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Review RPG Codex Review: WH40k - Dark Heresy, 2nd Edition

Grunker

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Tags: Dark Heresy; Fantasy Flight Games; Games Workshop; WH40k


The RPG Codex sporadically takes a look into the world of Pen & Paper RPGs. After all, this glorious hobby of ours was spawned directly from that cosmos. With the introduction of our beloved Gazebo, we started rolling out more tabletop content.

However, since Monte Cook's Numenera, we haven't been that active with the ol' pen n' dice, so we thought that now was the time to once again peek into the realm of soda cans and sweaty arm pits. This time, it is Darth Roxor taking a look at Fantasy Flight Games' Warhammer 40,000: Dark Heresy, Second Edition:

RPG Codex doesn’t get nearly enough pen-and-paper-related content, so I decided to sit down and rectify that. And what better topic would there be to write about than the recently released second edition of Dark Heresy?

[...]

the main questions are threefold:

- Whether it managed to fix some of the original’s glaring flaws
- Whether the overall theme of roleplaying an inquisitor’s private retinue of investigators tracking down WITCHCRAFT, HERESY AND MUTATION was preserved.
- Whether Fantasy Flight Games managed to cherry pick some of the better additions from the previous supplements and offshoots.​

So how does that go, we wonder?

this entire system feels a lot like some sort of half-arsed fan attempt​

Uh-oh. Read more to follow the trainwreck to its station.

Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: WH40k - Dark Heresy, 2nd Edition
 

Darth Roxor

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I've already posted this in the Gazebo DH2 thread, but I think it bears repeating.

This was easily the most defining moment of the game for me:

<Jaedar> combat over?
<Jaedar> or will you enact daring plan?
<Aurelius> how far is reject
<Jaedar> reject is fighting the dude in front
<Stilicho> I was charging at the door guard
<Jaedar> he is basically in a completely different fight
<Aurelius> I will
<Aurelius> deceive the boss
<Aurelius> to send his guards to the front door
<Aurelius> where I can hear fighting!
<Stilicho> Thanks, bro!
<Aurelius> it's k
<Aurelius> stubber will wrestle him down
<Aurelius> and then we order them
<Aurelius> to stand down
<Aurelius> root
<Aurelius> wot powers
<Jaedar> roll deceibers then?
<Aurelius> do you have
<Reddin> i can set people on fire
<Reddin> thats all
<Aurelius> excellent!
<Aurelius> I shall roll deceivings
<Aurelius> at
<Aurelius> +10
<Stilicho> godspeed
<Aurelius> ,dhroll 54
<Boreale> Aurelius: 79 Failure by 2 degrees!
<Aurelius> FEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHT
<Jaedar> aren't you of fate?
<Aurelius> nop
<Aurelius> that was my 2nd
<Aurelius> ,dhroll 54
<Boreale> Aurelius: 85 Failure by 3 degrees!
<Stilicho> GG
<Aurelius> ... now i am
<Aurelius> wait
<Aurelius> actually
<Aurelius> hold on a sec
<Aurelius> can I use charm
<Jaedar> i am holding
<Aurelius> instead of deceive
<Aurelius> on this roll
<Jaedar> no
<Jaedar> cus you're trying to deceive
<Reddin> well he actually can hear fighting
<Aurelius> ^
<Reddin> over the commbead
<stubber> let hobolius die then and we continue or smthing
<Jaedar> yeah hobolius is lying in the ditch bleeding
<Jaedar> You tell Holthane you hear fighting at the front and that he should send dudes over
<Aurelius> wait
<Jaedar> ok
<Aurelius> "The GM can call on a player to use the Charm skill when:
<Stilicho> [can I resolve my fight already so I can go help?]
<Aurelius> - he wishes to distract someone by drawing his focus away from others"
<Jaedar> fine, use charm instead then
<Stilicho> [or die]
<Aurelius> excellent!
<Aurelius> then instead of using the first fate
<Aurelius> to get a +10
<Aurelius> I auto-succeed
<Aurelius> using sway the masses
<Aurelius> because DH2
<Aurelius> \^-^/
<Jaedar> ....
 

thesheeep

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Codex 2012 Strap Yourselves In Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Codex USB, 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag. Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
WH40K: Legally allowing nerds to play Nazis (in space) since 1987.

A good lesson in why developers should listen to feedback carefully and not burst into panic reactions.
 
