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People's Experience of Nulls? Playing as, Being in a Group With, and GMing Players as Nulls? (Background/Class/Origin too!)


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#1 ordo neriman

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 11:12 AM

Just wondered as no one is yet to try one in my current RPing group.



#2 Boss Gitsmasha

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 07:04 PM

I once GM'd for an Untouchable PC. Untouchables automatically reduce their Fellowship by 10, and take a further -10 penalty to Interaction tests, so this meant the PC (a Guardsman sniper) had an effective Fellowship of 07 when trying to speak with others, since her Fellowship roll wasn't great to begin with. She never ended up doing much, unfortunately. While I had planned for daemons and heretic psykers to show up later (one of the organizations they were friendly with was secretly a cult of Tzeentch), the player apparently got bored with the character and did a complete 180º, asking if she could play a feral-world psyker instead. So I let her play a psyker, saying that her Untouchable sniper got called to another world for a different assignment. When she got bored with that, too, I ended up kicking her out of the group.

I do think the -10 penalty on top of reducing their Fellowship by 10 is too much, because it means the character is useless in the early investigative stages. Even asking for a place to sleep or buy ammunition is arduous for them. If anything I'd just keep the -10 penalty while leaving their characteristic untouched.


"Oomans are pink an' soft, not tough an' green like da Boyz. Dey'z all da same size too, so dey'z always arguin' about who's in charge, 'cos dere's no way o' tellin' c'ept fer badges an' ooniforms an' fings. When one o' dem wants ta lord it over da uvvers, 'e says 'I'm very speshul so'z you gotta worship me', or 'I know summink wot you lot don't know, so yer better lissen good'. Da funny fing is, 'arf of 'em believe it an' da uvver 'arf don't, so 'e has ta hit 'em all anyway or run fer it. Wot a lot o' mukkin' about if yer asks me. An' while dey'z all arguin' wiv each uvver over who's da boss, da Orks can clobber da lot."


#3 Lucien Kallus

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 02:54 AM

Boss Gitsmasha said:

 

 

I do think the -10 penalty on top of reducing their Fellowship by 10 is too much, because it means the character is useless in the early investigative stages. Even asking for a place to sleep or buy ammunition is arduous for them. If anything I'd just keep the -10 penalty while leaving their characteristic untouched.

 

 

 

Theres lots of ways round that, like good RP for example……

The character could say they have friends in high places or similar even if they dont.

"Are you telling me you won't sell me this ammunition? The Lord Governor Vellus shall hear of this. I would suggest finding another line of work/place of work/planet/system as i'll make sure you never work here again."

 

Who said people cant sleep rough too? If needs must….

Also on the investigative side, you dont have to just be good at enquiring and talking to people, you may have other skills. Searching with a keen eye, logic/tech use,  or maybe even interrogation style stuff can work. Who said you have to get along with people to be a good investigator/detective? Though it does help. They can find another place to shine other than fellowship vased tests, and as long as they aren't left on their own to do all the talking it should be fine. In fact it should bring up some good stuff if the player is inventive and has some great RP possibilities.

 

Just because a certain character has a paticular weakness doesn't mean there arent ways round it, including their other strengths.



#4 Cymbel

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 01:15 PM

I think Gitsmasha sums it up best, it isn't easy, it isn't fun for most folks and the novelty wears off. Remember, nulls are HATED in 40k, they make people uneasy, now imagine uneducated suspicous proles, how they would react, on a low tech world the PC would maybe be hung or killed, other ones would be not much better.



#5 Niqvah

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:00 PM

I agree that there are roleplay challenges with playing a Null, but let's not forget the advantage of being one. Psychic and warp attacks are major issues for most acolyte cells. The Null negates a lot of what certain enemies can do.

Also, the Imperium hates a lot of people. Psykers aren't wildly popular for a start. If you're in a group that recognises the advantages you bring them, I don't see why you couldn't have fun as a Null.

