News for February 2010
Mastered Skills and Paragon Talents 20
A look at the new character abilities in Ascension
Dark Heresy | Published 03 February 2010

+++Incoming Astropathic Transmission+++

Greetings, Dark Heresy fans!

This week, I would like to talk more about some of the cool stuff you will find within Ascension, the new upcoming sourcebook for Dark Heresy. Specifically, I’d like to talk a bit about Mastered Skills and Paragon Talents.

During the development of Ascension, one of the first things we did is create some Rank 8 Dark Heresy characters to get an idea of where most characters would be coming from as they begin their journey towards heeding the higher call. It quickly became apparent that the character sheet was quite full already, and we knew that in Ascension, we needed to address that issue while still bringing something new to the table. That’s where the idea for Mastered Skills and Paragon Talents came in...

“Knowledge is power: power beyond that of guns, or swords or thronging armies. It is power because in a realm of ignorance those with knowledge are lords of all.”
–Corwanius Tare

The purpose of Mastered Skills and Paragon Talents is to give ascended characters abilities that reflect the status and position they have achieved. These abilities are deliberately powerful and approximate the qualities of many lesser abilities that can be acquired separately. They are the abilities of true lords and masters of the Imperium in their chosen paths. They are also intended to reduce the number of entries on a character sheet and remembered or referenced by a player. It is intended that ascended characters have fewer, more powerful abilities, with a greater scope of application than characters created from the Dark Heresy rulebook and other Dark Heresy supplements.

Mastered skills represent a character’s mastery over a broad area of endeavour which contains a number of individual skills. Mastered skills replace a number of individual skills, or skills with a number of skill groups with a single Mastered Skill. This grants the character a bonus to all of the skills that is replaces. Mastered skills can also be used in conjunction with a number of characteristics depending on the type of skill test being taken. Mastered Skills also allow for the possibility of a character having a particular speciality within a Mastered Skill.

For example, a character may have had the Acrobatics, Climb, Contortionist, Dodge, and Swim Skills, all at different degrees. When he purchases Athletic Mastery, however, he would remove all of these individual skills from his character sheet and simply use the bonus granted by Athletic Mastery to all of the skill tests that would have been covered by the individual skills.

Paragon Talents work in much the same way as Mastered Skills, replacing a number of related Talents and usually grant a further benefit in addition.

The following is an example of one of the Mastered Skills found in Ascension:

Decadent Mastery
Replaces: Carouse, Gamble, Performer (all skill Groups),
Decadent mastery is the fruit of a life spent in epicurean indulgence and reflects expertise in imbibing all forms of intoxicants, gambling, and revelling with abandon.

Ascension Wallpaper #2
As a special bonus, this week you can find the second of four special Ascension wallpapers on the Dark Heresy support page! Enjoy!

Dark Heresy is a roleplaying game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, a setting in the grim darkness of the far future. Players take on the roles of Acolytes serving the Inquisition, rooting out heresy and corruption from within the galaxy-spanning Imperium of Man.


Write Comments     
More News [+]
Comments (20)

Published: 2/4/2010 1:15:38 AM

"Paragon Talents in the weapons department" sounds to me exactly like the "Weapon Training (Universal)" from RT. But besides this and the "Hatred" talent, I cannot see where they want to "round up" other talents into one thing.

What makes me afraid is the "It is intended that ascended characters have fewer, more powerful abilities, with a greater scope of application than characters created from the Dark Heresy rulebook ". It sounds like someone has to build his Ascended pc "from scratch". I hope there is some form of "transfer". 

Published: 2/3/2010 11:08:45 PM

Really looking forward to this book!

Published: 2/3/2010 10:57:29 PM

I have to agree with Hobo. Well I dont HAVE to AGREE with him, but I DO AGREE. They are not really reducing the number of skills, but the number of entries on the sheet. I would rather just have an advanced character sheet that has all the skills already listed on it (a la Rogue Trader) as well as the more common BASIC talents with room left to enter the rarer, less common, more advanced talents to be listed on it.

Overall when I first heard Mastered Skills I was hoping it was going to be Skill +30, Skill +40 and so forth which would save some skill bloat (I have had many players state they would gladly spend 200,300, 500 XP for such ELITE ADVANCES).

And I kind of figured Paragon Talents was going to be along the lines of Weapon Training (Universal) in Rogue Training.

I think making Weapon Training Talents into Weapon Training Skills (and therefore a +10, +20 variation for them) would have solved some of the skill bloat as well. Not to mention a fifth characteristic advance (for +25).

Its a strange system where at low levels you feel your character just doenst have enough and yet at higher levels you feel he has too much to deal with as far as skills and talents go.

The Hobo Hunter
Published: 2/3/2010 10:30:57 PM

Unless Ascension significantly redesigns the layout of DH character sheets, or this mastery extends to a LOT of advanced skills, wouldn't this in fact not cut down on the level of skills present? Because form what we know of DH character sheets to begin with, the example given (Decadent Mastery) looks like it would not replace the list of 'prewritten' basic skills present, only the player's need to record them.


Similarly, while in theory these advanced (paragon?) talents should replace extensive lists and notekeeping (for example, Bladedancer I think was the title given in the d6 generation podcast), the cynic in me (maybe I just have terrible players or something) is already foresseing someone taking Bladedance (again, for example), and then either flicking through the rulebook constantly in the middle of combat to see what they can actually do (wasting time, essentially), or noting down on their character sheets what talents it replaces (in addition to the extras it supposedly provides), thus nullifying any advantage gained from said 'replacement'.


Just a thought from a somewhat cynical GM on the point of mechanics. Still eagerly awaiting the hordes of background and other such goodness.

Published: 2/3/2010 6:51:01 PM

My player's and my own biggest complaint with the rule system of DH came a bit late in our game when my poor player's character sheets were filled to the brim with all forms of little things. The player of my groups 8th rank adept has a cheat sheet for her appended additional sheet and she still discovers little things she forgot she had long after it would have been helpful. The system has way too many little niggly and specific things and I'm glad that's finally being addressed, right about the time i was about to just say 'screw it" and migrate to a simpler rule system that wasn't as concerned with a hundred little things and keeping track of each and every one of them.


Thank you! i do hope that this is a sign that future work will be made to further simplify the system.

Although, truth be told, I never thought the skills were tied to one specific characteristic (especially in reading the description on Intimidate which lists the various characteristics that could use it depending on circumstance). I just thought that was their "default' setting or recommended characteristic but circumstances could change it. Seems silly you need a supper skill category to tell you that...


Published: 2/3/2010 5:10:11 PM

 Yes! Fewer Broader skills! 

for 2nd ed DH, just have these, I don't need 400 different kinds of skills.

Published: 2/3/2010 4:17:13 PM

Does this imply a +20% in all the associated skills? If not are they really mastered?

Published: 2/3/2010 3:45:26 PM


© 2014 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Fantasy Flight Games and the FFG logo are ® of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact | User Support | Rules Questions | Help | RSS