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Psyker Levels in Dark Heresy


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#1 Hellebore

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 10:37 PM

For those who wanted actual psyker levels in Dark Heresy rather than just the number of dice available.

Roll or choose what psyker grade you are before determining your level.

D100

01-60    Primaris

61-95    Secundus

96-00    Tertius

 

Primaris Psykers are capable of resisting chaotic influence without any external help.

Secundus Psykers must be Soul Bound to the Emperor in order to continue in service.

Tertius Psykers are extremely unstable and add 20 to any Psychic Phenomena or Perils of the Warp roll they make.



SANCTIONED PSYKERS
Sanctioned Psykers roll or choose your level from the table below. Alpha Plus Psykers are not available for starting characters.
D100:

01-05   Iota Level
06-10   Theta Level
11-20   Eta Level
21-30   Zeta Level
31-50   Epsilon Level
51-70   Delta Level
71-90   Gamma Level
91-95   Beta Level
96-00   Alpha Level



NON PSYKER CHARACTERS
There is a small chance non psyker players will have a tiny amount of psychic potential. Roll or choose one of the following at character creation:
D100:

01-60   Rho Level
61-70   Pi Level
71-80   Omicron Level
81-85   Xi Level
86-90   Nu Level
91-95   Mu Level
96-98   Lambda Level
99-00   Kappa Level

Your level is so low that you aren’t aware of it and will not be subject to Inquisitorial scrutiny although any psyker players in the group will probably notice the faint power you have.


Each of these Levels is a talent the character starts the game with. Unless extraordinary circumstances occur a character will be stuck with this level til they die.

Each Level is grouped together with others and are governed by the same basic rules.


Mundanus
The hordes of humanity make up the bulk of this group. Anyone with a level from this group is regarded as a normal human in all respects. No scanning etc will produce a positive psyker signature.

Rho
You are a normal human and have no potential for psychic manipulation at all.

Pi
You are almost normal but every now and then you manifest a wiff of power. Most psykers wouldn't detect this even if they were standing next to you. You may add 1 to any stat test once a session. This bonus may only be used once a session and only in circumstances of stress, such as combat, a hard exam, racing the clock etc.


Instinctus
The most common ‘psykers’ if humanity are ironically the least aware of their own ability. A small connection to the warp enables their subconscious minds to draw power in stressful situations and in the process making a name for themselves as lucky or fluky individuals. No-one with a level from this group manifests a psi rating but will be considered a psyker by scanning devices etc. Their level is so low though that no inquisitorial scrutiny will occur (unless the inquisitor is extremely puritanical). All the bonuses listed in these levels may only be used once a session and only in circumstances of stress, such as combat, a hard exam, racing the clock etc.

Omicron
A faint whisper of power flows through your soul. You receive a +5 bonus to one test.

Xi
Stronger than omicron, the Xi has a more marked affect on his prowess. You receive a +10 bonus to one test.

Nu
The Nu are unconsciously skilled individuals. You receive a +15 bonus to one test.

Mu
Anyone of Level Mu or higher will be renown for their luck and daring. You may reroll one failed test.

Lambda
The Lambda’s skill will be widely known and respected. You may reroll one failed test or increase the DoS of a test by 1.

Kappa
On the cusp of psykerhood the Kappa can escape improbable circumstances or shoot the wings of a gnat, at least every now and then. You gain one Fate Point that cannot be burnt.


Adeptus
True Psykers the Adeptus are the second most common form found amongst humanity. Their power is limited but obvious. Amongst primitive peoples they take the place of tribal shamans. The Adeptus group may only increase their Psi rating to a maximum of 2. Anyone from this group must be sanctioned or is declared a rogue psyker.

Iota
With conscious effort the Iota can move objects, call animals and heal the sick. You may only choose Minor psychic powers.

Theta
With more power a psyker can channel the warp in destructive ways. You may only choose Minor psychic powers and up to 1 Discipline power with a rating of 10 or less.

