Dark Heresy 2 Shameless (and Possibly Wrong) Powergaming

We’re rebuilding our buffer a little now that we’ve found the time to start actually producing content again, but the effects of the past couple of weeks are still with us in that our buffer is in a scarily damaged state right now. So, we’re going to post some more random stuff from the vault in an effort to rebuild. This is some musing on Dark Heresy 2 power gaming I wrote at about the same time as FFG announced they were giving up the license and wouldn’t be producing anymore DH2 splats. I don’t actually know if it’s good advice at all, since it was originally written spur of the moment and was never really meant to be a guide for other people. Indeed, it doesn’t even provide detailed build advice which means it’s probably only comprehensible to people who know the system well enough that the advice is already obvious. But hey, content is content.

Ace wants to be a Death World Imperial Guard.

The Ace is a hot mess of aptitudes, lacking Fieldcraft (needed for Operate!), Intelligence (needed for Navigate and almost every Tech skill), and the only default aptitude pair is Agility/Finesse, which lends itself well to Stealth but has nothing to do with being an Ace. It does allow for high Agility which is the key characteristic to Operate, but again, no Fieldcraft. Intelligence can be duped with Agility, Perception, or Willpower and +Agility, preferably alongside +Intelligence, except that combination doesn’t exist, so the valid options are Death World (to get Fieldcraft and duping Finesse or Tech to get Intelligence) and Hive World. Death World is Hive World but better in every way (relevant to the Ace). In order to dupe Finesse, Tech, or Fieldcraft in a background to get Intelligence, the Ace needs Mechanicus, Imperial Guard, Imperial Navy, Mutant, Outcast, or Rogue Trader Fleet. Guard provides both Operate and Navigate for Surface, while Navy does the same for Voidships and Mutant generally has an awesome bonus. Outcast and Mechanicus have no relevant skills and their bonuses are terrible or poorly suited to the Ace respectively. Either of the other four are defensible, however.

Assassin wants to be a Frontier World Astra Telepathica.

Assassin’s Sure Kill isn’t as good as Warrior’s Expert at Violence for raw damage, and it’s very rare that you really want single shot over semi- or full-auto. Assassin does have stealthy and perceptive aptitudes going for it, though. In order to get Dodge, Assassin needs Defence, and to get that they need to be Arbites, Astra Telepathica, or Exorcised. None of these have bonuses or skills that combo especially well with the Assassin’s strengths, but Astra Telepathica does at least have Awareness and Weapon Training (Las). Take Ballistic Skill, not Weapon Skill. With Weapon Skill, you need to take Offence to have a double aptitude on your attack characteristic, which means you cannot get Defence and Dodge, but Ballistic Skill needs Finesse, which Assassins get automatically. The Assassin wants either Frontier World or Death World as the home world, depending on whether they want +Ballistic Skill or +Agility more. Hive World has the right characteristics, but Death World is superior in every way. They all grant a duplicate aptitude, so you can take Weapon Skill if you miss having it or one of Fellowship or Willpower to get at least one aptitude with some of the (non-Awareness) skills Astra Telepathica is setting you up with.

Chirurgeon wants to be a Forge World Heretek.

Chirurgeon wants Tech to pair with his high Intelligence, and that means Heretek and Adeptus Mechanicus are the only options. Both are defensible, Adeptus Mechanicus has the better bonus ability but Heretek starts with Medicae. For his home world he needs +Intelligence and a duplicate aptitude so he can take Agility and get Dodge or take Perception and get Awareness. Either way, Forge World provides the duplicate and the +Intelligence stat along with a good bonus, while Research Station and Quarantine World both kind of suck and Voidborn doesn’t do well with zero aptitudes on Willpower.

Crusader wants to be a Feral World Arbites.

Crusaders are melee fighters which means they need Weapon Skill and Defence in order to complete their suite of aptitudes for upping Weapon Skill, Toughness, and a defensive skill (we’ll be using Parry, which is a bit unfortunate, but grabbing Agility for double aptitudes on Dodge means giving up either Weapon Skill or the other half of Dodge, neither of which is acceptable). Defense means they need Arbites, Astra Telepathica, or Exorcised, and of those Arbites comes equipped to fight in melee right out the gate. Exorcised has Dodge for free but Crusader is going to rely on Parry, not Dodge, due to a lack of the Agility, so Arbites is the better choice. Getting Weapon Skill requires either Feudal World or duplication via Agri-World, Daemon World, Feral World, Penal Colony, Research Station, or Shrine World, but Daemon World, Research Station, Daemon World, and Shrine World don’t have great +characteristics. Feudal World’s bonus isn’t great when you already have light carapace, and Feral World not only gives bonuses to two key characteristics, it also lets you turn a warhammer into a fair match for a chainsword.

Desperado wants to be a Hive World Outcast.

Desperado has Dodge, Ballistic Skill, and Stealth lined up from the word go. What they lack is Social and Toughness. Toughness seems weird, but it combines well with Defense. Desperado would want to spring for Security, except he lacks both aptitudes and would have to sacrifice Social to get it. Not worth it when his Fellowship aptitude can get him Charm and Deceive. To get Social, Desperado wants Adepta Sororitas (of all things), Adeptus Administratum, Adeptus Ministorum, Outcast, or Rogue Trader Fleet. Outcast has lots of good skills out the gate but Administratum can double on Influence capabilities by taking Highborn. In terms of home world, duping to Toughness without getting -Toughness, -Ballistic Skill, -Agility, or -Fellowship and getting at least one of +Ballistic Skill, +Agility, or +Fellowship requires Hive World.

