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[Migrated] Astropaths

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#1 Wu Ming

Wu Ming


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Posted 23 November 2008 - 05:04 PM


Here is are the Astropathic powers I've come up with. Keep in mind that what little rules information if present is for a LARP and not converted to Dark Heresy.

Whispers of The Warp
At any time there are countless messages being flung through the warp by countless Astropaths. Due the vagaries of The Warp, the echoes of old transmissions are his to hear, as are the haunting reverberations of messages yet to come. When attuned to this mass of information, there is always a chance that the Astropath may overhear something useful.
How it works: When used successfully, the Astropath may ask the GM a single yes-or-know question, or may request a specific tidbit of information that may be flitting through the immaterium.

Fleeting Message
Astropaths specialize in communicating over interstellar distances, but some are adept at sending messages over shorter distances as well.
How it works: You may send a short telepathic message (about one sentence) to any living recipient within the solar system provided you have some idea as to their current location.

Fleeting Truth
Astropaths must always be prepared to separate true astropathic communications from false ones sent by the enemies of The Imperium. Through their training and indoctrination, Astropaths gain the ability to detect falsehoods in all forms of communication.
How it works: You may use this power to determine if something is "false". You may determine if something you have just overheard is the truth. If you are engaged in conversation, you may use this power to become a human lie detector.

Psi Audience
Often, and Astropath receives a message that must be delivered faster than local communication or transportation allows. Thankfully, an astropath may use this power to deliver a message in person without leaving their current location.
How it works: The psyker projects their consciousness, appearing as a ghostly image in the location of their choice. This projection may communicate with all those present in the target location, though the projection cannot otherwise sense it’s surroundings. With the expenditure of an additional Warp card, the projection becomes indistinguishable from the psyker itself.

Despite the acceptance of High Gothic as the lingua franca of The Imperium, there is always a chance that two Astropaths, or two servants of The Imperium who utilize Astropaths, do not speak the same language. An Astropath with training in Tongues may decipher any form of communication and becomes a universal translator.
How it Works: Once activated, the Astropath may understand any language, written or spoken, as if he were a native speaker, for the power's duration. For an additional Warp Card, the psyker may speak/write the language in questions fluently


I've done a bit of work on a draft basic career. Very much unfinished, though....

“Be seated and at peace. The tension radiates off you like heat from a plasma coil. If you expect me to contact the Bastion Porphyr from inside this hellhole, you are going to have to assist in the production of an ambience more…conducive to my work…”

From the outside, the Imperium appears mighty, unassailable, invincible, eternal. Yet those with the awesome responsibility of holding the reigns of power know that it is in fact a fragile thing, utterly dependent upon only a handful of technologies and groups of mutants who bind the incomprehensibly vast empire together. These few essentials include the Astronomicon of Holy Terra, the warp engine, the Navis Nobilite and the Astropaths of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica.
Without the blind seer-psykers of the Astra Telepathica, the Imperium would devolve into a million tiny, doomed empires within decades, each lacking the ability to sustain itself in the face of predation from mankind’s legion of archenemies. Astropaths form the nodes of a communication network that spans the length and breadth of the Imperium: their psychic powers and their link to the God-Emperor allow them to pierce the veil of the immaterium and instantly send messages that would take generations to arrive using conventional technologies.

At once feared and loathed for their witch-powers yet revered for their closeness to the Emperor, Astropaths hold a unique place in the ranks of the servants of the Imperium. Blessed with a single audience with the Emperor, yet cursed by his divine radiance, Astropaths are permanently marked by their service to mankind. Most are blind or scarred in some other way, yet their minds and souls are hardened against the terrors of the warp, making them able to use their unique powers with proportionally less risk than most Imperial Psykers.

Astropaths are a precious resource, and most can expect to find themselves cloistered for their whole lives in totally secure Governors’ palaces on remote worlds, blind prisoners serving their divine master through their excruciating duties until their strength fades and their souls flee through the warp to join him forever. Weaker astropaths form choirs with their fellows, who pool their power to create message-hymns and bolster the powers of their senior colleagues. The Psch-Eyries in which such hymns are sung are psychic powder kegs, the proximity of so many psykers magnifying the risk of a catastrophic warp event, and in these benighted places even senior astropaths walk with an armed guard at their side, trained to place a bullet through their head at the first hint of the Daemonic.

