Thursday, September 10, 2009

Warhammer 40K roleplaying - a few thoughts

Since it was first released in 1987, Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader have tempted many gamers with the idea of a rpg in the far future, of only war. When Dark Heresy was announced I was thinking that it might be just what I have been hoping to achieve myself with rules tinkering without end. The fact it was fairly costly, and sold out so quickly I never got to see it made me change my mind.

Now I'm in the planning stages for running a one shot, using Savage Worlds as a rules set. As always when adapting a generic system, you'll have to get the gist of the setting and the feel it should have. So, what's crucial for a WH40K rpg? It has to be gritty and deadly, ok? It has to show the brutal and never ending war against all the universe, ok? It has to have cults of chaos, ok? It has to have an element of satire and dark humour, right? The problematic thing is that none of that is very well captured by rules. Especially not generic ones. So, how do you do adaptations like this anyway? I'm thinking iconic images, and themes will have to do and then rolling with the punches and just say "yes" a lot. Imagine doing that in GURPS or any such crunchy system! I think I've realized that doing things like this, I really need rules light systems!


  1. I don't know...I've loved 40K since Rogue Trader but it's damn hard to do an RPG version. Dark Heresy ain't my cup o tea (and I LOVE WFRP) but what else to do?

    The Mutant Chronicles were fairly close, but were a little crunch heavy to be called "rules light" (plus they're out of print). I did a one page micro-game based in part on the MC can find it at:

    Maybe it'll help jump-start your own design schemes!
    : )

  2. MC never felt right to me. While WH40K oozed irony, MC gave me the impression someone involved kind of approved of the fascism portrayed. Maybe they were to subtle for me.

    Thanks for the link! Cool. I'll check it out.


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