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venkelos

Psy Ratings Above 6

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So, I often ask these potentially dumb-seeming questions, but I like the opinions of others before I just try something crazy in a game, so here it goes.

So, I am flipping through Dark Heresy and Ascension, and I come across the Burning Princess (Ascension, p.197). This intriguing, ridiculously-powerful Alpha-Level psyker has a Psy Rating of 14. I often look at the write ups in Ascension and say "why can't you tell me how they leveled up? If I wanted to build a different, but comparable Imperial World Governor, like Malaki Vess (Ascension, p. 199), what Rank equivalent is he, and what Career Paths built him?" In the case of BP, I don't know how they gave her a Rating higher than Eldar Farseers by quite a margin, and don't know how it would be done in a game, if you had a character who wanted to be really powerful, like Eisenhorn or Gideon Ravenor. You could push Psy Rating 6 with Imperial Psyker, and squeak it up to PR 10 with Primaris Psyker, but that still falls short, unless you are making judicious use of Elite Advances, which Inquisitors might do, but without having the progression option of PrPsy, and paying out the bum. I also assume that Elite Advances breaks the progression for Imp. Psykers, meaning they'll either have to wait a long time to increase again, or they'll only increase further by more Elite Advances.

So, how might one get to Psy Rating 10-12 without having to be Rank 16, and please don't just say "You wouldn't, that's part of the balancing of the game"? She might also be a servant of Tzeentch, but I don't know that, for sure. Would the Elite Advance option cost 1,500 xp each, like the option for Inquisitors/Interrogators,  or maybe 1,000 xp, like the "regular" EA for Ascension? These numbers would push rank up fast, and be as rare as the 1000 xp. Could there be another mutation that enhances the mutation being a psyker even is? Do Eldar characters use a different mechanic to get up to 8, without being really high rank (I suppose a Farseer is a really high rank, but I'll ask anyway.)

How might you make the Burning Princess to get her to PR 14? Any ideas?

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 Most of the Dev answers I've seen for "How often can the Inquisitors take the PR increase elite advance" questions have answered "as often as you want."

 

Even limiting it to once-per-rank, which seems quite reasonable to me, that still allows an Inquisitor/Interrogator to end up at rank 16 with PR 14.  At tremendous cost. 

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Personally I think the Farseer is underpowered, in that reguard at any rate.  As far as getting a Primaris Psycher that high, EA is the only way I see and I have never seen an actual max to how many you can take... but as a GM, more than one a level seems excessive.

So basically I have no real information to add, I came to the same conclusion.

But to rant a little about the Eldar Farseer, they are supposed to be the most powerful psychers in the race, PR 8 seems too low to me, if I ever run an encounter where a Farseer is present, it will be at least 10.  But to be honest more than 10 seems to be a bit excessive considering that part of what makes a psycher powerful is control, not necessarily raw power.  So the question is, what can be done to reduce the chances of Psychic Phenomena or Perils of the Warp?

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 I've always been under the "The fire that burns the brightest, burns the shortest" inclination, and Psy 8 seems like a fair balance between "****, that's a lot of psychic power" and "****, that's gonna attract daemons like a mofo".

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I would hope that the Farseer, as they might out of the W40k Codex, might be able to get an item similar to their ghosthelm, and it might have an effect similar to Soul-Bound, since, for the most part, that was the effect in the TTSG already. I think it might be cool, if maybe a hint unnecessary, if such a helm, or some other thing they might acquire, could have an effect that says "When you roll dice to manifest a psychic power, you can ignore the first 9 rolled, not rolling on the Psychic Phenomena table." That would give them an extra push to not have a Perils, since your average Eldar psyker might live multiple thousands of years, and that seems statistically unlikely considering how often they are expected to use their powers, thus rolling that many dice; eventually, something is going to eat him or her with a burping noise, or something. I am under the impression that the efforts the Eldar go through to harden their minds is meant to protect them from just such sort of things, maybe a Talent that they can take repeatedly that lets them ignore 9s. I don't want to deprive them of the whole mechanic, but I think many humans fear psykers because of the things on the phenomenon table; the stink in the air doesn't hurt, but it's unsettling, and there isn't anything on the table that says "nothing happens, you dodged the bullet on that one." Eldar use psychic powers much more, with a high Rating #, and have none of that fear, so it should stem from the fact that their psychic powers aren't as likely to summon daemons, or make the statue of Asuryan cry tears of Eldar blood (that's Kaine's jobgui%C3%B1o.gif). Sure, we'll usually assume that the GM won't be letting me play a Farseer, and thus its rolls will be behind a screen, and Phenomena will thus only happen when appropriate, but a mechanic might still be nice, just  in case the GM did take leave of their senses, or in a game where one of those rare alliances happens, and the Acolytes/Throne Agents need to have Eldar assistance to fight a Tyranid or Ork incursion, and, being the game's premise, an Eldar PC might be appropriate, once.

