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Astropaths

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I've joined a Rogue Trader game as an astropath. We've just reached Rank 2, and I'm a bit at a loss. What is an astropath supposed to do in the game, beyond being a fancy phone? 4.5 psychic techniques don't really give a wide range of abilities, and astropath isn't particularly good at much else.

 

Additionaly, is there anything that's better to take than Telekinesis for the second discipline? I really like Voidfrost, but Telekinesis (specificaly Precision Telekinesis and Armor) is just too good.

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If your GM is using the Navis Primer, you get such neat things as the ability to tell enemy macrocannon shells that they shouldn't hit your ship, or tell daemons what naughty creatures they are and make them sit in the corner until they've thought about what they've done. 

 

Beyond that, Mind Probe will basically break games if your GM doesn't have a revolving door of NPCs that blow their brains out rather than be interrogated if they know anything useful. 

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Aaah, Astropaths, or as I call them, Telefaxus Glorificus.

 

In a nutshell, what you do is monitor long-range communications aboard the ship, manage the astropathic choir, and act as an advisor to the Rogue Trader. You can also potentially become a very powerful ability-monkey, capable of doing a range of things no-one else does, whether it's ripping thoughts out with Mind Probe, or simply push people off edges with your thoughts.

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Additionaly, is there anything that's better to take than Telekinesis for the second discipline? I really like Voidfrost, but Telekinesis (specificaly Precision Telekinesis and Armor) is just too good.

It really depends on your group, your GM and your gaming style.

In my group, Telepathy and Divination are usually considered so superior to telekinesis that it's almost silly, while in other groups Tk is considered OP.

 

This has to do with the scale at which we usually operate.

The same players (mine) are also of the opnion that having to draw a weapon is a sign of failure - it's what you have minions for, after all.

 

And I must admit, I also really like Voidfrost :)

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Divination can make an astropath better at most skills than the so-called specialists.

 

Telepathy allows horrors such as dominating anyone thanks to the lopsided opposed roll system. Almost no chance of resisting a high level psyker using dominate or reprogram.

 

If you have access to the Navis Primer, Theosomaphy makes most encounters with the daemonic trivial. Banishment with a decent willpower is an insta-kill against anything short of a greater daemon and warp weapon will make a mockery of most armour.

 

That said, I regard almost everything in the Navis Primer as very broken. The ship actions giving extra void shields are ludicrous and should be the realm of alpha or beta level imperial psykers.

Edited by Decessor

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Astropaths, like Navigators in this game, are very slow growth and often will be overshadowed in the early parts of the game. They are meant as glorified HAM Radios or GPS's, but they have a lot of bakstory behind them that can make them interesting.

 

Once you get to Rank 4 and have taken Telekinesis (which is amazing), or gotten your first Master class power as a Navigator, you're going to slowly but inexorably take over the other players in terms of power.

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Aaah, Astropaths, or as I call them, Telefaxus Glorificus.

@Fgdsfg, do you mind if I use this as my signature, with proper citation of course? it struck a chord with me, deep in my chaos-withered heart.

 

should be the realm of alpha or beta level imperial psykers.

As I recall (AFB) those abilites come with some big negative modifiers to pull off, barring high Psy Rating or a big choir backing you up the whole way.

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Oh boy, where do I even start? Reading minds with telepathy is a given. Spamming Divination until the GM just gives you his campaign notes and leaves the table is another. Granting yourself +30ish bonuses to everything is nifty if you wanna get stuck in - nothing keeps you from grabbing Hand of War in your origin and learning heavy weapons.

 

You could use Puppet Master on an Ork Warboss and shut yourself inside the Choir-Chamber while you control his actions from 5VU away. The Soul Ward discipline gives you party-wide buffs - a godsend - and the ability to bounce back shells from Titan cannons as a reaction. Telekinesis gives you the ability to summon a respectable blade out of thin air, and lets you put on a second layer of Power Armour with TK shield.

 

Voidfrost is terrible, however. You only ever get three disciplines (yes, even Transubstantial Initiates only get three total - it's all in the core book) so don't waste them on Voidfrost or Theosophamy.

 

If you're absolutely desperate, you can use Compel on your friends to give them extra actions in combat.

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I've never felt the need for an indepth analysis. The powers are extremely limited, overlap with each other, do next to nothing, have very little utility, and/or provide effects that can be easily replicated (or outdone) with technology.

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Two points of contention for you.

 

One: Quest for Warmth is actually quite useful when fighting Eldar, since the Eldar can very easily become unscannable or effectively invisible. It is somewhat situational, but it is a useful power.

 

Two: Black Sleep is the only real power that can reliably incapacitate without killing, or could easily take out a large number of close-range targets, especially if you have drugs to counteract the fatigue you'll normally be gaining.

 

Now the discipline as a whole really needs some homebrewing to make "work", and those few strengths are dwarfed by every other discipline, but there is SOME use there.

