Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

RP-related discussion otherwise not covered in the Character Closet.
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helvorn
 
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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby helvorn » Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:42 pm

Neat background; that could be a LOT of fun. I like the idea that he betrayed the Tranch secret masters; it would make him a potentially potent servant of the Inquisition.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:58 am

Uh-oh, I see that I made a rules goof.

In a very tiny easy to be missed part of the IH (pg. 26) it says that background packages "do not count as an Advance for the purpose of increasing your Rank," which means that none of you except Chani are currently at Rank 2. I will make adjustments to the character sheets accordingly.
Last edited by InquisitorChris on Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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helvorn
 
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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby helvorn » Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:02 pm

So if you spend 200 points on a package those points don't count toward say the 500 to get you to rank 2?

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:09 pm

helvorn wrote:So if you spend 200 points on a package those points don't count toward say the 500 to get you to rank 2?


Yup.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:21 pm

Look at it this way: You got Forbidden Lore (Daemonology) at Rank 1. Normally you get access to that at Rank 7.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby helvorn » Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:39 pm

Oh I have no complaints... I still have stuff from Rank 1 that I need to buy without sweating when I get to rank 2.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:10 am

I think... think... I have 2 more players coming in, both of whom are experienced rpgrs who know the setting well (better than me, probably. Hell most of you probably know the setting better than me.).

One of them is a Tech-Priest. I know that I said that they would probably be inappropriate for this adventure due to the inability to do anything undercover, but I told the player that it would be quite likely that she would be spending a deal of time away from the main group doing her own thing and she was fine with that.

Seven characters is quite a lot, so having the group split up sometimes (which is much more doable in the PBP format than in face-to-face gaming) might actually be a good thing.

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helvorn
 
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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby helvorn » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:29 pm

Good news with more players. We can use the added firepower!

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:41 pm

They're both scholars. Your combat guys are Chani and the Guardsman whenever he shows up.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby helvorn » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:17 pm

Ah, but the pen is mightier than the sword... :)

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:51 pm

OK, I'm starting to get concerned about the total lack of Alex, even though I see he was on the site very briefly yesterday. Anybody know if he's alright?

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby helvorn » Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:45 pm

No idea...

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:18 pm

Has his email chanegd? Anybody know?

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby Jak Snide » Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:17 pm

Sorry about that. A mixture of illness, a busy schedule and burnout hit me at the same time. I didn't realise quite how long had passed without me posting. Sorry about that, I should be back on form now.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:56 pm

No problem. I'm just glad you're OK and with us.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:39 am

I have posted one of the two new character sheets to the page 1 of this thread.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:16 pm

And the final new character has been posted on Page 1.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby ferzberk » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:24 pm

One of those two new would be me; I'll take this moment to say 'Hi' to everyone. This evening, I'll be playing the role of the gregarious and dangerously self-deluded Sebaztien DeVolpa - no relation to the Delapoers, no matter what you hear...was...does anyone hear the sound of rats? - but, yes, looking forward to this.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby Akinya Zuri » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:38 am

The second of the two newcomers would be me. That one's *nudges ferzberk* wife and your... largely dispassionate cog-girl for the duration of this adventure.

Ah yes, and as I noticed it was already mentioned earlier - don't trust either of us with firearms. We're quite libel to shoot ourselves along with anything else in the vicinity. There is of course something to be said for the largely unappreciated pen, but I've found that it really isn't too effective against ones enemies. Unless it is a fountain of course - but then you have the problem of an ink covered, partially blinded, and extremely pissed off antagonist to deal with.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:34 pm

Akinya Zuri wrote:The second of the two newcomers would be me. That one's *nudges ferzberk* wife and your... largely dispassionate cog-girl for the duration of this adventure.

Ah yes, and as I noticed it was already mentioned earlier - don't trust either of us with firearms. We're quite libel to shoot ourselves along with anything else in the vicinity. There is of course something to be said for the largely unappreciated pen, but I've found that it really isn't too effective against ones enemies. Unless it is a fountain of course - but then you have the problem of an ink covered, partially blinded, and extremely pissed off antagonist to deal with.


