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Boon of Tzeentch question

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Hi all,

 

I’ve been experiencing some problems with a character build in my group; a Thousand Sons Sorcerer.  I have looked over the forums here and haven’t found any posts that address this particular issue.  I was wondering if any of you had this problem, or could offer some solutions.  The player is open to adapting the character so as to not ruin the fun of the other players.

 

His character has a Psy rating of 4, a Willpower of 72, the Boon of Tzeentch power, and the Force Storm power.

 

Here’s what happens during most combats (first round):

 

Half action 1 – cast Boon of Tzeentch fettered. With a Psy Rating of 4 (counts as 2), he rolls on a willpower of 82.  He usually gets 4-6 degrees of success.  Let’s say he gets 6.  That gives him a temporary Psy Rating of 10 for the next power used.  The damage caused to him by casting the Boon is 1d5+10, Pen 4 (average 13).  Well, he has power armor (10) and TB 8; so that’s no damage.  Thus, no drawback to casting Boon.

 

Half action 2 – cast Force Storm unfettered with a temp Psy rating of 10.  He rolls on a Willpower of 122.  Let’s say he gets a 45.  That’s 8 degrees of success; producing 8 shots of 1d10+30 each.  Average damage of 35 each.

 

Even for an adversary with 10 armor and 10 toughness bonus, that’s 120 damage to the body in the first round of combat.  Ugh. 

 

The rest of the party are humans; so I don’t want to just throw Bloodthirsters at them.  It’s fine when I run non-combat encounters/puzzles, but any combat is over in about 1 round…

 

Any thoughts or suggestions?  Are we doing something wrong?

 

Thanks!

 

-Jon

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Not a big BC player myself so I can only stopgap till a big name comes.

Are you SURE boon allows armor? That's a tad odd. Most damage taken from boosting yourself is taken from within and ignores armor.

That kind of damage sounds like a severe exploit. Has he ever hit perils?

Is boon a concentration type? How about force storm? A sorceror *might* get two concentration types in a round from being whoopie. Most psyker's can't.

Edited by SirRunOn

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Thanks for checking in.

 

I first assumed that it would ignore armor, but it specifically lists (Pen 4) and doesn't clearly say that it ignores armor. 

 

He has not hit perils yet.  Of course he won't ever on boon (he does it fettered) and he's been lucky enough not to on Force Storm.

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Offhand ... I'd say hordes. Large ones.

Big enough that he can't take them out too quickly.

Conveniently enough, when he blows large numbers of them away in an instant, the rest of the horde(s) will focus fire on him out of self preservation, leaving little damage to be dealt to the human players, allowing them to survive, yet still challenging him. With enough horde numbers around, and if he pops Force Storm every round or so to clear them away, the odds of hitting perils will catch up with him.

 

 

Also, modify Boon such that it doesn't allow armor reduction, which is ridiculous. Make it TB negation only or only reduce damage by Willpower bonus instead, either would be consistent with self-inflicted power feedback damage. Energy to the Head, mind you. Admittedly, it's unlikely to come up, since if he'd be likely to be taken into critical damage from it, he'd probably refrain from using it.

 

 

Throw in areas where the veil between the Warp and the Materium is weaker, or weakened, increasing the risk of Phenomena and Perils.

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Thanks javcs,

I like your solution. The temp solution we made on Saturday night was that the damage from boon would not be reduced by TB or armor... Since it's effectively warp brain damage.

We'll test it out next week.

I'll also be sure to push some hordes at him.

Thanks!

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Also note, over-reliance on a boon might make said chaos god feel he's doing all the work.

 

If you need an emissary, I'd suggest a Lord of Change, which would make quite a good enforcer, I don't know if they come in your books. I can at least tell you they're in the deathwatch bestiary  If he blows up a demon in league with the power he's siphoning from there's probably going to be hell to pay.

 

And did you check if both those psychic powers are concentration actions?  Most versions of FFG's 40k roleplay say you can only take one of any type of action per turn, even if it's a half action.  Two concentration actions in the same turn is a no-no for every psyker I know of.

 

This might not be a problem for a Tzeentch psyker.  Maybe they can concentrate really hard on more than one thing at a time.

 

.

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First off, talk to the players. I'm guessing that it will be easier to come to a solution when all sides understand what's going on. 

