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Kage2020
18-03-2005, 17:56
Just a quick request, which I'm sure that people will find easy to fulfil once they begin to return. All I'm after is some basic descriptions of the use of psyker powers from the 'fluff' (I'm not including Navigators, newly defined as psykers, in with this request). I'm in the midst of altering the 'magic' system of an RPG to replicate the psyker powers and came across the slight 'problem' of low damage against 'super science' armour types. E.g. most magic systems are not designed for a fireball having to penetrate 'power armour', but rather are geared towards 'plate armour'.

Help on the 'fluff' is appreciated and, if you're of an RPG bent, I can point you to the basic rules that I've thrown together.

Kage

Sojourner
18-03-2005, 18:39
Funny this crops up now, isn't it?

Right, here to wax lyrical about my own interpretation again.

Picture the warp as being a dimension filled with flowing, intermingling wisps of energy, countless numbers of them, each the barest iota of that which characterises consciousness itself. Every living creature has a physical form in the Materium and a corresponding nodal form in the Immaterium. Each of these infinitesimal 'iotae' have a resonance in the Materium and vice versa; each is central to the existence of the other. The nodal collections of these tiny elements in the Immaterium constitutes a 'soul' or 'spirit' and it is by virtue of their very nature that those capable of manipulating their own immaterial resonance can manifest complex powers in the Materium. Psychic powers result from the manipulation and channelling of these tiny iotae of the same stuff as is your very existence and utilising them to affect the Materium. The incredible complexity of the immaterial structures of living souls can explain the huge diversity and indeed disparity between different races and group's interpretations of psychic ability. Indeed, the Eldar's distaste at the human term 'soul' refects their greater understanding of the enormous complexity of the living soul-resonances and reinforces the great differences between Eldar and Human, their immaterial resonances being so very different.

Kage2020
18-03-2005, 18:52
Erm... At this juncture, and for once, I'm not personally that interested in interpretations of how psykers work but raher descriptions of the use of their abilities for subsequent mechanical (games mechanics) interpretation. Whether I personally get into a metaphysical discussion at a separate time is another matter entirely...

Oh, as a quick refinement: I'm interested in both non-combat and combat uses of psyker powers from the 'fluff'. As a personal request try not to post too much information here. Just the relevant tid-bits and not huge swaths from the FB or whatever.

Kage

Sojourner
18-03-2005, 19:04
Oh? In that case, I misunderstood.

Right, let's try Inquisitor for a basis. In this publication, the main disciplines are:


Biomancy
Telepathy
Telekinesis
Pyromancy
Daemonology (I'd call it daemonancy)
'Miscellaneous'


I think this does cover most of what you can do with psychic powers. Most of the names are obvious.

In addition you have those sorts of skills which are not directly psychic but can influence the psychic realm by mundane actions in the Materium - Daemonology, Psychometry, Symbology and so on. These generally focus on either amplifying or nullifying psychic effects. A good example is the use of Aegis suits by Grey Knights - one doesn't have to be psychic to feel the benefit of one but they are powerful psychic protection, particularly against daemonantic powers.

Kage2020
18-03-2005, 19:15
All of which is true... I am, however, after descriptions of the use of those powers. For example, Eisenhorn's encounter with Voke, etc. I just want to make sure that I've got the "feel" right as much as possible. Once there is a basis for that then there is definitely going to be a requirement for more structure to it... ;)

Kage

inquisitorautry
19-03-2005, 01:34
Most of the descriptions from the fluff vary widely. I've seen everthing from floating, glowing eyes, persons near them hair standing on end, faire fire surrounding the psyker, people feeling nauseous near them, or any combination of the above.

Avenging Dentist
20-03-2005, 05:50
Well, the way I intend to deal with psychic powers in my system is (roughly) like this:

Psykers know a relatively limited number of powers that they have practiced with and can use freely (as opposed to the "fire and forget" system that D&D uses).
As a limit to the amount a psyker can use his powers, he will take damage from using his powers (how much damage he takes depends on how well/poorly he rolls when making his psychic test). In addition, there will be a chance of psychic backlash, since channeling the Warp is pretty dangerous.
As for damage, all attacks (psychic or otherwise) will have a damage type (e.g. bludgeoning, heat-based) that tells why the attack causes damage. A fireball would obviously be heat-based, and most armor types won't have a resistance to heat-based weapons, so the armor value would be reduced.


Fluff-wise, the descriptions of psychic powers vary pretty widely. It also depends on whether you're dealing with "vanilla" psychic powers or ritual powers. Plenty of Chaos powers employ complicated rituals, and have pretty devastating effects (daemon-summoning, mass insanity, etc.). Regular psychic powers generally appear to have a pretty short casting time, and for the most part are described as "releasing the character's inner energy" or something of that flavor.

