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eltom13

Psychic Powers in Melee

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A simple question I couldn't find a satisfying answer to in the core rule book:

Can a psyker use psychic powers in melee?

 

I mean, some definitely, like the ones which are Reactions, but any powers whatsoever?

Even like throwing a fireball (Inferno)? Or controlling the enemies mind while fending off blows?

Doesn't seem right to me ...

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Psychic powers can be used in melee with no more restrictions than usual. Many of the powers do things at range, but explicitly don't have the issues that non-Pistol ranged weapons would because they're intended to be less versatile and whatnot. This is especially true with the DH2E psychic system, where your primary bonuses to use a power come only from casting at a reduced PR (which in turn means a reduction of various effect parameters like range and damage).

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Yes, it's true that the rules explicitly state that psychic powers to not apply any modifiers due to range (core rule book, p. 195). But where is it written that they don't have the issues that other non-Pistol ranged weapons would have? Can you maybe point me at the right place. I cannot find any explicit mentioning of that. The only thing I can find is "Psychic Bolts of all kinds can be dodged as if they were any other kind of ranged attacks." (core rule book, p. 198) but are they handled like pistols or basic weapons? So can they be used in melee?

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A number of powers produce blasts or energy bolts that inflict harm in a manner not dissimilar to a weapon. These powers all follow the same basic rules.

The above is what the Core Rulebook has to say on the matter of Psychic Bolts (p. 198, aka your ranged Psychic attacks. Note the wording on "basic rules" for weapons. If we look into the Armory section on page 144 the only weapons that are allowed to be used in close combat are explicitly stated, in this case Pistol, Melee, and Thrown weapons with the Melee quality attached. For the rest the question of close combat is not approached, as it is taken as default that weapons cannot be used in Melee unless listed as such.

 

Taking this into account, I would say that since it is not explicitly stated that Psychic Powers can be used in melee then it follows that they cannot be used as such.

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SCKoNi, that's not the full quote. Here's the full text, which explains that such psychic attacks considered as a group follow the same rules. Psychic powers aren't actually listed as a weapon class on page 144.

 

A number of powers produce blasts or energy bolts that inflict harm in a manner not dissimilar to a weapon. These powers all follow the same basic rules. The psyker must nominate a single target within range and line of sight; if the Focus Power test is successful, then the target is hit. See page 226 to determine the Hit Location, using the Focus Power test as the attack test. There are three further variations on this: Psychic Barrages, Psychic Storms, and Psychic Blasts.

And we were to consider them to be ranged weapons then we would open up a massive can of worms, because psykers might then get to use a number of bonuses (range, size, and so forth) originally intended for ranged weapons. This is clearly unintended, not only because getting significant bonuses to use psychic powers would negate the choice between fettering for accuracy vs. pushing for power, but also because Focus Power is explicitly listed as its own action rather than being incorporated into Standard Attack and the like. Additionally, a number of psychic powers are not treated as Psychic Bolts/Barrages/Storms/Blasts at all. (Consider as an example the very first power in the text, Enfeeble.) Hence the above quote (which SCKoNi is using as evidence for psychic powers being ranged weapons) wouldn't even apply to them. Some psychic powers don't even target other people! Iron Arm, for instance, is a self-only buff.

 

What I'm getting out of this is that psychic powers simply aren't treated as weapons unless an exception is explicitly made, such as applying damage/status effects or allowing evasion on Psychic Bolts and the like. They're similar in a general sense to something like a mine - it might do damage, but your mechanism for evasion could be totally different and it doesn't care a whit about you being engaged in melee.

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If you would care to notice, I was only referring to those powers that actually are like weapons, aka the Psychic Bolts. The buff powers and the like do not need to be  And if they are weapons, this does not mean that they immediately get the bonuses for range, size, etc. as those fall under the category of Attack modifiers, which as you have clearly and correctly stated Focus Power Tests are not.

However, because the book has no other metric besides the rules for weapons when it comes to close combat then we are lacking in options for validation here. Furthermore, if we look at the TT which this game system is after all derived from, if very loosely, the powers classified as Witchbolts (here Psychic Bolts) cannot be used in melee situations, something I would agree with.

