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"What can a man know of the Universe who knows not his own mind?"

Book of the Astronomican
Imperial Psyker2

An Imperial Sanctioned Psyker utilising his latent abilities.

A Sanctioned Psyker is a Human psyker who plays an ordained role as a servant of the Imperium of Man, for they have the rare willpower to control their abilities and not become a danger to others. A Sanctioned Psyker's exact role in Imperial society depends on the psychic powers they manifest and the strength of their character and will.

The Scholastica Psykana, the training division of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, is a vast teaching institution devoted to the training of young Imperial psykers, who are taught how to develop and control their powers to serve the Imperium.

Most of the psyker recruits are drawn from the levy collected by the Black Ships, others are handed over by the Inquisition, the Adeptus Arbites or through other Imperial channels. The future of each psyker depends on their innate talents and the strength of their character.

Initial evaluation by the adepts of the Astra Telepathica divides the levy into several groups depending on their natural psychic strength, individual character and willingness to learn. The youngest psykers are preferred by the Scholastica Psykana, as these frightened boys and girls are the easiest to train and indoctrinate. Such psykers are soul-bound to the Emperor, a psychic ritual that hardens their minds and souls against possession by the Daemonic entities of the Warp. It is invariably those psykers recruited as children who are given further training to fill important positions in the Imperium as Sanctioned Psykers.

Astropaths are the most common Sanctioned Psykers in the Imperium, having escaped the cruel fate that awaits those without the strength of mind to control their powers, or the will and determination to survive the Imperium's strict training regimes for psykers.


"I have stood within the palace of the Throne on Holy Terra itself. There my soul was shattered and re-formed, a living weapon forged on the Emperor's will."

—Primary Psyker Thassail Kain

A Sanctioned Psyker using his abilities to hold back the Craftworld Aeldari.

No one knows exactly when the first Human psykers appeared; that information has been lost to the ravages of time, though it seems likely to have been just before the start of the Age of Strife. But one thing is certain -- their emergence changed the fate of Mankind forever. Psykers are both the greatest boon and curse that has afflicted Humanity.

The Emperor Himself is the most powerful psyker the Human species has ever seen. Even ten thousand standard years after the Emperor was placed into His golden sarcophagus, psykers continue to fuel the Imperium. Each solar day, innumerable souls are shipped to Terra in the Black Ships of the Inquisition. Once there they have the honour of becoming one with the Emperor's Golden Throne, thus allowing His light to spread across the galaxy in the form of the psychic beacon of the Astronomican so that the Imperium may endure.

Despite the benefits they bring to the Imperium, an undiscovered or unsanctioned psyker can place entire populations and planets in danger. Psykers' essences glow brightly in the Warp, like bait on a line, and they draw malignant entities to that glow. Psykers weak in mind or untrained in the mental protective arts can be easily tainted, and in the worst cases possessed by Daemonic entities and used as a gateway between realspace and the Warp.

A Sanctioned Psyker, summoning forth his telekinetic powers

A Sanctioned Psyker, summoning forth his telekinetic powers.

To be a sanctioned and approved psyker within the Imperium is to be one of a select few. The vast majority of psykers in the Imperium are deemed too unstable to train and too weak-willed to resist the corruption the Warp can spew into their unprotected minds. These hapless souls are rounded up on the great Black Ships of the Inquisition and taken to sacred Terra itself. There, they are sacrificed in unimaginable numbers, either to power the Astronomican, the psychic beacon that guides the Imperium's voidships through the Warp, or to sustain the continued existence of the God-Emperor.

The Scholastica Psykana serves as the training organisation for the psykers of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica. The supreme task of the Scholastica Psykana is to ensure that Mankind is protected from psykers who would misuse their gifts. Therefore, all psykers are collected by the infamous Black Ships of the Inquisition and rigorously tested upon Terra to cull the most dangerously weak-willed, mad, and otherwise unsuitable from the rest.

Those who survive this testing are separated according to the needs of the Adeptus Terra. Some psykers are destined to be given to the Adeptus Astronomica, their minds and life energies consumed by the luminous power of the Astronomican, the Emperor's psychic beacon that shines in the Warp and allows Navigators to find a path through the Immaterium.

More powerful psykers undergo the ritual of Soul Binding, their eyes burned out as they join the ranks of the astropaths whose telepathic communications hold the Imperium together.

From amongst the strongest psykers, a rare few are selected as suitable for advanced combat training as battle-psykers, and are conditioned to use their bizarre abilities to smite the Emperor's foes in the fires of war among the ranks of the Astra Militarum as Primaris Psykers.

Measuring Psychic Ability[]

"Imagine knowing there was a door to the realm of daemons, and the slightest inattention on your behalf would see them batter it down and rip you to shreds. Now imagine that door is inside your head. That's what being a psyker is like."

—Castus Lupa, Savant Adjunct

A Sanctioned Psyker of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, serving the Inquisition.

Psychic ability in Humans typically manifests between the ages of ten and twenty Terran years, though there are psykers who have emerged in infancy or later in life. What triggers latent psychic ability is unknown to Imperial scholars, though not for lack of trying. Only the rare Human psyker is mentally strong enough to "stand alone" against the terrible dangers inherent in possessing psychic abilities.

Even the majority of the strongest-willed psykers still require a great deal of training to effectively utilise their abilities. In order to be properly trained, each psyker needs to go through a reckoning of their powers. Assessing the capabilities of a psyker is a difficult and imprecise art. The primary consideration is the psyker's strength against predation and corruption from the Warp.

Sanctioneers have many ways of measuring this peculiar strength of will, from demanding standard years of devotional training, to simply intuiting with a glance. Those deemed weak and pliable are granted the Emperor's mercy, or sent to join the throngs of psychic martyrs on Holy Terra who will power the Astronomican with their life energies.

