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A psyker is a being who exhibits the ability to use psychic powers. Many races have these individuals, whereas other races are innately non-psychic and never produce psykers, like the C'tan and Necrons, which despise psykers so far as to engineer warriors that actively seek out and destroy them. Some races, like the Eldar, are inherently psychic.[Needs Citation]

Psychic powers are most commonly drawn from the Warp, but Orks draw power from their collective Waaagh!.[Needs Citation]

Psychic powers can take many forms, from predicting enemy movements to projecting bolts of devastating psychic energy. Some can even aid troops towards more devastating attacks.[Needs Citation]

Psychic Disciplines and Techniques

Although the powers of Psykers are many and varied, they usually fall into one of several disciplines. The five most common are[4c]:

  • Biomancy: Manipulation of biological energy and processes.
  • Divination: Predicting the future.
  • Pyromancy: Manipulation of fire.
  • Telekinesis: Converting psychic energy into physical force.
  • Telepathy: Contacting and controlling the minds of others.

Other Psychic disciplines include Daemonology, Theosophamy,[Needs Citation] Librarius, Technomancy, Fulmination, Geokinesis,[15] Sanguinary,[16] Interromancy,[17] Tempestas,[18] Umbramancy,[19] Promethean,[20] Indomitus,[21] Stormspeaking,[22] Verminspeaking,[23] Empathy.[24]

Psychic Foci

Psychic Foci are techniques[7b] or devices used by Psykers to help them focus and enhance their powers. Devices can be sacred bones, carved wytch staves, blessed icons, crystals[7a], sophisticated devices crafted by the Adeptus Mechanicus, or something else. The most famous used by Psykers in the Imperium is doubtless the Emperor's Tarot, which helps act as a powerful divinatory tool in the hands of a trained Psyker.[7b]


The Unsane are the weak, the oppressed - those whose physical bodies may plot to preclude them from war, but whose minds are so strong as to bind their ruined bodies past their death. The Warp whispers to such individuals. its denizens ever scratching at the shreds of their sanity, for they exist beyond the grace of the Emperor. To look into the eyes of such a being is to surrender one's sanity to a greater madness, from which death is but a temporary reprieve.[9]

Psykers by Race

Imperial Psykers

The earliest human psykers were powerful beings known as Shamans, but after their end and the creation of the Emperor, psykers would no longer remain known among humanity for millennia. First appearing in large numbers by the end of M22[4b], Psykers represent humanity's future: the ideal creature into which mankind will evolve, a more powerful, intelligent and capable life form. The Psyker mutation is becoming increasingly common among humanity, presaging the emergence of a new, psychic race. This new race is still weak, its members lacking the mental strength needed to resist the dangers of the Warp. They are both a threat and a boon to the Imperium.[1][4d]

Left unchecked, psykers present a potential danger to entire worlds, and much of the Inquisition's role is focused on hunting them down. The Imperium ensures psykers are suppressed, tracked down and controlled; those strong enough will be recruited into Imperial service, fulfilling vital roles in the Imperium as Astropaths and Sanctioned Psykers. The weakest are doomed to serve humanity through service in the Adeptus Astronomica, as nourishment for the Emperor of Mankind[1], or simply lobotomized and become one of the innumerable servitors, though a few someway chosen are taken away to the Obsidian Keep of the Astra Telepathica where an unknown fate awaits them.[8] The tainted are weeded out and executed before reaching Terra.

The Imperium classifies its own Psykers based upon their level of psychic ability. Known as The Assignment, the levels given indicate the power of the Psyker. An Omnicron level Psyker may only have mild subconsciously activated psionic abilities while an Alpha-Plus level Psyker is capable of snapping a Titan in two.[2]

The appearing of Cicatrix Maledictum brought about changes. The psyker mutation usually manifests itself at an early age, but sooner or later exceptions have appeared. Now so-called "nascent" psykers may be born with a dormant mutation, or may mutate, exposed to the destructive influence of the warp. In the new era, the destructive power of the Great Rift awakens psykers in unprecedented numbers. It is theoretically possible that anyone in the Imperium is now a potential psyker.[14]

Travel and Communication

The Imperial Navy uses them on every vessel, but Imperial faster-than-light communication requires an Astropath and Imperial faster-than-light travel requires a Navigator. The former is merely a specially-trained psyker; the latter is an abhuman psyker that is born to the role.[Needs Citation]

Imperial Guard

The Imperial Guard's psychic forces are the Primaris Psyker, the weaker Sanctioned Psyker, and the Wyrdvane Psyker. They are trained at the Adeptus Astra Telepathica's Scholastia Psykana for service on the battlefield.[Needs Citation]

