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Dyckman86

Thoughts on Mutants

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I've been reading a lot of threads on this forum and a friend of mine has been reading a few others, and I've noticed something that makes me want to ask this question. Why does it seem like it's alright to have Mutations and CP? I've always been told it's "Fear the Mutant. Kill the Mutant." Not,  I wanna get a mutation to give me Unnatural Strength to stack with the Strength Bionics to use with my power fist for awesome damage. Maybe I missed something, maybe the guy who introduced me to the world didn't tell me of a shift in the fluff, but it seems like a general tendency for it being okay to be different, when it 40K it's been my experience that it's really not. Yes, I know, roleplay game, doing different things, PCs having fun who cares, etc etc, but if you toss out large portions of the fluff, why stick with the system? No direct offense to FFG or anyone, but there are better out there, not that this is a bad system I've enjoyed it since I perused the DH book a friend let me look at awhile ago, but it just seems like a trend to toss out the basic idea that Xenos, Heretech and Mutations are bad because we get to be edgy. I think the Xenos usage is probably the only one out of the three that would get a pass because the RT is using it against the enemies of the Imperium. Because The Adeptus Mechanicus would take down, pull apart, and scatter to the Void any Heretech users they find, and Mutation is a sign of Corruption, which is a sign of the Ruinous Powers, even overly mutated Navigators get put down because of the problem inherent with that much corruption. So to sum that all up, what are some people's thoughts on Mutants and Hereteck in 40k and the usage of by PCs?

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My group's take on mutants is that they are indeed impure, but not everyone is a zealot.   You are a rouge trader, commander of your ship and all aboard it, and so how you handle mutation is up to you. The way we have played it, mutants are a sort of "out of sight, out of mind" thing.  A ship is a big place, and so the captain cant really be held accountable for everyone, so the mutants are swept under the rug.  Of course if some guy has three arms, bug eyes, shoots lightning out of his pores, and/or tries to kill everyone he sees he will be purged....but less radical cases are acceptable.

(I'm not the greatest with the fluff, so this could be wrong.  This is just how my group does it.)

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Dyckman86 said:

and Mutation is a sign of Corruption, which is a sign of the Ruinous Powers, even overly mutated Navigators get put down because of the problem inherent with that much corruption. So to sum that all up, what are some people's thoughts on Mutants and Hereteck in 40k and the usage of by PCs?

Not all mutations have their origin in the ruinous powers or warp taint you know. The reason why many imperial citizens believe that is mostly due to superstition.

Also, remember that Rogue Traders operate mostly outside of Imperial society, hence the general laws and discriminations against mutants don't necessarily hold the same sway in Rogue Trader groups than they would inside the Imperium.

Second, mutations can open certain doors and provide certain gifts that normal people don't have access to. And speaking from a Rogue Trader's point of view, where the goal is Profit and ALWAYS Profit, it would be stupid of the Rogue Trader to not take advantage of certain mutants that are "friendly" enough to "play ball" instead of trying to eat you.

Still, the mutant will always be followed by a social stigma whenever he or she is trying to move arouind openly in Imperial institutions (as long as the mutations in question are clearly visible to the naked eye, which is no guarantee when it comes to mutations), and that social stigma might in some cases come back to haunt the Rogue Trader and the group's endavours. So there will most likely be drawbacks from having a mutant in the gang, but that still doesn't make it "wrong" to include mutants in the group. In fact, Rogue Trader might be the only game where mutated PC's are more or less acceptable unlike Dark Heresy where the Inquisitor employing a mutant as an acolyte would gain a very ill reputation and might even be considered a radical by certain elements.

So to answer your question: No, I don't find it strange or bad that players choose to play mutated PC's, and since the Origin Path has an inbuilt mechanic to actually let the player choose which mutation his or her PC have, I don't see any problem with the player getting a mutation that might stack with other modifiers and such. These choices will sooner or later come back to bite the group in the ass anyway, and it let's the GM send crazed Redemptionist mobs against the PC's whenever they are conducting business on shore.