Those who have the strength to resist the maddening touch of the Warp and exhibit some control over their gifts are then divided into groups and types, according to their powers, raw ability and finesse. Some are soul bound and become astropaths. Others avoid this limiting of their abilities and are sent out by the Adeptus Astra Telepathica to serve in various roles and to study under the auspice of the Scholastica Psykana.

Each tradition or branch of the Scholastica Psykana has a different method for measuring psychic ability. Some grade the individual on raw power; from the flickering power of an Omicron Grade psyker, to the world-shattering awe of the Alpha Grade psyker. Others prefer to group their novices by the psychic discipline they study, whilst others still rate the psyker on the level of training and finesse they have attained. This rating might follow a scientific numeral system, depend on mystical degrees of initiation, or use any method in between.

However it is measured, the psyker is expected to study the traditions, disciplines, powers and obligations of the Scholastica Psykana with the utmost devotion.

Example Scholastica Psykana Calixis Rank Measurements[]

Psy Rating Telekine Telepath/Diviner Biomancer Pyromancer
1 Grammatican The Crimson Aeon Novice Carnate Ignis
2 Rhetorite The Golden Aeon Novice Sanguis Cauterite
3 Dilectate The Silver Aeon Novice Cognate Pyrist
4 Trigmestus The Hermetic Aeon Novice Tuitus Cinorator
5 Quadrivite The Silent Aeon Novice Spiritus Incandate
6 Iptissimus The Spectral Aeon Novice Tenebrae Crematist

Using Psychic Abilities[]

"When you stare into the Warp, the Warp stares back into you."

—Scholastica Psykana aphorism

To use a psychic power, a psyker directs their will into the chaotic sea of the Immaterium, pulling forth power from the Warp to create an effect in realspace.

Psychic Phenomena[]

When a psyker focuses their power they invite the very essence of the Warp into the real universe, altering natural laws and probability in local space-time to cause such things as frost to suddenly and instantaneously cover nearby surfaces, ghostly whispers to fill the air and statues to weep tears of blood.

These psychic disturbances are rarely dangerous (most of the time). However, they do instantly alert others to the presence of the psyker and even harmless effects can cause the superstitious citizens of the Imperium to flee in terror.


A psyker sometimes channels more Warp energy than they require to manifest a power. In most cases they bleed off the excess into the Immaterium and it is lost. However, with some powers it is possible to funnel this additional energy directly into manifesting greater effects in realspace.

Psychic Powers[]

"Power corrupts?"

—Traditional meditation of the Scholastica Psykana

A Sanctioned Psyker Psykinetic wielding a Force Staff in defence of Hive Tertium on Atoma Prime from the Darktide and the Nurglish Chaos Cult called the Admonition.

The following is a presentation of an assortment of the most common psychic powers used in the Imperium. These are certainly not all of the powers that might be found, even within the specific disciplines. The Imperium is a vast and strange place and nearly anything is possible.

Minor Powers[]

While psykers may aspire to mastering the psychic disciplines, the reality is that most never rise far above only being able to manifest minor powers and effects. This plethora of lesser abilities is collectively known as "minor" psychic powers and often forms the standard arsenal of most Imperial Sanctioned Psykers.

Unlike the more powerful psychic "disciplines," these powers are relatively easy to learn and use. Minor psychic powers are tricks and knacks that those with even a shadow of psychic ability can learn.

They are nothing compared to the "true" disciplines, but are useful nonetheless:

