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Psykers - Did They Do a Good Job?


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#1 venkelos

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 08:33 AM

First, I should comment that I don't have the beta, so I am asking this question blind.

How are psykers in Only War propped to look? Did they do a nice job, compared to some other FFG systems? My two preferred class types are Officer, which this game kind of sounds like it lacks (more the Lieutenant+ ranks, for me, but I understand why the Sergeant was the right choice, based on what I've read) and Psyker. I am hoping that they have access to decent powers, without blowing themselves, and their squad mates up, and that the system is a good one. I also hope they can still be a bit soldiery, being IG. I don't want them to be CONSTANTLY one nosebleed away from a mercy bolt to the brainpan, or plain reviled by the others, due to Human hatred of psykers who aren't Him on Terra. Am I going to like what I read, when the book comes out (in one and a half years )? Do they have an okay range of powers, or will many psykers feel rather similar?

I know there are levels of stuff people probably can't say, since it's a pay-for-it beta, but can anyone give me a guesstimate of how happy I'll be with them? Thanks.



#2 KommissarK

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 08:40 AM

I would say their fine. They're a bit more combat oriented. Utility abilities sort of exist, but at the same time are fairly weak. There is now a nicely abstract notion of minor utility powers, where with GM discretion, a psyker can easily manifest a few simple things.



#3 Musclewizard

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 09:15 AM

I'm quite happy with them. A player of mine made a pyromancer psyker and we all had lots of fun with him especially as he got into increasingly dangerous situations causing him to push his powers more and more eventually leading to his and his comrades death while trying to hold old an Ork assault on a building (he actually was successfull as the last of the Orks he was facing burned to death after he got killed by Perils).

You do have to accept though that OW Psykers are combat psykers. They kill stuff with their mind or they predict battlefield conditions. So no more powers for cheating at gambling or growing a pair of fleshy wings. With the latest update FFG added something that I really enjoy. For a cost of about 50 EXP a Psyker can design his own miner power (with the GM being the final arbiter). Examples include manifesting a small flame in your hand as a pyromancer or changing parts of your face for a short while as a Biomancer. Since the Weekly Updates are avaiable to everybody you can just go ahead and check it out.



#4 Andor

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 12:17 PM

I think OW Psykers are great. I haven't seen them (or anything, the game is waiting for the start of the semester) in play yet, but some of the upper level TK powers are AWESOME! Less blasty, but fantastic tactical and even strategic powers. Pyro give you the blasty.

If my Commisar dies my second character will definitely be a Psyker.



#5 venkelos

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 04:05 AM

Nice, that all sounds pretty good. A psyker who can work in a fight, maybe get some other weapons, just to round things out, and who can battle with their mind, without immediately blowing themselves up, or having no risk, whatsoever, sounds like a very nice future prospect. I'm not sure how much leeway they will get, with the usual IG psykers being a bit shunned, and constantly glared at by Commissars, lovingly stroking their bolt pistols, but if they get access to the regular armor, some regular weapons, nice powers, and such, then I don't think I'll have any problems with them as a preferred class choice. Thank you for sharing your thoughts; I still eagerly anticipate the release of this book.



#6 Andor

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:49 AM

Don't get your hopes up too far. IG Psykers are not SM Librarians.  They are not even Calixis Templars.

They are still unloved and untrusted, for example one of the comrade advances you can pay XP for let's him stab you if you start getting too warpy.

And you start with pretty crap gear (but it's a best quality stick!) But sure, given the nature of the open ended advancement system, with enough XP and requisition checks you can do anything you like.



#7 venkelos

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 11:26 AM

Andor said:

Don't get your hopes up too far. IG Psykers are not SM Librarians.  They are not even Calixis Templars.

They are still unloved and untrusted, for example one of the comrade advances you can pay XP for let's him stab you if you start getting too warpy.

And you start with pretty crap gear (but it's a best quality stick!) But sure, given the nature of the open ended advancement system, with enough XP and requisition checks you can do anything you like.

