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Advanced Dark Heresy 2.5 Published



Dark Heresy is set into an appealing world of grim future. The original mechanics however become unsatisfying very soon as the combat, investigation, items, psychic powers and careers do not answer to those expectations the lore of the Warhammer 40,000 sets around them.
This very comprehensive package includes carefully planned and play tested system that allows far more interesting and challenging approach to this game and the characters.

Link to the ADH 2.5 package at my Google drive
Alternative Download of ADH 2.5 from OneDrive


As it seems to be an easy mistake to make, I'd like to point out that despite the version number being 2.5, this system is not based on Dark Heresy 2nd edition except for some concepts being adapted also from that system. Instead, this system in whole is purely build from base of 1st edition of Dark Heresy and the first version of Advanced Dark Heresy was available even before the 2nd edition ever came out and now this Advanced Dark Heresy 2.5 has been developed through several versions but now refined to the most polished version since its introduction.
The changes made to the original systems make Advanced Dark Heresy some sort of a hybrid between 1st and 2nd editions, but it is definitely mostly like 1st edition. Despite these definitions of the origins also many other RPG systems have had influence in the development, but moreover there’s way more things designed from scratch that there’s copied so this system is most likely usable easily for players of either Dark Heresy original edition.
This document of rewritten rules has quite comprehensive collection of all needed rules and likely the Core Rulebook of 1st edition Dark Heresy is enough to give base to describe GM on how to conduct things with these rules.

Main features in this package

•   Redesigned combat with all weapons, items and armour converted to this system too. Those familiar with the previous editions likely find also a nice efficiency in this newer setup as the damage models have been refined and multiple attacks made easier to resolve etc. while giving the combat several new aspects without sacrificing speed or increasing complexity.
•   Redesigned use of psychic powers and complete lists of all psychic powers converted to these mechanics. Main differences to previous versions include new types of effect like synergies with other powers and overloading powers etc. while many powers have been rewritten to give them more purpose and depth. When compared to original Dark Heresy, there’s new discipline Cryomancy available too.
•   Rewritten talents, traits and skills to make the character's far more able and interesting. When compared to previous editions these have bee refined to the new rework of the ruleset while many have been redesigned to give them more purpose. While we have also added some.
•   Redesigned character sheets that feature far more interesting way to record your character. These sheets have now also more comprehensive touch to all of the aspects of character path.
•   Added depth to characters via introduction of Perks while also made the characters feel more growing into being an integral part of the Inquisition by adding secondary Inquisitiorial career path to follow along the normal career path.
•   Added more roleplay integration to the characters by giving motivations, aspirations, ambitions etc. some more significant interaction to rules with Fate split to Resolve, Fate and Resilience while also introducing several roleplay rewards to Inquisitorial Career path and adding roleplay definitions to the Cabals and Acolyte Cells.
•   Added different record sheets to use cabals and acolyte cells, while also introduced ways to design all of them and them integrate them to the gameplay.
•   Rewritten scum career and assassin career. To Those familiar with previous versions the Assassin career is still new.
•   Mechanics to character Influence and Renown while also now making many interactions more smoother with introduced way of using disposition to handle NPC behaviour.
•   Critical effects system and other damage models.
•   Nice and easy to use vehicle system


In the following chapters I will describe the features of the Advanced Dark Heresy 2.5 by introducing the changes that were made to the original system. These changes have received inspirations also from the Second Edition of the Dark Heresy and this package is easily usable with the Dark Heresy second edition.

New damage model

The core for this whole transformation is the new way of handling how the characters suffer the damage and this has been now refined even more since the previous editions. The basics are still there, roll damage and reduce it by the AP of the armour and by Toughness Bonus then reduce wounds. However modified version of the Unnatural Characteristics has altered already many things. In addition to this each armour has bunch of different qualities that makes them far more than just wearing some AP. This is further enriched with Critical Hit system that allows powerful hits to cause critical damage even though the character still has wounds left. More appeal and enchantment come from enhanced rewritten talents that more often modify combat results in interesting ways while different weapon qualities give the weapons much more feeling of wielding something special. The grand finale for the damage model comes from the rewritten and very detailed critical effects tables that allow the full fruition of the new critical damage system.