Fun for everyone involved. happy.gif

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Well I would be very nervus if you had any Inquisitors hich a ride on your ship.  Because they totaly would burn you.  However there are cases in the fluff of mutants not being killed on sight.  Since some planets just have them as the lowest run of society, and just keep them in check, if they get to numeris.  However considering you are oporating out on the edge of space, I think you can get away with allot more then someone who is living on Terra.  So if you add mutants to your game you just need to make sure you consider the fact that while most people might be ok with slight mutation, or not notice it, there are still Emporor fearing people who will get angree with you if it becomes to ovious.  Though this is 40k, so you could clame your horrible mutation is just war damage, or you could say it was a AM upgrade.

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I really think it depends on the appearance of the mutation. If it is not noticable, the mutant might live a completely normal life. Once it goes into tentacles and other vileness, a model citizen would cringe from them, and they might even turn themselves in if they believed the Imperial Creed.

Now what about human races seperated from the Emperors light for 10,000 years that evolve differently? Is this a form of mutation which is purge worthy, or is this too based on its appearance?

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Grand Inquisitor Fulminarex said:

Now what about human races seperated from the Emperors light for 10,000 years that evolve differently? Is this a form of mutation which is purge worthy, or is this too based on its appearance?

Appearance, stability (is it a unique mutation, or is it a distinct subspecies of human?) and expedience (how useful is it?) are all factors. Humans who have evolved differently into distinct (stable) subspecies of human being are collectively known as Abhumans, the most common of which are Ogryns and Ratlings.

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Don't forget the navigators!

Hypocrisy is the name of the game for 40k. Mutants are shot, burned and generally disliked if they are poor and ugly. A noble family could be covered in extra ears, and have the influence to hush it up.

As for minor mutations, a bit of extra strength can be bluffed about and as long as they wear gloves a toxic mutant could pass as normal. If the mutant survives long enough and gets a reputation, the local inquisitor is more likely to recruit them than purge them.

Finally, Rogue Traders spend so much time on their own, it really doesn't matter that much. A trader who follows the imperial creed would execute the muties on sight, whereas if he goes out trading with Xenos and harvesting forgotten artefacts, he'll look the other way about an engineer who lives on raw meat as long as he does his job properly.

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St. Jimmy said:

A trader who follows the imperial creed would execute the muties on sight

Not really. Even followers of the creed don't go out and murder every mutant they see. There are plenty of worlds where the mutants can enjoy a life of toil, underpayment, starvation and generally being treated as a 63rd class citizen, where they run the risk of being shot or burned by mobs of local religious fanatics and lynching gangs (like the Red Redemption).

Also, certain Inquisitors investigating certain crimes might think it's a good idea to purge the mutant population a little (just to be safe).

But the Imperial Creed doesn't usually say: "shoot all mutants on sight!" it's rather more of a: "the mutant is bears it's corruption on the outside, never trust the mutant. Hate them for what they are... But don't kill them too often in case they are working as an underpaid workforce."

The Imperial Creed does by no means "accept" mutants, but it tolerates them as long as they are kept downtrodden and persecuted. Only the extremists factions preach that all mutants should be exterminated wherever they are discovered, but these extremist factions are sometimes even less tolerated by the Ecclesiarchy than the mutants themselves. (the Red Redemption don't have the best reputation, and they wear masks for other than purely religious reasons)

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Varnias Tybalt said:

St. Jimmy said:

(the Red Redemption don't have the best reputation, and they wear masks for other than purely religious reasons)

Couse they are frakking ugly (you know, being burned by overzealus colleague with flamer is danger of their job) :P

There are many types of mutants. Tentacled, cloven-footed and warped monstrosities which  pour from Eye of Terror should be exterminated on sight. But there are plently of others which could be used more-or-less legaly as part of the crew. Ogryns (and their even more feral brethen and Kanaks (from Kanak Skull Takers regiments, who are de facto half-ogryns)) are acceptable and widely used, so are the ratlings, there are "common" mutants (slaves, opressed workers and so on) who are subhumans degenerated by conditions they live in, homo sapiens variatus who are humans degenerated into animalistic creatures such as mabeasts (yeap, there ARE imperial beastman, but no horns and hoofs, that´s Chaosy stuff) or manhounds, whole ghilian communities on each ship, world of Faldon Kise is populated by mutated void born exiled from their ships, every player with Navigator plays mutant as well...

