In a previous thread I opened up, I mentioned having concerns about the balance between Dark Heresy / Ascension characters with Deathwatch, let alone the issues with trying to spend longer making a character up that would be "balanced" alongside Deathwatch Space Marines. Seeing some of the threads I've read more recently, that concern is creeping up again. So, how would one best integrate characters together?
My original plan had been to run a Dark Heresy game at first, get my group used to the theme and setting and all that. One of the players is female, and doesn't feel comfortable playing males by her own admission, so I'm hyping up Sisters of Battle for her. The idea was to take them up through the ranks to Rank 8… and about the time they'd be ready to go for Ascension-level characters, see if the two other players would prefer playing Space Marines and let them make such characters while letting the Sister of Battle continue on with Ascended-level play.
Has anyone tried doing this before (cross-game in general, Sister of Battle with Deathwatch specifically), and if so, what were your experiences with it?
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My first Deathwatch campaign started at 13,500xp. An Inquisitor's Handbook sister of battle ascended to crusader and three Deathwatch marines with the same xp. It worked out okay. The battle sister couldn't dish out or take the same damage as the space marines, despite having quite excellent gear including numerous best quality items.
The same player temporarily switched to a primaris psyker for the second mission and was a glass cannon. With pyrokinetic powers she was doing horrific damage to hordes.
My conclusion? I'd honestly prefer to do up a 'battle sister' or 'psyker' using the Deathwatch rules and describe the nigh unique levels of augmentation, perhaps along the lines of Inquisitor Lord Hector Rex. That said, a higher level party with more skills for the space marine and more combat abilities for the ascension characters might work out.
Pericula in mora
Danger in delay
Wouldn't it be easier to remove the great strength and toughness, and maybe do 15+2d6 or 20+2d6 for her str and Tough that a space marine has, and the augments, and just give them those to work with and have the player choose from the none astarties versions of the equipment? You know since Sister's of battle use very similar gear and such? I mean heck there is a Sister's equivelent for every one of the space marine classes except Libarian, and Machine Cultist.
I mean for a quick and dirty fix that would seem to work, if you have just one female player.
Demons run when a good man goes to war. So I guess that makes me a good man. Well more like a okay man, well I'm more of a so-so kinda guy.
The short answer is that the games don't scale against each other. One an xp-to-xp basis, an Inquisitor/any other Ascended charcter can beat a Space Marine like a red headed step child. They are going to have infinitely more talents and skills than any Deathwatch character. Same thing with Rogue Trader, or even the similar Only War (where OW Guardsmen are head and shoulders better than DH Guardsmen, with stats in the 40's and access to heavy weapons). A friend of mine if playing an Inquisitor in a Deathwatch game, and the result is just brutal. Yes, the Marines are a bit tougher and more awesome, but he's way better.
I would alter the amount of XP, depending of the direction you are going in. If you were putting a DH character into Deathwatch, you could have them start at maybe half XP compared to what Deathwatch characters start with. For the reverse, a Marine could start with higher XP than they should if they were brought into an established DH game. I don't have any exact numbers, so you might need to play with it a little.
It should be noted that Sisters of Battle don't fit too well into the Deathwatch by nature of what they are. They are battle nuns/church police officers who work with the Ordo Hereticus. The Deathwatch, on the other hand, fight aliens. While there can be some crossover, it would be an incidental and sort of one time thing. And Inquisitor, on the other hand…
As for your player refusing to play a male character, it should be noted that Marines are basically sexless robots. There is nothing male about them, aside from their original DNA. This isn't like playing another gender in a D&D game or something. Marines are battle monks who know nothing of love, happiness, or the outside world. Tell her to play an articulate Latin robot, and you're basically there.
For intergration, you definitely want all characters to be following the same XP scheme - otherwise the balance is just fiddly (the alternative is to just award XP differently - that is, award XP as recommended by the gameline that a character follows, even if that means that the same objective is worth more XP to Space marines).
And her beauty was all the more perfect and serene, preserved forever in that great glacier of ice.
For Battle Sisters, I would also recommend using the Inquisitor's Handbook version rather than Blood of Martyrs. A lot of people seem to think the latter is better, but I disagree - most of the miracles in there are "team boosts" that would only increase the badassness of the Marines even further, and for this the character pays with a more punishing advancement scheme where you'll need much more XP.
But I'll admit that I am also biased by the IH book's miracles being much more "toned down" and preserving the vague nature that the AoF have in the TT fluff, rather than giving them space magic that makes them cast forth rays of light from out of their eyes and other such things.
"Their fanatical devotion is a bulwark against corruption, heresy, and alien attack, and once battle has been joined they will stop at nothing until their enemies are utterly crushed. […] Wherever there are foes of the Emperor, the Sisters of Battle will be found fighting with faith and steel."
- 5E C:SoB
"Heretics take many forms. Most are lost humans, whose weak minds have been corrupted by the manifold temptations of a dark and sinister galaxy. None are immune - planetary governors, Imperial Guard commanders and even whole Space Marine Chapters have been declared heretic and been exterminated as such by the Sisters of Battle. Yet there is no stricture within the Ecclesiarchy that heresy is a purely human crime. Aliens can also be sanctioned as heretics - that the creed against which they transgress is not their own is of no account. Nevermore so is this true than of the alien who chances his army against the Emperor's Will by inciting rebellion, subverting the will of Imperial subjects or invading by force. Genesis matters naught - all heretics are damned, and all must be purged with fire, lest their apostasy gather a following."
- WD #382
This is more suited for a campaign of interconnected missions rather than some sort of official teamwork, though. Something like a single Sister Militant hanging around with a Deathwatch Kill-team rather than her own Sisters would be strange indeed. The easiest explanation would be to have her be a sole survivor that gets picked up by the Marines, and stays around to complete her mission and avenge her Sisters' deaths. There, problem solved. :)
current 40k RPG character: Captain Elias, Celestial Lions Tactical Marine
Just play an Iron Hand, Son of Medusa, Flesh Tearer, Angel Sanguine, or Minotaur. See if "Inhuman killing machine" is better than "male" taste wise, this is how I solved this problem I my own game.
Once, we were gods...
DARK HERESY CHARACTERS IN DEATHWATCH
Playing a Dark Heresy character in Deathwatch, make your character and use Ascension. Want to play a female character that fights right alongside Space Marines - make an Ascended Crusader. There is no reason in Fluff why that character would not be welcome in the Deathwatch or even assigned to serve with them under certain circumstances. If you make a Dark Heresy character for Deathwatch there should be a reason that character should be working with Space Marines in the first place.
ROGUE TRADER CHARACTERS IN DEATHWATCH
If you are making a Rogue Trader character, make a Rank 4 character. Again, there should be a reason that the character would be working for/with Deathwatch. Even with Deathwatch, especially in recent fluff there are a lot of politics going on there are plenty of reasons to have other characters with a kill-team either in support of or directly working with the team.
A NOTE ON TRANSLATIONS OF WEAPONS AND POWERS
There are psyker powers in Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader that are used differently, you might have to make some modifications. Librarians have fewer more potent powers than Heresy psykers. In the same hand, an Ascended Psycher is far more powerful than a Librarian in raw psychic power. They should be treated as such too… when it comes to combat the Space Marine will clean house. Also, you need to play the suspicious attitude of the Space Marine no matter who it is. They don't really like non-marines.
FIT YOUR CHARACTER INTO DEATHWATCH
Deathwatch is not just a space marine legion. They are supported by hundreds of thousands of other humans. If you have a player that wants to fit into the game find a way to do it if you have the books. If not, make something for it. If it sounds fun, put it into your game.
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