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GM dillema: Psyker healing + firestorm


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#1 Xathrodox86

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 02:33 AM

Yeah it's this topic again. Recently one of my players started a psyker/noble character. He chose the basic healing power from minor powers ("knit flesh" I belive it was called) and a firestorm power from the pyromancy range. Know I knew that psykers could be lethal in DH, but he's character is simply riddiculous. During the first enagagement he burned 6 xeno creatures to ash with a single firestorm, and altough he went down soon after (the rest of the party abandoned him), this still proved decisfull for the whole combat.

During the last engagement he burned, with two firestorms, 5 cultists. He rolled a 9 only 3 times so far, and each time spend a fate point to prevent the manifestation. So much for the "use you powers on your own ris" thing.

But that's not the worse thing. He's basically a mobile healing station, even tough he plays a noble that everyone insult and dis. During a travel trough the warp he spend two whole days healing a single character. This really takes the tension of my game, and what's worse, he told me at the creation of his pc, that he'll be very selective with who he's healing. Bullcrap. You simply ask him, and then he heals you.

On the other hand, during the last session one of the npc's that's running with my team, insulted him and the psyker cast "fearfull aura", debilitating half the group, and, I'm pretty sure, breaking the sanctioning rules. However I know, that the rest of the team, even tough they ar emad at him, will still use him a medipack with powers, especially the arbites, who is kissing his ass like there's no tommoorow, even tough he's pious and hates witches. He was the witness of the "fearfull aura" thingie, and the only thing he did was to pull out his pistol and wave it in fornt of the psykers face. A friggin Adeptus Arbites! But then again I understand he's sh*tty motives - live psyker = free healing. Damn it….

So here's my qyestion - what should I do with this situation? Should I kill of the psyker. There are enough witnesess to what he has done? I don't really wnat to change the power ruling, but then again thi scharacter is basically imprevious to the manifestations/perils of the warp, beacuse he has still 3 fate points, and even when he casts his powers with 3 dices, he still rarely rolls any 9's.

My players already think that the difficulty level is too high in my games, but with this goddamn boltmagnet I can't see any other way to continue with our games, without starting to throw more heavily armoured/dangerous oponnents at them, altough I'm afraid that it will really disturb the balance of our sessions.

So - firestorm, epic healing and bad meta gaming - how can I deal with them all? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.


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#2 FieserMoep

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 03:22 AM

Thats how psykers are rollin'. I would never suggest taking a psyker in your group unless your andvanture is tailored to it. Also, as a GM, you have to play the world belieable. If the psyker breaks his sanctioning rules some authoroties and zealost should reacot tho that, especialy when the psyker is on a mission where his inquisitor can not safe his as and where his identity is hidden.

Also expect your psyker to get even stronger, not only his psy-level will increase, he will also get talents that reduce the dangers of psy-phenomenas and perils drasticaly - beside the fact that he will get more and more psy powers too. In the mid game a decent psyker is able to fullfil every single roll in your group, the combat the support and the investigation. For what do you need intimidation/interrrogation/charm or what ever when you can force people to speakt he truth or even read their mind or controll them. For support they are the best healing bot and what is even better they can heal in combat at ease and restore dozens of Hitpoints at once. But his utility goes even further for his psy-powers can develope into a powerfull utility force if used with a bit of creativity. And combat wise the psyker breaks everything in terms of damage AND survivability. Thats why a campaign has to b e tailored for them or you as a GM has to be very restrictive about his powers and how he can use them.