There's a certain amount of this I can tolerate; it's the fluff, after all, that the only good psykers are the Emperor and dead psykers (guess he's doubly good!) While I certainly would get grumpy if it was like TT, where a cold breeze is immediately attributed to that possible result on Perils, even on a frosty planet, and the psyker is capped, or anything where one minor booboo results in DEATH, I can fly with the "nobody likes you, you psyker-trash", and the crap gear, because I sort of think most characters will start with sort of crap gear. As long as they can EVENTUALLY requisition some better stuff, like I assume ALL characters in the game can, I can tolerate having to RP up to that point, and shred foes with my mind, till then.

It could also be cool if they do something like Primaris Psykers (duck the thrown chair, I mean the ones in the IG Codex, not the ones in Ascension, even if they are kinda the same). If I could someday reach a decent power level, say PR 4-5, and get some carapace armor, a Force staff, and maybe even a refractor, that would be friggin' awesome, to me, and thinking about it, I don't even think it should be too far outside the realm of possibilities. Carapace armor is in there, refractor fields should be, but the mechanic is established, if not, and Force weapons are the same. Certainly, those last two could be a real ***** to acquire, but once you show some stability, and rack up kills, XP, and clout, even if you are hated, it should be possible to get some of the good stuff. With an open-ended game mechanic, the "feats" needed for any of these things should be grabbable.



#8 JuankiMan

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 01:47 AM

I've played enough WH40 RPGs to come to the terrible realization that humanity's paranoia over psykers is absolutely justified.

A Psyker is like a walking, talking demo-charge that could blow up at any moment and for any reason. I vividly remember one game in which a psyker tried to heal a wounded guy in a park (simple minor power). He rolled Perils of the Warp and killed himself, the patient, the Arbitrators who were guarding the park's entrance and severely injured the rest of the party.



#9 venkelos

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 06:44 AM

JuankiMan said:

I've played enough WH40 RPGs to come to the terrible realization that humanity's paranoia over psykers is absolutely justified.

A Psyker is like a walking, talking demo-charge that could blow up at any moment and for any reason. I vividly remember one game in which a psyker tried to heal a wounded guy in a park (simple minor power). He rolled Perils of the Warp and killed himself, the patient, the Arbitrators who were guarding the park's entrance and severely injured the rest of the party.

Oh, I can certainly accept most of the Imperium's anti-psyker sentiments; every psyker is like a little, walking door, and when the doorbell rings, it's always Chaos Pizza Delivery, and a pie topped with Sardines of Tzeentch. Of course, I also believe that some of it is simply Humanity's complete inability to work together, in some ways, and their abysmal notetaking abilities, seeing as they've lost more stuff, and the info on how to use it, than I can even come up with a good pun for, here. If they were willing, and able, to look at it more from a neutral, or scientific standpoint, I believe they could approach the Eldar's control, and I rarely ever hear about an Eldar tapping into the Warp, and blowing up a Craftworld park. They spend so much time fearing and reviling it, it's no wonder they have come so short on anything approaching making psykers safe. Overall, I can appreciate that, of course, since it fits in well with the grimdark angle the game likes (it still sort of amazes me the gov't doesn't just keep the Emperor's vast psychic powers a secret, since they are to be feared).

I often laugh at the weirdness, though, as they hate psykers, but they hate blanks just as much. When I get the book (OW), I'll have to see if the Gland Warrior and Untouchable templates can easily integrate in.

And, if I am feeling silly/anti-canon, I can keep working on my story, wherein a Human psyker/Guardsman deserter (Alistair, but I am considering changing the name) has been prophesied in an Eldar reading to be VERY important. To that end, he has been "taken" to one of the Craftworlds, under the escort of the main heroine, Farseer Astrina, against the wishes of most of the other Eldar, where she plans to "stabilize" his mind, and strengthen him against the rigors of the Warp (effectively, train him in the Eldar way, and garb him in their stuff). Right now, where I am writing, her sister, Ynella, a rather naive, sweet Bonsinger, is using her own gifts to try and forge a set of rune armor, and a played down ghosthelm for him, but attuned to his unique aura signature. It's proving to be a fun story to write, with Guardsmen, Inquisition, Eldar, romance, and crap. About as "not quite in setting" as I can get.



