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The Psyker Rogue Trader?

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Why can't this happen? Now, this could go off in a number of different directions quickly, and I know psykers aren't liked by most people in the Imperium, and playable ones aren't always so popular here, but the Inquisition is rife with them, several of the most powerful Inquisitors (Coteaz, Eisenhorn, Cain) are undoubtedly psykers of various strength levels, and most don't have the broken, stooped, look of the typical men and women whom the AAT (I just realized how close that is to AT&T, and with the job of astropaths in RT, if it HAD worked, I'd be laughing too hard to type; if you are one of those Verizon people, you also might note how it explains the spotty service astropaths sometimes provide, I suppose.) worked over for a few decades. How do THESE psykers rise up to such positions of power, be they openly psykers who became "trusted?" Inquisitors, or Inquisitors who unlocked the power within themselves, in an organization known for trust issues, where one whole Ordo might want to kill them all? If your RT had children, and the heir-apparent displayed traits of psykerdom, I assume they'd have to be reported, and broken by the Astra Telepathica, also making picking up their inheritance later a potential impossibility. Why is this? If we ignore the power creep that can happen from psyker power, why can you play an Inquisitor who is, but not a Rogue Trader, and how might you? They aren't the same, I grant, but I often do view a lot of parallels between an Inquisitor, and a Rogue Trader.

 

Also, I am aware of the Awakened Psyker, in NP, and some of the Origin Path stuff that might get you a bit, but none of it is a psyker who has power; more just another character type with a one-off trick. I am not trying to just gripe about it, but the Inquisitor who is a psyker (Ascension), and also the Astropath Transcendent, have the ability to purchase more ranks in their power level, and more powers, to boot, while these "add-on options" usually don't. You might get PR 1, or 2, if you combine them, and a small assortment of tricks. I can see why you might not WANT this sort of BS in a character, but back to the question at hand, what's so different about the Inquisition and the RTs that one, and lets face it, the more nasty one, CAN have their highest-ranking members be openly potent, while the other has none, or people who must hide their middling power, unless they are a Chaos Sorcerer, to boot, in which case they must REALLY hide their power?

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I guess it becomes a question of balance between players.  A stock RT is expected to be a leader and a merchant-prince, and still hold his/her own in combat.  How can you justify having the XP to expend making the RT good at all the skills needed to fulfill those roles AND be a competent psyker?  Now if the party has a Missionary and a Seneschal that fill those roles adequately then there's room for a psychic RT.

 

This runs into the game type where the Warrant Holder isn't someone with the RT career.  While the AT as Warrant Holder isn't the first non-vanilla game type I'd recommend it's certainly doable.  What you're recommending is basically an Astropath with the Hexicar Elite Advance (Navis Primer, p. 83) and a slightly different backstory.

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Ah, well let's look past the mechanics-angle, then, please? How does a dirty, no-good, distrusted psyker rise to prominence in the most monstrous, byzantine, probably hates psykers organization in the Imperium (the Inquisition), but can't do the same as a Rogue Trader? I see the two classes as both rather leadership-driven skill monkeys, each surrounding themselves with others and extras who might perform certain skills better than them, and on their behalf (AdMech, priests, pilots). In the fluff, why would it be so difficult for a Rogue Trader to be a psyker, but not an Inquisitor Lord? I suppose the Inquisitor is slightly more supervised, but lots of them disappear for ages, immersed in their various investigations and experiments, so they aren't always visible, to be visibly tainted. Either one might have trouble mechanically paying for both, but it's a bit weird that it's moot, because not both can end up in the boat. Done stringing along babble, now. ;)

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From what I understand, Psykers with an actual rank (nobility or military) outside of Librarians, Navigators or Inquisitors are a rarity if not non-existent.

 

E.g.: let's relive the last time a loyalist-beyond-doubt-planet tried to put an Astropath in charge - Tallarn's Civil War between Turenag & Banna alliances ensued and the comissariat took over Planetary Government. There was also that time when that Space Marine Chapter had a Librarian for Chapter Master.

 

Still, I imagine that a Rogue Trader Dynasty could arrange for an heir to receive proper Scholastica Psykana sanctioning and actually come back. Although this, IMO, would be extremely unlikely as lore-wise there are lots of competitors for heirs in Dynasties and the fact that one of candidates is a psyker could exclude him quite immediately. A well-tied background could cover this, but again IMO, not without getting some "Enemy(Siblings)" and some Scholastica's enforcers (or perhaps even some Inquisition acolytes) following you around perhaps.

 

Remarking that the said RT wouldn't be an astropath, and thus the needed constant security details around him (no sould-binding protection or the sort).

 

With the Holy Ordos constantly monitoring his progress, I'd say that soon he would be getting some "special opportunities/requests" from them (if the Dynasty is very imperium-aligned) or else a surprise-abduction the next time they pass by anywhere civilized enough (in case they are getting a poor fame of cold-trading or the like).