If you have a story for playing a mutant, I think it´s ok, but you´ll be opressed or/and tried to be burned by Imperial authorities.

On the other hand, if you make mutant for ubermegaterrapowerfist combo, then you´re a powergamer and you should be opressed or/and tried to be burned by GM.

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Yes, power gamers (homo sapiens munchkinis)  are a reviled form of mutant which pours from the eye of terror on a regular basis, which all Imperial GMs should rightly fear and purge where they are found!

 

On the role playing side, remember there are powers and weapons which automatically inflict mutations.  Which brings us to the quandry, Inquisitor: Do you punish the spiritually pure acolyte who fought the demon in hand to hand combat and vanquished it, only to be mutated by it's foul powers? 

 

This issue came up re an NPC medicae in my RT game, when the ship had a little incident in the warp with the ship boared by daemons.  The rogue trader's solution was to turn a blind eye, but also to demote her to keep her out of view. 

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BaronIveagh said:

Yes, power gamers (homo sapiens munchkinis)  are a reviled form of mutant which pours from the eye of terror on a regular basis, which all Imperial GMs should rightly fear and purge where they are found!

There's an non power gaming exception to this that still as to make use of what might seem like power gaming tactics to outsiders. For instance, let's say that you're interested in playing a character (for the roleplaying opportunity's sake, not because you're supposed to be able to kick ass all the time) that has superhuman strength from mutations?

What if there's some special roleplaying/acting avenue that the player wish to explore, but doing so pretty much demand using some sort of strategy that might resemble power gaming in order to get the stats of the character to resemble the concept of the character?

Is it still "reviled" power gaming, or is it accepted power gaming? gui%C3%B1o.gif

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Yes it is still reviled, because your PC is doing a little thing called "lying to the DM". Sorry no argument is going to get around you want a mutation to double your Str Bonus in a game where that can add silly amounts of damage. Want a compelling roleplay mutation? Pick something less mechanically far and away superior. Power gaming = Not accepted, I don't mean taking the most advantageous things for a character build because hey, no one wants to play an ineffective character, but if you're going to try and pitch a mutation for "roleplay purposes" do not, ever, try to start or finish with one to double a Str Bonus. I've been DMing way too long to fall for anything like that.

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Dyckman86 said:

 

Yes it is still reviled, because your PC is doing a little thing called "lying to the DM". Sorry no argument is going to get around you want a mutation to double your Str Bonus in a game where that can add silly amounts of damage. Want a compelling roleplay mutation? Pick something less mechanically far and away superior. Power gaming = Not accepted, I don't mean taking the most advantageous things for a character build because hey, no one wants to play an ineffective character, but if you're going to try and pitch a mutation for "roleplay purposes" do not, ever, try to start or finish with one to double a Str Bonus. I've been DMing way too long to fall for anything like that.

 

 

Then im sorry for you, because obviously you've been playing with munchkins for far too long who are only interested in playing high powered versions of themselves.

The group dynamic is by far a lot more enjoyable if the players think of trying to invent cool characters (and by "cool" I don't mean "awesome killing machines", but rather "compelling and interesting characters who may or may not be extremely good at what they do or have certain supernatural powers and/or disabilities") and also to collectively create a cool story together with the GM.

