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Giving Psykers a chance to mitigate perils.

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#1 ThaneAquilon



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Posted 28 August 2013 - 10:19 PM

Howdy Folks, fairly new to GMing FFG, and I've player RT and BC, but this is my first DH game. I've noticed a few discrepancies, but nothing too huge. The one thing though, is that psykers can't fetter powers. I used that function in both the other games I've played, it seemed really useful.


Anyway, I'm considering adding either fettering (You use only a max of half your power dice, rounded up) or adding some of the talents from RT/BC/OW that allows you to reroll on the phenomena chart, or cancel out a perils with the use of a fate point. What are your thoughts on this? I would charge a pretty penny for them (300ish, I'm thinking) but the trade off for safer psyking would be good. Would this be over powered or imbalance? Looking forward to seeing what you guys think.


As an aside, does this game round up or down? When you half a characteristic of 31, do you get 15 or sixteen?



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#2 Brother Orpheo

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 08:45 PM

I pulled this from the forums quite some time ago. I tried it, but I wasn't pleased. Specifically, if a Psyker has a very high Will Power score (60-70 or more) and isn't gaining Insanity at a prodigious rate, these rules begin to break down in favor of the Psyker.


Regarding Psykers; Dark Heresy-
1) Continue using WP bonus: a high WP bonus means the Psyker may use some/all MINOR powers based solely on their WP Bonus (plus any Invocation Skill bonuses) and reduce the need to roll power dice.

2) Include Fettering (using half your available dice for power rolls, rounded up) and Pushing (adding +2 power dice and automatically causing Psychic Phenomena).

3) The psykers WP bonus number indicates the TOTAL number of 9s the psyker can discard per game session. Any 9s discarded DO NOT count towards manifestation power rolls (they are totally removed, potentially preventing the psyker from manifesting a power).

"Psyker characters are normally the BANE of any Acolyte cell due to the current (standard) rules. These House Rules give Psyker characters more flexibility, but still retain a measure of potential problems (particularly if the Psyker has bad luck on dice rolls)."

"To further represent Pskyer manifestation difficulties, the following was proposed last year and has been used to great effect...

1) For every (full) 10 Insanity Points the Psyker accumulates he/she will reduce his/her WP Bonus for purposes of manifestation rolls and 9s discards:

Insanity Point total/ Penalty to WP Bonus
10/ -1

20/ -2

30/ -3


Edited by Brother Orpheo, 29 August 2013 - 08:45 PM.


#3 Morangias



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Posted 30 August 2013 - 07:00 AM

Ascension introduced the fettered/unfettered/push rules to the DH psychic powers. It went spectacularly bad.


Even without other boosts that Ascension grants to psykers, a Rank 8 DH Psyker will easily have 50 WP and 5-6 PR. This lets him roll 2-3 dice and add 5 to the result without any chance of screwing anything up. On average, this lets him manifest powers with a threshold of 16-22 (depending on whether his full PR is 5 or 6) about half the time with no risk involved. Furthermore, reducing his PR doesn't in any way inconvenience him outside of the initial chance to manifest at all, since DH psychic powers' variables tend to be tied to WP, not PR.


Trust me, you don't want that. Either keep the rules as they are or switch completely to psychic rules from a different game, including powers themselves.

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#4 ThaneAquilon



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Posted 19 September 2013 - 10:45 PM

Damn...I've already started the campaign, and one of the acolites is a psyker, so switching to a different system isn't really viable, the psyker used powers for the first time last session, and caused CATASTROPHIC damage, or would have, without a liberal interpretation of fate points, making her regret her choice of class, and severely hampering the fun she's having, or so I believe.


Edit: But thank you both, I appreciate the input.

Edited by ThaneAquilon, 19 September 2013 - 11:00 PM.

#5 Magnus Grendel

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 11:44 PM

There are some traits and talents (I can't name them off the top of my head) which let you reduce or reroll the effect of psychic phenomena, as you say. Giving a primaris access to them is not a bad idea.


The pushed/fettered powers aren't great just because the original psychic powers mechanics weren't designed with them in mind. Some powers success is still driven by the roll - because success gets calculated by the 'overbleed' rule - but as noted the willpower bonus and stuff like Power Well drives that more than anything.


The psyker is a tricky one to play in Dark Heresy. In my experience, they tend to be terrified of actually using their powers (due both to the psychic phenomena tables and the Imperial-encouraged "We have found a witch! May we burn her?" response to psykers, sanctioned or not) - their most important contributions to missions being a high WP (meaning they don't soil themselves or start drooling at inappropriate moments), access to the Psykers/Warp/Daemonology type Forbidden Lores (which are hard to get and tend to be important), and the Psynicience Skill (which is a multi-role ability varying from 'evilness meter' to 'spidey sense' depending on the acolytes Per and the situation).


The key thing to remember is that these are all bloody good abilities, especially in low-level Dark Heresy, where every point of willpower is to be treasured and most player characters aren't much cop at anything.. Sanctioned Psyker as Alfred Bester-style psy-cop is just as cool and useful as someone trying to be the X-Men, and much less likely to blow up the surrounding geography in the process.

