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MoltenSilver

Need help dealing with astropath PC

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I've been running a Rogue Trader game for a while now, but now i've run into a situation where I'm at major laggerheads with one of my PC's over. As the characters have been going up the tree the Astropath has been getting more and more out of hand powerwise. We've been debating for a while if or what to do about it, occasionally reaching some compromises (we agreed to ban out the talent that allows a psyker to have a 'signature' phenomenon, for example so that it's at least possible for a roll that doesn't come up perils to have an impact on the game) However, now that said Astropath has gotten Storm of Force things have tipped immensly and I'm at a loss as to how to balance encounters. I'm having difficulty figuring out what kind of opponents I can put them against that will challenge the astropath yet not leave the other characters futile in what they can contribute.
I could of course throw in psychic-dampening enemies/weapons/equipment to even the scale, but there's only so many times I can do that before it the player is going to wonder what the point of picking an astropath was at all if i'm just going to keep taking away the toys he spent xp on.
While the player has agreed with me that Storm of Force could probably stand to lose some power, we're stuck at how and how much to take off it.

So that's my question to the community; how do you deal with astropath powers (aside from just making up contrivances to take them away all the time) in your games? Do you feel they're balanced and my other PC's are just doing something wrong? What kind of enemies do you use in your campaigns against parties with an astropath PC? Do you use any house rules for dealing with powers such as Storm of Force?

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Storm of Force isn't any worse than a heavy bolter or missile launcher.  It doesn't have any PEN value, and the risk of Perils is non-trivial.  The other PC's in a high level RT party should all be packing something potent - storm bolters, plasma, melta, heavy weapons...  The GM merely needs to scale encounters appropriately.   

 

That said, I noticed that FFG has been toning down psychic powers in later editions.  There were horror stories of a psyker taking a Great Unclean One from full "health" to critically wounded in one round, but I think that was back in the Dark Heresy days...

 

Cheers,

- V.

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Arguably, by the time a Rogue Trader crew is at Rank 6 there's no reason they shouldn't be facing large enough hordes, agile enough enemies, or simply tough enough foes that unless you've let them get hold of Unnatural Willpower x3 or somesuch that the others should still be able to contribute in a meaningful fashion to the combat.

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Storm of Force is 2d10+2xPsyRating pen 0, range 5 m x Psy Rating, can only hit a target once. For a Psy rating 6 psyker pushing with Aetheric Wave Spars (total Psy Rating 11) that results in 2d10+22 (avg 33) pen 0, 55m range.

 

Now compare with a Heavy Bolter with Organgrinder Rounds (which most PCs that are interested could get quite a bit earlier than rank 6): range 120m 2d10+2 tearing (avg 12) pen 5 +another 2d5 from ammo, so on average 18 pen 5, to which you can add a bit of damage via Talents (+4 total if you are Arch-Militant) slightly lower than Storm of Force, but you can hit the same target up to 10 times in a given round. Most of the time I'd consider the bolter more effective.

 

Sounds to me the problem isn't  necessarily the Astropath himself, but rather that he is the only combat-effective char in the party. What does the rest of the party consist of?

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Nope. Thats from Black Crusade days. And you can kill more than one GUO with one Psychic Storm from BC. (It needs a lot of preparation, but can be done)

 

Crap, I thought they nerfed the psychic powers in Black Crusade...  Maybe I'd better ask around on the BC forums;  this is getting a tad off topic.

 

Cheers,

- V.

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Arguably, by the time a Rogue Trader crew is at Rank 6 there's no reason they shouldn't be facing large enough hordes, agile enough enemies, or simply tough enough foes that unless you've let them get hold of Unnatural Willpower x3 or somesuch that the others should still be able to contribute in a meaningful fashion to the combat.

 

If you're a GM and your RT party has hit rank 6 just go ahead and buy the Deathwatch Monster Manual and start thumbing through it. I'm not saying it's appropriate to throw anything from it in any given situation but where it is appropriate go ahead and toss **** in.

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I've been running a Rogue Trader game for a while now, but now i've run into a situation where I'm at major laggerheads with one of my PC's over. As the characters have been going up the tree the Astropath has been getting more and more out of hand powerwise. We've been debating for a while if or what to do about it, occasionally reaching some compromises (we agreed to ban out the talent that allows a psyker to have a 'signature' phenomenon, for example so that it's at least possible for a roll that doesn't come up perils to have an impact on the game) However, now that said Astropath has gotten Storm of Force things have tipped immensly and I'm at a loss as to how to balance encounters. I'm having difficulty figuring out what kind of opponents I can put them against that will challenge the astropath yet not leave the other characters futile in what they can contribute.

