What with all this 40K 6th ed hubbub about the return of psyker mastery levels etc (or so I gather - haven't really been paying attention *cough*), I dug out my old copy of Dark Millennium and came up with a couple of ideas for revised 2nd ed psychic rules.
Unfortunately I don't have my cards with me. Also, I never played a single psychic phase in any game back in the day. Therefore it's very likely I'll propose something daft. Possibly the people who have actually played a game of 2nd ed in the last fifteen years or so can let me know if it sounds workable?
Draft revisions for 2nd edition psyker rules - not tested and possibly loony
The existing 'Magic: The Gathering'-style adversarial card game isn't used. Instead, the Warp Deck acts as a random event deck that determines what happens whenever you use a psychic power. (You could probably roll on a chart for the same effect, but it seems a shame not to use those nifty Warp cards.)
1. Each psyker may choose their powers, rather than selecting them randomly. They must take at least one power from their primary deck.
2. More than one psyker can take the same power - use the cards for reference only.
3. The higher a psyker's mastery level, the more powers they may take. Each level of mastery gives the psyker a 'slot' for a power. The number of slots a power occupies is determined by its force rating. A power labelled 'Force 1' takes up one slot, a power labelled 'Force 2' takes up two slots, etc.
Example: A Space Marine Lexicanium (mastery level 1) can take only one psychic power, which must be a Force 1 power. An Epistolary (mastery level of 3) could take a single Force 3 power, OR three Force 1 powers, OR a Force 2 power plus a Force 1 power.
The psychic phase
1. Do not roll for warp flux during the game. Instead, the Warp deck is used as a random event deck. This represents the unreliable nature of warp energy, the natural resilience of the enemy, and the constant mental sparring of rival psykers striving to cancel each others' powers.
2. In the psychic phase, the player whose turn it is (and ONLY that player) may attempt to cast one or more psychic powers. Each psyker in the player's army may attempt to cast one power.
3. The player declares which psyker is casting, which power they are attempting to cast, the target if applicable, etc.
4. The player (or opponent) turns over the top Warp card. This determines whether or not the power is cast successfully.
- 4a. If the revealed card is Force, the psyker succeeds in casting the power.
- 4b. If the revealed card is Nullify, the opposing player may roll a D6 to prevent the power from being cast (as described on the card).
- 4c. If the revealed card is Destroy Power, the power fails to work. In addition, the psyker loses the ability to use that power for the remainder of the battle. (It is assumed an enemy psyker has driven it from their mind.)
- 4d. If the revealed card is Energy Drain, the power fails to work. In addition, any and all powers currently in play are instantly nullified.
- 4e. If the revealed card is Reflection, an enemy succeeds in turning the effect of the power back upon the user. (Possibly too complicated? I haven't worked out the details yet, as this would differ for every power and I don't have the cards with me to refer to.)
- 4f. If the revealed card is Daemonic Attack, the psyker is affected as described in the Dark Millennium rules. (Since Force cards aren't used to cast powers under these rules, just deduct the Force rating of the power they were attempting to cast from the die roll.)
- 4g. If the revealed card is Psychic Duel, the opposing player may choose one of their own psykers to conduct the duel, in which case it plays out as described in the Dark Millennium rules. Regardless of who wins, the power fails to work (as the psyker's concentration has been broken by the duel). Note that the opposing player can choose not to duel when this card is revealed - in this case the power is cast successfully.
- 4h. If the revealed card is Ultimate Force, the power is cast successfully. In addition, the psyker may attempt to cast a second power in the same psychic phase. (They must turn over another Warp card as usual.)
5. If one side has no psykers left on the table, follow the rules in Dark Millennium regarding the Nullify roll, and ignore any Destroy Power, Energy Drain, Psychic Duel and Reflection cards if they are revealed.
...what do you think? Any of it make sense?