  • Call Creatures - A psyker can call a number of simple-minded creatures within range to travel to their location. Creatures called depend on the nature of the environment, though the sorts of creatures called may include rats, ash slugs and other kinds of vermin.
  • Call Item - A psyker can summon a specially-prepared item to instantly appear in their hand. To prepare the object, they must spend one solar hour in deep meditation, infusing the object with their psychic imprint, and marking it with glyphs and runes. The object must be small and light enough to be carried in one hand. The psyker may only have one prepared item at a time.
  • Chameleon - A psyker can cause reality to blur around themselves, distorting their image and allowing them to blend in with their surroundings.
  • Déjà vu - A psyker can create a brief memory loop in the mind of the target, causing their thoughts to slip back several solar seconds in time. The psyker must be able to see the target and they must be within the range of the power to be affected.
  • Distort Vision - With this power, a psyker disappears and their image reappears in another space no more than 10 metres away.
  • Dull Pain - A psyker can nullify the pain of any creature, including themselves.
  • Fearful Aura - A psyker twists reality in such a way as to make themselves appear more sinister and dangerous. The psyker becomes the source of dread for anyone who looks upon them.
  • Flash Bang - A psyker can create a bright flash of light and a deafening bang.
  • Float - A psyker can focus their concentration and slowly begin to lift off the ground. They can only move up and down while under the effects of this power, and cannot rise higher than 5 metres.
  • Forget Me - A psyker becomes instantly forgettable to a single creature within range. They can't seem to recall having met the psyker before that very instant and the psyker can effectively suppress all memories of their previous encounters.
  • Healer - A psyker channels their power into a single target to knit flesh and mend bones. They may only use this power on a willing target, including themselves.
  • Ill Omen - Drawing on Mankind's natural, and often quite justified, superstitious fears, the psyker bleeds just a miniscule drop of the Warp's influence into the real world. The result, while perhaps logically explainable, nonetheless instills a deep unease in those who witness it -- an unmistakable sense of worse things to come. The exact nature of the omen could take any number of forms, including a raven crying three times, a small plant wilting instantaneously, a disturbingly familiar patina of rust, animals spooking with no apparent cause, or anything else that might unnerve the target.
  • Inflict Pain - A psyker causes a person to be wracked with agony, filling their minds with unspeakable pain.
  • Inspiring Aura - A psyker seems to glow with an inner light and all those around them are filled with confidence and good will.
  • Knack - A psyker taps into their unconscious to awaken a deeper understanding of their capabilities, temporarily enhancing a physical or mental skill.
  • Lucky - It is said that luck acts strangely around psykers, no doubt in part due to powers like this one, which can alter the probabilities of certain events in realspace.
  • Precognition - A psyker gets a fuzzy picture of what will occur a few moments into the future. As they draw nearer to the event, the picture becomes clearer.
  • Psychic Stench - By momentarily handling an item, a psyker imbues it with an unnatural psychic smell. Anyone coming within five metres of the tainted item will smell it, regardless of barriers or other smells present. What a person smells when around an item affected by psychic stench depends on what they find most distasteful, so the aroma can vary greatly. As the smell only exists in a person's mind, it will also affect creatures that do not have a sense of smell or have had their physical sense of smell impaired.
  • Resist Possession - A psyker creates mental wards to shield his mind from possession by the malign denizens of the Warp.
  • Suggestion- Although a far cry from the mind-influencing techniques of a trained telepath, many wyrds and nascent psykers possess a preternatural ability to convince others of small falsehoods. As with many of the powers such psykers evince, this is a useful survival mechanism, allowing the psyker to evade detection.
  • Sense Presence - Reaching out with their mind, a psyker gets a vague inkling of the location of other life forms within range of the power. The psyker automatically detects all living creatures in the area.
  • Spasm - A psyker causes a target's muscles to spasm.
  • Spectral Hands - A psyker creates an invisible telekinetic force that they can use to manipulate any object within 30 metres.
  • Staunch Bleeding - A psyker causes themselves or another creature within range to halt blood loss.
  • Torch - By burning the very stuff of their thoughts, a psyker can create a ball of glowing psy-flame. The light cast by Torch is equivalent to a glow-lamp. The flame may issue from any point on the psyker's body. The flame is roughly the size of their palm, and pulses slightly in time with their heartbeat. It may be coloured according to the psyker's whim. The light produces no heat.
  • Touch of Madness - A psyker reaches into the mind of a target within range and forces them to believe something that just isn't true.
  • Trick - A psyker subtly influences the fields of probability flowing around them, making them especially good at cheating at games of chance.
  • Unnatural Aim - A psyker draws upon the power of the Warp to guide their aim when throwing something or firing a weapon.
  • Wall Walk - A psyker bends gravity to their will. They negate all penalties incurred by low- or high-gravity worlds. In addition, they can walk on walls or ceilings for as long as this power is active. The psyker moves across such surfaces at half their normal rate of speed.
  • Warp Howl - A psyker sends out a long, keening screech throughout the Warp that tears through into reality in a cacophonous burst, sonically injuring those nearby.
  • Weaken Veil - A psyker weakens the fabric of space within 30 metres by drawing the Immaterium closer, which can make other psychic powers easier to manifest and more potent.
  • Weapon Jinx - A psyker reaches into nearby machines with their mind to scramble their circuitry. All mechanical devices within range cease to function.
  • White Noise - A psyker fills the local Warp with static, fouling psychic detection and making technological sensors less reliable.
  • Wither - A psyker causes a vile wave of invisible pestilence to emerge from his body, extending out to the range of the power. The wave withers all normal plant life in the area in a matter of moments, leaving the area barren and utterly dead.

Psychic Disciplines[]

There are a number of different groupings of psychic abilities, which are referred to as psychic "disciplines" by the scholars of the Imperium.

Because each psychic discipline requires a certain type of training and, well, discipline, it is easier by far for a psyker to learn multiple powers from one discipline then try to learn from another. Mastering a specific psychic discipline is considered to be a great milestone for a psyker.



A biomancer is a master of the psychic control of biological functions.

Biomancers specialise in manipulating bio-electrical energy with their minds. They are masters of the flesh, learning to shape and direct their bodies according to their wills.

Biomancers are often considered venal souls. Most are viewed with no small amount of jealousy, as they freely feast and drink, yet maintain a healthy, toned physique.

  • Bio-Lightning - A biomancer channels their life force through the meridians of their body, causing their form to crackle with living energy. They may direct this energy against a single target within a 10-metre-range.
  • Blood Boil - With a rhythmic crushing gesture, a biomancer tunes into an enemy's body, flexing their heart muscles to accelerate their pulse. This continues until their blood pressure reaches lethal levels. As the biomancer continues to exert their will, blood vessels begin to rupture, causing haemorrhaging across the target's body.
  • Cellular Control - A biomancer learns various ways of transcending their body's natural limitations by balancing their humours, modifying cellular structure and meditating upon the meridians of their body. This power enables the individual to achieve any one of the following effects:
    • Gain immunity to all poisons and other toxins.
    • Ignore the effects of extremes of temperature.
    • Count as though wearing a void suit in vacuum (though the biomancer still needs to breathe). Unlike most powers, a biomancer can manifest this power multiple times in a short period of time.
  • Constrict - With a word, thought or gesture, a biomancer can command the flesh of their target to sharply contract. The target's windpipe closes, choking them and cutting off their breath.
  • Enhanced Senses - With a moment's thought, a biomancer forces their senses into impossible feats of perception that can only be equalled among Humans by the biomechanically augmented.
  • Hammerhand - Biomancers who have learned to channel the fierce power of the Warp into their limbs can eventually master the art of letting the energy of the Immaterium flow unhindered through their body, phenomenally increasing their fighting capabilities through superhuman enhancements to physical strength, endurance and dexterity. The biomancer's body becomes a lethal engine, capable of shredding flesh and bone as if they were tissue paper. Such power comes at a cost though, for there is no subtlety to the Hammerhand.
  • Regenerate - One of the pinnacles of a biomancer's abilities, this power allows a biomancer to knit their wounded flesh back together at a phenomenal rate, letting them or their targets swiftly overcome any non-fatal injury. This is a hard ability to master, but the rewards are great -- the power of Regenerate can eventually even regrow lost limbs and organs.
  • Seal Wounds - A biomancer focuses their power to repair their damaged flesh or that of anyone else who is wounded within 10 metres. Ragged wounds fuse and cuts vanish. Broken bone knits together, and burnt skin sloughs away as fresh tissue grows beneath.
  • Shape Flesh - Learning to unleash Shape Flesh is the point where a biomancer's flesh and will become indistinguishable -- the goal of many a biomancer. Shape Flesh allows an individual to twist their physical frame in nearly any way they can imagine.
  • Toxic Siphon - A biomancer draws poisons and other toxins from the flesh of themselves or others. This has the same effect as taking a dose of de-tox.