I could of course throw in psychic-dampening enemies/weapons/equipment to even the scale, but there's only so many times I can do that before it the player is going to wonder what the point of picking an astropath was at all if i'm just going to keep taking away the toys he spent xp on.

While the player has agreed with me that Storm of Force could probably stand to lose some power, we're stuck at how and how much to take off it.

So that's my question to the community; how do you deal with astropath powers (aside from just making up contrivances to take them away all the time) in your games? Do you feel they're balanced and my other PC's are just doing something wrong? What kind of enemies do you use in your campaigns against parties with an astropath PC? Do you use any house rules for dealing with powers such as Storm of Force?

 

I do one thing with my players (that is in DH, but it might work here too): I split up their focus test. I let them roll their focus to make the psychic power themselves, and then i roll perils of the warp myself. It mean that while they are not more likely screw up, but the pure risk of something happening and they not knowing it will make the players less likely to use psychic powers... Its also worth noting that i keep insanity and corruption hidden from the player... So when they hear wispers or start to see things, they can't know if they are there, or its just in their mind...

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Thank you for all the input so far,

 

the main note I'm getting, from my perspective, is that i've left the other players under-equiped relative to how far along the game is. They've spent most of their time on frontier low-tech systems/worlds so i've clamped down on what's 'impossible' to aquire and maybe been to stingy on oppertunities to roll aquisition tests.

The one thing i don't really understand though is the comparisons to the heavy bolter; the heavy bolter does 2d10+2 damage with 5 pen (so, since there's very few targets with total AP lower than 5, essentially 2d10+7 before armour reduction), with tearing quality. The range of damage therefore is 9 - 27, with an average of somewhat above 18 due to tearing.
Storm of force, according to the errata 1.4(which as far as I know is the latest), does 2d10+ 3PR, not x2. currently my astropath player's PR is 7 and can push to 11 thanks to warp conduit.
using 7: 2d10+(3*7 =) 21, for a range of 23 - 41, average 32.
using 11: 2d10+(3*11=) 33, for a range of 35 - 53, average 44
While it can land more than one hit on a target, the heavy bolter also has a limited firing arc. If I try to use flanks of surprise, the storm of force just creates an absolute deathzone in a huge area around the Astropath

The rest of the group is comprised of
-Missionary with a buffing and melee focus
-An archmilitant focusing on accurate-type weapons/building to be a 'sniper'
-An explorator who wanted to go for an odd build and focus on agility. Between high dodge skill and typical techpriest AP she's the 'trap-spounge' of the group. Offensively pretty much just carries a heavy weapon for suppressing fire.

 

The only other factors I can really think to mention is maybe some blame could be put on the group's tactics (they tend to just scatter to the nearest cover in combat, even if its the weakest, rather than try to pull into narrow cooridors for the explorator to hose them down or the sniper having room to kite), and my Astropath being peternaturally lucky with phenomenon/perils, which is maybe skewing my perspective of how dangerous psi powers are to use.

From what I've learned from all your posts, it seems like the best option is to look for ways to get the others more on-par using equipment, then seriously up the power of the enemies I throw at the group.

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Without upping the power of enemies you could throw Daemons at the the group - their aurus mess with psychic powers.

Otherwise yeah, let the other characters gain access to better gear. Fair enough you're running a story on backwater planet but the telepath effectively hasn't had the same restrictions as the other characters...

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Well, staying on the frontier was the group's choice, rather than going back to civilization frequently; hence why I didn't feel all that bad about them not having better oppertunities to gear up. But now that the psyker's gotten that far ahead due to the nature of the class, I'm probably either going to 'encourage' them to get to some kind of civilized or forge world, or have them earn their way to the posessions of some lost prior Rogue Trader expedition or some such.

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Maybe have them fight a group of enemies with weapons that would level the playing field somewhat; when they kill them off, bam, replacement gear. And you still get an excuse to drag them back to civilisation, because otherwise they've got no ammunition supply for their fancy gun. The players probably don't mind the astropath murdering things easily, so they don't feel much pressure to get that new gear.

Otherwise, range is your friend. I've personally noticed this as a consequence of playing on a whiteboard, but most combats tends to be in that 20-30 metre range, where basically everything is in short range. Try an emplaced sniper or other such enemy with range outside the astropath's 35-55 death-zone.

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Heavy Bolter has limited arc until you put Suspensors on it, when you can full-auto as half action whicever way you like. Also, the average you posted is just for Heavy Bolter. A dedicated ranged DPS character will have special ammo (organgrinder rounds deal 2d5 damage ignoring everything if you fail a Toughness test you stand practically no chance to not fail), be an arch-militant for another 2 damage and have Mighty Shot (I think that's the talent name) for another 2 damage.So average would be more around 28-29 per hit. Add 3 chances of Righteous Fury per hit to that.