Akinya is actually quite a good shot, best in the group after Zuriel. It's in melee combat where she and Sebaztion are hopeless. Especially the latter, since what with having no Melee Weapon Training talent his basic chance to land a blow is 05%. Chani has no competition. ;)

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby Akinya Zuri » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:38 pm

Ascension has utterly spoiled me then. To me anything in the 30's is sub-par.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:40 pm

Akinya Zuri wrote:Ascension has utterly spoiled me then. To me anything in the 30's is sub-par.


Ah. I've never played an Ascension-level game. I think it would probably clash with the horror feel that I favor.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby ferzberk » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:33 pm

It occassionaly reduces tension when the players are too good to assail; but as GM, one's responsibility is to simply up the horror ante, as it were. Does the bloodletter no longer scare you? Then how about his big, juggernaut-riding demon-prince brother? Of course its not just about stats, but also implications; whereas in earlier rpgs I GMed the horrible crime being committed only resulted in the deaths of dozens or hundreds, the antagonist in our present campaign is of truly interstellar proportions in the damage he could inflict, if left unchecked - not merely casualties, but, indeed, to the very frabric of reality, at times. The bad guys simply need to be scaled to the character - and the antagonists now have a chance to be far more personal, I find. A villian can only take something away from you (allies, loved ones, resources) when you've got something to take.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby helvorn » Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:35 pm

Akinya Zuri wrote:Ah yes, and as I noticed it was already mentioned earlier - don't trust either of us with firearms. We're quite libel to shoot ourselves along with anything else in the vicinity. There is of course something to be said for the largely unappreciated pen, but I've found that it really isn't too effective against ones enemies. Unless it is a fountain of course - but then you have the problem of an ink covered, partially blinded, and extremely pissed off antagonist to deal with.


Just load the pen with a nice acidic ink and you're in business!

Welcome to both our new players. In our masque I'm playing the part of the slightly unhinged psyker, Kara.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby Jak Snide » Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:31 am

Welcome aboard. I'm playing Jim, a fast and loose with the law arbitrator currently exercising an extreme intolerance for warp based shenanigans.

How did you find Ascension, by the way? I've read a fair bit about it but never played in a game at that tier of power.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:19 am

I'm stuck playing PBP for geographical reasons, so I've never had a game where players had the time to reach that experience level.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby Akinya Zuri » Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:09 pm

There is an undeniable satisfaction that can be derived from being simply -that- awesome; however with great power comes... well, supposedly great responsibility and all that. From a player standpoint that is really the biggest change in the game. My actions and the repercussions that ripple out from them are on a much, much more dynamic scale. In stead of answering to someone (or passing the blame onto) I have to watch my own reputation... with everyone. Every favor I call in, or do is kept track of to create an over-arching web of influence. I'm in the process of creating my own cell of npc acolytes to delegate tasks too. It's really neat how the game pretty fluidly moves you from a primarily first person stand point toward more macro managing. Influence and interaction are more important. IN fact most of the Ascension classes focus heavily on Peer/Good Rep talents. The Inquisitor class is almost all Peer/Fel group traits and talents.

Combat, as Ferz mentioned, is also distinctly different. While we usually play our games mostly investigation based there is always an instance where something nasty pops out of the dark and wants to eat me. It's all a matter of scale. Yes, most minions I can look at and flay with my brain before they can do much of anything (I play an ungodly powerful psyker), but the big fellows who keep sending them are my real priority. Let the lvl 5's duke it out while I go play with the Daemonhost.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:23 pm

Did you start off at Ascension level or work your way up?