 

UPDATE: However it seems that FFG disagrees with me. In an older forum post here they responded to this question as such:

 

Yes, you can indeed use them in melee. It’s something I have on my list for the next FAQ release. Using blast of course might be dangerous though :)

Edited by SCKoNi

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A number of powers produce blasts or energy bolts that inflict harm in a manner not dissimilar to a weapon. These powers all follow the same basic rules.

The above is what the Core Rulebook has to say on the matter of Psychic Bolts (p. 198, aka your ranged Psychic attacks. Note the wording on "basic rules" for weapons. If we look into the Armory section on page 144 the only weapons that are allowed to be used in close combat are explicitly stated, in this case Pistol, Melee, and Thrown weapons with the Melee quality attached. For the rest the question of close combat is not approached, as it is taken as default that weapons cannot be used in Melee unless listed as such.

 

Taking this into account, I would say that since it is not explicitly stated that Psychic Powers can be used in melee then it follows that they cannot be used as such.

As much as I would love to interpret this sentence as you do, I don't think that basic should be read as in basic weapon here.

 

SCKoNi, that's not the full quote. Here's the full text, which explains that such psychic attacks considered as a group follow the same rules. Psychic powers aren't actually listed as a weapon class on page 144.

 

A number of powers produce blasts or energy bolts that inflict harm in a manner not dissimilar to a weapon. These powers all follow the same basic rules. The psyker must nominate a single target within range and line of sight; if the Focus Power test is successful, then the target is hit. See page 226 to determine the Hit Location, using the Focus Power test as the attack test. There are three further variations on this: Psychic Barrages, Psychic Storms, and Psychic Blasts.

And we were to consider them to be ranged weapons then we would open up a massive can of worms, because psykers might then get to use a number of bonuses (range, size, and so forth) originally intended for ranged weapons. This is clearly unintended, not only because getting significant bonuses to use psychic powers would negate the choice between fettering for accuracy vs. pushing for power, but also because Focus Power is explicitly listed as its own action rather than being incorporated into Standard Attack and the like. Additionally, a number of psychic powers are not treated as Psychic Bolts/Barrages/Storms/Blasts at all. (Consider as an example the very first power in the text, Enfeeble.) Hence the above quote (which SCKoNi is using as evidence for psychic powers being ranged weapons) wouldn't even apply to them. Some psychic powers don't even target other people! Iron Arm, for instance, is a self-only buff.

 

What I'm getting out of this is that psychic powers simply aren't treated as weapons unless an exception is explicitly made, such as applying damage/status effects or allowing evasion on Psychic Bolts and the like. They're similar in a general sense to something like a mine - it might do damage, but your mechanism for evasion could be totally different and it doesn't care a whit about you being engaged in melee.

Since it is explicitly stated in the core rule book, as mentioned earlier, that modifiers for range do not apply to psychic powers I also don't think that one should treat them as weapons in general.

Nevertheless I think psychic bolts of all kinds are ranged attacks and hence should not be possible in melee.

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Okay, apparently I already made up my mind about psychic bolts, sorry ;)

But what do you think about my other example: Mind-control of a target the psyker is engaged with in melee? Somehow to me this does not make sense ...

Are there any rules taking things like disturbances of concentration into account?

Also somewhat related: What about mind-control powers on a target within a big crowd of people? Would you go for a negative modifier on the focus power test there?

All-in-all I have the feeling that psykers are much too strong in comparison with other characters, i.e. unbalanced.

I would like to nerf them down somehow because some of the non-psychic characters in my group are already feeling bad about it.

What is the use of having social skill if the psyker just reads everybody's thoughts?

And the focus power tests of psykers with a few XP are ridiculously easy. The main reason being that for a lot of powers it already is enough to use them with Psy 1 and even then get a nice effect.

Edited by eltom13

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The Focus Power tests are easy for your psyker PC? I'm surprised by that - what's their WP, and how much XP does the group have? (Keep in mind that psychic powers don't get +5 per PR like in most of the previous games, but instead need to reduce PR in order to gain accuracy in most cases.)