Edited by Magnus Grendel, 24 September 2013 - 11:44 PM.

#6 Cobramax76



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Posted 26 September 2013 - 07:31 PM

The issue ive always had with the psyker rules for phenomenon manifestation are that it is well and totally broken...and not even CLOSE to the fluff or general idea of it all. 


FIRST: The average untrained psyker IS a potential issue for daemon possession ( or something else as well ) due to lack of training or assistance if things go poorly on checks etc...THAT part IS correct and accurate to fluff. The issue here is the fact that were talking about PCS!...NOT...NOT NPCs with level ZERO skill ( IE civilians ) ...The designers forgot two important things in the rules for manifestations...  (1) These are ( according to the books ) all trained and vetted psykers ready for travel. NOT noobs. They have their willpower pushed and tested far beyond regular soldiers to ensure they dont crack that easily. and (2) They have something NONE of the NPC civilian psyker witches get...SOUL-BOUND to THE Emperor!! Not some raving psychoic Daemon who wants them to fail....


The rules you spoke of sound almost exactly like the ones i implemented with my group a few years ago. Yes psykers are supposed to be powerful...Yes they will gain insanity over time ( hence slowing their progression of power by necessitating the need for them to burn XP to remove the insanity ) ( and FYI my campaigns are heavily IP and often CP accumulating ...as yours should be if you follow the books and send them out after increasingly tougher and more warped chaos agents....look at how many CPs and potential IPs youd get for interrupting a major ritual) .....I actually use those rules to slow my PCs progression down by making them look more closely at what they need to get what they want...IE lower IPs for the psykers to maintain control ( or they WILL become the most dangerous threat ) and controlling the number of CPs to prevent a serious mutation that could cause them to be killed outright by their collegues...


Originally i created that table idea for a particular player of mine who has beyond horrible luck with dice rolls....as in if i said you have a 99% chance to make the check...this guy would roll that 1% failure 7 out of 10 times.....These tables are designed for those who cant seem to get murphy to leave them alone when it comes to making checks...that and to save the other PCs that could get killed due to ONE players bad dice rolls...At least this way there is a chance that they can do something once or twice a session without getting everyone annihilated..lol

#7 bogi_khaosa



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Posted 01 October 2013 - 12:55 PM

They didn't forget anything. Unbound psykers have much worse chances.


This game was designed as a horror game with a very high level of PC death in which the PCs starting out are, in fact, noobs (although I hate that word). It has moved in the direction of an action game, but nevertheless the horror genre rules are still in place.

Edited by bogi_khaosa, 01 October 2013 - 12:57 PM.

#8 Simsum



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Posted 01 October 2013 - 06:39 PM

They didn't forget anything. Unbound psykers have much worse chances.
This game was designed as a horror game with a very high level of PC death in which the PCs starting out are, in fact, noobs (although I hate that word). It has moved in the direction of an action game, but nevertheless the horror genre rules are still in place.

Very much. You have to DRASTICALLY rebalance the IP/CP mechanics, heal rates and Crit/Replacement Parts stuff as well to be able to sustain longer (20+ sessions) campaigns.

Our quick and dirty solution to this and similar issues is to allow FP burn to nullify stuff like accidentally spawning a daemon prince or whatever. It works well enough, but DH1e RAW very obviously isn't designed for campaigns that last more than 5-10 sessions - in which context accidentally TPKing the party by trying to use a power is fine.

#9 bogi_khaosa



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Posted 02 October 2013 - 04:29 AM

Yeah. People are trying to use the Call of Cthulhu rules set to play DnD.


(OK CoC evolved from Runequest but the comparison still stands :) )


EDIT: It's kind of a clue that it is possible to get through the adventure in the core book without fighting anybody in straight-up combat.

Edited by bogi_khaosa, 02 October 2013 - 04:31 AM.

#10 Askil



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Posted 04 October 2013 - 12:05 PM

I actually prefer the idea that a psyker should become more powerful when they gain insanity.


I like the idea that an unhinged psyker holds back less, andwhen they truly lose touch they begin to cast aside the conditioned limits of their of sanctioning to revel in their power rather than retreating from it, thus corruption creeps in.


Not enough GMs give corruption and insanity for PCs being moral deviants or sociopathic killers.

#11 Quietus1



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Posted 11 October 2013 - 08:50 AM

Am I wrong, or is there nothing in the DH core rulebook that says you HAVE to roll all the dice you are allowed to? IE, Galgoroth the Destroyer has Psi Rating 6, but decides to only roll 2 dice?


Also, while I personally prefer the psi rules from RT and BC, when using the DH rules I think its reasonable to only have one psychic phenom possible per roll, regardless of the amount of 9s rolled (as that is more or less the direction that RT and BC went with, only producing PP on doubles rolls of a WP check).

#12 Magnus Grendel

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 03:55 AM

Exactly that ability was given to Grey Knight characters - only ever one phenomena regardless of how many '9's are rolled.


But yes, you can choose to use less dice if you don't think you need them.

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