 

As a GM, I would also have any noble or RT constantly escorted by astropaths when around the RT and perhaps even some penalties when interacting with the Ecclesiarchy or specially Pious individuals. Specially annoying rivals could procure Nulls just for the lolz/making the RT specially miserable during negotiations.

 

Mechanic wise: I would just replace all combat talents & skills by Astropath's. So instead dual-wielding swords, pistols, etc... The RT would have psychic powers instead.

Edited by Sebastian Yorke

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Then, why so easy for the Inquisitors? I know MANY Inquisitors aren't psykers, and I know that many authors, in much the same way I do, might want to give their characters that extra little snowflake push?, but there certainly SEEM to be a lot of psyker Inquisitors, and I'm not certain what hurdles the RT to be would need to jump through, that the Inquisitor doesn't. Under some circumstances, a Rogue Trader might find it difficult to even acquire the services of a potent psyker, who isn't already a cell phone you need to feed, much the less be one, themselves, but the Inquisition seems to find no shortage of psykers, and then train them up to BE Inquisitors, when their masters get too old to Scooby Do it up, anymore.

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Theoretically, anyone can become an Inquisitor.  Within certain social parameters, it's a merit based advancement system.  Rogue Trader Dynasties are nothing of the sort.  They are an accident-of-birth system.  Assume for a minute that a Rogue Trader heir/heiress develops one-in-a-billion psyker powers.  They get wisked off to Terra on a Black Ship where by all odds they end up being the Emperor's breakfast.  End of that story.  How long do we have to wait for that next one-in-a-billion?  How many of those pass us by before one actually become heir-apparent of a Dynasty?  Inquisitors, on the other hand, have an exponentially better chance of being a psyker simply because a psyker has advantages and those advantages might well lead them into an Administratum position whereby they shine their way all the way up the ladder.  It's a comparison of horse-before-the-cart or cart-before-the-horse.  One is RT heir first and psyker second, where the other is psyker first and Inquisitor second.  The communtative property of multiplication does not apply.

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The Inquisition is above RT dynasties and that's why I said they'd most likely keep an imperial psyker with the wealth of entire worlds, under their constant scrutiny.

 

As for the likelihood of Psykers per normal human - who said that the mad eccentric RT who wanted a Psyker as an heir for whatever crazy reason, didn't feed Warp Eels to hundreds of babies from his harem until one got an stable mutation that gives psychic powers?

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Considering the nature of Rogue Traders, it's fully possible that the heir of the dynasty could be raised on a world separate from that of the Imperium; After all, some rogue traders have mini empires far outside of Imperial space that the black ships and the inquisition can't really reach them because there is a lot of unfriendly turf between the Rogue Trader and the Imperium.

 

In such Rogue Trader empires, an heir with psyker abilities would have a much better chance of becoming the Trader.

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The more I think about it, the more I think that mechanics-wise this wouldn't be as OP as it would be RISKY for the player doing the Psyker RT.

Lore-wise, as I said before, I would demand a PRETTY GOOD background explanation and add some safeguards to ensure the game doesn't turn into a Black Crusade campaign.

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You can come up with any number of rationalizations for a psyker RT.  I'll not argue that.  Rationalizations often fall apart in the play of the game.  For me, it's still about player balance.  Why does the RT person in my game want to be a psyker?  In a recent game, someone showed up with a psyker Missionary that was a better psyker than the player who drew up their Astropath.  How fun was that for the Astropath?  And the Missionary still had all their not inconsiderable social and combat skills.  The problems should be apparent to anyone.

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Theoretically, anyone can become an Inquisitor.  Within certain social parameters, it's a merit based advancement system.  Rogue Trader Dynasties are nothing of the sort.  They are an accident-of-birth system.  Assume for a minute that a Rogue Trader heir/heiress develops one-in-a-billion psyker powers.  They get wisked off to Terra on a Black Ship where by all odds they end up being the Emperor's breakfast.  End of that story.  How long do we have to wait for that next one-in-a-billion?  How many of those pass us by before one actually become heir-apparent of a Dynasty?  Inquisitors, on the other hand, have an exponentially better chance of being a psyker simply because a psyker has advantages and those advantages might well lead them into an Administratum position whereby they shine their way all the way up the ladder.  It's a comparison of horse-before-the-cart or cart-before-the-horse.  One is RT heir first and psyker second, where the other is psyker first and Inquisitor second.  The communtative property of multiplication does not apply.

Sorry, my brain went off in that weird direction it never does, where the book assumes you were just made, and of a brand new dynasty, as opposed to being born to a Rogue Trader, and knowing of what you might inherit. For them, the only "accident of birth" might be that you were born with the skills to accomplish something worthy of the appointment. Granted, the books, as I remember them, never say what sorts of things you did to earn the warrant, unless you were born to it, and it does seem weird, at times, for people to intentionally hand you that amount of power, "just to get rid of you", but whatever.

