Expansion Plans: Hive Worlds

After thinking on it a bit I’ve made a plan for what I want to focus on with the next expansion. I’ve decided to do a splatbook focusing on running Hive World campaigns, which will also act as a bit of a gear expansion.

Largely the content in here is based on stuff from Necromunda, but rather than provide Necromunda specific content I figured this would be a good opportunity to generically provide guidance on hive city campaigns. So a bit of a “Necromunda with the serial numbers filed off” approach.

See the below image for an outline of what I plan to include!

Release: Chambers Militant (Beta)

Better late than never, right? Here’s the preliminary release of the Chambers Militant book, which contains rules for playing as Deathwatch Marines, Grey Knights, and Adepta Sororitas.

[Mega Link]
[Google Drive Link]

The reason I’m labelling this as a Beta is that it’s fairly likely the book has a number of design/balance issues. Space Marines really push at the edge of what you can reasonably represent as a Genesys PC, and so they break a lot of the Genesys design rules completely. This means they’re likely a bit broken, but I think the best way to figure that out is playtesting! So please give me any feedback you have, it’s all super useful. I read every comment on here, and you’re welcome to contact me using the webform on this website (it just sends me an email), or to message me on Discord.

Here’s the intro chapter’s descriptions of the contents, if you’re wondering what’s included:

  • In Chapter I: Elite Level Play, guidance is given for how to properly integrate these powerful warriors into a campaign featuring regular members of the Inquisition
  • Chapter II: Deathwatch provides game mechanics for creating Deathwatch Space Marines. Along with special rules for creating and playing as the supernaturally capable Astartes, this chapter includes character options for every founding chapter of the Adeptus Astartes.
  • Chapter III: Grey Knights provides rules for creating the powerful psyker warriors of the Grey Knights, the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Malleus. This includes rules for their powerful psychic powers, governed by a new psychic discipline; Sanctic Daemonology.
  • In Chapter IV: Adepta Sororitas you will find expanded character options for bringing the Battle Sisters of the Adepta Sororitas to life. This includes new Careers, Elite Advances and other options.
  • Chapter V: Faith and Fury provides rules for Faith Powers, potent miracles manifested by those truly devoted to the God Emperor.
  • In Chapter VI: Elite Talents, new talents specific to members of the Chambers Militant are provided, including a range of talents focusing on the unique capabilities of the Adeptus Astartes.
  • Finally, Chapter VII: Elite Armoury provides statistics for the potent arms and armour used by Grey Knights, Deathwatch and Sororitas.

Development Update – June 2021

Hi all! With the 3.2 release done, I thought it’d be good to post some thoughts about future releases, and where I’m at with stuff I’ve previously worked on.

Firstly, Chambers Militant. Tonight I’ve been looking through it, and it’s pretty close to done! Content wise, it’s pretty much complete save for some final work on Faith Powers, which I think I might be able to get done within the next week or so. I’ve got a lot of motivation to work on content at the moment so I think I will be able to get it out.

Chambers Militant is a pretty high power level splat, and it does a lot of stuff Genesys isn’t really designed to handle well, so I expect it might be an unbalanced mess! I don’t think it is, but I do think it’ll need some solid field testing. To that end, I’m probably going to call the initial release a beta (as much as that even matters for fan content), and I’ll be looking for some solid proofreading and design feedback. I figure it’s better to get the content out there considering how many people have been asking for it, and then I can always update things down the track.

Once Chambers Militant is done, I have a few book ideas. Here they are, vaguely sorted in order of how motivated I am to make them.