 

Second, keep in mind that Boon of Tzeentch and Force Storm are both Attack/Concentration powers, and thus cannot be used in the same turn. Plus Boon of Tzeentch has the Shocking quality, which is one of several weapon-based debuffs that doesn't care about whether you inflicted damage or not. Basically, the Thousand Sons Sorcerer has to make a bit of a windup to shoot his load, and at the end there's the distinct possibility that he gets stunned for several rounds thereafter.

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Sirrunon,

Lol, i like the idea of Tzeentch "paying him a visit" to encourage more diversity in his spell uasage. Ha! And yes, the BC book has the Lord of Change in it.

NFK,

Thanks for pointing those out. I'll share the details with him about not using them in the same turn and the rules on shocking quality.

And yeah, everyone in the group (including him) wants him to have "cool powerz", but not be so powerful as to kill every villain in the blink of an eye.

Thanks all!

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The rest of the party are humans

 

See, there's your problem ..  :D

 

Alright, alright. Jokes aside, I think the best way would be to either tone down the bonus of the Boon, or (less preferably) slightly boosts its Pen. I think it doesn't do 100% penetrating damage because, narratively, it is meant to be an environmental effect rather than something that affects the character's body from within, but needless to say, the balancing seems to be a bit off.

 

Talking it over with the players might be another solution. I mean, a talk should be have either way (even if you're just houseruling the Boon, you ought to explain why you did so), but perhaps you can defuse the situation by convincing the Sorc's player that this Talent is messed up and that it's harming the group. Perhaps the player is willing to .. trade abilities?

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Thanks Lynata,

 

Yeah, the player is super-cool about us discussing the power and finding a solution.  He wants to be a badass (I don't blame him), but he doesn't want to suck the fun out for the rest of the party.  Or get them all killed by a parade of Bloodthirsters.  :P

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Many encounter in P&P games might seem to easy for sometimes GM and players get into some kind of repetition where most encounters start from a maximum range of 50 meters and result in a fast and gory end for one of the two sides.

Psy powers are nice but once they are know there are not much people willed to tackle you in such a short range. Once your adversaries are actually trained combatants you, as a GM, have to actually play them accordingly and make them utilize actual strategies.

 

Think of a Guardsman Platoon with Chameleoin Cloaks sitting in cover and preparing an ambush. They have some decent chance to surprise your party and their special weapons like Melta or Plasmaguns are drilled to fire on the biggest threat first which might include the Sorcerer as a Marine and definite target if it is know that he is also a psyker. Same goes for actual Imperial Guard Snipers that are know to even operate in squads of 5 snipers that focus one target with hot-shots to bring it down in one singly volley. Another scenario would be 60 conscripts waiting for you behind a cross way unleashing some rather devastating fire on you.

 

A psyker is a devastating weapon against his foes. That is pretty much supported by fluff. But how do these psykers get slain? Either by a Psyker as strong or even stronger than him. Superior firepower or simply by a foe he does not even know is there. As rare as a psyker is, they are a considerable threat so every bigger fighting force should have their own tools and strategies to get rid off one. They are CSM. Heavy infantry. So usage of auto-cannons or lascannons is not some desperate act but actually work to rule.

 

Do not expect your psyker getting challenged by the big boss of your campaign. Their very much definition is boss killer. But if he gets to cockey even conscripts are know to kill those guys.

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This may be a preference thing, but I recommend against railroading encounters like that, as opposed to simply fixing an OP ability or not using it anymore. It will only result in the other players feeling less important.

 

Unless, of course, the rest of the group is fine with playing sidekicks for the big Marine Hero.

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Actually I do not consider it railroading to present foes that fit the trouble some BC Groups get them self into. If this forces them to retreat in some scenarios that is actually the result of their action. Same goes for running around the front lines proclaiming to be a psyker capable of shooting super crazy things. That marks you as target #1.

 

Also this combination is by no means the only way to outshine the party. It may be one of the more remarkable ones but a psyker specing into one specific field always outshines every other one that tries to achieve that in a mundane way. That is how psykers work and even more how they are portrayed in fluff.

 

I do not like the approach to balance a P&P like an MMORPG where every class has to be just as strong as the other one in some regard but I prefer to stick to the theme. Hence I always ask my groups what they want to play and if they do not want a psyker it is simply forbidden. But if they allow psykers and are okey with being accompanied by a thousand sons sorcerer they should not be surprised that what ever power he picks it will be something crazy. In the end he is a Thousand Sons sorcerer - there are not many psykers around that play in that league. If you pick a cult leader to play with such a character you better find your own niche or be okay with him outshining you. This is not the imperial guard where psykers are limited in their powers, this is a black crusade where you set a weapon of mass destruction loose. That is what psykers are.

