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- "Defy me, and I will split open your thoughts and sear your very soul."
- —Primaris Psyker Haddrin Malfumme
A Primaris Psyker is a human Sanctioned Psyker who plays an ordained role as a servant of the Imperium of Man, for he possesses the willpower to control his abilities and not become a danger to others. These rare and extraordinary individuals serve in the regiments of the Imperial Guard and wield the destructive power of the Warp as a weapon to smite the enemies of the Emperor. With a single thought they can conjure forth lightning that leaps from their hands and surrounds their body. With but a gesture, the psyker hurls these bolts of aether-energy at their opponents, burning the foes' synapses and searing their flesh from their bones. Mysterious and aloof, Primaris Psykers, also known as primary-psykers, battle-psykers or psyker-lords among the servants of the Emperor, are treated with a mixture of awe and fear, but most of all, suspicion by the superstitious soldiers of the Imperial Guard, with whom they serve. Though their presence is utterly abhorrent to all right-thinking Imperial servants, their ability to combat the blasphemous magicks of the xenos and Heretics usually outweighs the natural revulsion all their comrades feel at the inclusion of psykers in the ranks of the Imperial Guard.
A Primaris Psyker is typically attached to a high-ranking Imperial Guard officer who can direct the psyker's powers as the situation necessitates, providing psychic support to the troopers on the front line. A battle-psyker marches to war in a uniform daubed with wards and sigils of power. A Primaris Psyker carries a staff made of rare woods and precious metals that can channel the psychic energy of the wielder. A psyker can focus his prodigious mental strength through such a psycho-reactive staff, transforming it into a searing weapon that glows with a barely contained, otherworldly power capable of cutting through reinforced ceramite and ripping the life force from those it strikes.
To be a sanctioned and approved psyker within the Imperium is to be one of a select few. To become a Primaris Psyker is no easy task. The Scholastica Psykana of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica is the final judge of who is worthy to bear the rank of Primaris, for it is more than simply a title. Primaris Psykers are some of the most powerful psykers sanctioned by the Imperium, and more importantly, they are given a measure of trust and responsibility not awarded to lesser psykers. Throughout the Adeptus Terra, Primaris Psykers are placed in positions of power and authority; in the Imperial Guard they can even be granted battlefield commands. This means that the Scholastica Psykana is unwilling to grant a psyker the rank of Primaris casually. Potential candidates are brought to one of the Scholastica's facilities, where they are tested and tried by other Primaris Psykers. These trials take many different forms, and often last for solar weeks or even months. During this time, the subject is pushed through gruelling mental endurance regimes, has his mind probed by high level telepaths for any chinks in his mental armour, and is forced to participate in duels with cadres of battle-psykers.
Part of this test is to see just how powerful the candidate is, for it is not uncommon for psykers to unlock greater levels of power as they grow and mature. A Delta level psyker may have become a Gamma or even Beta level since he was first sanctioned. However, the Scholastica is more concerned with learning just how strong the psyker's mind is against perils such as daemonic possession or psychic witchery. Since one of the perks of being a Primaris Psyker is far greater independence from the watchful eye of the Scholastica Psykana and the Imperial authorities in general, the Scholastica must be positive they are not granting that to someone who easily falls prey to malefic forces. The final stages of the Primaris Sanctioning Rites consist of deep mental conditioning and the embedding of wards, runes, and other psychic defences into the psyker's scalp and skull. This process alone takes weeks, during which the psyker lives in a dream-like fugue state, responding only instinctively to the pain/pleasure impulses and cerebral goads of the conditioning process. Recovery takes even longer, though the end result is a psyker who can stand amongst the more powerful in the Imperium and is worthy of the title "Primaris."
Manifesting Psychic PowersEdit
To be an Imperial psyker is to constantly flirt with madness, death, and far, far worse. To fuel their supernatural abilities, psykers draw on the limitless potential of the Immaterium. However, the Warp is anathema to humanity, filled with predatory creatures and malign intelligences. Should a psyker drink too deeply from the Warp's power, he runs the risk of attracting the unpleasant attention of its denizens. If a psyker survives long enough to be elevated to the rank of Primaris, he learns how to mask his presence from the Warp. A psyker can modulate, or fetter, his powers, reducing the Warp energy he siphons through his mind. Doing so has the drawback of reducing the sheer power behind his abilities. However, in this way the psyker's presence does not stand out amongst the Warp's chaotic and shifting tides. Of course, sometimes caution must be forsaken if circumstances are dire enough. Just as the psyker can temper the power he draws from the Warp, so can he exceed his limits and gather as much as his psyche can hold, and more. This is known as "pushing," and both the results and the consequences can be truly impressive -- and dire.
For Primaris Psykers, and other psykers of similar skill and training, the concept of psychic disciplines begins to take on less importance. Rather than limiting their powers to a particular area of expertise, these psykers tend to focus on perfecting their mastery over several individual abilities, learning to manipulate them with consummate skill. In doing so, the psyker willingly allows his understanding in some periphery abilities to lapse, but what he sacrifices in breadth, he more than makes up in depth.
