"Dreadful creatures... utterly dreadful. Like a hole in the world, their souls are, Repugnant to be near and painful to touch, their mere presence sets the teeth on edge like a fork scraped across a plate. It makes my skin crawl just thinking about them and how their awful aura saps the potency from my will, snuffing out my mind-flames without a thought. Keep them away from me.”
Nulls and Pariahs
Though appearing on the surface to be entirely normal people, a simple genetic variance makes them fundamentally different. A Null – also known as an Untouchable or a Pariah (though the latter term is also used for the most powerful Nulls specifically) – is absent from the Warp, fundamentally lacking the soul-spark that exists for the vast majority of humans. As a result, they are shunned and mistrusted by most people – their soulless nature is apparent on an instinctive level to the majority of humans, even if they don't know why they feel that way. Psykers are worse affected by this – even the strongest-willed psykers struggle to not lash out in unreasoning violence against a Null, and close proximity causes discomfort, while actual physical contact causes physical pain.
Beyond that, however, is the characteristic of Nulls to still the Warp around where their soul would be, blanketing an area around them in a zone of nigh-impenetrable psychic silence. The most potent of them drag the energies of the warp into themselves like light into a black hole, appearing to psykers as a howling abyss in the Immaterium, and so abhorrent to the minds of other humans that their mere presence is dismissed as some form of waking nightmare. It is for these reasons that parts of the Imperium employ Nulls – most notably the Officio Assassinorum, who train the most potent of Nulls as the deadly anti-psyker Culexus Assassins, and by Inquisitors, who often employ nulls to protect them from the psychic attentions of heretic witches, daemons and xenos mystics.
Nulls are ordinary human beings, at least from the outside. The differences between a Null and a "baseline" human are entirely psychic.
Nulls are most commonly employed by the Inquisition, using whatever skills they happen to have as Acolytes of the Inquisition, in addition to providing a potent defense against psychic attacks for those they work with. Even Inquisitors who are psychic in their own right such as Eisenhorn have been known to employ Nulls, using the Null's innate ability as a form of concealment from other psykers.
Null characters will have been chosen to serve the Inquisition for that purpose, but otherwise are likely to come from any background, on any world – the Null gene is rare, but not confined to any particular kind of world.
In game terms, any Acolyte may be, at the GM's discretion, chosen to be a Null. The only exception to this is, for obvious reasons, any character in the Imperial Psyker career path – Nulls cannot be psykers, and cannot ever have or use a Psy Rating, Psychic Powers, the Invocation skill or the Psyniscience skill, under any circumstances. A character chosen to be a Null gains the Null trait, below. In exchange, they have one fewer Fate Point than the number rolled, and halve their basic Fellowship score permanently. The Pariah trait is not included for player use, but for the use of the GM.
Nulls gain one of the following traits, as described above. Record the relevant one on your character sheet.
- Characteristics: An untouchable's fellowship is reduced by 10 at creation. If the result of this is less then zero it is reduced to 1. it may be incresed normaly after.
- Unsettling presence: an untouchable suffers a -10 penalty to all interaction skill tests
- Psychic Blank: The character may never gain Psychic Powers, Pure Faith, Sorcery, or related Talents
- Psychic Immume: An untouchable is completely immune to psychic powers, psychic energy and effects directed against them (as well as warp powers, possession, sorcery, Corruption from warp shock, and so forth) Also he cannot be detected by means of Psyniscience, Sense Presence, or similar abilities. Powers directed at their person, even though succssfuly manifested, simply fail to affect him. They may effect other people normaly subject to their disruption effect
- Psychic Disruption: All psychic powers and abilities in the untouchable's imediate area (A radius equal to the character's willpower bonus in meters) have their threshold increased by 10 plus any associated test by the psycher has it's difficulty increased by -20. Additionaly entities subject to Warp Instability will suffer double damage from it's effects in their area
By some quirk of genetics, you were born soulless, absent from the Warp and utterly unaffected by Psychic Powers
- Benefit: Unless the psyker passes a threshold test of 25 the Null cannot be contacted, perceived, influenced or controlled psychically and all Psychic Powers and warp abilities targeted directly at you fail to work as if the Psychic Test had been failed. Psychic Powers and warp abilities targeted anywhere within your Willpower Bonus divided by 2 (Will/2) in meters increase their Psychic Threshold by 10.
- You recieve a -10 penalty to all fellowship tests when dealing with non-psykers, with psykers the penalty increase to -30 on all Fellowship Tests – they feel an unreasoning hatred towards you, and it takes considerable resolve to overcome that instinctive loathing. Further, any Psyker who comes into physical contact with you for whatever reason gains a level of fatigue as their mind rebels against the contact and pain surges through their body.
No mere Null are you, but a Pariah – a ravening void in the Warp that acts like a psychic black hole.
- Benefit: Unless a threshold test of 50 is passed you cannot be chosen as the target for any psychic power of any kind, whether harmful or beneficial, nor can you be affected by psychic powers, psychic phenomena or Perils of the Warp if you are within the area of effect. In addition, you project an area of psychic stillness around you that shields those nearby from psychic effects as well. This area extends out a number of metres equal to your Willpower score in all directions, and prevents anyone within that area from using or being affected by any psychic powers, psychic phenomena or Perils of the Warp.
- Beyond that, you cause Fear in Psykers of all kinds, as if you had the Fear 2 trait, and you are automatically detected by any creature with the Psyniscience skill. Further, any Psyker who comes within a number of meters equal to your Willpower Bonus gains a level of fatigue as their mind rebels against the contact and pain surges through their body. Should a Psyker touch you, they immediately lose 1d10 points from their Strength, Toughness, and Willpower. Non-psykers are so unsettled by your presence that they dismiss you entirely as some form of waking nightmare, requiring a Willpower Test at -20% to be able to spot you.
|Null Limiter||5000||Very Rare|
- Active Null Limiters project fields of psychic static that disrupt the aura that a Null projects, allowing powers to be used normally within close proximity.
- The technology to make Null Limiters is very, very rare, and each one needs to be implanted into the wearer's nervous system to function, as the effect must be perfectly in-synch with the wearer to function at all. The implantation is performed as per the Attaching Bionics and Implants sidebar in the Armoury chapter of the rulebook.
- An implanted Null Limiter takes a free action to activate or deactivate, which is done using the switch on the external part of the unit (normally on the neck). When active, the wearer no longer projects an area of psychic stillness, meaning that characters within his WP Bonus in metres can use, and be affected by, psychic powers and phenomena. The other effects of the Null trait remain in effect even while the limiter is active
- A Null Limiter cannot be used on a Pariah – the technology is simply not adequate to suppress a Pariah's abilities.
- The Collected Works of Nathan “N0-1_H3r3” Dowdell: Original source, with much thanks given.
- Dark Heresy: Disciples of the Dark Gods, p. 28