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Untouchables (and how they don't do their job)

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Untouchables aren't very good at resisting Psychic Powers right now.

 

"But they get massive bonuses!" I hear you cry.

 

"No, they don't," is my response.

 

Now, let me explain. I'm cool with there being multiple levels of Untouchable. That's fine, with varying talents and things. Totally cool.

 

However, their best thing - resisting Psychic powers, frankly, sucks.

 

Psychic Null revolves around using Deny the Witch, or opposed WP checks.

 

The thing is, they only get one Reaction a round. This is pretty bad. If they get shot at, and dodge, or parry an attack, they can't Deny the Witch. If they're against two psykers, they're toast. This even applies to the Culexus Assassin, providing you shoot at it enough to wipe out the extra Reactions.

 

My solution is simple, and prevents us going back to 1st ed. Untouchables:

 

Deny the Witch doesn't require a Reaction. It does not require skills such as Dodge, as he isn't Dodging to Evade.

 

This means it can be used multiple times per turn. Characters who invest a ton of XP into it could become immune to certain powers, but that's okay. They'll still technically be able to get beat in opposed checks, but it'll be tough, which is fine. It's very likely their 'special thing'.

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I urge you to look at Warp Disruption and Warp Anathema. Warp Anathema can be purchased multiple times, each time it is purchased, ALL psykers in the vicinity (2 x WPB of the null in meters) experience a drop in their effective Psy Rating.

 

Weaker Psykers won't be able to cast spells at all and stronger psykers are greatly weakened. 

 

On top of that, nulls get Resistance (Psychic Powers) from the get-go. New characters start as having more resistance to Psychic Powers and grow stronger as they get more experience (the polar opposite on the psychic curve compared to Psykers becoming stronger)

 

So yes, in case of the Psychic Null talent, multiple attack sources will penetrate this protection, but this is more of a dualing option than anything else. Worst case scenario, go for a Defensive stance combat action to receive another Reaction while your buddies take care of the Psyker(s).

Edited by Gridash

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I think the main question here is should Psychic Null be a Reaction at all? Is the Untouchable making a conscious attempt to negate a psychic power? Because if the answer to that is no then it should not be a Reaction, it should be a passive ability.

Now from my understanding of the lore nearly nothing an Untouchable does is conscious, hell most don't even know they are Untouchables in the first place! Everything surrounding the nature of Untouchables seems to be completely innate, a byproduct of the pariah gene in a way that psychic powers are not.

Edited by SCKoNi

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I urge you to look at Warp Disruption and Warp Anathema. Warp Anathema can be purchased multiple times, each time it is purchased, ALL psykers in the vicinity (2 x WPB of the null in meters) experience a drop in their effective Psy Rating.

 

Weaker Psykers won't be able to cast spells at all and stronger psykers are greatly weakened. 

 

So yes, in case of the Psychic Null talent, multiple attack sources will penetrate this protection, but this is more of a dualing option than anything else. Worst case scenario, go for a Defensive stance combat action to receive another Reaction while your buddies take care of the Psyker(s).

 

On top of that, nulls get Resistance (Psychic Powers) from the get-go.

Warp Disruption and Anathema don't protect against ranged psychic attacks (which is most of them). A telepath or pyromancer or whatever 30 metres away will laugh.

 

Even the Culexus isn't immune to every psychic power.

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I guess on a big open field, the Psyker has the advantage. Otherwise once the null gets in the immediate vicinity of the Psyker, the Psyker is ****ed.

 

Since nulls have no souls, they can sneak up on the Psyker much more easily as well without getting detected.

 

Culexus Assassin hello! :P

Edited by Gridash

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And when I mean a big open field, I mean with multiple Psykers vs the null since otherwise he can use his Psychic Null talent just fine. It also applies to all opposed checks vs Psychic Powers.

 

Using the Psychic Null talent doesn't use up the null's action in a round, it's a reaction. The psyker IS using his action to cast offensive spells. So during the null's turn, he'd just close the gap with the Psyker and get in the psyker's vicinity.

 

Narratively, I think being attacked by multiple psychic attacks during a round and them doing damage is just an overload of his negative psychic presence by having to deal with multiple psykers. 

