Warhammer 40k

12 Campaigns of Christmas #9 Her Last Command

Here’s a quick one for Dark Heresy (just in time for the new edition!)

Avenge me.

Those were the last words of the Inquisitor, the one woman responsible for your current employment as part of the Inquisition’s Ordo Hereticus, those charged with finding the threats that lurk within the Imperium of Man.

Ordinarily, your band would be disovled by her higher-ups, and you would all be reassigned to other duties, perhaps among other Inquisitors, or even in the Imperial Guard.

But those last words haunt you.

Whoever murdered the Inquisitor knew what she was investigating, and to simply disband was unthinkable.

Someone has to bring her killer to justice. She gave her last command. You intend to follow it to the letter.

Without an Inquisitor, any form of investigation would be a breach of conduct that could very well mean your execution if you were caught. Navigating the byzantine nature of the Imperium’s power structures while hunting down her killer would be a monumental task, but you were all chosen for your specialties to ferret out even, even if it hid within the beating heart of the Imperium.

[Review] Only War Core Rulebook


Only War is the latest RPG out for the Warhammer 40k rpgs released by Fantasy Flight Games. After tackling the Inquisition, Rogue Traders, Space Marines and Chaos, the series finally pays attention to the true backbone of the Imperium’s endless war: the men and women of the Imperial Guard.

In many ways I was looking forward to this book the most. While there’s some kind of glamour associated with the Space Marines, the true heart of many stories set in war come from the front lines. The Imperial Guard are the ones who see the fight first, and suffer incredible losses in their days at war. They are the ones who stand to lose the most, and are most vulnerable to the enemy but they don’t back down despite the horrors of war, because that is what they do.

Most of all, this is the game that allows you to really tell more well-rounded, human stories rather than the laser focus of just plain hating on the Xenos, the Mutant, the Daemon and the Heretic. (I know I’m oversimplifying things here, but bear with me.)

In any case, those familiar with the rules for Dark Heresy will find that Only War uses the same system, with some intresting new mechanics. One of my favorites is the Regiment creation system, where a group (or the GM) can plan out what kind of Regiment they want to play if they don’t want to use any of the ones provided. That said, there’s a lot of interesting Regiments to choose from, starting with the Cadian Shock Troops to other iconic Regiments like the Catachan, the Mordians and the Tallarn.

Players can take on the roles of more than just Guardsmen as they get to choose specialties such as Heavy Gunner, Medic, Operator, Sergeant and Weapons Specialist. Furthermore they have Support Specialists as further options including the infamous Commissar, Ministorum Priest, Ogryn, Ratling, Sanctioned Psykers, Storm Troopers and Tech-Priest Engineers. The sheer variance provided is a very nice touch as it helps dispel the impression that everyone essentially plays a grunt with a helmet and a lasgun.

Another interesting mechanic is the generation of Comrades. These are special NPCs that fight alongside the player characters. Mechanically they’re sort of like familiars, as each player has direct control over their Comrades by the use of Orders. This doesn’t mean that Comrades are expendable by any stretch as certain abilities rely on having a Comrade, and it is to a player’s best interest to keep their Comrades alive as long as possible.

Vehicles also a large part in an Imperial Guard game, and vehicle rules account for movement and combat, including some interesting systems critical hit charts that go a long way to simulate the harrowing nature of taking a critical hit while inside a vehicle. Repair rules are also present, giving more opportunities to simulate the “less than ideal” world of living with vehicles that have been patched together by field repairs.

As with all the books in the Warhammer 40k line, the artwork is solid and the layout is readable. I’m glad that the fonts they chose for this are readable while retaining the whole Warhammer 40k vibe. Also of note is the fact that the PDF has been cross-linked, making rules look ups as painless as possible.

Overall, I feel that Only War is a product that shows just how used to the system the writing team is already at this point. Furthermore, they have a very strong vision as to what the game should be about and aren’t afraid to push that agenda via the rules. There’s a lot of fluff discussing the nature of the war and how it grinds humanity down, but it never comes off as too depressing as to be utterly unplayable. There are real opportunities to live (and die) as heroes in the war. It’s admittedly not the easiest thing to do in the context of RPGs, but in this case Only War deserves a Medal.

Only War is available from DriveThruRPG for $30.00 or Php 1,230

[Gaming 101] Games to Start With Part 3: Science Fiction

Space. The Final Frontier. Locally, sci-fi has not had much luck getting off the ground (bad pun, I know.) That said, there’s a wealth of games that are worth checking out with their own (often dark) visions of the future.

Eclipse Phase by Posthuman Studios
Taking place in a transhumanist future where mankind has transcended the constraints of a physical body, Eclipse Phase has players taking the role of agents of Firewall, a secret society of agents dedicated to stopping Extinction-Level threats. The technology level of this game is almost staggering, as being able to switch your mind from body to body to suit a given situation is almost commonplace, and conspiracies and strange alien horrors born of our own technological advancement haunt humanity.

Shadowrun 4th edition by Catalyst Game Labs
Magic came back, and the future is weird. Dwarven hackers and Elven street samurai conduct clandestine missions for mysterious corporate benefactors in this no-holds barred cyberpunk meets fantasy rpg. Having been around for 20-something years, Shadowrun is no pushover, and has a massive metaplot full of opportunity for the enterprising party with a quick trigger finger.

Dark Heresy by Fantasy Flight Games
Innocence proves nothing. Take on the role of the agents of the Inquisition in this dark future rpg set in the world of Warhammer 40k as you try and root out the devious machinations of humanity’s countless foes. While the rest of the world fights for mankind’s survival, you’re there to purge corruption from the inside.

Rogue Trader by Fantasy Flight Games
Leave the witchhunt to the Inquisitors, Rogue Trader puts you in the helm as one of the starfaring space pirates of the Imperium. Money is the only thing that matters in Rogue Trader, and it is your duty to the empire to make a profit no matter what, even if it means dealing with the Xenos while the Inquisition isn’t looking.

Deathwatch by Fantasy Flight Games
Enter the Adeptus Astartes, mankind’s angels of death against their enemies. As one of the fabled Space Marines of the Imperium, take on the missions that no other can handle. Armed with the very best equipment, and genetically modified to become superior to any normal human the Deathwatch are a special team of mixed Space Marine Chapters sent to take on only the most dangerous of missions.

Tomorrow, we tackle Alternate History and Pulp!

If you’re interested in picking up any of these in hardcover, you can order them directly from Gaming Library.

To place an order, please go to Gaming Library’s special order express page : http://www.gaminglib.com/pages/special-order-express-page

Take note that placing an order there doesn’t mean you’re committed, rather the Gaming Library team will be giving a quote and you can now choose whether to push through with the purchase or not.

[Let’s Study: Dark Heresy] Adeptus Mechanicus: Psyker Powers

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.


“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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[Let’s Study: Dark Heresy] Adeptus Mechanicus: The Imperial Psyker

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.


“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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[Let’s Study: Dark Heresy] Adeptus Mechanicus: The Guardsman

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.


“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).

[Let’s Study: Dark Heresy] Adeptus Mechanicus: The Cleric

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.


“Prayer time sinners!” –Reckless Kelly

The Ecclesiarchy is the institution dedicated to governing and enforcing the religious dogma of the Imperium. In a galaxy-spanning empire where Faith and Conformity is as much prized as Loyalty and Valor, this translates to vast temporal power that rivals (and in some cases,) exceeds, that of its counterpart institutions such as the Administratum. Entire populations are consigned to slaughter, galaxies are plunged into war and billions strong crusades are launched into the void, all upon the vagaries of whim and demagoguery of galactic pontiffs.

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