 

You can come up with any number of rationalizations for a psyker RT.  I'll not argue that.  Rationalizations often fall apart in the play of the game.  For me, it's still about player balance.  Why does the RT person in my game want to be a psyker?  In a recent game, someone showed up with a psyker Missionary that was a better psyker than the player who drew up their Astropath.  How fun was that for the Astropath?  And the Missionary still had all their not inconsiderable social and combat skills.  The problems should be apparent to anyone.

Yeah, that's why I veered away from "why can't I do this in game?", compared to "why doesn't the fluff support this happening in practice?" I fully get that the idea is a bit snowflaky, and most psykers are attempted-balanced by their lack of social stuff ("everyone hates you, and you've been put through some ****, besides"), and maybe not stellar combat aptitudes, unless they are using their powers, for combat, but I just thought it weird that they can't officially rise to the power of a Rogue Trader, but they CAN do so through the Inquisition, and when Coteaz burns a world, no one says "we can't let him, he's a psyker!" Okay, thanks everyone.

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I'm a big fan of Errant's mechanical explanation as to why you don't get powerful psykers as Rogue Traders but if you want a fluff reason I think it is more to do with the support structure of the Inquisition and Rogue Traders.

 

Inquisitors work within the bounds of the Imperium and are supported (read watched) by other Inquisitors. They investigate psykers and related phenomena and have the resources to deal with it.

 

Rogue Traders operate outside the bounds of the Imperium and while they are watched distance and the like limit what action can be taken if something goes wrong. This is especially true of Rogue Traders who are simply made Rogue Traders because they're too important to have killed and too annoying to have around.

 

I think that with all the potential dangers psykers pose the Imperium likes to keep them close not give them a pile of cash and tell them to check back in once every few years.

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if i remember correctly doesn't  it mention somewhere in the RT corebook that some inquisitors have become Rogue Traders for a reason or another? they have done something to earn or be punished with a warrant of trade. Sooo, that would be inquisitor could be a pysker and wisp you got a pysker RT at the head of a new Dynasty. 

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WhynI don't think there are nearly as many Rogue Traders with Psychic powers as Inquisitors: you get promoted through the Inquisition as an adult. At that point you would have already proven yourself as a capable and stable psyker or you would have been removed. Meanwhile, most RT heirs are groomed from birth for the position, so selecting an unproven psyker for it is a pretty big risk.

That being said,I don't think that if a RT wanted to do it (have a psyker as their heir) it would be much more difficult to get away with than all the other stuff RT can do if he so choose (Cold Trade, having Xenos around etc.).

From a Mechanics standpoint, I've played in a group with a psyker RT (The psy rating 2 background and the Awakened Psyker alt rank) and there were no balance issues whatsoever. An astropath should quickly outstrip the RT in psychic utility (since he's limited to Psy Rating 3). The astropath is a rather weak career IMO though.

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Theoretically, anyone can become an Inquisitor.  Within certain social parameters, it's a merit based advancement system.  Rogue Trader Dynasties are nothing of the sort.  They are an accident-of-birth system.  Assume for a minute that a Rogue Trader heir/heiress develops one-in-a-billion psyker powers.  They get wisked off to Terra on a Black Ship where by all odds they end up being the Emperor's breakfast.  End of that story.  How long do we have to wait for that next one-in-a-billion?  How many of those pass us by before one actually become heir-apparent of a Dynasty?  Inquisitors, on the other hand, have an exponentially better chance of being a psyker simply because a psyker has advantages and those advantages might well lead them into an Administratum position whereby they shine their way all the way up the ladder.  It's a comparison of horse-before-the-cart or cart-before-the-horse.  One is RT heir first and psyker second, where the other is psyker first and Inquisitor second.  The communtative property of multiplication does not apply.

Sorry, my brain went off in that weird direction it never does, where the book assumes you were just made, and of a brand new dynasty, as opposed to being born to a Rogue Trader, and knowing of what you might inherit. For them, the only "accident of birth" might be that you were born with the skills to accomplish something worthy of the appointment. Granted, the books, as I remember them, never say what sorts of things you did to earn the warrant, unless you were born to it, and it does seem weird, at times, for people to intentionally hand you that amount of power, "just to get rid of you", but whatever.

 

You can come up with any number of rationalizations for a psyker RT.  I'll not argue that.  Rationalizations often fall apart in the play of the game.  For me, it's still about player balance.  Why does the RT person in my game want to be a psyker?  In a recent game, someone showed up with a psyker Missionary that was a better psyker than the player who drew up their Astropath.  How fun was that for the Astropath?  And the Missionary still had all their not inconsiderable social and combat skills.  The problems should be apparent to anyone.