"I've dreamed many dreams before, but never like this. They're normally... Well, they're normally nicer, with delicious food and flowers and comforting colours. Ooh! And the songs to warm the heart and lighten the soul. I like songs. But there isn't any music in this dream. Everything's loud, and angry, and has sharp teeth. My beloved insists that I am not to worry. That the dream, and everything within it, will unfold precisely as it should. I'm sure it will."

—A diviner

A diviner utilising the power of psychometry on a long-dead body.

Diviners seek to discern the hidden past and know the course of future events. Their abilities allow them to look into the Immaterium to find the answers they seek. Their art is horribly taxing, though. The Warp lies heavy on diviners; many of them are morose and sullen individuals. Insanity is common amongst their ranks.

Divination is the most widely known psychic discipline, mainly due to use of the Emperor's Tarot.

  • Divine Shot - Using this power enables a diviner to make near-impossible ranged shots, allowing them to strike virtually any target they can perceive. They must concentrate on a single firearm or other missile weapon in their possession and the ammunition it carries before casting their psychic gaze into the Warp to search down the near-infinite paths of potential future trajectories. When they finds the one they seek, the diviner shoots, and while the damage to the target may vary, the attack cannot be avoided in any way. In effect, a diviner automatically hits any one target they can see regardless of range. Only one shot automatically hits, even if the diviner is using a semi-automatic or automatic weapon.
  • Dowsing - By focusing their mind the diviner can single out an object or person somewhere in their immediate vicinity, pushing aside all other distractions until they can unerringly find it. First the psyker must choose an item or person to be the subject of the power. This can be anything, but it must be a specific item. Once the pysker has chosen their subject, they attempt to use the power. The following factors can determine how effective this power proves to be:
    • The diviner is intimately familiar with the subject (an object they have been carrying for a long time or a person they know well).
    • They have a portion of the subject (a lock of a person's hair, a stone chip from a statue).
    • The subject is within 100 metres.
    • The subject is over 500 metres away.
    • The subject is surrounded by others of its kind (i.e. a person in a crowd, a key in a drawer full of keys).
  • Far Sight - Some diviners are capable of opening their inner eye to clairvoyantly perceive events that occur at places far away from them. Far Sight may be used to make the psyker aware of a single space anywhere within a 1 kilometre range of this power. The psyker need not be aware of the destination; they merely need to identify how far away they need to cast their senses (for example: "I look two kilometres to the west."). Should the point a diviner selects be inside a solid object, such as a wall, tree, cliff face or the like, the power simply fails. The psyker may use Far Sight to cast their clairvoyant view inside buildings, bodies of water, pockets of gas and so on without impediment.
  • Glimpse - A diviner peers into the future, sensing the manifold web of different possible pathways and potential outcomes.
  • Precognitive Strike - Like a spider on a web, a diviner is able to sense disturbances to their immediate future. This ability to read possible outcomes lets them anticipate the movement of their opponents.
  • Precognitive Dodge - A diviner may manipulate universal probability to their own advantage. The threads of their immediate future appear clearly in their mind. The diviner has the power to dodge projectiles before they've been fired. When the diviner manifests this power, they can walk into combat with what appears to be astounding grace (or incredible luck), weaving their way through fields of gunfire without a scratch.
  • Preternatural Awareness - Casting their perception from the limited vessel of their bodily senses, a diviner gains an unnatural awareness of the world around themselves. Their eyes roll white within their sockets and their senses roam about themselves, at once glancing above, behind, before and sideways. They also gain impressions of future events, granting them uncanny accuracy in anticipating what is to come.
  • Psychometry - Intense displays of emotion leave a psychic "residue" on objects and places exposed to them. Similarly, anything that has been actively carried or used by an individual for a long time will eventually pick up similar psychic impressions. With this power, a diviner can read the psychometric traces that others leave behind, giving them images directly connected to the place or object in question. These traces often take the form of sensory data. For example, a diviner may taste the hot blood-tang of murder, or smell the rank sweat-stench of desperation. A diviner may use this power in one of two ways. First, they may use it to divine the impressions of an object, or, second, they may use it to divine psychic impressions in an area. In the case of the former, they must be handling the object. In the case of the latter, they may divine any pertinent details that occurred within a number of metres equal to the strength of their will. The quality and nature of the information depends on how long a diviner sustains the power. The psyker derives a new piece of information depending on how much time is spent handling an object or concentrating on an area.
  • Peronal Augury - Personal Augury allows a diviner to peer into the fate of a single, willing target. They might warn the querant of impending dangers, opportunities and even divine specific advice for their client. To begin the augury, a diviner clasps the hands of their client, and asks them to specify a circumstance that they wish divined. This may be as detailed as, "What terrors does the headquarters of the Barbed Chalice hold?" or as vague as, "How can I please my Inquisitor?" The more precise the question, the more specific the reading may be. Once the question is established, the diviner and client spend the next thirty solar minutes using his Psychic-foci. This may be reading the Emperor's Tarot, casting runes, examining entrails, or any other such act of divination that can be used by the diviner to focus their power.
  • Soul Sight - Diviners are said to be able to read a person's shifting aura, the ghost self of their soul they unconsciously project into the Warp. From observing the nature of this aura, they can learn many things about a person's emotions and feelings: from their current emotions, to habitual moods, to their levels of injury, and even any addictions or mental illnesses they may suffer from. When this power is manifested, the diviner may try to read the aura of any person they can see. The diviner must manifest this power each time they wish to view an additional person's aura.



