A group of listeners recorded a Deathwatch session and sent it to me for a listen. I was immediately hooked. It has the same mechanics as Rogue Trader, which I already love, but has a significantly different feel. It’s not better or worse, just different in an awesome way. Now I need to check out Dark Heresy.
Ok, you didn’t read this to hear about Warhammer 40K games in general. I decided to take a look at the Deathwatch GM Screen/Kit because I plan on running a Play-by-Post game and need some guidance. First, the artwork is gorgeous if you have the physical screen or print it out. More importantly, almost every table you need is provided in a nice reference. That shouldn’t shock anyone since that’s its purpose. They succeeded in putting together a nice resource though.
For those of you who like PDFs though, the screen is a nice reference, but the GM booklet maybe an even bigger draw. It includes a very nice adventure to get you into the game. Not only does it give you enough background to make you comfortable leading your players through, it also provides a list of NPCs with plot hooks and possible interactions, all the enemy stats or quick references to the Deathwatch Core Rulebook (also available on DriveThruRPG), and even additional guidance on building your own missions. Obviously, the adventure looks fun with plenty of Xenos to smite and strange technologies to investigate. It is also chalk full of flavor text, detailed descriptions of the environment, and speeches by NPCs.
I think the addition of mission and campaign building tips is great icing on the cake. It lays out the building blocks for a good mission with examples and describes how you can mix and match these blocks to give players a diverse experience while maintaining the mood/atmosphere you are looking for. For military based games, this diversity is critical as it is easy to fall into the “go here, kill that” mentality.
This is a great resource for GMs that want a quick reference to all the tables necessary to adjudicate the slaughter of homicidal Xenos hordes and for those looking for a new adventure to run with suggestions for how you can change up your own campaigns so that your players keep coming back for more. Fantasy Flight is quickly becoming one of my favorite publishers.