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How does the psyker-phone work?


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#1 Spacebatsy

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 03:26 AM

Hi, I was wondering if anyone knew how using astropath to send messages between worlds actually work.

 

Apparently there is an astropathic choire on Scintilla controlled by Chief Astropath Xiao, who “does not permit anyone to send a message through his astropaths unless he deems it necessary”.

Who can use the astropaths and what is considered necessary?

 

Do inquisitors have the right to use them at any time, no questions asked? Can the message be secret? Is it possible to “tap” into an astropath message and listen in? How fast is an astropath message?

 

What if an acolyte, a noble, an administratum employee, a tech-priest or a merchant needs to send a message off world? How important does the message have to be? If they can’t, what other options are there to communicate between worlds? How far will vox-communication get you?

 

Does every planet have a choir? If not, how does it work receiving or sending messages to these places work?

 

 

So many questions, so much confusion…

Anyway, I appreciate any help 


Edited by Spacebatsy, 12 August 2014 - 03:27 AM.

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#2 Fgdsfg

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 05:13 AM

Vox-Communication is basically radio, so it'll get you... very far, actually but extremely slowly.

 

I would be surprised if the Tricorn Palace on Scintilla didn't have it's own Astropathic Choir, not to mention at least some Inquisitors capable of doing Astro-Telepathy of their own.

 

That being said, about Chief Astropath Xiao, he likely screens (or has a staff that screens) all requests for outgoing communications, as is likely common amongst Astropathic Choirs. Sending messages cross-System is not something normally done by the lower echelons of Imperial society, and likely more or less reserved for the nobility and major business interests. The Imperial Fleets (not to be confused with the Imperial Navy) and the Departmento Munitorum likely have more or less inimpeded and unrestricted access out of sheer necessity, probably to the chagrin of Chief Astropath Xiao, but anything else, I can't see the Administratum and the Adeptus Terra accepting.

 

The Adeptus Arbites likely has some resident Astropath or a small choir on lease, too, simply because they need to be able to send messages freely.

 

The Acolytes, though? Prepared to be laughed in the face.

 

Messages can be secret, in that the Astropaths can encrypt the message so it can't be intercepted or deciphered (or at least not easily) when sent through the warp, and the message can be secret in that the sender can also choose to encrypt it before handing it to the Astropaths to be sent. This of course requires that the recipient knows how to decrypt it. If you are asking if the Astropaths can send it without seeing it, no. Also, it is entirely possible that all civilian communiques that are screened by the Choir are automatically refused if they are encrypted, if for no other reason than the fact that it threatens Xiao's information monopoly or that the Imperium don't want unsanctioned civilians harboring secrets that they can't even share with the astropathic choir.


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#3 Lynata

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 08:27 AM

So many questions, so much confusion…

Anyway, I appreciate any help 

 

Much of it depends on your personal interpretation of the setting, as different sources portray these things in a contradictory manner, depending on the author's preferences. So don't be alarmed if you spot conflicts, and simply go with what you feel would suit you best - as long as your entire group is operating on common ground. :)

 

My own opinion is pretty much the same as Fgdsfg's, except that I would stress that an Inquisitor can get anything he or she wants, and this includes the obedience of the local astropathic choir - unless its leader wishes to see it reduced one by one until someone is willing to send that message.

 

For the Acolytes, it would depend on who they represent in their original or cover identities (an influential Confessor of the local Church probably has a much better chance of getting a message sent than a nameless ganger from the streets of some hive), or whether or not they are willing to involve their master and invoke Inquisitorial authority at the cost of drawing attention.


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#4 Fgdsfg

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 09:43 AM

[...]
 
My own opinion is pretty much the same as Fgdsfg's, except that I would stress that an Inquisitor can get anything he or she wants, and this includes the obedience of the local astropathic choir - unless its leader wishes to see it reduced one by one until someone is willing to send that message.
 
[...]