A pyromancer manifesting their innate abilities to produce flame.

Deemed by the majority of Imperial scholars (those who are at liberty to discuss such matters, that is) to be both the most common and the most limited of psychic disciplines, Pyromancy is the art of spontaneously creating and controlling fire manifested in realspace from Warp energy.

Students of this discipline are known as pyromancers or pyrokinetics. Less charitable souls, and some of those who've been on the receiving end of their abilities, frequently refer to them as "pyromaniacs." Few indeed, however, question the effectiveness of a master pyrokinetic on the battlefield.

  • Blinding Flash - A pyromancer focuses blazing mental energy into a single point within their mind before releasing it all in a burst of searing, bright light, blinding anyone who sees them and is within a 12-metre range. Those with appropriate glare shielding and beings that don't have visual sensory organs are immune.
  • Burning Fist - With intense concentration, a pyromancer wreathes their hands in waves of shimmering flame which can be unleashed if they strike a foe.
  • Call Flame - One of the first powers commonly learned in this discipline is to summon fire with thought. This allows a pyromancer to conjure a small flame (about the size and intensity of a burning torch) into their palm. The primary purpose of this power is not to attack, but rather it is used to set things alight or as fuel for other pyrokinetic powers, such as Sculpt Flame. While this power is in effect, the psyker cannot use their hand for anything else besides holding the flame.
  • Douse Flames - It takes a potent psychic mind to deny the natural tendency of flames to run out of control. Douse Flames allows a pyromancer to instantly extinguish all fires within range as well as interfere with fire-based weapons such as Flamers, causing them not to function for as long as they are within range of the power, although their fuel may still spray forth, depending on the design of the weapon. Note that chemically flammable substances, such as promethium, that burn continuously once exposed to the air, burst back into flame the moment the power's effect ends or as soon as the chemical is brought outside of range.
  • Fire Bolt - Fire Bolt allows a pyromancer to create bolts of flame with their mind and hurl them at their foes. The appearance of these flames is up to the will of the individual -- for example, searing white light or green-black spheres of obscenity-mouthing faces. The pyromancer can direct the bolt at any target they can see within a 100-metre range.
  • Fire Storm - Fire Storm instantly creates an intense conflagration about a pyromancer's target as the air itself ignites, burning all within to cinders. The pyromancer can manifest a Fire Storm anywhere within range to a point they have line of sight to.
  • Holocaust - Holocaust is a legendary ability that few pyrokinetics are strong enough to even wield, much less have the courage to use. Holocaust calls forth a raging white-hot firestorm ignited by the psyker's own soul. The flames of a Holocaust burn across dimensions, affecting the entities of the Immaterium as well as material beings, but the cost is high as the psyker risks losing his own soul to the fury of the conflagration.
  • Incinerate - Incinerate allows a pyromancer to generate intense heat as well as flame. By psychically agitating the molecules in a tightly focused area, they create an effect even more devastating than a Meltagun. However, Incinerate requires a psyker to concentrate on a single point, making it difficult to use against non-stationary targets. The range of this ability is 10 metres.
  • Sculpt Flame - A pyromancer controls the shape of the fires burning around them. With this power, they can intensify any flames or shape them to assume any appearance they desire. A successful use of this power allows them to unleash any of the following effects with an existing fire:
    • Double a fire's area (assuming there are combustibles in range).
    • Diminish a fire's area by half.
    • Spread fire into a number of 1-metre squares in any direction.
    • Create crude shapes that resemble creatures, body parts, people or objects.
    • Cause a fire to burst, requiring all adjacent targets to catch fire.
    • Cause a fire to spew smoke, filling three times the area of the fire (treat as fog).
  • Wall of Fire - A relatively blunt, but effective, ability in the pyrokinetic's arsenal, this power allows the psyker to place an immobile barrier of flame that lingers for as long as it is willed into existence. The wall is three metres high and a metre thick and can be up to ten metres long.


"It seems that no matter how low I set my expectations, it can always get worse... A lifetime spent in the mire, hiding from the witchseekers and the bigots in the most desolate places the Imperium of Man has to offer."

—Anonymous Loner Psykinetic

A telekine can manipulate the physical world using only the power of their minds.

The art of the Telekinetic Discipline is to translate mental energy from the Warp into physical force in realspace. Wielders of these powers are known as the "telekine" and the "psykinetic" and they readily break the laws of physics with their abilities. Telekine are notorious for their forceful personalities, which, while unpleasant to deal with, are fairly understandable.


An icon used by the Inquisition to identify Sanctioned Psyker Psykinetics in service as Acolytes to the Ordo Hereticus on the Moebian Domain Hive World of Atoma Prime.

Psykers' abilities are tied to the disciplines they learn to stave off madness and control their otherworldly gifts. Such disciplines run the gamut from showstopping to subtle, depending on the psyker's personality and tutelage. Psykinetics manipulate Empyrean forces with the power of their mind, repurposing it to crush heads and inflict gnawing agony on their victims. They leave a trail of mangled bodies in their wake -- most of whom never even had a chance to react to their danger.

In many places, there is a common image of the telekine as a pallid, unfit and spoilt individual. In reality, telekinetics often suffer intense migraines, nose bleeds and high blood pressure as a result of the intense concentration required to focus their powers.

