"Defy me, and I will split open your thoughts and sear your very soul."
- —Primaris Psyker Haddrin Malfumme
A Primaris Psyker is a powerful Human Sanctioned Psyker who plays an ordained role as a servant of the Imperium of Man, for they possess the willpower to fully control their abilities and not become a danger to others.
These rare and extraordinary individuals serve in the regiments of the Astra Militarum and among the ranks of the Inquisition 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 often 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 Astra Militarum 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 Force 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.
Of all the psykers judged under the uncompromising gaze of the Inquisition, only those whose mental fortitude is great enough have the merest glimmer of hope of becoming a Primaris Psyker in the Astra Militarum. Battle-psykers are by no means the most powerful of their kind, but even so, they walk a fine line between service to the Emperor and eternal damnation.
Every time they unleash their powers they risk predation from the denizens of the Warp -- Daemonic entities swarm to their bright psyker-soul like moths to a flame. Several fail-safes are therefore built into a psyker's wargear. Complex micro-circuitry and neuro-active wiring are connected to psychically-attuned crystals embedded in a psyker's hood or collar, designed to bleed away excess Warp energy.
Such precautions are not limited to the psyker's wargear alone and most have undergone cranial surgeries to implant neural inhibitors that limit the danger of Daemonic possession -- however, such devices tend to blunt the psyker's innate power as well.
When combined with a lifetime of training a Primaris Psyker has a reasonable chance of avoiding powerful psychic enemies and resisting Daemonic influences. For those who prove to be too weak, however, there is always the final safeguard, in the shape of the smoking muzzle of a Commissar's Bolt Pistol.
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 Astra Militarum 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 their mind probed by high level telepaths for any chinks in their 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 Grade psyker may have become a Gamma or even Beta Grade since they were 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 privilege 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 solar 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 Powers
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, they run the risk of attracting the unpleasant attention of its denizens.
If a psyker survives long enough to be elevated to the rank of primaris, they learn how to mask their presence from the Warp. A psyker can modulate, or fetter, their powers, reducing the Warp energy they siphon through their mind. Doing so has the drawback of reducing the sheer power behind the psyker's 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 they draw from the Warp, so can they exceed their limits and gather as much as their 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 their understanding in some periphery abilities to lapse, but what they sacrifice in breadth, they more than make up in depth.
The psykers who accompany the soldiery of the Astra Militarum perform a variety of battlefield roles, but each one is a deadly tool of war.
Whether channelling the energies of the Warp to protect and embolden their allies, or to confound and destroy the foe, each commands powers capable of turning the tide of battle.
The psyker focuses on summoning Warp lightning to smite their enemies or wreathe them 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 their fingertips, burning through their foes.
- Lightning Field - The psyker surrounds themselves in a cracking, sparking nimbus of electricity, daring their enemies to strike them.
- 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 Destruction
The psyker delights in the frenzied chaos of the melee, using their powers to turn themselves into an unstoppable, death-dealing berserker.
- Maelleus Hammerhead - The psyker's hands glow with otherworldly power as they are infused with a terrible strength. They are unable to hold any weapons, but they do not require them, as their fingers can gouge armour plating, and their fists can shatter ceramite.
- Enrage - The psyker reaches into the minds of their 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 their soul. At a thought, it flashes out from them and heats the blood of their 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 their skull.
At the apex of this power, the psyker's 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 them with their consciousness. All those present feel a strange sensation, like delicate fingers tracing the inside of their skull. Unless they are shielded from the psyker's 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 their consciousness into another, fighting through the target as if wearing their 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, the psyker effectively controls the possessed as if it were their 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 their 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 their self-generated holocausts, they must learn to endure the flames they create. Powerful psykers can summon flames from nothing, enveloping themselves in a roiling fire that never consumes them. Although the psyker is covered in fire, their clothing, weapons, and equipment are unharmed. While maintaining the Flameshroud, the psyker is immune to Flamer weapons; the fires surrounding them 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 themselves 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 them 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 them in all directions, indiscriminately incinerating anything in its path.
