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Calgor Grim

Psykers and Psy Ratings

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So I picked up DH2 lately. Most of it I like, a few bits of it I'm non plussed on.

 

Today however I raise the issue of Psy Ratings and Psychic powers. Looking through quickly it seems these have had a bit of a rethink. For a start, all in trees which is good as it prevents saving XP and buying a game breaking top tier power.

 

One thing I am trying to clarify and garner thoughts on is the notion of psychic strength. Looking through the new book they have removed the idea of fettering psychic powers, reducing your strength to reduce the chances of peril as irrespective of any circumstance, the chances of a phenomenon are still 1/10. Irrespective then, (unless there is a talent somewhere, still havent read it all) there is always a chance of some phenomenon as opposed to previous systems which said that by fettering you are safe. I'm not a fan of this.

 

It also looks like, unless I'm reading it wrong, that the original +5 modifier to the test based on PR has been removed from the WP test and replaced with a modifier that rewards you for using less power than you are capable of and punishes you for using more and making it harder before taking into account the test itself to manifest. Is that also correct?

 

Also, still don't like that psyniscience is a basic skill dragged over from around the days of BC...

 

I'm looking to house rule a few of these bits if they are a little patchy. Thoughts from you lot though?

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1. The concept that psychic powers can be used safely in WH40k is by and large not fitting in step with the setting. A psyker's ability to avoid the dangers of the warp in DH2 comes in the form of talents that mitigate the dangers of psychic phenomena, like Warp Lock and Favoured By The Warp.

 

2. Yes, you get a +10 bonus to the check if you use an effective psy rating less than the character's psy rating, and a -10 to the test for using a psy rating greater the character's psy rating (pushing, and it goes to a max of 2 higher than base psy rating) (page 194, "Step 2," 3rd paragraph, pushing detailed above). The benefit of pushing is indeed arguable, theres an old thread around here on the matter. Apparently its judging between the benefit of the increased range and output of the effect being improved vs. the increased test difficulty.

 

3. Not sure whats wrong with Psyniscience as a skill? Thats how even non-psykers can have the bare-bones knowledge to recognize warp stuff; if it was contained within the actual psychic powers, such awareness would be inaccessible to non-psykers (and its already difficult in that they can't buy the skill).

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I'm with [KommissarK] on this one.

 

1. The whole idea behind Psykers is high-risk/high-reward, yeah? If Psychic Powers had no chance to trigger Psychic Phenomenon, then Psychic Powers are basically overpowered Talents in my eyes. The gap between Psyker and non-Psyker is large enough without making Psykers universally stronger. While unfettered psychic strength sounds great on paper, I think it would irk other players. I know I would feel somewhat gypped if my ally basically had an ammoless Melta gun all the time.

 

2. At first, I was against the double-whammy of Pushing too. My opinion has since changed after some discussions. The difficulty increase is to discourage low-PR Psykers from going crazy; the difficulty increase is also offset by higher Characteristics and such. Off the top of my head, some powers scale pretty aggressively with PR, so successful Push can be rather rewarding.

 

3. I would also like to know what can be considered "wrong" with Psyniscience. Seems fine to me, but I haven't had much experience with it either.

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I agree with pretty much everything KommissarK said.

 

1) Safely using psychic powers does not really fit with the setting so I've always hated the effects of fettering.  I have always house ruled them out of the systems that had them.

 

2)You are correct on the psy rating giving +10 for using less points and -10 for using more points.  I'm still not sure how I feel about that change, and there is a thread going into a lot of detail on it.

 

3) I can kind of see the point of Psyniscience not being able to be used by non-psykers, but they expanded what it does.  It isn't only the ability to see residue from war entities, it's noticing the physical effects of them as well.  So, I just give different RP results to a non-psyker.  So, I really don't have any issues with this.

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I would chime in that psychic powers in the setting (the written fluff) only really seem to cause weird warp effects when it is dramatically appropriate or for a very powerful use of the ability. Making the walls bleed because you tried to send a single telepathic message to your buddy is not really very dramatic. In fact, I'd say its kind of stupid when that happens. I made my own new group of psychic powers with special rules in the houserules thread, if the op wants to check them out. They have minor phenomena occur ANY time a psychic power is used, but the phenomena tables are re-written to be more flavorful and less catastrophic. I didn't rewrite all of the tables I needed to, however, because people didn't seem that interested.

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Fair point with the removal of fettering. I guess I hadn't perceived it in that manner and I suppose that it adds a little more challenge. I mean now the 00 perils roll is a straight out obliteration without chance of reprieve as opposed to not saying you can't burn fate so it does add more of a risk to the characters.

