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Is it worth playing a Psyker?


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#1 Inquisitor Shadoven

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 02:08 PM

Greetings everyone! First post here, though longtime lurker, and I have a question. I am about to start a Dark Heresy game for some friends who have never played before, and a couple of them have asked me a question I cannot answer.

Is it worth it to play a Psyker?

As one player put it, the risk is not worth the reward. Combat wise, until later on he sees that most powers do less damage than simply carrying a weapon, or the damage is not worth the risk. And for many utility powers, again the risk is too great when equipment or spending extra time in a investigation will solve the problem just as well, without the potential Perils of the Warp.

Now I personally believe the risk is worth it, but they do have me wondering. They both basically said the only time it would ever be worth using a power is in a life or death situation, never for a basic combat or to help question someone.

So, what are your thoughts? Can you help explain why it is worth playing a Psyker and using your powers, or add to the argument?

Please note, we are playing Core Book only and I am not going to use the Fetterred Unfetterred rules, so please respond with that in mind. Again, thanks for any advice!

A mind without Purpose will wander in Dark Places.


#2 Librarian Astelan

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 03:26 PM

As a player who adores to play psykers himself, I'd say: 'Yes, it is frikking awesome to play a psyker'  :D

 

However, I'm not sure about the power balance. I'm not even sure about the possibility of a comparison. A portable lascannon will dish out more damage than your average psypower. However, you won't be able to use your lascannon at every single occassion (and in some encounters, you'd wish you didn't bring the 'oh darn, this thing weighs about the same as an Astartes'-heavy weapon). Besides, there are so much more psypowers that aren't combat orientated.

 

But the reason you should absolutely play a psyker is because he brings loads of fun to the table. The looks of horror from your fellow players as you have to anounce "oh oh, what page was the perils of the warp table?" is absolutely worth it.


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#3 doomande

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 03:28 PM

It is so much worth it, and I would personally say that you can´t have a group without having a psyker in it.

 

Without one do you need medicae to get your wounds back, a process that can take days, weeks and even months if you are almost beaten to death, instead of the 6 secs or so it takes to cast a psykic power.

 

Another thing is that most of those "utility" powers are damn strong! A thing like chameleon can make a low lv psyker to the teams best stealther. A thing like Spasm can deliver a one hit kill if used on the guy with the biggest weapon (I did personally kill an ork something boy in turn one by casting spasm on their war boss and then make him shoot his friend in the back of the head.) A thing like Weapon JInx can disable your opoment for rounds on end if his balistic skill are too low, or out right kill people with grenades. And all of this, ALL OF THIS is things that you can start out doing in your first session.

 

What they forget is that even if there is 10% change of a phenomena to happen are all of them not bad, most of them are just flavour of **** happening. It is first when perils happens that it really fucks up, and the change for that is 25% after those first 10%... yes there is a fancy number somewhere, but I am tired and that would be doing math.

 

Beside that about damn and how weapons are better are not true as such, not at all if you are going pyromancy. It is true that a fire ball don´t give so much damage again, but with some over bleeding can you set a good amount of people aflame. And do I even have to mention how strong things like fire storm and incinerate is? Incinerate did in my last session save us from a demon since it ignores both armour and toughness, meaning that the bonus that demons gets are going out the window.

 

There is so many strong thing a psyker can do that none others can, and beside using all those things can he use a gun as well, almost as good as all the others can 


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Sure some say blood for the blood god, skulls for the skull throne... I say muffins for the muffin god! Derp for the master derper!


#4 segara82

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 06:11 PM

Psykers are dangerous, to both themselves and their enemies.

But the powers they bring to the table make them valuable as well.

So they get used.

 

And playing someone who literally risks reality when doing his job can be a thrilling and satisfying experience.

 

But beware: You are not a loved tool, you are a necessary tool.

Even harmless sounding/looking phenomenas can get you into more trouble than most people realise.