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Odds are typically better that you'll be fighting a larger number of things with less wounds than a single massive thing that warrants a heavy bolter managing to get x hits on it.

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Odds are typically better that you'll be fighting a larger number of things with less wounds than a single massive thing that warrants a heavy bolter managing to get x hits on it.

Hence why you have full auto and suppressing fire.  :D   Or full auto and targeting several opponents and killing them instead of killing one.

 

Now, by no mean am I saying the Astropath power is bad.  It obviously has it's uses at killing single targets very quickly.  But, a party of Rank 6 characters in one of my games would probably have squads of troops carrying heavy bolters, so I would make the adversaries be creatures with 120+ wounds (with the ability to swallow/crush/disembowel a squad of troops in a single attack).  Or hundreds upon hundreds (or thousands upon thousands) of 8-10 wounds Xeno barbarian creatures (as you pointed out).  ;)

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Heavy Bolter has limited arc until you put Suspensors on it, when you can full-auto as half action whicever way you like. Also, the average you posted is just for Heavy Bolter. A dedicated ranged DPS character will have special ammo (organgrinder rounds deal 2d5 damage ignoring everything if you fail a Toughness test you stand practically no chance to not fail), be an arch-militant for another 2 damage and have Mighty Shot (I think that's the talent name) for another 2 damage.So average would be more around 28-29 per hit. Add 3 chances of Righteous Fury per hit to that.

Please.  Vengeance Bolts are the way to go.  +3 Damage and Pen, AND Unstable.  

 

So an Arch Militant w/ Mighty Shot and the correct specialisation (for +4 damage), would be rolling out with 2d10+9X Pen 8 Tearing per shot, for an average of 22.47 damage a shot with a 10% chance of that being doubled to 45ish (and a 10% chance of it being halved to 11), with a damage range from 7-58 per shot.  This weapon would also have a greater range than the Astropath, possibly a greater chance to hit, and would almost certainly have less chance of ******* the party as a whole over with Perils/Phenomena.  

 

It's fairly easy to outclass an Astropath in firepower with the right weapon.  The key thing is less to make everyone superhuman death machines (though that's a lot of fun) and think instead about the kind of questions that would be asked of an Astropath that's casually tossing around that kind of power.  

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Heavy Bolter has limited arc until you put Suspensors on it, when you can full-auto as half action whicever way you like. Also, the average you posted is just for Heavy Bolter. A dedicated ranged DPS character will have special ammo (organgrinder rounds deal 2d5 damage ignoring everything if you fail a Toughness test you stand practically no chance to not fail), be an arch-militant for another 2 damage and have Mighty Shot (I think that's the talent name) for another 2 damage.So average would be more around 28-29 per hit. Add 3 chances of Righteous Fury per hit to that.

Please.  Vengeance Bolts are the way to go.  +3 Damage and Pen, AND Unstable.  

 

So an Arch Militant w/ Mighty Shot and the correct specialisation (for +4 damage), would be rolling out with 2d10+9X Pen 8 Tearing per shot, for an average of 22.47 damage a shot with a 10% chance of that being doubled to 45ish (and a 10% chance of it being halved to 11), with a damage range from 7-58 per shot.  This weapon would also have a greater range than the Astropath, possibly a greater chance to hit, and would almost certainly have less chance of ******* the party as a whole over with Perils/Phenomena.  

 

It's fairly easy to outclass an Astropath in firepower with the right weapon.  The key thing is less to make everyone superhuman death machines (though that's a lot of fun) and think instead about the kind of questions that would be asked of an Astropath that's casually tossing around that kind of power.  

 

That's a very good point. Most of my group's optimization dates from before Faith&Coin came out (And back then Organgrinder were the best ammo), and my current char has no need for special ammo (using Tau weapons) so I had no idea they were actually that good :D

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Well compared to a BC Psyker with Aegis of Euphadros and Force Storm with Psy Rating 7, and possibly Child of the Warp(+1 Push Psy Rating) and maybe even Warp Conduit resulting in an effective Psy Rating of up to 18. Doing 1d10+54 dmg per hit in Full Auto mode hitting up to 18 times with the Warp Weapon quality AND the Tainted quality(adding even more dmg)... Do not see the problem. (Granted, this Psyker would probably not do this alot since the risk for death due to Perils is very real)

 

Considering that your Astropath still needs to roll a Ballistic Skill test for each hit which can still be Dodged, it is not that OP. And it is only one hit per target as well...

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While everyone here is saying "oh, your astropath isn't that bad it's just that everyone else is garbage," the point still stands that your balance is out of whack, and a short term solution might be handy.