Objection! The Inquisition's actual power is not absolute except on paper, and in particular Chief Astropath Xiao appears to be a major power-player on Scintilla and thus, Sector Calixis.

That being said, I do actually agree with you fully, because even Chief Astropath Xiao would be an idiot to deny the Inquisition on the very world on which the Tricorn Palace is situated, in a sector where the Inquisition has a very large, very loud and very announced official presence.

Comparatively speaking, at least.

I am now imagining Chief Astropath Xiao, after suffering an impromptu stroke, refusing to send messages at the behest of sanctioned and official attaches of the Orders of the Emperor's Inquisition, and the Inquisition, sporting no less than four Inquisitors, just showing up there with a lay Adept of the Administratum carrying a small mountain of warrants, a group of Stromtroopers, an auxiliary from the Sisters of Silence, and a very large, very intimidating boltpistol.

 

Prepare your psykana mercy blades, all honoured ladies and gentlemen clad in robes of aquamarine green.


Edited by Fgdsfg, 12 August 2014 - 09:52 AM.

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#5 Lynata

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 12:13 PM

Objection! The Inquisition's actual power is not absolute except on paper

 

Ah, that much is true - but then again, this could be said about anyone, including the High Lords and the Emperor Himself. ;)

 

As you (probably) know, I've been pointing out the differences between authority in theory and in practice in the past, but I only tend to do so when the thread is specifically about the Inquisition's reach. *lazy*

 

 

OT: Whew, Sisters of Silence ... personally I am still ignoring them as a construct that has so far shown up exclusively in a bunch of outsourced, controversial novels set in a different era, and it seems the GW studio is doing the same as far as their own fluff is concerned. That's not to say it would be "wrong" to include them in one's campaign, of course - after all, the background is malleable and subjective, and there is no such thing as an "absolute truth" - but I feel it is prudent that the fanbase is fully aware of their "floating" status in the franchise, and that their existence in M41 throws up a few (minor) conflicts with GW studio fluff.

If that doesn't pose a problem for the group, include away! They do seem to be kind of popular with people, after all.


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#6 Spacebatsy

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 06:53 AM

Very helpfull answers, thanks a bunch both of you  :) 
 

Vox-Communication is basically radio, so it'll get you... very far, actually but extremely slowly.

 

 

 

How far is very far? Across a planet? Across a system? Across a sector? 

 

 

 

Much of it depends on your personal interpretation of the setting, as different sources portray these things in a contradictory manner, depending on the author's preferences. So don't be alarmed if you spot conflicts, and simply go with what you feel would suit you best - as long as your entire group is operating on common ground. :)

 

My own opinion is pretty much the same as Fgdsfg's, except that I would stress that an Inquisitor can get anything he or she wants, and this includes the obedience of the local astropathic choir - unless its leader wishes to see it reduced one by one until someone is willing to send that message.

 

For the Acolytes, it would depend on who they represent in their original or cover identities (an influential Confessor of the local Church probably has a much better chance of getting a message sent than a nameless ganger from the streets of some hive), or whether or not they are willing to involve their master and invoke Inquisitorial authority at the cost of drawing attention.

 

 

Good advice, I do usually take the liberty of selecting and leaving out as it suits me. However, astropath communication in particular is taking on a deus-ex-psykerphone appearance and since my players is ascending this will come more into play. 

 

 

 

I would be surprised if the Tricorn Palace on Scintilla didn't have it's own Astropathic Choir, not to mention at least some Inquisitors capable of doing Astro-Telepathy of their own.

 

(...)

 

The Adeptus Arbites likely has some resident Astropath or a small choir on lease, too, simply because they need to be able to send messages freely.

 

 

 

If the inquisition, the adeptus arbites and maybe even another power group has access to choirs of their very own, doesn’t that take away power from Xiao? I would really like him to come into play as someone with much influence that the players do well to stay on good terms with. However, if there simply is possible to “borrow” the arbiter’s choir instead, doesn’t that sort of deflate his power?

Is his choir better in some way?