There's very little (that I know of) about catastrophic failure of psychic powers in the books, since it's not so much fun when the hero tries to use a psychic power and ends up a puddle of bubbling goo on the ground. The fluff speaks of it in general terms, but it just doesn't happen all that often.

Another important point is one's alignment with a "deity" in the 40K universe. Tzeentch worshippers are certainly going to get a boost to their psychic powers, and devotees of the Emperor might get some benefits (especially in dire situations).

As for secondary environmental effects, Dan Abnett talks on a few occasions of the air tasting like tin when in the presence of psychic energy. Chaos powers also have a tendency to induce nausea and (for some of the stronger ritualistic powers) nosebleeds.

Aside: Kage, I noticed that you'd joined the Inquisitor RPG (http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/inquisitor-rpg/) group I'm a part of; we've been discussing psychic stuff off and on, so I'll see if I can't find some of the messages relating to those topics and send you the links to them.

Wraith
20-03-2005, 10:49
I think you have to make a point of considering that many low level or well used psychic powers are 'cast' by the psycher with relative ease - no chanting, finger moving, sign language, scroll reading as per 'spell casting'.

Sojourner
20-03-2005, 12:06
I would say that the casting technique varies depending on the style of the individual. Generally, a poor psyker will need to rely on mental crutches like gestures, words or symbology more than a more powerful individual. The pinnacle of mental skill is being able to manifest all your powers with merely a thought. Causing someone to burst into flames merely by looking at them, while badass, is an extremely potent power to have and would require a vast amount of skill and mental control to avoid having to recite a load of mumbo-jumbo to be able to form the correct warp flow patterns.

Kage2020
20-03-2005, 14:47
Most of the descriptions from the fluff vary widely.
A given since the majority of authors seem to come from different directions. In 'game' terms, some of them work more on the principle that it is 'psionics' while others seem to go more with the 'magic'. Overall, I personally represent it as magic. As I said, however, what I'm after is some brief posting of appropriate 'fluff' so that I could remind myself of the various approaches to check that what I had done was, as much as possible, consistent. Normally it would just be a case of rooting through the BL novels, but unfortunately they are, for the most part, in another country at the moment. Hence the request.


Well, the way I intend to deal with psychic powers in my system is (roughly) like this...
Which is, overall, similar to my own approach. My only problem is with 'ultra-tech' armour (i.e. power armour) and the amount of damage generated by a system primarily geared towards 'true fantasy' (i.e. chainmail, etc.)... It can be easily remedied through other 'powers' (read: spells) but there is always that sense in the 'fluff' of psykers being able to burn through high-tech armour if they put their mind to it.

As to the actual specifics of the system that I use to represent magic, then you could basically check out GURPS Magic/Grimoire and overlay S. John Ross's Unlimited Mana, then couple it with the GURPS Mage the Ascension system for truly stonking levels of power (i.e. I use this to represent the abilities of the C'tan (even though it's not the warp that they're accessing), the Old Slann and some of the more powerful eldar that have managed to 'transcend' the normal psyker system...). But that's just me.

As to Avenging Dentists brief synopsis of the 'fluff' on psyker power use, that's more of what I had in mind with the exception that it would be nice to see the 'fluff' in question...


Aside: Kage, I noticed that you'd joined the Inquisitor RPG group I'm a part of; we've been discussing psychic stuff off and on, so I'll see if I can't find some of the messages relating to those topics and send you the links to them.
Post them away, whether by PM or whatever. From what I've seen of the root Inquisitor system it might not be for me (i.e. I believe that system is horrendously flawed) but it might inspire me in some directions...which is about all that anyone can ask for! :D


I think you have to make a point of considering that many low level or well used psychic powers are 'cast' by the psycher with relative ease - no chanting, finger moving, sign language, scroll reading as per 'spell casting'.
That is what I consider to be 'packaging' as well as referring to the specifics of a given RPG magic system. But, yes, the use of power is not always associated with a ritual and therefore tends to indicate that familiarity/skill with that ability moderates any such requirement.

So, very much what Sojourner subsequently posts.

Kage

Philip S
20-03-2005, 23:37
Just a quick request, which I'm sure that people will find easy to fulfil once they begin to return. All I'm after is some basic descriptions of the use of psyker powers from the 'fluff'
In Grey Knights there is a description of Psyker interrogation – it come over as a battle of wills, and the winner brakes the losers mind.


(I'm not including Navigators, newly defined as psykers, in with this request).
Sneaky disinformation – Navigators have always been Psykers.



I'm in the midst of altering the 'magic' system of an RPG to replicate the psyker powers and came across the slight 'problem' of low damage against 'super science' armour types. E.g. most magic systems are not designed for a fireball having to penetrate 'power armour', but rather are geared towards 'plate armour'.
In Deus Encarmine there is a Psyker Bomb that can mind wipe marines, this gets around the power armour issue.