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Maelflux

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Great review, and very fun to read.

I have all the other systems (from DH to OW), but due to the lackluster comments in general I never bothered to get DH2. Seems like I will not be getting it either based on this.
 

Maculo

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I do not play P&P games (probably a shame), but that was an entertaining review.
 

TigerKnee

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Guess I'll ignore this and get around to reading the originals

What are the best books out of the original line anyway?
 

Darth Roxor

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Guess I'll ignore this and get around to reading the originals

What are the best books out of the original line anyway?

The early ones before FFG really went full retard:

Core rulebook + Inquisitor's Handbook + Creatures Anathema + Disciples of the Dark Gods + Radical's Handbook is all you'll ever need, although Radical's already has a bunch of questionable stuff as well, but it's got a lot of cool stuff to compensate.
 

lightbane

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I would say the Rogue Trader books are good as well... At least the first ones. Once playable xenos and their overpowered gear start showing up, the game shatters into tiny pieces. Space combat also needs houserules to be actually fun.
 

Darth Roxor

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I liked RT's ship combat :M

Rogue Trader is gud, though, yeah. I prefer it to DH when it comes to the theme, but it also has some annoying shit - the early stages of the career advancement tables aren't very well-made, it was the first game to drop d10xPR for psykerisms, and IIRC the psyker powers lists are boran as shit. It has navigators, though! And the characters are MUCH less terrible than failcolytes thanks to the 5k starting xp.
 

Jaedar

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Project: Eternity Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
As the groups GM/review facthecker, I feel I deserve a fraction of the brofists!

Iirc, the mechanicus supplement for dh1 was alright too, as was arbites except for one incredibly dumb class which starts with every lore (including all forbiddens) skill.
 

Random

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Oh, fuck right off. DH1 fanboys are the absolute worst. That system was full of so much shit it's not even funny. If you can't accept that DH2 resolves the vast majority of the problems that persisted even in OW, you have a problem.

At least you fucking realized that the beta for DH2 was potentially better than what we got. Potentially.
 

Alex

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Rogue Trader is definitely the best WH40k RPG.

Rogue_trader_cover.jpg
 
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Random

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Guess I'll ignore this and get around to reading the originals

What are the best books out of the original line anyway?

Don't listen to Roxor's bullshit, he sucks a bag of dicks. I'm so pissed off about his shitty review that I'm gonna do a review of his review tomorrow to show how he's varying degrees of wrong to just plain retarded.
 

Jaedar

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Guess I'll ignore this and get around to reading the originals

What are the best books out of the original line anyway?

Don't listen to Roxor's bullshit, he sucks a bag of dicks. I'm so pissed off about his shitty review that I'm gonna do a review of his review tomorrow to show how he's varying degrees of wrong to just plain retarded.
3898460-8864152835-
 

Maelflux

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My favorite system is problem Rogue Trader, but that also is because of the settings and vast options. And yet again we had to houserule some things, so it's not flawless.

Deathwatch is also good for what it is: Insane combat all around. It seems balanced in that everything results in complete overkill, which even at an advanced stage in my life is still fun :D
 

Hoodoo

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:lol:
 

Major_Blackhart

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Shit just got real niggas!
:mob:

Anyway, I'm glad I didn't partake of this one. Not so much for the rules which suck, but because they've pretty much proven they blow at world building at this time.
 

Random

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Keep your pants on, I know I'm gonna be the entertainment for the following few hours, but I still intend to fight the good fight against shitty reviews, even if I'm going up against one of the most hardboiled circlejerker covens this side of 4chan.

The second Very Bad Idea included in the beta was the new talents – DH1 had quite an impressive list of cool talents - a list that kept getting butchered across all the new sister systems

You say butchered, but pretty much all of the talents that were outright removed from DH1 and never brought back in any other versions of WH40k RPG were either broken or varying degrees of pointless. The rest were simply folded into other talents to cut down on talent swell, or were included in supplements. Only a handful of the ones that appeared in the core rulebook for DH1 never returned, mind you, so this is a pretty blatant exaggeration.

Many of them were simply ‘use a fate point to succeed automatically and make something awesome happen!’ (more on that later). This is plainly half-arsed, since fate points in Dark Heresy usually serve as rerolls anyway. To add insult to injury, they were grouped in ‘talent trees’ that were very badly crafted – to get *anything* worthwhile, you had to buy a whole load of stuff you’d never use.