 

 

Messages can be secret, in that the Astropaths can encrypt the message so it can't be intercepted or deciphered (or at least not easily) when sent through the warp, and the message can be secret in that the sender can also choose to encrypt it before handing it to the Astropaths to be sent. This of course requires that the recipient knows how to decrypt it. If you are asking if the Astropaths can send it without seeing it, no. Also, it is entirely possible that all civilian communiques that are screened by the Choir are automatically refused if they are encrypted, if for no other reason than the fact that it threatens Xiao's information monopoly or that the Imperium don't want unsanctioned civilians harboring secrets that they can't even share with the astropathic choir.

 

I was partly wondering that, and partly if there is a way to steal a message “midflight”. Like a vox-thief, but psycic ;)  

 

 

 

Also:

 

Does the message travel at warp speed or faster/slower?

 

I have a particular setting where a player who is nobility wants to send messages to his wife and young children. He is also becoming the party inquisitor. Can he use a choir as a noble for something like that? Can he even as an inquisitor use a choir for that?


Edited by Spacebatsy, 13 August 2014 - 06:54 AM.


#7 Crispin

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 07:43 AM

Concenrning the intercepting messages part: in the novel Legion of the Damned, there is mention of an Inquisitior travelling aboard a ship filled with astropaths that he uses to intercept messages of other astropaths. That way he intercepted a message intended for a space marine base and dispatched his own acolyte.



#8 doomande

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 03:11 PM

Now... This is just me that are trying to remember stuff that I read in the Rouge Trader books, but so far I remember do they come rather close onto the subject because you can play a psyker phone if you wish so.

 

So far I remember does messages travel with the speed of warp, but most often is that not what there are slowing a message down, but how they are "written". When one send a message is it not words or letters, but pictures, sounds, smells and all in all thoughts. This is made even more complicated since all psyker phones have each their way to relate the same message, for some means a burning red rose in the claws of a two headed raven that a forge world have fallen, for another could it mean that they need more toilet paper. So not only does it take time for the message to get sent trough the warp, but it does also take time to encode it, make it more simple and easy to understand, and then decode it afterwards.

 

And again, this is all from memory since I no longer have my Rouge Trader books, so it can all be misunderstood or simply from another game system with me messing things up. But I do hope that some of it is true and can be helpful.

 

Ohh and about how far you can send a vox or other signal like that, I would say just as well as we can today, so sending something to the Moon or so should not be hard, but further would begin to be troublesome.


Edited by doomande, 13 August 2014 - 03:12 PM.

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#9 Nihilius Quint

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 06:11 PM

I've always interpreted it as Chief Astropath Xiao and his choir as being the only (or at least one of a very, very few) who have the psychic power to send messages in between Sectors. I remember reading something in one of the books (Disciples of the Dark Gods, maybe?) concerning just that. In Rogue Trader I know that a majority of Imperial Battleships have astropaths on board who can communicate over vast distances with each other. It is no stretch of the imagination to assume that Imperial worlds would have some sort of choir on each and every one of them then. Seeing as the distances in between world in the Calixis Sector, and the distances concerned if someone was trying to send a message to a different sector entirely are vastly different, it has always been easy for me to assume that inter-sector communication requires the psychic power of the chief astropathic choir on Scintilla.
As a bonus, this also makes the whole info monopoly that Xiao has a lot less absurd. Sending a message to another sector would not be something that happens often (I've always thought it would generally only take place if a hive fleet parked in orbit above Scintilla, or the like), so Xiao could feasibly go over all of them before giving the okay.


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#10 Spacebatsy

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 03:43 AM

 

Now... This is just me that are trying to remember stuff that I read in the Rouge Trader books, but so far I remember do they come rather close onto the subject because you can play a psyker phone if you wish so.