For example nonstop psy-healing should have some RP sideeffect, the Touch of the Warp is nothing someone should seek for and therefore your groups behaviour to use him as a healing-battary is somehow strange. Also nobody like psykers, people hat them and everything that has to do with them. They are the danger in person and nobody should sleep next to them without keepin' an open eye on them,

But for "solutions" there is every GM tool availalbe to you. Let them feel their limitations, cap the frequency on how often he can use his healing abilitys on team-mates, let him feel the warp and its dangers, freighten him and his group. Correct their vew on the psyker for he is nothing purely benefitial. With all his powers there are tons of dangers too. But if you try to balance combat you have a very difficult job. The enemys that are dangerous to a psyker are limited and they all share a power level that is very high. Okay, a Sniper on 500 metres can be lethal too but that is not what I like to call "combat" it is the purple lightning unless it makes sense in your campaign. As a Cult Leader that recieved the information that a psyker is send to kill me I would assassinate him or take a call to my gods for a givt to capture and sacrifice this individual. Dont make your encounters a railroad that do not react to your players, let them outsmart your acolythes when ever it is possible and reasonable but dont abuse your Gm abilitys and the fact that you know everything. The danger is that this is a very difficult act of balance where you game becomes cheasy or is challaging for everyone. The beasts or soldiers that can threaten a psyker are extremly hard and might posess a challenge your other players cant handle this way they may feel useless for everything depends on the psyker. This is why I do not allows them in my games, also because in my "fluff" I see them as to valuable and dangerous to place them in a cell of unexpirienced acolythes that digg in the mud, might be corrupted and without the reach of any rightous executioner.



#3 Luthor Harkon

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 06:21 AM

Xathrodox86 said:

So here's my qyestion - what should I do with this situation? Should I kill of the psyker. There are enough witnesess to what he has done? I don't really wnat to change the power ruling, but then again thi scharacter is basically imprevious to the manifestations/perils of the warp, beacuse he has still 3 fate points, and even when he casts his powers with 3 dices, he still rarely rolls any 9's.

My players already think that the difficulty level is too high in my games, but with this goddamn boltmagnet I can't see any other way to continue with our games, without starting to throw more heavily armoured/dangerous oponnents at them, altough I'm afraid that it will really disturb the balance of our sessions.

So - firestorm, epic healing and bad meta gaming - how can I deal with them all?

 

Psyker players min-maxing to the fullest are indeed hard to handle. Luckily mine is reaonable.

In my experience the Perils of the Warp as a mechanic normally will not dissuade psykers from using Psychic abilities. Actually, it would be weird if it would dissuade them as they are psykers and it is what they are good for after all. In the same way as the risk of dying in melee would not dissuade an Assassin or Guardsman from charging the enemy. Most Warp Phaenomenae are not even a mechanical (as opposed to a background/role-playing) problem for the character. It is either more or less deadly or more or less ignorable.

Still, I would not allow re-rolls for his Power Roll as it is not a test per se. And this is according to the rules in my opinion.

Anyway, I would not simply introduce weird home rules or even kill the psyker out of hand as it would demotivate the players. Decrease XP towards zero, if he acts against his role as a sanctioned psyker and do the same for the Arbitrator PC. Give bonus XP for fitting in-universe behaviour. You could even allocate Corruption or at least Insanity Points for the overuse of Psychic Powers (in case of psychic healing for the user and the target).

So, the best way to limit your psyker is to handle it background-wise (i.e. role-playing-wise) as already mentioned. Let NPCs react accordingly. Let him be the main target for bullets and the hostility of any imperial citizen. My group’s psyker only uses Psychic abilities when there is no real alternative. After all, it makes no sense to throw fire balls, bio-lightning or psychic blades around if he can use his trusted Steel Burner and the other (more combat orientated) PCs are around with their weapons at hand.

Let him feel the hostility of the Imperium towards the witch. He is only tolerated by the higher-ups, because he is a useful tool to fight fire with fire (in this case literaly). Citizens, Enforcers, the Ecclesiarchy, Redemptionist are all groups you could target the psyker with. Let his Inquisitor give him a straight warning if reports of the reckless use of Psychic Powers reach him after a mission.

