The practitioners of Ars Arcana do not require a Psy-rating, instead they wield powers that can be unleashed with knowledge provided by Scholastic Lore (Occult), Forbidden Lore (Daemonology, Warp, Xenos) and initiation to a school of sorcery.
In game terms, the Arcana Potential is 1 to 1 equal to Psy-rating and presents the accumulated powers gained through study and channeled with practice of an ancient, feared and often heretical knowledge.
Wards, resistances and immunities, which affect the Psychic Powers work equally against unnatural effects of the esoteric arts.
Schools of Charlatans
- Folk Witches, who, for pride and thirst of power, take an advantage on the local politics, hereditary prejudices and superstitious fears of common folk through a guile, a sleight-of-hand and minor cantrips. The roots of Prayers and Divine miracles. They leech particularly from a power of fear they generate in local population and use it to gain Arcane Potential. Often rely on auspicious constants and sacrifices to boost their Arcane Potential.
- Charismatic Leaders, who enthrone themselves and use a background psychic power siphoned from the devoted cultist for their private goals. From a suffering of the misguided citizens arises their greatest crime, leeching the worship that belongs solely to the God-Emperor. The roots of Prayers and Divine miracles. They leech particularly on power of adoration they gain from the followers of a pretender. Often rely on group rituals and sacrifices to boost their Arcane Potential..
- Unbelievers, miscreants who do not allow themselves to see the glory of the God-Emperor and his perfect plan for the Imperial citizens. They demand changes and take advantages. If allowed to fester, they have tendency to arrange riots, public demonstrations, labor and hunger strikes, self-immolation and other recidivist outbursts which demean Imperial authority. They are very resistant to Fellowship based skills, psychic and arcane influences and effects. Especially hypno-doctrination and powers and skills trying to twist the clarity of their madness.
Note: Some of the Unbelievers could be latent Blanks, who are unable to see the spiritual presence of the God-Emperor or individuals, who are immune to background hypno-doctrination effects of the Imperial social construct. To them spiritual guidance data-slates, infused with STC hypno-doctrination algorithms, and ceremonies of the ecclesiarchy, enhanced by sub-sonic singing of cherubs and miracles performed by priesthood, seem hollow and without the presence of the One.
Schools of Wyrd-witches
- Sorcerers, The unstable raw emitters, who control the Warp with their sheer willpower and specific words of dreaded Enuncia.
- Conjurors, The vile heretics, who are able to Summon, Command and Bind the daemons in exchange for malefic powers and demand of a servitude of the damned with a power of the elusive True Names and terrible Daemon-hosts.
- Thaumaturges, The oblivious or leery scholars of occult, who dabble with secrets not meant to know. They rely on liturgies, artifacts and auspicious constants in their arcane experimentation.
- Chaos Marine Sorcerers, some of the champions on Eight-fold Path are fluent on psychic techniques and some on a sorcery. Some are fluent on both and some defy those powers completely. See Chaos Marine details to further your own analysis.
- Dark Eldar Witches
Hidden knowledge of esoteric arts
Ars Arcana, viewed in an objective and abstract way, can be seen as the application of warpcraft, occult formulae, relics of power and the exercise of will in order to achieve immediate physical and mental effects
much like those of psychic abilities. But unlike the usual psyker’s disciplines, all that is required to perform such baleful miracles is an understanding of the secret and sanity-twisting knowledge of how to do so and the conviction and stomach to put such knowledge into practice.
This malign and erratic sphere of human esoteric knowledge is ultimately based on the power of the warp, either through channeling the powers of warp entities directly (or accidentally) or using the power derived from the warp to imbue the summoner with powers and effects similar to Psychic Powers.
Some practitioners claim their powers are a gift of their gods, but many are apt to delude themselves that they practice what is simply a little understood art or science—perilous, yes, but unjustly maligned. Regardless, practice of esoteric arts is playing with fire, as the warp is a fickle, uncertain, and utterly dangerous thing with its own inertia and its own diabolical intent.
As a result, “true adepts” of great power (individuals who began their quest for esoteric power with no innate psychic ability, but who owe their arts purely to the Emperor or to the forbidden learning and pacts with the horrors beyond), are rare indeed, even among malefic cults and the servants of the Ruinous Powers. However, such obsessed, driven, and malignantly intelligent individuals are among the most dangerous enemies or priceless allies the Holy Ordos can face).