 

So far I remember does messages travel with the speed of warp, but most often is that not what there are slowing a message down, but how they are "written". When one send a message is it not words or letters, but pictures, sounds, smells and all in all thoughts. This is made even more complicated since all psyker phones have each their way to relate the same message, for some means a burning red rose in the claws of a two headed raven that a forge world have fallen, for another could it mean that they need more toilet paper. So not only does it take time for the message to get sent trough the warp, but it does also take time to encode it, make it more simple and easy to understand, and then decode it afterwards.

 

 

 

Love it.

Makes me wonder how they get any message right though  :lol:

 

I've always interpreted it as Chief Astropath Xiao and his choir as being the only (or at least one of a very, very few) who have the psychic power to send messages in between Sectors. I remember reading something in one of the books (Disciples of the Dark Gods, maybe?) concerning just that. In Rogue Trader I know that a majority of Imperial Battleships have astropaths on board who can communicate over vast distances with each other. It is no stretch of the imagination to assume that Imperial worlds would have some sort of choir on each and every one of them then. Seeing as the distances in between world in the Calixis Sector, and the distances concerned if someone was trying to send a message to a different sector entirely are vastly different, it has always been easy for me to assume that inter-sector communication requires the psychic power of the chief astropathic choir on Scintilla.
As a bonus, this also makes the whole info monopoly that Xiao has a lot less absurd. Sending a message to another sector would not be something that happens often (I've always thought it would generally only take place if a hive fleet parked in orbit above Scintilla, or the like), so Xiao could feasibly go over all of them before giving the okay.

 

Make sense, gives him an edge without making the system completely overcomplicated



#11 Fgdsfg

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 04:24 AM

Ah, that much is true - but then again, this could be said about anyone, including the High Lords and the Emperor Himself. ;)
 
As you (probably) know, I've been pointing out the differences between authority in theory and in practice in the past, but I only tend to do so when the thread is specifically about the Inquisition's reach. *lazy*

I know, I know, I just felt like pointing it out so it doesn't give OP any strange ideas. In this particular case, I fully agree with you, as should be clear. As a general idea though, I just wanted to point at the fact that there is indeed a clear difference between theory and practice. In theory, an Inquisitor could put his bolter against the head of the Master of the Administratum. In practice.. eh.. maybe, if he gets close enough, but he'd probably get shot somewhere between raising that bolter and pulling the trigger.
 

OT: Whew, Sisters of Silence ... personally I am still ignoring them as a construct that has so far shown up exclusively in a bunch of outsourced, controversial novels set in a different era, and it seems the GW studio is doing the same as far as their own fluff is concerned. That's not to say it would be "wrong" to include them in one's campaign, of course - after all, the background is malleable and subjective, and there is no such thing as an "absolute truth" - but I feel it is prudent that the fanbase is fully aware of their "floating" status in the franchise, and that their existence in M41 throws up a few (minor) conflicts with GW studio fluff.

If that doesn't pose a problem for the group, include away! They do seem to be kind of popular with people, after all.

As with so many other things, the fluff is a bit dodgy, but I do like the idea of the Sisters of Silence, the titular Departmento Investigates of the Astra Telepathica. It makes perfect sense to me that the Astra Telepathica would have some kind of armed policing force, and that they would be blanks, if not pariahs (I always separate between blanks and pariahs, even if many don't).

At best, they're a very small part of the entire setting, either way, and even with the fact that they exist in my "headcanon" and in my universe as a GM, they'll likely never appear, unless the players decides to visit an actual Scholastica Psykana installation (which are exceedingly rare, afaik) or attack the League of Blackships (in which case they deserve to lose unless they bring the fury).
 

How far is very far? Across a planet? Across a system? Across a sector?

Across the entire galaxy, if you want and if you have a strong enough transmitter, as far as I know, maybe with enough repeaters. The problem is that radio is incredibly slow. The time to send a radio signal between Earth and Mars is just above 13 minutes.

My response was a bit tounge-in-cheek. Radio is not an option except in-system, ship-to-ship or ship-to-planet.
 