The psyker focuses on summoning Warp lightning to smite his enemies or wreathe him in a protective field of electricity. Those who master the ability to manipulate this etheric energy are greatly prized by the Imperial Guard.
- Lightning Arc - The psyker channels the Warp into electric energy that crackles from his fingertips, burning through his foes.
- Lightning Field - The psyker surrounds himself in a cracking, sparking nimbus of electricity, daring his enemies to strike him.
- Lightning Storm - With charged air and the stench of ozone, the psyker reaches into the Warp and lets forth a blast of etheric lightning. Bolts arc in all directions, striking all those the psyker chooses.
Maelstrom of DestructionEdit
The psyker delights in the frenzied chaos of the melee, using his powers to turn himself into an unstoppable, death-dealing berserker.
- Maelleus Hammerhead - The psyker's hands glow with otherworldly power as they are infused with a terrible strength. He is unable to hold any weapons, but he does not require them, as his fingers can gouge armour plating, and his fists can shatter Ceramite.
- Enrage - The psyker reaches into the minds of his opponents, momentarily crushing their psyche with a blank, murderous rage. Rational thought, sense, and even skill with weapons are lost in an overwhelming desire to slay the source of their sudden hate.
- Bloodboil - The psyker's frenzy for destruction burns hot in his soul. At a thought, it flashes out from him and heats the blood of his opponents to boiling temperatures, cooking them from the inside out.
The psyker's mind has grown in potency until it is far too powerful to remain within his skull. At the apex of this power, his psyche roams free, unfettered by flesh, reading the thoughts of others at a whim, and frying their synapses where they stand.
- My Will, Known - The psyker's awareness radiates out like a blanket, suffusing the very atmosphere around him with his consciousness. All those present feel a strange sensation, like delicate fingers tracing the inside of their skull. Unless they are shielded from his senses in some way, the locations of all creatures within the power's range are known to the psyker, as are their surface thoughts. Though this is not sufficient to pry forth their deepest secrets, they psyker does know the individuals' immediate plans and intentions.
- My Will, Obeyed - The psyker projects his consciousness into another, fighting through the target as if wearing his flesh. The psyker may select one human target to project into. The target must be aware of the psyker's intent and accept it. If the target is aware of the psyker's intent and accepts it, the psyker occupies the mind with little trouble. While the power is active, he effectively controls the possessed as if it were his own body. The psyker's body goes into a trance while the power is active, although the psyker is always aware of it and what is going on around it.
- My Will, Manifest - The psyker's psyche leaves its fleshy prison, roaming free as an invisible being of etheric energy. In this state, the psyker is all but invulnerable to mundane threats, and can travel great distances while leaving his body behind. When this power is manifested, the psyker's body collapses, and for all appearances goes into a deep coma. The psyker becomes an ethereal being of light and crackling energy.
The psyker's soul burns with the intensity of a barely contained inferno. Pyrokinetics are rare among human psykers, and those who can control their abilities enough to avoid self-immolation are rarer still. The few that can often focus on their "inner fire" to the exclusion of other disciplines and abilities, as they become obsessed with the destruction they can render.
- Flameshroud - Should the pyrokinetic wish to survive his self-generated holocausts, he must learn to endure the flames he creates. Powerful psykers can summon flames from nothing, enveloping themselves in a roiling fire that never consumes them. Although the psyker is covered in fire, his clothing, weapons, and equipment are unharmed. While maintaining the Flameshroud, the psyker is immune to Flamer weapons; the fires surrounding him seem to draw the flames into the shroud, making it burn even brighter. The psyker also takes half damage from Laser, Plasma, and Melta Weapons, and any psychic power involving flame and fire. Although these abilities are impressive, the true purpose of the Flameshroud is to let the psyker lose himself in the flames, and in doing so gain greater control over them. While sustaining the Flameshroud, the psyker does not suffer penalties for manifesting other psychic powers involving fire or pyromancy.
- Conflagration - The air around the psyker is choked with ash and cinders, swirling in an unseen wind. The very atmosphere grows hot, burning the eyes and throat. With a thought, the psyker can send the cinders whipping around an unlucky individual, enveloping him in flame. This power fills the area within range of the psyker with heat, ashes, and cinders. Easily flammable items, such as paper or Promethium, ignite.
- Inferno - Some of the most powerful pyrokinetics can wipe out whole hab-blocks or villages by summoning a true inferno. The fire washes out from them like waves, burning all unlucky enough to be near them. However, what is truly terrifying about this power is not the ease with which a powerful pyrokinetic can summon it, but the difficulty they have in putting it out. When a psyker manifests the Inferno, fire erupts out of him in all directions, indiscriminately incinerating anything in its path.
- Banishment - The psyker focuses his mental powers on the bonds that tie the daemon to the Immaterium, snapping it with his indomitable will.
