Wednesday, October 13, 2010

There's Always Room for More Figgity Bits!

Long ago, I learned that players love manipulatives. Cards, hand-outs, etc. One can go over-board, of course. No one wants to read your 50+ page of fake world history for your home-brew world. (Okay, there are some people like that. But few.)

However, just a little card or token can be a pretty neat thing to hand over to a player. That's why I came up with this:

It's a large card that I gave a colored border to and filled with text, describing an innovation that the Explorator recently came up with. It's a sort of "ion grenade" which makes technology go amuck by messing with the machine spirits. I guess I could have just emailed him this info or wrote it down in my notebook, but what I'm learning in this campaign is that that stuff often gets lost. You forget about it. We've all been there, right? Ten sessions later, the GM or the player perks up and says, "Hey! Remember my thingamajigger?" This helps as a sort of reminder. A placeholder that says: "Hey there, I have this now."

What's interesting is that in the campaign, out in the depths of space, the Explorator can do these sorts of things. In a Dark Heresy or Deathwatch game, innovating or inventing would be strictly prohibited. That said, I suppose that a tech-priest could always "rediscover" old technology.

So here's what he came up with:

Gear Shriek

Class: Thrown; Range: SBx3; Damage: Special; Pen: 0; Special: Blast (2)

Upon detonating near a technological device, roll 1d10


1 grenade fails, no effect

2-3 machine spirits confused - device is unreliable/operates erratically

4-5 machine spirits panicked - device operates continuously on current settings for 5-10 rounds

6-7 machine spirits frightened - device very difficult to use or control, -20 to -40 on rolls

8 machine spirits scared - device locks and will not activate for 5-10 rounds - this is the *intended* result

9 machine spirits maddened – device continuously one and rate/speed of operation increases and at the end of operation, the device is damaged or destroyed; machine spirit may be permanently affected (GM's discretion)

10 spectacular/bizarre event, GM's discretion


  1. He...created tech? Doesn't that imply the technology handed down to us by the Son of Mankind is inadequate? The hubris of thinking that one could improve upon what we have! That way lies the Dark Ages of Mankind! This is heresy!!! Cool heresy, but heresy!

  2. Yes! It is indeed outright heresy! Which makes it really cool, 'cause only in Rogue Trader, on the fringes of space, where the Reach of the Emperor is far away would this even be possible.

  3. Sure, on the edges of the galaxy this could be done without the techpriest Hierarchy finding out. But wouldn't the explorator have do this despite a lifetime of indoctrination (Innovation is herecy, everything was better in the olden days, xenotech is suspect).

    You are right however: fiddity bits are great :)

  4. Oh yes, well. Our Explorator is a tech-priest in name only. He is basically, for all intents and purposes, a heretek. I don't think he even believes in the Omnissiah.

  5. Some interesting interpretations.

    Some of this, I believe, has to do with the fact that, as a player, I'm not the most fluent in the 40k mythos. However, Explorator != Tech Priest on a 1 for 1 level, even according to the book: "Explorators themselves tend towards a greater independence of mind and inquisitive thought than adherents of the Machine Cult in more sheltered roles". That's the angle I'm playing up.

    To the Witchfinder: As for Kai's part, he doesn't *disbelieve* in the Omnissiah - he just thinks that the common/orthodox understanding of the Machine God is imperfect, and, quite-likely, over-thought. He's also skeptical of the *necessity* of many of the Tech-Priest rituals, and views them more as mnemonics himself - though he has encountered times when they *did* seem completely necessary, so he's unsure. (This makes sense to me given a) his youth and b) the circumstances surrounding his introduction to the machine cult.)