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#1 Naviward

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 01:45 AM

 In the first Deathwatch game I ran, the Librarian quickly became the most powerful thing in the game by a long shot. With careful buys of anti peril talents and upping psi rating, a Librarian can do 10D10 blast 10 attacks every round then jump pack into combat and do large amounts of melee damage with a force sword (well beyond what any other melee character could hope to do), and that wasn't even considering the other powers available which allows them to also be very good in an anti tank and anti horde roll (depending on chapter powers available admittedly). The problem wasn't that the Librarian was too strong (just add more and harder enemies) it was that the rest of the players became pointless, their just to keep the enemy busy until the Librarian arrived to save the day.

Now, I know that there are always enemies and settings that can be used to combat this, but it ultimately came down to two things. Either I crafted every fight to make it difficult for the Librarian but not the rest of the team (which would have stretched believability) or just to ban Librarians, which is what I did, starting a new game without them.

A little while on from this, I've decided to try and re-introduce Librarians into the game, but obviously the same problems exist. What I'd like to ask of the players here is have they come across the same problems with Librarians in their games? If so what did they do about it and if not, what was stopping the players from taking the overpowered route?



#2 Kshatriya

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 02:19 PM

You can convert to the more dangerous DH power system.

I've taken to creating homebrew modifiers that make it more dangerous to use powers. For example, on one mission the area was so Warp-saturated that even Fettered risked phenomena on a double-roll, Unfettered automatically caused phenomena and Push increased the danger a lot. Maybe a little heavy handed.

Or give opponents logical anti-psy equipment. A CSM sorcerer might have a psychic hood. Eldar certainly do. A Tau might have a device created by some alien ally that functions similarly, and Zoanthropes could provide such an effect for Tyranids. Again, heavy-handed though.

I might scale down offensive powers in that case. A maxed librarian will be tossing a 13d10 AoE with smite. That kind of thing is more efficient at killing vehicles and hordes and everything in between than literally any other min-maxed specialty in the game. On the plus side, FFG removed the wizard-type minor powers post-DH, which really obviated everyone else, but as it is, PRd10 scaling powers make everyone else look sorta sad.



#3 Naviward

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 04:50 AM

Kshatriya said:

You can convert to the more dangerous DH power system.

I did always have a soft spot for the DH power system (until they became a bit overpowered in Ascension). Sadly I think it'd be too much work to convert, but I think that the overbleed system was better than the massively overpowered 5*Psy Willpower check system (Roll under 150 on an opposed check, don't mind if I do).

Kshatriya said:

I've taken to creating homebrew modifiers that make it more dangerous to use powers. For example, on one mission the area was so Warp-saturated that even Fettered risked phenomena on a double-roll, Unfettered automatically caused phenomena and Push increased the danger a lot. Maybe a little heavy handed.

Or give opponents logical anti-psy equipment. A CSM sorcerer might have a psychic hood. Eldar certainly do. A Tau might have a device created by some alien ally that functions similarly, and Zoanthropes could provide such an effect for Tyranids. Again, heavy-handed though.

I might scale down offensive powers in that case. A maxed librarian will be tossing a 13d10 AoE with smite. That kind of thing is more efficient at killing vehicles and hordes and everything in between than literally any other min-maxed specialty in the game. On the plus side, FFG removed the wizard-type minor powers post-DH, which really obviated everyone else, but as it is, PRd10 scaling powers make everyone else look sorta sad.

Moving the fettered system is a good idea, although as you said, then rather heavy given you also don't want the Librarian to feel like 'Sod this, I'll just use a missile launcher every fight'. PRd10 powers are certainly out though. Did you ever actually change the powers in your game, or did you stick to opponent/environmental downgrades?

Good to hear that at least one other GM has had these problems.