  • Necromunda – I want to make a book focusing on Necromunda, and games set in hives in general. Mostly, this is an excuse to adapt all the cool gear from Necromunda that never made it into the core book. But I’d also like to flesh out the idea of running campaigns set entirely in a hive. So I’d like to expand the archetype offerings beyond the basic hive world option in the core book, to offer a wider range of hiver backgrounds. This will include Abhumans, although I do already have rules for them anyway.
  • A monster manual of some sort – I’d like to expand the NPC offerings, especially with Chambers Militant increasing the need for high-level NPCs to deal with. I have two thoughts on how to handle this. Keen to hear what people would prefer!
    • One giant tome, covering all the different NPCs in the 40k setting. Likely something I’d update and expand on periodically. This has the advantage of being a really useful, solid GM resource. Would be a big undertaking and likely take a while, though.
    • Separate, faction-focused books like the Ordo Xenos Threat Briefing: Tau book I released ages ago. This has the benefit of being a lot more focused, and allowing room for adding gear and special rules too. Probably more of a managable scope too, but it does mean a more limited subset of NPCs released gradually.
  • Adeptus Mechanicus – I’d like to write a little gear expansion, covering all the weird armaments of the AdMech (both from 30k and 40k content), and expanding on rules for cybernetics a bit. Might also feature some elite advances for skitarii PCs.
  • Malus Codicium – I’ve talked about this plenty before. I want to make a book for more radically aligned PCs, focusing on chaotic stuff. Sorcery rules, daemon summoning and binding, daemonhosts, daemonic pacts, all that nasty stuff. Lots of horrid Chaos relics and gear, too. I’d likely provide a broader range of Daemon statistics in here too (basically everything in the Chaos Daemons codex), as they’d interact with the other gameplay systems in the book.

Keen to hear what people are interested in, or if people have ideas of their own they’d like to see me work on!

Fan Content: Reference Sheets

Wanted to take a moment to share these really brilliant reference sheets made by A Ninja on the Genesys Discord. Based on the most recent release (3.2) of the corebook, these sheets seem like they’ll be really useful for all of you!

  • Personal Combat Reference – A really useful reference sheet for running combat, has all the basic information you’d need for running most combat encounters. [LINK]
  • Psychic Powers Additional Effects – This document just combines all the Additional Effects tables for the different psychic powers in one convenient document. Really useful reference for psyker players, the psychic power rules can be a little hard to wrangle sometimes, hopefully this helps! [LINK]

I’ll try to make a habit of spotlighting cool custom content like this in future, if you’re aware of anything worth highlighting please feel free to reach out!

More word about future expansions coming shortly!

Release: Core Book 3.2

I’ve finished work on the latest update to the Dark Heresy for Genesys Core Rulebook, the 3.2 release. You can find it here; [LINK]

The changelog is located here, but here’s an overview of the big changes.

  • This update focused heavily on talents. The entire talents chapter has been reworked to be easier to read, with each tier starting on its own page. Many new talents have been added into the mix, too; 59 new talents total. Some of these are adapted from Keyforge, some from Wrath and Glory, and some were originally meant for Chambers Militant but I decided to move them to the Core Book and leave Chambers Militant for the Astartes/Sororitas exclusive talents.
  • A couple of the talents are taken (with permission) from Sunfall, a Genesys Foundry product that is very well put together and worth checking out. Thanks to Anastasia for letting me borrow some of her ideas!
  • I’ve added a range of Tier 1 talents which grant career skills. A lot of people have asked for these over the years. I have mixed feelings about them, but it’s easy to just houserule them out of your game if you prefer not to use these types of talents.
  • Several talents have been tweaked for balance purposes, or removed entirely.
  • Interludes received some balance tweaking.
  • The psychic attack houserules I posted earlier in a blog post are now integrated.

Let me know what you think! If anyone spots any typos or other oddities, please let me know via the comments section below, or you can just message me directly through the contact form on this blog, or by adding me on Discord.

Development Update – Feb 2021

It’s been a little bit quiet on here, so I thought it’d be worthwhile to give everyone an update on what I’ve been working on.

  • Chambers Militant, the book covering playing as Adepta Sororitas, Deathwatch Marines and Grey Knights is about 90 percent done. I need to finish off Faith Powers and give the whole thing a big editing pass, and then it’s ready to release. You can probably expect to see this in the next week or two.
  • Originally I had plans to include an expanded bestiary in Chambers Militant, but on reflection I’ve decided it’d be better to set that aside for a dedicated book. Rather than scattering NPC profiles across multiple books, I’m going to work on one unified “monster manual” type expansion, providing NPC profiles for a whole range of NPCs beyond the basic set provided in the core book. Expect this… at some point. I have already thrown together profiles for Vindicare and Eversor assassins, if you want a peek.
  • I’m planning to add a handful of new talents in the next devision of the core book. This google doc has what I’m planning to add, and some proposed errata for existing talents. It’s a mix of stuff ported from Keyforge, stuff ported from Sunfall (cheers to Anastasia for letting me steal some of her great ideas, go buy her book), some adapted talents from Wrath and Glory, and some stuff I’d originally planned to include in Chambers Militant that I thought would be better off just being placed in the core book. If you have any feedback about gaps in the talent selection available, please let me know.