Eta
The Level Eta psykers make up the bulk of commercial psykers. Powerful but limited they are extremely useful. You may choose Minor psychic powers and up to 1/2 WPB (rounding up) Discipline powers with a rating of 20 or less from the same Discipline



Primaris
This group produces the battle psykers of the Imperial guard and other Imperial institutions. Their power is a great threat to both the enemies of the Imperium, but in a rogue psyker can pose a threat to Imperial citizens. The Primaris group may only increase their Psi rating to a maximum of 4. Anyone from this group must be sanctioned or is declared a rogue psyker.
Zeta
With the ability to manifest amazing powers the Zeta level psykers are a force to be reckoned with. You may take minor psychic powers and choose one Discipline to take powers from. You do not receive the Mastery bonus for gaining 10 discipline powers.

Epsilon
Epsilon psykers stride the battlefield destroying the foes of the Imperium, masters of their supernatural power. You may take minor psychic powers and choose one Discipline to take powers from. You may Master this discipline.


Destructus
Few can match the power of the Destructus psykers. Their power covers a manifold of disciplines and there is little they cannot do. The Destructus group may increase their Psi rating to a maximum of 6. Anyone from this group must be sanctioned or is declared a rogue psyker.

Delta
Capable of summoning fire storms or reading minds the Delta level psyker is a truly formidable opponent. You may take minor psychic powers and take powers from any Discipline. You may Master one discipline.

 
Gamma
Gamma are masters of their art, true paragons of the scholastica psykana. You may take minor psychic powers and take powers from any Discipline. You may Master two disciplines.


Supremus
Only a handful of these puissant individuals exist within the Imperium. Their abilities transcend all others and turn them into demi gods. The Supremus group may increase their Psi rating to a maximum of 6 and doubles the value of any dice rolled to cast a power (although not for Psychic phenomena). All power ranges are doubled. Anyone from this group must be sanctioned or is declared a rogue psyker.

Beta
The Beta psyker can crush all opposition with a flick of the wrist. You may take minor psychic powers and take powers from any Discipline. You may Master three disciplines.

Alpha
Near mythical the Alpha psyker is a maestro of the aethyr capable of reshaping the very world around him. You may take minor psychic powers and take powers from any Discipline. You may Master all disciplines.



Terminus
Alpha-plus psykers cannot physically contain their power and are often possessed or incinerated by their own power. Alpha-plus psykers triple the value on any dice they roll but add +40 to any psychic phenomena test they need to make (add this to a perils test as well if that is rolled). They follow the rules for alpha psykers but treat the range of their powers as kilometres instead of metres. If the range is already given in kilometres, it becomes thousands of kilometres. If they can't actually see the target they can make a WP test to find the mind of any person and target them.



Hellebore



#2 Lupinorc

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 11:17 PM

Very cool idea! A lot better detail than the idea I was using



#3 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 12:46 AM

Not sure on your use of Primaris there - as described in the 2nd edition 40k Codex Imperialis, it was a term used to describe the relative stability of a psyker. All psykers were placed in one of three grades - Primary/Primaris, Secondary/Secundus and Tertiary/Tertius.

Primary psykers (which would include all player character psykers by RAW) are those stable enough to be useful - they can resist the corrupting influence of Chaos well enough by themselves that they do not require the Soul Binding.

Secondary psykers (Astropaths being the most common of these) are those of reasonable power but who require the Soul Binding to be stable and sufficiently safe for use. They're far more common than Primary psykers.

Tertiary psykers is just a polite way of saying "sacrifice". These psykers are, for whatever reason, unsuitable for use, and are just fed into the Golden Throne.


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#4 Hellebore

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 01:00 AM

N0-1_H3r3 said:

Not sure on your use of Primaris there - as described in the 2nd edition 40k Codex Imperialis, it was a term used to describe the relative stability of a psyker. All psykers were placed in one of three grades - Primary/Primaris, Secondary/Secundus and Tertiary/Tertius.

Primary psykers (which would include all player character psykers by RAW) are those stable enough to be useful - they can resist the corrupting influence of Chaos well enough by themselves that they do not require the Soul Binding.

Secondary psykers (Astropaths being the most common of these) are those of reasonable power but who require the Soul Binding to be stable and sufficiently safe for use. They're far more common than Primary psykers.

Tertiary psykers is just a polite way of saying "sacrifice". These psykers are, for whatever reason, unsuitable for use, and are just fed into the Golden Throne.