The Inquisitors and psychic Daemonhunters of the Ordo Malleus who possess Primaris Psyker abilities learn to turn their prodigious mental powers towards the destruction of their Warp-spawned adversaries.
- Banishment - The psyker focuses their mental powers on the bonds that tie the Daemon to the Immaterium, snapping it with their indomitable will.
- Sanctuary - The glory of the God-Emperor is channelled through the psyker, causing all who would strike them and those who stand with them 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. The psyker's holy liturgies and chants crush their foes' puny psyches.
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 their friends and allies. Emboldened by their 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 their sights, their 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-freight 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 they are able to swat aside projectiles with a thought, causing them to deflect harmlessly mere inches from the psyker's 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 their 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.
- Terrifying Visions - The psyker fills their enemies' minds with nightmarish images and visions of torment, seeking to send them fleeing in terror.
- Gaze of the Emperor - The psyker cages the immense power of the Immaterium within their physical form, and their eyes blaze with the Emperor's vengeful fury, unleashing pure psychic energy to smite the Master of Mankind's foes.
- Psychic Barrier - The psyker weaves an aegis of pure psychic energy around their allies, against which enemy fire sparks and spatters harmlessly.
- Nightshroud - Calling upon the power of the Empyrean, the psyker cloaks their allies in a flowing curtain of shadow, concealing them from the enemy.
- Mental Fortitude - Drawing on boundless reserves of inner strength, the psyker shields their allies' minds from mortal fears and the threat of sorcerous assault, dramatically improving morale.
- Psychic Maelstrom - The psyker unleashes the full telekinetic might of their mind, summoning a roiling psychic tempest that envelops their enemy, lifting them from the ground and wrenching them about like a rag doll.
Biomancers specialise in manipulating biological energy and processes with the power of their minds.
They are masters of the flesh, learning to shape and influence the physical forms of themselves, their allies or their enemies, according to their will.
- Smite - Lethal bolts of bio-lightning leap from the psyker's fingertips, tearing their foes apart.
- Iron Arm - By transmuting their flesh into living metal, the biomancer can wade through enemy fire unscathed and pulp skulls with their bare fists.
- Enfeeble - As the psyker channels their powers, tendrils of Warp energy lash over their victims, every caress sapping vitality from their bodies.
- Endurance - Reaching into the living essence of their allies, the biomancer knits together bones, heals flesh and banishes fatigue so that they carry on the fight.
- Life Leech - With a twist of their gnarled hands, the wrathful psyker rips the life force from their enemy, hoarding the stolen essence and using it to reinvigorate and restore their own injured flesh.
- Warp Speed - The power of the Immaterium flow into the psyker, heightening their speed to supernatural levels. A blur is the psyker amongst their enemies, felling the unrighteous with blows too swift to see.
- Haemorrhage - Focussing their mutant mind, the psyker reaches forth and sets a fire within their victim's flesh. Within moments, the unfortunate foe's blood begins to boil in its own veins, tearing them asunder as it bursts from every pore.
Diviners seek to discern the hidden past of the galaxy and know the course of events yet to come.
These abilities allow diviners to look into the twisting strands of the Immaterium in search of the answers they seek, and sometimes even influence the outcome of fate itself.
- Prescience - The psyker can effortlessly predict the paths of bullets and swords. By focussing their Warp-sight even more closely, they can guide their allies' aim, bringing a swift and merciless death to their foes.
- Foreboding - Thanks to their Warp-gifted insights, the psyker and their allies are aware that their foes are about to charge, even before the foes themselves have realised it.
- Misfortune - With a click of their fingers, the diviner twists fate so that their followers' blows punch through the weakest points in their opponents' armour.
- Perfect Timing - As soon as their consciousness pierces the veil of the Warp, a rush of images floods the diviner's mind, foretelling the actions of their enemies, down to the merest microsecond. Armed with this information, the diviner's allies can predict exactly when their foes will peer out from behind cover and expose themselves to a lethal head shot.