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The Focus Power tests are easy for your psyker PC? I'm surprised by that - what's their WP, and how much XP does the group have? (Keep in mind that psychic powers don't get +5 per PR like in most of the previous games, but instead need to reduce PR in order to gain accuracy in most cases.)

I'm aware of that, but I think that there are plenty of powers where it suffices to use a low PR.

My group just reached the 9000XP level. I have a telepath with WP 45, Psy 6, and a Psy-focus.

If he uses Dominate on a single target within melee range he only has to use Psy 1 resulting in a test against 45+10+50=105.

Or his new favorite, Hallucination, lets say at PR 4 (to last 2 rounds and get a nice range of 40m): 45+10+20=75.

There are two psykers in the group and most of the time they have to role against 80+.

Another nice example from the other psyker is Assail. To get the nice effect of throwing the target 1d5m and getting him prone you only need PR 1 and score 3 DoS on the Focus Power test which is +10. The other psyker has WP 50, Psy 5, and a Psy-focus, resulting in 50+10+40+10=110. Not so hard to score 3 DoS there.

And it works for example against Herald-size daemons, following RAW they cannot do anything against this.

Granted, for a fresh acolyte psyker it is not that easy but with, lets say WP 40, Psy 2, and Psy-focus, the resulting average 40+10+10 = 60 (if only using PR 1 for the focus power test) is also not too bad.

Edited by eltom13

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The Focus Power tests are easy for your psyker PC? I'm surprised by that - what's their WP, and how much XP does the group have? (Keep in mind that psychic powers don't get +5 per PR like in most of the previous games, but instead need to reduce PR in order to gain accuracy in most cases.)

I'm aware of that, but I think that there are plenty of powers where it suffices to use a low PR.

My group just reached the 9000XP level. I have a telepath with WP 45, Psy 6, and a Psy-focus.

If he uses Dominate on a single target within melee range he only has to use Psy 1 resulting in a test against 45+10+50=105.

Or his new favorite, Hallucination, lets say at PR 4 (to last 2 rounds and get a nice range of 40m): 45+10+20=75.

There are two psykers in the group and most of the time they have to role against 80+.

Another nice example from the other psyker is Assail. To get the nice effect of throwing the target 1d5m and getting him prone you only need PR 1 and score 3 DoS on the Focus Power test which is +10. The other psyker has WP 50, Psy 5, and a Psy-focus, resulting in 50+10+40+10=110. Not so hard to score 3 DoS there.

And it works for example against Herald-size daemons, following RAW they cannot do anything against this.

Granted, for a fresh acolyte psyker it is not that easy but with, lets say WP 40, Psy 2, and Psy-focus, the resulting average 40+10+10 = 60 (if only using PR 1 for the focus power test) is also not too bad.

 

 

Fortunately the victims do get saves vs these tests, so it's not as though the Psyker makes the test and insta-wins, if the target's got half-decent willpower (and unlike 1st edition it's not an opposed test so that your Psyker doesn't further scale off his willpower).

 

Also on the daemons thing. Assail has an add-on that certain units may be immune to the throw-back effect at the GM's discretion specifically to avoid things like the Psyker chucking a Carnifex.

Edited by ColArana

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I'm aware of that, but I think that there are plenty of powers where it suffices to use a low PR.

My group just reached the 9000XP level. I have a telepath with WP 45, Psy 6, and a Psy-focus.

If he uses Dominate on a single target within melee range he only has to use Psy 1 resulting in a test against 45+10+50=105.

Or his new favorite, Hallucination, lets say at PR 4 (to last 2 rounds and get a nice range of 40m): 45+10+20=75.

There are two psykers in the group and most of the time they have to role against 80+.

Another nice example from the other psyker is Assail. To get the nice effect of throwing the target 1d5m and getting him prone you only need PR 1 and score 3 DoS on the Focus Power test which is +10. The other psyker has WP 50, Psy 5, and a Psy-focus, resulting in 50+10+40+10=110. Not so hard to score 3 DoS there.