Yes, rerolls are the most common use for fate points. That does not mean that additional uses for fate points is in any way automatically half-assed.

Talent trees solved the issue of people skipping the lesser talents in favor of only buying the really good ones, a tax to ensure that there is a linear character progression and not a steep curve the moment the game starts and the players start getting xp in the more freeform aptitude system. That being said, they were not perfect. In fact, they were in many ways pretty much the same shit as the career advancement tables from DH1 as you yourself admitted later on:

...in DH1, you chose a background for your character and were more or less strictly bound into it. Each background had unique tables with fixed skills and talents that you could buy as you advanced in the organisation’s ranks. This certainly wasn’t perfect, because you often had to buy advancements you didn’t really want to have just to advance to a new rank...

The difference here is that this time everyone had to follow the same progression and there were no broken careers that could get better talents earlier/for cheaper. I actually do prefer the system that DH2 uses for character advancement, but more on that later when it comes up.

To begin with, DH1’s hit point system was ditched in favour of wound tables. If you got damaged, you rolled for a wound effect on an appropriate table instead of just slashing off HP. Certainly a noble endeavour, but one that becomes much less appealing when you realise there are 9 pages of tables in total, accounting for every damage type and hit location possible. Can you imagine just how much unnecessary book-keeping that entails, and how it bogs down the system’s already slow combat?

The beta's wound tables were not particularly any more trouble to work with than the basic critical damage charts already present in every 40k RPG. Let's directly compare the number of pages of critical charts in DH1's core rulebook to the DH2 Beta's number of pages of wound tables. There are 8 total pages of critical damage charts in DH1. Holy shit! You mean the beta added ONE WHOLE PAGE of tables? UNACCEPTABRU!

This is a ridiculous complaint considering there were much more glaring flaws with the wound system in the beta. Primarily, it was that you were bumped up by +5 on the table for each subsequent wound you received regardless of how much damage you actually took from the attack itself. This meant that someone could fire an uzi at someone and instantly gib them in a hilariously gory fashion because four hits is already a +15 to the base wound effect dealt, while a missile launcher would deal half as deadly a wound effect, and only a single one, despite packing way more firepower. In fact, you could literally go Kenshiro on your enemies and reduce them to bloody chunks with your bare hands because a single unarmed strike only cost one action point. That, I think, would be far more worthy of mention than such a petty complaint.

However, most of the offshoots after DH1 changed autofire to grant -10 to BS, which instead made it a complete waste of bullets unless you had very high BS (which you usually didn’t).

Not most of them. Only Black Crusade and onwards, which consists of the aforementioned game, Only War, and DH2 implemented that change. It is also nowhere near as much of a big deal as you always make it, since autofire was changed to a half action, so you can just aim to negate the penalty. Add in the usual bonuses you almost always get for ranged combat (+10 for short range) and even with an assumed base ballistic skill of 35 for Only War (which would be boosted to 40 thanks to comrade orders) and 40 for Black Crusade, you're still working with a coin toss and up to five total hits depending on how well you roll and the rate of fire on your gun. A waste of bullets it is not.

Even the ridiculous ‘accurate’ weapon trait was changed to basic to hit bonuses. In DH1 and beyond, accurate weapons did +d10 damage per DoS, up to a maximum of +2d10, and weapons with that trait were fairly common, which meant your starting flashlight long-las could potentially instakill space marines since you could roll 3d10+3 damage on it, as opposed to the 1d10+3 of most other guns.

It is not the most elegant solution to make marksman rifles viable in comparison to autofire, yes. However, it has achieved a certain level of balance with autofire after the -10 BS penalty change to autofire was made in Black Crusade. See below for more details.

Action points were ultimately abandoned, although I am not sure why.

You and me both, brother, I liked them a lot and the few big issues could have been fixed if they'd just bothered trying :negative:

Looking back on the beta, many of the new mechanics were fairly promising, and most of them could be easily fixed and balanced into proper shape.

This is a good point.

As long as your gamemaster house ruled some of the more ridiculously broken ones out (hello, Blood of Martyrs), this would hardly be problematic.

Yes, yes, houserules will fix it. Just like mods will fix Skyrim. Oh wait.

For starters, of all the elements FFG had scrapped from the beta, of course they had to keep the most stupid one - the character roles.