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I don't know much about FFG's Eldar. Could you tell me what abilities make them invisible to Awareness, Psyniscience and Mind Scan?

 

And I wouldn't call Black Sleep *reliable*. Enemies only take one point of Fatigue unless *fail* their WP check by three degrees or more. By the time you've caused enough fatigue to incapacitate anyone, I suspect either you or the enemy will be long dead.

 

But I wasn't saying Voidfrost has no uses what so ever, only that it's a massive waste of a discipline. Theosophamy is great against daemons (I assume - I haven't actually read the rules for years), but that doesn't make it worth taking.

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I don't know much about FFG's Eldar. Could you tell me what abilities make them invisible to Awareness, Psyniscience and Mind Scan?

The trick here is the range: Quest for Warmth has a range of PR*2 VU - meaning you can find eldar (and dark eldar) vessels in the void, which can otherwise be a chore. And you can do this while in Silent Running mode.

And I wouldn't call Black Sleep *reliable*. Enemies only take one point of Fatigue unless *fail* their WP check by three degrees or more. By the time you've caused enough fatigue to incapacitate anyone, I suspect either you or the enemy will be long dead.

Sadly true - but given how few other ways there are to capture things alive...

Ofcourse, people have spent a lot of time complaining about how easy it is for psykers to win opposed rolls.

Also Black Sleep is not alone in causing Fatigue. Breathstealing Barrage does as well.

I've never felt the need for an indepth analysis. The powers are extremely limited, overlap with each other, do next to nothing, have very little utility, and/or provide effects that can be easily replicated (or outdone) with technology.

...and yet people recommend Telekinesis? Which has the Basic Technique and Precission Telekinesis, an pretty much everything else is more-of-the-same, most of which can be easily replicated by the one thing almost every group have in abundance: guns.

I think I'll stick with Voidfrost of you don't mind. At least that provides me with a few options.

No, it's not the be-all-end-all disipline that everyone must have, but I think it compares favorably to eg. Telekinesis.

Not that I wouldn't go for (Telepathy and) Divination first every time. :-/

Edited by Tenebrae

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...and yet people recommend Telekinesis? Which has the Basic Technique and Precission Telekinesis, an pretty much everything else is more-of-the-same, most of which can be easily replicated by the one thing almost every group have in abundance: guns.

I think I'll stick with Voidfrost of you don't mind. At least that provides me with a few options.

No, it's not the be-all-end-all disipline that everyone must have, but I think it compares favorably to eg. Telekinesis.

Not that I wouldn't go for (Telepathy and) Divination first every time. :-/

 

Other useful things in Telekinesis are Telekinetic Shield (7 extra AP is always nice!) and Death Grip (T.Crush upgrade from IS) that does unsoakable damage.

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The trick here is the range: Quest for Warmth has a range of PR*2 VU - meaning you can find eldar (and dark eldar) vessels in the void, which can otherwise be a chore. And you can do this while in Silent Running mode

Mind Scan + Astropathic Choir. Not quite the same range, but it doesn't require a whole 'nother discipline.

 

Sadly true - but given how few other ways there are to capture things alive...

Stun grenade spam and grappling, mind control, garrotes. I would argue all of these are more effective than causing one fatigue a round to an unrestrained opponent.

 

...and yet people recommend Telekinesis? Which has the Basic Technique and Precission Telekinesis, an pretty much everything else is more-of-the-same, most of which can be easily replicated by the one thing almost every group have in abundance: guns.

I think I'll stick with Voidfrost of you don't mind. At least that provides me with a few options.

No, it's not the be-all-end-all disipline that everyone must have, but I think it compares favorably to eg. Telekinesis.

I don't. Precision Telekinesis allows you to substitute pretty much any physical stat for Willpower, and the extra armour from TK shield alone makes the entire discipline worth it in my opinion. It also enables you to use many of the ship combat powers from Navis Primer, if memory serves. You won't have enough psychic powers available to pick everything from all three of your disciplines anyway, so you might as well take one that allows you to cherry pick something good.

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should be the realm of alpha or beta level imperial psykers.

As I recall (AFB) those abilites come with some big negative modifiers to pull off, barring high Psy Rating or a big choir backing you up the whole way.

 

 

They do come with big negative modifiers. Which barely make in a dent when an astropath with decently high willpower, +5 bonus for every point of Psy and the fact they have fate points puts their mind to making them work. And there isn't even the chance for psychic phenomenon for channeling such a huge amount of power. The fatigue gain is the main factor in making the Navis Primer ship actions even slightly more reasonable and there are ways around even that.

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should be the realm of alpha or beta level imperial psykers.

As I recall (AFB) those abilites come with some big negative modifiers to pull off, barring high Psy Rating or a big choir backing you up the whole way.