#4 Kshatriya

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 05:50 AM

I haven't done direct adjustments because I don't know where the fine line is between an acceptable nerf and a total "made this power useless" nerf.

if nothing else, expand the Psychic Phenomena occurrence from just doubles. I was thinking "doubles and consecutive numbers," so 11, 12, 21, 22, 23, 32, 33, 34, etc. Gives a bit more of a chance for it to happen. I wouldn't feel bad about it. the chance of it actually killing the player is still pretty low, but it plays up the freaky capriciousness of the Warp.



#5 Alekzanter

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 03:33 AM

I view most combats as something out of the ordinary, even in the Deathwatch setting. It's a given, considering the backdrop of 40K, that combat will eventually arise, but I like to make the significant encounters special, and the best way to do that is to make more than a group of foes represented by abstract characteristics, abilities and gear. I try to consider motives and context: in a recent Deathwatch game, the PC group was comprised of "misfits", Deathwatch members from various disparate Kill-Teams that had flubbed, jinxed, or failed to perform a certain task, mission, or simply behaved a bit too headstrong and resistant to squad-action dynamics. This was the background I presented to the Players, the reason they were brought together, and the Players (for their part) performed admirably…the taciturn Salamander Apothecary viewed constant requests for healing of minor injuries (1-7 or 8 points) as a sign of paranoid weakness or fatalism, and would refuse such requests outright, telling his squad mates to "rub some dirt on it and quit whining"; the Blood Angel Assault Marine would hare off after an enemy without assessing any other tactical benefits, such as ranged engagement or scouting ahead to rule out the possibility of ambush, and the Tactical Marines were left either with targets they could not engage at range without risk to their squad mate or needlessly wading into rioting dregs just to pull the Assault Marine from under a poorly driven bus (hordes of rioting and looting civilians, being more a nuisance than a threat, can still drag a Marine down with concerted effort and the rallying cry of a shift supervisor quite unexpectedly); the Dark Angels Librarian's hubris knew little bounds, and the pursuit of personal glory (literal glory hounding) brought him closer to clashing with the "there are no shades of gray when it comes to the witch" Black Templar with each use of his psychic abilities.

Dropped onto a world experiencing the final throes of its fall to Chaos subjugation, tasked with retrieving a relic suit of power armour (Primary) and securing any surviving members of the planetary government (for subsequent punishment and execution; Secondary),  most encounters with "opposition" were with rioting mobs of unruly civilians, either loyalists driven mad with fear or turncoats, and these encounters were cinematic at best; engagements were descriptive but lacked dice rolling, as rioters were efficiently leveled with concentrated bolter fire and dispassionate detachment. When it came to significant encounters, each Leader had a particular agenda and a particular method he intended to use to achieve that agenda. Each Leader had a certain area of terrain (a building/structure/ruin/cemetery/etc) they were responsible for taking and securing against loyalists until their overall Warlord arrived. They knew the terrain, they knew where best to deploy their defenses and reserves, they certainly were not stupid or lax or sleeping at the wheel, they knew clearly the reward for failure, and it forced the PC group to consider the benefits of a cohesive front, rather than separatist, vainglorious behaviors.

Combat encounters CANNOT be just a collection of characteristics, Skills, Talents, Traits, Gear, and Wounds. They have to make sense if they are to be a significant challenge. And if approached with this in mind, poor Player/PC decisions will certainly break the spine of even an experienced Kill-Team.



#6 KommissarK

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 05:01 AM

I guess the thread is a bit old, but the big question I would ask is who is rolling on the phenomena table: the player or the GM? The GM should roll it if at least only to cheat and actually threaten the psyker with Perils.

Also, OP, where is the player getting this effective PR 10 from? Pushing at Pr 7? Or a natural PR 10 and using Fettered? Pushed should always be quite risky (and if the GM is rolling on the table, its not always going to turn out pretty). If its a natural PR10, well, you're seeing the same thing where high level wizards just win in fantasy settings.



