40K RPG: Wrath and Glory Core Rules Spotted

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Seen in a designer diary released from Ulisses, check out the Core Mechanics from the 40K RPG.

Wrath and Glory is the upcoming 40K RPG from Ulisses, poised to send players across the Dark Imperium. Developer Ross Watson has been working closely with the 40K lore team to really flesh out the galaxy as they develop this “Broad and Inclusive(tm)” system that should allow for a range of characters from Rogue Traders to an Inquisitor’s retinue and even Orks and Eldar.

That’s the preamble to today’s Designer Diary, as seen on DakkaDakka, which gives us a look at the core mechanics for the upcoming games. Find out about why Wrath and Glory are poignant to the dice.

via Ulisses

Designer Diary

Greetings, Wrath & Glory fans! I’m very pleased to talk about one of the main features of our game: the dice system. When I first began work on the design for Wrath & Glory, I knew that I wanted something that would work well for an Imperial Guardsman facing down a Genstealer Cultist, and at the same time provide a framework for the Rogue Trader performing a delicate negotiation with an Eldar Farseer. I wanted a system that would be easy to learn and provide a good amount of depth without plunging into a well of complexity.

You may have seen some of the videos or heard some of the interviews where I’ve spoken about Wrath & Glory as a “d6 dice pool system.” And that is exactly what it is, inspired by some great examples of other systems from the past that I’ve enjoyed, by other elements of modern game design, and by my own tweaks and innovations.

The basics: to accomplish most tasks in Wrath & Glory, you assemble a dice pool of d6s (commonly adding an attribute and the appropriate skill) and make a roll. Any dice with a result of 1-3 are considered “failures,” any dice with a result of 4-5 count as one success (an “icon”) and dice with a result of 6 count as two successes (an “exalted icon”). You count up the icons you achieved on the roll and compare it to the test’s DN, or Difficulty Number, to determine if you passed or failed the test.

In this image, you can see that I rolled four failures, three icons, and one exalted icon. That’s a total of 5 icons (2 for the exalted icon from the dice result of 6, plus one each for the dice that made a result of 4 or 5). A standard test in Wrath & Glory has a DN of 3, so this roll would be a success for most rolls.

Remember that a result of a 6 is special – this is called an exalted icon, and counts for two regular icons. In Wrath & Glory, you can also “shift” your exalted icons (the dice that roll a 6) from the initial test to enhance the effect. You can gain more information, improve the quality of your success, or even speed up the time required to achieve the goal for which you rolled the test in the first place. Shifting dice from an attack roll grants you more dice for damage.

The Wrath Dice

For all of these images, you’ll note that one of the dice is a different colour. In Wrath & Glory, all tests include one dice that is somewhat special: this is called the Wrath dice. The Wrath dice is rolled just like a regular d6 in your dice pool, but the Wrath dice has special effects that occur if it rolls a result of a 1 or a 6. For these rolls, I used a red-coloured d6 to represent the Wrath Dice.

In this image, the Wrath dice has rolled a 1. This is known as a “complication,” and it means that something has happened during the test (regardless of whether the test succeeds or fails!) that creates a negative situation in the player character’s current scene. If this was a Persuasion test to impress an Imperial Governor, for example, the complication might mean that while your character made a good impression overall, the Governor’s most trusted aide harbours a grudge against outsiders. Complications are not meant to be punitive, but rather to create an interesting plot point.

In this next image, the Wrath dice has rolled a 6. Like other results of 6, this counts as an exalted icon and provides two icons towards the success of the test. Also like other results of 6, this exalted icon may be shifted to enhance the effects of the test. However, a Wrath dice result of 6 (again, independent of the test’s success or failure) is also a moment where the player characters shine, either in victory or defeat, and the group gains a point of a resource called Glory – which is something we will discuss at another time.

We’ll keep you informed with more wrath and glory news as it comes.  For now, what do you think?

  • Ronin

    I like the concept of the wrath/glory dice measuring the crit fail/success. I might port that over for DnD and make players designate a D20 on a multi-roll to measure crits. Seems silly that a seasoned veteran with multiattack has a higher chance of crit failing.

  • Karl Horvath

    It reminds me of the Old Star Wars RPG d6 system with the complication dice and stats/skills = # dice, It’s a fun system to play. Makes me more excited about this.

  • Commissar Molotov

    Ah, geez. Just lemme roll a d20 and be done with it.

    • ZeeLobby

      Shhh. D20s will scare away the chitlins!

      • Commissar Molotov

        “Hey, guys – I’ve got this great new dice-sorting game! You’re gonna LOVE it!”

        • YetAnotherFacelessMan

          Or you could dispense with the dice entirely and just RP. Or you could use a d100. Or whatever works for you and your group.

    • In my experience the d6 systems are friendlier to manage, and lean closer to favoring the average results. d20 systems feel very swingy due to the large variance in results, and outside of the Cypher system tend to get bogged down with all the situational modifiers that every player has to keep track of(+1 for this, +2 for that, -1 for this, +1 for this other thing, etc.).

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      A pool of d6s will have more granulation than a d20.

      A d20 will have 20 gradients.

      A pool of 7 d6s will have 3 possible results (fail, success, good success). 7×3=21. Then add in the Wrath die which has 3 gradients (bad, nothing, good). 21×3=63 different gradients.

  • Mr.psyker

    Can not wait for this!

  • The14th

    The wrath dice is similar to triumph and despair from FFG’s Edge of the Empire.

    • Nonot Gonnapey

      Should have just licensed that system if you’re going to emulate it. FFG is releasing a universal version of it soon.

      • The14th

        In FFG’s case, they got burned bad by previous GW management when they made their 40k rpg. So even if they wanted the EotE system, it’s doubtful anybody would have answered their phone call.

      • Nathan Dowdell

        Just looking at the description above, it’s not actually all that similar to anything from FFG’s Star Wars games, or Genesys (the generic version), and it’s not all that unique an idea in RPGs (I’ve encountered more than a few RPGs that include a “yes, and/yes, but/no, and/no, but” element in their results, rather than being pure pass/fail).

        And, well, licensing a system costs money, just like licensing a setting, and has legal entanglements.

  • HeadHunter

    There’s a part of my brain that’s telling me that with a fixed system like this, rolling more dice may actually increase the number of failures without equivalent opportunities for success… but I may be wrong. Anyone good with mathhammer?

    • YetAnotherFacelessMan

      The goal seems to be to get a number of successes equal to a threshold set by the GM. As such, any dice could only be positives. However, even if failures counted against successes, the net would be on the player’s side, since the article says rolls of 6 count as two successes.

  • Rass

    Yea….if they could develop and release all the codices first, that’d be great….

    • Nonot Gonnapey

      Or, maybe this is a different company working on the RPG which has ZERO to do with the tabletop game.

      • Rasheed Jones

        Indeed it is, not sure if you were asking this as a questuin or just declaring it was, not trying to condescend here.

  • Jack Jomar

    Why does this remind me of the Inquisitor Actions system, albeit slightly modified?