More interesting combat

All the combat actions were redesigned to allow far more careful planning and tougher choices for combat. The prior versions were leaving some place for improvement and the new ways now use stances to describe the actions on top of the actions itself while allowing also the combat to grow with new Advantage system.
This is further supported by complete list of rewritten weapons that supports all the new possibilities and makes the whole list of weapons far more interesting since there are lots more to think than just damage and penetration. This is of course supported by the damage model and newly made list of armours which together allow very nice sessions with tactical and detailed combat. The most important thing is that the new system that is introduced in ADH 2.5 is at base level still very simple to learn and master. Therefore, the combat has remained fast and easy to control though few more calculations is necessary to find out these new outcomes.

Fumbling and fluid interpretation of success

The original system of DH was mostly set to use test outcomes split to success or failure. With some enhancement from the amount of degrees to success or failure. To make the outcomes more realistic, life-like and moreover easier to play with, this system introduces to model where success gradually transforms into partial failure and then to full failure allowing the character usually achieve something if not all.
To add some epic moments, also Fubles were introduced to provide combat some bad events while also giving the narrative time also some more depth to those not-so-glorious outcomes.

Flavoured talents and skills

Skills are given far more smother ways of use where partial successes do exist. Also, many talents and traits give far more character to those using them.

More interesting items

As part of this redesign many of the different items and upgrades were given more functions and more details to make their use more flavoured and rewarding.

Nicer way of using psychic powers

The psychic powers were originally sometimes even painfully annoying to use due to the high amount of rolling needed. Here most of the new structure and system is based upon the system that was introduced in Rogue Trader, Only War and later in Dark Heresy second edition. These systems had their quirks and flaws too, but with the small adjustments and of course the new damage model the powers are now more satisfying to use. On top of those many powers have now been added with synergies that transform their use when a character has certain other powers and many powers also feature more complex overbleeds and even overload versions that can on purpose or by accident change things even more.
Every power from the original Dark Heresy and some additional ones that were introduces later are written into this new system that simplifies the use into a very fast and fun to use version. That basis is now in the idea where every power has its psy rating requirement and the psyker commits the chosen amount from his own psy rating to focus the power. Basically there are first some calculations to see the total modifier and then the focus power test is made as a simple invocation test that reveals the amount of overbleed and such by degrees of success.
As an additional flavour a large collection of sorcery arcana was rewritten to this system too and the psyker characters have dark path always available.
Very unique version of Cryomancy discipline is introduced focusing on the manipulation of temperature, natural conditions, extreme cold and such. Ascension powers have also been redesigned to allow more rewarding from those high ranks.
The redesigned Psychic Phenomena and Perils of the Warp tales also add some nice touches to failures with psychic powers which is further enhanced with concepts of being able to push your Psy Rating limits while also being able to choose to forfeit some power by focusing to use the powers with fettered Psy Rating to allow better control.

Influence and Renown

Since the player characters are in a service of the inquisition and tend to do deeds that earns them surely some influence over time there is now a simple interpretation of this added. Influence grows at very slow pace but eventually the characters are able to leave some simple requests to be dealt with Influence test. Also as the deeds the characters often do are quite likely spread all over the galaxy when given some time and this system of character renown also introduced. This allows characters to lean on their reputation or makes the infiltration more interesting when even random people start to recognise the acolytes.

Depth to NPCs through Disposition

While it was always up to the GM to play out roles of NPCs, this was not always easy to determine and conduct when characters went to perform many types of activities and tried to influence the NPCs with kill checks and so. With the Advanced Dark Heresy GM has Disposition as an easy-to-use tool for quickly determining how NPCs will conduct their actions and behaviour. It also allows a model to have the relationship develop to worse or friendly with some easy rolls.