 

I do now have a strange drive to make an OX Inquisitor who has Peer+Good Rep (Eldar), and has somehow managed to acquire the occasional use, with the Eldar's permission, of course, of the Webway. It could be a nice way of getting around, and on foot, the doors are usually big enough. Might be a little heretical, but the Emperor did plan to use it, himself, and if I don't mention it to the above brass, it might be some long time before they know.

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Artanyis said:

But to rant a little about the Eldar Farseer, they are supposed to be the most powerful psychers in the race, PR 8 seems too low to me, if I ever run an encounter where a Farseer is present, it will be at least 10.  But to be honest more than 10 seems to be a bit excessive considering that part of what makes a psycher powerful is control, not necessarily raw power.  So the question is, what can be done to reduce the chances of Psychic Phenomena or Perils of the Warp?

Well, if you consider the Rogue Trader psychic power rules (the rules the Farseer was written for), the Farseer has got some major advantages.

To start with, his Unnatural Willpower (x2) basically adds +2 Psy Rating after calculating power level, so that Farseer can use a power Fettered at Psy Rating 6. Combine that with the bonus for Mastering a Discipline (for Farseer Serrenon in Lure of the Expanse, this applies to the Telepathy and Telekinesis disciplines), which is an extra bonus Psy Rating added after everything else, and you've got a character that can easily use a Psy Rating of 7 without risking any psychic phenomena.

It's not raw power, but there's a lot of control there, particularly as Psy Rating 7 and a WP of 59 results in a Focus Power Test that succeeds 94% of the time, so there aren't too many situations where you need to draw more deeply from the Warp. When you do, however... due to Runes of Warding and Witnessing, all Psychic Phenomena and Perils rolls the Seer makes are at -10, and the Farseer's Ghosthelm lets him ignore any Psychic Phenomena or Perils of the Warp result he's effected by (whether or not he caused it) with a simple Challenging Willpower Test.

As it stands, we also don't know how powerful Farseer Serrenon is compared to other Farseers - for example, the likes of Eldrad Ulthran are going to be far more potent.

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The Ghost helm listed in the Lure of the Expanse book lets the Farseer personally ignore the effects of Psychic Phenomena or Perils of the Warp, but it will still effect everyone around him.  I like and hate this idea, sure it helps safeguard the Farseer but it honestly doesn't quite counter the effects like the fluff says.  It kinda to me looks like they were going for simple and effective and not quite going for accurate, although it does make it fun when the Farseer starts throwing out ridiculous amounts of psychic **** and the world is shifting and warping around him and he is unaffected.

I like the idea of a talent that lets you ignore the first 9, that would drastically reduce the effect of PP but if your allowed to take it multiple times it would pretty much cancel out the entire mechanic, so overall I think that might be a bad idea.

As far as the WebWay, hell yeah!  There is old fluff (WH40K 2nd Ed I think) that talks about the WebWay path into the Thrown Room and how on the Empires side it is guarded by Marines, the Custodians of the Thrown who are basically Primarchs, and on the other side it is guarded by Eldar Harlequins, who had a sort of pact with the Custodians.  Not to mention that the WebWay is the only way to get to the Black Library.

#EDIT#

NO-1_H3R3 you must have posted right as I hit the reply button :-p

But yes, that is a good point, I was over looking some of the details that reduces the effects of the PP and Perils.  Between the Mastered Disciplines and the Runes I was not seeing the full sequence, and that does actually point out my earlier post, being powerful is more about control than raw power.  I would like to know how she compares to Eldrad though.  Actually, 2 characters I would like to see officially created in the system are Eldrad Ulthran and Prince Yrial.  Those are basically the top of the top as Eldar go and it would give you an excellent basis for creating anyone or anything else related to Eldar.

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Yeah, I just got LotE today, and Serrenon is rather frightening, to say the least, especially if he might be a "junior" Farseer, (compared to say Kelmon or Eldrad). Their psyker powers, plus gear, are impressive, and he could easily waste a whole group. I can imagine using one in Dark Heresy, and if I did, I believe that an Ordo Xenos Inq + Cadre would get pwned, with a minimum of fuss. If he had one or more Warlock bodyguards, which is totally believable, austa la bye bye Cadre.

The witchblades are cool, though I think it would be awesome if, somehow, they or someone could forge it into a full force weapon. They already act similar for Pen, and the extra damage from the triple SB is cool, but the extra damage from a Force Weapon (DH: Inq HB, p.187) would frighten anyone, and with their Willpower + UWx2, they would win out most of the time. Always seemed weird that the preeminent psyker race never had force weapons among their armory. The rune armor is also very nice. If Serrenon or even a Warlock were also carrying a Shimmershield (DH: Ascension, p.207), the page he's on would catch fire in the book.

