I’m of the view that there needs to be some clarification regarding the interplay/non-interplay between: (i) the rules and results pertaining to Psychic Phenomena outcomes (p.163), and (ii) the Fear rules (p. 227).
Specifically, do player characters with an active psyker in the group have to make Fear checks when the psyker manifests Psychic Phenomena?
For example, the Very Bad Things table (p. 227) lists psychic phenomena outcomes amongst the guidelines for setting Degrees of Fear, implying that characters make Fear Checks when Psychic Phenomena is manifested, regardless of the result generated on 7-2 Psychic Phenomena.
However, some results on Table 7-2 cite a couple of Fear-related outcomes, implying that Fear-related considerations have already been incorporated into the Psychic Phenomena game mini-engine. Could asking players to make a Fear check when a Psychic Phenomena is rolled result an unfair double-up?
By way of example: a squad is moving through some blasted ruins and the squad psyker uses a power, unfortunately resulting in a roll of Table 7-2, rolling 45. Suddenly, the brickwork walls around the squad leaks copious amounts of hot blood, with more of the crimson leaking through the flagstones beneath their feet. Nearby, blood flows from the eyes and mouth of a leaning statue.
How are playtesters handling this type of situation? The “45” result on the Psychic Phenomena table – Bloody Tears – does not require any Fear checks in its text. Would you require a Fear check from squad members? Or leave it as a narrative-only event, assuming that the squad knows this stuff can happen with a psyker in the team and the table doesn't specifically call for it?
The sort of situation has arisen several times during our playtest sessions, and I'm keen to hear how other groups are handling this aspect of the game.
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Excellent question, I'm not sure how I've handled this in the past but I think I'd ask for a fear check.
The only time in recent memory that someone had rolled on Perils of the Warp was when a Pyromancer Psyker killed herself via Perils while defending a house against Orks but noone but her Comrade was around to see and since the Comrade also got killed by the Perils there wasn't anyone around to make a fear test (except one burning Ork quite a bit away from the House)
I think a bit of GM would be in order. Minor effects like Unholy Stench or Memory Worm should not cause fear, but other creepy ones like Unnatural Decay or Bloody Tears should require a Disturbing(+0) Fear test. And seeing how Comrades react to Fear, a player who failed would probably end up shaken while his Comrade would go something like "He's gonna blow! Run for your lives!", which I incidentally find hilarious.
I think The Psychic section needs a good going over by the writers. At present I think the two systems (fear and psychic phenomenon) were developed separately whereas they really need tone integrated more, or at least edited for consistency.
I would suggest simply forgetting the two entries in the PP table which mention Fear Tests and proceeding as normal. So you would apply Fear tests where appropriate and not feel bound by those anomalous entries.
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