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Kage2020
17-08-2006, 17:55
Some of you might remember that over the recent past I asked for help working through some concepts of psykers in the 40k universe. My ultimate goal for this was to get some form of working system in place for utilisation with my preferred RPG (GURPS). Well, it has taken me quite some time to get there, but I've finally got an overall structure in place for psykers powers that I quite like. I think that, more so than many other systems that I've seen, got the balance right between 'flavour' and representation, the relative power differences of the various psyker grades, etc.

(A quick caveat. I consciously decided to use a magic, rather than psionic system, in this conversion since I felt that it suited the "feel" of the 40k universe more than the psionic system of the RPG in question.)

I have posted a link to the conversion, below, but please post your comments to this thread. Well, if there are any comments. My apologies for the external link (to the ASP Wiki), but it saved time trying to format tables, etc., from the Wiki format to this board. Anyway, the two pages in question are:


Psyker Advantages and Disadvantages (http://wiki.anargo-sector.net/index.php?title=RPG:GRT_AdsDisads)

And:


Psyker Rules (http://wiki.anargo-sector.net/index.php?title=RPG:GRT_Psyker_Rules)

The first page lists the various Advantages and Disadvantages that go up to make a psyker character, while the second page shows how they can be used to fit together and, further, how psychogenic abilities are actually employed.

At present, three things are not covered: (1) Numina, or those individuals that have entered into a Pact with a Warp Power to acquire psyker-like abilities; and (2) Sorcery, or the ritual use of magic to construct a psychogenic-like effect. Finally, this focusses on human psykers and does not make reference to alien psykers such as Eldar Seers, Ork Weirdboyz, etc. This information will come with time.

Comments are welcome on the rules themselves but, just as importantly, whether the 'flavour' of psykers is truly being addressed. Obviously I cannot explain everything if you're not familiar with the system in use (GURPS) but, again, I don't think that is entirely necessary. If you're interested in acquiring a basic familiarity with the system then click on the following URL: GURPS Lite 4e (http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/lite). Not sure whether that takes you to e23 or not and, if it does, my apologies.

Again, thanks for your comments and help in this matter. Also, I apologise for directing you to off-site links, but it just seems easier than trying to reformat all the text specifically for post here. I would like discussion to continue here, though!

Kage

Commander Ozae
17-08-2006, 19:16
Pretty cool and interesting but i wonder if the Soul-binding should be a weakness. It supposedly strengthens weak psykers enough to survive and resist daemonic possession and although they lose their eyes they get the Second Sight. Just a thought.

Kage2020
17-08-2006, 19:51
Thank you for your comment, Commander Ozae. Soul Binding is a weakness that generally leads to Blindness. However, it also engenders two advantages in the Secondary Class psyker in question: the ability to perform astrotelepathy and the transfer of a "measure of the Emperor's strength" so as to resist the malefic influence of the Warp. When you couple these together you get an overall disadvantage (i.e. -50 (Blindness) +25 (Astropathicus) +15 (Primary, Limited)).

Of course, this is the standard "vanilla" Astropath. There are a number of possible alternatives, most obvious of which is that not all Astropaths are blinded. If they are not blinded and, for example, take a lesser sense to "burn out" such as touch, taste or hearing then what is a disadvantage suddenly turns into a not insignificant advantage.

As to their "Second Sight", I would argue that this is not a product of the Soul Binding itself but a part of their training in the scholastica psykana, i.e. it is a trained psychogenic ability. Of course, if it was an ability engendered by the Soul Binding itself, then it would be included in the Astropath "career template", which is not included in these basic psyker rules. (And which would definitely make the overall "Astropath" an advantage, as it were.)

(Am I misremembering the 'fluff' about the "second sight", i.e. that it isn't a stated product of the Soul Binding, but rather an ability that is shared by Astropaths and, therefore, one that can be given to them as a result of training?)

Remember, though, that these are the basic rules upon which "career templates" (Astropath, Inquisitor, etc.) and "career lenses" (i.e. psychic Inquisitor) will be added, along with information on alien psykers and how their abilities operate.

Kage

schoon
17-08-2006, 20:23
Hi Kage - a few comments:

- I'd make the Astropathicus table truly logarithmic.
- For Psyker Grade Recovery, it seems that there's an awfully "grainy" jump between Alpha/Beta and everyone else. As much as I generally support variety, you may have too many options there.
- The cost for the Untouchable advantage seems a trifle low, even for the minimum ability. I see it as more than a nuissance.
- Keep in mind for Soul Binding that at least "fluffily" most can still sense their surroundings even if they can't "see."
- For the Enuncia entry, there is no such word as "irregardless" (a pet peeve of mine)
- For Psyker Powers, I'd consider adding a "Electrokinesis" category, which is pretty well supported in fluff.
- With Threshhold and Calamity, as I read it, so long as a psyker stays in their "safe zone," nothing will ever happen. If that's your intent, then fine, but at least going by the WHFRP2 standard, this is slightly unconventional, as any spell would have at least a minimal risk.