#7 Naviward

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 11:24 PM

KommissarK said:

I guess the thread is a bit old, but the big question I would ask is who is rolling on the phenomena table: the player or the GM? The GM should roll it if at least only to cheat and actually threaten the psyker with Perils.

Also, OP, where is the player getting this effective PR 10 from? Pushing at Pr 7? Or a natural PR 10 and using Fettered? Pushed should always be quite risky (and if the GM is rolling on the table, its not always going to turn out pretty). If its a natural PR10, well, you're seeing the same thing where high level wizards just win in fantasy settings.

PR at 7 with pushing. The character had the talents such that the phenomena produced was always a fixed one (it got windy without any other effects) and the other talent meant perils of the warp only happened on 86% or above. This meant that pushing wasn't really that risky either, especially as the full blast smite cleaned out rooms rather quickly.

That said, the peril roll was always done by the player. I know it works for some GM's and many groups are happy with it, but I'm generally against fudging rolls (all my damage rolls are in the open too) for my games. If I were the librarian player I certainly start asking questions of the GM if I was perilling a lot more than the odds suggest and they were always the worst results.

Playstyle aside, it does sounds like you've seen the Librarian ending up being very powerful/over powerful in your games? Did making the perils worse slow them down, balance things out? If so it could be an approach I look into, by removing the talents that make perils less likely and/or make the phenomena and peril chart harsher. That way it's upfront to the players that that is what will happen.



#8 Naviward

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 11:37 PM

Alekzanter said:

I view most combats as something out of the ordinary, even in the Deathwatch setting. It's a given, considering the backdrop of 40K, that combat will eventually arise, but I like to make the significant encounters special, and the best way to do that is to make more than a group of foes represented by abstract characteristics, abilities and gear. I try to consider motives and context: in a recent Deathwatch game, the PC group was comprised of "misfits", Deathwatch members from various disparate Kill-Teams that had flubbed, jinxed, or failed to perform a certain task, mission, or simply behaved a bit too headstrong and resistant to squad-action dynamics. This was the background I presented to the Players, the reason they were brought together, and the Players (for their part) performed admirably…the taciturn Salamander Apothecary viewed constant requests for healing of minor injuries (1-7 or 8 points) as a sign of paranoid weakness or fatalism, and would refuse such requests outright, telling his squad mates to "rub some dirt on it and quit whining"; the Blood Angel Assault Marine would hare off after an enemy without assessing any other tactical benefits, such as ranged engagement or scouting ahead to rule out the possibility of ambush, and the Tactical Marines were left either with targets they could not engage at range without risk to their squad mate or needlessly wading into rioting dregs just to pull the Assault Marine from under a poorly driven bus (hordes of rioting and looting civilians, being more a nuisance than a threat, can still drag a Marine down with concerted effort and the rallying cry of a shift supervisor quite unexpectedly); the Dark Angels Librarian's hubris knew little bounds, and the pursuit of personal glory (literal glory hounding) brought him closer to clashing with the "there are no shades of gray when it comes to the witch" Black Templar with each use of his psychic abilities.

Dropped onto a world experiencing the final throes of its fall to Chaos subjugation, tasked with retrieving a relic suit of power armour (Primary) and securing any surviving members of the planetary government (for subsequent punishment and execution; Secondary),  most encounters with "opposition" were with rioting mobs of unruly civilians, either loyalists driven mad with fear or turncoats, and these encounters were cinematic at best; engagements were descriptive but lacked dice rolling, as rioters were efficiently leveled with concentrated bolter fire and dispassionate detachment. When it came to significant encounters, each Leader had a particular agenda and a particular method he intended to use to achieve that agenda. Each Leader had a certain area of terrain (a building/structure/ruin/cemetery/etc) they were responsible for taking and securing against loyalists until their overall Warlord arrived. They knew the terrain, they knew where best to deploy their defenses and reserves, they certainly were not stupid or lax or sleeping at the wheel, they knew clearly the reward for failure, and it forced the PC group to consider the benefits of a cohesive front, rather than separatist, vainglorious behaviors.

