IT'S ALL IN THE MIND

BY ANDY CHAMBERS

Greetings citizens of our war-torn Imperium, and welcome to Chapter Approved, a column dedicated to expanding the Warhammer 40,000 game for your viewing pleasure. This joyous month heralds not only experimental, expanded rules for psykers in Warhammer 40,000, but also an image of an artifact of a hitherto unknown alien race for your delectation.

It's sad really - once upon a time (back in the days of Rogue Trader and the second edition of Warhammer 40,000) psykers were the supreme nasties of the 41st millennium - their warp-spawned powers were capable of laying waste to entire armies and sub-continents. Such rampant overkill couldn't last of course; in the third edition of the game sanity prevailed and we deliberately toned down the abilities of psykers to far more mortal levels. This worked fine, and now you can have battles between armies who don't have to fear instant vapourisation by some ravening, extra-planar megadeath power unleashed at the end of turn one.

Unfortunately when you wield the knife you sometimes cut a little too deep, and now most peoples' Space Marine Librarians and Chaos Sorcerers have been relegated to the reserves bench in favour of less costly Chaplains and other chainsword wielding lunatics. In retrospect, bringing the psychic powers under control actually made psykers too staid and predictable to be really interesting any more. Some time ago this nagging feeling led me to start pulling together some ideas for additional psychic powers that could be added in order to give the psykers back some zest. Three very wise men in the shape of Jonathan Westmoreland, Doug Foley and Marshall Jansen were good enough to scribe down some ideas for me and, with some judicious cribbing from other sources, I've prepared a selection of extra minor abilities for the warp-inclined.

PSYKER MINOR POWERS

Most psykers manifest a broad range of capabilities from psychometry (object reading), telekinesis and precognition through to weather summoning, temporal distortion and mind control. Training and willpower hugely influence the ability of a particular psyker, but their most heavily practised, highly destructive capabilities will be strictly focused in a battlefield environment. To attempt the most potent sorceries in the mayhem of combat is to invite predation by warp entities and a horrible death (if you're lucky). However, many psykers are capable of using their weaker abilities in combat to enhance themselves, distract the enemy and help allies nearby in a minor way. It is these powers which will be covered by these rules.

The powers shown below may be chosen by psykers in addition to the major power (or powers) listed in the relevant army list. Many of these powers substitute for items of wargear by producing equivalent effects and the points for minor psychic powers count against the psyker character's wargear allowance. There is no maximum number of powers that can be chosen, but as they count towards a character's wargear allowance this will tend to limit the number a psyker can choose. As they add a fair bit of complexity to the game and are largely untested at the current time these rules should be considered optional (ie, use with both players' prior consent) and are not recommended for tournaments unless the organisers specify otherwise.

The following characters can choose psyker minor powers: Space Marine Librarians, Chaos Sorcerers and Sorcerer Lords, Daemon Princes and Greater Daemons (if they do not have the Mark of Khorne), Inquisitors with psychic abilities and Ork Weirdboyz. Eldar Farseers and Warlocks may not use minor powers as such unfocused use of their abilities would be extremely dangerous.

The minor psychic powers are split into five disciplines. The exact power gained is rolled randomly but the table rolled on is selected by the purchasing player and rolled in front of his opponent before the game starts. Each roll on a minor psychic power table costs 15 points regardless of its outcome (yes, there are some duff ones on there). If the same power is rolled twice, a different discipline must be selected and the power rolled for again.

USING PSYKER MINOR POWERS

A psyker can use up to one psychic power per phase, either a major one or a minor one. If a psyker is employing a power which has an ongoing effect, he must cease it before using another power. To summarise how the powers work, the following characteristics are used:

Phase

Psychic Test?

Effect

Range

The explanations of each characteristic are as follows:

Phase: Which phase the power can be used in. Unless specifically stated, the power can only be employed in the player's own turn, not his opponent's. Some powers are used before the start of the game, representing psykers scanning the enemy at long range, casting auguries before the battle and so forth, and using these powers does not prevent the psyker using other powers in the first turn of the game (or whenever he turns up from reserve, Deep Strike etc).