Finally, -10 to Fellowship doesn't seem like a big deal to me, unless you were planning on playing an Interaction-based character (in which case you wouldn't pick the Null package). Lots of different backgrounds hit your Fellowship hard. For me, part of being in a cell is all about letting different people have their strengths rather than everyone being good at everything, so a Null would just step aside and let other people do the social bit while they might be better at intelligence- or combat-based encounters.



#6 Cymbel

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:33 AM

Let's not forget the fluff. Psykers may be batshit insane at times, but they can blend in to a certain degree. Nulls are despised, hated, the presence of them revolts people. The more powerful ones get lynched and killed, but even weaker oness (like the BG package) have issues. And their issues are not just the revulsion it brings, but how it manifests. A good example is Jurgen from the Cain novels, he has a foul stench, caused by the "wrongness" of his aura manifesting as smell.

tl;dr Nulls make people feel ill or even revolted when they are around them. their team may overlook that, but not NPCs. Expect RP problems.



#7 Magos Seqvirin

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:59 AM

We had a female Null in our group and just as I've expected, there were complications. First and foremost, the GM gave our Null a necklace that allowed her to reduce the radius of her "wrongness", the necklace - while in contact with the Null's skin - contained the Null's powers within her body. On removal, her power returned to its original radius. This sort of got over the majority of issues with NPC interaction, although the GM tried to emphasize that even with the necklace, things weren't normal with the Null and others took notice in their unconscious behaviour. 

However, the biggest problem the Null faced were the other players. They could not react normally to the Null's aura, everyone acted as if nothing happened and the Null was just another character to interact with. In my case, playing a Rank 11 Magos, I also disregarded the aura's effect on my character, but I think that with all the excised emotions and fears, a Magos would be the least affected by a Null's aura.



#8 IdOfEntity

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 07:07 AM

Cymbel said:

A good example is Jurgen from the Cain novels, he has a foul stench, caused by the "wrongness" of his aura manifesting as smell.

A good example, and yet we have a more moderate example with Alsbeth Bequin, from the Eisenhorn novels.  Once she had an understanding of her own nature, a few people who were able to combat their prejudice against her once they knew the prejudice existed, and a degree of authority she turned into a formidable figure.  Her null status also involved people not seeming to take a liking to her, not outright revulsion.  She might be represented by a player who rolled an amazing Fellowship, but had it reduced from the associated traits.

I do believe the Package should be left to those who enjoy challenging roleplay, and don't get discouraged easily.



#9 Cymbel

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 08:25 AM

Agreed and while less powerful nulls may exist, to use the BG package in DH I think you need to have a certain inherent strength, more on the levels of Jurgen (who is essentially a part time acolyte in many ways) and while it may not be be as bad as him, it shouldn't be trivialized, it is making people uneasy in a setting where any suspicion of abnormality should be reported because of the potential HERESY involved (or HAIRESY when it comes to Eldar), so they will cause issues for the group, but they are an asset as well, being able to counter daemonic rituals, psyker heresies, genestealer broods, Eldar, Orks (at least the weird boyz) and many other foes.

Seqvirin, personally I am against any item that lets you turn off the disadvantages of something special so easily. The only exception would be something a like psychic hood, which can cut down on perils BUT is also large, expensive and very visible (good luck trying to infiltrate or blend in with that). A simple necklace that removes the penalties until you want to use them (Yes, the null effect is a penalty in some ways as well as a buff). The closest I can think of that is the Psy Jammer (which can't be used by psykers and helps you to resist them) and the Heavy Duty Large Psy Damper which does cause more issues for them, but can't be bought either.



#10 Magos Seqvirin

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 08:14 PM

I understand your disposition towards our GM's decision with the necklace, although I believe that such items may exist in the WH40K universe. Of course, they would probably be extremely rare or unique pieces of archeotech (or perhaps xenotech!) not likely given to a newly initiated acolyte. Nevertheless, the true reason behind the necklace had more to do with the players, than the characters and setting. 

Regarding IdOfEntity's example of Elisabeth Bequin, if I remember correctly, when Eisenhorn first met her, she was employed as a courtesan. 

