Saturday, July 17, 2010

Quick Fix - Critical Tables

So, I think I mentioned this before but one of our GMs recently started a Dark Heresy game. We all did random character generation, right down to rolling for physical quirks and appearances, and the game has been going along fairly well. Last night we had our first combat, as the "The best way to approach a problem is to walk up and shoot it" Adepta Sororitas, played by yours truly, led the group (a cleric, a tech priest, 2 arbiters (we were a player shy)) into war against a gang doing a protection racket. There were, as said, 5 of us. There were well over 20 of them, but the Emperor's servants prevailed as they always will. All hail the Emperor.

However, the fight wasn't without cost. No one died, miraculously. No one even had to burn a fate point to stay alive even moreso, however that isn't to say the battle didn't leave its mark. Bobby, one of the Arbiters, lost her leg to a sniper shot  late in the fight. I don't mean the leg was shot and made useless, I mean her leg from halfway down the thigh and below is just gone. Dominic, the cleric, lost an ear and has massive facial scarring. The tech priest also has scarring from a shot that almost penetrated his chest and through a lung.

Now, normally, that kind of maiming and scarring I tell GMs to talk to players before doing it to them. In Dark Heresy however it is a mechanical effect, and y'know what? I kind of liked it. Now my reasons for liking it are several, but the most important ones are that 1) by it being in the book, it is not the GM doing it to someone. It is fair, it is arbitrary, and the GM can show you exactly where and why it happened with rolls. 2) Losing a limb fits the setting very well, and is not a huge drawback.

#2 is the bigger one for me. Losing a leg as an arbiter sounds like a career ender. But not in a world where prosthetics are around and functional. For 1500 thrones she'll have a cybernetic leg that works just as well as her real one. The Arbiters are helping pay for it, and the noble is going to help to make sure it looks nice.

Really though, I was amazed by how much I liked it, how much more fun it made the battle. Yeah, we all lived - woo hoo! - but there were some real consequences to the fight. Someone lost their leg and kept on fighting. You don't get much more hardcore than that. So it was good times, an enlightening experience, and I want to publicly thank the GM and Fantasy Flight Games for reminding me how awesome critical hit tables can be.

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