 

 

They do come with big negative modifiers. Which barely make in a dent when an astropath with decently high willpower, +5 bonus for every point of Psy and the fact they have fate points puts their mind to making them work. And there isn't even the chance for psychic phenomenon for channeling such a huge amount of power. The fatigue gain is the main factor in making the Navis Primer ship actions even slightly more reasonable and there are ways around even that.

 

Yes there is a chance for psychic phenomena. Those actions are all Focus Power tests, which cause psychic phenomena.

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Aaah, Astropaths, or as I call them, Telefaxus Glorificus.

@Fgdsfg, do you mind if I use this as my signature, with proper citation of course? it struck a chord with me, deep in my chaos-withered heart.
Feel free to. :lol:

 

 

...and yet people recommend Telekinesis? Which has the Basic Technique and Precission Telekinesis, an pretty much everything else is more-of-the-same, most of which can be easily replicated by the one thing almost every group have in abundance: guns.

I think I'll stick with Voidfrost of you don't mind. At least that provides me with a few options.

No, it's not the be-all-end-all disipline that everyone must have, but I think it compares favorably to eg. Telekinesis.

Not that I wouldn't go for (Telepathy and) Divination first every time. :-/

As a skillmuppet, I naturally favour Telepathy and Divination in general, but when it comes to personal utility and sheer "oomph", seeing as Pyromancy and Biomancy isn't in Rogue Trader (which is annoying but makes sense), Telekinesis is actually amazing.

Telekinetic Weapon is borderline broken, and can reliably deal 1d10+6 Pen 2, even at Rank 1 with a Psy Rating of 2. Push that to a Psy Rating of 5, and it's suddenly 1d10+15 Pen 5. Note that it's a psychic power, so you'll be slicing up daemons like it's nothing.

Use Precision Telekinesis and you can suddenly fight at a distance with it. Precision Telekinesis also lets you do any Characteristics Test at a range, using Willpower instead, with your effective Psy Rating as your Strength Bonus if it matters. Suck on that for a while.

Telekinetic Shield lets you throw up a 5 AP shield like it's nothing, that adds to your pre-existing armour. So you've got a fairly basic 3 AP armour? Now it's AP 8. Oh, and this protects against Warp Weapons that would normally cut through all armour like butter.

It's not my favourite discipline or anything, but Telekinesis is pretty amazing, honestly. I recently played a rather boss Sanctioned Psyker that started with Telekinesis (we homebrewed it based on the Astropath) and in no way is Telekinesis a sub-par choice.

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For reference, I disagree with most of everything Fdgsfg just wrote, and I still think Telekinesis is worthwhile.

Any reasons as to why? I basically listed a number of facts relating to Telekinesis and said it was worthwhile, so it's odd that you'd disagree. What are you disagreeing on? The RAW?

Or are you being a contrarian on principle?

Edited by Fgdsfg
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Yes there is a chance for psychic phenomena. Those actions are all Focus Power tests, which cause psychic phenomena.

 

 

Re-reading the page in question, I accept that. Psychic focus tests are too easy to pump up, especially with things like Familiars and astropathic choirs.

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It all depends on the campaign style, as someone else mentioned.

 

If you're doing a lot of dungeon crawls, you'll want TK.  Otherwise, it's just not that useful.

 

Telepathy is your prime baby.  With it you're the Lord Captain's chief advisor.  If he doesn't take your advice, you can become the Lord Captain and give your own orders through his mouth.  I mean, you read his enemies' minds and give him their secrets.  This is THE ability for games full of intrigue, commerce, or anything else that isn't strictly personal combat, and it isn't half bad for that.

 

Divination is THE secondary ability for astropaths.  With it you can man any station on the ship.  And, you'll be THE augur operator.

 

The rest are just icing.  I'm not a cake guy, so I don't appreciate icing the way some people do.  I grew up on pies.

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And one thing that has always bothered me, and rarely gets played out, is only mentioned as a passing thought in the rulebooks, and is an absolute necessity...

 

Astropaths are the Time Keepers on the ship.  When you come out of the Warp you have no sense of time.  That means, using knowledge and simple logic, that any attempts by the Navigator to make a chart of the route he just used AUTOMATICALLY FAILS.  You can't navigate across a two-dimensional ocean without an accurate timepiece.  What's your chances of doing so in three-dimensional space?  Heck, longitude wasn't accurately recorded until someone invented a portable and accurate clock.  So, the Astropath's first action upon exiting the Warp should be to contact other Astropaths in nearby systems so they can reset the clocks.  This alone should tell you that your Rank 1 Astropath isn't the best aboard the ship, just the one whose opinion the Lord Captain trusts, or perhaps the one that can make sense of the crazy but powerful Astropath's words.

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....

The rest are just icing.  I'm not a cake guy, so I don't appreciate icing the way some people do.  I grew up on pies.

I'm assuming you are referring to the Portal Incident as discovered by Chell in 40.981.  Citing notes in investigation <redacted>, I must regrettably inform you that the cake is a lie. 

 

P.S. I like pie too.  :)

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