11 June 2014 | Dark Heresy 2nd Ed.

Serve the Emperor

Preview Character Creation in Dark Heresy Second Edition


In Dark Heresy Second Edition, you and your friends assume the roles of Acolytes in the service of an Inquisitor, battling heresy within, without, and beyond. An Acolyte can come from any planet and any background, but all Acolytes must face the universe’s secrets – the existence of the Warp, and the ravenous hunger of the Warp’s Daemons. In creating an Acolyte, you craft a character to strive against these terrible threats.

These steadfast men and women that you create are all that stand between the Imperium and the extinction of all Mankind. In this preview of Dark Heresy Second Edition, developer Tim Huckelbery introduces how you create characters in Dark Heresy.

A Designer Diary of Character Creation in Dark Heresy

Character creation in Dark Heresy is comprised of three main selections: the Acolyte’s home world, background, and role. A character can be made from any combination of these choices, so there’s a huge variety of possible Acolytes to be created! Each selection a player makes develops his character, from generating starting characteristics and equipment to granting special rules unique to his selection. The Dark Heresy core rulebook offers dozens of examples of settings, organisations, and people from the Askellon Sector, giving players new ways to create their own characters.

Stage 1: Choose Home World

A character’s home world is the planet or location where he was born and likely spent much of his life. It determines his physical appearance, mannerisms, and perspective on the Imperium as a whole.

Dark Heresy contains six home world types in the core rulebook. Four of these are archetypal Imperial planets – feral, forge, hive, and shrine worlds – giving players a range of primitive savagery, technological immersion, cut-throat survival, and devout service. The other two home world types represent origins that could come from planets across the Imperium: the power-drenched environs of the highborn, and the artificial, empty reaches of the voidborn.

Stage 2: Choose Background

A character’s background represents what he has done with his life up to this point, including the previous Imperial organisation that he served. It determines what sort of training the character received throughout his life, what kind of resources he can access, and who he knows.

Seven potential backgrounds are included in the core rulebook: the Imperial agencies of the Adeptus Administratum, Adeptus Arbites, Adeptus Astra Telepathica, Adeptus Mechanicus, Adeptus Ministorum, and the Imperial Guard, along with Outcasts, those who have escaped the confines of any group or organisation. Forming a character with a background in an Imperial agency allows players to create Acolytes from powerful organisations, steeped in connections, but simultaneously entrenched in their own structures. An Outcast has greater relative freedom, but fewer allies, save for others who also exist outside the Imperium’s many strictures.

Stage 3: Choose Role

Roles illuminate an Acolyte’s essence. While a home world establishes where an Acolyte came from, and a background indicates his prior experiences, his role reveals who he really is underneath his clothing, armour, and cybernetics. It reflects how he views the world around him and his place in it, and broadly defines how he faces dangers, interacts with others, and resolves problems. A role also dictates what areas of expertise he excels at, and how he grows and learns with experience.

Dark Heresy includes eight roles in the core rulebook: Assassin, Chirurgeon, Desperado, Hierophant, Mystic, Sage, Seeker, and Warrior. While it is common parlance in the Imperium to mention that someone comes from a feral world, or works for the Adeptus Mechanicus, roles do not actually exist as titles or Imperial designations. Roles operate within the context of the game, indicating a mindset or attitude that a character adopts over his lifetime. Desperado or Seeker, for example, don’t exist as actual occupations or titles in the 41st millennium. Instead, players will find a Trade Sable smuggler or a Hive Desoleum Bondhound Sanctionary.

Continuing Growth

Once these major choices have been made, players develop their new Acolytes further by advancing initial characteristics, skills, and talents, as well as purchasing weapons and other gear. Players also bring their characters to life by giving them names, selecting special Divinations to show the Emperor’s Will in their lives, and choosing other additions to make their character unique.

Character creation doesn’t have to end once you have a character, though, as players can use elite advances to modify their characters. Elite advances represent large, defining aspects of a character that set him apart from his peers. Each is unique and could be the result of a new position, an aspect of a character that has been part of him his entire life, or an ability that emerged more recently due to external stimuli.

Dark Heresy includes three elite advances in the core rulebook: Inquisitor, Psyker, and Untouchable. Using these, an Acolyte can rise to become an Inquisitor himself, allowing a group to have one or more Inquisitors if the players desire. A character can also become blessed (or cursed) to become a psyker and wield the terrible powers of the Warp, or discover himself an untouchable, one of the soulless pariahs who are anathema to psyker and Daemon alike. An elite advance doesn’t alter a character’s role, however. A Warrior still views violence as the best solution to problems, even if he gains the Psyker elite advance. A role defines how a character views the galaxy and his position inside it. Elite advances may take a character along different paths, but they don’t change how he walks upon them.

Success Is Measured in Blood

Thanks, Tim!

The endless threats of the Askellon sector threaten to completely overwhelm the Imperium. Only you and your Acolytes can keep humanity safe for another day. In our next preview, developer Andy Fischer creates his own Acolyte. In the meantime, preorder Dark Heresy Second Edition at your local retailer today!


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