 

With the whole +10 for holding back or -10 for going nuts, not got a massive issue with that and can see the reasoning for it and produces slightly different results compared to the old system. If anything it makes it a little more difficult which I guess is somewhat the theme of the new generation given that IIRC Ascension characters can outdo Deathwatch Marines. Consider the below:

 

Psyker with PR10 uses a power wanting to obliterate their enemy. Under the old system he would have gained a +50 on the Willpower test (5xPR).

Same Psyker attempts the power but tones it down a few levels to make themselves effective PR8. Under old system that would have given them a +40 (8xPR) however in this it's a +20 (2 drops).

 

It seems like the need for a high psy rating is just being further devalued in each consecutive release as, and please do correct me if I missed a page, still reading through a load of them, it's not easier to use any power at higher than its designate threshold because you get no benefit to actually triggering it. The effect on a few of them seem to be seldom worth the return of adding an extra few points. In older systems there was a benefit to having a higher PR to use the abilities as it was easier to manifest because you had immense reserves. So now your daemons of Tzeentch which have PR silly, still have to drop their own immeasureable mental powers just to up their WP and pass a roll rather than just being so **** powerful that it is trivial. Again if I missed a page saying that being above a threshold is good, put a strikethrough on this item and I'll leave it at that.

 

RE: Psyniscience, it's the concept behind it. Being a basic skill means it may be used by any Joe Bloggs without training (just at a silly penalty) but needs the relevant talent to buy into it further. That last bit I have no issue with.

 

The wording of the skill means that a person with this may:

• He is hunting for the location of a Daemon.
• He wishes to determine whether a psyker has used his power recently in the area.
• He is trying to find a weak point between realspace and the Immaterium.
 
That in theory could allow a player to use psyniscience to detect the above. I'm sorry but I find it highly illogical that someone without any even hint of skill in the warp to say "Yep, let me try and detect a warp rift around here and a weakness". I'm sorry but it doesn't sit right with me and I will house rule a No on that one. Detecting traces of powers used recently from atmospheric disturbances or taste in the air or whatever is one thing as you get similar results nowadays sensing weather patterns by the change in humidity and air pressure but the expanded description suggests it could be used for other elements such as weaknesses in reality. That to me is what really seems bonkers. Bonkers that you can just inherantly detect this stuff. I even believe it used to allow you to detect psykers...not something I'm fond of.
Edited by Calgor Grim

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That to me is what really seems bonkers. Bonkers that you can just inherantly detect this stuff. I even believe it used to allow you to detect psykers...not something I'm fond of.

 

 

Almost every human has a soul which is basically energy in the warp, so even those unable to tap into the warp to do magic have some connection to it. The souls of psykers burn brighter in the warp, so even if someone untrained in ways of the warp doesn't fully understand psykers or their magic, they can still feel the effects of it thanks to their innate connection to the warp.

 

Non-psykers (particularly agents of the Inquisition) can train this innate intuition into something more conscious, allowing them to do the things you describe.

 

That's the lore reason for why the rule is that way but if you want to disallow your players that ability, go for it.

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2. *snip* (Concerning the value of a high PR)

 

3. *snip* (Concerning Psyniscience)

 

My understanding is that a high PR means that the Psyker can do what a weaker Psyker would need to push for or struggles to do. A PR 2 Psyker is at a -10 penalty if he wants to Push himself to be PR 3, but a PR 3 character has no penalty. Conversely, a strong Psyker can perform certain powers more easily. A PR 3 character is also a PR 2 character with a +10 bonus if he chooses to hold back.

Off the top of my head, [Foreboding] is a Divination power that is essentially a -10 Willpower/Perception-based Psyniscience test to Evade an attack (similar to a WS-based Parry or an Agility-based Dodge). It does not scale with higher PR at all, so a strong Psyker can negate the penalty or even Evade at +60 consistently (and Foreboding is explicitly able to Evade attacks that cannot be Dodged or Parried, hoho). Every point of PR can translate to a +10 bonus, making Tzeentchite daemons and the like dangerous power-slingers. At least by my analysis.

 

If PR or psychic energy in general can be likened to candles and their heat, it's only natural that psykers and daemons are more visible than the candleless non-psykers. Using a psychic power or doing something else unusual leaves a "heat signature" in the area. Basically, I just liken Psyniscience to thermal vision. The bigger the ball of heat (psychic energy), the easier it is to track. Ranking Psyniscience up means that the character has an easier time using on his thermal goggles. Or something like that.

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