Psychic Test? Yes or no; if yes the psyker must pass a Leadership test to make the power work and is subject to the Perils of the Warp if he rolls a 2 or 12. Note that models with the Chaos Gift Mark of Tzeentch still have to roll a Psychic test in order to use minor powers (the Weaver of Fates can still be capricious at times), but do not suffer from the Perils of the Warp if they get a 2 or 12.

Effect: A summary of the power's effect. Powers which improve or lower characteristics cannot take them over 10 or under 1.

Range: Where applicable, this gives the maximum range of the power. A psyker must have a line of sight to his target in order to use a power on it. Powers with a range may be used by the psyker on himself, if applicable. Powers which are noted as having a range of 'battlefield' can be used even if the psyker is not deployed on the tabletop for any reason, such as being in reserve.

On with the show...

TELEKINETIC PSYCHIC POWERS

1. NO USABLE POWER
The psyker can move coins and light candles with his meagre power but that's about all.

2. THUNDERCLAP
Phase: Own shooting. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: 12".
Effect: If successful, one enemy unit is forced to take a Pinning test immediately. This power may not be used on enemy units in close combat.

3. FORCE BUBBLE
Phase: Enemy shooting. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: Self.
Effect: If successful, the psyker's armour save is increased to 2+ for that phase.

4. PROTECT
Phase: Enemy shooting. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: 12".
Effect: If successful, one squad (not vehicle) in range gains a 6+ invulnerable save for that phase. Note that models which already have an j invulnerable save use that one instead.

5. HOLOCAUST
Phase: Own assault. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: Self.
Effect: If successful, place the small blast marker over the psyker. Any models, friend or foe, including the psyker, under or touching the marker suffer a Strength 4 hit, normal armour saves apply. The psyker may not attack in close combat that phase. If unsuccessful, the psyker suffers one wound with no save possible and may not attack.

6. FLAMEWALL
Phase: Own movement. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: 12".
Effect: If successful, place a 1" wide, 4" long (or shorter), 3" tall piece of scenery within range. The wall may not be placed on enemy models or between units in an assault. Any line of fire drawn through the wall counts targets on the other side as being in cover. Any models crossing it suffer a S4 hit, normal armour saves apply. The wall lasts until the end of the opponent's next turn (but remember that it will disappear if the psyker uses another psychic power before then). If the Psychic test is unsuccessful, the wall is placed on the psyker and he suffers one wound with no save possible.

 

MOVEMENT PSYCHIC POWERS

1.SUPERNATURALLY QUICK
Phase: Any. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: Self.
Effect: Psyker gains +1 Initiative (to a max of 10), for that one phase.

2. TANGLE
Phase: Enemy movement. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: 12".
Effect: If successful, one enemy squad on foot (not vehicles, jump packs, bikes or cavalry) which is moving in the open counts as moving in difficult terrain for that one phase.

3. FLEETFOOT
Phase: Own shooting. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: 12".
Effect: One friendly squad or an independent character on foot (not vehicles, jump packs, bikes or cavalry) may move up to D6" ignoring difficult terrain penalties if it does not shoot. If employed on units with the fleet of foot ability or equivalent, they may re-roll the dice to see how far they move.

4. LEAP
Phase: Own movement. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: Self.
Effect: If the Psychic test is successful, the psyker may move up to 12" as if he were equipped with a jump pack in that Movement phase. An unsuccessful test means that the psyker cannot move in that phase.

5. READ MINDS
Phase: Not applicable. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: Battlefield.
Effect: If the psyker passes a psychic test during deployment, one unit may be held back and deployed after all others, including infiltrators, have been placed on the battlefield.

6. RELENTLESS
Phase: Own shooting. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: 6".
Effect: If successful, any one squad within range counts as stationary for using rapid fire and pistol weapons even if they moved. If unsuccessful the psyker may not shoot in that phase.

 

TEMPORAL PSYCHIC POWERS

1. NO USABLE POWER
The psyker's effects on the timestream are mostly coincidental and inconvenient, lengthening times in waiting rooms and during dull social events for example.