  • Catch Projectiles - A telekine can use their telekinetic abilities to catch incoming projectiles. This power only works against solid projectiles and so directed energy attacks can penetrate the telekinetic shield normally.
  • Fling - A telekine can telekinetically lift an unattended object from the ground and fling it at a target. They may lift up to 5 kilograms or even more depending on their force of will.
  • Force Barrage - This power functions as Force Bolt except a telekine creates one bolt or more bolts. They may fire each bolt when they manifests this power.
  • Force Bolt - A telekine uses this power to hurl a single burst of tangible mental force at their opponent.
  • Precision Telekinesis - If telekinesis is a sledgehammer, then Precision Telekinesis is a scalpel. This ability allows a telekine to achieve far more subtle effects with telekinetic force. At its most basic, this power can pull the pins on grenades, press buttons, jog triggers, undo latches and direct small projectiles to deadly effect. Essentially, with this power, a telekine can manipulate any objects as if they were physically handling them.
  • Psychic Blade - A phenomenally complicated ability to master, this power allows a telekine to project their will as a blade of psychic force. Because the blade is formed of psychic energy, it can be formed almost impossibly thin, as little as a molecule thick. A Psychic Blade can thus shear through almost any physical object with ease, and is capable of cutting through most forms of armour as if they were made of cloth. The Psychic Blade is a terribly dangerous weapon to use, though, for any stray thoughts can misdirect it with devastating effect.
  • Psychic Crush - A telekine can direct his telekinetic power directly against his opponents, wrapping them in bands of force that constrict and crush the life out of them. Once manifested, the psyker may use this power against any target within a 10-metre range.
  • Push - A telekine can gather a damaging ball of telekinetic force and direct it against any single target within range.
  • Telekinesis - Telekinesis is the ability to use the strength of one's will to move physical inanimate objects around.
  • Telekinetic Shield - A telekine erects a field of telekinetic energy about themselves. Note that whatever its hue, the shield only produces a gentle shimmer in the air. It is not opaque and cannot block the psyker's opponent's line of sight, though it will stop both physical and directed energy attacks.



A telepath is among the strongest of Sanctioned Psykers, as they can manipulate and dominate the minds of all those around them.

The Discipline of Telepathy allows the practitioner to contact and control the minds of others. From outright mental domination to subtle perceptual effects, the telepath can shape and mould Human thoughts with but a whim.

For all this power, telepaths tend towards misanthropic depression. All too easily they can detect the foetid overspill of thought and emotion that oozes from the Human mind, leaving them under no illusions about the nobility of Human souls. As they grow in skill, many telepaths are unable to completely shut out the constant low-level chatter of other sapient minds. Consequently many develop great loathing for crowds of people.

Alongside this constant irritation, telepaths face another peril as they practise their art. By immersing themselves in another person's mind, they can often "catch" personality traits, mad beliefs or even psychic corruption. Sometimes a telepath can lose their self entirely, becoming little more than a mirror of those around them, a tragic figure with dim memories of the individual they once were. Such telepaths are often given the mercy of mind cleansing and reassignment as some form of servitor.

  • Beastmaster - A telepath may stretch out their thoughts to animals, becoming able to perceive their emotions and establish a rudimentary form of communication. The relative simplicity of an animal's mind allows the telepath to dominate them. Affected animals must follow the psyker's every command. When the psyker manifests this power, select one animal within an 8-metre range. The psyker is able to give an animal a command, but the command must be simple, such as "come," "guard," "flee," "heel," "attack" and so on. The animal follows the command to the best of its ability.
  • Compel - One of the most direct of all "psyker mind tricks," Compel allows a telepath to force others into briefly acting against their own will. Compel is a highly versatile power, useful for both subtle and blatant effects. The nature of the command must be simple. Good commands include "flee," "attack that target," "dance a jig," and so on.
  • Dominate - One of the most infamous of all telepathic abilities, a telepath reaches out with their mind to seize total control of another's body.
  • Inspire - A telepath bolsters their comrades by subtly implanting images of great courage, and masking various negative emotional stimuli, allowing them to swiftly shake off fears and doubts.
  • Mind Scan - With this power, a telepath can read a target's mind, probing whatever secrets are hidden therein. They must touch the target for this power to work, which can prove problematic or difficult, unless clever methods are employed.
  • Projection - A telepath can send out their disembodied mind and spirit, allowing them to touch other minds from a great distance away. A telepath projects a "mental self," which they can shape to look like whatever they choose. The projection can travel at great speed, literally the speed of thought, but it can also be vary dangerous as creatures native to the Immaterium and other psykers may be able to directly attack the projecting psyker's mind. Whilst using Projection, the telepath is completely unaware of what is happening with their physical body. This power lets a telepath communicate with any creature they know well (such as a companion or their Inquisitor or other superior), and is somewhere within the same solar system. A far more powerful version of this power was used by Primarch Magnus the Red to make contact with the Emperor of Mankind deep beneath the Imperial Palace on Terra in the days just before the start of the Horus Heresy. Magnus sought to warn his father about the coming treachery of his brother, the Warmaster Horus, but his action revealed his own violation of the Decree Imperial against the use of psychic sorcery laid down at the Council of Nikaea. These events ultimately resulted in the Fall of Prospero.
  • Psychic Shriek - A voice's volume is limited to the realities of vocal capacity and a listener's ability to hear. Minds have no such limitation. With this power, the psyker gathers their will and launches it as a blast of screaming mental energy designed to overload biological nervous systems and knock one or more targets unconscious.
  • See Me Not - A telepath erases their presence from the minds of others. This power is more than just "invisibility"; targets that this power has been used successfully on literally cannot perceive the telepath at all. While they may suspect that someone else is present, they can only react to the effects of what the telepath does. For example, a telepath could punch a guard while using this ability. The guard would know that he had been hit by "something" and would certainly do his best to find the source of the attack, in hopes of stopping a second blow, but he would look right through the telepath while he was searching.
  • Telepathy - A telepath can send their thoughts directly into the minds of those around them. The telepath can choose to send this message to one or more persons in a select group of individuals, which is known as a "placed sending," or can transmit their thoughts to anyone within a 1-kilometre range, an art known as "broadcasting."
  • Terrify - A telepath dredges up a person's worst nightmare and projects it directly into their mind, causing them to flee screaming.

Closer Than Flesh[]

Telepathy is an intimate act, more personal and affecting in some ways than any petty communion of the body. To slip into the consciousness of another is a disturbing and disorienting task, for no two minds are alike and there is no telling what a telepath may find within another's psyche. Unwilling targets of telepathic acts are apt to conceive of a deep loathing for the invading psyker, in some cases bordering on a psychopathic hatred for the telepath.