Let me know if you have any further questions, ideas, or advice. I’m most easily reached on Discord but you can email me using the form on this website too, if you prefer that. I keep an eye on the comments sections here too!

By the way, thanks to everyone who has thrown a few bucks into the ko.fi link I threw up on the home page, I’m kind of shocked by the amount of support I’ve received there. Very much appreciated!

Emperor’s Sign Faith Powers

Hey all, not much to say here, just a quick preview of the Emperor’s Sign branch of Faith Powers, which are pretty much done.

These are ported over quite directly from Dark Heresy 1e’s Blood of Martyrs expansion as I thought they fit in as talents pretty well, no need to over-complicate things. They always have a Story Point cost attached, but Sororitas characters can reduce the cost for a Faith Power by 1 once per session, which means they can effectively manifest one of the less potent powers for free.

Emperor’s Mercy and Emperor’s Wrath are in the works.

Let me know what you think!

You may need to open these images in a new tab if the text is too little to read properly!

Fixing Psychic Attacks

One design flaw I’ve been aware of for a little while in the core book is the psychic attack power. It’s wimpy at the best of times in core Genesys, but with 40k’s exaggerated weapon profiles and soak values, it’s a real pea shooter. Figured it’s time to fix that. Feel free to skip to the bottom of the post for the proposed houserules (which will likely be integrated in the next update). Otherwise, stay tuned for my design ramblings!

The Current Situation

Functionally, a psychic attack without any extra effects added on is basically a ranged weapon. Let’s look at its profile, relative to other ranged weapons. We’ll assume a psyker with a 4 in their relevant characteristic, so well built, but not totally min-maxed.

  • Psychic Attack: Damage 4; Critical –
  • Stub Automatic: Damage 6; Critical 4
  • Laspistol: Damage 6; Critical 4; Reliable, Variable
  • Sling: Damage 4; Critical 5

So a psychic attack on a reasonably beefy character is… Slightly worse than a feudal peasant’s sling. This isn’t looking great. Let’s add Kineblades or a Runic Staff into the mix and see what happens.

  • Runic Staff Psychic Attack: Damage 8; Critical –
  • Kineblades Psychic Attack: Damage 7; Critical -; Pierce 2, Autofire
  • Autogun: Damage 6; Critical 3; Autofire
  • Lasgun: Damage 7; Critical 4; Reliable, Variable

So with these costly and quite rare psychic implements, we get to a point where psyker attacks are about on par with entry level guns. Slightly better, even. Except by the time your psyker can afford these, the gun-toting acolytes are probably bringing bolters. Not great.

There are a couple of key differences to keep in mind with psychic attacks, but they don’t help the situation much.

  • Psychic attacks cost 2 strain to perform. This makes them much less appealing than just shooting a gun, generally.
  • Psychic attacks have their difficulty upgraded once. Again, a severe drawback.
  • They risk Perils of the Warp. You aren’t going to open a portal to hell firing your stub revolver.
  • You can’t be disarmed of psychic powers. This is a nice benefit, and could be really useful in some situations.
  • You can add a whole lot of cool effects to psychic powers. Other characters don’t get this versatility from one weapon, although the difficulty dice add up real quickly.

Overall, I think it’s clear psychic attacks are a bit too wimpy. So let’s fix that.

Fixing It

The first change I’d propose is simple. The base damage of psychic attacks should be twice the relevant characteristic. Let’s revisit using our hypothetical psyker with their 4 in the relevant characteristic.

  • Psychic Attack: Damage 8; Critical –
  • Runic Staff Psychic Attack: Damage 12; Critical –
  • Kineblades Psychic Attack: Damage 11; Critical -; Pierce 2, Autofire
  • Lasgun: Damage 7; Critical 4; Reliable, Variable
  • Heavy Stubber: Damage 12; Critical 2; Auto-Fire (Only), Cumbersome 4
  • Bolt Pistol: Damage 10; Critical 2; Pierce 2, Scarce Ammo, Vicious 2

This is looking a bit better. A decent psyker without any implements is basically firing lasgun shots, while a psyker with implements can start to match their fellow acolytes toting around heavier weaponry.

