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Thought on a 40k issue

OK, I'm thinking my next campaign will be in the 40k universe, using the Zweihander rules coupled with the incomplete Dark Astral chapbook and some tweaks. Using the excellent Runequest Argan Argan Atlas.

Taking a page from Dark Astral, my campaign will be set on a single solar Imperial system isolated by warp storms. This will allow me to pare the 40k lore down to a much more manageable level, especially since I expect my player base will not be deeply versed in 40k.

The initial spadework is very promising, but one issue that has leapt out at me is this: what would be done with feral/unlicensed psykers? There's no Black Fleet vessels to gather them in for the grading and (for some) training facilities on Holy Terra. Simple execution would seem the obvious step, but also a waste of potential power for the in-game government, and a flat note in role-play terms.
 

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MGibster

Legend
The 40K universe is so big you don’t really need a warp storm to justify why your setting is a bit different. Hell, the “official” lore is sometimes contradictory. But an isolated system is interesting on its own so I think it’s a good idea.

What I might do is have some sort of system the existing psykers set up once they realized they were cut off from the Imperium. They are responsible for locating, training, and culling psykers when necessary. Something like Babylon 5’s Psicorp except not so benevolent because this is 40K.
 

Blackrat

He Who Lurks Beyond The Veil
I agree with MGibster. They could simply create some new organsational structure to train and sanction psykers.
 

The 40K universe is so big you don’t really need a warp storm to justify why your setting is a bit different. Hell, the “official” lore is sometimes contradictory. But an isolated system is interesting on its own so I think it’s a good idea.

What I might do is have some sort of system the existing psykers set up once they realized they were cut off from the Imperium. They are responsible for locating, training, and culling psykers when necessary. Something like Babylon 5’s Psicorp except not so benevolent because this is 40K.
Its not that my setting is different; I just want to reduce the learning curve for my players. With one planet, I can drop Space Marines and a lot of other stuff while preserving the 40k flavor.

Its the culling wild psykers that I'm having issues with. Just a bullet in the back of the neck seems wasteful and closing off options, but what else are there? There's no signal to be fueled.

I know nothing about Bab 5, and do not wish to learn.
 

I agree with MGibster. They could simply create some new organsational structure to train and sanction psykers.
I agree, but what about wild Psykers? The ones normally used to power the navigation signal? Or the lower-power ones normally shunted into communications?
 

Blackrat

He Who Lurks Beyond The Veil
Ah, now I see. Yeah, I think the ”too dangerous to live” psykers would be simplest to kill... Or maybe there’s a warp rift and they are used to keep it sealed?
 

MGibster

Legend
Its not that my setting is different; I just want to reduce the learning curve for my players. With one planet, I can drop Space Marines and a lot of other stuff while preserving the 40k flavor.
Oh, I understand where you're coming from. I was on my phone earlier but couldn't really type out all my thoughts in a convenient and coherent manner but I was just too excited to wait to reply. I think your approach is the best for any setting. Rather than overwhelming the players with a bunch of information you're starting small and adding elements of the setting as needed. It's especially important for a setting like 40k with it's 30+ years of established setting with multiple changes throughout.

The last time I ran a game set in the 40k universe, my group contained people who barely knew anything about it as well as one or two who were very familiar with it. So my little speech at the beginning was, "This is a big universe and the official cannon sometimes contradicts itself. So if you think anything in my game runs counter to the official setting just roll with it." I did have one player who wanted his character to be a Blank but that would have been too disruptive to the campaign so I said no.

Its the culling wild psykers that I'm having issues with. Just a bullet in the back of the neck seems wasteful and closing off options, but what else are there? There's no signal to be fueled.
I don't think the Black Ships actually come to each planet every year so even systems that aren't cut off must do something with their wild psykers. So whatever representatives of the Adeptus Astras Telepathica might take it upon themselves to identify psykers, train those with the willpower to avoid demonic possession, and maybe cull those who can't or won't submit to training. And since they're cut off from Terra, none of the newer psykers can be soul bound to the emperor making it more likely that they might be possessed by a demon. Good times.

For PCs, I'd have no problem telling them they'll have to play a sanctioned psyker if they want to play a psyker at all. But it's not like there's no precedence for unsanctioned psykers. Unsanctioned psykers are present in Necromunda as mercenaries for gangs to hire.
 

dbm

Adventurer
One of the useful facets of the 40k world is that it is deeply superstitious, and many of the ideas characters may hold true IC are highly likely to be wrong OOC. In your scenario I would use this to my advantage.

For example, you have the concept of this world being cut off by a severe warp storm? Maybe, decades or centuries ago when this happened, the local psykers undertook a powerful psychic ritual to protect the world from that storm? Maybe some of them keep that up even now, believing it protects the world from destruction? Perhaps they use wild psykers who don’t meet their criteria for being sanctioned as unwilling fuel for this ongoing activity? This may be factually correct, or it may in actuality perpetuate the warp storm without the psykers understanding they are now perpetuating the problem!

