Hot on the heels of Wizards of the Coast going public with their play testing for the D&D Next, comes an announcement from Fantasy Flight Games for Dark Heresy Second Edition.
Dark Heresy Second Edition is an upcoming Warhammer 40,000 roleplaying game in which players take on the roles of characters working to root out heretics and other threats to the Imperium. As Acolytes (or even as Inquisitors), the Player Characters will bring the light of the Emperor to the far reaches of the Askellon Sector, an all-new setting. This, along with a new system for psychic powers and updates to first edition’s character creation and combat systems, Dark Heresy Second Edition a perfect choice for longtime fans and newcomers alike. As an Inquisitor or one of his Acolytes, the fates of billions are in your hands. Do you have the courage to fight for the soul of humanity?
As part of the Dark Heresy Second Edition beta test, you’ll provide valuable information for the Inquisition, as you help FFG craft the best possible final product.
Why is FFG developing a second edition of Dark Heresy?
In 2008, Fantasy Flight Games acquired the rights to publish Dark Heresy, a game designed by Black Industries. Since that time, they have designed and published Rogue Trader, Deathwatch, Black Crusade, and Only War, along with supplements for all five core rulebooks. With the significant experience they’ve acquired in developing the Warhammer 40,000 roleplay games, and by listening to thousands of active Dark Heresy players over the years, FFG are excited to have crafted a new edition which updates and builds on the original game experience. In this beta, veteran Dark Heresy players will discover a familiar core system that still uses percentile dice to resolve tests, but with updated and new rules, including:
- Streamlined skills that can be used with more than a single characteristic.
- Fast and fun character creation, with exciting variety through combinations of home worlds, backgrounds, and roles for almost endless roleplaying possibilities.
- Play as an Acolyte or as an Inquisitor!
- New rules for psychic powers, with each discipline gaining its own unique psychic phenomena table.
- Talent trees that visually help players plan their character’s progression.
- Combat mechanics that give more tactical flexibility and control over performing actions.
- Damage and wound rules that make a character’s health something more than just a number, plus lots of great (and gory!) wound effect tables.
- Vehicles and vehicle combat as an integral part of the core game.
- Easier-to-use NPCs, each with a threat rating so that Game Masters can build suitably challenging encounters.
- And much more!
Does this mean the other Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay games will soon receive new editions?
No. Dark Heresy is a great game, and its rules system has been a terrific achievement which marked the beginning of the Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay line. However, as the oldest of the Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay games, Dark Heresy needed updating and refreshing to bring it in line with the gameplay of the more recent games. So, FFG have no plans to be launching new editions of the other existing games. In fact, they’re really pleased with the success and positive player feedback from the recently released Only War game and they hope to be supporting that edition for many years to come.
Will Dark Heresy Second Edition be compatible with the first edition core rulebook and its supplements?
While the percentile dice system is still at the heart of the core mechanic, Dark Heresy Second Edition introduces a number of core upgrades, changes, and improvements that make it incompatible with first edition Dark Heresy.
However, the background and setting material from all first edition books can certainly continue to provide valuable plot hooks and campaign ideas. Since the newly introduced Askellon Sector exists alongside the more familiar Calixis Sector, owners of the previous edition can adapt their new campaigns to include elements of both settings!
What about the Calixis Sector?
Many veteran Dark Heresy players conducted their investigations in the Calixis Sector, the setting for the original game. While the Askellon Sector is the locale for the new edition, the Calixis Sector is still a vital part of Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay. All Calixis Sector material can still be used to generate new adventures using the second edition rules.
The addition of the Askellon Sector in Dark Heresy Second Edition does not invalidate the Calixis Sector material, but rather expands options for GMs and players. Whether exploring the brand new Askellon Sector, or using existing Calixis Sector material to inform game play, Dark Heresy Second Edition provides even more opportunities to discover and eradicate heresy across the Imperium.
The Askellon Sector
This new edition also allows FFG to create a new setting: the Askellon Sector. Askellon is an ancient region, pre-dating the Imperium itself, and its history is filled with secrets and lies that have stained every generation. As if to compound its woes, the sector is cursed with a seemingly unending Warp storm known as the Pandaemonium that waxes and wanes across the millennia. With each passing century it grows ever more intense and dangerous, raging like a hungry beast that seeks to devour the entire sector.
Within Askellon, it is the prophesied Time of Ending, close to the culmination of the 41st millennium. On its many worlds, from lordly Juno to the lawless asteroids of Port Aquila, from devout Thaur to the red forges of Cerix Magnus, all watch in fear as the Pandaemonium’s rising ferocity heralds the sector’s fall. It will take the mightiest deeds of the Acolytes to forestall this terrible doom, if only for one day.
Askellon is a major part of this new edition, as it lets players explore entire new cultures and peoples, and also introduce new adversaries. Within the sector, players will see a host of new characters, organisations, cults, and more to ensure their Acolytes have no shortage of heresies to investigate and eradicate.
Can I play as an Inquisitor?
Yes! Dark Heresy Second Edition includes three Elite Advances. With the GM’s permission, Player Characters can become Inquisitors, Psykers, or Untouchables.
What is the Dark Heresy Second Edition beta test and why is there a cost to participate?
The beta test is a chance for players to carefully play through the game system and help us ensure an enjoyable roleplaying experience. This test allows fans to play the game before the official release and allows FFG to address any issues that may be found.
The Dark Heresy Second Edition beta is a complete, 337-page playable version of Dark Heresy Second Edition; the only difference is that it omits certain art pieces and background lore that will be present in the final version. This product has already undergone extensive development, playtesting, and refinement, and FFG have no doubt that it’s ready to provide hours of enjoyment. What’s more, Dark Heresy Second Edition beta test participants have an opportunity to experience the game months before they otherwise would with Seeds of Heresy, an adventure created exclusively for the beta test!
How often should my group plan on playing?
As often as possible! It would be ideal if your group makes time to play at least four sessions over the course of the beta period (ending 09/11/13). Before your first session, it is a good idea to prepare by reading through the rulebook to make sure things go smoothly. Since you will only have about eight weeks to submit feedback, holding a session every week would be best.
What should my group be looking for as we play?
The most important part of this beta test is to make sure the game is enjoyable. Don’t let your group get held up by trying to proofread every paragraph of the book. Instead, play through the game as if you just bought it from the store and note anything that causes a problem, dispute, or conflict during gameplay. It is not necessary to keep track of everything that happens during each session your group plays.
Downloading the Beta and Submitting Feedback
Exclusively available via download through drivethrurpg.com and rpgnow.com, the Dark Heresy Second Edition beta provides an abridged, electronic version of the upcoming core rulebook. This 337-page greyscale pdf document retains the core experience of Dark Heresy Second Edition, but excludes certain thematic content that will be present in the final game. As part of the beta test, you’ll provide valuable information for the Inquisition as you help FFG to ensure the best possible product.
Once you’ve joined the beta by downloading Dark Heresy Second Edition, there are two main methods for you to submit your feedback. First, they have created a special section on the FFG website for the beta (http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/darkheresybeta) that will be updated weekly with the latest news and game updates from the development team. It contains a public forum where you can discuss the beta test with fellow players, post questions and feedback, and read news updates from the development team.
Second, you can submit any specific reports or feedback directly to the team at the beta test e-mail address (email@example.com). When submitting your feedback via e-mail, please consolidate multiple questions and comments into a single message, rather than sending a separate e-mail for each question or comment. When submitting feedback, keep in mind that they’re looking for comments on specific issues that come up during your playtest sessions.
We highly recommend all stores become part of this playtest. By creating store groups you will help guarantee sales upon release.