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Author Topic: Revising and rebalancing the Psyker System  (Read 4341 times)

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Offline MagicJuggler

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Revising and rebalancing the Psyker System
« on: October 6, 2015, 04:06:35 PM »
==Overview==
I've always had issue with Psyker powers being a power lottery, both from a competitive stance (random powers not being internally balanced versus one another), and from a "your dudes" stance. Likewise, powers being an all-or-nothing affair, or scaling messily are annoying. While most of the powers and disciplines are still being drafted up, I'm looking for feedback and suggestions based on the core changes, as well as a sample reworking of Pyromancy.

==Psyker Rules==

A Psyker has a Mastery Level, ranging from 1-4, and may select powers from different Disciplines. For each Mastery Level, the Psyker knows two powers; these are recorded at army creation.

The six core disciplines are: Biomancy, Divination, Pyromancy, Telekinesis, Telepathy, and Theosophamy (Sanctic powers mostly). Each discipline has 4 basic powers, and 2 advanced powers. For a Psyker to take an advanced power, the Psyker must select two basic powers from the same discipline.

The game keeps a Psyker Phase, but there is no rolling for Warp Charge dice at the start of each turn. An army always receives 2 dice per turn (Necrons receive 4) which may be used strictly for denial. Adamantium Will doesn't give a +1 bonus to the deny roll, but gives a free die instead.

A Psyker has two warp charge per mastery level. A Psyker may only use its own warp charge, barring special rules.

Manifesting powers works as in the standard rules (roll a die per WC spent, and count successes). Basic powers manifest on 4+, while advanced powers manifest on 5+.
Rolling two or more 6s results in a Perils roll.
Some Psykers can Push. This grants them a free die on manifestation rolls (a minimum of one WC must be spent), but *any* double caused by at least one Push die results in a Perils roll. For example, if a Psyker uses one regular warp charge, and one from pushing, any double would cause a perils.

Psychic Powers have variable effects based on the number of successful warp charges manifested; the effects are determined after the roll, and not before declaring to use x number of WC. In any case, most powers can only benefit from a maximum of 4 WC unless otherwise specified.

Deny the Witch rolls can negate extra successes, even if the original power is not successfully denied. For each successful deny roll, remove one die from the manifestation attempt. The actual denial mechanics could use additional tweaking, but I am considering something like : "Deny is 4+ by default, every 2 WC sacrificed=1 deny die." Optionally, only models within a certain distance of the Psyker (18", 24" w/ Hood) can contribute to deny.

Finally, some powers are called Abjurations (alternately, Sympathetic Powers). Unlike other powers, they can only be cast when certain conditions are met. However, they can even be cast during an enemy's psyker phase. Some Abjurations can trigger other Abjurations.

Here is Pyromancy reworked under the system; the powers themselves may be modified accordingly but the idea is to show how the variable WC system would work. Most of the powers are direct damage though they operate on different targets/roles. I feel that Flashbang is a potential auto-take while Burn The Witch, while cute, is more situational, but that none of the powers are real duds (with possible exception of the regular Fireball, though it could easily be usable by a low-level psyker).
Scouring Flame: S5 Ap4, template. For each success beyond the first, +1 Strength and -1 AP, to max of S8/AP1.
Flashbang. Malediction power, range 18". Enemy must test for Blindness. Each success beyond the first causes a -1 penalty to the Initiative Test (max -3 penalty).
Burn the Witch!: Abjuration Witchfire. Cast on an enemy psyker within 18" immediately after it manifests a power. For each WC that the enemy Psyker successfully manifested, the Psyker takes one S4 AP 5 hit ignoring cover; Look Out Sir! rolls may not be taken. For each WC beyond the first successfully manifested to Burn The Witch, these hits are +1 Strength and -1 AP, max of S7 AP 2.
Fireball: Range 24, Strength 4, AP 5, Assault WC (max 4), blast, Barrage, ignore cover.
(Advanced) Molten Gaze: Strength 8, AP 1, Armorbane. Beam, range 6. Each success grants an extra 6" range.
(Advanced) Cleansing Flames: Nova Power, Range 12. All enemy units within range take D6 S5 AP 4 hits per successfully manifested WC.

==Implications==
Powers are tied to army creation, removing randomness and tailoring.

