Cubicle 7’s upcoming Warhammer 40k RPG Imperium Maledictum allows players to create psyker characters, individuals who can draw on the perilous energy of the warp to power supernatural abilities. But according to senior producer Padraig Murphy, careless dabbling with the warp can have devastating consequences for the character, the adventuring party, and even the entire world.
Wargamer interviewed Murphy about Imperium Maledictum ahead of its release this Thursday. Players take on the role of acolytes in the service of a powerful patron within the hierarchy of the Imperium of Man. The Imperium relies on psykers for everything from communication to interstellar travel, and their supernatural abilities make them a valuable addition to any party.
Murphy explains the cost of using these powers in game: “As a Psyker you can unleash a psychic power right off the bat – Bam! But you build up something called warp charge. Once warp charge gets to a certain level it’s dangerous.”
Players will initially roll on the “psychic phenomenon table, a list of interesting but not disastrous effects”. If you’ve read any Warhammer 40k books featuring psykers you’ll be familiar with sudden frost, sourceless whispers, and blood dripping out of things that probably shouldn’t bleed in response to psychic disturbances.
There’s nothing to stop players drawing down more warp charge than they can safely control. Murphy says that once “you outstrip your warp threshold – which is based on your willpower bonus – you start making tests to keep all that power that you’ve been channelling”. Fail a test and you’ll roll on the “Perils of the Warp” table.
In the current Warhammer 40k rules, Perils of the Warp simply cause a few wounds to the psyker who messed up their power, as something from the beyond reaches into their mind. But according to Murphy, in Imperium Maledictum the Perils of the Warp table will cause problems “for everybody”.
“The worst possible result on the Perils of the Warp chart is a warp rift opening to the Immaterium somewhere on the planet. Maybe a greater daemon comes through. Maybe a space hulk emerges in orbit, something from the warp that hasn’t been seen for ages and that could have anything on it, that could be full of Orks or Tyranids. Or maybe just an all-consuming silence that, if you whisper into it, answers back.”
There is a way for the rest of the party to avoid the consequences of their psyker friend’s mistake, Murphy adds: “If you think your psyker buddy has lost control and is gonna have to roll on that table next turn you can put them down – you can administer the Emperor’s mercy”. We imagine there will be no love lost between the player controlling the psyker and the player controlling an Astra Militarum commissar with an itchy trigger finger.
Imperium Maledictum will be available to order in PDF form this Thursday. You can expect more news from our interview with Murphy this week, not to mention a transcript of the whole interview.
If you’re keen to play an RPG character from one of the Warhammer 40k factions and can’t wait ‘til Thursday, you could check out Cubicle 7’s current, high-octane Warhammer 40k RPG Wrath and Glory, which has a spot on our list of the best tabletop RPGs. Or check out the March 2023 Humble RPG bundle, which has the complete product line from four Warhammer 40k RPGs originally published by Fantasy Flight Games.