Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
enentol

Astra Telepathica "Psyker" Background Aptitude?

Recommended Posts

I'm really hoping that someone can help clarify something for me.

 

I was browsing through the Character Creation section and something still stands out to me as odd.

 

For the Adeptus Astra Telepathica background, you get the choice of either "Defence" or "Psyker" as a Background Aptitude.

 

It seems like the "Psyker" aptitude is useless on it's own. Any skill (eg. Psyniscience) or talent that uses "Psyker" as an aptitude also also requires the character to be a Psyker or to have a Psy Rating. However, if you choose the Psyker Elite Advance, you immediately get the Psyker aptitude anyways.

 

Essentially, taking the "Psyker" Background Aptitude to make a non-Psyker character is useless, but taking it and then making a Psyker character gives you the Psyker aptitude again (essentially a free characteristic aptitude of choice). This seems a little bizarre...

 

It seems like non-Psykers with the Adeptus Astra Telepathica background have the choice between Defence or something useless to them, but Psykers get the choice between Defence or any other characteristic aptitude...

 

Am I missing something here?

Edited by enentol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No I think you've got it. I think it's just a weird artifact of the aptitude system and wanting to offer something for non-psykers for that background.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No I think you've got it. I think it's just a weird artifact of the aptitude system and wanting to offer something for non-psykers for that background.

 

It just seems like the aptitudes clearly benefit players choosing a psyker rather than a non-psyker from that background:

 

Non-psyker apitude choice:

Defence or nothing

 

Psyker aptitude choice:

Defence or pick any one characteristic aptitude of your choice

 

That's not to say that defence doesn't have it's uses, it just seems like a weird disparity between the choices available between Psykers and non-Psykers here.

 

Simply put, I just really don't understand the choice of offering Psyker as an apptitude at all...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Originally that background only offered the Psyker aptitude. Adding a choice was a kludge fix to make it so non-psykers could take the background without being effectively down one aptitude.  But, as you've noticed, it's not much of a choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A non-psyker could use the Psyker aptitude with the Willpower aptitude to buy Willpower characteristic advances for their character at the cheapest cost as they had both aptitude, if the player was looking for the character that would be much less prone to run from fear tests a high willpower helps with that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A non-psyker could use the Psyker aptitude with the Willpower aptitude to buy Willpower characteristic advances for their character at the cheapest cost as they had both aptitude, if the player was looking for the character that would be much less prone to run from fear tests a high willpower helps with that.

 

Anyone who actually does this demonstrates a lack of understanding of how Aptitudes work. You'll end up paying a lot more XP picking up skills and talents over the course of the campaign doing this than just eating the 1-aptitude WP advance cost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Originally that background only offered the Psyker aptitude. Adding a choice was a kludge fix to make it so non-psykers could take the background without being effectively down one aptitude.  But, as you've noticed, it's not much of a choice.

 

I was kinda guessing that this may have been an issue leftover from Beta.

 

I'll probably just house rule it so that the option for background aptitude is "Defence" for non-Psyker characters, or nothing for Psyker characters, since they'll pick up the extra "Psyker" aptitude anyways.... Thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go to the house rule sections, I think there are a few suggestions on alternate ways to do Aptitude assignment at character creation.

 

I also assume that with new books coming out we will see more roles and backgrounds, so in the end there will be something for everyone...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It definitely seems that the aptitudes for this background needs some more work, especially for non-Psykers. 

 

What about the guy who's there to make sure the Psyker doesn't go haywire? They can keep The Constant Threat, and gain an ability to attack the psyker and deal weapon damage to negate Perils of the Warp and/or Demonic Possession. 

 

Along a similar vein, what would be a good professional replacement for the Psyker aptitude (since it's basically pointless, as pointed out above)? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Along a similar vein, what would be a good professional replacement for the Psyker aptitude (since it's basically pointless, as pointed out above)? 

 

I would probably go with knowledge, since it is likely that they know a forbidden thing or two.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given powers sometimes require high characteristic scores in aptitudes most psykers won't have, the ability to "pick one" is rather nice.

 

It's not an invalid choice. It can be house ruled that the second aptitude option is simply a characteristic aptitude of your choice for some nice flexibility. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's not a house rule. That's right there in the rules.

Indirectly, yes, for psykers only. Taking that out and giving to anyone who takes the background would make it more useful for non-psykers.