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby Capntastic » Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:11 am

Hello Inquisitor Chris! I feel the need to step in and say some things. As a GM, you should make sure your players having fun. It's become evident that your game is not fun. I cannot speak for all of the players involved, but I've discussed the situation with a few, and there is some acute dissatisfaction. It's been 9 months, and some of your players are feeling like it's just been an excruciating waste of time and the good faith they invested in you to provide them with a good time. Helvorn's basically been forced to go into "wake me when I can do something" mode, and Christian's been exceedingly generous with his patience, despite having wanted to step out some months ago. I would like to see the situation improve. I feel that I'm in a prime position to step forward as I was specifically in the game, and dropped out due to some of these reasons.

I understand that you have a specific story you want to tell, and that Lovecraftian styled horror takes a lot of time. But you need to take your players, and their characters into account. Some level of interactivity should be involved.

In the ~4 months I was involved with the game, my character, Huw, did not really get a chance to do anything. This is pretty much why I left- I made a charismatic and clever character, with an amicable and relatable personality, but things would've been pretty much the same regardless of whatever warm body was in his place. Furthermore, one of the few times one of your NPCs, Herlock Sholmes, addressed him specifically, they implied he was some sort of criminal. I assume this is because he was made with the 'scum' class, but it pretty much ignores his backstory as a friendly courier who got mixed up in the wrong stuff. This was the first sign that you really didn't want to have a strong level of connection between character-and-game; player-and-GM. To counterpoint this, the other Dark Heresy game on this board, run by our own Jak Snide, has me playing a character named Mik. Mik is something of an icon solely because Jak knows that Mik is about unfettered violence in many ways, but is also a hootin' hollerin' giant of a man. Jak 'gets' Mik, and lets Mik get into situations where I can have Mik have fun. This makes the game fun for me and Jak, and probably the other players, who enjoy Mik's loveable antics. When Huw left, and you simply poofed him out of existence, it was pretty much a sign that you cared about having players to balance your encounters to, rather than actually wanting to put on a good game. And yet, to that end, you basically mocked a lot of the character concepts given. Christian, if I recall right, had to go through several iterations to get something you'd find worthy. And then that character was mocked in game, told they did not have the applicable skills to wear makeup, etc etc.

Railroading characters into situations where they don't get to do the things they're good at, solely to keep your story intact, means that players only get to have fun when you get to have fun, and even that's dicey. Players are invested in their characters on a more personal level than they are with your story. Their character is their vehicle with which to navigate your story. Giving them a series of hallways to walk through- be they briefings, a warpship ride to another planet, a security checkpoint where nothing happens (despite Huw literally admitting he's smuggling weapons in), a second briefing, and then apparently literal hallways with possible monsters in it- really numbs the player to thinking anything other than "okay what do I need to do to get past this".

It's been about 5 months since I left and it seems that there's some really unfun combat going on that the party might not survive. This might be a balancing issue on your end as the GM, but there seems to be some definite 'adversarial GMing' going on. Placing enemies at the specific range where one can't do a normal attack, and one can't do a charging attack, may be a thing of chance, but you specifically used half-meter increments which seems to point to this being wholly intentional. I know DH is supposed to be brutal, but the brutality should be going both ways, and should stem from the tone of the game and not "nope, I specifically placed the monster half meter out of range."

Furthermore, not every post needs you to post a writeup of the dice rolls you used and the math involved. It really breaks the flow of the game. It's a minor thing, but if you're trying to cultivate a proper shared mindspace, having "And then the guy attacks, diceroll, bonuses, armor statistics, and blows a whole in a dude, 4 wounds" is staticky as Hell. And makes the eyes glaze over.

A last thing, not because it is the greatest of issues, nor the slightest, is that a monster literally eating a dick as a way to show how twisted the situation is, is kinda a bit too far in the "haha grossout" spectrum, especially presented in such a silly matter. It's kind of a cognitive break to go from dark brooding horror to Juggalo lyrics. This is something the admins of the board find spectacularly frustrating, as it reflects poorly on the forum as a whole.

