Deathwatch, powered by the Apocalypse

  • 6 Replies
Deathwatch, powered by the Apocalypse
« on: March 01, 2015, 02:40:59 PM »
Hi all,

I converted my game group to the AW family of games over a year ago, and we've only rarely played anything else since. However, at one point someone *really* wanted to play in the world of Warhammer 40K. One glance at the massive rulebook told us we weren't going to learn the new system (we just don't have the patience for rules-heavy systems anymore), so a friend and I started to reskin AW to Deathwatch.

It didn't really work, so we took the core engine and built a completely new game from the fiction of the world. We've been playing this game for the past 6 months, and while that's not nearly enough time to test every playbook, move, and piece of equipment, we've been having a blast with it, and the core of the game has worked remarkably well. Since we've had such a great time with it, and we can't sell it for obvious reasons, I thought I'd offer it up to the community. If anyone gives this a whirl, I'd love to hear how it worked for you. What worked, what didn't, what you changed and why, all of it.

Re: Deathwatch, powered by the Apocalypse
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2015, 01:23:43 PM »
The White Scars have the nonexistent Dreadnaught as a forbidden playbook - is there going to be one, or is that supposed to be Devastator?

Re: Deathwatch, powered by the Apocalypse
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2015, 05:27:37 PM »
Dreadnaught is correct. At the time we wrote this, we were assuming we'd include advanced playbooks and were working ahead. But given how long it took to get the base rules hammered out, we figured we'd release what we had sans the advanced playbooks.

Among the playbooks we have varying degrees of notes for are the dreadnaught, terminator, epistolary, and chaplain. None are in a playable state yet, unfortunately.



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Re: Deathwatch, powered by the Apocalypse
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2015, 07:37:37 AM »
I love it! You took a totally different path than I did but you might be able to use some of the ideas here:

I've playtested it a couple of times and there are certain tweaks that I havn't yet done to the file, but it plays nicely as a space marine game. However, I don't know if it's my MC-ing that is lacking or something wrong with the game itself, but it didn't work at all as a play to find out game.

In the end it's all about having fun.

I'll see when I can take yours for a spin and see what I can steal ;)

Re: Deathwatch, powered by the Apocalypse
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2015, 09:40:39 AM »
In our playtest experience, it *was* playing to see what happened, but not in the way AW means it. Because this game is based on a mission structure, it plays episodically, and we didn't see much consequence rolling from mission to mission. This also means fronts don't come into play, and yes, the WC (that's Watch Commander) needs to do a bit more work to prep each session. In this, it plays a lot more like a standard RPG. The missions aren't scripted to as tight a degree as a prepackaged adventure, and we found that player-created complications as well as copious move-based consequences tended to throw the best laid plans to hell right quick.

But when I say we were playing to see what happened, I'm not referring to the plot. I'm referring to the interactions and relationships between the kill team members. This was something we really wanted to make a big part of the game when we started out, and so we built a couple of interacting rules into the system to create this push/pull dynamic we read in the fiction. So yeah, we have something like Hx and bonds, but there's a benefit to running them to the extremes. If you have a negative rating, you can crap all over that person and get xp for it. If you have a positive rating, you can get bonuses to help one another.

Screw that. No one helps one another in any *World game (and we've played several), and insulting the crap out of one another and taking umbrage at their insults (thus driving down your camaraderie with them) is more fun, right? Yeah, our group thought so too. So the Iron Fist loved to call my Salamander a simpering pussy whenever I'd insist on saving civilians in a combat operation, and I was happy to tell him what a miserable failure he was every time he didn't get a perfect success. Our White Scar wound up stealing the killing blow from almost everyone on the team at one point or another, quite by accident, and so everyone hated him. And we all ran with it.

Except as things got harder and the opposition became too much for us to handle individually, we began to need one another. The Iron Hand got swarmed by  tyranids, and my devestator cleared them out. I didn't have the Danger Close move yet, so I blasted away on him as well as the xenos pile on top of him. But because I was willing to do what was necessary, he develops a little respect for me, and his camaraderie score with me increases a little. And suddenly there's more to our kill-team's dynamic than endless pissing matches. We still struggled with philosophical disagreements, but when focused on mission objectives, we began to work in mutually supportive ways... sometimes. Other grudges refused to die (our Blood Angel vowed to hate our White Scar to the grave), but this too was part of seeing what happened.

So it requires a shifting a thought, but this can still be a game about exploration. In this case, you're not exploring the world. This game is set in a very well fleshed out setting that has decades of fictional material published. It's also not exploring your little part of it. As a member of Deathwatch, you exist for a specific purpose. You don't need to discover yourself, your relationship to the setting, nor do you ever wonder what you will do with your time. You're dropped into hostile territory and you kill xenos. Wash, rinse, repeat. However, who the men who fight and bleed beside you are to you, and who you are to them, is something that's a totally blank canvas at the game's beginning, and it turns out to be a massive part of the game, and far more than mechanically.

See, space marines don't talk to a lot of people. Many times there's no one to talk to. They spend most their time killing things. So if you're going to have any social interaction in this game, you need to talk to your group. And *that's* where you find out what happens.

Thanks for the link and thanks for giving our game a trial run. I'm happy to address any questions you have, and we'll certainly make notes and adjustments based on feedback.

Re: Deathwatch, powered by the Apocalypse
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2017, 02:32:22 AM »
Does this ruleset still exist somewhere. And may I get a link please? Thanks!

Re: Deathwatch, powered by the Apocalypse
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2017, 12:14:44 PM »
I've received a few PMs that have told me the dropbox link isn't working anymore. I've tried restoring it, but further messages tell me it's still a no go. So, if you want a copy, I still have it. PM me with an email address and I'll send it directly.