I also assume that, like in the TT minis game, if the gunner of a vehicle weapon is in range, Guide (one of my favorite powers that I often wished Guard Sanc. Psykers could use) could cause some serious damage to their enemies. Stand near to a Fire Prism (wouldn't be that hard to write up something), or be on the bridge of an Aconite frigate (say something like the Shard in LotE), overseeing the starcannon cluster battery gunners, and the enhanced accuracy of such hard-hitting weapons makes for quite the dangerous enemy in any battle an Inquisitor Cadre or Rogue Trader group might be involved in, where they dare to challenge the Eldar.

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More fun is Doom, becuase Guide can not be sustained, so realistically you target guide onto the high value shooters or better melee units (since perry is a weapon skill test they can reroll those too) then doom the unit, becuase it effects others around the target too, and just sustain the extra damage (which is 10) to every enemy within 50meters of the target.  Sorry I think that an extra 10 damage per hit is better than a better hit rate.  But since both are half actions and only one is sustained that means you can use guide and doom in the same round as long as you cast guide first.  That will definitely wipe a party...

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Guide can be sustained, though with the duration = Psy rating in rounds, it might not often be necessary. I like Doom, as well, and the extra damage is, indeed, a desirable. I miss Eldritch Storm, but I assume it is meant to be covered with Storm of Force, or something else TK with a descriptive visual effect. Think Conceal will let the Warlocks do the following: "The psychic machinations of the Warlock cause the eyes of the enemy to be incidentally directed elsewhere. All Awareness tests against the psyker and/or a number of allies equaling 2xPsy Rating within 5 meters suffer a -30 penalty. Affected targets can attempt a Concealment Test even if being observed."  This is, more or less, the effect that lets lictors be so stealthy, though the eldar in it won't have near the bonus to Conceal a lictor will.

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Artanyis said:

But yes, that is a good point, I was over looking some of the details that reduces the effects of the PP and Perils.  Between the Mastered Disciplines and the Runes I was not seeing the full sequence, and that does actually point out my earlier post, being powerful is more about control than raw power.  I would like to know how she compares to Eldrad though.

 

Considering the level of power Eldrad has on the tabletop, I'd be inclined to say it would be like comparing a starting Deathwatch librarian to one of the greats like Tigurius and Njal. I'd say the difference would, in game terms, be at least 6-7 PR levels. Possibly more - those are considered to be among the best psykers in the Imperium, and Ascension has caters with PR in the double digit.

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Well I will say for how to get your psy rating above 10, there are ways published. Buying sorcerer and master sorcerer while already a psyker will get you a extra 2 psy rating, getting lucky on a mutation role and getting wyrlding will get you another one so there is 13 in ascension or 9 pre ascension. With black crusade out it is easier to see how to do that in that book by going to 10 and taking some of the boosting talents.

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Ph7517 said:

 A question regarding this thread. At what level do one count as a Alpha level psyker? 

I can't put a specific number to it, but the Ascension book says, and every time I read it, I flip the book the finger for its sarcasm, that the Burning Princess is "a low level alpha psyker" (Asc, p.197), and part of what started this whole thread is that she is PR 14, somehow. So, PR 14 = low level alpha. It probably starts around 12.

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Darkmittens said:

dear lord whats a high level alpha psyker....do they even roll to manifest??

Well, IIRC Ravenor was a Gamma, and that's considered an "exceptionally powerful psyker", able to completely possess someone's body. The average psyker starts off around Iota-Theta-Eta, which represent conscious manifestations of psychic power, so I assume that's what Dark Heresy considers PR 1 and 2, before they can acquire a Discipline. Zeta and Epsilon levels are capable of quite powerful manifestations, which would correspond to a beginner to the Disciplines who can mend flesh and bone and fling mind bullets. This would probably last all the way up to PR 6, the end of Dark Heresy proper. A newly-Ascended psyker, even without buying any more PR, would be rated as a Delta, "an incredibly potent psyker capable of extraordinary manifestations" by virtue of fettered/unfettered/push psychic control. PR 11-12 would lie in the Beta range, already pushing the limit of a human mind's capacity, which is well represented by it being the highest achievable in the normal progression scheme of Ascension.

TL;DR:

PR 1-2: Iota/Theta/Eta (likely Eta as DH psykers are meant to be capable of much greater power later on)

PR 3-4: Zeta

PR 5-6: Epsilon

PR 6-10: Delta/Gamma (overlap with Eta due to Ascension manifestation controls)

PR 11-12: Beta

PR 13+: Alpha

Considering that Betas and Alphas are described to have highly unstable minds due to the amount of psychic power they possess, it's pretty reasonable that the absolute highest possible Assignment rating without Elite Advances is a Beta - it's simply too rare that a human can swing that much power without becoming unplayable as a PC. 

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