This is the second attempt I’ve made at writing this post. In the original I started to get too enthused and started to babble incoherently:
“… and then this guy ran of here and fired his gun and killed an Ork and the Ork exploded and guts went everywhere and it was totally cool and we all did a high five… “
This is mainly due to the fact that my first evening playing the Deathwatch campaign was flipping brilliant. It may be New Game Syndrome, or maybe I’d hyped myself up for it. Either way it was great fun.
First of all an important point to make is we are all learning the rules including the GM (Games Master/Dungeon Master whatever you choose to call it. Basically the guy running the campaign and controlling the enemies). There were times where the game came to a halt and we looked up how to do a particular action etc, but near the end of the evening, combat was becoming more fluid. We all picked up on little mistakes we made here and there, and have learnt for the next session. This first night was also useful for the GM to see just what kind of enemies to throw against us to keep things challenging and interesting.
Prior to our adventure everyone made characters, choosing their specialisation/class and original chapter. So far we have:
2 Devastators (Heavy Weapon Specialists) : Space Wolf and Lamenter chapters.
2 Assault Marines (Jump-pack wearing Melee Specialists) : Flesh Tearer and Storm Warden chapters. (Storm Wardens being the chapter written especially for the RPG).
Librarian (Psychic Power user/Spellcaster) : Space Wolf chapter.
Apothecary (Combat Healer) : Iron Snakes chapter.
2 Tactical Marines (Standard Space Marine) : Dark Angel and Scythes of the Emperor chapters.
1 Techmarine (Engineer and all round IT guy) : Storm Warden chapter.
What class you choose determines what equipment you are given. Hey, you’re working for the Imperium of Man. Do you think they are going to make you pay for your gear with gold pieces? Any additional or mission specific items you require must be purchased with Requisition Points. These are allotted to each player from the GM who determines how many should be dished out depending on the difficulty and type of each mission. I can’t remember if I’ve said before but our mission is to land on an Ork infested planet, destroy their munitions factory, wreck the tractor beam they are using to pull in nearby asteroids for raw materials, and kill their leader. Doing all this will hopefully prevent a full scale WAAAGH! Knowing how Orks operate and that we need to level a few installations we spent a lot of our Requisition Points on blast weaponry/ammunition, demolition charges and melta bombs.
With all our equipment prepared, we now had to select a squad leader for this mission, who in turn would choose a special tactic that would benefit the whole unit. We chose the Space Wolf Devastator as our leader and he selected a tactic which meant anytime our guns jammed it wouldn’t affect us and we could reroll to confirm Righteous Fury in melee (similar to critical hits). We were ready and the game began. We deployed by Drop-Pod (painted by me the previous day). The Techmarine piloted the craft from our orbiting ship to the planet’s surface, although perhaps a little too close to the objective as we nearly crushed it! Instead we scraped down the side of the building blocking 1 set of the 5 Drop-Pod exit hatches! The first dice roll of the entire campaign and it was hilarious, exciting and cinematic. We all piled out of our Drop-Pod and surveyed the scene, being told the ground was littered with corpses of Greenskins and Combat Servitors.
Our Techmarine entered the building to started repairing the consoles and downloading data. As he did a whole tidal wave of angry Greenskins descended upon us. Our first task was certain. Defend the Techmarine and give him enough time to get the information we require for our next stage. Bolters and Heavy Bolters rained hot lead upon the Orks, Assault Marines charged the swarming xenos, slicing down enemies left and right. Oh what glorious battle.
My introduction to my own characters Psychic Powers was thoroughly satisfying. When the Orks first showed up I rolled pretty well with my initiative check and it turned out I was going first. Wanting to test out my abilities I cast/channelled the “Avenger” power. This works essentially like a Heavy Flamer and to my surprise I took out a whole 10 Ork squad! I think I’m going to like this character. I also got into a great duel with an Ork Nob (Bigger, Badder Orks that generally lead squads). I cast “Iron Arm” on myself meaning that I gained a parry bonus with my left arm in melee while my right arm chops away with my Force Axe. The image of my character batting away a huge Ork Chainaxe with an armed wreathed in Psychic Energy was just too cool.
With many rounds of ammo spent and many dead Orks later, the attackers retreated. Well they attempted to retreat. The last 5 Greenskins turned tail and tried to run off. Luckily one of the assault marines aided me in running them down. One more blast of the Avenger power and they were no more.
“SUFFER NOT THE XENO TO LIVE.”
All the data had been gathered and our first session was over. I felt bad for our Techmarine player as the whole time we were having a glorious scrap outside and chopping Orks up, he was in the bunker doing “Hacking” rolls but I’m sure his time will come.
So that was my first game of the Deathwatch RPG. What did I learn? Well firstly I learnt how to calculate how much damage I do in combat correctly, which I wasn’t to start off with (should’ve actually been doing more!). I learnt about the “Horde” mechanics. When the players are fighting a lot or enemies all at once, something Space Marines tend to do a lot, the squad works as a whole for purposes of causing and taking damage. This is a pretty good system for saving time. Some aspects of it are initially odd however. The first thing that kind of made us go “Huh?!” was the player using the Scythes of the Emperor tactical marine killed 7 Orks with 2 shots from his bolter! Rules wise this happened because he kept rolling “Righteous Fury” results which entitled him to another damage roll. Thinking about it afterwards from a roleplay point of view I suggested that maybe one of the Orks in the unit was brandishing a Stikkbomb (grenade) and was taken out just before he managed to throw it at us, instead killing half his squad. I do think that this system and just the fact that we are playing Space Marines opens up a lot of these kinds of glorious and cinematic set pieces.
So far so good then. This gets the thumbs up from me and I’m really looking forward to the next session where our assault on the munitions factory begins and have no fear as I will keep you all up to date on the action. I’m even considering doing some creative writing detailing our exploits.
Brother Skold, Rune Priest of the Glorious Space Wolf Chapter.