To me, this says that Nulls do have an aura about them that makes people perhaps feel unease or apprehension, but they would most likely be unable to pinpoint the source of this feeling. Sure, if there is only one other person in the vicinity, it would be easy to tell that the Null's entry into the, let's say, room, caused the other person to feel discomfort, but in a crowd, it'd just be a passing feeling of someone walking over you grave. 

What I think is important to consider both for psykers and Nulls is that they might offset the mood around them, but unless people are aware of them being "tainted", they will most likely not even consider them to be anything, but some creepy person. The true dislike of psykers and Nulls happens when they reveal their true identities. 



#11 IdOfEntity

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:26 AM

I'd also point out that a null has no considerable social disadvantage compared to a Hive Mutant from Radical's Handbook who has rolled/chosen "Grotesque" from the available minor mutations.

If a player chose an origin that takes a penalty to FP and rolled a 2 on their 2d10 to determine FP they should not take the Untouchable Background Package.  That's asking to be a social pariah.  If they took an origin such as Noble (especially with the income increase to grease palms) and rolled well on their FP they should be able to manage in social situations.  And if they're playing a career path that doesn't focus heavily on FP, and they have other characteristics to fall back on, then taking "Untouchable" seems like a more palatable option.

Is it general lore in 40k that only a Psyker can confirm if someone is a null?



#12 Cobramax76

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 05:24 PM

As for the difficulties in playing or GMing a null ( having done both as well as researched alot about them ) It isnt nearly as much an issue as you think..as for the idea of one having a "stench" to them…that is Gms perrogative BUT i think they went out of bounds with that one ( just plain stupid imo )

As to the idea of something to limit their abilities and make them seem normal…look to the Eisenhorn and Ravenor series ( more specifically ravenor ) Since he did have a null that had what was called a "limiter" as a thick collar type necklace that he could turn on and off to allow/prevent his null field and issues from manifesting ( though he always remained invisible in the warp generally ) It is rare but wasnt mentioned ( that i remember ) as archeotech.



#13 PnPgamer

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:18 AM

Also one good skill is interrogation, you can get the info out without even scraping your fellowship xP

#14 The Boy Named Crow

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:30 PM

My first Dark Heresy character was a blank, and I really enjoyed playing him.

I decided to take the package without really knowing what I was getting into. In the first couple of sessions, my GM pulled no punches, and I started to realize that this background package (which I just grabbed thinking "Cool, psychic immunity!") was going to have to be a major part of my character's identity. 

So I reconcieved my character. I played him as a curmudgeonly ******* who, having failed at getting along with people for long enough, eventually just gave up. He acted as though he didn't care what people thought of him (though he secretly did), and being unable to charm or decieve anyone, used bluntness and intimidation when interacting with anyone.

That's just one way to do it, though. I think the key to a successful untouchable character is remembering to think of it as a key part of your character's identity, and not just a mechanical add-on. It helped that, in my campaign, social interactions went to dice only as a secondary method. I found it to be a great roleplaying experience as the rest of the group slowly overcame their initial disgust and came to value him, while he in turn came to accept that it was possible that they might not hate and/or eventually betray him.

SIDENOTE: When we went to ascension, he took desperado, which led to some hilarious moments using his auto-success on social ability.



#15 bluntpencil2001

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:19 AM

I'm currently playing an Untouchable Arbitrator from Volg Hive.

The dude is a complete badass. Who needs Fellowship, when you can just scare the crap out of people, or torture them?

Strangely enough, he's also been flung into the leadership position in his cell. He delegates all the actual leadership to his best only friend… the Tech Priest.

Playing him is great fun, since, yeah, everyone hates him, but who cares? He's the goddamn law, he doesn't need to care. Embrace your condition, Nulls, the rest are weak! Hatred? Who cares?!



#16 Faern

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:53 AM

Am currently play-testing the player-made Sisters of Silence rules for untouchables that are (were?) on Dark Reign.

It feels somewhat better then just starting as a full-blown powerhouse untouchable from Radicals :)
 

I am loving my character so far, but then again, he isnt that powerful yet and havent started REALLY creeping people out yet..YET..