However, some Astropaths are selected – through processes both arcane and mysterious, but rumoured to be connected with the Imperial Tarot – for service within the retinue of an Inquisitor. Astropaths are rare (in some regions, whole subsectors lack an astropath and as such the means to communicate with the wider galaxy) and as such not all Inquisitors have such unique support. But it has long been recognised that if anyone is likely to bring some foul terror to the attention of the Imperium, then it is an Inquisitor, and if he is to do this successfully, he needs the means to call for aid. Astropaths often relish the chance for adventure, excitement…a chance to live life with a purpose beyond risking their sanity to send tithe-data to segmentum data looms for eternal storage…

Astropath starting package
Astropaths are all loyal Imperial psychics who have volunteered to undergo the soul-binding ritual. This has hardened them against the wiles of the warp and brought them closer to the Emperor, but has left them scarred forever. They are usually blind, but retain a spooky ability to detect the presence of living creatures close by and distinguish between them. They are often noble and self sacrificing Imperial servants who have given themselves to a higher purpose, but occasionally they are bitter and damaged individuals who resent their youthful piety as dooming them to a life of miserable drudgery. They are powerful, but limited psykers, with abilities that enable them to communicate with other astropaths many millions of light years away, rendering them a sort of psychic telephone. They also can use their powers to support and bolster the psychic powers of other Imperial servants.

The Astropath career is limited and difficult, but can produce strong roleplaying opportunities and provide strong psychic support for a team of acolytes.

Starting Skills: Speak Language (Low Gothic), Psyniscience, Invocation, Forbidden Lore (Warp) Ciphers (Adeptus Astra Telepathica encrypt codes) Literacy (Braille)

Starting Talents:- Chem Geld, Psy Rating 1, Melee Weapon Training (Primitive), Soul Bound (see below for updated rules)

Starting Gear:- intricately carved staff or walking stick, Green robes (Good Quality clothing), portable incense burner, matches, selection of soothing incense sticks, knife, dark glasses/eyecloth/double eyepatches/eyeplate bolted to skull.

Updated Soul Bound rules:-
The following rules replace the “soul bound” rules on page 332 of Dark Heresy. Please note these rules are specific to the soul binding that links astropaths to the Emperor, and not to other psychic entities.

Your soul is forever linked to the Emperor. This offers you some protection against the perils of the warp, and gives you the comfort of knowing that upon your death, your soul will return to the Emperor’s radiance forever. You may, unlike other Imperial Psykers, use the Astrotelepathy Discipline. You also roll an extra d10 when forced to roll on the Table 6-3: Perils of the Warp on page 163 of Dark Heresy, discarding whichever dice you choose to obtain a more favourable result. However, you pay a price for this protection: you must roll once on the chart below and apply the result to your character.
Roll a d100 to see how the Soul Binding affects you:-
Roll Effect
1-90 You are blinded by the power of the Emperor’s psychic radiance. Your eyeballs are scoured dry by his might, and the nerves connecting them to your brain are rendered inoperable. You gain the Blind Trait, but also gain the Unnatural Senses (5 metres) Trait, as your psychic powers to some extent compensate for the loss of your sight. You may replace your organic eyeballs with bionics, but due to nerve damage, only bionics of the finest quality will work, and the operation will cost at least five times the normal price.
90-95 You are blinded and deafened by the Soul Binding. As above, but you also automatically fail any test based on hearing. You gain the Speak Language (Imperial palm signing) skill, a technique whereby tracing lines on the Astropath’s palm is used to communicate. At the GM’s discretion, one other member of the Acolyte’s team may also have this skill for free. Again, bionics will repair this hearing damage, but on the same terms.
96-99 You are blinded, deafened and maddened by the Soul binding process. As above, but gain 1d10 insanity points.
00 You are blinded, deafened, maddened and crippled by the Soul binding process. As above, but lose 1d10 from any characteristic. This characteristic loss cannot be offset by bionics for the reasons set out above. No one ever said being an Astropath was easy…

Astropath ranks


Junior Astropath


? ?

Senior Astropath Cantor
5,000-9,999 5,000 -7,499

? ?

? ?

