Dark Heresy as an intro point into the Warhammer 40k roleplaying universe And tabletop rpgs as a whole

The purpose of this blog will be to put the stories made from my weekly rpg nights into an actual written story. This idea is inspired by The All Guardsmen Party. The current gaming group consists of three members, including myself as the GM. The two players are both new to rpgs, but wanted to do something vastly different from D&D, and knowing my love of the Warhammer 40k universe, wanted to do Deathwatch. However, neither of them are very knowledge about the Warhammer 40k lore, resulting in that being a terrible idea.

Explanation of terms:

Before I get too into everything, I figure I should explain terms for people who may not be familiar with tabletop rpgs or what Warhammer 40k is.

Rpg stands for “roleplaying game”, where players create a character and participate in a story thinly veiled as a story, often rolling dice to determine if their characters will be able to actually do what they are attempting to.

Warhammer 40k was originally a table top miniature game created by Games Workshop, but has since pushed into rpgs, video games, and movies as well. It’s set in the future in the 41st millennium (hence the 40k), and humanity is locked in eternal war (hence the Warhammer) with aliens, traitors, and demons. (In fact, the game’s tagline is “In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.”)

Deathwatch is one of Warhammer 40k’s rpgs, in which player characters are mighty Space Marines, genetically engineered super humans who live for centuries and fight the greatest of humanity’s wars. You can see how this might not be a good starting point for someone who doesn’t know the background story.

Dark Heresy is another Warhammer 40k rpg, in which players are instead completely normal humans working for the Inquisition, humanity’s investigation force into every possible plot hatched by threats to the human empire.

So why Dark Heresy:

So hopefully that very brief explanation of what Dark Heresy is starts showing how it might be a good entry point. I figured that, since the entire point of the organization is to learn about threats to humanity, it would work as a wonderful tool to teach the players about those threats to humanity out of character as much as they are leaning in character.

But I also think that Dark Heresy serves as a good starting point for rpgs in general.

Almost all rpgs use dice in order to determine if a character can do something. D&D, the genre staple, uses several different dice: D4s, D6s, D8s, D10s, D12s, and D20s. If that’s confusing, you’ve probably never played a tabletop rpg. The numbers are how many sides each die has, with D6 being a traditional six sided dice, and a D20 having twenty sides. This confusion is shared by many people, and it can make it difficult to get into the game part of the rpg.

Dark Heresy, however, only uses D10s, usually in sets of two. One will be marked as a “tens die” and the other as a “ones die”, allowing players to generate any number between 1 and 100. This makes life vastly easier for all involved parties. Just think of everything in percentiles – if you are 60% likely to succeed in something, then you need to roll a 60 or less. If you are 30% likely to succeed, you need to roll a 30 or less.

With this simpler system of rules, there is less for the players to have to get past in order to get into the story, as often the first times someone roleplays it can be a little daunting having to maintain a character other than yourself for an extended period of time (actors and writers have a natural advantage here).

I’m very much looking forward to creating and sharing these stories, and hope people will be as interested in them as I am.

Until next time, roll well.


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