Fanatic wants to be a Daemon World Arbites.

Fanatics need Defence for both Toughness and Parry and want Strength to tear things up in melee, so like Crusader they want to be Arbites but for Strength they want either Agri-World or duplication from Daemon World, Feral World, Feudal World, Penal Colony, or Shrine World. Every one of these is a defensible option so we’re defaulting to Daemon World, which has the best Fate and a good bonus.

Hierophant wants to be a Garden World Ministorum.

Hierophants have all their most vital aptitudes automatically, because he mostly cares about Fellowship and Social. He can dupe from Highborn or Garden World (both are defensible, but Shrine World’s bonus is usually less helpful than simply having more Fate points from being Highborn) to get Strength for Intimidate (plus, it combines well with Offence) and can take Ministorum for Leadership to get double aptitudes on Command while also picking up decent gear for his strengths and quite a few good starting skills.

Mystic wants to be a Voidborn Astra Telepathica.

Mystics very definitely want the Psyker aptitude which comes from only one place: Astra Telepathica (or a hella lucky roll for a mutant). +Willpower is a non-negotiable home world feature, and they don’t want -Perception since that’s what powers Psyniscience, so Voidborn and Daemon World are their options. Both have aptitudes that allow them to dupe to Toughness, which they don’t especially want but is nice. Voidborn gives out Strong Minded for free, and no one is better set up to benefit from that than the Astra Telepathica Mystic, but Daemon World gives out an extra rank in Psyniscience that stacks with the rank given by Astra Telepathica. The Psyniscience rank costs 100 XP less than the talent, but Daemon World is 10% more likely to have 4 Fate and has one extra wound. Ultimately, this is decided by the fact that Daemon World is likely to inflict a malignancy from the word go and Voidborn is not.

Penitent wants to be a Feral World Mutant.

Penitents aptitudes are set up for stealth automatically, and they have two justifiable approaches. They can dupe their background aptitude to get both Weapon Skill and Strength or they can sacrifice one of those for a Defence aptitude that will grant both Dodge and Parry. The wide variety of options available to a Penitent makes it hard to optimize. Strength, Weapon Skill, Toughness, and Agility are the key characteristics regardless, which means Feral World is a frontrunner and Feudal World, Death World, Forge World, and Penal Colony are defensible, but Agri-World and Garden World are not. Death World and Forge World are cut out by their misfit aptitudes, but Feral World, Feudal World, and Penal Colony all dupe. Going for a defence approach, the old melee standby of the Feral World Arbites is probably the best. Going all-in on attack, however, opens up Sororitas, Arbites, Imperial Guard, Imperial Navy, Mutant, and Outcast, all of whom can dupe with Penitent aptitudes to provide the second characteristic. Arbites still have great gear, but Mutants have the advantage of mutating often and getting malignancies never, as well as Unnatural Strength. We’ll go with Feral World Mutant just to break up the monotony of the Feral World Arbites amongst melee builds.

Sage wants to be a Quarantine World Astra Telepathica.

Sage wants Mystic and Fieldcraft to help round out their Perception and Willpower, since their Tech and Knowledge already have synergy with their Intelligence. There’s only one place to get Mystic, and that’s Astra Telepathica, and there’s only one place to get Fieldcraft from a home world while also pumping up your Intelligence, and that’s Quarantine World. That was quick and easy.

Seeker wants to be a Hive World Mutant.

Seekers just can’t get everything they want, primarily because they really want Fieldcraft, but then their next best aptitude to grab is Knowledge, which is another non-characteristic aptitude. Knowledge and Fieldcraft are both available from home worlds, but none of them are particularly good home worlds for a Seeker. Getting Willpower for Interrogate and ignoring Knowledge is probably the way to go for them, so using Mutant to get Fieldcraft and free Awareness and then, let’s say, Hive World for Perception that dupes to Ballistic Skill.

Ranged Warrior wants to be a Frontier World Rogue Trader Fleet. Melee Warrior wants to be a Feral World Mutant.

Warriors can go two ways. Take Agility for Dodge and Finesse for Ballistic Skill, or take Toughness for Toughness and still Agility for Dodge. Ballistic Skill Warriors will go for Rogue Trader Fleet, because while the Interaction bonus is as wasted on them as the Heretek’s Tech Use, at least they can use the Fear bonus. To get Agility they need to dupe Strength, Ballistic Skill, or Weapon Skill, and since they’re focusing on Ballistic Skill, the bonus to that provided by Frontier World is decisive. For the melee warrior, Feral World for Toughness aptitude and a Strength/Toughness bonus is hard to beat as always, but the list of dupe-ready backgrounds is as long as your arm. Sororitas, Arbites, Astra Telepathica, Exorcised, Imperial Navy, Mutant. The thing is, only one of these will give you your pick of Unnatural Strength and Unnatural Toughness, so Mutant is the right choice. You will need to get your hands on a suitable melee weapon on your own, though.

2 thoughts on “Dark Heresy 2 Shameless (and Possibly Wrong) Powergaming”

  1. As this guide worked perfectly for me more as an illustration than a powergaming guide (we were beginners, needed some extra help to make decent sheets) have you considered updating this guide?
    I mean, you could do the same with the latest releases from Dark Heresy 2nd, or do the same but for Backgrounds, Worlds, or general concepts or character.
    Thank you for your guidance, we were lost here since never played 40K.


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