 

Throw challenges at them they can't shoot or force storm (unless they want to deal with the aftermath).  My personal favorite?  An administratum official, with retinue, announces that he's going to be in the local area and intends to audit the new holdings under the Warrant of Trade- after all, the IRS- I mean the Imperium still wants its cut.

 

At this point it becomes a mad scramble to hide any heretical leanings the group has had in the past (what Cold Trade routes?) and launder Profit Factor so that the auditor doesn't hit the group with fines and penalties- costing them PF in the long term.  If they get the idea to kill the Auditor?  Better kill the ship.  And hide all of the evidence before the Loss Investigation Fleet shows up- and hope that he didn't have his astropath report that they had arrived in system safely and were beginning the audit.

 

This does double duty by bringing them back to areas that they have established trade routes to.  At that point, I'd allow them to make Acquisition tests to see what they had shipped in, assuming they had ordered the gear shipped in months (or years, depending on the scale of your downtime) ago.  This allows you to get your non-psykers upgraded gear.

 

Next, produce challenges specifically because of your Astropath.  Powerful psykers attract trouble, period.  This is a thing.  Send blood-cult assassins with Brass Collars after his skull, or send hungry daemonhosts/daemons/CSMs after him.  Word should be getting around by now that he's some kind of BAMF- by sending targets after him specifically, you both reward and punish him for it.

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I've been running a Rogue Trader game for a while now, but now i've run into a situation where I'm at major laggerheads with one of my PC's over. As the characters have been going up the tree the Astropath has been getting more and more out of hand powerwise. We've been debating for a while if or what to do about it, occasionally reaching some compromises (we agreed to ban out the talent that allows a psyker to have a 'signature' phenomenon, for example so that it's at least possible for a roll that doesn't come up perils to have an impact on the game) However, now that said Astropath has gotten Storm of Force things have tipped immensly and I'm at a loss as to how to balance encounters. I'm having difficulty figuring out what kind of opponents I can put them against that will challenge the astropath yet not leave the other characters futile in what they can contribute.

I could of course throw in psychic-dampening enemies/weapons/equipment to even the scale, but there's only so many times I can do that before it the player is going to wonder what the point of picking an astropath was at all if i'm just going to keep taking away the toys he spent xp on.

While the player has agreed with me that Storm of Force could probably stand to lose some power, we're stuck at how and how much to take off it.

So that's my question to the community; how do you deal with astropath powers (aside from just making up contrivances to take them away all the time) in your games? Do you feel they're balanced and my other PC's are just doing something wrong? What kind of enemies do you use in your campaigns against parties with an astropath PC? Do you use any house rules for dealing with powers such as Storm of Force?

 

the shadow in the warp, tyranids

 - we're all gonna die

 

a necron tomb world awakening, plus its satellite worlds, in a pattern around the region they adventure in cutting off access to the warp through their use of pylon worlds, like the ones on armageddon, meaning their ship can't navigate, warp powers are crapped on and the only way to get out fo the area is through a maiden eldar world's gate through the webway

- give them hints from eldar that webway use could lead to the salvation of the region, they can adventure through the webway, fight necron some eldar and whatever filth inhabits the webway

 - i dunno it seems to have a lot of potential, removes them from the warp and their ship

 

a warp plague that turns non psychers into dessicated vampire husk zombies, eliminating their ships crew

 - no crew no ship no need for astropaths, need to find alternative transport or dragoon a new crew if you can clear out your own ship

 - im tired already

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Send in Bloodthirster, that has an axe with another Bloothirster locked inside. If you kill the wielder, the other bloodthirster erupts from that axe, and has another axe with another bloodthirster insinde! Infinite combo!

Edited by Amaimon

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Send in Bloodthirster, that has an axe with another Bloothirster locked inside. If you kill the wielder, the other bloodthirster erupts from that axe, and has another axe with another bloodthirster insinde! Infinite combo!

You are monstrous...I stand in awe

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Uh oh.  Look who just came in the room.  It's the curmudgeon.  I'll bet his advice is, "Problem player?  Kill 'em!"

 

Ayup.  That's always my gut reaction.  It's been working for me for a very long time.  If someone does something intolerable and you kill them, they won't do it again.  Of course, RPG's tend to break that logic.  Always remember, violence solves all problems.  If it didn't solve yours, you didn't use enough.  In the case of anti-Astropath violence, I suggest other psykers (Eldar are great for this, although daemons usually make for a more memorable experience for the players, especially if you describe the ingestion of the astropath in gruesome detail), anti-psy weaponry, or just goobers full of long-range dakka.  I'd go with the latter option and maybe the other players would get the hint.

 

Of course you could always try to take the reasonable route.  There have been plenty of solutions already given here to that effect.  Try one of them.  Heck, try all of them.  If they don't work, try my solution.

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