Thoughts for Ascension
The group is rapidly approaching Ascension. I’m personally pretty excited since this represents a new level of challenge for me as a GM. I’ve never really had a campaign sustain itself to the extent and stability this one has.
So congratulations on surviving a long strain of “succeed or die instantly” situations and boss-fights which frankly should have been run-or-die situations.
That said I’m continually revising some of these NPC sheets to brace them for the butt-rape that will be Ascended PCs. I don’t doubt that in another 2K XP you guys are gonna be able to plow right through whatever seems threatening at this immediate moment. Tooling badguys to continue presenting you with a challenge takes a bit of priority right now.
But here are some general rules I’ll be plopping down on you dudes:
I’m imposing the Ascension Cap of 25 Wounds. This is mutable if we can find explanations in-character, but in general another thing I want is for there to be some illustrative effect of your insane Strength/Toughness/Wound mix. It’s hard to argue that a person who can withstand being hit by a .75-caliber explosive gyrojet round is very scrawny, so EMBRACE PHYSICAL CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.
I won’t be placing a limit on accumulated Fate Points, since I think it makes sense given the circumstances of this campaign that you reach Ibram Gaunt-levels of improbable survivability. I’m trying my damnedest to forge an animu melodrama here and it seems to be succeeding.
I want you guys to take initiative. I don’t really enjoy railroading all that much. Vanilla DH basically sets you up as the henchmen of a higher-up but Ascension makes you that higher-up. I want you to start looking for heresies big and small to root out. Don’t feel obligated to say yes to the Lady Inquisitor’s request for assistance with some shitty awards ceremony or something, because you will be getting those invitations. A lot.
With that in mind, for the love of god don’t do everything yourselves. Killing small-time cultists when you discover them will get boring really fast when the average party-member is gonna be dishing out 3 1d10+9 Pen 4 attacks every turn of combat and may/may not be able to completely invalidate attempts to dodge. The way things are right now, you guys will start out with a group-Influence of ~60 because of various factors (looking at you Varian, Petrus, Nyx, Plex). You guys will have every bit of room to set yourselves up with Acolytes of your own so make sure you fucking do so. You’ve already got contacts that could easily help you kidnap people for the job. (We’ll figure out how prominent those Acolytes will be later) Feel free to use your power to move your Acolyte Cells in to do jobs and mine Influence and XP and shit. We’ll probably have a system where we fast-forward through a few months at a time and little random things pop up for you to respond to short-hand a la Rogue Trader. Macrogaming (I think I just made that up) is going to become a portion of the campaign when Ascension hits.
You’ll have friends, enemies, and frienemies from the get-go. It kinda comes with the nature of your previous employment history. You’ll all start Ascension with Influence Talents once the Inquisitor(s) have been minted – these Talents remain to be announced pending the outcome of the following sessions, but you will all start out with Rivals, Good Reputation, and at least one Enemy Talent.
New/replacement characters? As Krystaphoani pointed out it’s more advantageous to start a character as Ascended than it is to go through and level them up. I’m contemplating what to do about this apart from mandating everyone update their characters through DH to Ascension. Additionally, if any of you are feeling particularly sick then here’s an idea: you can use your Influence one session to gain access to, say, Deathwatch Marine characters or a Rogue Trader (or even a kroot or eldar merc) for the following adventure. Say you uncovered a genestealer infestation during an Investigation roll, for instance. A Kill-Marine might be very helpful in taking that out. I don’t expect the Throne Agent Cell to be together all the time since they’re all likely to be sent off to do various things, so there are plenty of ways to explain this on the fly thanks to the time-skipping.
Message me your thoughts about Ascension. I hear a lot of complaints that it’s impossible to challenge PCs once they hit Vindicare, and by god I’m intent to fuck that assumption up.
Petrus: Should we get Victoria to be our taxi service?