That's what roleplaying is all about in my book. Im sorry if you have yet to have the pleasure of playing with such a group of players, but perhaps you can persuade your current players to think more of story and character rather than putting all emphasis on making their PC's become as "effective" as possible? There are methods to make them see things that way. One being to force the players to GM once in a while instead of hogging that seat for yourself. THat way they will all understand what is and what isn't for the greater good of the game and the story, and if they decide to create mutants with double strength (which they can do according to the Origin Path by picking the Tainted - Mutant option in Lure of the Void and paying 200 xp and then take the Hideous Strength mutation rather than rolling on the mutations table and thus get the Unnatural Strength trait) you can be confident in the knowledge  that they have good reasons for doing so instead of purely power gaming, munchkin reasons. And if you ask them why, they'll be able to explain it to you and provide good motivations for why they want to play such a character.

Oh also, don't assume that your players are lying to you even if it's just regarding a game. You don't keep friends by constantly assuming that they are trying to decieve you and calling them on whatever suspicions you have.

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Even the unnatural strength mutation is of limited value. Sure, the character will do ridiculous amounts of damage. But with access to weaponry like stormbolters, meltaguns, lascannons so does everybody else. The scale of the game is such that individual fighting prowess is of limited value. So your mutant can kill anything with a single blow, what is he going to do when faced with ten opponents?

That said, I agree that being a mutant should be a negative quality. You are hated, prosecuted, ridiculed and on lot of places you face the threat of being lynched. With that I adhere to the WFRP system. Mutation is bad. With the current system you pay 200xp to get a nice benefit but it comes at an prices. The alternatives you can choose besides mutation are losing 2d10 insanity points or gaining an enemy. It isn't called tainted for nothing. In my opinion, every mutation is visible. You can try to hide it with armour and clothing of course but if found out, there will be prejudice and that is the best thing you can expect.

Of course, it can be handy to infiltrate that chaos cult. gran_risa.gif

 

 

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Sister Callidia said:

That said, I agree that being a mutant should be a negative quality. You are hated, prosecuted, ridiculed and on lot of places you face the threat of being lynched.  

Not to mention the fact that you might have to constantly prove your worth to the fellow PC's and try to show them that not all prejudice regarding mutants are true.

Normally the PC's will almost by default have reasons to work with eachother and be more or less loyal towards eachother, but with a mutant in the bunch (heck even a sanctioned psyker like an Astropath) would stir this dynamic up quite a lot. The Rogue Trader might see some use for the mutant, but what about the others? Are they ever really going to "accept" the mutant or is it always going to be a kind of uncomfortable tolerance of it? Will the mutant rise above the rest and gain acceptance or will it, due to all the prejudice towards mutants, just fulfil each assumption becase he or she just doesn't have the strength or even will to try to redeem him/herself in the eyes of the other PC's?

There are a lot of interesting avenues to explore with a mutant character, all of them which are going to be some kind of struggle. The character is going to have a hard time as it is, which is why I don't tend to agree with GM's who wish to overrule and limit the choices of mutations more than the RAW already does.

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Mutants are, at a very minimal level, tolerated as a necessity in many parts of the Empire itself. Their social status is roughly that of the untouchable caste of India's past, and they're frequently the target of pogroms, but they are allowed to survive at a basic level where their economic contribution is necessary.

Some Rogue Traders, meanwhile, actually employ Xenos (although much less openly than they would a mutant). Those do not enjoy even a hint of tolerance. Rogue Traders have extraordinary priviledges because they work outside of the Imperium, and tend to have resources and networks on par with powerful individuals such as Inquisitors and high-ranking officials.

Just as a Rogue Traders often flaunt forbidden Xeno weapons as a mark of status, it doesn't seem odd to me that they would openly employ a mutant whose unique abilities confer advantages to his role on the ship. Indeed, the more advantageous the mutation, the more employable the mutant.

On the other hand, the person playing the Rogue Trader might decide that he's too pious to do so. And if there is a Missionary, there might be a source of tension among the crew in their relationship. How about the Navigator? Is he from a Renegade House, and sympathetic (or publically disapproving to deflect attention from himself)? Or is he from a Magisterial House, and more distainful of unstable mutations than even a priest?