 

If he does not kill his foes with Force Storms he will with Doombolts, Storm of Change, etc. (Not to mention a melee psyker...)

Most offensive psypowers outshine any regular equipment your party can get its hand on and that is discounted for the psykers utility allowing him to soak and negate damage like nobody else or making most social play a joke by simply reading someones mind or controlling him entirely.

 

Psykers are meant to be overpowered in whatever they specialize in. And with more XP they will simply specialize into more fields. That is why I always make sure to get the groups entire approval to allow psykers and speak with the player about his powers and what he tries to become. Your player want to become a god of war? There is not much you can do against that. Forbid that power and there are enough others to fill the gap. He might not go over 100 damage per turn that way but how often is so much damaged needed? And with the best anti-psy defense, the boons of being an astartes and abilities to regenerate his own flesh he will last a second turn to bring down that foe.

 

As a GM you want to open other ways to make your players shine such as infiltrations for your assassins, interactions for your cult leaders and what not.

But other combat focused characters will ultimately loose that arms race sooner than later unless you constantly pit them against khorne daemons and untouchables.

There is a reason an astartes chapter has 1000 marines and just a hand full of librarians. They have to be rare for such power.

But rarity is no problem for character creation.

 

I do already consider background overpowered by simply being called Psyker. There is nothing wrong with being overpowered as long as your party was expecting it that way and prepared their characters before the campaign to allow everyone his personal field of expertize. But a background being called thousand sons sorcerer simply screams for being overpowered and it seems this caught both your group and you off guard.

 

So either your group can make its peace with that or you start to nerf his powers. But once you nerfed the storm to be worse than another power, that power will still be stronger than the artillery of your other players. You cant bring a psyker to a comparable power level. Not without making him a joke.

 

There is a reason for the imperium of man to scout the entire galaxy with their black ships to find psykers. On the other hand they do not put so much effort into finding the most skilled swordsman or heavy weapons specialist.

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I’m setting the next phase of the adventure to feature the tyranids (my favorite from the tabletop).  The story will involve them “bumping” into a few stray ships from a  hive fleet and getting their ship infested.  I’m going for a Dead Space vibe.  So it should provide lots of opportunities for him to use his super blasty powers, but also fear the impending doom of a hidden lictor.  It’ll also give me the opportunity to stalk the humans in the party with smaller tyranids, while the marine gets stalked by bigger predators.  Plus, the Shadow in the Warp will help tone down the psychic powers for a bit.  It should be exciting, everyone is looking forward to it. 

 

Again, Thanks all for your comments.

 

Cheers,

Jon

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Actually I do not consider it railroading to present foes that fit the trouble some BC Groups get them self into.

 

Oh, no, that can be absolutely fitting. Not only would I count this as smart encounter design, but in some cases it may even be an expected, almost necessary representation of the game world reacting to the players' successes (or failures).

 

What I meant was essentially splitting up encounters into groups of enemies dedicated to fight specific player characters, and only them, rather than allowing the encounter to develop naturally - which means enemies going for targets of opportunity, rather than focusing on single PCs (exceptions such as assassins who have only a single target aside). Aside from creating the appearance of "tiered combat" and warped realities that apply differently to individual characters - something I also dislike about BC's Horde rules - it essentially runs a risk of turning the other characters into bystanders, since their challenge is going to be less epic, because they themselves are less epic.

 

I don't think I could enjoy such a game. But I believe you are correct in assuming that some players may have less of an issue with such things. Depending on whether or not they correctly guessed the consequences of having such characters in their group. Judging from OP's post, I had the impression that it would not apply to this group.

 

Also, let's not turn balance into a buzzword. Making player characters feel somewhat equal in worth and fun is not an invention of MMOs, but has been a core element of Pen & Paper RPGs since their inception. Furthermore, a problem with FFG's games may be that the gap between certain character types in the rules is considerably larger than what people may expect if they are familiar with the Tabletop game or certain fiction, which means these players can be mislead into problematic expectations.

 

For BC, my recommendation would be to run mixed Marine-Human groups only if you don't actually have any Renegades in your party, because anything a Renegade can do, a Marine can do better. This way, you can have the Marine take care of combat, and have the Human characters shine at different things, just like you said. Depending on the characters, it may still feel somewhat sidekick'ish, but that does not have to be a bad thing, if the leader plays a cool role and allows the other PCs a certain degree of freedom (as advisors, councillors, generals, free agents, ...).

