Review: Fantasy Flight Games – Book of Judgement (Dark Heresy)

Dark Heresy: Book of Judgement
Book of Judgement is a sourcebook for the space opera system Dark Heresy, based in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, written by Graham Davey, Robert Dempsey, Mathew Farrer, Tim Flanders, Ian Hardin, Tim Huckelberry, Charles May, Kevin Rubitsky, Sam Stewart, and Ross Watson and published by Fantasy Flight Games.
By Aaron T. Huss

Book of Judgement is the Adeptus Arbites sourcebook for Dark Heresy, detailing everything a GM and player would need to run an arbitrator-centric adventure along with providing mechanics to make your characters more arbite-like. Book of Judgement follows the same format as the previous sourcebooks of this style consisting of fluff to better understand what the Adeptus Arbites is, mechanics to incorporate that fluff material, and information on how to the GM can incorporate this into their adventures or campaign. In addition, there is a complete adventure included in the end. Book of Judgement makes a great addition to anyone’s Dark Heresy library, not only to expand upon the background of the Warhammer 40k universe, but to expand upon the character options to create those working directly within the Adeptus Arbites.


Book of Judgement is essentially broken into three basic sections starting with the fluff. As with Blood of Martyrs and Daemon Hunter, Book of Judgement contains an entire chapter dedicated to providing information about one aspect of the Warhammer 40k universe, in this case the Adeptus Arbites. From here you learn about the Adeptus Arbites, the different types of agents they have, and the underworld they combat. Much of this fluff comes to life as you read through the mechanics section where the alternate career ranks are tied directly to much of the fluff content.


The second basic section is the mechanics chapters divided between the new career ranks and the new armory. The new alternate career ranks are not arbitrator only ranks, they cover many of the different career paths including the basic opposite of the arbitrator, the scum. These alternate career ranks also tie in to the aforementioned fluff content providing a more three-dimensional look at what makes these character types unique.

The second part of the mechanics section is the armory. Here you find weapons, armor, utility items, drugs, and the cyber-constructs associated with the Adeptus Arbites. This is an especially valuable addition as it provides more arbitrator-focused weapons for characters who want more options.


The last basic section is the adventure chapters consisting of a tool-kit for creating investigation-styled adventures, current parties under the watchful eye of the Adeptus Arbites (with adventure hooks), and an actual investigation-styled adventure. The tool-kit is a powerful tool for GMs to quickly create an investigation-styled adventure and information for players on how the available skills are utilized in different ways during an investigation (many of which I never thought of). The “Calixian Most Wanted” chapter is a great read, but may spoil things for players if the GM intends on using the content. You wouldn’t want to spoil your investigation with excessive meta-knowledge. Wrapping this section up is a good investigation-styled adventure that demonstrates how many of those non-combat skills can be put to good use. It’s designed as a simple investigation and an introduction to this style of adventure for Dark Heresy. It can potentially be run in a single session with options for an additional session. However, it serves as a great deviation to an ongoing campaign to demonstrate what else is possible with Dark Heresy.


Book of Judgement is an excellent sourcebook and a great addition to the line of books that focus and expand upon particular aspects of Dark Heresy and the Warhammer 40k universe. It contains a great section for fluff and lots of mechanics for players and GMs. If you can overlook the editing, you’ll find a book of great value.


Publication Quality: 7 out of 10
Fantasy Flight Games makes very high quality books in terms of layout, formatting, and art. However, Book of Judgement contains a lot of editing errors, uses a lot of spot art, and utilizes art I’ve seen elsewhere (although this only applies to a very small number of images). While this is easy to overlook with indy publishers, it’s much more difficult to overlook with a company as large as Fantasy Flight Games. One of the biggest errors I noticed were incorrect page references within the “Jurisdiction” adventure. On the flip-side, the book still utilizes the excellent look and feel that previous Dark Heresy books exhibit and visually is very stunning.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
As with the last two sourcebooks, Book of Judgement contains a number of new and expanded mechanics from the core rulebook including alternate career ranks, an arbites armory, and some great mechanics for putting together an investigation-styled adventure. The alternate career ranks do a great job of tying the fluff to in-game mechanics while the armory really enhances the purpose of the book by giving your acolytes the equipment they need to be true members of the Adeptus Arbites. However, what really ties the book together as a cohesive publication about arbitrators is the section dedicated to putting together an investigation-styled adventure. While this is more of a tool-kit than in-game mechanics, it is the true icing on the cake to complete the ultimate Adeptus Arbites book.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
One major factor that makes this style of sourcebook so valuable is the diversity of the content. It contains content that expands the Dark Heresy setting, alternate career ranks for characters who want to be part of the Adeptus Arbites, new equipment to outfit those characters, and lots of content for the GM to absorb and incorporate. It truly supplies a 360-degree look at the Adeptus Arbites and fully connects that to the system and the setting. Even if you don’t intend on playing an arbitrator, the mechanics for running investigations and the fluff can make this book worth the purchase.

Overall: 9 out of 10
I am a big fan of the sourcebooks being released for Dark Heresy. Not because they’re a good read, but because they’re such a valuable tool for players and GMs with so many options for one particular group within the Warhammer 40k universe. By focusing on a single group (in this case the Adeptus Arbites), Fantasy Flight Games can really add a lot of great content and mechanics with more great art to look at. This is a great book to add to your Dark Heresy library and a definite must-have for anyone playing an arbitrator or Arbites-like character (you’ll have to read it to know what I mean).

You can support Roleplayers Chronicle by using the following links to purchase this book:

Amazon: Dark Heresy: The Book of Judgment

Barnes & Noble: Dark Heresy: The Book of Judgment

PDF Download DriveThruRPG: Dark Heresy Book of Judgement

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