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Penalty for using Xenos Tech / Weaponry?

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Lets say the PCs come across xenotech or weapons (an Eldar witchblade for example) and the player uses the weapon in combat. What are some penalties that can be tested against for an acolyte using xeno weapons? Corruption? Insanity? I feel that those are solely Chaos based penalties.


The Inquisitor they are work for is by no means puritan and wouldn't not punish his acolytes for using xeno weapons, but I feel that if the warband's subtlety decreases too much then word may get back to other Inquisitors that heretical items are being employed. Thats all I came up with so far. Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated!

Edited by junkygood

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Hi there,

first and foremost, if the weapon is so alien that the difference between it and what the characters know how to handle is equal to the difference between handling a sword and a chain sword... treat it like that. Which means "you haven´t aquired the exotic weapon talent for this weapon?" "How should I?? It is the first time my pc even sees such a thing!" "Well, you know the penalty for handling a weapon without the matching weapon talent...".

I would not use that with something like a witchblade, so. It should not be to different from a best quality sword. Well, aside from that psychic stuff. A human mind (even that of a human psyker) could have problems trigggering the effects at first. Those witch blades are the Eldar Psionic Weapons, aren´t they? You could ask for some training session or otherwise have the character role some test to activiate the applities (instead of just having them).

The subtlety is a different thing, alltogether. Even if a witch-blade isn´t something the regular imperial citizen is able to identify as such, a wittness account of it being seen (or worse: being seen in action!) will harm the subtlety of the group. The witchhunters (or other acolthy cell) going after the characters after a while might not even -know- that they are agents of the Inquisition (,too!).

In 2013, I had developed a Witch-Hunter & Retinue to pesker a psyker (on request for DarthSmeg). While this one might be ill-suited to hunt "those sulling themselves and others with the tools of the enemy without" it might give you some food of thought. The whole troop is DH1st rules, so!


Last but not least, I would not necessarily "punish" players for using xenos equipment per se. While the Imperium preaches that this tools are either inferior or evil, we as the players of the game all know that this is not true for the majority of said items. Let the characters find out and see how the players handle these new revelations in regard to roleplay. After all, if the dogma is wrong about the powers of the xenos...


Edited by Gregorius21778

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Excellent thoughts Gregorius! Yes, the Witchblade is Eldar psionic and I have woven in some of the concepts you listed above in-order to allow a player the use of the weapon. I thought alot about the "punishment" aspect of such xeno type of weapon and agree that if a careful observer with proper knowledge were to see the sword in action then subtly would drop.

We just started Dark pursuits and there are 5 PCs in my group and only 1 player has an in-depth knowledge of the 40K universe, while the others have very little knowledge and only D&D/Pathfinder experience. So, I wanted to not only give them at least 1 exciting object (loot) early on, but also introduce the new players to xeno lore and plant seeds for forgotten gods investigations. To do this I created a witch-blade with Eldar inscriptions, spirit stones, and renewer runes.


The swords back story: once a valuable tool used by a Iyanden Spiritseer under the command of Battleseer Kelmon, this sword became lost in the Hive Fleet Kraken invasion. Recently acquired by the Trade Sable the sale of the sword is being brokered by Zax Holthane and resides in his office resting on a case along side documents written in-code that skill-checks can reveal the name Golsken Hresk. The sword was Zax's next on his to-do list when the Acolytes arrive.


T'sircro (Witchblade)  2-h melee;  1d10+6 E;  Pen: 5;  Unique;  Balanced, Powerfield, Superior Craftsmanship; Effects: heal 1d5 wounds to any player within 10m - full action of pyschic power to activate runes.


I dont expect the runes to be 'understood' or mastered by a player this early on. However, the sword can be wielded like a normal powersword (2h) and when used by a player in battle (psyker or non- idk yet) the sword has a chance to trigger its effects randomly.

A player can make a Forbidden lore xeno skill check to read the inscription which reveals the sword's name and describes Kelmon and his glorious victories, etc.

A player can make a separate [arduous -40] Forbidden lore xeno skill check to try and determine the type of spirit stones and runes on the sword.


Any experienced GMs feel that this is appropriate? Again, any advice is welcomed!

Edited by junkygood

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Personally, I would not have the weapon activate its ability "randomly". Or only perhaps once so that the characters learn that there is more to have then just a fancy power sword. Finding out "how to" would be something I would use an Extended test for Forbidden Lore(Xenos) for. I would call for a(nother) role each day the character in question has spend some hours in undisturbed study (3+ hours). I guess that 5 to 8 success should do the trick.

Difficulty: Hard (-20)

+10 if the character has the "Forbidden Lore(Psyker)" skill as well
+10 if the character is able to spend the majority of the day with undisturbed study
+10 if the character has access to any reference material about Eldar

In regard to the power of the blade, I would think twice about the healing ability. It has no Limit on its use, so after every battle the Players will simply heal back to full health. This was already a Problem with the DH1st healing powers so they got "nerfed" later on.

You could add the Limitation "after killing a foe" and further Limit it to "within the next hour", so that the soul-energy taken & stored fades away. Another option (if this is to "vampiristic") is to limit this to "once every battle" or "only in the heat of the battle".

Generally, it is unwise to give somebody "Psyker-like powers" without any Limit or turn-down to it.

Sorry for any bad gramma, I am a non-native Speaker without any autocorrection at the Moment ;)

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