 

There is a reason an astartes chapter has 1000 marines and just a hand full of librarians. 

 

Yes, it's called the Codex Astartes. ;)

Edited by Lynata

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What I meant was essentially splitting up encounters into groups of enemies dedicated to fight specific player characters, and only them, rather than allowing the encounter to develop naturally - which means enemies going for targets of opportunity, rather than focusing on single PCs (exceptions such as assassins who have only a single target aside). Aside from creating the appearance of "tiered combat" and warped realities that apply differently to individual characters - something I also dislike about BC's Horde rules - it essentially runs a risk of turning the other characters into bystanders, since their challenge is going to be less epic, because they themselves are less epic.

 

In that case I have to agree - partially. A combat has to feel naturally but the more skill you find in your enemy force they are less like to go for targets of opportunity in favor of focus targets. A combat should not feel separated by two playing feeld where we have the renegades and their cool foes on the one side and the humans with some milita on the other side. They should feel like being part of the very same battle though drilled regiments of the guard and foremost astartes do heavy quite strict orders that tell them what to attack, given that heavy weapons teams would not ignore that cultist two meters away, charging with a chain axe but under most regular circumstances they have to prioritize foes like power armor clad renegades.

 

This is a very delicate line you have to balance and a reason I suggest to most human characters to not focus into combat if there are already combat orientated chaos marines around. If both take a chain axe and both attack in the very same manner the chaos marine will cause more damage and soak more damage. In the end he is still a super soldier created for warfare. In these cases I suggest these players to specialize in their combat focus, like going sharpshooter or assassin for they are able to better compete here to mundane marines. That said I do not create specific challenges unless they are justified by player action. A human PC that made a name for himself as a incredible efficient sniper might be hunted by other snipers leading to some enemy at the gates actions where else the khorne berserker might encounter some Ogryns under the command of a Commissar after he charged the battle lines at the exact same location for the third time. A psyker that openly runs around like the demi-god he thinks he is will meet some long range fire of sniper squads or heavy weapons. Important for me is that my adversaries use the equipment, resources and skills I gave them before to their best use. If my PCs would scout the enemy and gather intelligence they would know if there are ogryns or special sniper squads around and hence an infiltrator-spy character might become important. In the end though every challenge must have a reason, may it be a reaction to the PCs or foes that pick their targets in an intelligent way and within reason. As for some Orks or Conscripts they may simply attack the first thing that comes into sight.

 

As for the balance I might have been a bit cocky though you have to agree that most of these P&Ps such as D&D had a background that justified this balance. A mage was like nothing at low XP and sorcery was an Art that had to be learned together with some initial potential and took an extreme amount of time and effort to be mastered - if ever. In WH40k though all you need is some genes to determine your initial strength. Most do not even notice their potential where else others might enslave entire Planets at the age of 6. The setting does not require a live dedicated to study and such - only if you want to do it save without the aid of the powers you conjure. But if you give in, allow them to help you and still manage to resist their consuming nature you are "fated" to become a powerhouse. In that regard WH40k is simply different and as you said, not expecting that might have been the problem here. And especially for black crusade you do not have to deal with all the limitations of imperial psykers.

 

Off topic mode on:^^

For the Codex Astartes I actually do not remember a guideline limiting the amount of psykers in a chapter and there are chapters presented to have a focus on psykers while still being a codex one. Imho it seemed like a natural limit that these chapters only manage to have some numbers and desperately recruit to maintain them for not only are suitable psyker rare but also actual psyker capable to go through the process of becoming an Astarte. I remember a short story where Grey Knights actually put an end to some envoys of another chapter for they claimed dips on a candidate and they refused to give him free implying some shortage of qualified human resources. The average though seems to be one lib per company and maybe some libs in training with 1 or 2 constantly assigned to the librarium. Also, if not recruited from their homeworlds, Chapters are somewhat dependent on the imperial black ships that supply several institutions of psykers. A chapter with "sufficent" numbers might not get one though these numbers must not be an actual rule.

Edited by FieserMoep

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Balance - or at least a semblance of such - is not hard to justify in 40k either. The tabletop seems to manage it nicely, all things considered. Psychic powers can be pretty epic, but they don't have to be, and in the end they merely feature an expanded range of possible destructiveness when compared to mundane weaponry. Yes, there are some psykers who might be able to "enslave entire planets at the age of 6" (actually, I doubt it, but I would not want to dismiss the possibility entirely), but at the same time, most psykers are so weak that all they can do is conjure miniature flames to light lho-sticks with, or other minor powers to that effect. These are the drop-outs, only good to become psychic food for Big E. Player characters tend to fall somewhere between those two extremes, thanks to being Sanctioned Psykers, Librarians, and other specially trained and selected individuals.