Similarly, I am sure they will have local methods for deciding that a psyker can be sanctioned to live and join their order, but these methods will likely be flawed and so you will get incidents arising from imperfect control and leakage from the warp…

Clearly the uber-ritual needs even more power!

Sounds like a great source of adventure to me… :)
 

One of the useful facets of the 40k world is that it is deeply superstitious, and many of the ideas characters may hold true IC are highly likely to be wrong OOC. In your scenario I would use this to my advantage.

For example, you have the concept of this world being cut off by a severe warp storm? Maybe, decades or centuries ago when this happened, the local psykers undertook a powerful psychic ritual to protect the world from that storm? Maybe some of them keep that up even now, believing it protects the world from destruction? Perhaps they use wild psykers who don’t meet their criteria for being sanctioned as unwilling fuel for this ongoing activity? This may be factually correct, or it may in actuality perpetuate the warp storm without the psykers understanding they are now perpetuating the problem!

Similarly, I am sure they will have local methods for deciding that a psyker can be sanctioned to live and join their order, but these methods will likely be flawed and so you will get incidents arising from imperfect control and leakage from the warp…

Clearly the uber-ritual needs even more power!

Sounds like a great source of adventure to me… :)
That is interesting! Since untrained Psykers can be conduits TO the warp, perhaps the consumption of their powers could PREVENT manifestations within an area; the atlas has a 'glowline' marked on it that I was wondering how to explain, and that could be the 'exclusion zone' maintained by the expenditure of said psykers
 

dbm

Adventurer
Anything is possible; it’s such an anachronistic campaign background that it might be a true effect, a side-effect from just culling psykers in that area, the presence of a hidden Necron tomb or any of a dozen justifiable reasons.
 

Larnievc

Explorer
OK, I'm thinking my next campaign will be in the 40k universe, using the Zweihander rules coupled with the incomplete Dark Astral chapbook and some tweaks. Using the excellent Runequest Argan Argan Atlas.

Taking a page from Dark Astral, my campaign will be set on a single solar Imperial system isolated by warp storms. This will allow me to pare the 40k lore down to a much more manageable level, especially since I expect my player base will not be deeply versed in 40k.

The initial spadework is very promising, but one issue that has leapt out at me is this: what would be done with feral/unlicensed psykers? There's no Black Fleet vessels to gather them in for the grading and (for some) training facilities on Holy Terra. Simple execution would seem the obvious step, but also a waste of potential power for the in-game government, and a flat note in role-play terms.
I’d take a leaf out of the Inquisitors in the Star Wars dark times. Have the equivalent to Sanctioned Psykers part of (maybe undercover) the authority’s continual task of rooting out wrong ‘uns.
 

I’d take a leaf out of the Inquisitors in the Star Wars dark times. Have the equivalent to Sanctioned Psykers part of (maybe undercover) the authority’s continual task of rooting out wrong ‘uns.
The Inquisition, many of whom are sanctioned psykers, are a mainstay of the 40k lore.
 

Larnievc

Explorer
The Inquisition, many of whom are sanctioned psykers, are a mainstay of the 40k lore.
Yeah, I know. It wouldn’t be the Imperial Inquisition. It would be whatever locale version filled niche for dealing with the inherent danger that psykers represent with out just killing them.

You could have a parallel self policing version like the Veiled Alliance from Dark Sun.

Either way psykers need to be dealt with and that means some form of institution to police them.

It’s always going to be some form of join or die.
 

Its not that my setting is different; I just want to reduce the learning curve for my players. With one planet, I can drop Space Marines and a lot of other stuff while preserving the 40k flavor.

Its the culling wild psykers that I'm having issues with. Just a bullet in the back of the neck seems wasteful and closing off options, but what else are there? There's no signal to be fueled.

I know nothing about Bab 5, and do not wish to learn.
The thing is, if they've had contact with the Exterminatus in living memory+1 Generation, they might still fear reprisals if the Imperium stops by. They might also be holding all of the regular exports waiting for the tax collector. And the Imperium punishes failure to pay quite harshly.... decimation level drafts, etc.
 

The thing is, if they've had contact with the Exterminatus in living memory+1 Generation, they might still fear reprisals if the Imperium stops by. They might also be holding all of the regular exports waiting for the tax collector. And the Imperium punishes failure to pay quite harshly.... decimation level drafts, etc.
I like that thought.


EDIT: Been thinking on this, and it is brilliant. I envision huge STC-standard shipping containers regularly loaded with equipment and durable goods of all kinds being lifted up to hang in orbit, the Emperor's Tithe, never to be touched until the Return, even while shortages plague society. Careful auditing of all government and business actions to ensure purity in anticipation of review upon the Return.

And above all, ruthless pogroms against the Enemies Within and Without.

It is perfect.
 
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