Redesigned character sheets

Original character sheet were quite terrible and especially characters who manage to survive or start at higher levels were nuisance to their player as there was quite small amount of space for anything. Also recording a career path seemed quite hard, not to mention those characters who like to hoard all kinds of stuff. Newly designed character sheets allow enough room for all kinds of characters and offer space to record all those special features that are introduced in
Every character sheet has a common part that allows recording everything except the character's career. Then there is an add-on sheet for each basic career that features nice way of recording experience by checking boxes along the characters career tree. Also these feature all the modifications that were later made available to the basic careers.

Redesigned Scum career

Scum was originally left without his criminal side unless the player decided to do some occasional criminal acts. Now the career of a scum is filled with nice flavoured and detailed criminal activity that will quite likely get him and his friends into very difficult situations and maybe even sentenced to face prison or death when they are found.

Redesigned Assassin career

The original Dark Heresy and previous editions of ADH left assassin as a simple harbinger of doom with narrow path to grow and very low depth. The new redesign allows the assassin career to actually describe all types of assassin assets the Inquisition might have enlisted as an acolyte: Cult Assassin type, Temple Assassin type, Sell Sword type. The career allows the player to describe the organisation and background and reflect those to the skills and knowledge of the assassin. While doing this the forces and organizations behind the assassin’s training and civil life providence also require lots of focus like with new scum career.

Revised Guardsman career

Guardsman was also quite generic with only small ways to reflect the actual person. The career got some new ways to reflect the many oddities of being forced to survive in conditions that are most hostile and also those where comrades must be trusted and orders obeyed.

Inquisitorial Career

Each character now grows into their role as an Agent of Throne with another parallel career called Inquisitorial Career. This career is a second career path for each character to follow, but unlike their normal career path this is not brought forward with XP but instead living through various moments and achieving status within Inquisition. This way all characters eventually grow into Explicators, Interrogators or even Inquisitors instead of that being some sudden step at ascension phase. Also the Inquisitors are then never just Inquisitors, but they all now have varied backgrounds and skills and careers.

Faith Talents

These were introduced to Dark Heresy system in the Blood of the Martyrs sourcebook. This package includes revised versions of these.


The original Ascension was rather disappointment to all and those ranks had nothing to give to those characters who reached them. With rewritten talents, skills and skill masteries not mention the Influence and Renown system any ascended career is really worth achieving. Of course this package also features revised editions of the Ascended psychic powers too.

Fate, Resilience and Resolve

The usage of Fate was expanded a lot while making it more fun to have and use. However, to support different needs the role of Fate was rethought by introducing also Resolve and Resilience. The allow the characters to have even more ways to survive against odds while binding this ability to roleplay in a very integrated manner. The resolve also gives even lower ranking characters chances to expect some possibilities to get influence work for them while making many aspects of influence more readily available to higher ranks.
Use of these points has been split into small effects that let the points to recover after some while or with smaller events while to give characters some chances in the desperation all of these points can also get permanently burned away for greater outcomes.

Righteous Fury redesign

The Righteous Fury was previously readily available to replace critical hits, but to give it more depth the Critical hits occur now outside the need for Righteous Fury and instead this new split of Fate points allowed the Righteous Fury to grow into being epic moments in battle especially when Fate points get burned. To keep them epic the Righteous Fury is not always available but if the fortunes bring the chance at reach and for seizing, the characters can achieve some remarkable moments.


To allow better usage of various vessels, crafts, tanks and such of Warhammer 40k universe, this system has been added with rules for vehicles and vehicle combat.