Edited by Gridash

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It's still not the point. A Dodge removes his Reaction, as does a Parry. As does two Psychic attacks. Ciaphas Cain's sidekick would have been toast if this was the case.

 

The Culexus does, admittedly, get more, but even he isn't immune to the Psychic attacks - and that's a major departure from the background, and the tabletop battle game. Not even Eldar Farseers or Lords of Change can hit a Culexus directly with Psychic power.

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If one of my players brings in a Null, I'll probably house-rule that they can Deny the Witch at will.  It doesn't mean they'll win, but it'll give them options.  

That's how I'm running it. It allows for weaker Nulls, and stronger ones, without becoming utterly game-breaking.

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I was worried when I clicked on this one- I wanted to play a untouchable but seeing this I'm on the fence.

There is also the RP fact too that people can tell at closer vicinity that there is something wrong with them.

Listening to this its almost like they nurfed the untouchable due to the fact Ravenor's untouchable just had to be there and it shut down ALL psyker powers around him. Ravenor's being a psyker had a collar that was placed on him that nullified the effect- is there such a collar in this game?

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As of this moment in time, no.

 

I do agree that I think Fantasy Flight, for lack of a better term, nerfed Untouchables (it isn't that bad in my mind) because they are an immediate player option.  Being able to spend 300 experience and go 'I'm Immune, Ha-Ha' is horribly unbalanced, even if it doesn't reflect the setting perfectly.  Full Immunity to all things Psychic would basically be a 'must-have' for everyone, given the costs involved.  Either they'd have to jack the cost up to be exorbitant, or lower the power (at the outset, at least).  

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Full immunity would be game breaking.

 

Being able to spend 300 experience and go 'I'm Immune, Ha-Ha' is horribly unbalanced, even if it doesn't reflect the setting perfectly.  Full Immunity to all things Psychic would basically be a 'must-have' for everyone, given the costs involved.  Either they'd have to jack the cost up to be exorbitant, or lower the power (at the outset, at least).  

 

I don't see the big deal here tbh, in fact I've always been surprised by the fact that being an Untouchable costs xp at all, considering what it represents and the fact that psykers don't pay for being what they are either (unless they're Unsanctioned but that's a whole other can of worms). The negatives that come with being an Untouchable, e.g. the crippling social penalties and constant demand for them among the Ordos (Malleus specifically) makes the full immunity to psychic powers seem minor in comparison. Remember that psykers are incredibly rare to be begin with and a player that chooses this advance needs to contend with only getting use out of it every so often while feeling the penalties from at all times.

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Psykers do in fact pay for what they are; they have to pick a dedicated Role (which curtails Aptitudes by a lot) or take an Elite Advance (which costs experience) in order to be what they are.  Everyone BUT Psykers can chip in some experience to be an Untouchable.  If Untouchables just got full immunity just for being Untouchable, there'd be way too much incentive to be one.  A decent social build could easily make up for the penalties.  

 

The social penalties for being an Untouchable do exist, but those aren't really ruining the game's balance.  Especially since 'demand for them among the Ordos' is a moot point (you're playing an Inquisitor's retinue/employees).  Full, no-stop Immunity does break that balance.  Especially since while psykers are 'extremely rare,' you being a part of the Inquisition really increases your chances of encountering the extremely rare, especially when that extremely rare includes heretics, witches, daemonologists, etc.  

 

If someone made a Tier 3 Untouchable talent (requiring ALL other Untouchable talents to be purchased before-hand) which gave them full immunity to Psychic Powers/Phenomena?  I might be fine with that.  It'd cost you 3,000 experience invested in being an Untouchable to get to that point assuming you have all of the correct Aptitudes.  That's a bit more than trying to buy all of the powers in a single branch, but it's close in comparison; the Psyker tree of anti-Psychic Powers.  Given the lack of negatives compared to positives, I'd say that's a good deal.

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If Untouchables just got full immunity just for being Untouchable, there'd be way too much incentive to be one.  A decent social build could easily make up for the penalties.  

 

The social penalties for being an Untouchable do exist, but those aren't really ruining the game's balance.  Especially since 'demand for them among the Ordos' is a moot point (you're playing an Inquisitor's retinue/employees).

