Fire Shield relevant text:

While this power is in effect, any character in range and line of sight that successfully strikes the psyker with an attack immediately suffers Energy damage equal to the psyker’s psy rating. The degrees of success on this attack are equal to those from the Focus Power test, and the inflicted damage is not reduced by Armour or Toughness bonus.

There doesn't seem to be any way to avoid taking this damage, which is odd considering how little health most acolytes will have, and suffering guaranteed damage (which could be as much as half of your health) whenever you attack someone sustaining this power (which is a Free Action) seems overly powerful/limiting.

  • The armour modification Ceramite Plating from Enemies Within that gives enhanced armour against flame attacks is bypassed by the last sentence
  • For the same reason, cover seems to be irrelevant
  • The armour modification Hexagrammatic Wards from Enemies Within which grants bonuses to checks to resist psychic powers and which makes it so warp-weapons don't ignore your armour doesn't come into play against an auto-hit psychic power
  • It doesn't seem like you can make a Dodge reaction against the attack, as the psychic power says 'the target immediately suffers Energy damage'

The only two ways (aside from attacking from outside the power's range) I can think of are a force-field, which should block the damage if it rolls successfully to come into effect, and to force the psyker to drop the power (possibly by knocking him out or throwing some anti-psyker grenade, etc) and cut it off at the source. Once the damage is triggered, can it be avoided?


1 Answer 1


You main question was:

Can an Acolyte mitigate or avoid the damage received from Flame Shield?

The way that I've understood this Psychic Power works is that the Psyker creates a wall of magic fire around them that is completely reactionary to ranged attacks. It appears to be relatively simultaneous in that it responds to attackers before they can duck back behind cover.

The fact that it goes through both Armor and Toughness Bonus with no possibility of Dodge or Resist Psychic seems very odd to me. It is magical, so I suppose it's like a Warp Weapon in that way. Granted, the damage is very low in that it can only be 1-10, but getting auto-hit for 3 damage on your own turn is kinda nuts.

The Dark Heresy 2e Errata located at this link (here) helps give further insight into this power:

Question: Does the psychic power Fire Shield (page 206) give multiple retaliatory attacks when struck or just one? For example, if the psyker using that power is attacked with a full auto weapon and is hit four times, would his shield send back four attacks or just one for them all? And can the attacker evade the damage, since it happens during his own turn?

Answer: The power only inflicts damage on the attacker once, no matter how many hits strike the psyker in that attack. As it occurs during the attacker’s turn, it cannot be evaded through a Reaction.

Given the description and rules for the Power, it appears that the keys to defeating it are knowing the range of the retaliatory flames, using AoE (area of effect) attacks effectively, and piling on Full-Auto hits. If you attack the Psyker from outside of their power range (PR x 20m), the Power does nothing. If you throw a grenade nearby the Psyker and they are hit by the explosion, does the Fire Shield attack the grenadier or the explosion's source? The errata also explicitly says that Fire Shield's retaliation hit only occurs once even if the Psyker is, for instance, hit 20+ times by an Autogun on Full-Auto with Twin-Linked and Storm.

Also worth noting is that in Dark Heresy 2e, a Sustained Psychic Power only is sustained until the Psyker's next turn (usually the next Round). I say it's worth noting because in Dark Heresy 1e, Sustained Psychic Powers automatically last for 10 Rounds before the Psyker is required to attempt another Focus Power test.

Also, as a fellow Dark Heresy GM, I'd rule that force fields have a chance to block this damage, as does cover in certain situations. I also feel that having Hexagrammatic Wards on your armor would definitionally allow for at least some sort of resistance test or something. Also as regards armor, if I'm piloting a Leman Russ and I fire the main battle cannon at a Fire Shield-ing Psyker, do I as the pilot take damage, or does the tank's hull, or the battle cannon itself, or...? Magic aside, there's something to be said for all the many and varied types of armor available to Acolytes and their application both in the fluff and rules.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ "in Dark Heresy 2e, a Sustained Psychic Power only is sustained until the Psyker's next turn (usually the next Round)". But then can't the psyker continue to sustain the power with another Free Action each round, so it can last an entire combat? Psychic powers don't require a new focus power test when you sustain them; it's just automatic when you spend the action (in this case a Free Action). \$\endgroup\$
    – Temp
    Oct 25, 2017 at 19:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, a psyker can attempt to sustain powers indefinitely by passing a Free Action Sustain Power test on their Turn. In this way, a psyker might be able to keep this up forever. The crux, though, is passing that Sustain Power test each Turn, since each sustained power makes it more difficult to sustain more powers. Also, the DoS for the Fire Shield "hit" are equal to the DoS for the focus power test, so the better the cast, the better the Fire Shield. Seems OP at low levels since it auto-hits for [Caster Psi Rating] damage. Alternatively, almost useless if Armor or TB was allowed for soak. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 23, 2018 at 22:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Additionally, the Fire Shield only works if the psyker casting it was already hit and in range and line of sight of the attacker. So theoretically, the psyker could be 1HKO'd and their Fire Shield would go off once just as they died. The 1-10 unsoakable damage would hurt, but the psyker would still be dead. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 23, 2018 at 22:44

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