 

And it certainly would not hurt the setting or immersion if some psychic powers would get tweaked as long as the package still feels suitable. This feeling, in turn, may depend on the individual gamer, but as mentioned before the rules have already deviated from what existed before, so there's no reason at all to stick with them if we believe they're bad for the game.

 

 

As for Librarians, I don't think official material has explicitly pointed out a fixed amount (at least I don't recall such an instance), but it does limit the standard Chapter to 1,000 warriors and establishes a fixed organisation, of which the Librarium is a part of - counted towards the Headquarters Staff, with fixed ranks and an established, regulated progression. As such, I'd assume the size of a Chapter's Librarium is regulated in the same way.

 

However, this is still just a personal expectation.

 

Most of all, Librarians ought to be already limited by the necessity to conform to a Chapter's geneseed. The most powerful psyker in the galaxy might never become a Space Marine Librarian if their genes are incompatible... or if she is a woman. ;)

 

(and that is before we get into those silly optional additional requirements that some Chapters may have, such as the Salamanders only taking recruits who are good at blacksmithing)

 

 

Disclaimer: the above is following GW codex fluff and may be contradicted by other official/licensed sources. Anyone is free to cherrypick the interpretation of the setting they feel most comfortable with. Which .. actually only makes the job of balancing even easier, if you really want to!

Edited by Lynata

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For the tabletop though we have to take into account that it is an even bigger abstraction to the Lore than the P&P tries to be. In some regard it may be more accurate but in others not.

In the Tabletop the choice of psypowers is actually pretty limited so for example vanilla marines mostly do have access to utility powers to support their actual "combat" units even though regular space marine librarians are know to control a much bigger variety of even rather destructive offensive powers we only see that much represented in the special chapter codices. Also comparing them to other weapons is rather difficult for we have no measurement of time aside the "turns". Though it is quite unlikely that a multilaser only gets three shots out in the time a tank need to drive around such a long distance. The abstraction not only bigger, it is also without an actual timeframe and one psykic blast might have the same template as an ordinary weapon though that weapon is "considered" to be fired ten times in that round.

 

As about the strong psykers we pretty much have that awkward situation where the mightiest psykers loyal to the imperium (besides big E) are actual astartes (Njal, Tigurius, Mephiston) and one of the mighties host around might actually be Ahriman and his Sorcerers. Above that level might only be some Eldar/Primarchs and ofc rogue Psykers of Alpha Plus category that are uncontrollable (Like the Apex Twins that turned their Black Ship into a Space Hulk at the age of 6 and since then have a rather bloody history including many dead Inquisitors and Imperial Guard Regiments)

 

But you are right, most psykers do not even know their power and may only be able to conjure a single flame. Shame though that we do not play that for most characters will naturally "grow" into higher psy levels when they spend their XP. They do not throw a die and look for how strong they are but have pretty much control over that. So unless we make the decision to stay at PR1 we simply fall out of that category and develop into that middle you mentioned. Starting at PR4 backed up with being a Thousand Sons Sorcerer though is not that middle between extremes anymore. That is as strong as no-named psykers come and only the beginning.

 

As for tweaking the powers you might take a shot at them. But fixing one power simply ignores the scaling of the Psyker System in general that will only result in another power being vastly superior to regular weapons unless we start to bring heavy ordonance. A psyker simply becomes better and better in what he does for we do not have fixed psyker levels. A warrior might increase his WS or BS, that makes him better at hitting stuff but does not make his weapon more potent. And at some point there is simply a limit reached for how much dakka you can stack on a marine. At that moment the psyker has still 3+ PR to learn before him.

 

And for the codex stuff. Yes, it limits Chapters too 1000 Marines but that is more a guideline than a rule - even for codex chapters. If they find a lost squad they erased from their statistic they do not kill 5 marines to not go over the 1k limit.^^ Also some fluff says these 1000 marines include crews where else others say the crews of the motor pool are a different group. But if the codex states what motor pool they should have, the codex chapters should be pretty comparable in that regard and we clearly know: they are not and work and keep whatever they get their hands on. Imho as long as a chapter is cool with psykers he aims to get as much as possible (Yes I look at you pesky Blood Ravens and especially you Blood Angels with your crazy Psyker Dreadnoughts).