Dat big juicy opinion.

still doesn’t account at all for what your background is

Now this is just lies. Background gives you a package of gear, skills/talents, a special ability such as all cybernetics counting as being two degrees less rare, and sometimes even an aptitude (which is serious shit), very similar to the starter packages you hailed so warmly not so long ago. That's the thing, though, it's just your background, not what you actually do for the Inquisition. You might have been an arbitrator once, but now you're an agent of the Throne and you do what the Throne needs you to do, not what you used to do. If what you used to do happens to line up with what you need to do now, that's great, but there's no law that states it has to. Being able to choose what walk of life your character comes from and keep it separate from their actual role within the cell is very convenient.

The advancement tables from DH1 were removed, and instead replaced by the awful ‘aptitude’ system from Only War

Very sophisticated. This is truly the next level of review-writing.

I should point out that there was absolutely nothing wrong with Only War's version of the aptitude system aside from a few painful specialties like the Techpriest being absurdly overendowed with aptitudes, and the extremely poorly designed specialty swap system introduced in a supplement. That being said, the specialty swap system was stated to be the GM's choice to allow or disallow for his game, not something automatically a part of the game.

In theory, this allows for a classless system where everyone can eventually get everything.

That was never the point of the aptitude system. What it really does is incorporate elite advances into the main character progression without making it a GM thing to handle. You are never expected to somehow purchase all of the things unless your GM literally dumps tens of thousands of experience points on you and tells you to 'go wild'. Instead, you have things that are cheap, things that are a moderate price (still very affordable), and things that are ridiculously expensive, as you would expect a heavy weapons specialist to have more than a bit of trouble devoting the time and energy to learning how to pilot a voidship.

But in practice, it leads to nothing but a min-maxing fiesta where you have to really, REALLY carefully consider your character’s starting aptitudes from the angle of ‘now, which combination will fuck me up the least in the long run?’ because buying advances that you have 1 or no ties to is ridiculously expensive.

One tie advances are fine. 450 xp for a single linked tier 2 talent is not very expensive at all. 250 xp for a simple advance of a characteristic is, again, far from expensive. 200 xp to pick up a single-linked skill is far from gouging the prices. Having no linked aptitudes for an advance is supposed to be expensive. Your starting aptitudes are pretty much a non-issue if your GM decides to allow the specialty swap mechanics, because you can get any set of aptitudes you want at every 2500 xp milestone. If he doesn't, then yeah, you're going to be properly specialized and not a jack of all trades. Boo-hoo.

You also can’t replace or acquire new aptitudes as you keep playing, and planning your entire advancement scheme from the get-go is not easy.

Hardly. As mentioned above several times, there is a specialty swap system in the first supplement for Only War. As for DH2, you can expect a similar sort of method for changing roles to get a different aptitude spread at a specific point, more or less exactly the same as taking alternate ranks in a career path in DH1, though OW did it without having to invent alternate ranks for each career.

Thus, you can quickly find yourself in a position where you want to get a skill or talent very obviously related to your character’s style, but getting it will cost you an arm and a leg in xp because of lacking aptitudes.

Why would your character's style be so very different from the specialty or role he chose in the first place? I mean, they're kind of more or less the same thing, unless you mean shit like getting two weapon wielder (pistol) and gunslinger when you're a pilot and not when you're a stormtrooper. Being a rowdy hotshot pilot gunslinger is fun and all, but those talents are pretty nice in terms of usefulness in a fight, too. Of course they'll cost a fair amount of xp.

Furthermore, all the starting packages and alternate careers from DH1? They are not there. To put this into perspective, FFG had a total of nine huge supplements from which it could fish out character development ideas and perspectives, and they didn’t take anything from them.

What, did you fucking expect them to cram the piles of chaff content that took nine books to contain into a single goddamn core rulebook? Are you daft? Are you seriously comparing the amount of content produced over several years for one edition to the content available for a new edition of a game a few months after its release?

There are only three “elite advances” available, and they are all ridiculous – two are available at chargen - psyker and untouchable - and the third is available down the line once you get a whopping 75 influence – the inquisitor. Those elite advances are also quite hilarious themselves, because they don’t have any restrictions on character background on role. How do you feel about rolling a psyker techpriest desperado?

