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Eryx_UK

Astropath questions

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Couple questions with regards to the Astropath in the game.

Astropaths are blind but do they really get the -30WS and fail all BS tests? This really hampers psychic powers which require line of sight and uses BS (such as Force Bolt).

Thanks.

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However, I'll pipe in that any player who's Astropath uses a gun isn't "getting it'.  The vast majority of Astropaths (not PC Astropaths, naturally) are non-combatant.

Astropaths make for interesting and useful PC's, but if your player wants to tote a Bolter around he's got the wrong idea and I, as a GM, wouldn't stop him/her, but I would impose some penalties.  

Hey, I've got a player who tried the "They're blind, but not blind..." thing hoping I would let him have a savage combat Astropath with gun-toting abilities AND psyker powers without the DH psyker risks...  Not happening!

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Maxim C. Gatling said:

 

However, I'll pipe in that any player who's Astropath uses a gun isn't "getting it'.  The vast majority of Astropaths (not PC Astropaths, naturally) are non-combatant.

 

 

Yeah because if they were meant to be played that way they'd start with a gun and the Talent to use it.  Oh, wait...

The majority of Astropaths are not up to hot-rodding around the fringes of the Imperium with a Rogue Trader and his crew either.  The PC-types are exceptional even within their roles, so an Astropath that wants to sling some lead (or hot flashes of light) is a perfectly fine character option in my eyes.  It's not like we hadn't already gotten used to Adepts with guns in DH.

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Maxim C. Gatling said:

However, I'll pipe in that any player who's Astropath uses a gun isn't "getting it'.  The vast majority of Astropaths (not PC Astropaths, naturally) are non-combatant.

Astropaths make for interesting and useful PC's, but if your player wants to tote a Bolter around he's got the wrong idea and I, as a GM, wouldn't stop him/her, but I would impose some penalties.  

Hey, I've got a player who tried the "They're blind, but not blind..." thing hoping I would let him have a savage combat Astropath with gun-toting abilities AND psyker powers without the DH psyker risks...  Not happening!

So what you're saying is that if said Astropath manage to reach level 6 and become perfectly able to buy the Basic Weapon Training (Universal) Talent, and want to carry and use a bolter you're gonna punish the player for it?

Seriously, if a player want to have a gun-toting Astropath then why not give him or her the go ahead? If they actually intend to use these guns in combat it would be a waste of actions anyway. Because once they reach such high levels where they are actually able to use such weaponry without any standard penalties, their powers will most likely make any bolter seem pretty puny. If they intentionally want to nerf themselves, why should you stop them?

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The gun-toting Astropath just needs to go through the Hand of War to start off fully trined in whatever bang-bang he wants from the start of the game.  Then the one free Acquisition allows him to have his cake and make other eat it too!

Astropath + Hand of War + Heavy Flamer = smoke'n hot fun!

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 Don't get me started on a Heavy Flamers...

A weapon which rolls two D10s, and jams if either roll a 9 destroying all its ammo.

A weapon which allows a free agility test to get out of the way and STILL allows dodge rolls too.

Seriously - spend your money on a Heavy Bolter.

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No, that's not what I'm saying. 

And I'm NOT saying that Astropaths should necessarily suck in combat. 

What I'm saying is I'm not going to allow my player to use loopholes in the rules to make an Astropath Combat God.  If you hadn't noticed (my player did) that RT system is much kinder to Psykers than DH's Perils of the Warp.  I have players who tend to ignore everything besides "How do I make my character ROCK in personal combat?"  Naturally, there's lots of ways in-game to make them regret their lack of vision. no pun intended.  Same kid is planning a Navigator that uses his Third Eye like Cyclops from X-men.

If he wants to use a Bolter, he can.  But all things being equal, he shouldn't be as good with it as an Arch-Militant.  I totally agree with the point that their Psyker Powers should at some point make their use of guns seem silly.  I mean, yeah...isn't he powerful enough being able to melt faces from around the corner without needing a line of sight?   I don't think that's unreasonable; and while the AP can "sense" his way around, for roleplaying purposes I don't want the Player to forget his character is blind.