Good advice, I do usually take the liberty of selecting and leaving out as it suits me. However, astropath communication in particular is taking on a deus-ex-psykerphone appearance and since my players is ascending this will come more into play.

Psykerphone. I have to remember that when it comes to what I usually call the Telefaxus Glorificus. :D
 

If the inquisition, the adeptus arbites and maybe even another power group has access to choirs of their very own, doesn’t that take away power from Xiao? I would really like him to come into play as someone with much influence that the players do well to stay on good terms with. However, if there simply is possible to “borrow” the arbiter’s choir instead, doesn’t that sort of deflate his power?

Is his choir better in some way?

Well, there's things that definitely plays in the favour of Xiao. Even if the Arbites have their "own" Astropaths for emergencies (and I want to note that there is nothing in the fluff saying that this is so, I just argue that it stands to reason that the Arbites would have it), they still functionally *belong* to Xiao. And I don't mean that in that he pays their wages.

The Imperium is a feudal system, and Xiao is the Chief Astropath over all of Scintilla, perhaps the Head of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica in all of Sector Calixis, or at the very least, the head of the Astropath wing of that organization. For all intents and purposes, that means that he is the God-Emperor's Chosen for the Astropaths, the only concrete authority that immediately lords directly over them, and have the very real power to decide whether they live or die at a whim. The Inquisition needs an excuse (technically) to execute astropaths and the Arbites must follow the law (in theory). But Xiao could likely execute them for fun, or because he perceives them as incompetent.

Or he could station them on some god-forsaken planet at the edge of the universe. He could send them to Port Wander to be forgotten. If you work for the Chief Astropath on Malfi, he can put in a transfer request for you, or he can move to you a small choir cross-planet, or possibly shoot you. But Xiao can make your life hell. If you're an Astropath on Scintilla, the Planetary Governor is nothing to you, the Arbites are annoying knuckle-draggers and the Inquisition is feared, but Xiao is your Lord and Master.

Even if the Adeptus Arbites have their "own" Astropaths, those are chosen and assigned by Xiao. Even if the Inquisition has the mandate to choose the Astropaths, those Astropaths were most likely trained by other Astropaths and most, if not all, likely come from the Scintillan Choir(s) or are assigned to serve by the overall Astra Telepathica, a organization in which Xiao has considerable standing.

There is no way, no how, that Xiao is not exactly the kind of power-player you want him to be.

If he wants to, he listens in and gets reports for every single report going off-planet. Even if the Inquisition have their own men or women capable of Astrotelepathy (I'm sure there's Inquisitors or Inquisitorial Acolytes capable of such, or maybe there are even Astropaths that are acolytes, perhaps without Xiao even knowing), Xiao can have his own Astropaths listening in, or working hard to break encryptions or decipher codes, something Astropaths supposedly excel at.

And Xiao's Choir is probably the best in the Sector, either way, and he likely has a retinue or group of Astropaths that he considers the best of the best, for those truly high-priority messages that require triple-encryption and five layers of encoding, sent cross-sector without having to be relayed by Void-Choirs (I forget the name, there's these Choirs that are pretty much just void-stations in the middle of nowhere that only works with repeating and relaying astropathic messages. Astropathic Relays?)
 

I was partly wondering that, and partly if there is a way to steal a message “midflight”. Like a vox-thief, but psycic ;)

There is. Astropathic messages aren't cleartext, though, and even a simple message probably has some basic encryption. Also, Astropaths have gone through the Rite of Soulbinding specifically to avoid things like this, so it's not easy. But it's possible. After all, the messages go through the warp, and they are telepathic, so it can get distorted or intercepted, for sure.
 

Does the message travel at warp speed or faster/slower?

Depends on your idea of "warp speed", but I would say much faster. Telepathic messages are usually instant, and a ship in the warp still needs to move within the warp. In a nutshell, telepathy and ships move at different speeds in realspace. If both are in the warp, it stands to reason that that difference would be maintained, bar oddities with the message - but this could also apply to ships, so it's a hit/miss situation. But I'd say that the general answer would be that the message is considerably faster than travel.
 