Yeah, that's why I veered away from "why can't I do this in game?", compared to "why doesn't the fluff support this happening in practice?" I fully get that the idea is a bit snowflaky, and most psykers are attempted-balanced by their lack of social stuff ("everyone hates you, and you've been put through some ****, besides"), and maybe not stellar combat aptitudes, unless they are using their powers, for combat, but I just thought it weird that they can't officially rise to the power of a Rogue Trader, but they CAN do so through the Inquisition, and when Coteaz burns a world, no one says "we can't let him, he's a psyker!" Okay, thanks everyone.

 

 

I don't think the book assumes that Rogue Traders are recently appointed.  That's just one of many angles.  That one flies in the face of Renowned Warrant, a Talent you can get at Rank 1 in the RT career.

 

And I agree with you on the awkwardness of that angle.  Why give someone a Warrant and ship to get rid of them when a well-placed assassin can do the same thing?

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I don't see why it can't. It would just be very rare because you are talking about the top 00001 percentile of the human population who are rogue trader houses and then crossing that with another 1-in-billions occurrence.

 

Pretty sure in the fluff there have been psyker rogue traders.

 

Doubt in real terms the inquisition would be involved, at least with established rogue trader houses. I'm pretty sure RTs don't turn their psychic children over to the black ships, they either get private tutors or "disposed of" if they prove a danger to their family. The inquisition, in turn, probably doesn't press the issue because what's the point of picking a fight with one of the few groups that can take on the inquisition and win (and arguably still be in the legal right - peers of the imperium and all that) when they're operating outside the imperium 90% of the time anyway? I mean, what does the inquisition care if the RT implodes and turns Xenos world XYZ32 into a  deamon-infested hellhole? For them its a win-win.

 

For game balance its not really an issue. Guy still has to pay the same XP for everything; if he dumps everything into being a psyker he won't be as good a RT, at least not until he tops out one career or the other and starts dumping into what he passed on earlier. And to be fair we ARE talking about game balance in a setting that requires a tacit agreement between the players and the DM that the RT won't just send an army of red shirts and an assload of money against every problem :P

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As Mr T said a few posts above. There are some RT`s appointed from the Inquisition who could reasonably have psychic powers. I think reasoning behind not offing them out of hand but banishing them to the fringe of known space instead is something like: A powerful Inquisitor A dislikes not so powerful Inquisitor B and would love to get rid of him but Inquisitor B knows some secrets that could cripple Inquisitor A`s career, or has friends/mentor that do. B doesnt want to look behind his back every time he goes to fight enemies of the Imperium so he proposes self exile in form of Warrant of trade. He will still be a powerful individual, and active servant of Imperium (depending on his Ordo affiliation he could still do his previous job, more or less) but will be out of picture from A`s point of view.  Granted, a plasma bolt through the skull is cheaper than a ship, Warrrant and other stuff but we talk about Inquisition, institution responding only to Emperor himself (In theory anyway) with unimaginable resources at its disposal, so it might be more efficient to get rid of Inquisitor B in this manner. And presto, an RT with psionics. I would discuss skills etc with GM but this should not break the game, while also providing for nice hooks to start adventures.

 

As for why there are more psychic Inquisitors than psychic RT`s, Imo Errant Knight has the gist of it. You either are born as RT or are made to be one (either way one in a Bilion chance). While there are lots of psykers for Inquisition to capture, dissect, brainwash or do whatever they want to if they are so inclined. Also most RTs developing abilities in this area would probably blow themselves up or end as daemon fodder. So I presume most of RT`s that are psykers started as inquisitors or got sanctioned and had powerful family shielding them from most harm and/or providing the Warrant to get rid of them (You know, not everyone wants to sent their child on a Black ship to see the Emperor, and some of those could have enough influence to get a warrant for their offspring).   

 

Well thats my thoughts on the subject, please do correct me if Im wrong and excuse my grammar, english is not my native language and sometimes I make blunders in grammar or style.

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There's the Inquisitor Lord and Rogue Trader Militant Kobras Aquare(spelling?) - the dude in the soulstone on the cursed craftworld.

 

The most likely way to be a psyker and Rogue Trader in a previously established Dynasty is to either be the sole candidate from the beginning, or have some sort of major disaster happen to your House, killing everyone else ahead of you in the line of succession after your sanctioning.

 

Alternatively, one have some sort of special clause in the Warrant permitting/requiring psychically gifted children to be trained and returned to the Dynasty. Such a Warrant would almost certainly be a very old one, most likely predating the Edict of Nikaea. Or possibly one granted to a Sensei by someone that didn't view them as a threat.

Either way, such a Warrant would be one of the rarest types of Warrants. And the Ecclesiarchy and Ordo Hereticus would not view such a Dynasty fondly. Despite the fact that the Warrant would almost certainly have been personally signed and issued by the Emperor.

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