Yesterday I got my act together and finally ran a game of Dark Heresy, the Inquisition themed roleplaying game set in the universe of Warhammer 40’000. It’s been out for over a year and I’ve been itching to play it.
I have done so little roleplaying in recent years that I was a bit nervous and quite probably overdid my preparation work, piling some eleven-plus hours for the one night of gaming. I don’t regret it, as I really knew what I was doing and now I’m ready for the next two games, as well – I got plenty of surplus material. I think that works out to around three hours per game session, which is frankly a bit much to my taste. We’ll see what I can do about that.
We’re running the rulebook’s introductory adventure, Illumination. Our group has three characters: an Assassin and two Imperial Psykers. A hilarious time was had with the character creation. I can’t think of another game with such outlandish, yet moody options, resulting in absolutely broken caricatures of characters, so far from the accepted heroic tropes as can be. It was a little bit time-consuming and it would have helped if everyone had their own career advancement options at hand. Choosing the psychic powers was slow, although they are delightfully brief to describe.
The adventure played well, managing to blend together everything I wanted. We even ended the laugh out loud funny session on a suitably moody note, dreading what’s to come The group handled their first combat encounter by appearing so intimidating that the enemy backed off – this is what I want from an Inquisition game! Granted, it was psychic fear and thus also subject to random warp implosions and such, which only adds to the tension. I love the mechanic where every manifestation of psychic power is a potential bomb going off. Keep rolling those 9s, folks!
I kept checking the book to read up on skills, talents and powers, but it was smooth enough. The one thing I worry about are the generally very low characteristic scores of the characters. Most of the time it seems quite unlikely that you could succeed on any given roll. This makes me not hang the proceedings on the die rolls, which leads to the die rolls being a kind of windowdressing. It all worked out fine in the end, but it’s something I need to think about a bit for the future.