 

The problem was trying to fit Tertius and Secundus in there. I also was unsure about the current validity of this system given the massive changes to psychic levels and definition that began with Inquisitor and Abnett (the greek alphabet system) compared to the primaris system.

The name itself is unimportant and can easily be changed. It was merely flavour text to label similar levels together for the purposes of similar mechanics between them and because GW have seperated their psykers into those rather wide groups. 5 levels are all the same? Why not just give it one level then. The assumption being that they were each differing levels of power within a common grade, hence the way I wrote it.

I know that many weren't happy with the '6 levels of power' in DH and wanted literal power levels as described. This was a simple method to split the ranks up into different levels.

There is a level in there that is the same as the 'standard' psyker as playable in DH now and following the method in DH you can simply choose whichever one you want. The rest is there so that players can put rules to otherwise ephemeral 'levels'.

Hellebore



#5 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 01:14 AM

Hellebore said:

 

The problem was trying to fit Tertius and Secundus in there. I also was unsure about the current validity of this system given the massive changes to psychic levels and definition that began with Inquisitor and Abnett (the greek alphabet system) compared to the primaris system.

The name itself is unimportant and can easily be changed. It was merely flavour text to label similar levels together for the purposes of similar mechanics between them and because GW have seperated their psykers into those rather wide groups. 5 levels are all the same? Why not just give it one level then. The assumption being that they were each differing levels of power within a common grade, hence the way I wrote it.

I know that many weren't happy with the '6 levels of power' in DH and wanted literal power levels as described. This was a simple method to split the ranks up into different levels.

There is a level in there that is the same as the 'standard' psyker as playable in DH now and following the method in DH you can simply choose whichever one you want. The rest is there so that players can put rules to otherwise ephemeral 'levels'.

Hellebore

 

Thing is - and this is something that seems far too often overlooked - there are plenty of ways of categorising psykers (as is said in the Dark Heresy ruleboook), and the 'Abnett' scale introduced in the Eisenhorn series and elaborated upon since is only one of those.

The notion of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary psykers has very little to do with raw power, and everything to do with whether or not the psyker is safe to use. Its use is not mutually exclusive with the potentially innumberable other methods of measuring psychic ability. In game terms, every Sanctioned Psyker will be either Primary or Secondary (Tertiary psykers just get fed into the throne), and the way you tell the difference is that the Secondary ones have been Soul-Bound. Whether they're Delta-grade or Novice Spiritus or classification 65/A1/B6-crimson or anything else is a seperate consideration.

As an aside, the original DH rules were written with the 'Abnett' scale psyker grades as names for each of the 6 psy-ratings (with Zeta as the lowest, and anything sub-Zeta being too insignificant to be considered truly psychic). Psykers started with a random psychic talent (you could, if you were very lucky, start as an Alpha-level psyker), and could only ever buy one level 'up' from their baseline level through natural means - you could gain more for a high XP cost and a lot of corruption points, if you so chose, however. For whatever reason, it was decided that this should be changed.


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#6 Hellebore

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 01:20 AM

N0-1_H3r3 said:

 

Thing is - and this is something that seems far too often overlooked - there are plenty of ways of categorising psykers (as is said in the Dark Heresy ruleboook), and the 'Abnett' scale introduced in the Eisenhorn series and elaborated upon since is only one of those.

The notion of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary psykers has very little to do with raw power, and everything to do with whether or not the psyker is safe to use. Its use is not mutually exclusive with the potentially innumberable other methods of measuring psychic ability. In game terms, every Sanctioned Psyker will be either Primary or Secondary (Tertiary psykers just get fed into the throne), and the way you tell the difference is that the Secondary ones have been Soul-Bound. Whether they're Delta-grade or Novice Spiritus or classification 65/A1/B6-crimson or anything else is a seperate consideration.

 

Yes. I'm sure the primary system could be another layer on top of the greek system. Not every Iota is stable, not every Beta is unstable etc.