Individuals able to use Psychic Powers seldom rely on esoteric arts, as combining the Ars Arcana and Psychic powers grant terrible powers, but increase a risk of th Psychc Phenomena heavily.
Ars Arcana Game Mechanics
Esoteric arts use the same mechanics as Psychic Powers and any of the powers listed in Rogue Trader books are available as Ars Arcana powers to avoid needless duplication (and at the GM’s discretion visa-versa for witches and malefic psykers).
All esoteric powers are treated as Psychic Effects, and where applicable, Talents, Traits, and specialized defenses that protect against Psychic Powers also defend against Sorcery.
All Esoteric powers are divided between the Minor Arcana, which are equivalent to Minor Psychic Powers, and Major Arcana, which are equivalent to Discipline Powers. Arcana that duplicate existing Psychic Powers are treated as the same (having the same Effect, Duration, Overbleed, etc.) but have -20 penalty on their Focus Power test as a practitioner of esoteric arts. This represents the increased complexity and difficulty the sorcerer faces using his abilities compared to a normal Psyker. Unless expressly stated otherwise, a sorcerer must also be able to speak and gesture freely in order to use an Arcana power.
The practice of using the dark arts to control or channel the warp is even more difficult and dangerous than the use of a psychic character’s innate powers, and if the practitioner of esoteric arts incurs any Psychic Phenomena, then he must add +10 to the results of any random effect for a Minor Arcana power, and +20 to any mishap while using a power of the Major Arcana.
The ability to use Arcana is dealt with for simplicity’s sake by a number of special Talents, all of which are found in the text below, along with a number of specific powers available to the practitioners of esoteric arts.
Individuals with the Ars Arcana talent have access to the Invocation and Dowsing skills and may have their own version of the Corpus Conversion talent.
For psykers, the complex arts of Arcana present a deceptively easy path to greater power—but one any righteous servant of the Emperor will abhor. Most witches and rogue psykers have no such qualms, however, seeking out the study of the malefic arts and dark lore to augment their own power, or in a desperate attempt to achieve better control over their abilities—all the sooner to fall, in many cases, for the daemon’s lure.
For Blanks school of sorcery opens an obscene possibilities as they are able to protect themselves from degenerating side-effects caused by pronouncing the Chaos. For further analysis read Dan Abnett: Pariah/Penitent/Pandemonium.
Unnatural Characteristics and Ars Arcana
Creatures and Characters with Unnatural Willpower can make for shockingly powerful sorcerers. Characters with Unnatural Willpower may add the multiplier to their Arcana Potential and any successes on opposed tests as part of Arcana powers (both to enact and resist them).
Arcane Potential may be “stacked” with Psychic Powers. Rather than a Talent’s usual effects, it serves to boost the psyker’s Psy Rating by 1 for the Theurge/Sorcerer/Conjurer talent, and by an additional 1 for Master Theurge/Sorcerer/Conjurer talent. From this point onward, the psyker may accrue powers of Arcana as if they were Psychic Powers (treating Major Arcana as a new Psychic Discipline).
An unfortunate side effect of this dangerous super-charging of the psyker’s abilities, however, is the damage caused when these powers go out of control. A psyker with the Sorcerer Talent adds +20 to the result when determining Psychic Phenomena from use of esoteric power, which will increase the chance of invoking the Perils of the Warp.
Dark Art of Sorcery
Prerequisites: Intelligence 35, Willpower 35, Forbidden Lore (Warp) +10 or Scholastic Lore (Occult) +10.
You may utilize the powers of sorcery and channel the power of the warp through a combination of esoteric lore, skill, and focused will. You count as having an effective Psy Rating of 2 (roll 2d10, etc.) and may learn a number of Arcana powers equal to three times your Willpower bonus, with Major powers counting as two powers each, without the necessity of further Talents.
When choosing Arcana powers, you are not bound by a particular type of power (such as the psyker Discipline framework), as sorcery is a fragmented and contradictory business. Characters, however, can only gain these powers by seeking and mastering the separate words of Enuncia independently (either by dangerous experimentation, ancient lore, or dark bargains) and they cannot be developed naturally.
- Each word of dreaded Enuncia can be represented as an power from Minor or Major Acana or power from Psychic Disciples.