#10 Andor

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 07:15 AM

I dunno, sounds okay to me, although an Eldar falling for a Human is (from their point of view) like a human falling for a rather fetching chimpanzee.

But for my money the reality of day to day life in the Imperium can't actually be as bad as all the fluff implies or humanity would already have died out under the weight of it's own stupidity. Half the population is drafted and sent off to die, the rest is chem-gelded, or working in vats of radioactive, mutagenic chemicals and then goes home to never-ending gang warfare and getting abducted to fight xeno-monsters in gladiatorial pits for the amusement of corrupt nobles. And of course the xeno-monsters always escape and hunt human babies through the air-ducts. Which doesn't matter because the air-ducts don't work as the mysteries of the fan motor have been lost for 10,000 years.

Blah blah, grim, blah, death, blah, war, chaos, blah, entropy, blah.

Who has time to have kids and why would they be cruel enough to bring kids into such a world? So no, I think there has to still be some joy and romance and light or we'd all be extinct. Just my 2¢ though.

 



#11 venkelos

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 08:22 AM

Andor said:

I dunno, sounds okay to me, although an Eldar falling for a Human is (from their point of view) like a human falling for a rather fetching chimpanzee.

But for my money the reality of day to day life in the Imperium can't actually be as bad as all the fluff implies or humanity would already have died out under the weight of it's own stupidity. Half the population is drafted and sent off to die, the rest is chem-gelded, or working in vats of radioactive, mutagenic chemicals and then goes home to never-ending gang warfare and getting abducted to fight xeno-monsters in gladiatorial pits for the amusement of corrupt nobles. And of course the xeno-monsters always escape and hunt human babies through the air-ducts. Which doesn't matter because the air-ducts don't work as the mysteries of the fan motor have been lost for 10,000 years.

Blah blah, grim, blah, death, blah, war, chaos, blah, entropy, blah.

Who has time to have kids and why would they be cruel enough to bring kids into such a world? So no, I think there has to still be some joy and romance and light or we'd all be extinct. Just my 2¢ though.

 

I'd answer that last point, but the real-life comparison is in bad taste. As for the romance, part of it is, again, the prophecy, and if the Eldar start questioning that sort of thing now, they're really screwed. Otherwise, she's had to stand alongside him through some crap, without the normal Eldar backup a Farseer would expect, and the IG he was with are sort of looking for him, and the Inquisition is involved. Mostly, it's that, while they've been together, she's had opportunity to look into his mind, and see that, in many ways, they really aren't so different, despite all that crap about "aliens' thoughts and motives would be completely foreign to our way of understanding" they force down our throats. At this stage, it's a bit more like he's trying to marry up into another class, and the other Nobles (Eldar) don't want anything to do with it, but they would be hard-pressed to bring into question their future-sight, seeing how much they depend on its accuracy. I like the sci-fi setting, but will more compare this to Aragorn II + Arwen, or Beren + Luthien. The Elves are better, and far superior to Men (minus their endless cowardice), but on occasion, they can look past their own haughty image, and see someone special, even in a "lesser" being. Like Aragorn, the fact that Alistair is a psyker, and so is Astrina, helps, as they have a common ground, however foreign. When he gets to the CW, he certainly receives the cold welcome, as only a Farseer's protection keeps him safe, and only after he meets Ynella does he find that ANYONE else in the whole place accepts him.

Humorous how this thread has deviated. On the plus, it is my thread, originally, and I do love to talk about the stuff I do. It's almost made me want to figure out rules for Bonesinging, and maybe their Bonesingers, one of the few things Children of Isha sort of looked past.