 

In the end though we come to the very same conclusion we always draw if it is about the fluff: Make up your own.

In my groups it is established that Psykers (And here we speak about a power level where they are actually somewhat usefull) are crazy snowflakes that basically cheat the reality and perform crazy stuff. They are realy good in what they do and might pretty sure become even better than that. They are cheaters and Khorne is right to hate them for that.

If you want a more balanced approach I simply suggest that you fix the psy rating someone can get. Most powers get OP by the dreaded scaling and a force storm at PR1 is not that intimidating.

If you allow them though to freely advance in their strength and be a THOUSAND SONS SORCERER they pretty much have a bar code lable that reads "OP" and rightfully so.

Edited by FieserMoep

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The timeframe isn't really of any consequence as the P&P works in turns, too. What matters is that even if a gun is fired multiple times within that turn, the power works only once, so over an extended time you get a similar "DPS", to borrow from MMO balancing lingo. Basically: balanced results in spite of differing approaches.

 

The same applies to mundane weaponry. Yes, psykers become better the more XP they put into their powers, but over the same time, warriors do not just increase their WS/BS, they also take Talents (some of whom may also increase their damage output) and acquire entirely new items of wargear. Again, balanced results in spite of differing approaches. Or at least that's the ideal outcome. I consider it logical, even desirable, that psychic powers should have more potential for raw damage, but at the same time, this potential is balanced by various side effects and penalties.

 

Take Boon of Tzeentch, for example. The studio obviously intended for this ability to be used sparingly because they've attached a negative side-effect to it. The problem here is that this effect is rendered null and void thanks to the oft-criticised Toughness Bonus in combination with the sort of armour that only one type of psyker would wear.

 

Force Storm is not OP. Boon of Tzeentch is not OP. What looks OP is a very specific combination of powers and perks. We have seen this before!


 


BC is actually the first game where I'm playing a psyker (or even a caster of any sort - normally I dislike the idea of playing "mages"!), so that may well be a lack of experience speaking, but compared to what OP has described, the other powers seem much more in line. After all, the issue isn't actually the effect itself here, but that the damage incurred from boosting it this far is not penetrating. Which, combined with how Toughness works in FFG's games, makes for a pretty broken approach.

 

Hey, here's another idea: considering how FFG attempted to "fix" Toughness Bonus with the Felling trait, wouldn't it work to just attach Felling to the Boon's damage?

 


 

Sidenote: If we go by GW studio fluff, a Chapter's amount of vehicles in the motor pool does not actually change much in terms of what they can bring to the field, due to said fluff specifying drivers to be drafted from the Reserve companies. This basically just means that a Space Marine Chapter has maximum adaptability, and a force commander may distribute his troops depending on the tactical situation. So they can show up entirely on foot for a boarding action, or fully mechanised for an assault, or trade a squad of Tactical Marines for a few Predator tanks.

 

Granted: The extent of said adaptability still depends on whether or not a Chapter actually has X amount of a specific vehicle in the Armoury, but still it is a unifying and balancing element that any deployed vehicle lowers the amount of infantry, and most commanders will probably go for a healthy mix of tracks and feet rather than neglecting one. And exceptions based on Chapter culture run a high risk of being penalised for specifically this neglect.

 

Whether that has any relevance on the Librarium is hard to say, though it would be possible that the Codex Astartes establishes ratios as well - though this is merely a thought without any backing in official material. Like I said, the most limiting element is likely the ridiculously high number of requirements that recruits must have. Some Space Marine Chapters barely get by recruiting ordinary Astartes ... consider the consequences if you include the "psykers are one in a million" line from the TT rulebook!

 

The Imperium "shackles" its psykers - other than Librarians, the only ones allowed to progress past the role of human telephone or extremely focused applications (IG psykers and Eversors) are Inquisitors. That being said, Inquisitors probably spend more time doing Inquisitorial stuff than training psychic disciplines, so I think I share in your assumption that, on average, the most powerful Imperial psykers are Librarians, due to their monk-like living style allowing them to perfect these arts. In terms of Black Crusade, however, these organisational limitations do not exist.

 

 

In the end, I agree we are of one mind when it comes to the question of how to deal with the fluff. Still, consider that the bar code you are referring to might not be read by others in the same way as you did, for specifically this reason. :)

Edited by Lynata

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The combination is op, yea, kinda. Just think about it that way. Once he gets a basic PR of 7-8 he simply does not need the Boon to go nuts with most common enemies. It is the scaling. How you achieve the Psy Rating is of no relevance. In that regard every FFG Product did a realy poor job and that is what I was referring to.