- Each word has innate Arcane Potential boost, which is added on a top of Sorcerers Arcane Potential, when word is spoken.
- Use of Enuncia requires ability to speak.
- It takes half action to speak the word out.
- If total Arcane Potential of used word is more than Toughness bonus of the Sorcerer he must succeed on Toughness test (difficulty level equal to Arcana potential exceeding the Toughness bonus) or gain amount of wounds equal to Arcana potential exceeding the Toughness bonus.
- After a use of the word it disappears from one’s mind until it has been recharged by the warp. Recharging of the word takes 1 h per Arcane Potential innate to the particular word.
Sorcerer’s Arcane Potential
Fettered (Arcane Potential/2)
Test at half Psy Rating. No chance of Psychic Phenomena.
Unfettered (Arcane Potential )
If the sorcere rolls doubles during a Focus Power Test, roll on the Psychic Phenomena Table (see Rogue Trader corebook page 160), add +5 per Psy Rating used.
Push (+1 to +4 to Arcane Potential)
Make a check against the Psychic Phenomena Table at +10 per +1 rating desired, up to a maximum
Sustaining Multiple Powers
Test at half Psy Rating. No chance of Psychic Phenomena.
+10 to all rolls on the Psychic Phenomena Table, -1 Psy Rating per sustained power.
Master Sorcerer (Talent)
Prerequisites: Intelligence 40, Willpower 50, Sorcerer.
Your mastery of the dark arts is great, and you have learned to avoid the pitfalls that beset lesser practitioners of the craft, channeling far more raw power than most. You count as having an effective Psy Rating of 4 (roll 4d10, etc.), a +10 bonus to Daemonic Mastery Tests, and are immune to the effects of
Master sorcerers are extraordinarily rare, rarer perhaps even than alpha-level psykers, and with good reason, as few possess the dedication and strength of mind to enact their will on the warp in this way. Most are destroyed before they attain such skill.
If a character with a normal Psy Rating gains this Talent, it works differently (see page 119).
Damned Art of Daemonologists
Daemonology is the study as well as the Arcane Art which focuses on all things that deal with the Warp and minions of Chaos. Users of this art are masters at manipulating the entities interacting between the Immaterium and the mortal world. This allows them to accomplish dreadful acts such as conjuring the greater daemon, usually by an accident, or binding it, usually through sheer luck, but tends to be the most difficult of the disciplines to truly master, with many practitioners either perishing or driven insane.
- Banishment: this power allows a daemonologist to create a temporary portal into the Warp which can either strip the power from a Psyker or banish a Daemonic creature back to the Warp which spawned it.
- Instability: through this ability, a daemonologist can phase the molecules of their body allowing them to be slightly within the warp and thus allowing them to pass through solid matter.
- Sanctuary: this creates a zone of power around a daemonologist which repels any daemonic beasts that approach it.
- Teleportation: a psyker can use this power to transport themselves or another person/object into the warp and emerge somewhere else on the field.
- Vortex of Chaos: a powerful ability known to those that practice the art of daemonology which allows them to open a gateway between the mortal world and the warp thus creating a swirling vortex which sucks everything near it into the tear in space.
- Summon Warp Power: by drawing upon the energy of the Warp, a daemonologist can imbue themselves with great strength and agility for a limited amount of time.
- Summon Void: this power allows a daemonologist to open a small breach into the Warp which tears away a tiny piece of reality and drags it into the Immaterium.
Daemonologists Arcane Potential
Each word of Enuncia has its innate arcane potential. For
Fettered (Arcane Potential/2)
Test at half Psy Rating. Make a check against the Psychic Phenomena Table at -50, Perils of Warp +10
Unfettered (Arcane Potential)
If the psyker rolls doubles during a Focus Power Test, roll on the Psychic Phenomena Table (see page 160). Add Perils of Warp +30.
Push (+1 to +4 to Arcane Potential)
Make a check against the Psychic Phenomena Table at +10 per +1 rating desired, up to a maximum of +4/+40. Add +50 to Perils of Warp
Sustaining Multiple Daemons
No penalties on sustaining several powers as the powers are wielded by Daemons.
Esoteric Arts of Theurges
Art of Theurgy is most ancient school of the warp-wytches among the humanity. It was practiced long before humankind arrived to evolutionary threshold and started to develop psychic individuals with terrifying powers and a vulnerability for predators of the Immaterium.