Combat encounters CANNOT be just a collection of characteristics, Skills, Talents, Traits, Gear, and Wounds. They have to make sense if they are to be a significant challenge. And if approached with this in mind, poor Player/PC decisions will certainly break the spine of even an experienced Kill-Team.

Thanks for an overview of your playstyle. I think however it doesn't really answer the original question of the thread, which was whether you actually found the psyker player in the good overpowered. It sounds like you've got a really strong narrative running through your games, which is always a bonus, but at the end of the day, unless every combat encounter is narrative based, at least some of what happens in combat is going to be based on the stats of each character.

So the question is, did you find that the dark angel was overpowering in combat when compared to the rest of the team? And if not, what was stopping the character from just smiting and exploding/force swording any threat to death?

To use your example, when they were each defending their bit of terrain against the loyalist, it sounds like the dark angel would have had a much easier time. Everyone else would have to think carefully about the weapons they've got and tactics whereas the librarian could just explode any threat that came along.



#9 KommissarK

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 03:28 AM

Alright, well yes, at that point it is only a 12.25% (35*35)/(65*100 + 35 * 65) chance that he could cause anything meaningful to occur. Still, that is a greater than 0 chance. You didn't mention this, but I'm assuming you're not allowing him to fate point this result, right? As Psychic Phenomena is not a test.

He is having to roll this every time he manifests this PR10 smite. Eventually it will bite him. Maybe hes just lucky, but one of these times he will roll a 66 followed by a 80, at which point hes in quite a bind.

39-46 would murder the PC. 06-09 would remove them from the combat for quite a bit. 19-24 would make them useless for this combat (and most likely any enemy counter attack that should invariably occur). In total, at least 32% of the options on the perils table will either outright kill, permenantly crippler, or seriously hinder a psyker in combat. The rest are mostly inconvinences, but are still significant.

One reason I suggest rolling in secret too is for the ability to use "custom" phenomena/perils. Those tables get pretty stale once everyone knows whats on them. Far more entertaining is it to bring out such insanity that they have no idea where it s coming from.

This is a bit more of a "political" statement, but I feel its important to say the role of the GM is to ensure that the others are having fun, not to beat the players. To this end, if cheating is required to maintain tension, then so be it.



#10 Naviward

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 04:04 AM

KommissarK said:

 

Alright, well yes, at that point it is only a 12.25% (35*35)/(65*100 + 35 * 65) chance that he could cause anything meaningful to occur. Still, that is a greater than 0 chance. You didn't mention this, but I'm assuming you're not allowing him to fate point this result, right? As Psychic Phenomena is not a test.

 

 

Ah yes, I'd forgotten the exact percentage, thanks for that. Not much of a chance is it. And no, I certainly wasn't allowing a fate point roll on the second table.

KommissarK said:

 

He is having to roll this every time he manifests this PR10 smite. Eventually it will bite him. Maybe hes just lucky, but one of these times he will roll a 66 followed by a 80, at which point hes in quite a bind.

39-46 would murder the PC. 06-09 would remove them from the combat for quite a bit. 19-24 would make them useless for this combat (and most likely any enemy counter attack that should invariably occur). In total, at least 32% of the options on the perils table will either outright kill, permenantly crippler, or seriously hinder a psyker in combat. The rest are mostly inconvinences, but are still significant.

One reason I suggest rolling in secret too is for the ability to use "custom" phenomena/perils. Those tables get pretty stale once everyone knows whats on them. Far more entertaining is it to bring out such insanity that they have no idea where it s coming from.

 

 

Yeah, the psyker did get lucky and didn't really roll on most of the harsh results (by the time the game got to this point we only ran for another 5 or so sessions before banning psykers). Even with this threat though, some players will just plow on because it's basically winning most fights except for the odd fight where you don't get to take part (or worse, harsh the rest of the team). This too does come down to the approach of the player (some will be careful to never peril), but given the odds (say, let 5 chaos marines live for 2 more rounds or just insta-nuke them now) I can see how it would be appealing to always risk it.

