News for February 2010
Ascension and Supremacy 19
A look at Talents of Influence
Dark Heresy | Published 17 February 2010

+++Incoming Astropathic Transmission+++

Greetings, Dark Heresy fans!

This week, I have some more great information about the new Dark Heresy sourcebook that takes your campaign to all new heights—Ascension!

What I’d like to talk about this time is a new set of Talents presented in Ascension that give your Dark Heresy characters a new way to interact with the Inquisition, the Calixis Sector, and the Imperium itself. Talents of Influence are Talents which represent a character’s relationships and influence with other organisations within the Imperium. By taking Talents such as being a Peer of a particular division of the Imperial apparatus, or by deliberately setting themselves in opposition to particular factions using negative influence Talents, characters can build their own place within the ever-turning wheels of Imperial power.

“Ah, I see that you think to take this matter up with the Lord Marshall? Yes? Oh, but I am afraid that Lord Gorman and myself have a mutual understanding of considerable pedigree. You understand, I am sure, my dear.”
—words of Inquisitor Rathbone in confrontation with Senior Arbitrator Drusil

Positive and Negative Influence

Talents which interact with Influence can have either a positive or negative effect on exerting influence over a particular group or organisation. Both negative and positive influence Talents are available as advances for Ascended Characters, with positive influence Talents costing a character experience and negative influence granting a character an amount of experience to spend on other advances in recompense. Negative influence Talents may represent an enemy, or a negative perception of the character held by a particular organisation. Talents which have a positive effect on influence may be a good reputation, accolade or honour that a character has earned.

Building the Map of Influence

By taking both positive and negative Talents of influence, a character is creating a set of favourable and unfavourable dispositions that relate to the other powers that operate within the Imperium. Combining together the influence traits of the entire group, you can build a map of where the influence of an Inquisitor and his close associates lies; where it is strong, where it is neutral, and where it stops or runs into complications, rivalry, or animosity.

The following is an example of a Talent of Influence:

Acolyte Network
Career: Inquisitor

The character maintains one or more cells of chosen acolytes who perform missions for him, and can act as his proxies and agents when he are not present. These acolytes are talented servants who carry out dangerous missions and investigations at the will of their Inquisitor, often on their own and with little direct intervention from their master. The number of acolyte cells an Inquisitor maintains beyond his personal cadre varies as much as the nature of individual Inquisitors. Some maintain vast networks of dozens of acolytes working alone or in cells, others maintain only a single cell of carefully chosen servants. The advantage of maintaining an acolyte network is that an Inquisitor can address many tasks without being personally present and can draw on a pool of loyal and experienced operatives who are personally loyal to him.

Effect: At the point that the character gains this Talent, he must reduce his Influence by –5 for every acolyte cell he sets up. This loss represents the cost and resources required to set up a network of acolytes. The character may spend more Influence points in this manner at any time to create new Acolyte cells or to replace one that was lost or destroyed. The character may use his acolyte network in two ways: to carry out specific missions, or as a resource of people to draw on.

Missions: To set an acolyte cell on a mission, the character simply needs to set out the mission objective. The GM then decides, in secret, if the mission succeeds and to what extent; if he wishes to do this randomly, he should make a test using the character’s influence modified as he sees fit for the difficulty of the mission. As the Inquisitor is not acting directly in the mission a –20 penalty is imposed on this test.

Personal Resource: The character may attempt to requisition individuals of a particular expertise from amongst the acolytes he maintains to accompany him in person. This is done in exactly the same way as requisitioning personnel using Influence, but no negative modifiers for the duration of requisition apply, and the character can only requisition individual acolytes. This means that he has to test for every acolyte he wishes to requisition in this way.

 The Balance of Influence of Inquisitor Glavius Wroth

Glavius Wroth is a staunch Amalathian who has built a reputation as a pragmatic but steadfast defender of Imperial order and stability. While he does take a personal hand in many of his operations, he also maintains a wide sphere of influence that is balanced by the fact that he has as many enemies as he has allies; not least of which are a number of powerful Inquisitors within the Calixian Conclave.

Close Allies: Wroth has very close ties with the Adeptus Arbites and has cultivated key allies within their senior ranks including Kae Drusil of the Divisio Immoralis, and Lord Marshal Gorman, the most senior member of the Arbites in the sector. He also has close friendship with General Kasir, commander of Imperial forces on Tranch. Amongst the ranks of the Ecclesiarchy, Wroth has formed a number of useful relationships chief amongst which is Deacon Priam. High Prefect Momulus, Administratum overseer of the Golgenna Reach, has long been one of Wroth’s closest allies and informants on the internal politics of the Imperial bureaucracy in the sector.

Well Disposed Individuals and Organisations: Wroth has great respect for Lord Inquisitor Caidin, a compliment which the Lord Inquisitor broadly returns in recognition of Wroth’s effectiveness as a bulwark against instability. Although it is a close secret, Wroth is in correspondence with the mysterious Inquisitor Marr, a relationship that has profited both Inquisitors.

Conflicting Interests: Wroth sees Lord Sector Marius Hax as a paranoid fanatic who is a long-term risk to the stability of the sector; an opinion that Wroth has not succeeded in keeping secret from the Lord Sector’s allies within the Inquisition. On a number of occasions, Wroth has clashed with the Lord Sector’s upstart military police, the Chaliced Commissariat, and there is little love lost between the Inquisitor and ‘Hax’s hounds.’ Wroth has always mistrusted the function and intent of the Tyrantine Cabal, and relations between him and most members of the Cabal are strained at best. His denouncements and persecution of two radical Inquisitors in the course of his career puts him in broad conflict with all Inquisitors of a radical persuasion.

