Psykers in Dark Heresy roll between one and six d10s depending on their power level to invoke psychic powers. If any of the dice come up as a 9, you must roll on another table for a potential side effect or even worse, a peril of the warp.

So the stronger your psyker becomes, the more likely you are to trigger a side effect. Since I do not wish to potentially turn my party into bloody smears as the result of a 'whoops', are there any options in published Dark Heresy material to reduce the risk involved?

I am aware in Ascension that ascended psykers can willingly cut their psy rating in half to not trigger side effects.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The possibility of a grisly death is why I like to play a Psyker! \$\endgroup\$ – Iain M Norman Sep 10 '10 at 14:17

According to the core rules (and I checked for errata), a psyker "...makes a Power Roll by rolling a number of dice up to their Psy Rating (typically 1-6) and adding their Willpower Bonus."

The important phrase here is "up to"; just because a psyker has a psy rating of 4, that doesn't mean they have to (or should) be rolling 4d10 for every psychic power they try to use.

(Note that there was errata that you always have to roll one die, which you wouldn't want to do if, for example, your WP bonus was greater than the Threshold of the power you wanted to use.)

It's also worth noting that rolling 9s isn't a guaranteed path to INSTANT TPK - it just invokes Psychic Phenomena, which CAN result in Perils Of The Warp, and THAT's when things get Bad. (It's also worth noting that results of Psychic Phenomena or Perils Of The Warp do not cancel the effect of the power, unless otherwise stated; you've still rolled a 9, and stuff gets weird, but you also got a pretty good result on that die!)

Finally, the "Favored By The Warp" talent allows psykers to roll twice and choose the better result on all Psychic Phenomena tests; if a psyker opts to enter the Scholar line of ranks beginning at 2,000 XP, he can pick it up at Scholar Arcanum (6,000 XP) for 200 XP. If he opts for the Savant tree instead, he cannot acquire it until late enough that Ascension advancement rules kick in; if your Psyker is still coming close to blowing up everything but has opted to become a Savant, consider letting him take "Favored By The Warp" as an Elite Advance after 6,000 XP.


I haven't read the rule book thoroughly, but I got the impression that there was a talent that lets you choose how much of your rating you are rolling, or that the psyker could just use a reduced pool for the rolling. Also keep in mind, you can fate point the rolls to get away from 9s. The psyker in a game I'm in has been doing that since day 1, and the game was supposed to be going 'by the book'.

Setting wise, if you can't it is very appropriate. The more powerful the psyker, the more likely they are to have the warp do weird things to them, through them, or around them.


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