 

Best examples in my previous groups:

Shattering all reflecting surfaces and mirrors in 5d10 metres radius usually breaks all windows in that area too. It happened once when fighting off some trainrobbers. Can you imagine the trouble THAT caused when about 150+ people suddenly got glass shards thrown around on a fast moving train?

Wood and stone (and statues, pictures, ...) within 3d10 metres start to weep blood. Well, which upstanding citizen is going to remain calm when blood runs down his walls? I mean, who considers THAT a good omen/sign?

 

Playing a Psyker is high risk/reward.


Courage is the mastery of fear - not the absence of fear


#5 Pixels The Red

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 06:51 PM

Also, the psyniscience power which I think they get as a basic skill can come in useful as a nice passive heads-up if some Warp nonsense is going on out of sight. Some vague warning of "something" is better than nothing if a sorceror's on the prowl



#6 Drop Bear 2.0

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 06:57 PM

Well worth it if you play it about the Character and not the Power Set, I've played a few Psykers in DH well back to the days when it was still a Black Library game. when played as a character they where loads of fun, when played as just a power-set they weren't and even dragged the game down slightly.

 

 

"the Red Pilgrim" a Psyker character I started playing in pickup games about 18 months ago, so much so that when the pick up games he was in died off the GM still goes out of her way to try and arrange a solo session for him every couple of months, it's the Character and his raging insanities (so bad that the GM has given up on giving him Insanity Points since he's already completely around the twist) that keep us coming back to him not his power set.



#7 Simsum

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 01:15 AM

Please note, we are playing Core Book only and I am not going to use the Fetterred Unfetterred rules, so please respond with that in mind. Again, thanks for any advice!

 

We adopted a couple of house rules to deal with Psykers randomly going nuclear:

 

  • Allow team mates within Charge distance to knock the Psyker unconscious just in time to avert total disaster, by Burning a Fate Point.
  • Allow the Psyker to create a suitable GM-approved alternative result, by Burning a Fate Point.

 

The system has always a large element of "if the gods of RNG hates you, you die horribly and fast." My first WFRP1e character, in our very first session, got bitten in the leg by a snotling and died a couple of days later from disease. In our first DH game, the Psyker managed to call forth Daemon Host the first time he tried to use a Psychic Power.

 

Fate Points are the intended work-around, but by the Rules As Written they don't always apply. You should definitely feel free to change that, because as my couple of anecdotes hopefully illustrates, the alternative isn't always going to be fun.



#8 Cail

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 02:06 AM

In my experience the risks of generating psychic phenomia that actually hurt you in DH are the most gentle rules set that any game line using this system has had. The chances of actually causing phenomina or perils is the lowest certainly. I wouldn't call the risks too great, if anything compared to other lines they aren't great enough.

Given some of the minor powers can be totally game changing (I've seen a psyker just spam spasm at at large enemy repeatedly, while the other characters just poured fuel on it then set it on fire). Yes, the rewards GREATLY outweight the chances of the risks.

Something to remember though is that RAW the psyker cannot use a fate point to re-roll warp phenomina or perils, because it is not a test.


Edited by Cail, 13 April 2014 - 02:47 AM.

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#9 Cymbel

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 02:30 AM

Psykers are definitely worth the risk to reward. Just needs to be thought out.

 

1. You need to pick powers that matter and won't be used every turn. If you "spam" powers constantly, all you is increase the risk and that isn't worth the reward.

 

2. You can CHOOSE the number of dice rolled (up to your psy rating), which means you can minimize the risk instead of being forced to roll 3d10+4 for a simple 6 Threshold test (if all you need is the base and no overbleed).

 

3. Related to above, you can invoke and get double your willpower bonus to the threshold test. (And IIRC, you can roll 0 dice so with a high Willpower and a successful invoking roll you can do minor powers and such with no risk).

4. Remember you can do other things, not even psyker related and with a good pistol and red dot or a full auto weapon you place accurate shots or surpress while staying out of the main fire.