Some minor but remarkable changes

To smaller mechanics needed also rewriting to make them fit this system or to make them more like they probably should have been in the first place. Fatigue has received new rules, there are now special damage models for cold based damage and heat caused minor damage from environments and such. The lists of power, talents, traits, weapons, armour and other items are comprehensive, thus including quite much everything from different books.
Improved Corruption, Fear, Mutations, Malignancies, Shock and Mental traumas all provide a lot of new depth those times the characters are frightened, or their soul or mind get damage or when the corruption manifests into mutations.

GM aids

Also added there’s a good amount of random generation tables for GM to use when trying to quickly design things.

Character creation improved

This system has many new phases, steps and thoughts put also to the character creation to give characters more depth and also to provide characters all the new aspects.


This new system may seem to be quite large, but mostly this comes from the collected weapons, armour and item lists that were introduced to original Dark Heresy in various books. This system took me about a now more than 10 years to write including all previous editions. These systems were carefully thought through and play tested along some hundreds if not thousands of hours of gaming with characters who lived and lived on from an adventure to another while some died too.
Now that this work is done is want to share this revised edition that addresses all those things that were left problematic in the original Dark Heresy, Dark Heresy second edition and even in the previous editions of this Advanced Dark Heresy.
Hopefully this allows you all to play some far more interesting and advanced games.

Yours Sincerely,

Kari Salonen (aka LeGurmux)

Placing still some of my thoughts from creating this DH version.

I do like the lore around Dark Heresy 1st edition to be better. However both editions left me and my groups lacking as the feel from the rules outcomes in all aspects (combat, investigations, psychic powers, interactions) and character development was not giving such things as the lore would allow you to expect.

We spent a decade and bit in making our enhanced version of the DH 1st ed. We call this product Advanced Dark Heresy 2.5

With this version of the DH 1st ed. The combat really gives 40k vibes in the realism (lore wise realism, not definitely real life realism in each case). This was done by working out the combat mechanics, weapons and armours all over and by changing heavily how Toughness, AP and Critical hits etc work. This will easily cause random hita to be very fatal and it is rarely enough to have still HP left to avoid serious injuries even from regular hits as they easily turn into criticals when even a bit higher amount of damage is suffered. To support this approach all armour, equipment, weapons, cybernetics etc were rewritten and reworked.

The characters have a lot of ways to survive the different obstacles and opponents, but as more or less likely to have many deadly encounters, the ruleset has reworked ways to use Fate, new introduction of Resilience Points that allow a lot of possibilities to avoid mortal damage, but they are tied closely to giving some effort to the roleplay towards the goals and ambitions of characters. While to get sudden upperhands the Righteous Fury is totally redone and tied to the Fate. This allows players and GM to far more flexibily gain and reward things with the Fate points as they have many uses and are usually more often permanently lost as their burning has many new aspects while the outright survive-anything has been removed.

We also remade and rewrote all careers, ranks, ascension etc to give a good a nice lore and 40k society feel to each character. This was even more enhanced by rewriting all Talents and Traits and reworking skill uses. Each character path also now is highly asymmetric in how they develop.

Moreover we also adapted several ways to achieve nice outcomes from psychic powers usage and give ease of use. This reworked hybrid model kow has very interesting structure to the power lists and provides very thoughtful synergies etc between different powers giving psyker characters an awesome thing to explore.

We chose to create nice character sheets too which are having lots of pages, but still nice enough to use easily.

The feel of being Agents of the Inquisition was also enhanced by adding each character a parallel Inquisitorial path they grow into while progressing within their own career path eventually leading characters to become Interrogators or even Inquisitors. While all Ascended careers were also redesigned and rewritten to allow the characters keep also growing past the normal careers as mixes between Inquisitorial path and some other path.

Interactions and activities were greatly improved by creating flexible success where failure is gradually worsening until total fail or fumble, which makes the characters far more able to achieve small things here and there also in narrative events thus making the investigation far more rewarding and allowing the parties to achieve more real feeling outcomes.

Finally the rules also were created for adding vehicles so they can be used in dramatic situations like combat without too much hassle, but still with lots of depth to how they work and get damaged.


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