Aside from making enemies for themselves, the telepath also risks mental contamination when they enter another person's mind. It is all too easy to take on the personality traits of another, or worse still be infected by the putrid psychic "pus" of their madness or other mental instability.

Psykers who are promiscuous with their powers often find their original personalities much altered, or even completely eroded, by continuous contact with foreign minds. Sad indeed is the fate of such lost souls. Worse than this loss of the self, however, is the fate of telepaths who stumble upon dark and corrupted souls. Chaos is all too willing to exploit the mental bridge that the telepath forges between their own mind and their target.

Sins of the Psyker[]

"It seems that no matter how low I set my expectations, it can always get worse... A lifetime spent in the mire, hiding from the witchseekers and the bigots in the most desolate places the Imperium of Man has to offer. Forced to sell my incomparable skills to smugglers, hive gangers, bounty hunters and all their blockheaded ilk merely to survive. If we are not slain out of hand, dissected, drafted, or dragged aboard unmarked vessels never to be seen again...""

—A disgruntled psyker explicates Imperial prejudice against their kind.

A common and often problematic issue for the Adeptus Ministorum and the precepts of the Imperial Creed is the question of psykers. There exists at the heart of Imperial religious doctrine a contradiction with regards to those blessed with the psyker's gift or cursed by its touch, depending on one's standpoint.

Every standard year, more and more psykers are born or come into their powers across the galaxy, and the danger they pose to Humanity cannot be understated. Psykers draw the denizens of the Warp to them like blood spilled in the ocean draws sharks, and those who are mentally weak or unprotected by the rite of Soul Binding to the Emperor can unleash fearsome devastation upon their communities.

Some might be consumed by evil impulses and simultaneously find themselves gifted with the power to kill with merely a glance. Others might find their minds turned into gateways to the infernal regions of the Empyrean, through which entire legions of Daemons may vomit forth across a weakened veil into realspace. Psykers therefore are often said to represent the single most dangerous peril to the very soul of Mankind.

At the same time, the Imperium could not exist without psykers. Without astropaths, the scattered worlds of the galaxy-spanning empire could only communicate at the slowest of speeds. Without Navigators, only sub-light travel would be possible, and without the sacrifice of the life energies of millions of psykers every year, the blessed light of the Astronomican would not be able to guide the Navigators and the voidships under their care through the benighted depths of the Warp.

In addition, the many arms of the Imperium's military use psykers as potent battlefield weapons, including the Librarians of the Adeptus Astartes and the Psykers Primaris of the Astra Militarum.

Furthermore, although most would not think of Him as such, the Emperor Himself is the most powerful psyker to have ever lived. Many of the teachings of the Imperial Creed preach against psykers, who are often referred to and condemned as "witches." In truth, although most amongst the faithful feel a deep unease in the presence of astropaths and other "sanctioned" psykers, reality dictates that psykers are part of the grand plan the Emperor has laid out for Humanity.

It is the psyker who is not sanctioned, who hides amongst the faithful and uses their powers for ill, who is the true target of the Adeptus Ministorum's ire, and few sermons pass without the congregation being called upon to be ever-vigilant for such a heretical threat within their own ranks.

Imperial Psyker Ranks[]

"I should have known the Enforcers would not tolerate me forever. My skills, they valued, but my nature? That they despised. I was a convenience. One who could glean truths they could not. Who could follow a trail of evidence like a shining path when all others remained blind to its existence, and all of it asking nothing in return. That I brought closure to the grieving and the guilty to the penitent's pyre was my reward."

Imperial Psyker Ranks Chart

Imperial Psyker Ranks Chart, showing Sanctioned Psyker ranks from lowest to highest along the two primary branches of psychic Savant or psychic Scholar

  • Preceptor-Savant - The Preceptor-Savant is a high-ranking psyker of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica charged with manifold duties -- to lead the Savant Militant, to protect key Astra Militarum command staff and to instruct officers in the best deployment of their psychic forces.
  • Scholar Empyrean - The mind of the Scholar Empyrean ranges free, even whilst their will is securely chained to the immeasurable protection of the Emperor's own soul. Studying the deepest mysteries of psychic ability, the Scholar Empyrean cares little for worldly goods or the petty demands of the bodily corpus.
  • Scholar Obscurus - Abandoning the petty realm of Human knowledge, the Scholar Obscurus studies the wisdom and folly of the Human spirit. Steeped in forgotten lore and constantly muttering catechisms and charms against the creatures of the Warp, these psykers grow strange and distant.
  • Savant Adjunct - The Savant Adjunct has the power to bend flesh and metal, to send his mind forth amongst the enemy forces and to ken the nature of unnatural opponents. He is valued for his powers, yet greatly feared by those who command him.
  • Scholar Arcanum - Versed in the ways of matter and flesh, the Scholar Arcanum studies the sphere of the mind, the realm of theory, academic learning and philosophical conjecture.
  • Scholar Materium - As a full initiate of the Scholastica Psykana, the Scholar Materium studies the foundations of being, essence and immutable form.
  • Lieutenant-Savant - The Lieutenant-Savant enjoys an Imperial Guard officer's rank and privilege, yet is under constant surveillance nonetheless.
  • Scholar Medicae - The Scholar Medicae has learnt well the lessons of base matter, and now turns their powers to understanding the mysteries of flesh, bone and the living being and the healing arts of medicae.
  • Savant Militant - The regiments of the Imperial Guard often use the Savants Militant, putting their destructive powers to good use upon the battlefield.
  • Savant-Warrant - The Savant-Warrant has proved themselves reliable in the face of fire, and is duly trained for a greater role.
  • Neonate - Neonates serve as apprentices, servants and bondsmen to elder Sanctioned Psykers or such Imperial bodies as the Adeptus Astra Telepathica deems suitable. During this time, they learn humility, obedience and the true price of their powers.
  • Sanctionite - Sanctionites are bound to the Emperor's will, yet even then, they must be constantly watched for weakness of the soul which may lead to Daemonic possession. They have been tested upon the sacred soil of Terra, and found worthy to serve the Emperor rather than feed His appetite, for now.