5. You are likely to be the only person with psyniscience, which means you can detect and be sensitive to important warp-related things without any risk (though you may want to roleplay being a bit unhinged by any crazy warp stuff)

6. Others listed some of the great minor powers, not to mention some of the amazing disciplines (Divination is amazing for more story focused games, Biomancy is a great useful school, others can be fun, just don't take Telekinesis, only jerks do that)

 

http://community.fan...-psyker-powers/

 

Here are some great examples of stuff



#10 ColArana

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 03:58 AM

 

 

2. You can CHOOSE the number of dice rolled (up to your psy rating), which means you can minimize the risk instead of being forced to roll 3d10+4 for a simple 6 Threshold test (if all you need is the base and no overbleed).

 

 

I believe it was mentioned either in the Errata or Core rulebook (don't remember which), that Psykers are required to always roll at LEAST one dice when manifesting a power, so that this exact scenario doesn't happen.



#11 doomande

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 04:23 AM

 

 

 

2. You can CHOOSE the number of dice rolled (up to your psy rating), which means you can minimize the risk instead of being forced to roll 3d10+4 for a simple 6 Threshold test (if all you need is the base and no overbleed).

 

 

I believe it was mentioned either in the Errata or Core rulebook (don't remember which), that Psykers are required to always roll at LEAST one dice when manifesting a power, so that this exact scenario doesn't happen.

 

I would personally as a GM house rule that if you are using invocation and step the time up, from 6 secs or so that a round is to say 10 min, would I allow a person to roll with zero dices since they don´t draw any energy from any outside forces but only from themselves


Sure some say blood for the blood god, skulls for the skull throne... I say muffins for the muffin god! Derp for the master derper!


#12 Tenebrae

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 06:42 AM

I believe it was mentioned either in the Errata or Core rulebook (don't remember which), that Psykers are required to always roll at LEAST one dice when manifesting a power, so that this exact scenario doesn't happen.

No such note when I checked. And as far as I know, the errata haven't been updated since.



#13 Cogniczar

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 06:49 AM

Page 161 of the Core states you typically roll 1-6 dice. The core rulebook has no provisions for rolling Zero or equivilent. Even sustaining powers, which has no risk of generating phenomena, has to make a roll. 



#14 Tenebrae

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 06:59 AM

"typically" is an empty word, in regards to rules.

In systems with actual playtesting, that's the sort of sentence that would have been returned with a note asking for clarification.

Trust me, I have done just that.


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#15 segara82

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 08:24 AM

Errata Nr. 3 on page 9 cleary states "A Psyker is required to roll at least one die to manifest an
ability.”


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#16 Inquisitor Shadoven

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 08:31 AM

Everyone, I greatly appreciate the advice, and please keep them coming! The ideas and such have been very helpful. The player in question still basically asks why wouldnt I just use a gun or piece of gear such as a flash grenade instead, or just interrogate someone instead of using Powers? So what are some reasons or examples of why you MUST have a Psyker, or you MUST use your powers? Not even life or death super important reasons, but more day to day this is why you must have a Psyker stuff.

So far Healing not taking weeks is the only one that comes to mind.

Again, I love the Psyker and would play one if I very unlikely ever get the chance, so please keep helping me show others their value!

A mind without Purpose will wander in Dark Places.


#17 Tenebrae

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 08:37 AM

Errata Nr. 3 on page 9 cleary states "A Psyker is required to roll at least one die to manifest an
ability.”

Excellent!
That makes it clear then. :)

Everyone, I greatly appreciate the advice, and please keep them coming! The ideas and such have been very helpful. The player in question still basically asks why wouldnt I just use a gun or piece of gear such as a flash grenade instead, or just interrogate someone instead of using Powers? So what are some reasons or examples of why you MUST have a Psyker, or you MUST use your powers? Not even life or death super important reasons, but more day to day this is why you must have a Psyker stuff.

So far Healing not taking weeks is the only one that comes to mind.

Again, I love the Psyker and would play one if I very unlikely ever get the chance, so please keep helping me show others their value!