I have a particular setting where a player who is nobility wants to send messages to his wife and young children. He is also becoming the party inquisitor. Can he use a choir as a noble for something like that? Can he even as an inquisitor use a choir for that?

I don't see why. It would probably annoy someone, somewhere, but since when has nobles and inquisitors not misused public funds and misappropriated resources? Go for it.

Edit:

I've always interpreted it as Chief Astropath Xiao and his choir as being the only (or at least one of a very, very few) who have the psychic power to send messages in between Sectors. I remember reading something in one of the books (Disciples of the Dark Gods, maybe?) concerning just that. In Rogue Trader I know that a majority of Imperial Battleships have astropaths on board who can communicate over vast distances with each other. It is no stretch of the imagination to assume that Imperial worlds would have some sort of choir on each and every one of them then. Seeing as the distances in between world in the Calixis Sector, and the distances concerned if someone was trying to send a message to a different sector entirely are vastly different, it has always been easy for me to assume that inter-sector communication requires the psychic power of the chief astropathic choir on Scintilla.
As a bonus, this also makes the whole info monopoly that Xiao has a lot less absurd. Sending a message to another sector would not be something that happens often (I've always thought it would generally only take place if a hive fleet parked in orbit above Scintilla, or the like), so Xiao could feasibly go over all of them before giving the okay.

That has some considerable implications, though. If that was true, then there's only a single choir in the entire sector capable of sending messages out of the sector.

That means that there's only a single choir that needs to be taken out to isolate the entire sector from the rest of the Imperium, which I consider a bit absurd. Also, sectors aren't completely cut off from eachother, and the functional "edge" of a sector is not a clear line, with some sectors being wall-to-wall with eachother. Astropathic Relay Stations are also spread out through the Imperium for relaying messages, likely also between sectors that are adjacent to eachother, but not geographically close or "wall to wall".

I'm fully on board with the Chief Astropathic Choir being the only one capable of sending or relaying messages over vast distances without relaying, however. It could be argued the high-priority messages within the Calixis Sector would likely be relayed to Scintilla and then sent directly to the concerned parties (Battlefleet Obscurus, Segmentum Command, Terra, etc?) with a minimum of relays (None at all, within Obscurus?).

But the only one to send out of sector? I find that hard to believe. That's one terrorist attack away from cutting the sector off. It doesn't mesh well with the Imperium's well-established paranoia.
 

Make sense, gives him an edge without making the system completely overcomplicated

Everything in the Imperium is overcomplicated. If ever you are writing something for your Campaign(s) or anything dealing with the structures of the Imperium, if you ever find yourself thinking that this makes complete and total sense and that it's a straight hierarchy, it's probably wrong and you need to make it more complicated.

Make sure to impart this confusion on your Acolytes. Assign them to multiple Inquisitor Lords and call it a filing error, meanwhile, both Inquisitor Lords will treat them as "theirs" and tell them to ignore the other, because it was a filing error. Punish them when they choose and anger the one lord. Take away their pay, then double it. Assign them a ship, but forget to man in, giving them an empty battle-cruiser.

I once played a Sanctioned Psyker from the Imperial Guard in a Rogue Trader game. I was the head of the Astropathic Choir. We attributed this to the Great Filing Error of m41. By the time the game ended, all the Astropaths were wielding lasguns and participating in landing parties, and regularly threw personal messages the choir was supposed to send in the trash.

Good times.

Edited by Fgdsfg, 16 August 2014 - 04:40 AM.

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#12 Spacebatsy

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 10:45 AM

Really great answers Fgdsfg, I very much enjoy your interpretations and will probably put a lot of them into effect in my game.

 

Between all the responses I’ve got here I think I have a fair idea of how to portrait Xiao and use him in the campaign, as well as a decent grip on what I could expect from the Astropathic choirs.

Thanks!