#12 JuankiMan

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 10:32 AM

There was a time in which humanity approached psychic powers in a neutral and scientific way, during the Golden Age of Technology. Some planets embraced the rising number of psychichally gifted individual and strived to study and understand their powers. Others hunted them to almost exctintion, afraid of such power. And then the Eldar screwed the whole galaxy over, sending the whole Warp into a maelstrom with the birth of Slaanesh and only the human worlds that had repressed their psychic population survived the onslaught. The ones that embraced them suffered massive planet-wide daemonic invasions and were wiped out from the face of the Galaxy. That's another reason why the Imperium is so intolerant of psykers. The Imperium descends from those fearful colonists that saw their inotelance ultimately justified. Humans are unstable not because of training or skill, but because our minds are not yet evolved fully into a true psychic species like the Eldar are. I suppose it must be a bit like when the first amphibians started coming out of the ocean and breathing air. They could do it, but not entirely correctly and could kill themselves if they were not careful. The difference is that psykers can kill themselves and everyone around them or worse, be corrupted by their powers and effectively become supervillians.

And though the Eldar started being "Space Elves", over the years they have become their own animal. If you read the fluff and novels, you realize that the Eldar way of thinking is, deep down, absolutely alien and unnerving precisely because of its proximity to human-like thinking. It's the Uncanny Valley of philosophy, it seems similar to human thinking, but it is different enough to feel horribly, horribly… wrong.



#13 venkelos

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 03:51 PM

JuankiMan said:

There was a time in which humanity approached psychic powers in a neutral and scientific way, during the Golden Age of Technology. Some planets embraced the rising number of psychichally gifted individual and strived to study and understand their powers. Others hunted them to almost exctintion, afraid of such power. And then the Eldar screwed the whole galaxy over, sending the whole Warp into a maelstrom with the birth of Slaanesh and only the human worlds that had repressed their psychic population survived the onslaught. The ones that embraced them suffered massive planet-wide daemonic invasions and were wiped out from the face of the Galaxy. That's another reason why the Imperium is so intolerant of psykers. The Imperium descends from those fearful colonists that saw their inotelance ultimately justified. Humans are unstable not because of training or skill, but because our minds are not yet evolved fully into a true psychic species like the Eldar are. I suppose it must be a bit like when the first amphibians started coming out of the ocean and breathing air. They could do it, but not entirely correctly and could kill themselves if they were not careful. The difference is that psykers can kill themselves and everyone around them or worse, be corrupted by their powers and effectively become supervillians.

And though the Eldar started being "Space Elves", over the years they have become their own animal. If you read the fluff and novels, you realize that the Eldar way of thinking is, deep down, absolutely alien and unnerving precisely because of its proximity to human-like thinking. It's the Uncanny Valley of philosophy, it seems similar to human thinking, but it is different enough to feel horribly, horribly… wrong.

I feel a strong desire to state that some of Humanity's worst days could have been avoided if the Emperor wasn't such a xenophobe. If my memory serves, Eldrad himself told the Emperor that Horus, by name, would fall/was falling under the sway of Chaos, and because His infinite power couldn't see it, He refused to acknowledge that some alien could, thus He didn't even keep an eye on His son. If he had been more open to such things, the Horus Heresy MIGHT have been averted, and more of the Marines would have been Loyalist. The Emperor might not have ended up on the Golden Throne, and the Imperium He must scream about, at this point, not being a fan of religion over reason, wouldn't be the rather terrible place it is.