KommissarK said:

 

This is a bit more of a "political" statement, but I feel its important to say the role of the GM is to ensure that the others are having fun, not to beat the players. To this end, if cheating is required to maintain tension, then so be it.

 

 

Coming from a card game/war game background, I'm much more about the rules being fixed and everyone plays to them (GM included). I'm not averse to house rules and not allowing the players things, but for me this has to be up front so they know what they're getting into. RPG's being what they are though, everyone has a different playstyle (as Alekzanter showed above).

Coming back to the original question, it sounds like Librarian's were over powered in your game, but the careful use of stronger perils kept the character in check. How did they perform after that? Was pushing ignore entirely? Did they start relying on normal weapons more?



#11 KommissarK

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 05:04 AM

Well the game is ongoing, and there is only 1 Blood Angel Librarian. Its a fairly low power level currently, players are only rank 2, psyker is PR 4. He is extremely careful of only casting at unfettered and has thus far only caused 1 phenomena (at which point I too rolled the "Wind blows" phenomena and let that one go). In a previous DH game I had a psyker/sorcerer who was pretty much inviting destruction. That was under the old manifesting system though where you roll PR in d10s, and 9s triggered phenomena. With the use of Pushed though, this difference is less significant. Unfettered certainly has removed much of this chance (unfettered is now a constant 10% chance of phenomena vs. the old systems PR distinct 10% chances). Fettered is less of an issue, as its already a weak enough PR to usually be negligible.

As far as specific phenomena, I would sometimes play off of other ideas: Eyes in the wall creep everyone out/paralyze those who look at them. Black tendrils move from the shadows and grapple people. Or lift them up and drop them from the ceiling. Subtly altering the composition of things (reversing the AP provided by cover. Rockcrete turned into 3 AP, Wood became 15 AP). Creating more effects that prevent a psyker manifesting for 1d5 rounds.

Now, often, to do this, I would roll on the table first to get an idea of comparably as bad as it "could" be, and then mix and match favorite effects from above it on the table, trying to be no worse than what I rolled naturally. I remember once I even pulled the falling upwards effect from the phenomena table as it would have been hilarious in the room the party was in; 4 meter fall up into the ceiling (1d10+4 negating armour for the whole party), followed by a 4 meter fall down into the floor (same 1d10+4 negating armour). The party wasn't too happy with the psyker at that point.

In my DW game, I certainly recognize that the librarian will become someone who will overpower much of my enemies, but its kind of necessary here, as one member of the party is an inquisitor, and thus is significantly less useful in combat. One is a dedicated team leader, and uses his abilities to improve the rest of the squad. The assault marine should be useful in his own right, closing distances far greater than those the librarian can be useful at.



#12 Ferrous82

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 07:16 AM

I think that psychic phenomena could also just be fixed based on the power being used. Is the Librarian using an offensive power to kill things? Have the perils do the exact opposite. It summons more enemies or makes the targets of the power stronger. The whole point of the power system is to make unfettered and fettered rolls the norm, and pushes need to be rarely used. I am only really well versed in Black Crusade, but I assume Librarians are similar to Bound psykers. A pushed power should be a last resort power. PR7 shouldn't be that easy to obtain either. I don't know how your Librarians are getting that high so quickly. CSM Sorcs start low on PR and its costly and restrictive to purchase.



#13 Naviward

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 11:15 AM

Ferrous82 said:

I think that psychic phenomena could also just be fixed based on the power being used. Is the Librarian using an offensive power to kill things? Have the perils do the exact opposite. It summons more enemies or makes the targets of the power stronger. The whole point of the power system is to make unfettered and fettered rolls the norm, and pushes need to be rarely used. I am only really well versed in Black Crusade, but I assume Librarians are similar to Bound psykers. A pushed power should be a last resort power. PR7 shouldn't be that easy to obtain either. I don't know how your Librarians are getting that high so quickly. CSM Sorcs start low on PR and its costly and restrictive to purchase.

