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[DH 2nd] GM Needs Help with Encounters

Aliexster

Master Mech Mechanic
Validated User
So I've been running a game of Rogue Trader that has been going on for a year that ended a little bit ago, and my players are ready to get back into the 40K universe with the new edition. They liked my game for it's atmosphere, the weird characters, and some of the inanity I put forward. There is one problem they keep going on about: my combat sucks.

It's not the speed, or so much getting the rules wrong, simply fact is that it is too boring. The party plows through things in a couple of rounds, even space marines I ripped out of Deathwatch and tossed them were torn apart in two rounds at most. It got to the point that I was tossing some really powerful enemies that when they are able to connect could one shot most characters which makes me rather nervous. But I've been upping the ante to try to make the enemies survive more than one hit with little success. Sneak attacks are of limited use due to at least two high perception characters, large groups are not that effective due to a combo of psyker with void frost that locks them down, and vehicles are dealt with by a thunderhammer and inferno pistol they have in the group. I have to commend their flexibility since I think that's what is pulling things everything in their favor.

I'm just looking for some hints on how to properly make the 40K RPG fights more challenging without being unfair. Please, allow me to run this new game better than my last one. My players deserve that.

And I hope not to see any squid lips in this thread. You know who you are.
 

johnnype

Emaciated do gooder
Validated User
Hmm. Are you playing Dark Heresy 2nd edition or Rogue Trader? The PC's sound a bit overpowered for a DH2 game. Even Inquisitors should have a bitch of a time fighting Space Marines.

If combat is the problem I'd try a DH2 game with new characters. I'd make heavy use of the investigation rules and add influence, subtlety, fear, insanity and corruption rules. Also the Inquests rules in Enemies Within and the Explication rules in Enemies Without. Make it about something other than combat.

Depends on the story you want to tell but Dark Heresy is almost built from the ground up to avoid combat if you like.
 

Mr Adventurer

More Daring Than That
Validated User
Hold on, are you starting a new game of Dark Heresy Second Edition, as written, or are you restarting (with the same characters) your Rogue Trader game that uses DH2 rules?
 

Aliexster

Master Mech Mechanic
Validated User
I'm starting a brand new game of Dark Heresy. I'm just worried that I'll fall into the same sort of trap I did when I was running the Rogue Trader game.

They are starting at level one, so that should make things a little easier rather than level 6 Rogue Trader characters. I do try and leave combat as something fairly rare, or towards the end of some endeavor. The thing i eventually it will be time to throw down and that will leave the players disappointed at this climatic battle was pitifully easy.
 

Mawdrigen

The Warrior Reborn
Validated User
I've not run DH 2 but I have plenty of experience with dh1

Dh teams tend to be brittle, if well played they will now down lots of enemies in short order by ganging up and looking for their modifiers. However, once they start taking damage people drop like flies and begin an avalanche of failiures as they can no longer gang up and so on. This can rapidly head tpk-wards if you aren't careful.

Step 1, limit access to equipment. If your starting characters all have multimeltas then they are going to be able to deal out hurt, but they DEFINITELY won't be able to take it. They shouldn't need those weapons, for a start, if they need them they are trying to punch way above their weight and deserve the TPK that comes. Keep the kit equivalent to their opponents, and they will fight smarter rather than harder.

Step 2 don't forget traits. Almost all of their opponents will have one or two useful traits, things like die hard or bulging biceps make a huge difference. Read through your opponents, and know their abilities. Similarly, look for your modifiers just like the players. Enemies in ambush and cover are scary even with auto guns.

Step 3 fight clever where appropriate. Sure if they are fighting plague zombies, it's all "rush in and get mowed down" however space marines would be ganging up, using smoke or blind grenades, using feints, or flat out flanking them. If the players have worked to make these sort of things impossible? Let them have the win, however, enemies learn. It might work once, maybe twice, by the third time the enemies should have a potential counter.

Step 4 don't be afraid to have the opponents retreat, or to let the players do so. If it's the opponents they will pull back into a stronger position, get themselves some benefits like cover or reinforcements. As to the players, if they are retreating it's because they've hit the brittle point. Let them go unless its very out of character for the enemy, better to have a hard fight that scares them than a tpk they don't learn from.
 
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Mr Adventurer

More Daring Than That
Validated User
Equipment is a huge leveller in DH (and most scifi games really) - and Rogue Trader characters have access to far more of it than lowly Acolytes. Follow the rules of the book, keep them busy, and they'll struggle to get cool gear - and even to keep it loaded.
 

Aliexster

Master Mech Mechanic
Validated User
Yes, I also think I've been going with a far more Watsonian approach to the combat to try and make it a level playing field wherea lot of things are hampered by me going 'they should logically go like this' which can be a pain. Especially in the last encounter where they managed to sneak into the command center for a hangar without triggering some heavy bolter turrets and managed to take control of them.
 

PrinceOfSwords

Active member
Validated User
For human opponents make them fight smarter - not harder.

Have them set up ambushes.

Have them use cover and use terrain to their advantage. (Hives and forges are great for networks of non-osha compliant walkways over certain doom).

Grenades are a cultists best friend.

Also: In DH 2 sniper characters are super effective, keep that in mind for both allies an enemies. An enemy sniper behind cover at distance can be a serious challenge.
 
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