 

The system used in the inquisition book from the BL (stolen from Lexicanum) I used:

  • Rho // Pi
No manifestation of psychic talent (common human being).
  • Omicron // Xi // Nu // Mu // Lambda // Kappa
Unconscious and minor level of psionic brain activity. Such low levels of talent only manifest in high-stress experiences and remain beyond the control of the individual. Phenomenon commonly explained as "good luck" or "fluke occurrences.
  • Iota // Theta // Eta
Conscious and moderate level of psionic talent. As the individual is able to control abilities with effort, subjects of Iota level and higher are true psykers and under the jurisdiction of the Inquisition and Adeptus Astra Telepathica.
  • Zeta // Epsilon
Very high level of mental psychic activity. Manifesting early, these levels of talent (and those above) require the immediate attention of Imperial authorities and represent a true security threat.
  • Delta // Gamma
Occurring in approximately one-per-billion human births, Delta and Gamma level psykers exhibit extreme levels of psionic ability. Unless discovered quickly, death or possession are common results of the untrained mind being unable to handle this level of mental energy.
  • Beta // Alpha
Exceedingly rare and dangerous. Mainstream Medicae Imperialis discussion agrees that current human beings do not possess the necessary evolutionary development to contain Beta and Alpha levels of psionic talent. As such, the great majority of those discovered at this Assignment rating usually suffer from mental instability.
  • Alpha-Plus
In the rarest of all cases, the twenty-four point scale of the Assignment does not adequately characterize a being of indescribable ability. Such individuals, for all intensive purposes, pass beyond the scale entirely. These subjects are known as Alpha-Plus psykers.

 

It's pretty explicit as to what 'rank/level/grade' counts as what. Would primary psykers fit in as a specific set of levels or would they be any psyker level that is stable? It seems that power and stability don't go hand in hand (ie you can have unstable high level psykers and stable low level ones and vice versa).

The above seems to be the method in which GW is now classifying psykers. I don't dislike it, nor do I dislike the Primary system, however combining the two would be interesting.

 

Hellebore



#7 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 01:35 AM

Hellebore said:

Would primary psykers fit in as a specific set of levels or would they be any psyker level that is stable? It seems that power and stability don't go hand in hand (ie you can have unstable high level psykers and stable low level ones and vice versa).

Certainly, I don't see any difficulty in applying both systems (and any others - remember, the Dark Heresy rulebook lists four other classification scales, which may be determined as much by individual skill or accumulated knowledge as by raw power... power, afterall, is only useful if you can wield it). No one system could possibly cover or explain every facet of psychic ability, afterall, so we pretty much have to use multiple systems to cover everything.


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#8 Hellebore

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 01:45 AM

Well the difficulty there then is trying to figure out what if any rules are required to represent the primary system over the top of the greek system.

 

If secundus psykers must be soul bound, I've not heard of any non-astropaths that are soul bound.

 

Obviously for Players Primaris and Secundus are the only real options (unless you're the kind of person who likes to play unstable easily explodable characters).

 

The simplest thing I suppose would be to have a table:

 

Roll or choose what psyker grade you are before determining your level.

D100

01-60    Primaris

61-95    Secundus

96-00    Tertius

 

Both Primaris and Secundus psykers must be Sanctioned, however Secundus Psykers must also be Soul Bound as well.

So the only real difference is whether the character begins play with the Soul Bound Trait or not.

 

 

EDIT:

Tertius. These psykers are very unstable. They add 20 to any psychic phenomena rolls they need to make (also adding 20 to any perils test they need to make).

 

Hellebore

 

 



#9 Hellebore

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 02:04 AM

Does the Edit button only work once or something? I can't seem to be able to change the original post at all.

 

So what was my list?

 

Mundanus

Instinctus

Adeptus

Primaris

Supremus

Terminus

 

So what instead for Primaris? It was supposed to represent the primary ranks of 'powerful' psykers.

Primus

Majoris

Crucius

Principalis/Principus

Corpus

 

Hellebore



#10 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 02:15 AM

Hellebore said:

Well the difficulty there then is trying to figure out what if any rules are required to represent the primary system over the top of the greek system.

 If secundus psykers must be soul bound, I've not heard of any non-astropaths that are soul bound.

 Obviously for Players Primaris and Secundus are the only real options (unless you're the kind of person who likes to play unstable easily explodable characters).