Alox, that's a good pick IMHO. It gives both a combat and non-combat option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm late to this discussion, but spotted the thread because of dealing with the issue in my campaign.

 

So, it seems to me one of the biggest aspects of this situation with Psykers, is that it's the only starting character type that gets 9 Aptitudes instead of eight - am I wrong about this?

 

A starting psyker gets 8 Aptitudes like everyone else - but then immediately receives the Psyker Elite Advance, which gives the character a NINTH Aptitude, no?  Given how important an ongoing role Aptitudes play, that's pretty huge.  The starting psyker player basically has a choice for a ninth Aptitude between Defense or the Characteristic-based Aptitude of their choice.

 

Am I incorrect about any of this?  Does it seem odd to anyone else that one single character-type gets 9 Aptitudes while every other character-type gets 8?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

 

Addressing this directly, [seanpp], one could also argue that being an [inquisitor] grants a 9th [Aptitude] in the form of Leadership or a wildcard. Seeing as the [Psyker {Elite Advance}] has no restrictions as written, anyone who wanted a 9th Aptitude could "simply" become an Unsanctioned Psyker. On a more serious note, being a Psyker has major consequences. Yes, the benefits are massive and unreplicable by other means, but so are the weaknesses. In order for a Psyker to remain "competitive" (and I use the word lightly), they need to drop a lot of experience on just Psy Rating. Suddenly a Psyker has to juggle Talents and Advances and who knows what else. Gaining an Aptitude over the rest of the non-Psyker players seems skewed, but an experience break for all the things those non-Psykers never have to worry about buying seems justified. And this is without going into the territory of monsters and weapons that are "allergic" to Psykers (read: super-effective against).

 

More broadly, the availability of the Adeptus Telepathica is to open the [Psyniscience {Skill}] to the "general public". As written, Psyniscience is gated by the fact that a character needs some form of Warp attunement to be purchasable. It goes without saying how useful Psyniscience can be where technology is fallible. Having another person with Psyniscience can never hurt. Just as well, the [Adeptus Telepathica's {Background Bonus}] combined with the [Psyker {Aptitude}] offers some interesting character concepts such as a Psyker-supporter that minimizes his Psychic Phenomena rolls and protects the Psyker or a Psyker-magnifier that instead makes those Psychic Phenomena more intense. Having both a Psyker and a non-Psyker from the Adeptus Telepathica nutures a player relationship that's hard to find otherwise.

 

TL;DR: There is a perfectly good use for a non-Psyker from the Adeptus Telepathica with the Psyker Aptitude, with the right mindset.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the response Asymptomatic, good stuff.

 

Addressing this directly, [seanpp], one could also argue that being an [inquisitor] grants a 9th [Aptitude] in the form of Leadership or a wildcard. Seeing as the [Psyker {Elite Advance}] has no restrictions as written, anyone who wanted a 9th Aptitude could "simply" become an Unsanctioned Psyker. 

 

 

Inquisitors have a prerequisite of a 75 Influence...really the opposite of a starting character there.  Actually, the Psyker Elite Advance does have restrictions if not taken through the ATT Background.  The PC must have a 40 Willpower & must have the permission of their GM - both of which are expressly waived if the Elite Advance is received as part of the ATT Background.  Then on top of that, an Unsanctioned psyker should have major narrative repercussions at some point - given that Ordo Hereticus expressly hunts their kind.  So I think comparing the Sanctioned Psyker with either Inquisitors or Unsanctioned psykers is a tough one.

 

As far as Sanctioned Psykers needing the 9th Aptitude to remain "competitive" - my campaign has been playing with the 2e Beta rules for over a year...and we haven't seen that.  No doubt the psyker is probably going to spend significantly less on skills than other PC-types, but that's more than offset by the PCs with skills not having access to all the psyker powers.  (In contrast, our psyker has purchased plenty of talents, because quite a few of them have warp/psyker-based benefits.)   There are indeed creatures that will seek out the Cell's psyker to attack...but that tends to be because the psyker is the only one that can effectively damage the creature - the rest of the PCs are more likely to be sitting ducks!  (i.e. Foes with the Daemonic Trait.)

