Dark Heresy – playtest review

Warhammer 40k, maybe you can describe the setting itself best with one word, as the ultimate Dystopia. 41st millenium and humankind had gained a lot in technology over the time but even more have they forgotten. If you’re not familiar with the setting, I’m sure you find 1001 pages like the wh and wh40k lexicanum. Dark Heresy, published by Fantasy Flight Games is an approach to roleplaying in this dark setting. Now let’s have a look at how our playtest ran:

Initial position

At the very basis we had three players and the dungeon master for the first session and we started off with two of us familiar with the setting and two of us who had not heard a lot more than the sheer existence. As a dungeon master I would recommend strongly that you go through the Dark Heresy rulebook which gives you a very good idea of the world and setting and introduce your players with your version of it. That’s how Tom, our dungeon master, started off into the game yesterday and he did an astounding job that captivated us from the very beginning.

Once you know a bit about inquisition, the various orders, what Space Marines and Inquisitors are for and tend to be like you get very quickly into the game, for the first session this still means you have the hurdle of character generation before you, but fear not – this is quite easy and fast.

Character Generation

For character generation you start off selecting a region where you come from your options ranging from overpopulated hive-worlds to wild and bestial feral worlds, standard imperial worlds to void born. This list is adapted in the DH players handbook with a few more options but for 95% of your games these four should do it as they already give you quite a few options, differentiations and distinctive pros and cons. Continue reading Dark Heresy – playtest review

Dante 01 and Babel (2 movie reviews)

First it started not too bad, when a friend of mine proposed the Midnight Movie at the UCI-Kinowelt in Vienna. Even the description of Dante01, did not read that bad. But in the end – it was not the best science-fiction movie out there…


Everything starts quite promising. We’ve the genuine theme of human experimentation in the “future” or past of a high-tech world. We got a thrilling package of a psycho-prison for inhuman scumbags – and we have a selection of (in my humble opinion) quite good actors in excellent characters.

One of the problems I saw with this film was, it starts thrilling – but reaches no climax – it constantly tries to create a dense atmosphere but does not make good use of this environment. For my part I am not a particular “fan” of the fantasy and religion subset in the movie, but they are both ok.

But then – after all these minutes – still no climax and a quite boring end of the movie. One scene takes roughly a few minutes but shows one and the same S-FX just from different angles – the turning of the inferno into some “earth” or -like planet. It just lacks a proper ending. From my side I would give Dante 01 3.5/10 points for excellent characters, a good cast and a good idea which was unfortunately not taken to its limits.

FInally I found some time this weekend – and I had the pleasure to watch a great movie on DVD –


 Thanks again Mischa, this film was a great experience and I will try to give a short review without too much of a spoiler (like e.g. the Wikipedia entry does).

Babel is the third and last part of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Trilogy of violence, death and the abysmal human character. But it is (again imho) a true masterpiece.

The movie takes four approaches:

  • Two maroccanian brothers, who have to protect goats with a newly bought M70 rifle.
  • A deaf japanese daughter who is trying to stand against her father.
  • A couple on vacation enjoying a bus tour.
  • Two kids attending a mexican marriage.

I admit this is the roughest of summaries without telling too much, but these four angles give a genuine view of violence and these darker sides of everyone’s soul – it pictures stress situations and overall draws not only from the actors’ talents but seemingly lives from the insightful views of everyday lifes turned into chaos within mere seconds / minutes / hours.

Perhaps it was the contrast to Dante01 that made me enjoy this one that much – there was constant variation of the thrill-levels, ranging from calm moods to dense and thrilling action. The ending itself (ok, without telling the amount of happy ends in this – I think there were too many happy ones with only a few not-so-happy ones) – but this again is probably Hollywood. Still the ending was ok and enjoyable.

General conclusion: Babel is great. 8/10 points