest's been around since Inquisitor, the company's previous foray into 40K character-based gaming. Consider: I got this book within a couple of weeks of getting AlphaOmega. The latter is a small press game that is packed full of gorgeous art. It's about as thick as the DH core, is full colour, and is cheaper.
Anyway. Dark Heresy isn't a Warhammer 40K roleplaying game. It's a roleplaying game set in the 40K universe, but focusing on agents of the human Inquisition. The downsides: none of the non-human species from the universe are present. The upside, that means none of this Johnny-come-lately crap like Tau or Spaaaace-Terminator-Skeletons. Thank fuck. So yes, an investigative game ferreting out alien infiltrators and cults of the Ruinous Powers. Rather Lovecraftian in tone, but with lasers and automatic shotguns.
On with it. Again, I'm cashing in a discount coupon for high-grade entropy at random.org0.
Stage One: Homeworld
Homeworld replaces Race, giving package benefits and starting stats. I know that I want to be an Arbitrator, and that limits my choices some. I like the idea of coming from a three-mile-high ultracity on a Hive World, but life in the steel corridors leads to people who are too used to cramped conditions where privacy doesn't exist and violence is close at hand. I'm wanting someone more cerebral, so I go for an Imperial World.
Flicking through the Inquisitor's Handbook, Sinophia catches my eye. The Handbook includes a couple of variants for each homeworld choice that muck about with the traits to reflect specific planets. Sinophia has been in decline for centuries, once a world of bounty and promise that has long since dried up and blown away, leaving only the paranoid and the corrupt. Oh yeah.
I get the Superior Origins trait, giving me a +3 Willpower. Thing is, Blighted Origins contradicts that. Fucking lack of editing... there's no errata posted. Time to wing it. I'll assume I keep Hagiography, which instead makes Common Lore (Imperial Creed), Common Lore (Imperium) and Common Lore (War) as Basic Skills. To that, I add Blighted Origins (+5 Perception, Paranoia Talent, -3 WP, -3 Fel) and Decayed Society (Deceive, Common Lore (Underworld), Forbidden Lore (Cults), and Forbidden Lore (Heresy)).
Stage Two: Characteristics
I just have to get lucky with the dice. All the good will in the world won't help (but the homeworld boost to Perception is a good start if nothing else). Nine sets of 2d10 later...
Not wonderful, but it'll do. I can reroll one result. That 6 Toughness is going to hurt in the long run, so I bump it. 17. Rock. I add the homeworld bonuses on.
Stage Three: Career Path
Not much to choose here. I note the Skills and Talents for a rookie Arbitrator, and I have to choose between Quick Draw and Rapid Reload. I plump for the former, as it matches the paranoid, jumpy kinda guy who can grab his gun without ever really realising. I look through the equipment list, I get two choices: what kind of armour (I go for Mesh) and whether to have a habit for cigs or booze. Cigs. Columbo impressions ahoy!
Stage Four: Experience and Equipment
First off, I have to determine Wounds, Fate Points, and Movement. I have d5+8...12 Wounds, 2 Fate Points, and move rates of 2/4/6/12.
Next, 400XP to spend. I turn to the background packages presented in the Inquisitor's Handbook. They cover momentous events that happened to bring the character to the attention of the Inquisition. I drop 100XP on the Callixian Pattern Killings—a pattern of murders that only the gifted few ever notice, happening all over the sector. Just the sort of thing I see him getting involved with. I get the Talented (Inquiry) Talent (wow, that's from the Department of Redundancy Redundancy Department) and +5 to Perception or Intelligence. Perception's high enough so I raise Int. 300 XP left.
I can spend 100 to boost Inquiry to Inquiry +10. That's kinda needed, given my below-average Fel. That means that in stressful situations I'm rolling at 48. Rock. Scrutiny as a trained Skill as well, for watching people's reactions. I'm torn between Awareness and buying an increase to BS. In the end, I go for the latter. Catching killers is one thing, but when it comes to the whole locking them up and giving them a fair trial... it's really not that kind of operation. Awareness is one of my first upgrades, though.
Finally, 64 Thrones to spend on stuff. Three Inferno Shells for emergency situations sets me back 54, the remainder goes in the bank.
Stage Five: Bringing to Life
Woo! Tables. Build is Svelte (1.85m/70Kg), age is 28. Dark skin, blond hair, grey eyes. His only obvious quirk is an aquilla tattoo on his left cheek. The last random bit is the Divination. "Do not ask why you serve, only how." That gives me a +2 to WS and BS. Cool.
I'm thinking that Trooper Ishmael spent more time researching crimes on other worlds than he ever did tracking down scum on Sinophia. The crowd control Arbitrators could deal with the violent crimes, and despite his detective training most of the really bad crimes were the direct result of the planet eating itself. He turned to the old crime logs, and started to discern a pattern. He logged what he'd found, and within the week an Inquisitor recruited him for his obvious deductive skills.
Career Path: Arbitrator
Divination: Do not ask why you serve, only how.
Quirk: Aquilla tattoo
Weapon Skill: 33
Ballistic Skill: 37
Fate points: 2
Common Lore (Imperial Creed)
Common Lore (Imperium)*
Common Lore (Underworld)
Common Lore (War)
Forbidden Lore (Cult)
Forbidden Lore (Heresy)
Speak Language (Low Gothic) *
Common Lore (Adeptus Arbites) *
Basic Weapons Training (SP)
Melee Weapons Training (Primitive)
Shotgun + 32 shells + 3 Inferno shells
Injector + 3 doses of Stimm
Pack of lho-sticks
0: Ahh, if only I were on commission.