Edit: Coming up with mutant backgrounds for various classes is fun:

Rogue Trader: Dark rumours have always clung to the Sforza name. Some blame the clan's ties to the ill-starred bloodlines of Malfi- a supposition opposed by certain learned scholars who trace the blight on their history to the aftermath of the Age of Apostaty. The family has been accused of witchcraft, consorting with the worst of heretics, and, perhaps worse, of itself producing the most hideous of mutants. Justinian Sforza's star is on the rise in no small part to his Wyrdling nature, a fact he does not wish to be made public even outside the circles of Imperial law. The prospect of using this power to stoke the flames of Sorcery, meanwhile, calls to him from the darkeness which hides in his own veins.

Senechel: Luna Sforza was first in line to inheret the Sforza Warrant- was, that is, until the Warp itself began to visibly shine forth just below her skin. Although she appreciates the trust her brother places in her, she cannot help but resent the glory which would have been hers even as she pulls strings from the shadows to ensure her brother's acendency in the Koronus Expanse. 

Missionary: Raised on a deadly backwater far from the bustle of the Empire proper, Mir Hugo was raised a priest in a community whose heretical version of the Creed celebrated the talents of the mutated so long as they aided the survival of their kin. Hugo watched in horror as his world was purged for this sin, but was able to escape judgement by passing off his unnatural size and strength as mere results of his struggle to surivive. Knowing that this charade would not stand in the light of constant Ecclesiastical scruitiny, Hugo now preaches the word of the Emperor as he wishes, far from the prying eyes and ears of the more dogmatic.

 

 

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Those are good backgrounds for PCs. 

I think that super strength is fine in a PC - but generally strengths are offset with weaknesses.  I have seen games where the "mutant is reviled and has a tough time in Imperial Society" as a mere wink, not as an actual limitation.  Played as an actual limitation, this becomes much more limiting to the PC group and something to work around (the PC demonstrates his great strength, and is hounded through the spaceport red light district by a crazed mob wanting to do him in - and he won't be able to do

Powerful abilities can make for good role - playing, but so can powerful limitations.

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Well as per cannon and fluff the plight of the mutant varies from world to world.  While never accepted as equals they are often allowed to exist for economic exploitation. 

As for a mutant in the employ of a RT well he probably would not be "in the employ" of the RT it would be closer to say he was a slave or an indentured (for life) servant.  Consider the following example.  The RT has a big tough mutant as a body guard, he might not hide the fact but flaunt it the same way another RT might travel with a deathcult assassin (complete in skin tight black leather), as a sort of status symbol.  Also if the mutantion is not visible or is easily disguised (or perhaps easily fixed through augmentation, such as the shovel hand one) it should not cause any problems unless they are somehow outed.

As to the munchkin problem.  People often like to play characters they think are cool in some form or the other.  They become munchkins when their idea of cool is having a better than 50/50 chance in a fight with a primarch.  To distinguish between the people who want cool characters, just talk to the player about what he wants to play and what his vision for his character is.  Another good thing is to have the player write up a character history that includes the greatest adventure they have had in there background (the adventure story really makes it easy to pick out the munchkins).  Work with the people who want cool characters and zap the munchkins with bug spray or something.

Next up are the "Social" consequences to a mutation.  There is a "social" price to pay for a mutation.  How big it is is up to the DM and to a very large degree the player himself.   If obvious hideous mutant wants to attend a formal dance held by the planetary governor the "price" might be very high indeed.  But if he spends all his time wearing concealing hooded robes and holes up on the ship when in an imperial port, he probably wont run into much trouble.  The type of mutation also matters a lot here.  Being very big will not excite the torch wielding mobs as much as having eye stalks all over your body.

Mutation vs Abhuman.  A very good idea to try if a character has an idea for a character that would involve a mutation, see if it would fit an abhuman instead.  For instance he wants to play a big brawler type prone to throwing people around and knocking heads, ogryn.  If he wants to play a feral world tribesman hunter type, beastman might fit.  As an abhuman they would be considered to be a step above the mutants merely 2nd or 3rd class citizens vs the 37th class that mutants are.

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Well, first off, I think that would be one of the major differences between Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader.

Even then, Inquisitors, even those who consider themselves moderate Puritans, are known to employ mutants.