 

Everything in the Imperium is overcomplicated. If ever you are writing something for your Campaign(s) or anything dealing with the structures of the Imperium, if you ever find yourself thinking that this makes complete and total sense and that it's a straight hierarchy, it's probably wrong and you need to make it more complicated.

 

You are absolutely right! I must have forgotten this is the Imperium of Red Tape, administered by Murphy's Law

 

 

Make sure to impart this confusion on your Acolytes. Assign them to multiple Inquisitor Lords and call it a filing error, meanwhile, both Inquisitor Lords will treat them as "theirs" and tell them to ignore the other, because it was a filing error. Punish them when they choose and anger the one lord. Take away their pay, then double it. Assign them a ship, but forget to man in, giving them an empty battle-cruiser.

 

I’ll definitely steal this for my next campaign, this is an awesome setup!

 

 

Psykerphone. I have to remember that when it comes to what I usually call the Telefaxus Glorificus. :D

Telefaxus Glorificus... This needs to be a thing  :lol:


Edited by Spacebatsy, 18 August 2014 - 10:50 AM.

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#13 Askil

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 01:51 AM

Fluff actually specifically states that arbites courthouses have their own astropaths, one of the most important duties of the arbites is to defend them. After all where do you think all those distress calls from planets being attacked/suffering huge rebellions come from?

 

The chief astropath of a planetary choir has control over all civilian interplanetary communications traffic. Remember that all interplanetary communications are conducted by astropathic messages. Just beacuse official bodies have a few astropaths permanently attatched from the planetary choir (or in the case of the inquisition probably their own small choir) doesn't change the fact the chief astropath still controls all the other communications.

 

Think about all that includes: trade agreements, tithe calculations, decrees of the high lords, distress calls, ship hails, not to mention all the personal messages.


Edited by Askil, 20 August 2014 - 02:08 AM.


#14 Fgdsfg

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 02:41 PM

Fluff actually specifically states that arbites courthouses have their own astropaths, one of the most important duties of the arbites is to defend them. After all where do you think all those distress calls from planets being attacked/suffering huge rebellions come from?

I did not know this, I just assumed it to be so based on my general understanding of the fluff. You don't happen to have a source, do you?
 

The chief astropath of a planetary choir has control over all civilian interplanetary communications traffic. Remember that all interplanetary communications are conducted by astropathic messages. Just beacuse official bodies have a few astropaths permanently attatched from the planetary choir (or in the case of the inquisition probably their own small choir) doesn't change the fact the chief astropath still controls all the other communications.
 
Think about all that includes: trade agreements, tithe calculations, decrees of the high lords, distress calls, ship hails, not to mention all the personal messages.

Makes me wonder what kind of NDA:s (Non-Disclosure Agreements) Astropathic Choirs and the Scholastia Psykana is under, generally. I have never seen it raised in the fluff, but it could actually be an interesting plot point where Astropaths refuse to divulge information based on extremely strong laws regarding the disclosure of information relayed by astrotelepathy.

This in no way diminishes Xiao's actual, very real power, since even under such circumstances, he would still be part of the "in the know", given that the astropaths handle all the communication. But at the same time, it has the potential to be interesting both when playing an Astropath (do you give out the information?) and when facing astropath red tape.

If Astropaths were free to do what they wanted with information (in general; even if we assume that high-priority messages are sanctioned to be secret specifically), I can't imagine that the rest of the Imperium - Rogue Traders, merchant fleets, inter-planetary businesses, etc - would take such a situation lying down, or that prominent Astropaths haven't abused this position in the past.

Imagine the sheer amount of influence an Astropath could wield as a stick, should he be relieved of his duties as a regular Astropath, or if he could sell information to others, or even set up by-proxy business ventures or forays into politics.
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#15 Mother Superior

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Posted 14 September 2014 - 07:05 AM

Varis, Game of Thrones anyone? Little birds everywhere. He doesn't have a title. All the nobles and generals en holy men have higher authority. But Varis knows how and when to pass on information, or when to withhold it.






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