I don't see why any of them are ridiculous, as you claim, considering all three are pretty central to the Inquisition. You would expect to see psykers, untouchables, and yes, Inquisitors in the Inquisition. The lack of restrictions is on purpose, because literally anyone can be a psyker, even a latent one, just as anyone can be born as an untouchable, and anyone can ascend into the rank of Inquisitor given enough experience and prestige. I don't understand why you are so upset, you don't even explain why this is a problem.

Still, in DH1 the characters being a cut above was sort of accounted for, and most of the ‘mook’ enemies and NPCs in the core rulebook were accordingly weaker. In DH2, on the other hand, the failcolytes are even more fail because of the ridiculously high stats and gear of the enemies in the rulebook.

That's a fallacy. DH2 characters are broadly more capable than DH1 characters from the get-go. Failcolytes they might remain, but having tougher enemies isn't actually an issue - this is a part of the closer perspective paid to the idea of subtlety in your job. If you want to run around guns blazing, feel free, but it's not like the enemy is incompetent. That would be silly. If they were incompetent, the Inquisition wouldn't need to exist.

If you have even the slightest knowledge of the W40k universe, you will probably know that Imperial Guardsmen are the setting’s cannon fodder that go into combat armed with flashlights and t-shirts. But here’s the thing – PDF forces are supposed to be the shit-tier military, made up of nothing but badly trained conscripts whose only job is to hold out long enough for the real soldiers to arrive. They are the cannon fodder of the cannon fodder. And these fellows are absolutely deadly to the acolytes.

That's not true in the least. "Slightest knowledge" my ass. The quality of a PDF varies about as much as the quality of life itself does in the Imperium. Feudal worlds have PDFs composed of armored knights on horseback. Ultramar has one of the best PDFs in the galaxy, comparable to the toughest, most advanced Imperial Guard regiments you could imagine. It was Ultramar's PDF that did the bulk of the work against Hive Fleet Behemoth, and in fact, Ultramar is constantly prepared to send out hundreds of regiments of PDF to join the Imperial Guard. In the very picture you posted, you can read the description and see that the PDF in question is fully equipped and modernized, financed by nobles, sending out their officers to join the Imperial Guard as necessary. Complaining that a military force is actually competent and would, in fact, slaughter a ragtag bunch of investigators when you're low-level is nonsense. What do you expect to happen? Do you think Columbo would be able to just solo a squad of US Army Rangers?

I will also mention that characters such as ganger heavies (aka fat dumb mobsters) carry around chainaxes that make Khornate berserkers jealous

They're just chainaxes, dude.

while the pint-sized Lesser Daemons called Nurglings - which used to die after you glared at them viciously - are now absolute killing machines.

What? Daemons are deadly monsters that could slaughter common men like animals? Color me surprised, I thought they were all supposed to be cannon fodder, especially the small ones!

And yet this is still not all. There are a few other ridiculous details concerning the characters, such as the completely redesigned Divinations table that is just as likely to fuck your character up as it is to strengthen it, but those are minutiae not worthy of a detailed mention.

The old divination tables had plenty of chances to hurt your character. Specifically all the results below 11 on the table, and result 19-21 gives you 3 corruption points as well as 3 points to agility. And in this case, the downsides had literally no upsides, unlike the results in the DH2 divinations - there's always a silver lining even on a bad roll in DH2.

DH1 used currency (Throne Gelt) and everything had a cost. There are many people out there who will disagree with me when I say that this system was A Good Thing.

Yes, and I am doing so right now.

In DH1, it was usually a good idea to use the starting Thrones to buy all the necessities – commbeads, grapnels, tools and protective gear - and only then start saving for the 'big stuff'.

In DH1, everyone just rolled a noble, so that they were goddamn rich the whole time and could afford anything they wanted. Everyone who didn't roll a noble just bought an Ironclaw or that excessively broken Arbites shotty before the first mission.

They were always clunky, vaguely designed and needed a ton of house rules.

There was nothing clunky or vague about them. Every item had a rarity and you tested your resource value de jour against the penalty or bonus applied by the rarity and if you passed you got the item. GMs had the power to increase or decrease the rarity of items based on circumstances as well as decide how many requisition attempts each party member could make at a time. Now Thrones, those were clunky! Who the fuck cares about managing your pocket cash? You work for the Inquisition, or you're a Rogue Trader, or you're the goddamn motherfucking Deathwatch. It should never have been a matter of scrounging up thrones unless this was actually a game focused around gangers in Necromunda. Which needs to be a thing, by the way.