 

Am I talking to a roleplayer here or a min-maxer? Because currently it seems more like the latter. Untouchables don't just have "social penalties", they illicit feelings of disgust and unease while carrying with them a palpable aura of despair. People quite literally feel like death when around them, and for good reason. And the reduction by half of your Fellowship is a good representation of that.

 

You say that there is incentive to play one if they had full immunity? Untouchables have no soul! As far as penalties I think that pretty much takes the cake and slapping on an extra cost to that just feels wrong to me. Remember I am not advocating that all Untouchable abilities should be free, far from it. The AoE Psy Rating reduction should be the result of training (aka xp spending) just like say Daemonic Anathema should be.

I'm just saying that their immunity to psychic powers for themselves should be free and available from the start and have nothing to do with their Willpower or any other Characteristic.

 

Even in the base rules they can never benefit from positive effects so how the hell is an enemy psyker reading an Untouchables mind? Or causing damage to him with psychic lightning when his very being is anathema to the energies of the Warp? This would be like a Daemon needing to test for suffocation in a vacuum because he didn't have the prerequisite trait for ignoring it!

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Am I talking to a person who can't see that games should be balanced so one option isn't overly desirable?  As a GM, I know I have to factor in both the thematics of the setting and the game's mechanics in order to keep things balanced and fun.  Some of my players have min-maxer tendencies (thankfully they keep those under control for the most part), and I've played in groups where other players were min-maxers.  I admit I will optimize my characters for whatever role I want them doing, but I generally don't go the distance to min-maxing.  If one doesn't reign those things in, the game turns into a D&D murder-hobo frenzy.  If one goes all ham-handed in crushing everything that sticks out even a fraction, they'll lose all of their players.  It's better to keep it all balanced within the realm of the setting, than just go with one interpretation and steamroll blanket boredom all over everything.  I mean, why aren't you just giving Untouchables immunity to all Corruption too, while you're at it?  If they're completely immune to the Warp, that should have no effect on them.  

 

Mechanically, Untouchables have their Fellowship halved (or reduced further for interactions with psykers).  That's all there is by the book.  That is their only drawback besides immunity to helpful boosts from the Warp.  So what if they don't have a soul?  So what if people don't like them as much as their normal counterparts?  If they were given complete immunity to adverse Psychic effects, that would be too much.  That means all of those Daemons, Warp-Callers, etc. have no chance in any way of ever doing anything psychic to the Untouchable, which definitely goes against canon (there's examples of Untouchables having their dampening abilities overpowered before).  Giving Untouchables Deny the Witch and allowing them to use it at will instead of as a Reaction is plenty good enough in my mind.  

 

The enemy Warp users are doing it by throwing more power than an Untouchable can negate/ground out.  It's a part of that whole 'level of power' thing Untouchables (and Psykers) have.  Your Culexus Assassin is a good example of a SUPER-UNTOUCHABLE.  Your point with the Daemon is ludicrous, because Daemons explicitly do have the perquisite trait for ignoring vacuum.  If one didn't, then it should be rolling for suffocation.  

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Untouchables are the reverse of psykers, basically they have a negative psyrating.

 

Having no soul doesn't mean that they're automatically immune to psychic powers, much like psykers being able to use their connection to the warp to harness its powers. Having no soul is just the basis of their potential. Buildings don't have any souls either, yet they can be set aflame by the powers of the warp.

 

Those with Psychic potential aren't alpha+ psykers automatically, just because they have the potential to harness the powers of the warp.

 

Untouchables aren't automatically immune to the influence of the warp, just because they have the potential to emit negative psychic fields, amongst other effects.

 

They will reach their full potential eventually with the right training, both of them.

Edited by Gridash

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Buildings... ehm... they do have souls in 40k, or rather a reflection in the Warp. That's why daemons can possess an unliving object. Untouchables lack this feature.

Just saying.

Your games though sound pretty limited if a single character in a warband being immune to psychic energies right off the bat is breaking thr balance. This speaks of a larger issue here, one I am not going to get into a discussion with you about.

You play your games in w/e way you want in the end, I ain't stopping you. Just don't kid yourselves that what you're doing has a basis in the lore because to me it doesn't. And if you are going to change the lore to suit your balance needs then tell us you're running a homebrew setting beforehand.