Anyways, I don't really want you to feel like this is a cease and desist, but I and others would really like you to commit to making your game the best it can be, both for your players and for yourself.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby Jak Snide » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:26 am

Capntastic wrote:A last thing, not because it is the greatest of issues, nor the slightest, is that a monster literally eating a dick as a way to show how twisted the situation is, is kinda a bit too far in the "haha grossout" spectrum, especially presented in such a silly matter. It's kind of a cognitive break to go from dark brooding horror to Juggalo lyrics.


I must emphasise this. It really, really shot the scene to hell. Plunged it straight from disturbing and grotesque to slapstick.

I've also got to agree with his thoughts on the combat. My own preference is to have everyone declare their actions at the beginning of the turn, resolve everything in one go and then write up something fancy to convey what happened, adding the mechanical details at the end. A few details may get fudged and rules might need to be improvised but it all works out. Having all the mechanics run through the post makes each action feel disjointed and places the emphasis on the rolls instead of what happened and removes any chance for the GM to really get to work descriptively. Around a table everything is moving quickly enough for it to work but on a forum you've got time to present it as a paragraph or two of text. It also helps things move along quickly; GM posts, everyone posts. If anything unexpected comes up the GM can "stop" his post early, get new actions from people or grab them via IMs or email.

Also, given the nature of low rank DH, going over each and every failed roll is laborious and more than a little irritating. The combat against the cherubim very much felt like a bunch of people standing around, flailing their arms and failing to do much at all. It wasn't, of course, but the way it was presented made it feel like that.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby ChristianC » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:51 am

I think I'd very much like to leave the game once more.

Honestly I feel nothing about this game, except for moment's of irritation when you make rolls and we fail and you make some snide comment about it.

Every time.
"That's not interactive, there's no back-and-forth with the other player and how much fun is it to watch someone incredibly good at moving their eyes? And then whichever Seeker gets lucky swoops in and grabs the Snitch and makes everyone else's work moot. It's like someone took a real game and grafted on this pointless extra position just so that you could be the Most Important Player without needing to really get involved or learn the rest of it. Who was the first Seeker, the King's idiot son who wanted to play Quidditch but couldn't understand the rules?" Actually, now that Harry thought about it, that seemed like a surprisingly good hypothesis. Put him on a broomstick and tell him to catch the shiny thing...

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:37 am

Well I'm starting to feel like an asshole. Mabe I'm not cut out to be a GM after all.

Thanks alot for all your comments. OK, my responses. Hopefully I can improve things.

I'm not trying to make snide comments; that's just my sense of humor, which I realize is not everybody's and probably doesn't work well over the Internet. I''m also not trying to rig things against you or be adversarial at all; you are actually not in as bad a situation as I think you believe you are. I've been trying to do things more-or-less "realistically" -- not being able to carry big guns around was a result of thinking about what would realistically be permitted in a city of this sort, not out of an attempt to disarm you. Jim is being besieged right now because he's the one that attacked the head, not because I'm trying to take him down. Chani was attacked before by more than her fair share of cherubim because she ran forward (and she did kill both of them).

Characters succumbed to fear because the dice and the rules said they did, and I made a solemn oath to myself that I would not fudge die rolls and this is obviously the kind of thing that should cause fear. (They're not removed from the combat, since they can snap out of it.) Maybe that was a bad idea and I should have waited until the characters build up more experience, but I wanted to get them into the thick of things quickly given the long build up and make things exciting, which I suppose failed.

I've gotten the comment about not getting to do things before, and I'm really not sure how to address it. I must be doing something wrong, but I'm not sure what. During Huw's presence I thought that was because of the slow buildup (playing out all the briefings, my departure during my trip etc.), but I guess not. So any suggestions would be very welcome.

As to the penis issue, that actually wasn't meant as slapstick. That was born out of my thinking "what part of a human body could be ripped off by something with a Strength of 16?" and was not gratuitous. There is actually a reason that it happened. I suppose after thinking about it now that it probably was less gruesome and Stephen Kingish and more purely jarring than I had thought.

Anyway I obviously can't stop you from leaving if you want to, and of course you should leave if you're not having fun. I'm not sure how many people feel this way. I gather from the comments above that it's more than one person. (?)