And it works for example against Herald-size daemons, following RAW they cannot do anything against this.

Granted, for a fresh acolyte psyker it is not that easy but with, lets say WP 40, Psy 2, and Psy-focus, the resulting average 40+10+10 = 60 (if only using PR 1 for the focus power test) is also not too bad.

I see. How are the gunslingers and swordslingers doing in comparison? I'd imagine that if the telepath has spent a giant chunk of XP just boosting his PR, then they've also boosted their firepower in both stats and gear. (I will admit that I've not played mid-level or high-level DH2E with the third-generation psychic system.)

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Fortunately the victims do get saves vs these tests, so it's not as though the Psyker makes the test and insta-wins, if the target's got half-decent willpower (and unlike 1st edition it's not an opposed test so that your Psyker doesn't further scale off his willpower).

 

Also on the daemons thing. Assail has an add-on that certain units may be immune to the throw-back effect at the GM's discretion specifically to avoid things like the Psyker chucking a Carnifex.

The average human villein has between 30 and 40 willpower, so not really a chance to score more DoS.

And yes, I'm aware that Assail does not work against giant tanks and daemons (or Carnifexes) but a Herald-size daemon is much smaller, the player would have been really pissed if I as the GM then rule that on this special daemon his assail does not work as expected.

 

I see. How are the gunslingers and swordslingers doing in comparison? I'd imagine that if the telepath has spent a giant chunk of XP just boosting his PR, then they've also boosted their firepower in both stats and gear. (I will admit that I've not played mid-level or high-level DH2E with the third-generation psychic system.)

 

I have a sniper (hive worlder/arbites/assassin) which is really deadly if she gets a good position (which most of the time works because she is really sneaky). So one certain kill per round for her ;)

And then I have the priest (shrine world/ministorum/hierophant). He is really good in social skills and getting things (contact network, high fellowship) and has a decent warhammer (mono,inscriptions,gustom grip,exterminator,good craftsmenship). But the problem is he has the feeling that everything he can do with his social skills the telepath is better at. Because he just mind controls people to get things or read thoughts instead of inquiry or interrogation. And in a combat the inferno/fire breath of the other psyker and the long las of the assassin are just that much better than a single attack with a warhammer (not to mention that with his low Agility he takes ages to reach his enemies). The sad thing is, that he is really into rollplaying his character and maybe made some bad choices only because it did better fit his image of the character and the others are kind of min-maxers. So as the GM I would rather reward the priest and not the others ...

Edited by eltom13

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Whoops, misread Dominate and Hallucination, and thought the defender only had to pass a standard WP test. Still. Solution might be either throw more than one opponent at the Psyker at a time. Or start including enemies that actually are resistant to psychic abilities.

 

 

Also as for telepaths simply mind reading in lieu of inquiry sounds like a good way to have a rampaging mob come after you when you inevitably either fail the test or set off Psychic Phenomena. A Psyker abusing their powers like that on good, honest, Imperium subjects is going to attract a mob with torches and pitchforks, gunning for the Psyker's head.

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After some whining about my o-so-strong psykers back to the second part of my initial question :)

Who thinks it is okay for a psyker to just use mind-control, e.g. dominate, hallucination, etc.,

a) in melee combat

b) on a target within a large crowd of people (shouldn't all those minds distrect the psyker?)

without any penalties?

And loosely related:

c) Should a target know afterwards if he/she was mind-controlled (again dominate and hallucination and maybe telepathic link too), and who did it?

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A:  If it has an action cost (Half or Full), then it should be usable in melee combat.  Unless there's a good penalty for it you can think of, I wouldn't apply one.  It'd be the same as casting on someone who is shooting at you, in my mind.

B:  I'd personally apply a small penalty if it made sense; a very large crowd, or a crowd that is emotionally riled up.  

 

C:  Unless it explicitly states otherwise or they have the memories wiped by another means, a target should know they've been mind-controlled; not who did it though; they'd have no real way of knowing.  

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