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Buildings... ehm... they do have souls in 40k, or rather a reflection in the Warp. That's why daemons can possess an unliving object. Untouchables lack this feature.

Just saying.

 

Daemons do not possess any objects voluntarily, they are bound to it through a ritual. Basically they are sucked into a vessel that is able to hold their chaotic essence. The wards keep them into it. 

 

I don't think there is an exact reflection of the material universe in the warp on its own (i.e. without any other influence). The warp powers allows the physical laws to be lifted or twisted (law vs chaos). The souls and emotions of living entities are visual in the warp itself, because these entities share a connection with the warp. Other things like buildings, streets, ... are not, unless the influence of the warp is already on them somehow (unholy rituals, ...).

 

Taking it a bit further, I think somebody with a soul is akin to a flame, being visible in the warp. But this flame also casts light on the immediate surroundings of the entity, making these also visible in the warp. An untouchable has the potential to do the opposite, sucking away this light. An anti-flame so to speak, a black hole in the warp, undoing its active influence in the material realm.

 

At the very least, an untouchable is "undetectable", but ironically not "untouchable" by the powers of the warp. They have the potential however to be like that if they actively use their powers. An Untouchable is basically a "psyker" of the material realm, enforcing its very structured laws and undoing any active chaotic influence brought onto it, while a psyker of the immaterium undoes these laws by twisting it into something that he or she wants.

 

An eyeless psyker could use his own presence to see in the material realm, and also is able to detect the presence of other entities (with a soul) and their influence on their immediate surroundings.

Edited by Gridash

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SCKoNi, this isn't about 'just one' character.  This is about overall game balance.  Ignoring the part where power-gamers tend to try and acquire everything that makes their characters better (and yes, games should be built with a modicum of balance in mind to make things fair between characters/players of equivalent experience), giving complete immunity to all Psychic effects for 300 experience is TOO CHEAP.  That is a nearly game-breaking effect, which tips the balance by a lot if it is that cheap.  If it were expensive, or at the top of the Untouchable Totem Pole of Talents, it would be more fair.  It'd take an investment to get that power. 

 

On top of that, the one character who is immune to everything psychic you throw their way?  It's somewhat hard to actually have a psychic threat that, you know, threatens them at that point.  My game has hit the 15,000 experience mark; if players could just ignore the psychic aspects of their foes so cheaply, it'd make things so much easier for them.  

 

How about you get off your pedestal and stop kidding yourself?  There's multiple accounts of Untouchables having their effects overpowered by high-grade Psykers or powerful Daemons.  In one book I know there's an Untouchable who had his Null effects burned out from over-exposure to the Warp.  

 

If you've got a problem with that, take your own advice and tell everyone you're running a homebrew setting beforehand.  

 

You still haven't commented on my question on whether Untouchables should be immune to Corruption either; if the Warp can never affect them ever, how are they becoming Corrupt?  Are you just going to give them immunity to that too?  

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Immunity to Corruption? Of course they're immune, they ignore Warp Shock in every other game except Dark Heresy 2nd Edition. A knee-jerk reaction by the game developers (mimicked numerous times throughout the new book and one of the biggest complaints about it so far anyway) to fix something that didn't need fixing.

 

HVhrYhr.jpg
 

 

Here is the Untouchable Elite Advance from Rogue Trader, the Navis Primer supplement. It costs 500p and is what should have remained the same in Dark Heresy 2nd Ed. See my point is not something I'm coming up with from thin air, the developers at one time agreed with me and then decided to change it to the laughable state its in now. When the Beta was coming out, this was one of the biggest complaints at the time, something they obviously didn't listen to. (see here: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/87022-untouchable-no-longer-un-touchable/)
 

Also, if you're going to quote books and other such fiction at me, have the courtesy to also provide the title and author or else your references have no weight.

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Eisenhorn, Ravenor, Ciaphas Cain...  That's literally three seconds of thought on my part.  Instead of whining about a lack of sourcing, maybe provide some of your own about how all Untouchables are completely immune all the time no matter what their power level.  