Intelligent opponents will always target the Psyker first if identified. Even the less intelligent will do out of fear. The more intelligent because they know the potential danger. Use weapons like the Webber or others with the Snare or Stun or Flame attribute, use Hallucinoge Grenades, use Untouchables (though do not overuse them), use tech that disrupts or blocks psychic powers, use xenos that are psychic blanks like the Slaught, use enemy psykers (i.e. fight fire with fire) and warp phenomena that make Psychic Powers more dangerous (like the Minor Power Weaken Veil or however it is calles (Psychic Phenomena on 8. 9. 0 or something).

And so on and on…



#4 Saldre

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 06:56 AM

Luthor is correct- Fate points can't be used to avoid a 9, and they can't be used to reroll on the other two tables (phenomena and perils) either. 

Futhermore, depending on the Inquisitor you've assigned and his idiological tendencies, shooting the psyker after his first phenomena is justified. 

Check out book of judgement- and if you don't have it, I will give you a taste: 

 

Unsanctioned Psychic Manifestation : Imprisonment to await transport
Witness to Unsanctioned Psychic Manifestation:  Field Judgement (Execution)
Survived Unsanctioned Psychic Manifestation:  Field Judgement (Execution)
Injured in Unsanctioned Psychic Manifestation:  Field Judgement (Execution)
 
This is before we get into the "intent" and "suspected intent" to commit/witness an unsanctioned Psychic Manifestation.
 
Now, what counts as an Unsanctioned Psychic Manifestation?
 
My Amalathian Inquisitor, a puritan, has categorised it on two levels: 
 
Out of Combat- any roll on the Phenomena table [a single 9] , counts as an unsanctioned Psychic Manifestation. 
In combat-He is more lenient, any roll on the Perils table [75+ on the Psychic Manifestation] would qualify.
 
That means that a Psyker Player who transgresses these rules is likely to be taken out of play- and even though the remainder of the cell is going to suffer considerably, depending on the event manifested, the worst is yet to come when they meet with the Inquisitor and hand in their report. 
 
Alternatively, say this happens in a crowded Hab-block: all its inhabitants must be rounded up, investigated and likely purged. 
 
As everybody else is saying, you need to play up the universe.
 
The artbitrator that fails to uphold the Lex Imperialis is subject to his own set of punishements when he gets back to base. 
 
The point being: they can choose to play it this way if they want to- but its called Radicalism, and a sort of greedy radicalism that doesn't follow any particular ideology save convenience. Some would label it heretical. And the players have to be very careful in tying up loose ends. 

 



#5 Griautis

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 07:21 AM

Saldre said:

what he said

 

that's all cool and all, but I think you should warn the players about it, because, perhaps they don't realize the danger…



#6 Darth Smeg

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 08:37 PM

I provide for you, and all other GMs in your situation, this collection of advice and wisdom.


Tarald - The Dark Lord of Smeg

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My House Rules for using Only War (and more) for Dark Heresy games


#7 Xathrodox86

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 05:26 AM

Awesome ideas guys. Thanks for your input! :)


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#8 BrotherKane

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:59 PM

Another danger is too much attention from the denisens of the warp.  If he uses powers all the time they are going to be sniffing round even if they can't get into his brain directly (i.e through perils) but if they ever encouter any they are going to be VERY interested in this bright creature they see before them!



#9 InquisitorAlexel

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 04:24 PM

I understand your pain. My first game was with a biomancer that happened to be also a telekine. He was killing anything, healing anyone, surviving everything. But in the end, he payed the price. As a GM I became wiser to the challenge I have to give him, and his use of psychic powers attracted the most dangerous ennemies to a psyker: daemons. Especially when there were daemons in a place.

In the end of the campaign, he was a 1 fate point, and the only way they had of escaping the place they were in with the objective of their mission was to make a pact with a daemon; it wanted the psyker. He accepted to sacrifice himself for the sake of the group. They could have triedto call for transport and exit the moon where they were, but they thought they risked of lacking oxygen and time. So they did the radical choice.






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