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The RPS Advent Calendar 2023, December tenth

by Jerry
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A space battle in Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader, with one spaceship performing a lightning attack on another.

Doors for the door God! Calendars for the calendar throne!

Ready to take to the celebs within the title of the God-Emperor? It’s the primary fully-fledged Warhammer CRPG – Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader.

A space battle in Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader, with one spaceship performing a lightning attack on another.
Image credit score: Owlcat

Jeremy: When my spouse and I made the choice to maneuver to the UK earlier this 12 months, we each started trying ahead to spending extra time with household, seeing the sights round London, and in my case…lastly stepping into Warhammer. (For these , I put Warhammer on my record of “nice British tradition to devour,” proper alongside Judge Dredd and Red Dwarf.)

Don’t get me unsuitable – I’ve all the time recognized bits and items concerning Warhammer, since I dabble closely within the tabletop RPG house and wargaming is just a few steps down the corridor. But whereas I’ve obtained PDFs of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and Wrath & Glory on my pc, I’ve by no means run them. Nor have I had the possibility to completely embrace the fanaticism that comes with portray a bunch of overpriced house marines or delving into the billions of Black Library books that appear to encapsulate each style underneath the solar. Honestly, if we’re to interrupt issues down even additional, I’m extra drawn to The Old World and all of its mohawk dwarves as a substitute of the solarscapes of house facism that you just get with 40k. But there is no denying that for higher or for worse, Warhammer’s futuristic variant is clearly the extra fashionable facet of Games Workshop’s plastic crack empire – and typically all it takes to change one’s biases is an effective CRPG.

Owlcat’s Rogue Trader does simply that. I’m nonetheless within the early hours, because the closing model of the sport simply turned playable just a few days in the past and I by no means had time to the touch the beta. But as Edwin stated in our impressed review-in-progress, that is an RPG that feels genuinely epic, from the choral echoes accompanying its title display to the truth that all of my noble’s talents revolve round buffing, ordering, and infrequently sacrificing all the different meat shields on the battlefield that solely exist to maintain her out of hurt’s approach. (It’s all the time simple to decide on your origin in a sport like this when your expertise boast stellar names like “You. Serve. Me.”)

Rogue Trader – which technically bears the subtitle of the very first version of the 40k wargame – additionally serves as an ideal crashcourse in all the nuances of a galaxy dominated by grimdark, and though trendy Warhammer’s moved removed from the Thatcher-era satire that birthed it, there’s nonetheless one thing innately amusing to me a few setting the place everybody’s obsessive about colonising within the title of the Imperium. And I do love how rolling up your character exposes you to an alignment chart divided up into the elegant extremes of “DOGMATIC,” “HERETICAL,” and “ICONOCLAST.”

The character creation screen from Owlcat's CRPG Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader

A battle in Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader, set in a green-lit metallic interior.

Lead a squad in service of the Imperium of Man, get free holidays to colonise far-off worlds and beat the crud out of their inhabitants! It’s a life. | Image credit score: Owlcat

I’d additionally like to notice that Owlcat retains getting higher with each gargantuan 150 hour CRPG that they push out. I performed Pathfinder: Kingmaker for a surprising two years on and off (even supposing the sport was buggy as heck and clearly designed by min/maxers), and I’m nonetheless enjoying Pathfinder: Wrath Of The Righteous, which cleaned Owlcat’s penchant for jankiness up considerably. The degree of polish current in Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader continues this ascent to the highest, and whereas I’m nonetheless too low degree to find out if Owlcat’s love for min/maxing has continued with a brand new system, on the very least the quantity of game-breaking fight loops right here is lower than what got here earlier than. Speaking of fight, it is a pleasure to lastly expertise a real turn-based system in an Owlcat sport. The Kingmaker mod that turned an precise turn-based mode in Wrath of the Righteous was wonderful, however these video games had been stuffed with trash mobs and clearly not designed for tabletop fight. Rogue Trader is, and the fight is sweet – thanks very a lot, God-Emperor!

I’ve by no means performed the 2009 Rogue Trader tabletop RPG that powers Owlcat’s sport, and it is extra doubtless that I’ll lastly crack open these Wrath & Glory PDFs earlier than I do. But simply as Kingmaker gave me the possibility to actually get down and soiled with the Pathfinder 1e ruleset, Rogue Trader delivers with the enjoyment of indoctrinating me not solely in an out-of-print tabletop system by Fantasy Flight, however to the Warhammer universe basically. I stay up for enjoying extra and seeing how far into heresy my character falls. Oh, and if I understand how my thoughts works, there is a excessive likelihood that I’ll be portray my very own legions of house marines come the brand new 12 months. Hurrah for embracing excessive tradition.

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