 

Your source has no mention of Immunity to Corruption, by the way.  Just immunity to Warp Shock, which is just a specific means of gaining Corruption.  

 

And since you obviously didn't read what you posted, let me highlight this; "The Game Master should consider carefully before deciding to permit a character to select the Untouchable Trait for a Rogue Trader campaign.  Untouchables are extremely rare in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, but aside from that, they can also significantly alter the balance of the game.  Even a single Untouchable character can make it very difficult for a psychic enemy to provide a challenge to the Explorers.  Right there, the books explicitly state the Advance is game-breaking, right there.  Now, just making it game-breakingly powerful and telling GMs to think twice before allowing an Untouchable character in their game is how they handled it in First Edition.  That's not the case for Second.  To maintain game balance, Fantasy Flight decided not to just give Untouchables a 'Get out of all psychic effects free' card.  Instead, they made a more balanced, albeit weaker, option.  

 

It wasn't a knee-jerk, though I do agree it was over-done.  I've already stated multiple times what I would do to make Untouchables more in-line with the setting without handing out immunities all willy-nilly.  It was a means to enable Untouchables to be less regulated by the GM; instead of being unstoppable anti-psychic juggernauts, they actually require investment in their inherent Untouchable abilities in order to be effective.  It also means you can have an extremely weak Null if you want one, perhaps nascent or just low powered.  Maybe some of them are barely 'blank' at all, and as such aren't as strong as the ones you want to be running around.  

 

At least Second Edition actually added mechanical drawbacks to being an Untouchable.  

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So instead of leaving balancing of the game up to the GMs, which is our job btw, they took something that was already in line with the setting and changed it to... what exactly? Increase player freedom?

A weak excuse if I ever saw one.

This is the same **** that happened in the Black Crusade variant of Space Marine characters where you ended up with Astartes that didn't even qualify as your basic initiate let alone the "greatest warriors known to mankind".

The changes to the Untouchable Trait were an embarrassment by FFG, along with numerous other changes in the book. You want to run it this way and bend over for your min-maxing players then go ahead. I prefer to treat them like adults and give them real penalties in game for the choices they make.

Because guess what, the rules are just representations for what is happening in the game world. There is a reason why Fellowship is halved for Untouchables and if you're not RPing that then its your own **** fault your players feel like they could walk all over you.

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Balancing should be left to GMs? That's a load of hogwash, considering that GMs -can be notably inconsistent from person to person,-almost always aren't game designers, and -shouldn't have to do the balancing work that the game should do in the first place. Really, the issue is that the setting and the game have different needs. But while the former is nice to have on a bookshelf to read, the latter is what's actually being used in play. I'm not saying that, so long as the game is being designed to fulfill the setting*, anyone should wholly neglect the setting in favor of the game - that's missing the point. But what I am saying is that some things in the setting will inevitably have to be altered to fit the needs of the game and its implicit assumptions. And that's the whole point of making Untouchable such a granular ability - there's a lot to unpack within that label, and putting up a simplistic "ask your GM if you can take an underpriced ability" does everyone a disservice.

 

*Not all games are designed with a setting in mind, after all.

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No, the job of balancing the game falls squarely on the game designers.  They're the ones making it, after all; it's literally their job.  They took something that was vaguely in line with the setting but also highly overpowered AND under-priced and made it easier to integrate into a game without causing copious problems.  They did an acceptable job at that with Untouchables, by my estimation.  Not perfect, or I wouldn't have repeatedly stated the changes I'd apply.  But not an embarrassment by any stretch of the imagination.  And while you may have your darling little angel picture-perfect players sitting at your table, not everyone is so flawless and lucky as you are.  The game designers need to make up for a number of factors in the game, and one of those is player abuse of the rules in the book.  

 

Having never touched Black Crusade, I can't talk about their system.  If that is the case, maybe they shouldn't have made them entry-level PC positions.  I'd definitely keep that in mind if you want super-Untouchables.  

 

I don't consider using the rules as given to be 'bending over' for anyone.  If that were the case, wouldn't it be bending over to the authors for using their setting?  

 

TL;DR:  What NFK said.  

 

By the way, calling my capabilities as a GM into question when you've never been at a table I've run is ludicrous.  

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