Basics of DH
Dark Heresy, or the Spanish Inquisition meets the KGB…in SPACE
Personal thoughts on the game:
Combat is lethal. Very, very lethal. Once you run out of wounds, you start rolling on critical tables, and they are not nice. The most wounds you can start with are 14-15. The average rifle does d10+3 or so damage. Yeah. Use cover and armour, use suppressive fire, use grenades, or your service in the Inquisition will be very short. Combat is only 1/3 of the game. Often less. Seldom more. First-level characters are chumps. There is a reason the first level Guardsman is called a “conscript”. The other classes are no better. A S 45 Feral Worlder (best starting S possible) still has a 55% chance of not being able to hold open that door. Kicking down a door guns blazing, or the social equivalent thereof, is not likely to end well. Even though you are expendable, you are not The Expendables. Investigation, fast talking, and out of the box thinking are the tricks to completing the mission and getting out with your hide as intact as it gets in the grim darkness of the far future.
Stage 1: Select your Origins:
• Feral World – Maori, Zulu, Mongols, etc
• Hive World – downtown city rats, up to eleven
• Imperial World – most diverse backgrounds
• Void Born – slightly weird, think River Tam
• Forge World – sweatshop meets high technology
• Mind Cleansed – The Manchurian Candidate
• Noble Born – Fops, Prussians, and everything in between
• Schola Progenium – military academy brats
Stage 2: Roll Characteristics – 2d10, place them as you like, add homeworld modifiers. First digit (tens digit) of each characteristic other then WS and BS is that characteristic’s bonus.
• Weapon Skill (WS) – how good you are at kicking someone’s teeth in
• Ballistic Skill (BS) – how good you are at blowing someone’s head off
• Strength (S) – /me flexes
• Toughness (T) – do you take hits like a chump?
• Agility (Ag) – reflexes, speed, balance
• Intelligence (Int) – if you have to ask, you don’t have much of it
• Perception (Per) – sharpness of senses
• Willpower (Wp) – do you stop being scared and be awesome? Also, psyker tests.
• Fellowship (Fel) – suit up!
Stage 3: Select Career Path (plan your characteristic placements around this)
• Adept – brains, nerd, smart guy, all that. Knows lots of stuff.
• Arbitrator – combination of investigator and SWAT. Think Judge Dredd.
• Assassin – pure killer and sneak. Not exactly knowledgable, usually not sociable.
• Cleric – what happens when “thou shalt kill” is a commandment
• Guardsman – big dumb fighter. With guns. Lots of guns. And bombs.
• Sanctioned Psyker – psychic powers, at a price.
• Scum – gangers, con men, thieves…pretty much a rogue in space.
• Techpriest – scientists, engineers, and mechanics who got religion.
Stage 4: Spend Experience, buy Equipment
• Wounds – how many hits you can take, roll d5 plus homeworld modifier
• Fate Points – think plot armour, roll on table in rulebook
• Movement – depends on Agility bonus
• Spend Experience, buy Equipment
Stage 5: Character’s name, appearance, past, personality, etc
• Imperial Divinations: words of wisdom as to the fate of your character
You buy Advances with Experience. Once you’ve spent enough Experience, you level up to the next Rank. Each new Rank unlocks new Advances. Two types of Advances – Characteristic (improves your stats), and Skill/Talent (lets you do more stuff). You can use some Skills (Basic ones) without having them – you just halve the Characteristic you roll against (so if you don’t have Dodge, you can still dodge, but you would roll against – for example – Ag 15 instead of Ag 30).
Dark Heresy is based on Percentile Dice. Roll a d10 for tens and a d10 for ones (double 0 is 100). If you’ve rolled below the relevant characteristic after modifiers (maximum of +30 or -30), you succeed. For every 10 you beat the score you needed by, you gain a Degree of Success. For every 10 you failed by, you gain a Degree of Failure. Degrees are only important for some tests. Ten again – if you roll max on damage dice (usually d10, hence name), you add another d10 worth of damage.