 

If considering who needs a 9th Aptitude based on staying "competitive", I think there's arguably a stronger case for giving Adepts a 9th Aptitude.  I'm not for that, but am simply noting that Adepts tend to be at least as much in need of a helping hand, juggling their primary knowledge focus with trying to be useful in combat.

 

You mention non-psyker ATT PCs...sounds good to me!  I really like the much greater flexibility of 2e chargen over 1e, and non-psyker ATT PCs are a case in point there.  My issue is with giving one single type of standard starting character a 9th Aptitude.  All you would have to do to retain ATT non-psykers without granting Sanctioned psykers a 9th Aptitude is for RAW to state that the Psyker Elite Advance grants the Psyker Aptitude only in the case of Unsanctioned Psykers.

 

Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

 

My mentioning the Inquisitor Elite Advance was more to point out that a 9th Aptitude is floating around for anyone who qualifies for it, though certainly not at character creation. The Unsanctioned Psyker bit was a half-joke. I mean, paying 300xp for the Advance to save experience down the road? The Psyker Aptitude can discount thousands of experience on Willpower alone. Totally a bargain. "Bargain". In quotes.

 

Mostly I argue the 9th Aptitude for Psykers because of the potential consequences. Namely dying to Perils of the Warp, but a GM could be merciful. Psykers have to deal with hexagrammatic wards and untouchables and everything else that could ruin their day pretty badly, especially if they sunk most of their experience on now useless powers.

 

The Beta's outside of my field of knowledge, so I unfortunately can't talk about that much. Depending on how the Adept is played, I don't see an immediately compelling reason for them to have a 9th Aptitude. My personal opinion is that not every character needs to be a combat-oriented one, or at least not directly. Playing a Colchite Master or with Cyber/Psyber Familiar (based on the setting) lets a social/leader character still have a personal bodyguard to do the fighting for him. Even without combat assistance, the Adept could be the one strategizing and keeping everyone's Fear and Pinning Tests in check. And Adepts don't have to worry about turning into Daemonhosts or what have you.

 

If the main issue is the Psyker's floating/wildcard 9th Aptitude, as a GM I would try to compensate each player uniquely so they feel just as special as the Psyker. Maybe some shiny equipment to distract them that matches their character concept. Being a Psyker is a big deal, so I wouldn't want them to trade one of their existing Aptitudes just to make their life as a Psyker slightly less hellish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You guys are both mixing game narrative with game mechanics to make a mechanical decision, which is not a great way to have this kind of mechanical discussion.

 

Looking at what the Psyker Aptitude is used for, there's only 3 things: WP advances, Psyniscience (skill), and a handful of Talents.  Now, given that almost every psyker power keys of WP, you'd be a fool not to also have the Willpower Aptitude. Willpower + Psyker will give you the lowest cost for almost all advances a psyker character can be expected to take. The remaining key off Perception, which traditional psyker-types will probably have, but maybe not. So for Psyniscience and a couple talents, you're paying the 1-match cost.  It's also worth mentioning that no non-psyker character would ever take any of these advances.

 

So the end result is that Psyker characters spend much less XP on psyker advances than another character would (but they won't, since they don't do anything unless you're a psyker). The effect is that psykers are able to spend as little XP as possible taking the advances that make them better psykers.

 

Whether this is a good thing or not... I can see both sides. On the one hand, if a player wants to gear their character toward psyker and do that really well, they should be able to do that, just as the assassin guy gets his sniping talents for cheap. On the other hand, the psyker can have their cake and eat it too - spending a low amount of XP on psyker stuff AND having the aptitudes to do something else well, too. 

 

This last point requires a bit of work to answer, and I'm curious to hear how it's working out in your campaign. If your psyker is able to drop a small amount of XP into psyker things for a good benefit AND is able to do something else extra well, then yeah, that extra Aptitude is giving them an edge over the other players, and that's bad. 

 

My biggest problem with Psyker is that it's the second match for WP advances. There are loads of reasons for non-psyker characters to want more WP (fear, resisting psykers), but they're shafted paying, at best, the 1-match cost.

