Welcome back to the grim darkness of the 41st millennium in Imperium Maledictum! We got to play a game with our highest tier Patrons and it was a blast! To hear my thoughts on my first read of the book, check out the blog post here. Today’s post is going to cover our thoughts after playing a session. We played about 2 hours of a one-shot I wrote using a campaign setting I’m developing called Aglaxor Station (this will be on the Patreon before long). We had four players, three of which were remote. We played purely ‘theater of the mind’ with Discord for voice and video.
Choose Your Side
One of my favorite parts of Imperium Maledictum (IM) is the use of the nine Factions (Adeptus Administratum, Adeptus Astra Telepathica, Adeptus Mechanicus, Adeptus Ministorum, Astra Militarum, Imperial Fleet, Infractionists, The Inquisition, and Rogue Trader Dynasties). The Factions allow for quick use of Influence to bolster or hinder rolls, as well as inform roleplay based on these interactions. For Aglaxor Station I’m building in connections between the Factions in the form of key players and possible Patrons. For this one-shot, I had six characters made up for the players to choose from- one from each Role. They worked as part of an Infractionist Faction, which is kind of a catch-all for groups that don’t fit into the other eight. In a longer campaign, I would allow the party to choose or create their own Patron using the rules from Chapter 2 of the core book. I sowed some seeds of interaction between the Infractionists and a few other Factions on the Station to get them going and threw the plot hook at them.
Roleplaying- But in Space!
With the characters chosen and Factions established, the party was in for a few rounds of questioning, interrogating, worrying, and hobnobbing. While roleplaying is essentially the same in just about any RPG, my players jumped right in and started following the plot. I didn’t throw a ton of tests at them, as I knew there would be plenty coming up with combat. At one point they did find themselves in a precarious situation and one tried to Intimidate their way out of it. Luckily for them they failed the test opposed by my NPCs Discipline. This was our first instance of looking up rules, as the Skills are a little different than what I’m used to and finding exactly what works best can take a moment. But this is to be expected when learning a new game system (none of the five of us had played IM yet). This showed the new Specialization system for Skills and it really shined here. My player happened to have Advances in Presence (Intimidation). I love the idea of Opposed Rolls, and it worked great here. The failed Intimidation allowed the interaction to not lead to combat! This did shorten up the adventure a little, but I was fine with it.
After some more RP and a few Rapport (Charm) tests, the party got a little stymied by the lack of Tech Skills. This led to the first use of Fate, spending a point to reroll and succeed. I like how the ‘meta currency’ has been reduced to just ‘spending’ or ‘burning’ Fate. If you’re used to WFRP 4th edition, there is no Fortune, Resilience, or Resolve. You can still get nearly all of those effects with Fate though, and it feels much more elegant and streamlined. Getting through these tests led them to the thing most RPG players crave- combat!
Time for Initiative!
Similar to Soulbound, players have a derived Initiative value (Perception Bonus + Agility Bonus) and act in descending order. In our case, there was only one enemy, and using the basic combat rules, was killed after the second attack. I choose to believe that this particular monster from the core book (Chaos Spawn), does not have its Wounds calculated correctly (should be 28, not 14), and allowed each player to act before it died. When it fought back at the bottom of Initiative, it scored a Critical (22) and bit off the Zealot’s toes! The combat was fun, and while this was where we had to look up the most rules and it slowed combat down a little, that’s to be expected the first time. Players were creative and used the rules in unique ways. I love the combination of WFRPs Opposed Rolls here with the movement rules from Soulbound. Not having to track each and every space of movement is freeing and works well with ‘theater of the mind.’ Where we got slowed down a little was double checking weapon Traits and getting used to the new(ish) movement rules.
Unfortunately no one chose the psyker character, they were all to intimidated to learn a new system and then a magic system within it, but I will cover that in more detail in a future blog post.
Otherwise we all had a blast and can’t wait to play more of this system. If you like WFRP, 40K, or roleplaying in general, this is a great game with a ton of potential. As a player of WFRP and Dark Heresy, the spiritual predecessor to IM, I appreciate the clear inspiration along with the simple changes that this game has made compared to those. I am very excited for more IM content, and their announcement on sourcebooks focusing on the nine Factions is a pretty cool way to go about it. Being a 40K game, there is a ton of potential and this core book has just scratched the surface. Highly recommended.
Let me know what else you’d like blog posts on Imperium Maledictum to focus on. Until then, make sure to check out our Patreon at patreon.com/professionalcasual for all kinds of awesome content. Also, if you’re looking for any of the books I’ve mentioned throughout the article, head over to beardeddragongames.online/shop or if you’re in our Discord, tag Anthony with anything you need!
Dan is a founding member of the PCN, GM/host of “A Grim Podcast of Perilous Adventure,” and “Settling the Southlands” as well as a player in The Lost Omens Podcast, and The Slithering. Dan is also a novelist and writer of adventures.