Some months ago I joined an advanced (in term of career) W40K/Dark Heresy campaign with an Arbitrator, the master is good and the players are funny and prepared. But honestly I'm not sure how an Arbitrator could 'work' not just in our campaign, but in any W40K campaign.

I mean, how often it happens that you have to kill without the possibility to concede a regular process? How often do you stumble around xeno technology and knowledge you shouldn't possess? How often are you out of your jurisdiction and can't act? From what I understand, I should have executed me and my party (which has a psionic, and I know it) so many times I couldn't count them.

I'm sure I miss something, but still the feasibility of an Arbitrator in an adventurer's group, to me, seems pretty low. Tech-priests with their mechanical arms? Sure. Assassins with big rifles? Obviously. Guardsmen full of rockets and grenades? They can't miss in a group. But Arbitrators, I don't know.

They don't have many social abilities, they are not good with weapons... Personally my character has 49 intelligence, maxed. With good skills, the ones with +20, I can arrive to 69, but they are not many, and so I often fail my checks. This isn't right for a pc with around 10000 xp, it mustn't be, he must have a strength, somewhere.

So I don't know if I'm missing something, but honestly I think something isn't right here. Any help for this Arbitrator is accepted.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What is the question? \$\endgroup\$ – Flamma Feb 20 '13 at 16:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Flamma presumably "Does the Arbitrator just suck, or is there something that I'm missing here?" \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Feb 20 '13 at 16:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ But I don't know if the problem is that arbitrators don't do well with the group dynamic of acolytes, or simply that the career is not strong enough. \$\endgroup\$ – Flamma Feb 20 '13 at 16:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ There are actually two questions: "How to manage roleplaying an Arbitrator in a typical adventuring group?", and "How to improve an Arbitrator character?". I feel the roleplay part should be moved to a different question or even removed (there may be similar questions around). \$\endgroup\$ – Cristol.GdM Feb 20 '13 at 16:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the answers. I am trying not to asking an "Arbitrator for dummies", it would be too long, but just if you had the same experience. To me it seems that an arbitrator couldn't "live" in this setting as a player character. Or this, or I got the arbitrator wrong, which could very well be. In practice during our sessions I do extremely little, for the most I "enjoy the ride" and nothing else. \$\endgroup\$ – lunadir Feb 20 '13 at 17:36

I will focus mostly on the system part, as the roleplay part might end up in a different question or be better answered by somebody else.

You are not a Specialist

The problem you have here is that you are playing a Jack-of-all-Trades. So he will always look bad if you compare him to specialist characters.

Sure, you do less damage than characters focused on damage, like Assassins or Guardsman. You are less social than a Cleric. You know less stuff than an Adept.

BUT. You do more damage than a Cleric or an Adept. You are more social than an Assassin or a Guardsman or an Adept. You know more stuff than an Assassin or a Guardsman (and maybe a Cleric, not sure about that one).

Basically, where everyone is "Good" in one thing and "Kinda Bad" in the rest, you are simply "Kinda Good" at everything (the "Bard Syndrome").

Don't Play Like a Specialist

If you try to find "the one good thing you are good at" and do only that, you are going to have a bad time.

The one thing you are good at is versatility: use it!

Get vibroblades and bolt pistols. Get flame weapons. Get dual-weapon talents to boost a bit more versatility (twice the same weapon? two different range weapons? a melee and a range weapon?). Get Quick Draw, to switch between modes faster.

Use it during Combat to keep everyone busy. No one is safe: you can charge a guy, or shoot another, or burn a third one, or potentially shoot and burn two different guys, or even the same guy. Try to always have the correct tool for the enemy at hand.

Get good quality, as you potentially depend more on your equipment than other Careers.

Get Sound Consitution as often as possible, you will need it.

You might want to take Drive, focusing on repulsors, and use a Vehicle in combat. But I have not applied this one myself so I'm not sure how it would work, and there are plenty of situations where it might not apply. But when it does..

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the answer. I have a little role in the combat, I 'trained' in throwing grenades (because noone else did and they matter), and just some sessions ago I bought a pistol (don't remember the name now, a Lucifer? it's a rare pistol, one the first in the list, maybe on rogue trader). I still have to see of it goes. I have a good armor (6 point), but never took sound constitution, and in fact I'm pretty low on life. I'll think about it, but exchanging something for it could shed some tears. Driving/vehicle combat is done by other players. We thought about flamers, but as of now it's a no. \$\endgroup\$ – lunadir Feb 20 '13 at 16:37

Remember that you're working for the Inquisition

First off we need to address a couple of things in your question regarding the fiction of the world. Keep in mind for the following that basically anything an Inquisitor says is law (which is a broad generalization, but helps for our purposes)

How often are you out of your jurisdiction and can't act? From what I undestand, I should have executed me and my party (which has a psionic, and I know it) so many times I couldn't count them.