 

edit: god **** that's a lot of words for what amounts to '**** aptitudes'

Edited by cps

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

 

Personally, I'm the kind of guy that uses narrative to support mechanical decisions. Getting an experience break in the long run doesn't mean anything if a Psyker dies immediately to Psychic Phenomenon or some circumstance that could have been avoided by non-Psykers. The life expectancy between PC Psykers varies widely from GM to GM though. Past that issue though is that Psykers have a lot of things to pay for. For example, the [Gate of Infinity {Telekinesis Power}] offers unparalelled utility but with significant prerequisites. First, in order to even reach Gate of Infinity, a Psyker needs to shell out 700xp just to get the powers leading up to it. Then there's [Psy Rating 5] requirement, which for Sanctioned Psykers means paying for Ratings 2->3, 3->4, and 4->5 experience minimum (3100xp total). Since the Focus Power Test is a [Hard (-20) Willpower Test], a Psyker with 40 WP only has an effective WP of 20. If Psykers want to extend the range of the Gate of Infinity, they need to sink even more experience into Willpower or possibly Psy Rating. And these thousands of experience points are just for learning one power, leaving all other Talents, Characteristics, and Skills by the wayside. Letting the Psykers have their 9th Aptitude is a mercy measure in my eyes.

 

Having a non-Psyker with the Psyker Aptitude is a hard sell, but not an impossible one. The only way for a non-Psyker to pick up the Psyker Aptitude or Psyniscience is through the Adeptus Telepathica. As I mentioned before, non-Psykers from the Adeptus Telepathica play an interesting role. It's exactly that: they play an interesting role, not an optimal one. Yes, for non-Psykers, that debatably useless Psyker Aptitude is taking up one of the eight that non-Psykers get. My take is that that's the price for an unique character concept and, personally, that's worth it. I feel the same about Adepts and social characters since they are not strictly expected to be combat-capable but have a wealth of utility off the battlefield.

 

If any players want to complain about Psykers getting a 9th Aptitude, I will point out that 4000xp to a Psyker might buy some Psy Rating, Characteristic Advances, and a few powers. Granting 4000xp to other people will have them spiral towards their late-game fantasies and leave the Psyker in the dust.

 

Aside: I like the house rule that gives each Skill, Characteristic, and Talent an appropriate 3rd Aptitude. The hard Characteristic-based Aptitudes are non-negotiable, but the other Aptitudes create a level of freedom. For example, a Willpower Advance's Aptitudes could be [Willpower]/[Psyker or Leadership]. Implementing a second houserule to make Leadership the base Aptitude for [Command] and [interrogate] also gives the [Leadership {Aptitude}] some much-needed love. That way, the Social Aptitude doesn't dominate the basic Interaction Skills.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About non psyker astra telepatica, what kind of character are they exactly?

 

Just non-psykers working for the AT.

 

To quote from the core rulebook on page 51:

 

Though psykers dominate the bulk of this agency, there are 
others. Numerous unblessed humans act as warders and minders, 
perhaps on Terra or on the Black Ships, all watching for any signs 
a psyker has become a deadly threat. 
 
I think it's pretty cool from a narrative viewpoint how a non-psyker can use Psyniscience, to quote from the book on page 112:
 
character who is not a psyker can also use this skill, representing his 
ability to recognise the subtle phenomena, such as strange patterns 
of dust motes or odd sensory distortions, which often accompany 
psychic disturbances.
 
The first thing that comes to mind is creating a character with Shrine World - Astra Telepathica (Psyker Aptitude) - Assassin to create some stealthy witch hunter character that specializes in Psyniscience to find his or her prey.
 
Doesn't even have to be a Shrine World home planet since Psyniscience uses Perception (Assassin has it) and Psyker aptitudes. The Willpower aptitude might help though to boost the Willpower characteristic or get talents to resist psychic effects.
 
That said, the Psyker aptitude doesn't really give that many advantages, aside from the cheaper advances in the Psyniscience skill (can't remember any Psyker Aptitude talents that also doesn't require a Psyker rating as prerequisite?). It does give cheaper characteristic advances in Willpower though.
 
It's possible to do all of the above, but just pick defense as an aptitude and start with 1 level of Psyniscience from the AT background and just buy more with just 1 Aptitude, paying a somewhat higher cost, but giving you cheaper Defense aptitude skills/talents/characteristics.
 
Maybe you don't care about defense however (paying a somewhat higher cost with just Agility as 1 matching aptitude) and just want a sniper-style assassin. Then sure, the Psyker aptitude might work. Food for thought. 
 
I'll keep this option in mind when I need to create a new character in the future. 
Edited by Gridash

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...