Kage2020
17-08-2006, 22:18
First off, schoon, thanks for taking the time to reply to this thread. Well, here goes.


I'd make the Astropathicus table truly logarithmic.
Is this a reference to the idea that Astropaths should be able to transmit across much greater distances than 20 light years? The only problem with this is that the transmission distance of Astropaths do not seem to warrant the fine-scaling that this would need. That is, the original 'fluff' suggested a maximum general range of 20 light years. I know this jars with many of the current ideas based on the novels, but where possible I try and work from the numbers that GW provides us.

I have, however, decided that the lower numbers are fairly superfluous. Thus the first distance for the first modifier (0) would be "1 light year", thereby meaning the upper range was 28 light years (with the -8 modifier). This is still quite small in most peoples' perceptions, but broadly consistent with the 'fluff'. One should also remember that it is possible for the Astropath in question to spend additional energy to push the message further. What you see there is skill-derived only.


For Psyker Grade Recovery, it seems that there's an awfully "grainy" jump between Alpha/Beta and everyone else. As much as I generally support variety, you may have too many options there.
It is, isn't it. I just wanted the recovery tied to something rather than just given an arbitrary value. Using smaller modifiers for the other Grades doesn't cut it, and I wouldn't want to give the higher Grades even more of an advantage to make space at the bottom.

Perhaps you have some suggestions? I think that decreasing the number of Grades doesn't quite work, more so since the only indication that we have had about Dark Heresy suggests that Theta is the 'average', leaving all that space at the top. While I could take the out and not cover the higher Grades, that's not really in my nature.


The cost for the Untouchable advantage seems a trifle low, even for the minimum ability. I see it as more than a nuissance.
Is it really? If you consider that the average campaign value for player characters is going to be around 150 points, and the minimum level is 38 points for a one-yard field of effect? Increasing that to the useful ranges mentioned in the 'fluff' would be significantly, but not prohibitively, expensive. Each one yard increase is going to end up costing an additional 20 points. By the time you get to five yards, which sounds roughly familiar from Ravenor Returned (ish, ish! ;)) you have an ability that costs 118 points.

Also, keep in mind that is to create an Untouchable zone under normal circumstances. If the "mana level" is higher then the cost is 69 points for the basic ability and 30 points for each yard of area of effect. Thus the five-yard Untouchable now costs 189 points... :eek:


Keep in mind for Soul Binding that at least "fluffily" most can still sense their surroundings even if they can't "see."
As above, the question remains on whether it is a product of the Soul Binding or subsequent training...

...Well, I'm reunited with my limited 'fluff' resources and the answer to that is "yes". Thus in the Astropath "career template" an additional advantage will be added to replicate this. Again, though, that is a part of the subsequent design, not the psyker design. With that said, thanks to both schoon and Commander Ozae for reminding me about that bit of 'fluff'.


For the Enuncia entry, there is no such word as "irregardless" (a pet peeve of mine)
Oh bugger. I don't believe I did that. Ah well, mistakes always crop up.


For Psyker Powers, I'd consider adding a "Electrokinesis" category, which is pretty well supported in fluff.
Could you point out where? Not being aggressive, I would just like to read about it so that I can determine whether it deserves another sub-division of the Powers.


With Threshhold and Calamity, as I read it, so long as a psyker stays in their "safe zone," nothing will ever happen. If that's your intent, then fine, but at least going by the WHFRP2 standard, this is slightly unconventional, as any spell would have at least a minimal risk.
While I believe that the WFRP2 "Curse of Tzeentch", and the magic system in general, was a vaste improvement over the previous edition, I do not think that using the same mechanic in the 40k universe would capture the 'flavour' of psykers. Indeed, I would probably be more stringent in my criticism of the "Curse of Tzeentch" if I knew more about the Warhammer world.

In translating the 'flavour' of 40k psykers, what I wanted to make clear was the warp was like a siren, calling out to the psyker and tempting them to use it, ultimately to their damnation. At the same time, though, in the 'fluff' psykers can use their abilities without calling the daemons down upon their head... or souls. This is compounded with the idea that the most common type of psykers are low Grade and inherently more "tactical" than the higher Grades, who can toss off spells/psychogenic abilities left, right and centre.

How is this intended to play out? Only that the cost of employing psychogenic abilities is such that in a game you are called on to use the more and more often. At any point you can dip into the Warp and damn your soul - suffer Taint - but as you can imagine the Imperial authorities frown upon that. Thus, yes, there is a tendency to stay within the safe limit, but that is the point. So much power - and consequence - is there if you select to dip into it.

Of course, this means that you miss out on the idea that it is always a crap-shoot when you use abiities. At the same time, though, just like with warp travel I think that this is commonly over-stated in the 'fluff'.

Again, thanks for your time, schoon.

Kage