Part of it might be, I guess, that Humans "evolved" psychic power, while the Eldar were made that way, from their outset. It's such an intrinsic part of them that they don't suffer some of the same problems Humans do, and I assume they can cover up some of the others. Certainly, the Eldar becoming so decadent and hedonistic as to give birth to a new Chaos God, and all the BS that brought with it, for them, and for everyone else, is a sign to be careful about things, but it would help if, either alone, or with help from the Eldar, Humanity could at least embrace it enough to figure out how some of the things work. Human psykers with Ghosthelms, Rune Armor, and some other stuff could be very beneficial, as could free access to the Webway. I still hope that, if the Eldar do have to die, and between them effectively killing the greatest hero the Eldar had, and setting up the Eldar "grand plan" to be finish dying, and then give birth to Ynnead, who will stride into the Warp, and obliterate Slaanesh, it seems likely, that they would leave Humanity their marvels. If we could use the Webway, we could take a burden off of the Emperor, and lose many fewer ships to the Immaterium (the Emperor even had that plan, Himself), and their other techno-marvels could seem to push the AdMech's understandings to grand new heights. Oh well, they'll probably laugh at the cruel joke that they'll take it with them, or leave it behind, and no one can use it.

While it veers away from the OP, at this point, I am enjoying talking about this stuff; haven't gotten to have any 40k converse in a while. Thank you.



#14 JuankiMan

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 04:26 PM

venkelos said:

 

 

I feel a strong desire to state that some of Humanity's worst days could have been avoided if the Emperor wasn't such a xenophobe. If my memory serves, Eldrad himself told the Emperor that Horus, by name, would fall/was falling under the sway of Chaos, and because His infinite power couldn't see it, He refused to acknowledge that some alien could, thus He didn't even keep an eye on His son. If he had been more open to such things, the Horus Heresy MIGHT have been averted, and more of the Marines would have been Loyalist. The Emperor might not have ended up on the Golden Throne, and the Imperium He must scream about, at this point, not being a fan of religion over reason, wouldn't be the rather terrible place it is.

Part of it might be, I guess, that Humans "evolved" psychic power, while the Eldar were made that way, from their outset. It's such an intrinsic part of them that they don't suffer some of the same problems Humans do, and I assume they can cover up some of the others. Certainly, the Eldar becoming so decadent and hedonistic as to give birth to a new Chaos God, and all the BS that brought with it, for them, and for everyone else, is a sign to be careful about things, but it would help if, either alone, or with help from the Eldar, Humanity could at least embrace it enough to figure out how some of the things work. Human psykers with Ghosthelms, Rune Armor, and some other stuff could be very beneficial, as could free access to the Webway. I still hope that, if the Eldar do have to die, and between them effectively killing the greatest hero the Eldar had, and setting up the Eldar "grand plan" to be finish dying, and then give birth to Ynnead, who will stride into the Warp, and obliterate Slaanesh, it seems likely, that they would leave Humanity their marvels. If we could use the Webway, we could take a burden off of the Emperor, and lose many fewer ships to the Immaterium (the Emperor even had that plan, Himself), and their other techno-marvels could seem to push the AdMech's understandings to grand new heights. Oh well, they'll probably laugh at the cruel joke that they'll take it with them, or leave it behind, and no one can use it.

While it veers away from the OP, at this point, I am enjoying talking about this stuff; haven't gotten to have any 40k converse in a while. Thank you.

Humanity's stance towards aliens is… complicated. During the Age of Strife Humanity suffered a LOT under the heel of opportunistic aliens who took advantage of the chaos and confusion left by the sudden savagery of the Warp and the daemonic incursions. I personally don't think the emperor himself was such a Xenophobe, but he knew that cooperation between different species was unsustainable at best and impossible at worst due to the fact that aliens tend to have alien ways of thinking. If memory serves me right, in the Horus Heresy's novels Eldrad tried to warn the Emperor of the coming conflict, but unable to reach the Emperor himself, who at the time was in Holy Terra, warned first Sanguinius, who dismissided him considering the possibility of his most beloved brother betraying them all absolutely unthinkable, and Fulgrim, who at the time was already severely corrupted and half-possesed and was much more rude at his dismissal, actually threatening to kill him. Eldrad was so offended at being rejected twice that he swore never again to aid the ungrateful apes. Incidentally, the Emperor was attempting to build his own Webway, since he knew full well that the Eldar would never share theirs. It didn't work out…

The Imperium's stance on psykers is also paradoxical. On one hand, Psykers are considered dangerous mutants and their powers an abomination, but on the other it relies on them for a huge number of things, from prognostication to interstellar communications, and many of the Imperium's most steadfast defenders are psykers themselves. Without psykers, the Imperium would quite literally wither and die. But for every Librarian blasting the Emperor's foes with bolts of warpfire, for every Inquisitor holding silent vigilance over hostile stars and for every astropath holding humanity together, there's a hundred unsanctioned psykers who immolate themselves and everyone around them, end up terminally insane or succumb to the darkness within.