Not to mention how it bogs down the game itself when everyone suddenly just goes ‘I roll requisition 10 times for 10 items!’ instead of simply whipping out their wallets. This gets even worse during chargen because instead of just making a list of stuff to buy, you get free items up to your Influence bonus (the first digit of your stat, so Inf 35 has an IfB of 3) and scarce availability, which means that instead of getting a wagon of useful cheap tools, everyone just browse for the most powerful guns they can find.

Nobody intelligent would spam requisition attempts in DH2, because that's one of the many things that reduces your subtlety. Someone running around willy-nilly trying to buy a hellgun would attract a lot of attention. As for chargen, you aren't supposed to be completely geared up from the start. That's silly. There's supposed to be progression character and equipment wise. And you can't get the good guns with only Scarce rarity available.

Influence is also a funny stat in and of itself because you can’t raise it with xp. Instead, you gain or lose it by performing objectives or botching operations. There is a very handy table for the GM that advises how to adjust Influence, and I think I’ll let it speak for itself.

Why would you be able to raise it with xp? Did you expect that for some reason? You can boost it in some specific ways by purchasing social talents like Peer to get bonuses for specific factions, but really, you're supposed to earn Influence by being good at the game, not just buying your way into it.

You can also spend Influence to call in backup during a mission. This is no less ridiculous than the table above, since your jolly bunch of acolytes can, for instance, deep strike a Canoness of the Sisters of Battle or a Grey Knight Terminator for the bargain price of 5 and 16 Influence respectively (although they have minimum Influence requirements as well).

You just explained how this is not an actual problem. They have minimum Influence requirements which are pretty damn high, way higher than any starting acolyte could afford - 50 for the Canoness, 55 for a Deathwatch marine, 60 for an Eversor assassin, and 65 for a Grey Knight. It would take a while to get the respect around the galaxy necessary to call in these bad boys. Moreover, 5 influence is the greatest reward for completing a single task in the examples provided to GMs, and that's for bringing down a Greater Daemon or literally saving a capital planet of a sub-sector. Calling it a bargain to summon even the Canoness is fucking retarded.

Again, despite having nine DH1 supplements (and also countless other systems and their supplements) at their disposal, the weapon tables available to the players in DH2 are nearly 1:1 copied from the boring vanilla guns of the DH1 core rulebook, with only very minor additions or changes, and none of the much-needed damage and armour penetration rebalancings that were present in the DH2 beta.

Again with this bullshit. You keep expecting a core rulebook to somehow contain the equivalent of an entire series of rulebooks. You aren't even pretending to be fair. I will say that the damage and armor and penetration rebalances were good and it is a shame that they were removed, but at this point I'm starting to suspect you're just complimenting the beta to make DH2 look bad.

But this doesn’t explain why the branch of the 50 most useless skills in existence, aka the Scholastic Lore (x) branch, hasn’t been assimilated into other lores.

You complain about content being consolidated as if it's been removed, then you complain that content hasn't been consolidated? You can't have your cake and eat it too.

This also doesn’t quite explain why the beta’s system of subskills has been ditched and you can once again only Intimidate with Strength.

The reason why they abandoned pretty much all of the changes they made in the beta is because of grognards like you complaining that they made it too different from DH1 in the first place. Jesus Christ, it's like everything that happens just serves to fuel your preconceived notions of reality. You're a goddamn SJW in everything but name.

Talents have been butchered pretty badly, and when browsing through the list you’ll probably find many of your favourite ones absent, particularly the LARPy ones. You can forget about Cleanse and Purify, Decadence, Insanely Faithful, Into the Jaws of Hell, Mimic and many others.

Cleanse and Purify has been relegated to splatbook duty since Only War. Into the Jaws of Hell was removed because Fearless was changed into a much more interesting talent, Adamantium Faith, so ITJOH no longer works on a fundamental level. You can probably expect there to be some sort of new equivalent to Jaws in a splatbook. The rest of the talents are so naff that it's not surprising they got chopped a long time ago. It wasn't DH2 that got rid of them, mind you.