As it does not rely to Psychic Awakening of an individual and resembles more an esoteric tradition combining arcane knowledge with the artifacts of power.
In game terms Psychic potential
It describes the practice of rituals, sometimes seen as magical in nature, performed with the intention of invoking the action or evoking the presence of the God-Emperor or other deities, especially with the goal of achieving Henosis (uniting with the God-Emperor) and perfecting oneself in his service.
Some ancient lineages of theurges teach that the Emperor himself taught the mastery of arcane arts to the founders of their lineages, in ages of yonder, before the Imperium was formed.
Each seeker of esoteric mysteries must choose after an initiation their own path. They must follow one of the three principles which dictates the nature of Foci they are able to use. One can descent on his arcane path of light to darker forms of esoteric, but never ascend as the innocence lost cannot be regained.
Philosophical paths of Theurges
- Path of Light: Follow the principle, that the God-emperor is the only true divinity and other emanations from the Immaterium are antithesis for the True light. Foci: Imperial relics
- Path of Dusk: Follow the principle, that all the emanations awakened by sentient species aid the ascendance of them and give advantage against Ruinous Powers. Foci: Imperial and benevolent Xeno relics.
- Path of Shadow: Follow the principle, that the Immaterium is filled with infinite emanations of numerous powers, which can be exploited with craft and guile. Instead of Henosis they aim for Apotheosis. Foci: Objects of any power. Those branded with the mark of Chaos may only use, in their evocations, relics resonating to their chosen Ruinous Power. Any relic with any other alignment, (relic of other Ruinous power, relic of Imperial faith, eldar soul stone, other psychically charged item), may be used to invoke an unfettered arcane potential, invoking that unfettered power also destroys the object of power.
Inquisition and Theurges
Initiation to Theurgy exposes an acolyte to realities of the warp and echoes of the Emperor. From a straightforward perception of an arbitrator, theurges resemble either Imperial priests or cultists, but for more learned there are some distinctions between practitioners of Arcane Arts.
- Puritan factions of Inquisition frowns upon the followers of the Path of Light, but they have support of the higher echelons of Ecclesiarchy and living saints and their mastery on Esoteric Pentagrammic Wardings unprecedented gives them solace against purges of hard-line Inquisitors. Other Paths of Theurges are categorized as heretics and cultists and are burned on stake whenever opportunity arises.
- Radical factions of Inquisition depend on followers of the Path of Light and of Dusk as tools enabling them to stay on a heels and machinations of the Sorcerers, the Daemonologists, the Shadow Theurges, the multitude of Xeno Psykers, the Cultists and other moral threats.
- All those who are true to Imperial Creed do not let Theurgist on the Path of Shadow to live. Labeled as heretics and Cultor Majoris in the books of the Inquisition and executed whenever exposed by hunters of the holy Ordos. From viewpoint of a servant of the Imperium there is no difference between followers of Shadow Path and Chaos cultists.
Equivalent to Psynicience skill (Rogue Trader corebook page ?) but requires tool of measuring similar to a rod, a pendulum or a psychicly attuned item.
Initiate of theurgy (talent)
Requirement: Psy rating
Psyker who masters the esoteric arts becomes formidable mage but their soul’s connection to the warp make them considerably more vulnerable to daemonic incursion than non-awakened Theurgist. (+20?? to Perils of the Warp checks)
Theurgists Arcane Potential
Fettered (Foci Arcane Potential/3)
Test at 1/3 of Arcane Potential. Make a check against the Psychic Phenomena Table at -50, Perils of Warp +10
Unfettered (Foci Arcane Potential)
If the psyker rolls doubles during a Focus Power Test, roll on the Psychic Phenomena Table (see
page 160). Add Perils of Warp +30.
Push (+1 to +5 to Foci Arcane Potential)
Immolates the foci for most of the practitioners. Followers of Path of Light and bearers of Mark of Chaos may Push their Arcane Potential without immolation of the foci if it belongs to their patron. Make a check against the Psychic Phenomena Table at +10 per +1 rating desired, up to a maximum of +4/+40. Add +50 to Perils of Warp
Sustaining Multiple Rituals
Theurges arcane techniques do not allow sustaining multiple powers.
One wih the Emperor: Decreases Perils of Warp chances of theurge following the Path of Light