Archive for the ‘Guest Articles’ Category


Today’s article is a continuation of Dulio‘s Adeptus Mechanicus series, with an analysis of the various Psyker Powers and how to best use them.

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“These are not the droids you’re looking for.” –Obi-Wan Kenobi

The Warp is undeniably a hostile place, a roiling mass of unbound energy churned by the universe’s collective Id and inhabited by some of the most malevolent entities to ever come into existence. Yet the Warp also represents power that can be muzzled and bent to one’s purposes by sheer force of will to accomplish feats beyond both mortal skill and artifice, even bending the laws of reality itself.  Psychic Powers is the catchall term for such feats, covering a wide array of abilities that can be benign as lighting a flame on one’s finger to dominating an entire planet’s population, but uniformly all tap into the warp as a power source with commensurate risk.

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Continuing with Dulio‘s series of guest articles is his entry regarding the Imperial Psyker, one of the Career Paths available in the Dark Heresy Corebook.

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“A mind can be a dangerous thing to put.” –Iago

The psyker gene is without doubt the greatest evolutionary leap that mankind has taken since he learned to make fire. The Emperor, arguably the most powerful psyker of the human race, oversaw the greatest period of territorial expansion in human history and laid the societal groundwork for Imperium’s dominance of the known universe. Everyday, millions of psykers of all kinds, Sanctionites, Astropaths and Navigators, labor ceaselessly to maintain the Imperial hegemony. They are the invisible thread that binds millions of planets together through the vastness of space into an amalgamated tapestry of commerce, correspondence and conflict.

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Continuing with Dulio‘s series of guest articles is his entry regarding the Cleric, one of the Career Paths available in the Dark Heresy Corebook.

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“You don’t win a war by dying for your country. You win a war by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his.” –General George S. Patton

In the grim future there is only War, violence looms as a constant specter in daily life.  This goes double for the Inquisitor, who is constantly storming of heretic fortresses or dealing with the aftermath of a botched operation. Luckily he has help in the form of the Guardsman; running the gamut from disciplined storm troopers to berserk axe wielding wild men, guardsmen are hardy souls who stand on the frontlines of any fight, placing themselves between the enemy and their teammates. They are experts in dealing death in all its myriad forms and surviving the return fire, all in the name of the God-Emperor.

As stated the Guardsman is all about combat and his career track reflects this, acting as the sledgehammer to the Assassin’s stiletto. The guardsman boasts the cheapest combat attribute advances of any career, (though at the extreme expense of cognitive and social ability) making him quite adept in both melee and ranged combat as well as giving him both the agility and durability to weather the enemy’s attacks. Of particular note is that the Guardsman is the only career that has a discounted cost for the Strength attribute, predisposing him toward melee combat more so than other acolytes.

In terms of skills the Guardsman is conspicuously bereft of advances that are not connected to combat or at least tangentially associated with surviving the harsh conditions of a modern battlefield. Even if such non-combat skills were to appear on his career track they are typically priced at a premium, sometimes on par in cost with combat talents of the appearing in the same rank. That said, the Guardsman benefits from a vast quantity of combat talents, usually attaining special weapons and offensive talents far earlier in the game than other careers as well as possessing the highest number of potential wounds of all acolyte careers. If he survives long enough to become a Veteran, which more or less establishes the image of the ideal Guardsman, the career branches off into three specialized paths which coincidentally conforms to the some of the most popular characters of Guardsmen in WH40k fiction.

Embarking upon the path of Lieutenant, the acolyte rises up from the muck of the grunt infantry to join the ranks of the commissioned officers and their hard scrabble up the political ladder for the coveted position of Commander. Along the way he picks up several decidedly un-guardsman like social skills as he adapts to a more subtle battleground of ballrooms and bureaucracy. Though he forsakes some of his raw power in favor of being able to trade words with nobles and politicians, he still continues to refine his combat skills to a razor edge and a bared power sword can end a debate far more effectively than any argument.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is the Assault Veteran, a career line soldier who’s looked death in the face, spat at it and asked for more. Plunging headlong into the most hellish of conflict zones, Assault Veterans show mettle above and beyond that of the common soldier, coming face to face with worst horrors that the universe and the warp can vomit out and killing it with methodical efficiency. Their training as they become Stormtroopers emphasizes the ability to stand in close quarters with such monstrosities and demolish them utterly, gaining talents that give them access to even more powerful weaponry, resistances to strange powers and brutal close combat prowess that would put a Khornate Berserker to shame.

Finally there is the Scout representing the masters of stealth and fieldcraft who range ahead of the army to seek out and observe the enemy and, should opportunity present itself, surreptitiously eliminate him.  Dipping into the province of the Assassin, the career track on the way to becoming a Sniper allows the Guardsman to develop skills in concealment, tracking and the art of discreet murder. Particular emphasis is paid to the use of long range gunnery to eliminate his targets, allowing the Sniper to place shots to ignore armor and deal the most damage. While the Sniper will never equal the Assassin’s skills at infiltration he is not as fragile in a straight up fight as the latter should he be discovered.

The Guardsman may be stereotyped as a blunt instrument of violence by other more skilled acolytes, and their highly focused career track generally does little to debunk such an assessment.  When the shooting starts there is no more important team member to provide that vital combat muscle to bring that arch-heretic and his minions to heel. While some Guardsmen may branch of into ancillary skills at the behest of their lords the battlefield will still be where they are most potent, outshining all others. Given the grim necessity of their work all Inquisitors without exception maintain several such skilled fighters in their retinues while even more martially inclined Inquisitors travel with whole regiments in tow as they hound the Imperium’s enemies across the galaxy.

Notable Guardsmen: Ciaphas Cain (of his eponymous series, though a self professed coward he is a rather exceptional example of the Commander track), Danuld Drake and Vos Kyrlock (Dark Heresy series), Tanith First and Only (Gaunt’s Ghosts, the entire guard regiment is made up of Scouts).


Today’s entry is a guest article written by Dulio, one of the more mechanically adept (hence the pun title) players in our gaming group.  He’s one of the biggest fans of the Warhammer 40k setting, and when he caught wind that I was looking at Dark Heresy as a potential game, he started getting to work on analyzing the various character options in the game in preparation.

What follows an introduction to his work, which will span several entries looking at the various Career Paths available to players in Dark Heresy, providing both mechanical and conceptual insight for players new to the setting.

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Today’s Arcana Basics article was written by Blake Dy, one of the regular players in my group, and one that has spent an inordinate amount of time learning and applying the Mind Arcana’s tricks of the trade in his Mage: the Awakening Characters.

Introduction:

The Mind Arcana is at once the most simple yet one of the deepest Arcana that the Awakened command. This is the Arcanum used to connect with the Universal Consciousness shared by all beings possessed of thought: humans, animals, spirits and anything capable of in any way distinguishing between itself and its environment. This is an Arcanum of thoughts, dreams, emotions, motivations, memories, primal instincts, elevated precepts and ideas. Those who seek to master Mind attempt to grow closer to the unity of thought shared by all intelligent life, turning their mystic will inward, there to discover the simple truth that all Creation exists only in the eye of the beholder.

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