“Verminspeakers? As dangerous an ally as an enemy, in my mind. Hive dross with oft unsanctioned power bubbling through their veins, they flee from the righteous justice of the Aquila to cower in the lowest depths of the hives and dankest death world jungles. On occasion, however, I have found their unique talents to be useful...”
–Inquisitor Felroth Gelt
Although the Inquisition and the feared Black Ships work rigorously to ensure that every psyker is taken to the Scholastia Psykana and either sanctioned or sent to Holy Terra for “final processing,” the authiorities cannot be everywhere at once. Sometimes a potential psyker slips through the cracks. This is especially true amongst the teaming masses of people on hive worlds, or on the savage frontier and death worlds where Imperial rule is weak or non–existent.
Lacking any sort of guidance or understanding of their powers, these poor wretches often suffer a grim fate. If they do not destroy themselves with bursts of uncontrolled warp power, they often find themselves killed by their superstitious neighbors and kin. A very few survive long enough to flee into the wastelands of their world, be it the underhive or deserted mountains and forests. There they develop their powers on their own, through a mixture of guesswork and experimentation.
Those that survive without drawing the attention of the powers that lurk within the warp become a strange breed of psyker, partially feral and unnaturally attuned with their environment. Frequently, they exhibit the ability to summon beasts to aid and fight for them, and in some cases are even able to communicate with creatures.
These psykers, sometimes known as Verminspeakers, can become valued, if distrusted, allies to both hive gangs and savage tribes. Their powers make them fearsome in battle and useful in matters of strategy, and some may rise to positions of power within these social organisations by putting on a front of a fortune teller or seer. In these cases, it is more likely the Verminspeaker is using chicanery and dramatic flair than actual warp power. But when dealing with someone who allies with Maw–flukes and Sabre–wolves, few are willing to voice their doubts.
The Inquisition’s preferred method of dealing with a Verminspeaker is a kill–team followed by a witch’s pyre. On occasion, however, some radical Inquisitors have been willing to use these individuals for their own purposes, finding them a hardy and resourceful breed of psyker. Of course, if anyone learned they were unsanctioned, the Verminspeaker minions would likely have to be executed without delay. Most Inquisitors regard that as an acceptable risk…for the Inquisitor.
Even working under the Inquisitorial seal, the typical Verminspeaker is still mistrustful of and isolated from his fellows, even more so than a typical psyker. Those from advanced worlds or the upper echelons find them horribly backward and disgustingly uncivilised, while people hailing from primitive societies regard them as dread mystics and sorcerers. Almost everyone feels a great unease around a Verminspeaker, as if they can smell the untrained power of the warp just beneath the Verminspeaker’s skin.
This Advance does not just define the focus of a psyker’s powers. It also defines who he is---an outcast from Imperial society, mistrusted and potentially dangerous to those around him. This Advance may only be taken at Character Creation, using the character’s starting experience, as Verminspeakers are born, not trained.
Restrictions: Only Psykers may take this Advance. The Psyker must take the Beastmaster power as soon as it becomes available. (This means the Psyker must select powers from the Telepathy discipline.)
Advance Cost: 200 XP
Effect: Verminspeakers gain the Unsanctioned Trait as well as the Primitive Trait as per someone from a Feral World. (If the Verminspeaker is already from a Feral World, this has no further effect.) They gain the Survival and Awareness skills and gain the Call Creatures Psychic Power (in addition to any other minor Psychic Powers they may have at Character Creation). They are also able to take the Advances listed below at any point during their career. If a Verminspeaker is from a hive world, they do not gain the benefits of Caves of Steel.
Unsanctioned: Unlike most psykers, the Verminspeaker has not been taken aboard the dreaded Black Ships to travel to Holy Terra. He does not add 3d10 years to his starting age and does not roll on the Sanctioning Side Effects table in the Dark Heresy Core Rulebook. This, however, has its own dangers. If authority figures in the Imperium learn the character is unsanctioned, they will endeavor to have him burnt as a witch or simply hunted down by a kill team. Even the power of the Inquisition may not be able to save him from this fate (In fact, it may be factions within the Inquisition that are doing the hunting!). Radical Inquisitors are far more likely to employ the services of a Verminspeaker.