The one that comes to my mind right away is Psyniscience (and later Divination Powers). The ability to aquire knowledge that no-one else can - even if it is just a round's forewarning about the Daemon before it manifests.
Knowledge is Power, after all.

But other than that, no, there is very little that the psyker can do that no-one else can, which is good game design. A good character niche is being better at something, not being the only one who can do something, whereby you'd effectively force that choice upon every gaming group, taking away player choice.

Edited by Tenebrae, 13 April 2014 - 08:44 AM.


#18 doomande

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 08:43 AM

Everyone, I greatly appreciate the advice, and please keep them coming! The ideas and such have been very helpful. The player in question still basically asks why wouldnt I just use a gun or piece of gear such as a flash grenade instead, or just interrogate someone instead of using Powers? So what are some reasons or examples of why you MUST have a Psyker, or you MUST use your powers? Not even life or death super important reasons, but more day to day this is why you must have a Psyker stuff.

So far Healing not taking weeks is the only one that comes to mind.

Again, I love the Psyker and would play one if I very unlikely ever get the chance, so please keep helping me show others their value!

This is the same as asking why you "must" use guns in DH when there is melee weapons. There is no one saying that you must or should, you are just so much stronger with one.

 

Beside that is there the psyniscience ability as mentioned, your one tool in your arsenal to determine what the **** there is happening, and if you are working for either Ordo Heriticus or Malleus do you need that on your site to determine if what you have in your hands are something warp related or not.

 

If they choose not to take a psyker with them would it be like not taking an arbitor or tech priest with them, they will meet some doors there now are closed and locked that there normally would be open for them. Beside that are there nothing that forces a psyker to use his powers, heck many a time have I not used a single one at all for sessions on end because there wasn´t need for it.


Sure some say blood for the blood god, skulls for the skull throne... I say muffins for the muffin god! Derp for the master derper!


#19 Slaunyeh

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 11:51 PM

It is so much worth it, and I would personally say that you can´t have a group without having a psyker in it.

 

One man's "unplayable" is another man's "point of the game." My biggest gripe with psykers is that they (has the potential to) make injury irrelevant. I like it when injuries matter. To each their own!

 

As for the OP... I think you're generally coming at Dark Heresy at the wrong angle if you are wondering if a career is "worth it", imho. The point of psykers, at least to me, is to either go out in a blaze of warp-tainted glory or make it to "safe" levels. It's all about having a good time along the way, even (or especially?) if that way ends with daemonic possession and the the Exterminatus of Scintilla. :P

 

You don't play a psyker to "play it safe!" If you want to be safe, be a Crimson Guard or something.

 

That said, my best advice to psykers who do want to stay alive for the long haul is basically this: Respect the perils of the warp table. I have a guy in my group who very carefully calculated the risks of actually getting a particular dangerous mishap and concluded that psychic phenomenon was basically irrelevant. Turns out he was wrong (to paraphrase Discworld: "the thing about million to one chances is they seem to come up nine times out of ten"). That silence around the table as everyone holds their breath, every time you roll on the psychic phenomenon table is the entire point of being a psyker. :)

 

What that means in practice is that if "worth it" to you means "not make yourself explode and kill your group", you probably don't want to start out as a guy who absolutely has to use a psychic power every round of combat. That's an easy mistake to make. If you can go several sessions without using any powers at all, that's a success! Is that worth it? Sure. If you like that kinda thing.

 

As for the question "why wouldn't I just use a gun?" The answer is pretty simple: You would. Blasting people to death with their brains is not what (rank 1) psykers do.


Edited by Slaunyeh, 13 April 2014 - 11:52 PM.

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#20 Jeriko

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 02:12 PM

Psykers have a fairly large pool of non-psyker skills and traits that they can draw upon if they so choose to. This allows them to not have to rely on powers 100% of the time. Even the strongest class is greatly out scaled by a players ability to role play well. Guardsman are not generally considered (at least in the circles I play in) to be hugely strong, yet I have seen players pull of amazing and entertaining feats with them many times. Psykers are a strong class, and more importantly, fun, so they are 100% worth it in my books.


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