"If they intentionally want to nerf themselves, why should you stop them?"

I don't intend to.  They've done it before.  I just don't see a -5% penalty for targets Long Range or farther being extreme...not for a Blind guy anyways.

 

"The majority of Astropaths are not up to hot-rodding around the fringes of the Imperium with a Rogue Trader and his crew either."

Not the vast majority, but without Astropaths there is no Interstellar Communication.  None.  So every warp-capable ship has at least one, if not dozens.  If they didn't, they wouldn't be able to communicate effectively over a couple VU's.   And I did say "excepting PC Astropaths".  C'mon now, read the whole thing.

 

"Besides, unless the gm allows a free row, all astropath PCs are tainted, criminals or renegades. Sound like they have reason to go armed."

Why? Is that even possible?  They're Soul-Bound to the Emperor....

All Imperial ships have Astropaths, so why would a RT's necessarily be tainted, criminal or renegade?  They don't all hang out in Astropathic Relay Stations singing in the Choir.

 

Listen, in all the fluff while Astropaths use the Force to sense things, they're still blind.  They don't like their furniture moved around...  Running through obstacle courses probably would make Gunnery Sergeant Hartman blow a vessel...  But they have other major advantages.

They're usually accompanied by Minders who's job is to follow them around and kill them if they freak out and start showing signs of Possession or can't control their powers....Sure, PC Astropaths are different, but if they go too far off the archetype they're not Astropaths anymore, they're Combat Psykers who happen to have had their eyes poked out.  Know what I mean?

In complicated and unfamiliar environments, they should incur some penalties especially at farther ranges....with guns.  I don't see the same thing applying to their Psyker Powers because AP's are supposed to have Psyker Powers...it's their thing.  Astropaths have ALWAYS been able to use guns to some extent as way-back in O-RT they came with a Las-pistol.  I'm not going to stop them for heaven's sake, but if the RT rules don't provide for some disadvantage from being blind, then I, as GM will.

Of course, all this is just me.  You can do whatever you want in your games.
 

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Maxim, have a look at the advance schemes for astropaths and arch-militants. Astropaths lack a lot of ranged weapon talents and have expensive BS upgrades. Then there is the arch-militants special ability. I can see the astropath matching or exceeding the bonus to hit (at the risk of phenomena) but I don't see anything astropath skill, talent or power that can match the bonuses that arch-militant gets towards initiative or damage for ranged weapons. So I don't see astropaths being stronger with bolters than an arch-militant, but I can't be sure without seeing players go at it.

 

As for astropaths being limited to being corrupt, criminal or renegade, that is simply a result from the origin path. I agree that it sounds wrong so my players will get career as a free row.

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I wasn't aware that every warp-capable ship had an Astropath aboard.  In fact, I was pretty sure that only very important vessels did so on a regular basis.  Rogue Traders being a bit outside the norm can break this rule too.  For other ships, the best means of communicating is to go where you need to be and use the vox.  If the system you're in has a permanent settlement, they have Astropaths that you can pay to 'forward' your communications.  So, much as many chartist vessels are assumed to operate without Navigators when on short and/or regular routes, I asume that most of those vessels operate without Astropaths aboard too.

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Certainly many military ships cruiser and larger might have several astropaths.  I suspect smaller military ships would only have an astropath if their mission called for it.  Normal merchant class ships don't have navigators or astropaths.  Rogue Traders are the exception in that unlike a chartist mechant they travel out of the Imperium.  A normal merchant is jumping from one imperial system to the next imperial system and can just use the radio.

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Maxim C. Gatling said:

What I'm saying is I'm not going to allow my player to use loopholes in the rules to make an Astropath Combat God.

Where's the loopholes you're speaking of? Have you seen how expensive it is for an Astropath to increase their BS in comparison to how cheap it is for an Arch-Militant to do the same?

I promise you, you don't have to intervene in any way and you can safely let the astropath lug around a bolter if he wishes, he's not gonna be able to compete with the Arch-Militant in terms of martial prowess any time soon.

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Perhaps you guys are right.  Maybe I don't need to intruduce any additional penalties.

