I remember when Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K) first hit the scene with that glorious hardcover “Rogue Trader”. The setting is a mashup of Warhammer Fantasy and Dune, with extra demons thrown in for good measure and an immense star-spanning empire that exists to protect humanity, but possibly at the very cost of what makes us human.
It kicked ass on so many levels.
20 years later we finally got the RPG version – originally released by a Games Workshop imprint, and now licensed to FFG. The first of the three RPGs in the 40k line is Dark Heresy, where players take on the roles of an Inquisitor’s retinue, seeking out and destroying heresies of all kinds throughout the Imperium.
It’s dark, bleak and sexy.
Character creation starts out pretty random – rolling dice to determine the character’s home world (Hive world – one of the planets almost entirely covered in hives, giant cities that are nearly worlds unto themselves) which in turn determines the character’s starting stat die rolls, as well as what careers are available (although I’m going to roll for career too – there’s an optional table for that), and a few starting traits.
I end up with a young man from the underhive who is skilled in hand to hand combat, but less so with ranged weapons. He’s strong, not very tough, and pretty charismatic. Born to a factory worker family, he also managed to get himself out of the underhive without joining the military, but instead by turning his charisma towards becoming an arbitrator. While working as an arbitrator, he assisted an inquisitorial team as they rooted out an xeno infestation. The majority of the arbitrators assigned to the job were killed, the rest retired to other planets. A few ended up in the retinue of the inquisitor. Once in inquisitorial training, a crazed psyker from the rimworlds tells him that “the gun is mightier than the sword”, the kind of fortune a truncheon-wielding peace officer doesn’t really want to hear, but he takes it to heart, brushes up on his marksmanship and begins carrying a shotgun in his duties.
One last set of die rolls gives us his appearance as well as his name.
Name: Solomon Flair
Rank: 1 – Trooper
XP: 0 (400 Spent)
Height: 1.8 m
Weight: 65 kg
Age: 27 (Adult)
Hair: Dyed (bright red & yellow, originally brown)
Quirk: Set of Piercings (lip, nose, eyebrow)
Weapon Skill: 38
Ballistic Skill: 35
Fate Points: 2
Accustomed to Crowds – Crowds are not difficult terrain, no Agility penalty running or charging in a crowd.
Caves of Steel – Tech Use [Int] is a basic skill
Hivebound – Survival tests at -10, -5 on all Intelligence tests outside of a “proper hab”
Wary – +1 Initiative
The Gun is Mightier Than the Sword (+3 Ballistic Skill)
Speak Language (Low Gothic) [Int] | 29%
Literacy [Int] | 29%
Common Lore (Adeptus Arbites) [Int] | 29%
Common Lore (Imperium) [Int] | 29%
Inquiry [Fel] [+10] | 55%
Scrutiny [Per] | 36%
Basic Weapon Training (SP)
Melee Weapon Training (Primitive)
Shotgun and 12 shells
Good Quality Uniform
Stimm (3 doses)
Flask of Amasec
51 Throne Gelt