#15 Andor

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 02:53 AM

For my money the bigger threat to the Imperium is the Mechanicus. They have a monopoly on technology, which they guard with lethal zealotry; but while they have a barely competant rote understanding of technology, they know nothing of science.

And lacking what today would be a 4th grade education on basic scientific practice, and looking at technology with a backward gazing religious mindset, they doom humanity to a slow descent into darkness. With these things at the helm technological prowess can only decrease, never recover, because to improve requires the impulse to innovate and invent which is anathema to them.

And of course they are all under the sway of the Void Dragon, a C'tan death god. Still not sure how the Emperor missed that one.



#16 JuankiMan

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 03:06 AM

Andor said:

 

For my money the bigger threat to the Imperium is the Mechanicus. They have a monopoly on technology, which they guard with lethal zealotry; but while they have a barely competant rote understanding of technology, they know nothing of science.

And lacking what today would be a 4th grade education on basic scientific practice, and looking at technology with a backward gazing religious mindset, they doom humanity to a slow descent into darkness. With these things at the helm technological prowess can only decrease, never recover, because to improve requires the impulse to innovate and invent which is anathema to them.

And of course they are all under the sway of the Void Dragon, a C'tan death god. Still not sure how the Emperor missed that one.

 

 

I personally believe that the Adeptus Mechanicus is a bunch of very ancient people who keep a shroud of mysticism over their trade because they're terrified someone will realize that they're as clueless as everybody else.



#17 Ferau

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 04:10 AM

Andor said:

And of course they are all under the sway of the Void Dragon, a C'tan death god. Still not sure how the Emperor missed that one.

Have you read Mechanicum yet? It gives some perspective on that whole situation.

 



#18 Kiton

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 07:38 AM

I think its rather that they keep this shroud over what they do because Knowledge is Power [guard it well]. Because of the size and span of the Imperium, religion was the easiest way to ensure their teachings are protected. They're kind of like a giant galactic university that way.

There's no way people speaking binary aren't privy to the why and how of these "machine spirits". BUT, by making it a matter of religion, they can keep tight controls on the spread and use of all that stuff, which keeps them in power [who doesn't want to be in power, after all], but also ensures that anyone wishing to partake of their sacred blueprints need only actually join them and work towards the proper understanding. Their ranks are pretty much diplomas.



#19 HTMC

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 06:28 PM

Kiton said:

There's no way people speaking binary aren't privy to the why and how of these "machine spirits".

I will say it's totally possible that the "binary" high-level Mechanicus speak is unrelated to how the machines work and/or the source code they utilize. Most of the Mechanicus stuff I've read seems to imply that they do in fact view it religiously, although not necessarily in the way other 40k religions work. 



#20 JuankiMan

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 09:30 AM

HTMC said:

Kiton said:

 

There's no way people speaking binary aren't privy to the why and how of these "machine spirits".

 

 

I will say it's totally possible that the "binary" high-level Mechanicus speak is unrelated to how the machines work and/or the source code they utilize. Most of the Mechanicus stuff I've read seems to imply that they do in fact view it religiously, although not necessarily in the way other 40k religions work. 

After pondering for a bit, I realized that the AdMech isn't that much of a religion. What they are is a coven of wizards, using powers they barely understand through rituals learned through rote memorization and surrounding themselves with a thick mantle of mysticism. Sure, religion has a huge impact on their practices and views, but no more than it would for a wizard devoted to Mystra in D&D.

There's a reason why high-level tech-priests are called "Magos".






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