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby Jak Snide » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:58 am

I think the trouble with slow buildups is that they become murderously slow in a forum based game, especially when walking down a linear corridor. You can't engage people with the moment to moment revelations; developments may come hours or days apart OOC. I imagine this whole episode in the basement would have taken a session, maybe a little more around a table. Via the board it's taken months. The structure of events does have to bend to fit the format otherwise it doesn't work.

Also, the line by line descriptions with frequent breaks are difficult to read and make each scene feel like a bullet point list of details rather than something organic.

That was born out of my thinking "what part of a human body could be ripped off by something with a Strength of 16?" and was not gratuitous.


Finger or toe?

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:07 am

Jak Snide wrote:I think the trouble with slow buildups is that they become murderously slow in a forum based game, especially when walking down a linear corridor. You can't engage people with the moment to moment revelations; developments may come hours or days apart OOC. I imagine this whole episode in the basement would have taken a session, maybe a little more around a table. Via the board it's taken months. The structure of events does have to bend to fit the format otherwise it doesn't work.

Also, the line by line descriptions with frequent breaks are difficult to read and make each scene feel like a bullet point list of details rather than something organic.


Those are both good points. You have a lot of experience in this format., so I will ask you. How do you normally go about doing these things? I've been putting in the mechanical descriptions of events and results of dice rolls so that people could see my reasoning and disagree with it if they thought it was wrong. Do you recommend doing that "off-camera" and just giving a description of the results of the action?

Also -- and here's the critical issue I think -- how do you handle matters when you have a situation in which a lot of little things are going on that might be important? Exact positionings of characters, things that might be noticed or not, things that turn out differently depending on slight differences in actions made by the characters? In this situation, for instance, a huge difference was made if you touched the ghosts or not, which required me describing them and what they did and asking for reactions and so forth.

Finger or toe could have worked.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby Jak Snide » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:48 am

If positioning of characters becomes an issue then I'll use a map, either sketchy or a proper grid. This is usually for combat, but there's been several times when knowing where people were mattered. This is on a large scale, mind you; a noble mansion, a multi-tiered religious court, an entire hive division, etc. When it comes to stuff involving a single room, looking in the right direction and so on I make Awareness checks to see if someone spots anything out of place. No need for the player to dictate exactly where his character is looking: someone with Perception 40 and Awareness +10 is going to have a good chance of spotting unusual objects. Search tests are thrown out for trying to locate hidden/concealed stuff that wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb. Use lores for identifying odd objects that are lying in plain sight but would seem unimportant to the ignorant.

As for stuff like touching ghosts, and this is a sacrifice of playing via a forum, I do make assumptions that characters aren't going to do certain things. A bunch of faithful and/or loyal (and scared) Imperials are probably not going to poke at spectres. It's also a reasonable reaction for them to try and avoid such things; roll that dodge check without asking, see if they got aside in time. If the player decides they ain't afraid of no ghosts they'll tell you and you can account for that later on. Same goes for fate points expenditure. Failed a dodge test and got shot up? Let them spend it retroactively, refluff the results; enemy blade only caused a scratch, explosion just threw them about, etc. Not technically dodging but mechanically it's the same and that sort of luckiness falls in line with fate intervening. Likewise if a character suffers some horrible event (legs blown off, failed to avoid falling masonry) it's pretty much guaranteed that they'll be spending that fate point in the way that'll most likely keep them alive. Make the call to keep things moving fast, smooth over any problems the player has afterwards. This is assuming you can't contact them quickly via IMs (which I've done before).

On fate points, there was one thing that I disagreed with a while back. I'll mention it now since I'm throwing my own opinions around.

If an FP is spent to heal Wounds, it must be used immediately or very shortly after taking the damage (the "merely a flesh wound!" effect). You can't use them to magically heal yourself overnight.


