News for July 2011
Things Man Should Not Know 21
A preview of Black Crusade, the upcoming Warhammer 40,000 Roleplaying Game
Black Crusade | Published 07 July 2011

“The fool, the coward and the ignorant proclaim that the Warp is a realm of unknowable peril and indescribable terror, that it is the hell of countless ancient myths and legends. This is a lie, told by those whose authority is based on lies long forgotten, to keep the masses terrified of the unknown. The Warp is limitless in power and infinite in the secrets it contains; it is knowledge and strength, life and death, and the untapped potential to make and remake worlds. It takes only the discipline and the will to shape it; those who lack that clarity of purpose are liable to be shaped by it instead."
      –Ahzek Ahriman, Sorcerer of the Thousand Sons

Black Crusade, an upcoming roleplaying game that offers players a new perspective on the conflict between the Imperium of Man and the forces of Chaos, will be on store shelves in the third quarter of 2011. Today, we’re pleased to present a preview from Nathan Dowdell, one of the writers for Black Crusade. Among other contributions, Nathan wrote about the mechanics for Psychic Powers. Thanks, Nathan!

One of the defining factors of the Warhammer 40,000 universe is the Warp. Its presence shapes and informs much of the way the setting works, from the simple necessities of travel and communication across interstellar distances, to the abyssal horrors that dwell within the Immaterium, and the ravening power that a few can draw from it.

Such thoughts were foremost in our minds as we worked on one of Black Crusade thematic and interesting chapters, developing the latest iteration of the psychic power rules and other matters arcane and sorcerous.

The Power of the Warp

Psychic powers are an additional layer in any Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay game, requiring extra rules and abilities above and beyond those that non-psykers use. The system remains essentially the same as the versions in Rogue Trader and Deathwatch, however we took the chance to add some additional material and versatility.

One of the largest changes was the introduction of varying difficulties for powers. Some psychic powers are more or less difficult to wield than others—an element of Dark Heresy’s original psychic rules—so we chose to apply the range of standard difficulties to the Focus Power Tests needed to use different abilities. Added to that is another interesting concept: a variety of characteristics used for Focus Power Tests. Willpower is still king for most Psykers, but diviners may have a strong inclination towards Psyniscience, and some of the nastiest powers in the book are extensions of a tainted soul, powered by the Psyker’s accumulated Corruption.

Of course, the powers themselves are nothing without the means to employ them, and the Black Crusade team set out from the start to ensure that a variety of different techniques and styles were available to psykers in Black Crusade. The core rules don’t change for any of them, but through a variety of effects collectively known as Paths to Power (ranging from burning your own life away for power, to human sacrifice, to rites and ritualistic incantations), and the selection of background and alternative names given for each power, there should be sufficient tools and encouragement for a Psyker character to be unique and distinct.

The powers themselves are numerous, and Black Crusade contains an extensive and diverse collection of psychic powers, spread across three disciplines of generic powers (Telepathy, Telekinesis and Divination) and five alignments of Chaos-specific powers (Unaligned, Tzeentch, Nurgle, Slaanesh and Exalted – the latter being a small collection of dangerous, expensive powers for the mightiest of Unaligned Sorcerers). Some of these powers, such as the infamous Doombolt and deadly Bolt of Change, have long been staples of the Warhammer 40,000 Universe. Others, such as the terrifying Primordial Annihilation, are newer fare. However, in either case, we strove to provide a psyker character with diverse, thematic, and even balanced psychic powers, whether those powers are re-imagined classics or something completely new.

To end the chapter, Black Crusade expands on concepts first developed in the other Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay lines—rituals. Rituals are a staple of chaos cultists across the Warhammer 40,000 universe, and Black Crusade allows players to create their own with some simple but customizable rules.

Thanks, Nathan! Keep checking back for more, and look for Black Crusade on store shelves later this quarter!

Black Crusade is a roleplaying game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, a setting in the grim darkness of the far future. Players take on the roles of Disciples of the Dark Gods, working against the rule of the galaxy-spanning Imperium of Man and in pursuit of personal glory.

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Comments (21)

Cynical Cat
Published: 7/9/2011 1:07:02 AM

Oh the current DH psychic rules are most definitely broken.  The worst is the heal spam, but the crazy damage you can do with the way certain powers work isn't much better and some of the minor powers are really not that minor at all.  I'm just not interested in replacing a broken system with another broken system.  Unless the the new system is a big improvement, it's not worth the effort. 

Published: 7/8/2011 5:07:24 PM

Honestly, im not to worried about Dark Heresy Psykers becoming more powerful because I honestly think that it wouldnt happen. Obviously I wouldnt directly port over the rules but lets be honest the DH psyker rules are totally broken. I had a low rank 5 psyker throw out 60 damage with a 6m blast in one session.

Transferring over to Dark Heresy I would make it so that the ability to push and use fettered power as advances with something like 300exp cost each if not more and only available at rank 4/5. If you pace the available advances correctly then there shouldnt be much problem with it.


Published: 7/8/2011 3:08:14 AM

I do agree with Cynical Ca.  The dark heresy system needs a upgrade and I happy that Black Crusade is doing it.

Published: 7/8/2011 3:06:36 AM

Funny thing...

When they started talking about archtypes I was working on a home brew game using dark heresy system using archtypes.  Didn't know about it till it was too late.  I thought okay that was strange, but certainly they cannot pick up on my hybrid of faith power and psyker power that I call rites...  Right?

Are you reading my mind Fantasy Flight?  Maybe I should just wait till this book is done before I do any thing else before I complete my none 40k home brew.

Cynical Cat
Published: 7/8/2011 12:02:24 AM

Dark Heresy is due for a rebuild, using everything they've learned previous games.  Gregorious is right, you can't just plug in the rules from a much higher powered game and expect things to work just fine.  I've been working on my own rejiggering of the DH psychic power rules and its a tricky process, even with starting characters at a higher power level than baseline.

Published: 7/7/2011 11:42:13 PM

think twice before adapting a system part of a game with "general power leve A" to a system with "general power level B". I tried this once and now I have Psyker who can use any Minor Power without any risk of phenomena. Thanks to "Fettered Strength".

@The Update
Perhaps this will end this "Khorne-Psyker-Debate" XD. Anyway, cannot wait for the PDF to appear. "Build your ritual" and all of these socery will be of great value for a DH-player, me thinks

Cynical Cat
Published: 7/7/2011 10:02:52 PM

Looks very interesting. 

Night Lord
Published: 7/7/2011 9:23:39 PM

How come everytime I try to do something that's fun and exciting? FFG makes it... better?

Making and customizing rituals sounds like a very interesting concept.  Definitely gunna use that... ALL the time.

Published: 7/7/2011 6:51:27 PM

I hope that we get Pyromancy and Biomancy at a later date as that way I could hopefully port the whole system over to Dark Heresy.

I really liked the Rogue Trader system for psykers, I liked the changes Deathwatch made much less. This looks to be closer to Rogue Trader with the different skills/attributes for tests with other things added which I like. I hope the keep Rogue Traders push/phenomina system as opposed to DWs but I can just change that myself if they dont.

Its looking good to me, I think the changes made seem to be good ones although its obviously hard to be sure without seeing the exact mechanics.

Good Work Nathan.


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