Yeah, Librarian's are pretty much bound psykers (I don't have both books in front of me, but from memory they are basically the same). Getting to psy rating 7 is not hard for a Librarian. You start at psy 3 and it's only 3200 xp to get to psy 7, which on your way to rank 5 is easy enough, and leaves xp to buy up WP and talents to protect from perils. Add in a couple of extra psychic powers and you are away (and you don't even really need that as you get the worst offending power, smite, as a freebie at character creation)

Like you said, a push should be a last resort but sadly with this kind of set up and the base rules you can push pretty much all the time.



#14 Thebigjul

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 12:29 AM

to tune down pushing psyker don't forget that pushing trigger peril, than the table represent the "calm" state of warp but why not imagine that sometime due to actions on the real world like battle, death, blood, noise, injury and infectious bacteria find on a battlefield that the warp could be more agressive. And then why not put +10, +20, +30 to the psychic phenomena table… and to the peril also… just a guess, your player will calm down.

And if not, let tzeenech talk with him, liking pushing, causing disturbance in the warp, working dangerously close to damnation.. It look like a soul ready to be corrupt.



#15 Ferrous82

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 01:07 PM

Yeah, so he can resist the perils of the warp, but can he resist corruption?

The main limiter for Chaos Space Marine Psykers jumping PR so fast is that they need to raise Corruption Bonuses to an equal or greater degree than the PR purchase. There might need to be a limiter on Librarians too, if one does not already exist.

Perhaps adding the risk of obtaining corruption points (which I believe will end his career if they reach 100. He could potentially become a CSM at that point.) when he pushes.



#16 Naviward

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 05:28 AM

Ferrous82 said:

Yeah, so he can resist the perils of the warp, but can he resist corruption?

The main limiter for Chaos Space Marine Psykers jumping PR so fast is that they need to raise Corruption Bonuses to an equal or greater degree than the PR purchase. There might need to be a limiter on Librarians too, if one does not already exist.

Perhaps adding the risk of obtaining corruption points (which I believe will end his career if they reach 100. He could potentially become a CSM at that point.) when he pushes.

Rank is the only limiter for Librarian's (which actually is a pretty fair limiter as it only allows 1 psy rating buy up each rank, it's the other stuff that causes problems like the exponential growth of some of the powers). 

Corruption points is certainly a good way to go though. I was looking at having the psyker take 1-3 points of fatigue each time they pushed, depending on the push level, but having them gain that much corruption instead would make for some interesting options.



#17 Ferrous82

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 05:07 AM

I would go with 1d5-1 on a push for a bound psyker. When you drink of the warp, sometimes it drinks something of yourself.



#18 ddunkelmeister

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 11:59 AM

Limit max PR based on WP as well? If the librarian only has 57 WP, for example, he can't raise PR past 5, even if his Rank is 6 or higher.. This would, of course, make the upper reaches of psychic potential basically unobtainable to most PCs, but it might help curb the problem.



#19 bogi_khaosa

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 12:13 PM

You could just remove Favoured by the Warp and Sanctioning from the Librarian's advance table.



#20 Naviward

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 09:02 PM

ddunkelmeister said:

Limit max PR based on WP as well? If the librarian only has 57 WP, for example, he can't raise PR past 5, even if his Rank is 6 or higher.. This would, of course, make the upper reaches of psychic potential basically unobtainable to most PCs, but it might help curb the problem.

I had considered this, but as you pointed out, it doesn't make getting to top level psy rating impossible. In the end my Librarian players felt that this was a little overly harsh.

Coming back to the original question, have you found that psykers became overpowered in your game?






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