I never took fate point healing as literal healing. It'd represent struggling on despite your injuries, chomping down on a handful of painkillers and generally rising above your injuries. Either that or you go for the old "not as bad as it looks." Just seemed like a restriction for the sake of realism that didn't really add much in that regard and crippled the already vulnerable acolytes.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby ferzberk » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:20 pm

Well, speaking for my own part I'm hardly in a place to comment as I've barely touched the game. However, I've done such things in the past and can offer general advice that may or may not be relevant. For one thing, PbPs tend to crawl, especially in combat (more so even than when done in person, when the system can become jerky), to the point of becoming a nuisance with weeks taken to play out a single encounter - this of course breaks flow. As a GM, I find abstractions to be particularly useful. Take a corridor for example; A useful thing to do might be to have players establish a full-time walking order that you as GM is assumed in any instance unless explicitly told otherwise; if a corridor (or city block) has nothing of particular note in it, breeze past it to keep things moving; cover it in a sentence or two. Similarly, as GM (and especially in PbPs) I ask myself to rethink any encounter I want to have - do I need to have this encounter now, here, or at all? Can I work it more seamlessly into a different one? With a PbP, I personally feel it is important that every encounter feels important, and most of all, progresses quickly - everything else can, and often should be glossed over. A briefing, for example, can often be covered in a single post by the GM; each player can then have an opportunity to ask questions (usually a post each, tops), followed by a single answering post.
As those who've looked at the thread I'm in may have noticed, I tend to favor longer, moving posts over line-by-line combat or dialogue; with a PbP (as opposed to tabletop) a major consideration is how long it takes someone to reply; if I ask a player or NPC an unimportant question but it can't be answered for 2 days (to say nothing of a few hours), it perhaps is taking too much time. Similarly with rules; I think Jak's last comments to this effect are on point. As Gm I have the players automatically doing a lot of passive activities (automatically scanning rooms, moving quietly if the situation demands, making appropriate interaction tests; even occassionally auto-searching bodies or dodging attacks, if there's only one immediate source of damage); these things I typically do without being prompted, providing any results via narrative with verbal cues to indicate that its the players' skills and abilities that are paying off. PbP combat is particularly dicey; which is why I tend to minimalize it in online games and only have it when it really plays a key role; likewise, I abstract any actions that aren't effecting the players directly (if NPCs are fighting in the corner, as GM pick an outcome that suits your situation best, rather than bothering to roll and update). I try to keep combatant numbers low and positioning relative. Admittedly, this sort of approach is not in the strictest sense of the rules - but I think its a useful way to smooth the game's transition to a written format.
As for the issue of players not feeling like they can use their skills/do anything, this is a problem many GMs encounter; sometimes we must re-tweak our plots to cater to such things. If someone is playing a tech priest, for example, it might be worth throwing in a damaged cogitator that needs restarting, finding a suitable way to work it into your scene - just to showcase that player's abilities. Little, subtle things like this can really help players feel involved and contributing. Also, when I GM (while I do have a detailed, believe me, -deetailed- outline for my scenes), I try to leave things sand-boxy enough for the players to come up with their own solutions and approaches to problems; players will typically choose routes that showcase their own abilities; this gives them a better feeling of control and investment in the unfolding scenes - even if you've quietly railroaded the scene towards a particular conclusion in the end. Railroading, I believe, is a necessary quality to varying degrees for any plot-oriented GM (like myself, say) - the trick is to avoid making it glaringly obvious; yes, my players know that to some extent they walk the road I lay out for them, but so long as they reach the same milestones on it, allowing for creative (even if it seems hokey) variation is useful in maintaining group morale.
But, either way, I find PbPs to be very hard to run - and many disintegrate quickly. I wasn't aware how long this one had been running, and I'm impressed at its longevity for its own sake. I'm not in a position to offer any judgement on this particular rpg - the comments above are merely my remarks as one fellow GM to another, to be taken or left at leisure. The GM's role is not an enviable one always but, for those inclined towards it, it remains very rewarding.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby helvorn » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:27 pm

Personally I am enjoying the game; I like the character, the other players and the setting/characterizations. I do think that the PbP is a VERY hard setting to make work well and there is a lot of finesse and cooperation between the characters. I think Chris is very dedicated to the game and is passionate about doing a good job.