Yes, a mundane Warrior might hit harder and get better weaponry but when a newly created TS Sorcerer outperforms Reaper Autocannons there is not much gear to compensate left. They simply hit a wall. The boon just shows now what the psyker will be capable off down the line once his Psy Rating is high enough so he does not have to boost it to fry most enemies.

 

As for the Risks and Consequences the Sorcerer and crazy Q'Sal one are imho deliberately designed to ignore most consequence just to show how "awsome" they are at casting. The damage rolled is even further no punishment for my interpretation and not required to actual cause wound damage. It more seems to me like a feedback from such conjured strength and hence may rightfully be soaked. Whether or not the TB mechanic is a bad one is material for another discussion. For me it fits the "Strong enough to wield such power" Theme.

If you want to add Felling though you have to be sure what you want to achieve. 1-4 damage that get through? He is an astartes and does not care. 10-14? He might never use that power again and simply raise PR.

Also there is probably nobody there that will get as good at healing as the psyker, so some minor damage is actually not that important to him as a consequence. I would more thing about auto Phenomenas or such.

 

To the sidenode:

Was there same new material in the later codices? I do not remember the reserve Companies to be assigned for vehicle duty and you seem pretty sure about that.

All I remember are two chapter organization charts from the Ultramarines and Blood Angels where only Assault Marines used Land Speeders and where Predator/Rhino/etc. Crews were dedicated motor pool personnel and not part of the 1000 Marines just as librarians and chaplains are not part of that number and company organization. And even for the companies with their 100 marines the captain, command squad and dreadnoughts do not occupy one of the 100 marine slots.

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RE new material in later codices:

 

I believe seventh edition introduced graviton guns to marine squads. The armies in general also got some additions to the motor pool. Beyond that, I'm unsure. I don't actually play marines.

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A basic PR of 7-8 sounds like an advanced character; I'd assume that mundane heroes would have acquired some rather spiffy toys in the meantime as well. Still, you're right about the psyker not having to rely on the Boon anymore at this point, and the result of this seems a lot more powerful than the effects of normal weapons I think people would run around with by then.
 
I like the concept of Phenomena used to "discourage" over-reliance on psychic abilities, but I recall this downside was nerfed considerably after Dark Heresy. Perhaps this would be an area that could be house-ruled as well? I can't offer much in this regard, though, as my own character's PR is still just 4, so for now everything seems to be fine.
 
It's almost tradition that BIs/FFGs 40k RPGs scale a bit poorly, though, starting with the combination of TB+AP - even for normal humans (player characters almost double their resilience just by buying a couple Toughness advances and trading in their flak for carapace).

 

To the sidenode: Was there same new material in the later codices? I do not remember the reserve Companies to be assigned for vehicle duty and you seem pretty sure about that.

 

The drivers were first mentioned in the 2nd Edition Marine Codex: 
 
"Space Marines are trained to operate all manner of machines and more than any other warriors of the Imperium they can adapt to fulfil any combat role. All Space Marines are able to act as crew for the vehicles maintained in each Chapter's armoury. It is normally the Tactical squads which provide vehicle crews. When fighting in this role they replace their normal tactical markings with crew badges, but otherwise they retain their company colours and Chapter insignia as normal."
 
"Tactical Reserve Companies 6 and 7 are comprised entirely of Tactical squads. They are intended to act as a general reserve, providing the Chapter with a powerful, flexible force able to launch flank attacks en masse, bolster the main line or combat unexpected enemy manoeuvres. In addition, the Marines of the 6th and 7th Companies can also act as crews for large, independent formations of the various armoured vehicles deployed by the Chapter. Thus the Chapter is able to field entire companies of Land Raiders or Predator battle tanks, for example. Furthermore, the two companies have a special usage as bike and land speeder detachments. The entire 6th Company can be deployed as Bike squadrons or detachments. The 7th Company is likewise trained to operate as large scale Land Speeder formations."
 
The latest source that really goes into detail seem to be White Dwarf issue #300:
 
"The reserve companies are just that, reserves. They will be used to replace losses in the battle companies and crew vehicles."
 
"Unless their mission is very unusual, every Ultramarines battle force will be based around at least one battle company. Sometimes it will be supported by detachments from other companies. Some members of the Veteran 1st company and the Scounts of the 10th company will often be attached to the battle company, as will a number of battle brothers from the 6th and 7th Tactical companies operating the supporting vehicles."
 