Psyker Battle Squads[]

Psyker Battle Squads deployed for use with the regiments of the Astra Militarum or at the command of the Inquisition are usually made up of Sanctioned Psykers who have yet to complete their training. However, sometimes more experience is needed, and a Primaris Psyker will be ordered to combine his or her power with that of a group of less powerful Sanctioned Psykers.

The fusion of their psychic might allows them to unleash devastatingly effective attacks, and can even alter the fabric of space-time itself.

Notable Sanctioned Psykers[]

  • Astropaths - Astropaths, or "astro-telepaths," are psykers who are responsible for carrying out all of the superluminal communications that tie the Imperium of Man together using their telepathic abilities. Those chosen to become astropaths undergo the ritual of Soul Binding, in which the body and soul are scoured clean of the taint of the Warp by the searing purity of the Emperor of Mankind's beneficence. During the process, their minds are subtly reshaped by the Master of Mankind to possess the willpower and fortitude to resist the temptations of the Immaterium. So intense is the ritual that the supplicants' sensory organs are almost totally overloaded -- leaving them blinded by the experience -- with many suffering further nerve damage, incurring loss of smell, touch, or hearing. Being soul-bonded with the Emperor is necessary, however, as it greatly heightens an astropath's already formidable psychic powers and gives them the ability for which they were chosen -- to send telepathic messages through space instantaneously across large interstellar distances, thereby becoming the main network of interstellar communications in the Imperium. Most Imperial starships have an astropath or astropathic choir on board and most advanced Imperial planetary governments have access to large astropathic choirs.
  • Navigators - A Navigator (Homo navigo) is a very particular form of Imperial-sanctioned Human mutant who possesses the Navigator Gene. This gives a Navigator the unique ability to navigate a faster-than-light starship accurately through Warpspace. This ability makes Navigators absolutely essential to the Imperium's continued survival and to all interstellar transportation, communication and commerce. All Navigators have a third eye, commonly called the "Warp eye," on their foreheads, which allows them to perceive the "psychic light" known as the Astronomican, enabling them to fully use their powers in guiding Human starships through the treacherous currents of the Warp. Their ability to sense the energy tides of the Warp is considered psychic, although Navigators never possess any psychic abilities beyond the powers their Warp eye affords them. Navigators possess natural life spans of as much as four hundred standard years. As they increase in age, their abilities increase in power, and their physical appearance changes: the white and iris of the eye gradually disappears, leaving only a hardened black orb, and far more extreme mutations are also possible. All Navigators belong to a large group of Highborn noble families based on Terra in the great district of that world-city known as the Navigator's Quarter. These dynasties are known collectively as the Great Families of the Navis Nobilite.
  • Primaris Psykers - Primaris Psykers are rare and extraordinary individuals who serve in the regiments of the Astra Militarum as battle-psykers 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 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," are treated with a mixture of awe and fear, but most of all, suspicion by the superstitious soldiers of the Imperial Guard. 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 Astra Militarum.


Sanctioned Psykers who have been assigned a combat role primarily rely upon their psychic disciplines as their greatest weapons. However, their psychic abilities can also be channelled through weapons specially crafted for those with these abilities, including Force Swords, Force Staffs and other forms of Force Weapons which can be used for both melee attacks and to unleash blasts of Warp energy at short range upon foes.

For ranged attacks, while they gather the energy to unleash another Warp power or because the barrier between the Empyrean and the local realspace has begun to become dangerously thin as a result of the use of their abilities, psykers also sometimes employ more standard ranged weapons. These include a myriad pattern of autopistols, autoguns, laspistols and lasguns. Sanctioned psykers in combat will wear the heaviest armour available to them that still gives them the freedom of movement required to unleash their powers, including Mesh Armour, Flak Armour, and even Carapace Armour.

Astra Militarum Hierarchy
General Officers Lord Commander MilitantWarmaster (Lord Solar) • Lord CommanderLord General MilitantLord GeneralGeneral
Officers ColonelMajorCaptainLieutenant
Non-Commissioned Officers and Enlisted SergeantCorporalTrooper (Guardsman)
Specialists InquisitorCommissarPriestTech-PriestEnginseerSanctioned PsykerPrimaris PsykerWyrdvane Psyker


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  • Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pg. 33
  • Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex)
  • Codex Imperialis (2nd Edition), pg. 36
  • Dark Heresy: Ascension (RPG), pp. 124, 152, 170, 178
  • Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 74-81, 158, 160, 246, 248, 251, 273
  • Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (RPG) (2nd Edition) pp. 60-61
  • Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness, pg. 213
  • Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 48, 154-155, 303, 309
  • Rogue Trader: Into the Storm (RPG), pg. 199
  • Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 94
  • Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse (6th Edition)
  • Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1st Edition), pg. 147
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  • Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (4th Edition), pp. 52, 123
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  • White Dwarf 171 (UK), "Dark Millenium: Wargear, Vehicles, and Psykers - Psykers: Adeptus Astra Telepathica Powers," pp. 8-13
  • Flight of the Eisenstein (Novel) by James Swallow
  • Thousand Sons (Novel) by Graham McNeill
  • Prospero Burns (Novel) by Dan Abnett
  • Tales of Heresy (Anthology), "The Voice" by James Swallow
  • The Outcast Dead (Novel) by Graham McNeill
  • Faith and Fire (Novel) by James Swallow
  • The Traitor's Hand (Novel) by Sandy Mitchel
  • Games Workshop Online Store - Imperial Guard Sanctioned Psykers
  • Games Workshop Online Store - Imperial Guard Primaris Psyker