Designer Diary: Of Inquisitors and Aliens

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[[++Incoming Astropathic Message++]]

Hello again, Dark Heresy fans! Last time, I introduced myself and talked briefly about what's happening here at Fantasy Flight Games. This time around, I have some more information and a bit to say about Inquisitors. I've held the reprint of the Dark Heresy core book in my hands, and it should be making its way out to your local stores soonish. It's quite exciting, actually, to see how a reprint works for a core book and apply the experience gained towards reprints for Inquisitor's Handbook and Purge the Unclean – both of which are at the printers and should be following the core book right along!

I look around at the gaming industry today, and I'm quite encouraged. Clearly, there's something special going on, particularly with indie games and new-faces-on-the-block like Dark Heresy. People are getting together, talking about their characters, planning out great adventures, and telling awesome stories. Bragging rights have always been a part of the roleplaying experience for me, and I love to hear how other people celebrate that experience in different ways.

Moving on, let's talk about Inquisitors. One of the more important aspects of a typical Dark Heresy game, in my opinion, is the identity of the Inquisitor that the Acolytes serve. There's a nice selection of possibilities in the main book, and other interesting options mentioned in the Inquisitor's Handbook (such as the mysterious Inquisitor Herrod). Consider the Inquisitor's allegiances — is he a loner, or does he serve one of the major Ordos? Plus, there are several factions within the Inquisition that can have a major effect on the Acolytes themselves. Serving a Monodominant Inquisitor is very different from working for a Xanthite, for instance!

Some of the Inquisitors from the Warhammer 40,000 fiction can provide even more inspiration. Inquisitor Amberley Vail from the Commissar Cain books, for example, is very subtle and charming. Inquisitor Toth, seen in the Dawn of War computer game, is by contrast very aggressive and straightforward. The Inquisitor's personal style can do much to guide how his Acolytes pursue their assignments.

Here are some questions about the Inquisitor to think about when assembling your Dark Heresy group of Acolytes

• What Ordo does he serve? (if any?)
• Is he a Puritan or a Radical?
• Does he serve one of the many Inquisitional factions?
• Is the Inquisitor aggressive or subtle?

It's not a bad idea for Dark Heresy GM's to sit back and take a look at "the big picture" every few adventures. Doing this helps keep the Inquisitor himself in perspective while the Acolytes bring his plans closer to fruition. As the patron and ultimate authority for the player character group, the Inquisitor's nature and development ought to be noticeable over the course of the campaign.

Coming up soon, I'd like to talk about some unusual ways to play Dark Heresy (and why variety is good!). Never fear, Dark Heresy fans — I'm still finding my feet as a "designer diary" blogger, so bear with me as I work out the kinks and turn into an update-writing machine. Eventually, it is my plan for the designer diary updates to adhere to a certain outline so that returning readers have an idea of what's in store from one week to the next.

The Next Step

I intend for this part of the designer diary to contain information on what's coming up for Dark Heresy. This week's installment is regarding the GM's Toolkit re-print. I took home a sample over the 4th of July weekend to give it a thorough looking over, and I'm impressed! The package contains the adventure "Maggots in the Meat," which features horrific alien antagonists known as the Slaugth. These "maggot men" are covered in more detail in the upcoming Disciples of the Dark Gods, and they are some nasty customers indeed. Also included are some charts to help generate your own foul breed of alien, plus some poisons and toxins found in the Calixis Sector.

The big thing, however, is the GM screen itself. Quite a beauty, this screen has been printed on tougher, thicker material and is fully covered by a linen finish. It is much more sturdier than the previous version, and best of all, it hasn't gone up in price! I've had more than a few screens get damaged along the fold creases before, but that won't be a problem with this one. Naturally, the biggest benefit is all the handy charts inside. Now just what are the effects of two-weapon fighting again? Ah, there it is. Enjoy, and until next time, may the light of the Golden Throne guide you.