To address the Psyker point first. Pskyers in the service of an Inquisitor are most often sanctioned by the Empire, so as a law-enforcer, you don't need to worry about them since they are not doing anything wrong. Even if they are unsanctioned, the Inquisitor can tell you that the Psyker is fine, and to leave them alone.

For your Jurisdiction, you are working for an Inquisitor. If something isn't in your jurisdiction, you make it part of your jurisdiction. This might be complicated by the fact that you might be on a mission where you aren't supposed to reveal you are working for the inquisition, and that you have no way to prove that you're working for them. Nevertheless, you have been given a mission by the Inquisition, and it's your job to carry it out.

Skill Checks

They don't have many social abilities, they are not good with weapons... Personally my character has 49 intelligence, maxed. With good skills, the ones with +20, I can arrive to 69, but they are not many, and so I often fail my checks.

Couple of things that could be going on here. There are several difficulties of checks, from -30 to +30, and I'd guess your GM is giving you many +0 (Difficult) skill checks. The GM might need to switch that up a bit.

Also, if you aren't getting an opportunity to use your skills, talk it over with the GM, but you probably have a high Inquiry or Scrutiny check, so you're good at sniffing out information, so use that to help the group get to what they need to kill/recover/etc.

Combat skills seem to hit more often because you can get a whole lot of bonuses to hit, especially with firerams: +30 Point blank range, +10 Aim, +10 Hulking Creature (etc).

Also keep in mind, you are Acolytes and Acolytes even at higher skill levels are kinda putzy. Now, if you're running an Ascension game, that changes with the Ascension career path, where you can get Assassins that can dodge the universe imploding.

General Advise

You should have at least one decent combat Talent, even if it is just Basic Weapon Training (SP), and use your skills to their best advantage.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What an Inquisitor says is law, what we say is not. I have my badge, the others just last session got one, but essentially we had to lie a lot of times to be respected. We don't have a proper psyker, what we have is an assassin which acquired psionics as a means to save her life. Obviously she is not sanctioned, and if I remember well our Inquisitor doesn't know it. Jurisdiction: we can put it this way: we make it? Good. We die? He gets another squad. Inquiry/scrutiny: I don't remember in my language, I'll check it. Ascension: seeing where we are, it's probably our next step. WT: heh, maybe. \$\endgroup\$ – lunadir Feb 20 '13 at 17:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @lunadir - While that's true, often the threat of the Inquisition is enough to coerce most people into compliance. For the psyker, okay, then your character might decide that it should be brought up to the Inquisitor. If not, that's fine too, you're just ignoring part of the Codex Arbites, which happens all the time. You are indeed expendable tools, but you are still tools of the Inquisition, just because the Inquisition won't save you doesn't mean you shouldn't be acting on its behalf. \$\endgroup\$ – Cthos Feb 20 '13 at 17:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ The fact is we are often put in big quests. The threat of Inquisition could sound big to a citizen, to low cults, but rogue traders and other inquisitors could care less. Big quests often means "go see what happens and if there is danger call the big guys", so our master is trying to take it creatively. Our inquisitor in the end cares a bit about us, he even lied to hide us, feigning our death. But we haven't his powers, and we don't contact him often, so we are alone. I know arbiters sometimes ignore part of the codex, but I feel I should bring a reason in the roleplaying for that. \$\endgroup\$ – lunadir Feb 20 '13 at 17:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @lunadir And there is a reason. Inquisitors and acolytes break the rules all the time. If a radical character can summon demons for a greater purpose, wouldn't an arbitrator ignore the part of the codex that allow his group to succeed against the heresy? Don't serve the law, make the law serve you. \$\endgroup\$ – Flamma Feb 21 '13 at 9:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is for sure... But there would be no conflict: the psyker is useful, very important in the group, and with a long and solid background. It couldn't be anything else but a pretext handing her over to the justice. So it would simply (and effectively) kill me fast. As of now, anyway, the other members trust my character that he has accepted the psyker. \$\endgroup\$ – lunadir Feb 21 '13 at 14:18

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