Master Astropath
Adeptus Astropathicus Primus

Astropath characteristic advances
Characteristic simple Intermediate Trained Expert
WS 500 750 1000 2500
BS - - - -
STR 500 750 1000 2500
TOUGH 100 250 500 750
AG 500 750 1000 2500
INT 100 250 500 750
PERCEP 100 250 500 750
WP 100 250 500 750
FEL 250 500 750 1000

Chorister Advances

“I dunno…it doesn’t sound like any music I’ve ever heard before…”

Astropaths commonly employ the metaphor of music in describing their psychic sendings, and this metaphor is often extended to employing trainee Astropaths to support the more involved astrotelepathic rituals through the use of psychic hymns. Choristers employ their powers to support other psychics as part of their training. Advance Cost Type Perq
Awareness 100 S -
Common Lore (Imperium) 100 S -
Scholastic Lore (Occult) 100 S -
Performer (Singer) 100 S -
Hatred (Daemons) 100 S -
Meditation 100 S -
Minor Psychic Power: hymnal
(This advance MUST be taken before the player can advance to the next level) 100 T -
Resistance (Cold) 100 T -
Minor Psychic Power 100 T -

Junior Astropath advances

“How long is this message? Hmm…Can I abbreviate it? Does “Send help now” work for you?”

Junior Astropaths learn the taxing and arcane art of sending messages through the aether. At this level, their skills are highly limited. Some Astropaths never advance beyond this level, reduced to sending postcard length messages for their entire lives. Even so, such messages can decide the fate of billions… Advance Cost Type Perq
Chem use 100 S -
Forbidden Lore (psykers) 100 S -
Performer (singer) +10 100 S Performer (singer)
Performer (Musician) 100 S -
Light sleeper 100 S -
Paranoia 100 S -
Trade (soothsayer) 100 T -
Psy rating 2 (note that the “Local Astrotelepathic message” power MUST be selected to advance from this level.) 200 T -
Sound Constitution 100 T -
Heightened Senses (hearing) 100 T -
Ciphers (Adeptus Astra Telepathica encrypt codes) +10 100 T Ciphers (AAT encrypt codes)
Ciphers (Acolyte) 100 T -

Astropath advances

“A message to Terra itself, eh? Yes, it will be difficult, yes it might kill me, but I relish a challenge. One gets so tired of sending grain statistics all day…”

The vast majority of Astropaths in the galaxy remain at this level for their entire lives, cloistered in safe havens, beaming dull messages to and fro, dutifully fulfilling their destiny as servants of the Imperium. No wonder some of them long for something more… Advance Cost Type Perq
Awareness +10 100 S Awareness
Charm 100 S -
Common Lore (Imperium) +10

#2 Kage2020



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Posted 23 November 2008 - 05:09 PM

Incidentally, not all Astropaths are blinded. Some maintain their sight.


#3 Wu Ming

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 04:13 AM

That is true, but almost all are somehow 'altered' or 'injured' durring the process of ther Soul Binding. Also of note the 'blind' astropaths (at least acording to old Rogue Trader information often had supieror 'senses' at short ranges (20 m radius ?) than most sighted humans.

#4 Wu Ming

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 07:02 PM



Discipline: Telepathy
Threshold: 15
Focus Time: Free Action
Sustain: Yes
Range: 10.000 light years/Willpower bonus

You broadcast a message into the warp, allowing any who has the required training to receive it. The psyker must sustain the power as long as it takes to be read, and must concentrate wholly on the message. This means the psyker cannot perform any other actions while this power is sustained.

A psyker with the required training may declare that he is listening for astro-telepathic communications as a free action. To receive messages this way the psyker must succeed on a challenging (+0) psyniscience test and concentrate on receiving it as long as it lasts, or for as long as the psyker wants to. The psyker cannot perform any other actions while concentrating.

Because of the pure randomness of the warp these messages often become distorted and difficult to perceive. How much of the message is perceived depends on how successful the psyniscience test was. No degrees of success means half the message is lost, one degree means some small parts lost, Two or more degrees means the whole message comes through, albeit with some insignificant static and distortion.

This is just a rough draft, but I kind of like it. I'm worried that the threshold is a bit high given the "limited" usefulness of the power ingame. The Astropath from the DH book has a psyrating 3 so he should succed more than half the time though.

#5 Headhanger



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Posted 24 November 2008 - 10:35 PM

Astropathic messages are another reason to make sure your players know the Imperial date format off by heart.

And then we come to bouncing messages from one astropathic source to another.

Astropaths are pretty important to the setting, I'm surprised there wasn't more information on them in the core rulebook. Maybe a lot of these details are things that will be covered in Rogue Trader?

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