Instead, there are tons of those new “instawin” talents and traits that were introduced in the beta. As stated earlier, this is completely half-arsed since the fate points serve as re-rolls anyway, so skill failures in important moments are now MUCH less hazardous. This is compounded by the fact that characters also have more fate points than they did in DH1.

What are you talking about? Each role gets a new, unique fate point usage that the other roles don't get, and it's only so that they're decidedly competent at whatever role they are meant to carry out within the cell. I think everyone can agree that the party medic botching a critical medicae test to save the life of a planetary governor would be pretty shitty, especially if they rerolled and failed again. It's literally their job to be good at it. If they have a fate point to spend, let them. Aside from that, Inquisitors can purchase talents that upgrade their fate point uses to be more or less autopasses because they're goddamn Inquisitors, not mere acolytes.

Let's do another direct comparison between DH1 and 2, shall we? In DH2, as in 1, your starting fate is mostly dependent on your homeworld. However, in 1, it was also directly influenced by a roll, and the average party member would have about 2 fate points at game start. In DH2, they instead just have a base fate threshold for each world. The average fate threshold (AKA the total amount of fate points) for a PC in DH2 at chargen is 3, and only one homeworld starts you at 4 fate points. It is not a significant difference overall.

The talents are also grouped in 3 “tiers” now, each tier having different xp costs. In practice, this means that getting even weak T1 talents is completely crazy if you don’t have at least one relevant aptitude. You can also forget about getting any T2 or T3 talents if you don’t have double aptitudes.

This isn't new to DH2. This was the case in OW as well. Frankly, as someone who has actually played OW extensively rather than playing it once and declaring it to be shit, the costs are pretty freaking managable up until you start trying to purchase non-linked advances.

Speaking of absent talents, DH2 continues the proud FFG tradition of shitting all over psykers and techpriests. You may remember the various utility Rites that were available to cogheads in DH1, and which made actual techpriests of them, or some of the spell-like stuff like Feedback Screech. Move along, these haven’t existed for a long time. The same is true for most psyker talents, such as Discipline Focus or Favoured by the Warp.

Yes, shitting all over them. A proud tradition. When psykers and techpriests remain the most powerful classes in every single 40k RPG. All that manure sure looks like semen to me.

Oh, and, Favored by the Warp still exists. Fact-check harder.

The autofire still suffers a penalty of -10 because I guess implementing something like stacking recoil, like in Shadowrun, is way too hard for the masterminds at FFG. Semi-auto/full auto shooting still counts as a half action, which eliminates a lot of the planning that was needed earlier when firing heavy weapons. Accurate guns are still completely arse-backwards and broken, armour still sucks, etc. Multiple attacks in melee are treated the same as autofire now, too, but at least you still need the appropriate talents to perform them.

I guess this is where I stop and rant about how your conception of balance is all kinds of fucked.

First of all, the penalty already represents recoil. It's an abstraction, it's not trying to be hyper-realistic. Get over it.

Secondly, while you have a much higher chance to hit with an accurate weapon (assuming you aim first), which also means a higher chance of scoring bonus damage (which I should point out is for every two degrees of success and not each individual one like you've claimed), the actual bonus damage is more limited than the extra damage an autofire gun can get in a single burst. Yes, every extra hit has to penetrate the enemy's armor and toughness bonus, while an accurate weapon only has to penetrate it once, but it is still the case that against lightly armored enemies the autofire gun will deal more damage with 4 degrees of success than an accurate gun will with the same degrees.

Autofire guns have many additional advantages over accurate weapons, which are bountiful and significant, even in Black Crusade and beyond:

1) you can spread scored hits to enemies nearby your primary target (up to 5m away with the appropriate talent), allowing for actual crowd control unlike an accurate gun
2) It only takes a single passed dodge test to completely invalidate an accurate gun. In contrast, the more hits you score with an autofire gun, the more degrees of success are required for the target to dodge them (each degree counts as one avoided hit). Against highly agile enemies, autofire is by far the best option, especially since they tend to be lightly armored in compensation.
3) The Overwatch action cannot benefit from the aim action, so accurate guns will not be nuking every single thing that moves in the killzone. In contrast, autofire guns are still at their full potential. Since the Overwatch action is actually a reactive effect that activates on the enemy's turn when they act inside the killzone, and since characters may not use evasion reactions during their own turn, they will take the full brunt of the autofire head on. This is absolutely killer.
4) Suppressing fire can only be done with semi-auto and autofire capable guns. This action is phenomenal against 80% of enemies you will ever face since getting pinned will effectively cripple them. The remaining 20% are in some way or another immune or resistant to pinning, but it's still incredibly useful for battlefield control.