I also don't mind a certain amount of subtle railroading when there is a plot to be had. Certainly newly created characters need more guidance to get rolling than more advanced characters who are deep in a plot where much of the interaction is a joint fabrication with the GM. Certainly a bit of a whack over the head is needed when players stray.

I don't mind that the characters aren't packing big guns or don't have lots of abilities. We are beginners and I'd expect there to be limits on what we can acquire and what we can realistically carry about in the city given our need to go undercover. Actually it's good that we are limited. I'd be disappointed if we all had bolt pistols; I like to 'earn' my rank advances with characters.

As to the character interaction bit I think the best point was made by ferzberk about throwing out some tasty roleplaying bits for everyone. I can see where it was frustrating for Huw to not be able to shine like he wanted in the confrontation with the corrupt guards. I've had some significant private IM roleplaying with Kara because of some unique situations that she as a psyker is dealing with related to the current predicament. That's given me a bit more of the roleplaying 'meat' in regards to what Kara is all about.

The nitty gritty of the combat and some of the details of awareness rolls and such could be glossed over a bit. Personally though, I kind of like seeing some of the calculations for the various task roles but then I'm a) new to the system and want to learn and b) I'm an engineer so I dig crunchy numbers.

Part of my frustration the other night was a combination of personal issues making me grumpy (my apologies) and feeling set upon by a situation that appeared beyond our capability to control. We'd just been hit with a Fear 2 test and then immediately thereafter another one plus enough flying cherubim to clean our clocks given our dismal performance against the unarmed ones in the corridor. Then we started missing right and left (no fault of Chris's; the dice roller is cursed by Chaos) and we're into another agonizingly long combat assuming we don't just die outright given the low level of the characters and the degree of opposition. The multiple fear tests on top of an already challenging situation were the straw that broke the camel's back for me. Basically I felt so outclassed that whatever we did just didn't matter.

I think that the setting with the specters and the warped feast is awesome. The dismembered corpse should be a Fear 2 check. I have no beef with any of it, in fact I'm enjoying it. I just think we're in over our heads and I'd lost any sense of control over the situation.

I want to continue the game. Like I said I like the players, the setting/plot and my character. I'd ask Christian and the rest of us to give Chris a chance to make some changes to better suit the nature of a PbP. Really a lot of people would have said 'f-you' in response to criticism. I think Chris is extremely open to improving things and not at all dogmatic and the comments and criticisms are very well thought out and to the point. Let's take this as an opportunity to learn and move on with what I believe has the makings of a really good game.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:46 pm

I will make a long comment tomorrow -- my fiancee's father came over this evening and they started yelling at each other as usual so I just don't have the energy right now.

However, I will say that you are really not overwhelmed. There are several reasons for this, only one of which I will mention in order not to give away things -- and that reason is that Jenkin has not actually attacked anybody. You're not in combat with him. He's just standing on the desk looking gruesome. He has been saying "my disciples! we must read it together! it's a glorious miracle!" not "DIE Imperial scum!!!!" and has made absolutely no hostile moves.

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby Shinigori V2 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:12 am

I would like to state, first and foremost, that nothing in this post is meant as an attack. Almost anyone who knows me will tell you I'm not actually half the asshole I come off as, I just write exactly the way I'd say such things.

Thing one: I am keeping an eye on this thread, and the RP.

Thing two: Looking at previous comments, I have to agree with Capntastic. There is a definite tone of "I am the GM, it's my job to beat the party into submission." The snide comments on roll failures doesn't help that at all- Nor does it provide a great image of the GM. Bad rolls- Especially strings of them- Are frustrating enough as it is, without the GM making remarks about how the character got lucky they didn't just herp a massive derp and rocket themselves out of the gene pool.