As for blasts and bolts they tend to be semi-ethereal in nature and would pass through armour, only reacting when hitting flesh. It seems to attack the soul with the physical damage as secondary (and it seems that the end blast effects can be generated from within the target – again circumventing the armour).

Kage2020
20-03-2005, 23:42
In Grey Knights there is a description of Psyker interrogation – it come over as a battle of wills, and the winner brakes the losers mind.
It would be more useful to post the relevant bits of the 'fluff'. People are famed for imposing their own interpretation of 'fluff' when all they post is a little synopsis.


Sneaky disinformation – Navigators have always been Psykers.
From hazy memory they were first described as a 'variant' psyker, then that was subsequently ignored, and they are only revisiting it.


In Deus Encarmine there is a Psyker Bomb that can mind wipe marines, this gets around the power armour issue.
But not the common, visceral imagery of the 40k universe that "might wins!"


As for blasts and bolts they tend to be semi-ethereal in nature and would pass through armour, only reacting when hitting flesh.
Already considered and discarded, though it is dependent upon the 'ability' in question.

Kage

Robot 2000
20-03-2005, 23:54
Well in Gaunt's Ghosts novels (my only experience of GW fluff books ;) )the use of psychic powers is frequently accompanied by the victims suffering nosebleeds, strange noises in the ears, et cetera. In "First and Only" the imperial guard suffer some kind of large scale psychic attack involving the projection of beams/bolts which are able to rip through tanks and armour.

Philip S
20-03-2005, 23:55
It would be more useful to post the relevant bits of the 'fluff'. People are famed for imposing their own interpretation of 'fluff' when all they post is a little synopsis.
The whole lot runs to several pages.


From hazy memory they were first described as a 'variant' psyker, then that was subsequently ignored, and they are only revisiting it.
Specialised psyker, and 4E is going back to it’s roots.


But not the common, visceral imagery of the 40k universe that "might wins!"
No it’s not. If you’re interested the mind bomb was comprised of several interlinked ritually primed Psykers.


Already considered and discarded, though it is dependent upon the 'ability' in question.Gets around your armour problem, just as Psyker powers get around armour.

Psyker powers could just ignore armour, even in 1E no armour saving throw was allowed against mind bolts and blasts. It seems Psyker powers ignore armour.

I guess psyker ‘fireball’ isn’t really a fireball.

Kage2020
21-03-2005, 00:08
The whole lot runs to several pages.
Well, only the relevant sections of the effect of the power are necessary, not the entire description... Thankfully, though, this appears to be less relevant than most so that's fine.


Specialised psyker, and 4E is going back to it’s roots.
I've see you say that a number of times, Philip, but have yet to see the truth in your words.


No it’s not. If you’re interested the mind bomb was comprised of several interlinked ritually primed Psykers.
Yes, I have read Deus Encarmine.


Gets around your armour problem, just as Psyker powers get around armour.
It's too munchkin. The reason that I was after 'power descriptions' from the 'fluff' novels is that I wanted to see if there was any reason that I should try and include some hokey mechanic - such as ignoring armour - merely to be as consistent as possible.


Psyker powers could just ignore armour, even in 1E no armour saving throw was allowed against mind bolts and blasts. It seems Psyker powers ignore armour.
That's a mind-based attack, not a physical attack. Hmmn... I might not have been as specific as I obviously needed to be.

Kage

Philip S
21-03-2005, 00:22
That's a mind-based attack, not a physical attack. Hmmn... I might not have been as specific as I obviously needed to be.
It seems that all Psyker attack powers at the lower end of the scale affect the mind, I think that only really powerful Psykers can actually blast armour apart.

I get the impression that Psyker powers ignore armour, the novel Grey Knight as Psyker combat (being all about Grey Knights!) and Psyker powers seem to ignore armour (even the daemons attack seems to ignore armour – only wards being effective defence).

Kage2020
21-03-2005, 02:48
And the reason that I asked for the 'fluff' text... So that I could make my own mind up without having to spend a fortune on BL books that I already own, having to purchase them again, etc.

Hence we're back to the start once again...

Kage

Avenging Dentist
21-03-2005, 06:36
As to Avenging Dentists brief synopsis of the 'fluff' on psyker power use, that's more of what I had in mind with the exception that it would be nice to see the 'fluff' in question...

Well, as much as I'd like to provide passages from the fluff, all my BL books are in another state at the moment. However, I can, at least, cite the books I was using as a reference. Most of the Chaos ritual stuff pops up in the Gaunt's Ghosts novels. There's a bit of description of how Librarians use psychic powers in Storm of Iron and Soul Drinkers. In both cases (especially the latter), the Librarians appear to have a relatively limited set of powers that they become experts at. The rest is pretty much as I described above.