2. SLOW TIME
Phase: Own assault. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: base contact.
Effect: Cast at the beginning of the Assault phase, after all assault moves have been made. Affects all models in base-to-base contact with the psyker. Affected models count as having Initiative 1 (before any modifiers for bio-plasma, scorpion stings, power fists etc are taken into account) for the remainder of the phase. Does not affect walkers or other vehicles.

3. HEALING
Phase: Enemy shooting. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: 2".
Effect: This power may only be used on a model (it may be the psyker) which has been reduced to 0 Wounds. If the test is passed, place the model on its side and roll a D6 for it at the start of the controlling player's next turn, if the dice scores over the model's Toughness, it regains 1 Wound. If the Toughness roll is failed, the model is removed as a casualty.

4. STASIS SHELL
Phase: Own movement. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: 6".
Effect: If successful, one friendly unit can neither move, shoot nor assault, but cannot be shot at or assaulted itself until the player's next turn. This power may not be used on units engaged in an assault, and units in a stasis shell do not count towards victory conditions such as claiming objectives, table quarters and so forth.

5. WARP TIME
Phase: Own movement. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: Self.
Effect: If successful, the psyker adds +2D6" to his movement in the Movement phase. If unsuccessful the psyker may not move at all. In either case, using this power means that the psyker may not shoot or use psychic powers in the Shooting phase.

6. TEMPORAL DISTORT
Phase: Not applicable. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: Battlefield.
Effect: This power is used before determining who goes first. If successful, the psyker's force is allowed to re-roll the dice in determining who gets the first move. If unsuccessful, the botched attempt causes the psyker's force to automatically go second. This power can only be used in missions where dice rolls are used to determine who goes first.

 

ENHANCEMENTS PSYCHIC POWERS

1. NO USABLE POWER
The psyker may have good teeth or neat hair thanks to his powers but nothing of practical use on the battlefield.

2. IRON FIST
Phase: Either assault. Psychic Test? Yes Range: Self
Effect: Psyker gains +1 Strength for that phase (to a maximum of 10). This is added after all other bonuses and doubling for power fists and the like.

3. WARP SHIFTING
Phase: Either assault. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: Self.
Effect: Enemy close combat attacks against the psyker only hit on 4+ regardless of relative Weapon Skills or other special rules (like Black Templars vows, hatred etc) for that phase.

4. SHIELD
Phase: Either assault. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: Self.
Effect: The psyker's armour saving throw is improved by one to a maximum of 2+ for that phase.

5. BLESSING OF THE MACHINE GOD
Phase: Own shooting. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: Self.
Effect: The psyker's ranged weapon is counted as master-crafted for the phase and may re-roll to hit. An unsuccessful test causes the weapon to not fire. This power only works on weapons, not psychic artefacts such as a Sorcerer's Staff.

6. IRON ARM
Phase: Either assault. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: Self.
Effect: If successful, the psyker is considered to be armed with a power fist and close combat weapon for the phase. An unseccessful test causes the psyker to fiqht with his normal weapon(s) minus one Attack (to a minimum of one).

 

WILL PSYCHIC POWERS

1. NO USABLE POWER
The psyker is good at sticking to diet plans and giving up bad habits but nothing more.

2. SENSE MINDS
Phase: Any. Psychic Test? No. Range: Self.
Effect: The psyker counts as being equipped with a scanner.

3. INSPIRE
Phase: Any. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: Self.
Effect: If successful, the psyker gains +1 Ld (to a max of 10), for that phase.

4. CAUSE FEAR
Phase: Own Assault Psychic Test? Yes Range: 12"
Effect: If successful, one enemy squad suffers -1 Ld (to a min of 1) for that phase.

5. BATTLE FURY
Phase: Any Assault. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: 6".
Effect: If successful, one friendly squad (not walker or other vehicle) gains +1 WS for that phase. If unsuccessful, the squad suffers -1 WS for that phase instead.

6. GLORY
Phase: Own shooting. Psychic Test? Yes. Range: 6".
Effect: If successful, one unit becomes fearless and ignores all Morale checks and Pinning tests until the start of its next turn. If unsuccessful, the unit starts falling back as if it had failed a Morale check.