#17 Boss Gitsmasha

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:30 PM

I'm not sure the Sisters of Silence even exist anymore after the Horus Heresy. There are no references to them existing in the 41st millennium in any source. Since pariahs are so rare and more psykers are being born every day, I think what happened is that the Sisters of Silence as an organization were disbanded after the Heresy, and the remnants were reorganized into the guards that man the Black Ships, and they started recruiting from men as well in order to keep their numbers up (or used to train into Culexus Assassins). It doesn't make sense to recruit from a specific and very rare type of person, and then exclude half of those potential recruits because they aren't women. The Ecclesiarchy is forced by law to recruit from only women for the Adepta Sororitas ever since the Age of Apostasy (since they are forbidden to have men under arms, according to the law as-written) and the Space Marines are forced to recruit from only men because the gene-seed implants simply don't work on women, for whatever reason.

To be honest, I don't like the idea of the Sisters of Silence to begin with. The vow of silence seems to be tactically unsound. They can't use a vox, to start, and they can't communicate with anyone who doesn't know their sign language, which makes them a serious liability in an investigative mission. They'd also stick out like a sore thumb even more prominently than a Guardsman with a grenade launcher. And lastly, their armor and topknots are ugly.


"Oomans are pink an' soft, not tough an' green like da Boyz. Dey'z all da same size too, so dey'z always arguin' about who's in charge, 'cos dere's no way o' tellin' c'ept fer badges an' ooniforms an' fings. When one o' dem wants ta lord it over da uvvers, 'e says 'I'm very speshul so'z you gotta worship me', or 'I know summink wot you lot don't know, so yer better lissen good'. Da funny fing is, 'arf of 'em believe it an' da uvver 'arf don't, so 'e has ta hit 'em all anyway or run fer it. Wot a lot o' mukkin' about if yer asks me. An' while dey'z all arguin' wiv each uvver over who's da boss, da Orks can clobber da lot."


#18 Faern

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 12:20 AM

Never said it was a Sisters of Silence character ;)
Just using the rules from the playermade thing. It has rules for non-Sisters as well :)

http://manuel.rifaul... of Silence.pdf



#19 Arkio_Gannys

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 03:25 AM

One of my PCs was a Null, a young female adept that was born and raised on an Ecclesiastic world and pressed into service in the Adeptus Ministorum when it was discovered that she had an affinity for large number sequences. Eventually she was assigned as a ministorum liaison for a group of acolytes working under a fledgling inquisitor and he was so impressed with her efficiency and skills that he took her on as a permanent addition to his team. The position the adept had been assigned meant that she never came into contact with any psykers or any psy-reactive materials, so her Null powers were never detected. Though she often had difficulty telling one end of a lasgun from the other, her deductive and reasoning skills were second to none, and the tech-preist quickly became endeared towards here, though his flesh crawled when he was near her, he just assumed that was a quirk of his weak flesh, and so treat her no different than any of the other acolytes in the cell. The rest of the group kept her at arms length, but assumed the strange aura around her was due the sheer amount of time she spent with the tech-preist.  The techie eventually died, and the cold reception she was given by the rest of the cell lead to the adept requesting a transfer off frontline duties and so she was retired. Unfortunately, her Null powers were never discovered by the cell or the inquisitor, though the mission reports handed in by the cell highlighted some strange phenomenon that seemed to center around her, but before I could write in some rival inquisitors or general plot hooks related to her, my player tired of her character being basically shunned by the rest of the group and made a new character, keeping the Null in reserve in case of emergencies XD 



#20 InquisitorAlexel

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:36 AM

You must also remember that stats are baseline for interaction; paying a beer to a scum in a tavern could give the character a +10 on its fellowship test, having saved a child in a grox rush could easily give +10 or even +20 to the test when the null is interacting with the young's parents or even the kid himself.

Bonuses and maluses are there to represent the particularities of a situation while the statline of the characters represents his hability to do in any condition. I think that a null is, yes, hindered by its nature, but a null that knows how to speak and act correctly can still be quite inspiring.






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