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Faking a Psyker?


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#1 Mikmaxs

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 08:23 PM

In an upcoming mission I'm planning, there's a sup-plot where the leader-in-chief of a town, (Sort of the magistrate/baron/mayor,) is pretending to be a Psyker in order to terrify his enemies and keep the townsfolk in line. The way I have it set up, he never leaves his mansion except when he absolutely has to, but the whole place is rigged up all Oz-the-great-and-powerful, with fire-balls cued to shoot from the floor when he sends the signal with a voice-activated remote taped to his neck. He's also got various other tricks, a very mild colorless and odorless neurotoxin which causes enemies to hallucinate and get bad migraines, which can be released into the air, (He, of course, takes credit for these effects,) and a pair of damaged Digital Weapons which take forever to charge and deal minimal damage, but when triggered zap lightning-bolt-style energy beams from his fingertips. (Or, his rings at any rate...)

 

My question is, how easy should I make it for the players to figure this out? He's supposed to be an excellent con-man since he's been keeping up the charade for years and years, but I also don't want it to be completely impossible. Should I do secret tests, and if so, how often? (We also will have a Psyker in our group, I figure if he passes a Psyniscience test he would figure things out... But should I roll a secret one for him or just let him try, if he feels like it?)



#2 ColArana

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 08:37 PM

I don't suppose he'll have a Sanctioning Brand then? Though I suppose it would depend on whether he's a sanctioned Psyker. 

 

That said, if he really was pretending to be a Psyker and people hadn't figured it out that he wasnt, I imagine someone would have been called in by now. The Imperium does not take kindly to Psykers casually abusing their powers, let alone to keep citizens in line.


Edited by ColArana, 04 July 2014 - 08:37 PM.


#3 Mikmaxs

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 08:43 PM

He's not 'Sanctioned', but he's not in a particularly civilized part of the planet. The general setting is a vaguely western theme, (Albeit with a desert that's cool in the day and radioactive at night,) and a bunch of small towns all fighting for turf and control over water supplies. A nobleman's son was kidnapped and evidence points to him being taken somewhere to this backwoods western environment, but there's very little imperial authority out there. (As long as the water keeps flowing and nobody does anything overt, the big city on the planet doesn't care what goes on in the tiny cities in the middle of nowhere.) 



#4 Gregorius21778

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 04:53 PM

[Fire-balls cued to shoot from the floor when he sends the signal]
First and foremost, a sight-based Perception/Awareness test could reveal the opening/device for that for what they are. Second, a smell-base Perception/Awareness test will give away the smell of the gas/promethium/whatever that is used to create the flame. Anybody with any “Flamer” Weapon training should get a large bonus to the later!


[A very mild colorless and odorless neurotoxin which causes enemies to hallucinate and get bad migraines, which can be released into the air]
Such “gas tricks” are normally more tricky then one would think they are. If you do not release the gas CLOSE  to the face of the intended recipient, you will need a large amount of it. How large depends on the actual room. And the gas needs to be led in quickly which normally means that “pressure” is used to pump it in (the stereotypical “hiss”). Last but not least, the “Master” would be effected himself unless he wears respirators or has bionic lunges.

I would suggest to use some contact  agent instead of gas. Limits the use, so.

[A pair of damaged Digital Weapons ]
In my opinion, those would fool those with a very scant knowledge about the energy weaponry of the Imperium. Could work, but those who know laser might get the similiarity of it by a ordinary Logic test. And don´t even try this with acolytes!

[My question is, how easy should I make it for the players to figure this out?]
To acolythes, rather easy! The psyker should get a “hidden role” on Psiniscience to simply “check” that something is odd there… and that alone should end the show quickly! If he actively tries to question the relative power (or anthing) of that “psyker”..well…I guess the mask will fall rather quickly.

Other cheap tricks

Certain frequenzies of sound aren´t heard but have a “discomforting” effect. Scrutiny should tell the person that the “Master” is affected as well, so.

Apet that is trained to react to signals in an otherwise unheard frequenzy might appear to be “mentally commanded”. Thing about three dogs running to the masters side (well, into the grand hall and THEN naturally joining the Master) from more then only one roomsaway  without any visible command given.

If the guy is really rich, he can have “manipulated grav platings” at some places under the carpet which he can switch to “more then 1g” with that remote control. Would allow him to force people to the ground. But that stuff would be truly EXPANSIV, mind you! Not like “minor noble”.

That said, a charlatan once in a while is always fun. Teach him a bit or two about common hypnosis. It won´t help him with the PC or anyone with a bit of wit who is UNWILLING to be “coerced”… but even if he only plays the tricks on some unwitty lunkheads will the reputation be served.



#5 Mikmaxs

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 06:22 PM

I like the idea of a contact-based toxin and the hypersonic frequencies. He's not wealthy enough for any kind of gravity plates, but that *is* a cool idea...
What if he vacuumed all the air out of the room for a 'Force Choke' effect, and had a compact re-breather or equivalent in the roof of his mouth? (Covered up or painted to be difficult to notice, perception checks to realize.)