Enemies: Though Wroth does not know it, Inquisitor Lord Anton Zerbe, convenor of the Tyrantine Cabal is an enemy that even now moves against him. Wroth’s suspicions regarding the Tyrantine Cabal, and information that he has assembled about the secret Tenebrae Collegium within the Cabal, have made him an intolerable threat to Zerbe’s plans.

Ascension Preview #1

This week we have a special preview of Ascension, featuring Mastered Skills and Paragon Talents! Download the preview below:

Preview #1 (Print Quality) (PDF, 27.7 MB)
Preview #1 (Web Quality) (PDF, 652KB)

 Ascension Wallpaper #4

As a special bonus, this week you can find the fourth of four special Ascension wallpapers on the Dark Heresy support page! Enjoy!

Dark Heresy is a roleplaying game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, a setting in the grim darkness of the far future. Players take on the roles of Acolytes serving the Inquisition, rooting out heresy and corruption from within the galaxy-spanning Imperium of Man.


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Comments (19)

Ophilia Midkiff
Published: 3/3/2010 6:03:18 PM

On page 105 under Storm of Blows, Lightning Attack is misspelled as Lightening Attack.

Editorial OCD. :-)

Published: 2/19/2010 2:00:50 PM

 @Agmar_Strick: The problem comes up with, for example, a player who has trouble remembering what all of their melee talents do.


Hmmmn... This isn't going to go down the WFRP3 route, is it?  Surely there's not a problem of looking something up in a rulebook to remind yourself what it does?  



Published: 2/18/2010 10:37:36 PM

 @The Hobo Hunter

sure, if you have a player with some terminal memory problem then there is only so much you can do.

I had this exact issue come up in my last session. My wife's character has basically all the talents for the Gunfighter Saint, she knew boardly what the character could do, but spent quite a while going through the book checking all the talents and such. If they're in one entry, super simple, she looks that up and has easy reference to what her gunfighting character can do. Plus I'm really on board with less space on the char sheet thing. Wall-o-text character sheets suck.

The Hobo Hunter
Published: 2/18/2010 9:37:44 PM

@Agmar_Strick: The problem comes up with, for example, a player who has trouble remembering what all of their melee talents do.

If they suddenly replace half of those talents with one talent which includes all the effects of the previous talents and then some, it does not follow that they will suddenly be able to remember what they are capable of easily. If they can't remember some rules under a few names, how will they remember those same rules under a different name?

Similarly, I would argue it does not follow that having one all-encompassing talent with a page reference would result in a noticeable decrease in rulebook browsing than a handful of talents each with their own (close) page numbers identifying what each can do. You still have to read the same chunks of texts, for the most part.

Published: 2/18/2010 8:16:20 PM

Oh nice, Berserker seems to reflect some nice changes to the way Frenzy works in relation to All Out Attack, Dodge, and Parry.

I love these ideas, although I do hope there are also some new talents and perhaps skills to use with them.

Published: 2/18/2010 4:39:40 PM


I disagree, if you have one entry for each Paragon talent and one location in one book, it is much easier to keep a track of a character's capabilities.

If your players are going to whine about wasted xp, then reimburse them if its that important.


Published: 2/18/2010 1:15:41 PM

errata, page 103

Shadow Craft Mastery:

 Slight of Hand > Sleight of Hand


Published: 2/18/2010 10:38:41 AM

Maybe he is bored an yawning! Or maybe checking out his sword in the light? Or maybe he was voted as best "AZRAEL" costume at the DC Comics costume ball.

Mereghost: I am kind of with you here. It seems to be adding a lot of extra crunch. I mean you get Mastered Skills by either buying all the skills in that category at +20, or by upgrading by buying the Mastered Skill directly (a more expensive and faster upgrade most likely) which then allows you to buy a specialization.

Think they would have saved lots of space and speculation by just adding a +30 option.

Now Paragon taletns seem more like new talents available with all the group talents in it as prerequisites.

But I prefer the PDF preview over the rantings in the designer daries, and see some promise in this overall now.

Published: 2/18/2010 9:46:15 AM

 >>> @Graver: Yeah I don't see why else you would raise his sword in jubilation in that assembly.

Because he has the Power of Grayskull. ;)


Published: 2/18/2010 9:21:45 AM

Kinda disappointing the preview.

Mastered Skills: You get a bunch of skills at +20 and can buy those skills again to get the equivalent of a +30 (one more degree of success). While it could be nice, the majority of character would have a bunch of theses skills already maxed, making the mastery kinda dumb. The ones not maxed (or absent) would benefit a lot from this and a lot of players would complain about "I should not have spent my xp raising that skill, since i'll take the mastery".

Paragon Talents: Nice. You get a talent that does the same thing that a bunch of other grouped on. It removes clutter on the character sheet  (as above) but the argument for their creation was smething along the lines of "people forget what their character can do" , and it doesn't remove that problem. How Heightened Reactions is more descriptive than the bunch of talents (and there's a lot of them in this case) than the individual entries?

I'm still interested in the book, mainly for the careers, powers etc but those two "new" game mechanics are kinda weird/dumb.

Published: 2/18/2010 7:25:53 AM

That first picture is funny as hell! I actually LOLed when I saw it... :)

Published: 2/18/2010 5:11:37 AM

Lots of Rogue Trader crossover in the weapon talents...THAT makes me happy.

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