Psykers are potentially powerful but there is less wild variance. Individual powers will have less power compared to, say, invisibility, but can scale upwards if not stopped. Inversely, denial isn't an all-or-nothing deal.

Psykers are their own Warp Charge; positioning matters more, and there's less emphasis on one Psyker being a battery from other Psykers (no taking a pair of Flyrants to power a Farseer, etc).

Abjuations are a fringe item, but in theory add an extra option for the opposing player, rather than waiting for the right time to deny. :)

Comments and criticisms?
« Last Edit: October 6, 2015, 04:09:51 PM by MagicJuggler »

Offline Spectral Arbor

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Re: Revising and rebalancing the Psyker System
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2015, 10:18:24 AM »
I'm a little late to the party, but I'm in favour of altering the psychic phase. In particular, chosen powers that are more closely in tune, power level wise.

I think the upscaling of power per success is a great idea. It allows you to balance a more innately powerful ability by starting the base success at, say, 2. So a fireball spell's base success is one, and gets better with each success. Another spell might have a baseline success of 2 charge, and get better with each success. Another might have a base success of 2, and get better for every 2 more successes. Each spell could be tweaked for its base effect, and then how much better it gets per success.

For example, a "Base 1, 5+ invul save" power might become 4+ with 2 success, 3+ with 4 success, and 2+ with 6 success. Something like that.

I don't know about 2 powers per level, the ability to make a psyker able to handle anything is too great. I haven't liked harnessing on 4+. That seems ridiculous. Half the time, a psyker that has trained for hundreds of years fails? I'd rather see 3+ or even 2+. A Ld 10 psyker used to have a 5/6 chance to manifest powers, and they were pretty ok.

I don't get Necrons getting bonus dispel dice... that seems hinky.

Pushing is a suicide mechanic, unless Perils gets reworked.

I like limiting the power pool to each individual psyker.

I'm not fond of the denial system you have here. I'd rather see a 6th edition style, you can attempt to deny any successful power, and then there are situations where you get bonuses [in this case, extra dice] to deny. Someone tries to burninate your unit with a higher level psyker, and they have AdWill? Roll 3 denial dice, that sort of thing. Someone tries to buff themselves, but you have a psychic hood within 12"? Roll 2 denial dice, that sort of thing.

Offline MagicJuggler

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Re: Revising and rebalancing the Psyker System
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2015, 09:16:21 AM »
Hey, so I've mostly been on dakka with a more in-depth system rewrite (got the remaining disciplines statted up) but thanks for the reply.

Pushing is intentionally a suicide mechanic; Psykers only get so much Warp Charge anyway, so it becomes a risk versus reward situation. Ideally I would see perils as "lose a wound, no fancy antics" like 6th.

I figure the 2 powers per Mastery Level is mostly balanced against the fact that power selection is done at list creation rather than pregame rolls. Making taking the really good powers dependent on the basic ones also does some lock-in. I'm contemplating 'psychic focus' being a flat +1 to manifestation rolls if you only select one discipline  (and maybe making it so ML 4 only is available for special characters with signature powers?).

Regarding Denial, a little story. I remember back in 3rd/4th/5th when a single Farseer with Runes of Warding could shut down a single Psyker Phase due to it being "affects the entire map." I remember fighting a guy in 5th ed that ran a Space Wolf Gunline, with 3 Rune Priests casting Living Lightning (and 3 Rifledreads, 3 Fang units, 3 Razorbacks...). By contrast I had Eldrad in a Holofalcon with min avengers, 2 Serpents with Fusion Storm Guardians, Jetbikes, 2 units of missile walkers, and Warp Spiders. His list looked scarier on paper because the Rune Priests had a paradox. If they bum rushed forward, they weren't shooting stuff up. If they didn't advance, they couldn't stop Eldrad from Fortune and Guide. And if they tried to cast Living Lightning, rolling 3d6 for a psychic check and rolling Perils killed 2 of the priests outright!

This wasn't even an artificial advantage Eldar should get as much as it was an artifact of different editions having different rules for denying psyker powers, with pre-5th saying "anyone can hood, shadow, runes, etc", 5th saying "in a 24 inch bubble", etc. The second option puts more emphasis on board control. The main thing now is making sure the powers aren't too good with only one success.

 


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