One other thing that might be worth considering is metamagic (for lack of a better word). Basically, metamagic abilities would be things that reflect a character's tendencies in their psychic training. For example, a character might learn how to deal more damage with psychic attacks, or he might learn how to use psychic powers more quickly, or might have learned how to protect himself better from the Warp. Most of the fluff indicates that psykers are pretty specialized (even Librarians only ever use a handful of powers), so this seems to fit with the "feel" of psychic powers.



Post them away, whether by PM or whatever. From what I've seen of the root Inquisitor system it might not be for me (i.e. I believe that system is horrendously flawed) but it might inspire me in some directions...which is about all that anyone can ask for! :D

You're not the only one who dislikes the Inquisitor system. The group's name is actually a bit of a misnomer, since we've discarded the Inquisitor system (almost) entirely in favor of a scratch-built system that will (hopefully) be quite a bit "cleaner" than the sometimes over-complicated Inquisitor system.

lord_fenric
30-03-2005, 21:47
Apologies to kage for not sticking to the topic but....

It would appear, at least in my interpretation, that most low level psyhic attacks would be a physicalphenomena. The Psycher's soul acting as a conduit through which they draw and focus power to achieve a real world effect.

To actually effect anothers mind would require that teh psycher go 'through' their own soul to locate the otehr psychers in the local warp vacinity. This strikes me as ar more dangerous since the psychers own awarness is actually interacting within the imaterium as well as drawing from it. Meaning the risk of attrracting a daemon would be all the greater. In game terms this is sortf mirrored in that most powers are 'physical', very few (aside from IIRC mind war) actually represent a direct mental attack which cannot be put down to the byproduct of a physical phenomena.

Additionally conceptualisaition of a mental attac kwould be far far harder to grasp. Assuming that in order to actually 'do' something a psycher must be able to visaulise it, and therefore manipulate 'power' / 'mana' (take your pick) into that form. Visualising a physical effect would be easier to do then something on a different plane of existence.

Minister
02-04-2005, 11:11
For my D20 presentation of the 40K universe, I'm basing the progression in psychic power on the Feats system, that is that when you are eligible for a new feat you may choose to take a new psychic power rather than, say, weapon focus or negotiator. Subject, of course, to a variety of prerequisites (psyker level, other powers and so-on). Power use then inflicts nonlethal damage on the caster if the control test is successful, or lethal damage and and increase in warp taint if a failure.

There are two main types of power: projection and manipulation. Projection powers are the simplest to use (both for a character and a player/GM: Pass use test and roll X dice of this type of damage), but also channel the most warp energy (making failure more spectacular and causing the Eldar to shy away from them). Things like fireballs, lightning and other such showy manifestations fall into this type.

The second is manipulation. More subtle, more control needed but less likely to cause your head to explode (although your brain might haemorrhage from a botched attempt, but an actual explosion is unlikely). Telepathy and Telekinesis falls into this category.

A purely descriptive vehicle and not one that need be covered in the rules, but my brain's trying not to think about organic synthesis so I'm ranting.


Anyway, most of what can be done with the standard magic set common in fantasy can be done with psykers (funny that, egh?). The main lack is any means of creating new matter from nothing (although illusions are certainly possible, either by creating an image in someone's mind or the more difficult psionic "hologram" method). 40K being a wargame, the emphasis is on the imediate damage powers (which is fair enough), but telepathic interogation or precognition would also be much used.

Any gestures and such from a psyker are as much a mental crutch as anything else, a way of aiding their concentration. Hence lightning shooting from finger tips rather than just appearing is not strictly needed, but is common. Same with using "spells" in the form of chanting prayers and such - it's not needed, but it aids concentration and focuses the mind.

THere are, as mentioned, five tratitional "schools" of psychic powers, along with a few cross-use skills which most psykers can manifest. Most psykers will show an aptitude to one of these schools, either by fluke of genetics or due to the society in which they grew up.

For example, a weak pyromancer (one of the most limited schools, but with the most obvious combat applications) with little training will be able to create small flames without the aid of matches, or perhaps manifest bright lights to dazzle or entertain. A stronger psyker will, with training, be able to throw up great walls of flame, balls of fire and such, or even focus his power to the extent that he can recreate the effects of a melta-gun.

A telepath on the other hand, will have almost no direct physical controll, but will be able, even at low levels, to influence the minds of others. Minor powers are the likes of telepathic "speaking" at close range and flashing up images in others, whilst a more powerful manifester may well be able to slam another's mind into oblivion or controll others against their will.

I would advise against explaining how the powers work in detail, asside from anything else because the Imperium (and possibly even the Eldar) only comprehend it in the vaguest terms. What matters is that they do, ant that it is often quite spectacular.