As you can see, autofire remains fucking baller, while accurate is still extremely one-note.

Third and lastly, for swift and lightning attack, it was a pretty wise move to make them functionally the same as semi-auto and full auto bursts. The damage potential is way higher than just two or three swings. It was a much needed buff to melee fighters.

What probably bothers me the most about the rules ported from Only War, though, is the new Righteous Fury.

The old Righteous Fury had more capacity for hilarity, but was also just plain ridiculous. Exploding damage dice always is. I'll agree that the new RF rules are underwhelming in comparison, though if you score the right ones (like explosive crit 2 body) you can stack on things like fatigue really quickly on enemies.

Nope, now you just roll your Willpower (unless it’s Divination) and the power succeeds! Good job. Psy Rating doesn’t even add anything to this roll, and degrees of success usually don’t matter either.

I guess you never actually played any 40k RPGs other than DH1. Psykers getting their psy rating times five as a bonus to all of their focus power tests made their test values ridiculous and virtually impossible to resist for opposed contests unless you were also a psyker and had Bastion of Iron Will. It was an issue from the day Rogue Trader hit the shelves, and it has only just now been resolved.

The powers themselves and how they work are also a massive decline from DH1. The selection of psychic powers in DH1 was incredibly robust, and it was interesting how the ‘minor’ psychic powers were actually your most useful assortment of tools. Needless to say, all the minor psychic powers of DH1 have been axed for DH2, and all that you are left with are Psychic Disciplines.

And thank fucking God for that, the minor powers were the worst part about DH1's psykers. Enjoy having DnD 3.5e Wizards doing everything better than everyone else! Need a medic? Got a minor power for that! Need to shoot someone? Enjoy a target number to hit higher than the guardsman virtually for free! And the risks for using minor powers were, well, minor at worst. The fact that you hail and applaud that fuckshitting cuntstain of unbalanced horseshit is baffling to me, more so because the powers that exist today are still unbalanced piles of crap like Dominate, Hallucinate, and Terrify! Let's not bring up the hellish powers that existed in Black Crusade. Those were some serious shit, man. Even Primaris Psykers couldn't compete.

And finally, probably the worst thing about offensive spells that actually do damage is that all of them can be dodged. That’s right, you can dodge a fireshield engulfing the psyker if you hit him in melee, you can dodge spontaneous combustion and you can dodge a psychic shriek. Do I even have to comment on this?

You know, I didn't think you could sink to new levels of retardation, but I have been proven wrong. Clearly, abandoning any semblances of balance in favor of psykers ruling everything forever is the wise move to make here. "Probably the worst thing about guns that actually do damage is that all of them can be dodged. That's right, you can dodge bullets. Do I even have to comment on this?"



There's a bunch of discussion of the fluff and starting adventure provided by the book, don't have any complaints about these parts of the review. Moving on.



Having read through the rulebook, played the introductory adventure and compared everything to Dark Heresy’s First Edition, I have to seriously wonder what exactly the point of the Second Edition is. Like I mentioned previously, it feels like a cheap fanmade version of Only War with a different paintjob.

You say that, but we both know that you barely touched Only War to begin with. I, on the other hand, have been playing it for about a year straight, and I can look at DH2 and see a lot of good refinement and advances in the mechanics. Would I have preferred the beta of DH2 if they had fixed the problems with that instead? Yes, no doubt about that. But DH2 is by no means a step backwards like you have been claiming incessantly, and someone without his head in his ass would be able to see ithat. No offense.

There is literally no reason to play this tragicomedy instead of sticking with the original Dark Heresy and its hundred million billion splatbooks.

Sure, let's just ignore all the horrible problems with the original DH. If you just pretend it isn't shitty, it won't be!



Because this is the Codex, and because I have invested far too much time and energy into this gigantic waste of time that will only serve to amuse Codexians rather than actually change any minds or illuminate how crappy this review is, there is only one way to end it that sums up all of my feelings properly:

Your review is shit, your opinions are shit, and you are shit. Kill yourself.
 
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Night Goat

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Think about how much you could have updated your CYOA if you hadn't written that unreadable wall of text.
 

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