- Sanctuary - The glory of the God-Emperor is channelled through the psyker, causing all who would strike him and those who stand with him to quail against the terrible radiance.
- Word of the Emperor - The psyker's belief in the power of the Emperor is so strong, it overpowers the minds and wills of the daemon and unbeliever. His holy liturgies and chants crush their puny psyches.
Although the Witchhunters of the Ordo Hereticus abhor the witch and unsanctioned psyker, many are not above using psychic abilities to accomplish their goals. Many claim their powers are a gift of the Emperor, and therefore acceptable to use. Others simply acknowledge that the ends always justify the means.
- His Will Be Done - The psyker's mind reaches out to the minds of his friends and allies. Emboldened by his indomitable will, they become furious manifestations of the Emperor's justice, able to strike with increased accuracy and damage.
- Hammer of Witches - The psyker reaches to the strings that connect a psyker to his source of power, the Warp. With a swift blow, he overwhelms the psyker's control of those strings, inviting the dangers of the Warp to engulf the psychic foe.
- Purgatus - The psyker's sinister gaze pins a Heretic in his sights, his potent will flaying the unfortunate’s mind until it is an empty husk. This is the fate of those who defy the God-Emperor, to be lost in mind as well as body.
Most psykers are able to master the ability to manipulate and move objects with their mind to some degree. Somewhat rarer, however, are the true psychokinetics, psykers able to lift cargo-eight haulers with a thought and hurl them at their enemies with a gesture.
- Lift - The most basic of the psychokinetic powers is the ability to move objects with one's mind, and it is an ability that can be used in a wide variety of ways.
- Barrier - The psyker's mind is so agile he is able to swat aside projectiles with a thought, causing them to deflect harmlessly mere inches from his skin.
- Tempest - The most powerful psychokinetics can agitate the very air around them, creating swirling vortexes of wind and debris. Though this power is arduous to maintain, the damage it can deal is truly devastating.
That the Warp can have an effect on the passage of time is well known. It is a phenomena experienced by those starship captains who have travelled short times in the Immaterium, only to arrive at their destination and discover standard centuries have passed in the rest of the galaxy. Less known and understood are those few psykers who use this aspect of the Warp to twist time to their own ends. Conventional wisdom of the Calixian representatives of the Scholastica Psykana holds that such psykers simply "speed up" or "slow down" the perceptions of themselves and their fellows, rather than actually manipulating the flow of space-time. Perhaps they can also see glimpses of future events, granting them a far better chance of success in certain actions, but no more. Their arguments are unconvincing, though the majority of the Calixian Conclave of the Inquisition accepts them -- perhaps because the potential ramifications of the alternatives are too terrible to contemplate.
- Precognition - One aspect of temporal manipulation that most often manifests in psykers is the ability of precognition -- an ability to see the myriad possibilities of the future. Even the strongest psykers can only see the possibilities of the next few moments of their life, and even then, only for a brief instant. However, that can often be enough to make a difference.
- Stasis Shell - The psyker creates a spherical area in which time seems to completely stop, leaving whatever is inside perfectly frozen in time. When the effect ends, the occupants do not realise any time has passed. The psyker selects a spherical area roughly three metres in diameter that is within range of his power. Anything fully within this area is effectively frozen in time, and may not take actions, move, speak, or do anything. In turn, however, they may not be harmed or affected by any means. Anything outside the area of the stasis shell may not enter or pass through the area affected by the shell, which is treated as an invulnerable barrier.
- Warp Time - The most powerful psychic adepts of the temporal arts are able to speed and slow the passage of time, both for themselves, their allies, and their enemies.
Notable Primaris Psykers Edit
- Cauldwelle - As one touched by the Warp but devoted to the Emperor, Primaris Psyker Cauldwelle knows better than most that the galaxy is not black and white. She also realises full well that had circumstances been slightly different, she might have been found wanting in the eyes of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica and condemned to death. Because of this, Cauldwelle is often willing to give others the benefit of the doubt that most commissioned officers of the Imperial Guard or senior Adepts of the Departmento Munitorum would deny. That said, Cauldwelle hates traitors just as any good Imperial citizen does, and realises the danger posed by mercy. Primaris Psyker Cauldwelle has a perhaps unique insight into the minds of traitors, but by sifting through the deepest thoughts of such individuals, she cannot help but catch an occasional grain of truth amongst the misguided and blasphemous beliefs. As one who cannot help but understand on some level the motivations of the Severan Dominate, Cauldwelle is secretly troubled by the sanctions taken by the Imperium. Fortunately for her, there are few other psykers who would be capable of revealing her own thoughts.
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pg. 33
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex)
- Codex: Imperial Guard (2nd Edition), pg. 78
- Codex Imperialis (2nd Edition), pg. 36
- Dark Heresy: Ascension (RPG), pp. 40-41, 78, 125-126, 128-134
- Only War: Final Testament (RPG), pg. 137