 The simplest thing I suppose would be to have a table:

 Roll or choose what psyker grade you are before determining your level.

D100

01-60    Primaris

61-95    Secundus

96-00    Tertius

 

Both Primaris and Secundus psykers must be Sanctioned, however Secundus Psykers must also be Soul Bound as well.

So the only real difference is whether the character begins play with the Soul Bound Trait or not.

 EDIT:

Tertius. These psykers are very unstable. They add 20 to any psychic phenomena rolls they need to make (also adding 20 to any perils test they need to make).

 

*Rummages around for copy of Codex Imperialis*

According to the Codex Imperialis (still one of the best sources of 40k background), Astropaths make up the overwhelming majority of Secondary Psykers, but some Primary and Secondary psykers are selected to give their lives maintaining the Astronomicon. I'd imagine that, given the importance of Astropaths, every Secondary Psyker that can be spared is given the training and Soul Binding required to serve in that role...

Hellebore said:

Mundanus

Instinctus

Adeptus

Primaris

Supremus

Terminus

 

So what instead for Primaris? It was supposed to represent the primary ranks of 'powerful' psykers.

Primus

Majoris

Crucius

Principalis/Principus

Corpus

Majoris or Principalis would be my suggestions from that list.


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#11 Hellebore

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 02:31 AM

That sort of narrows it down a bit, as only a fewof the levels given in the greek system suggest they are strong enough to produce a psyker capable of using full disciplines.

 

However it could get a bit much if every astropath must be a zeta or epsilon level due to the restrictions on Discipline powers. So does that mean I need to push up the abilities of the Adeptus, Iota et al? Where they can take more powers sufficient to produce astropaths (who must be able to use the Telepathy Discipline).

It's a big jump though. Kappa is the highest level unconscious 'lucky' psyker according to the Assignment, so the next rank has to bridge 'lucky' with full psychic potential (hence why I said Iota could only use Minor powers).

 

Maybe:

Theta allows for WPB number of discipline powers with a rating of 20 or less

Eta allows for 2xWPB number of discipline powers with no rating limit

 

Or is it fine the way it is.

 

Thoughts?

 

Hellebore

 



#12 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 03:41 AM

However it could get a bit much if every astropath must be a zeta or epsilon level due to the restrictions on Discipline powers. So does that mean I need to push up the abilities of the Adeptus, Iota et al? Where they can take more powers sufficient to produce astropaths (who must be able to use the Telepathy Discipline).

That does depend on where the 'minimum threshold' for a usable psyker is - while the Imperium may classify the lowest grades of conscious psyker as true psykers, they may not see a use for them.

The text from the Codex Imperialis says this:

"Primary Psykers

Primary psykers is the name given to those whose powers and strength of character are sufficient to resist possession and daemonic taint under normal circumstances. Primary psykers are chosen to serve the Imperium only if they are young, intelligent and willing to learn. After five years of basic psychic training in the Scholastica Psykana they are ready to join one of the Imperial organisations in a suitable capacity. The very young may be indoctrinated into the Space Marines as Librarians, and the most talented of all may become Inquisitors or Grey Knights. Primary psykers are not invulnerable to daemons and other psychic aggressors, but their training gives them a fighting chance against all but the most potent of these creatures.

Astropaths

Astropaths are chosen from the second ranking of psykers, those whose powers are considerable but inadequate to resist the dangers of possession or daemonic corruption. Like primary psykers, they must be young, vigorous and willing. Astropaths undergo basic psychic training before they assume their role of telepathic communicators throughout the Imperium. They are taught how to use the Emperor's Tarot, how to cast horoscopes, and the practices of cheiromancy and augury of all kinds. Once they have been prepared in this way they undergo the unique Soul Binding ritual which gives them a little of the Emperor's strength."

Sacrifices covers all those whose "powers are too random and minds too vulnerable", which would be everyone else. Now, there is some reference to potency, but the resistance to possession seems to be the main qualifier for Primary status. It does appear, however, like there is still something of a minimum power requirement for Astropaths (especially as surviving the Soul Binding process isn't guaranteed in the first place).

So the questions now are... does the Imperium actually make use of sub-Zeta psykers? If so, are the only sub-Zetas used by the Imperium primary psykers?


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