This player I speak of is inspired by his Uncle's DH Psyker, who liked to use a Bolt Pistol with that power that makes a single shot automatically hit the target....talk about overpowered.  I secretly hope he rolls '9's' every time he trys it...

Now Astropaths, the common garden variety mind you, not Astropath Trancendent of which PC's are, are the most common type of sanctioned Psyker in the Imperium.  They're the ones with telepathic powers who had to undergo Soul Bonding because they were deemed too weak to survive Corruption on their own. 

Navigators are essential to Warp Travel, Astropaths are essential to Interstellar communication.  Without them, you're limited to laser or radio based communications, which means seconds delay for a message to the moon, minutes delay to Mars, or hours delay to the edge of the System.  If you're inside the Warp and your Gellar Fields don't overlap and you don't have Astropaths, then you simply don't communicate.

This is actually explained somewhere in a "canon" source of which I can't remember...but it was a rulebook or WD, not a fluff novel.  Astropaths can increase their range by acting in concert as part of an "Astropathic Choir".  Thousands of Astropaths (supposedly the strongest) spend their entire shortened lives amplifying the Astronomicon Beacon, which the Navigators use to navigate.

So, obviously, having a bunch of garden-variety NPC Astropaths on board a warship would be almost essential as orders could take most of or more than a whole turn to reach allied ships if they're several VU away.  Many Chartist vessels might not have one as they might not need to contact other vessels or planets from inside the Warp.  That's simply an economic decision akin to deciding not to have a cell phone and risk that you'd never have an emergency in which you'd need one.  There are mentions of mechanical devices known as Astropathic Beacons which will send a distress signal out over the Warp, but again, you need an Astropath somewhere on the other end to receive it.

In the original RT, they had some optional powers that the new RT doesn't give.  They didn't help much in a tabletop wargame, but would be quite useful in an RPG.

I think FFG did a wonderful job of making Astropath Trancendent an interesting and playable character class, as if anyone remembers was highly conjectured months ago on the DH forums how they were possibly going to make boring archetypes such as Navigators and Astropaths playable Character types, for indeed the vast majority of the background fluff makes Navs and Astros out to be about as exciting as basketweavers and manual laborers.

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So, obviously, having a bunch of garden-variety NPC Astropaths on board a warship would be almost essential as orders could take most of or more than a whole turn to reach allied ships if they're several VU away.

You don't. Sending messages at light speed is not a problem - there's this fancy thing called electromagnetic waves which move at exactly that speed and include radio and (who'd have thought?) light. When you send a message at someone more than a lightminute (aka 18,000,000 km) away, chances are he can't affect the combat in a meaningful way any less than if he'd got it instantly.

Further... well, astropathic communication is unreliable (assuming both the sender and the receiver manage 90% chances for their rolls, there's still a 19% chance for any given message to be lost) and it's not exactly fast either (1D5 hours sending time, though reception can be considered instantaneous).

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Bilateralrope said:

Besides, unless the gm allows a free row, all astropath PCs are tainted, criminals or renegades. Sound like they have reason to go armed.

Huh?  You seem to be arguing that all Astropaths come from Death Worlds, which is just wrong on so many levels.

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No, he is arguing that (assuming the Career is part of the Origin path, which isn't quite certain from the text) there's no way to arrive at Astropath without going over one of these three Lures. Just like you can't have a Rogue Trader who isn't Duty-bound, a Zealot or Chosen by Destiny. Funny thing that the Explorator and the Missionary are the two careers with the highest amount of diversity in origin...

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Argoden said:

Bilateralrope said:

 

Besides, unless the gm allows a free row, all astropath PCs are tainted, criminals or renegades. Sound like they have reason to go armed.

 

 

Huh?  You seem to be arguing that all Astropaths come from Death Worlds, which is just wrong on so many levels.

 

How did you get that ?

 

Lets start the origin path from the bottom:

 - The astropath has to have endurance as his motivation.

 - Endurance requires a trials and travels choice between "the hand of war" and "press-ganged".

 - Hand of War gets to chose between tainted and criminal from the lure of the void. Press-ganged gets those choices plus the renegade option.

 

As the triangle gets larger with each step, an astropath could come from any home world except noble born.

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