One of my habits that I've picked up here is to fill two roles in my own game- I GM it, run the environment, keep the plot going. But I also roll myself up a character, the character I'd submit if I was a player and someone else was the GM. It makes it much easier to empathize with the players, and makes you 'one of them', as opposed to the guy trying to drop rocks on their head.

As GM, your job is basically what I described above- You are there to move the plot along, and serve as a go-between for the players and the world you have created for them. Purposely setting the world up to frustrate, confuse, and generally be an irritation to the players is not the mark of a good GM.

Thing three: Another thing to keep in mind- Rules are rules, but you're the one enforcing them. My personal rule of thumb on skills is, if it's something that comes naturally (Say, for example, riding a bike once learned), you don't need to spend points on the paperwork that proves your dad taught you how to ride a bike, and it doesn't need to be on your sheet. The makeup thing that I'm reading about is something like that- It honestly wouldn't be hard for someone to use makeup to cover that sort of thing. You want it to be a plot point? Easy enough, make it rain. Get the character wet somehow. Come up with a reason it doesn't work. Don't sit and deny your player the ability to smear stuff all over their face.

More, it's all about having a good time, isn't it? I know most of my players in real life. The thing that dominates most of our conversations about the game is the awesome shit that happens. Sometimes to let awesome shit happen, you gotta let stuff slide. One of my house rules is, if you can make my jaw drop with what your character is doing, then make me grin like an idiot for five minutes, it happens. Anything that makes me go "Shit, that was AWESOME", happens. Dice are good and all, but don't get too caught up with them that you completely squeeze the life and fun out of the game. Losing to a bunch of floating babies, with no real way to escape, in an encounter forced by railroading and not a lack of judgement or mistake from a character is not very fun.

In the end, it's a game, and games are about fun. But it's also about the story, the journey to the end. If your players aren't enjoying it, you should adapt so that they do. Loosen up a bit and make things fun for everyone, as opposed to just letting the characters throw themselves against a brick wall.
Hey there! Can I give you a hand?

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Re: Dark Heresy -- Purge the Xenos

Unread postby InquisitorChris » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:08 am

OK, a few comments.

(It says something about the weirdness of human psychology that I am more concerned about a game over the internet than my looming work deadline.)

I did not intend to be snide, although I see in rereading things how it could be seen that way. So that's an error in interpersonal relations on my part. (I wish somebody had told me before, because it was not intentional.) Sorry. (As I told one of the players in an email, I'm starting to suspect that the fact that the only times I use English in my daily life are on the Internet has started to hamper my ability to handle tone.)

No one is losing to flying babies or to anything. The only person who has taken any (physical) damage is Chani, who is frankly mechanically disadvantaged because she is a close-combat fighter who is not wearing any armor. (Statistically speaking, about 50% of all successful attacks are going to get through her defenses, more if more than one attack is made against her, which means she is practically guaranteed to take hits. Really thematically this combat-heavy section should have been her chance to shine, but she has been manhandled by a combination of no armor and bad rolls.) The flying babies previously were actually beaten handily, and the current ones are even less of a threat as they have a total of 3 Wounds, a 10 Weapon Skill, and no Frenzy boosting them. Plus something else working against them. (Also, they didn't attack you, you attacked them. You weren't intended to fight them at all. When I constructed the encounter I originally thought about putting up some kind of barrier but couldn't find a way to rationalize it.)

I appreciate people's comments and recommendations on style, organization, and pacing, which I will take into account. (I also see Alex's point about the Fate Points for healing damage.)

Really I should have made clear intially that I am open to discussion of any of my GMing decisions (rule interpretations, style, comments that are believed to be snide, etc.) and if anybody has any problems with any of them, feel free to raise an objection on the spot!

Finally, nobody who isn't having fun should be playing and I'm not going to try to talk people into staying who don't want to because that would be silly. This is a game for fun, not a work project.

So, if we want to continue the game, I will. If not anybody who wants to drop out can and there won't be any hard feelings about it. Just let me know.

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