- Precognition - Having already witnessed the one true path to victory, the diviner strides across the battlefield like an avenging god of war. Whilst the premonitions run true, the psyker is all but undefeatable, proof against bullet and bolt, blade and bombardment. However, should their self-wrought prophecies fade, or turn false, the psyker will surely be doomed to ignominious defeat.
- Scrier's Gaze - The diviner can see the battlefield clearly in their mind's eye, with the vantage point of a hunting hawk and the precision of a laser. The to and fro of armies and war machines is but the scurrying of ants beneath their omniscient gaze. Thus can the diviner direct exactly when and where they are most needed, leaving no clue behind as to how this trickery was achieved.
A pyromancer is a master of fire and flame, a psyker who is able to create searing infernos out of thin air.
Pyromancy is one of the most spectacular and destructive forms of psychic ability, and those who face a pyromancer in combat are oft reduced to nought but a pile of charred bones.
- Flame Breath - A torrent of psychically-generated flames pour forth from the psyker's eyes and mouth, engulfing the target.
- Fiery Form - Bullets and shells pass straight through the pyromancer as they transform into an incandescent being of living Warpfire, striking out at their foes and setting their souls ablaze.
- Fire Shield - With a sweep of their arms the psyker throws up a towering wall of flame to protect their allies.
- Spontaneous Combustion - Focussing their anger, the pyromancer can melt or incinerate their foes in a heartbeat. Yet when the psyker's rage boils over, the unfortunate victim's body explodes in a blast of ash and roaring flame. Who can say how many will fall victim to the pyromancer's wrath before it is sated?
- Sunburst - The psyker sings a wild song whose notes were old when the universe was young. As the pyromancer does so, an incandescent aura appears about them, growing ever brighter and hotter with every refrain. Only when the song is ended does the aura explode, discharging its pent-up fury in a blinding, supernoval flash.
- Molten Beam - The pyromancer claps their hands together and turns them outward towards the foe. As they do so, a white-hot beam of blazing energy bursts from their palms. It melts armour to slag and vaporises flesh, leaving only ghastly shadows in its wake.
Telekines are able to manipulate the material world with the power of their minds, translating sheer mental power into physical force.
These psykers can lash their foes with psychic energy, erect invisible force shields to protect themselves and even rend apart the fabric of reality.
- Assail - Using nothing but the power of their mind, the psyker tears a boulder or rock from the ground and hurls it at the foe.
- Crush - By reaching out his arm and clenching his fist, the psyker entraps their foe in a choking and crushing mass of psychic force. Gritting his teeth, the psyker continues the assault until flesh, armour and bone alike are ground to powder.
- Gate of Infinity - The psyker punches a corridor through the roiling Immaterium, allowing them to cross great distances in the blink of an eye.
- Objuration Mechanicum - Weapons jam and engines seize up as the telekine uses their powers to wrench and twist the inner workings at the hearts of nearby machines.
- Shockwave - The psyker slams their palms together and the noise is magnified a hundredfold, releasing a shockwave that snaps bones and knocks foes off their feet.
- Telekine Dome - Bullets bounce off of thin air and are deflected alarmingly towards friendly forces as the psyker erects a barrier of shimmering psychic energy about themselves.
- Vortex of Doom - The telekine opens a tear between the material realm and the howling destruction of the Warp, unleashing energies that utterly consume their foes.
- 1 Primaris Psyker
Notable Primaris Psykers
- 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.
|Astra Militarum Hierarchy|
|General Officers||Lord Commander Militant • Warmaster (Lord Solar) • Lord Commander • Lord General Militant • Lord General • General|
|Officers||Colonel • Major • Captain • Lieutenant|
|Non-Commissioned Officers and Enlisted||Sergeant • Corporal • Trooper (Guardsman)|
|Specialists||Inquisitor • Commissar • Priest • Tech-Priest • Enginseer • Sanctioned Psyker • Primaris Psyker • Wyrdvane Psyker|
- Codex: Astra Militarum (8th Edition), pp. 69, 92
- Codex: Astra Militarum (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), "HQ-Primaris Psyker"
- 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
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 418-422