One problem this creates is it makes the Empowered additional effect kinda useless. So for that, I’d just propose that it makes psychic attack base damage triple the relevant characteristic. Which would mean something like this (bear in mind Empowered adds two difficulty dice, it’s a hard one to manifest).

  • Psychic Attack: Damage 12; Critical –
  • Runic Staff Psychic Attack: Damage 16; Critical –
  • Kineblades Psychic Attack: Damage 15; Critical -; Pierce 2, Autofire
  • Plasma Gun: Damage 12; Critical 2; Gets Hot, Maximal, Pierce 5, Vicious 2
  • Meltagun: Damage 15; Critical 1; Breach 2, Destructive, Scarce Ammo, Vicious 3

Now we’re cooking with gas. If a psyker is willing to make an attack check with two extra difficulty dice, and a decent psy-focus, they’re hitting like some of the most potent infantry weapons.

One final gap in a psyker’s ability to do any real damage is their ability to deal with armour. In the lore, psykers can smash tanks apart with their minds and bowl over Space Marines. Currently, even with the odds stacked very much in their favour they’re pretty bad at dealing with high soak, and vehicles are practically impossible to dent. To that end, I’d change the Destructive additional effect to grant pierce equal to twice the character’s rank in Discipline, and add the Destructive quality to the attack. This means a psyker with 5 ranks in Discipline effectively adds breach to their attacks with this effect, which seems like a reasonable reward for so much invested XP (and two extra difficulty dice!).

TL;DR – What are the house rules?

I’m proposing the following changes;

  • Psychic attacks deal damage equal to twice the characteristic linked to the skill used to make the attack, plus 1 damage per uncancelled [SU]. So if a character uses Telekinesis, they would deal damage equal to twice their Intellect.
  • In Table 7-3: Attack Additional Effects, apply the following changes.
    • Change the Destructive effect to read – “The attack gains the Destructive and Sunder qualities. The attack also gains the Pierce quality with a rating equal to twice your character’s ranks in Discipline.
    • Change the Empowered effect to read – “The attack deals damage equal to three times the characteristic linked to the skill (instead of dealing damage equal to twice the characteristic). If the attack has the Blast quality, it effects all characters within short range, rather than engaged.”

I’ll be giving these a whirl in my own campaign. I’d encourage you to give them a shot too and let me know what you think.

If you have any comments or insights into this change, feel free to chuck them in the comments section below and I’ll take a look!

Moving to WordPress

Thought it’d be worth writing up a quick little post about the move to a blog, and how I plan to handle things with this project ongoing.

So, for those of you who don’t know, previously I’d been using Fantasy Flight Games’ Genesys forums to post all my updates, including in-progress versions of unreleased titles. However this morning FFG announced that they’re closing their forums for good at the end of January.

I thought a bit about moving most of my posting over to Reddit, but honestly I hate Reddit’s format at the best of times and it’s kind of a poor stand-in for a blog anyway. I wanted a central place where all my content can “live”, where I can post updates regularly and be relatively confident my stuff won’t expire a few years down the track, even if I stop working on it for a decent chunk of time.

So I’ve decided a development blog was the best way to handle this. At some point I may transition to self-hosting WordPress, for now I’m using the free version to try it out and see how much I like it.

Here’s my basic plan going forward;

  • This is going to be the go-to destination for up-to-date links to all my stuff. I’ll make an effort to keep this blog up to date, I can’t say the same for content found elsewhere.
  • I’ll keep posting on Discord, Reddit, Facebook and wherever else I can get good feedback, but I’ll likely keep this to targeted stuff I want feeedback on, or big new releases.
  • I’ll keep comments turned on on all posts here, and try to keep an eye on what people have to say.
  • I’ll still be reachable directly via email (rossdevans2@gmail.com) and Discord (Hoob#3184) if you want to discuss stuff with me directly.

I’ve also toyed with the idea of making a Discord server for this hack – let me know if this is something you’d be keen on, not really something I plan to do without some buy-in.

Feel free to comment below (or just hit me up directly) if you have any thoughts or comments.