#6 Gregorius21778

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 03:04 AM

What if he vacuumed all the air out of the room for a 'Force Choke' effect, and had a compact re-breather or equivalent in the roof of his mouth?

You do not simply "vacuum out all the air off a room". This needs large, special machinery that will make NOISE as they go about getting the air out in a matter of seconds. And the room would need to be "air tight" as well, because if the room is not there will be simply more air rushing in. And the "pull" of the air streaming in a certain direction will be quiet noticeable. Last but not least, a vacuum has more damaging effects on you then just "no air to breath". The air pressure is suddenly gone, which cause a lot of trouble in its own right. Without going into details any further... don´t use this as a trick to fake psychic powers meant to chocke somebody.

But keep in mind that every LARGE machinery you use for you tricks is one that somehow had to get into your litte "western town in the desert"... large transports from far away, accompanied by Technomants/Tech-Adepts do not go unnoticed in small towns.

 



#7 Lynata

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 09:07 AM

We also will have a Psyker in our group, I figure if he passes a Psyniscience test he would figure things out... But should I roll a secret one for him or just let him try, if he feels like it?

 

I'd say roll a secret one during each "performance" if the player doesn't actively ask for one by themselves. Depending on the result, you can then drop cues for your Psyker. :)

 

Also, I recall there was some drug (Spook or something?) that allowed people to briefly gain a degree of psychic potential. Perhaps something to look into? Depending on how resourceful/wealthy you want to make that guy. In this case, the constant "ups and downs" of his PsyLevel (represented as the "light of their soul", as perceived by your Psyker with Psiniscience, growing dimmer or brighter) could trigger the party's curiosity. Not to mention potential side effects!

 

I also really like Gregorius' suggestion regarding hypnosis! This should work nicely, especially when combined with the hallucinogenic gas you mentioned.

 

If it comes to violence or at least an attempted arrest, the encounter/pursuit should get very interesting indeed - with the players facing psyker-like threats, traps and illusions, yet not being able to counter or detect them the way they might normally be able to!


Edited by Lynata, 06 July 2014 - 09:12 AM.


#8 doomande

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 09:43 AM

What about some soothsaying as well? It isn´t that hard to pay a corrupt scribe to get the folder on one of the people in the group after all. And playing tarot is a rather normal thing for a psyker to do after all. Maybe would it even inspire the psyker player to try the same at a later point in the hope that he can do it as well ;)


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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!


#9 Mikmaxs

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 09:55 AM

What about some soothsaying as well? It isn´t that hard to pay a corrupt scribe to get the folder on one of the people in the group after all. And playing tarot is a rather normal thing for a psyker to do after all. Maybe would it even inspire the psyker player to try the same at a later point in the hope that he can do it as well ;)

He has spies across the desert-area that he lives in, keeping tabs on important going-ons so that he can pretend to have visions.



#10 doomande

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 11:08 AM

I was more thinking reading tarot as in the fake psyker knew something about the players background, rewarding them in a way for making their story, and maybe spilling some beans that wasn´t meant to be spilled if people are keeping secrets for eachother. But having visions like that is also a rather good thing.

 

I do not know how rich this guy is, but give him a psyber familiar, that way do both the tech-priest and psyker something to roll for since they properly don´t know about those. You can read the rules for them in the inquisitors handbook. And what is a charlatan without a white robot cat in his lap as he goes on monologuing yet again?


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!


#11 Mikmaxs

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 11:23 AM

I was more thinking reading tarot as in the fake psyker knew something about the players background, rewarding them in a way for making their story, and maybe spilling some beans that wasn´t meant to be spilled if people are keeping secrets for eachother. But having visions like that is also a rather good thing.
 
I do not know how rich this guy is, but give him a psyber familiar, that way do both the tech-priest and psyker something to roll for since they properly don´t know about those. You can read the rules for them in the inquisitors handbook. And what is a charlatan without a white robot cat in his lap as he goes on monologuing yet again?

As far as wealth goes, I'm not really sure. How much is a throne worth in comparison to a dollar? He's wealthy enough to have several dozen hired gunhands in his team, as well as a crew of miners, (Kind of,) but not wealthy enough to expand his operation. His digital weapons were about the extreme of what he could afford. (Then again, they are a unique design that's more electrical than laser.)

Consider him about at the level of a wealthy rancher or land baron from the old west.

#12 doomande

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 12:05 PM

There are many who have made conversion rates between thrones and dollars, but the economy in 40K have and will always be clunky. I mean... have you seen how much most alcoholic beverages costs? And then what a grenade or a nice red dot sight costs. I mean how often is it that you can buy 5 frag granades for one bottle of absinthe?

 

Money and math is a really really funny thing in this game. But if he can own the land would I also say that he can put himself in debt and scrape together the money to buy a pet that would cost him 5K. The ring would cost him 8K if you buy it from the daemon hunter book by the way.

 

My personal rule of thump is not so much to think about prices on the gear that I give my baddies, but more if it fit or not. But then again have I also begun to get the reputation between my players as the GM with the shiny toys....


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!





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