Newer codices sadly don't tend to go into such detail anymore (the last time we were given any idea on how many Battle Sisters there are or how an Order is organised was in 2E!) - however, one thing that seems to be a fixture in any Marine 'dex is the callout to the 6th and 7th Company as the go-to source for bike and 'speeder pilots:
 
"Companies 6 and 7 are Tactical Companies, each consisting of ten Tactical squads. These are intended to act as a reserve and may be used to reinforce the main battle line, launch diversionary attacks or stem enemy flanking moves. The 6th Company is also trained to fight on bikes and the entire Company may be deployed as bike squadrons. Similarly the 7th Company squads are trained to fight from Land Speeders enabling the Company to fight as a light vehicle reserve formation."
Edited by Lynata

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Well, getting a high WPB+CB as a TS Sorcerer is not that hard and given that WP is still the most useful single stat for Psykers will allow the Sorcerer to get to PR5 with only his WPB in most cases. With the starting corruption of +15 we can reach up to PR6 as long as the XP is available. After that the TS Sorc has to accumulate further corruption.

 

Phenomena war always a good way to balance at least going over the boundaries of someones capabilities though the advanced tome of fate classes are made to mostly negate even that. The Sorc may simply reroll the perills and picks as he wishes where else the Magister is simply not affected by Phenomenas at all.

 

Problem is that Boon of Tzeentch is the supposedly "save" variant of pushing powers so making Phenomenon mandatory is also not the way to go. In the end these backgrounds are very much intended to portray the really strong variant of psyker that is "easily" capable to reach PR10 and be comparable to greater daemons or deamon princes. And theoretically this door is open for any psyker. The rulebook does not know weak psykers, only those that have to improve their power.

 

There is no easy way to fix or house rule that for the problems are all the scaling mechanics. Force Storm simply gets incredible strong sooner than other powers.

Since Dark Heresy we made our peace with that and are okay with it though I remember some Background that was basically the "weak psyker" version only capable of one minor power.

 

As for the Marines thanks for the sources though I still wonder how this works with some of the newer material like all these fancy chapter organization charts that have a Rhino for nearly every tactical Squad ( Even the reserves) without one of them leaving behind but all embarking and the vehicle is still capable to move around. And yet again we have several answers and have to pick the one that suits us. A shame that newer codizes seem to somewhat neglect the fluff side in favor to show us yet again another special character.

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As for the Marines thanks for the sources though I still wonder how this works with some of the newer material like all these fancy chapter organization charts that have a Rhino for nearly every tactical Squad ( Even the reserves) without one of them leaving behind but all embarking and the vehicle is still capable to move around.

 

Even better, the 3E Codex chart listed 18 Rhinos just for the First Company.

 

But perhaps this is the answer itself: they might just be surplus vehicles to serve as immediate replacements for damaged or destroyed ones - given that a Chapter cannot just order new ones from a central pool like it works in a normal military (because the Chapter is its own central pool, responsible for its own equipment).

 

That, and/or they've got so many Rhinos because it's not mandatory to fill them to the brim, and instead you have squads split into smaller combat teams, each with their own APC. Useful for bringing Devastator heavy weapons into position.

 

If you want, you can also count these: http://natfka.blogspot.ie/2013/09/astartes-ultra-complete-chapter-of.html :D

 

But yes, like you said, this is just one of many possible ways to view the setting. Personally, I like the ideas of Space Marines being this flexible (they are already expected to be good snipers, good close combat fighters, good with heavy and special weapons .. why not drive, too?), but I know a lot of fans would prefer a special, separate corps of drivers as part of the Headquarters Staff. I've also seen people suggesting servitors or Chapter serfs as drivers. Once I've even seen someone propose injured/crippled Marines to be hardwired into the vehicles, a bit like with Dreads. :)

 

The most important thing is that our preferred interpretation seems internally consistent to us, and I'd say the material offers sufficient inspiration to achieve this goal.

 

A shame that newer codizes seem to somewhat neglect the fluff side in favor to show us yet again another special character.

 

Absolutely...  :(

 

Makes the old material worth reading, but it's also much more difficult to find (especially once we look for the more obscure sources such as old issues of White Dwarf, the Citadel Journal, or Chapter Approved). I don't mind SC per se, but as someone who always appreciated the ability to get creative and write your own backgrounds, I really don't like the heavy focus on premade characters which, as if taking up space in the book, are frequently so good they're considered mandatory in a lot of lists.

 

Oh well. /rant :P

Edited by Lynata

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