In the Eisenhorn series, Ravenor employed a mutant sidekick.

Also, there are a number of recognized abhuman races (Ogryns, Ratlings, Squats & Nightsiders being the most common) that are more or less a part of Imperial Society.

Also, there are numerous worlds that employ mutant populations as slaves or for menial labor.

For Rogue Traders, who operate more or less outside Imperial Law, it is a whole different ballgame.

Having said that, gaining mutations from corruption should still be a pretty big deal.

Only one of our players has gained a mutation (the enlarged head, from Shattered Hope) though he is a sanctioned psyker, so the big head actually worked for him.

Still, in a universe as large and as populated as that of Warhammer 40k, there is going to be alot of variance in what is tolerated and what is not, regardless of the overall law.

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Varnias Tybalt said:

BaronIveagh said:

 

Yes, power gamers (homo sapiens munchkinis)  are a reviled form of mutant which pours from the eye of terror on a regular basis, which all Imperial GMs should rightly fear and purge where they are found!

 

 

There's an non power gaming exception to this that still as to make use of what might seem like power gaming tactics to outsiders. For instance, let's say that you're interested in playing a character (for the roleplaying opportunity's sake, not because you're supposed to be able to kick ass all the time) that has superhuman strength from mutations?

What if there's some special roleplaying/acting avenue that the player wish to explore, but doing so pretty much demand using some sort of strategy that might resemble power gaming in order to get the stats of the character to resemble the concept of the character?

Is it still "reviled" power gaming, or is it accepted power gaming? gui%C3%B1o.gif

I would have less of a problem with it if they were playing an Ogryn, or something along those lines, but would expect them to roleplay that.

Alot would depend on the player, and whether I trusted them or not.

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I have a question instead, how do you recognize mutations that are not clearly visible ? IE, there's a mutation that either give you PSY 2 or rise your rating of 1, how do you recognize it ? Expecially if said mutation happens to an astropath ?

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Lucius Valerius said:

 

I have a question instead, how do you recognize mutations that are not clearly visible ? IE, there's a mutation that either give you PSY 2 or rise your rating of 1, how do you recognize it ? Expecially if said mutation happens to an astropath ?

 

 

You don't. A psyker is a psyker after all.

However, certain mutations visibility are more or less explicitly described under each mutation. Take Ravaged Body for instance (the one that let's you roll 1d5 times on the mutations table). Even if you were to be "lucky" enough to only get mutations that wouldn't be outwardly visible (like the Psy Rating 2 or perhaps Feel No Pain), the mutation explicitly states that the mutant bears the obvious signs of chaos taint, and thus the mutant will obviously be considered a freak by everyone seeing him/her.

Personally I'd handle it on a case by case scenario. For instance, Degenerate Mind doesn't have to have outward signs at all, but a mutation like Brute would definetly show.

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Well, if a Psyker gains the ability to reroll a failed manifestation attempt via the effects of the alternate corruption path in the RH, he is considered a witch if discovered using this ability. Likewise, the additional psy rating from mutation might be considered witchcraft even for a sanctioned psyker, and although outwardly normal, he might register as a mutant on purity tests (also mentioned in the RH).

Then if he took ranks that gave him sorcery, he'd be a mutant witch sorceror heretic! Reminds me of Paranoia. Maybe he could unearth a copy of Capital from an ancient null box so he could be a commie as well!

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Lucius Valerius said:

I have a question instead, how do you recognize mutations that are not clearly visible ? IE, there's a mutation that either give you PSY 2 or rise your rating of 1, how do you recognize it ? Expecially if said mutation happens to an astropath ?

You could think about things like weird eye colors, an enlarged brain, a faint glowing aura, an electrical aura as a residue from the clashes between the warp and the materium of which our mutant is now a conduit that charges him statically, a pale sicky sweaty skin to represent the unhealthiness of being so close to the warp without proper prayer, an aura of quesiness that makes people nervous around you and make animals hostile. Plenty of possibilities.

 

 

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