The Inquisition

Inquisitors are invariably exceptional humans, and consequently many are potent psykers.[Needs Citation]

Space Marines

Space Marines also shun those with psychic powers, but they too make use of one unit, the Librarian. He is similarly trained, but also benefits from advanced equipment, such as the psychic hood. These advantages, coupled with his exceptional Space Marine physiology, make the Librarian more useful than the average Sanctioned Psyker. The Librarian's powers are slightly more powerful, but still nothing compared to some other races' powers.[Needs Citation]

Additionally, the entire Grey Knights Chapter are powerful psykers.[11]

Space Wolves

They believe that the power they use comes not from the Warp, but from the energy living within themselves and from Fenris.[8]

Chaos Psykers

Chaos Space Marines

Chaos Space Marine armies are similar in design to those of Space Marines, using Sorcerers instead of Librarians.[Needs Citation]

The Lost and the Damned

The forces of Chaos known collectively as the Lost and the Damned include Rogue Psykers (which include Mindwitches). Of questionable sanity and highly dangerous, Rogue Psykers are even more prone to possession by Daemons.[3] In addition, unlike their Imperial counterparts, Chaos Knight households sometimes have psykers ascend the throne, resulting in a Knight Abominant.[Needs Citation]

Chaos Daemons

While all daemons are inherently of the Warp, many are psykers in addition. Khorne does not abide psykers among his minions, but the other chaos deities do - and there are also daemonic psykers not aligned with any one deity, such as Be'lakor.[Needs Citation]

Eldar Psykers


The Eldar are a psychic race, and some of their most powerful units have strong psychic powers. Eldar who tread the Path of the Seer are Warlocks. Spiritseers are specialised Warlocks. Farseers are Eldar lost on the Path of the Seer.[Needs Citation]

Their powers are usually subtle, ranging from having visions of the future to detecting enemy movements to fighting mental battles. However, a Farseer may be capable of using telekinetic power to hurl a battle tank into the air. One particular Craftworld, Ulthwé, may also group together its most powerful psychic units, making an expensive, but devastating unit.[Needs Citation]

Dark Eldar

The Dark Eldar are similar in nature to the Eldar, but have given up the use of psychic powers. They do use psychic objects, but any psyker found on Commorragh is usually treated with great caution and fear. Because of the nature of their city, the use of psychic powers is one of the few things forbidden in the city of Commorragh.[5] Shadowseers are a notable exception to this rule.[6]


Shadowseer is the Harlequin role assigned to psychic Eldar. Eldar Corsairs employ Soul Weavers, Way Seekers, and Void Dreamers.[Needs Citation]

Ork Psykers

Ork psykers are unique in that they draw their psychic power from other Orks instead of directly from the warp. A large mob of Orks tends to generate what has become known as a Waaagh! field, which is then absorbed by the Ork psykers known as Weirdboys. They have little control over this and too much of a build-up will likely explode the Ork's head and devastate the surrounding area. A Weirdboy avoids combat, like most other fragile psykers, but can cast green flames capable of melting armour and killing the warriors inside. The powers of the Weirdboys are unpredictable and may have catastrophic results, but the gains from these units are often seen by the Warboss.[Needs Citation]

Tau Psykers

The Tau have not developed psychic abilities, possibly due to a chemical mixture in their brains that prevents access to the warp. Why they developed this is unknown, but it prevents the Tau Empire from being easily corrupted by the forces of Chaos. None of their units have psychic abilities.[Needs Citation]

At least two of the Tau's allied races, the Kroot and the Nicassar, however, possess psychic powers. The Nicassar mainly use their psychic powers for the purpose of navigating their Dhows through the vast reaches of space, and also provide escort vessels for the Tau Space Fleet.[Needs Citation]

Kroot who have fed upon creatures with psychic power may develop powers of their own. These Kroot are referred to as Shamans by their kindred and are responsible for leading their fellow Kroot in their ancestor-worshiping practices. The Kroot are also capable of Warp travel, although they only seem to be able to travel to planets with functioning ecosystems.[Needs Citation]

It has been discovered by Adeptus Mechanicus researchers that the members of the Tau Ethereal Caste possess a large, diamond-shaped, scent-emitting organ in their forehead which may allow them to control other T'au through the emission of pheromones or some other biological means; there is no evidence this has any relation to the Warp.[Needs Citation]

During the Farsight Expedition, Farsight encountered a terrifying new enemy in the form of Chaos Daemons which emerged from a mysterious portal erected on a great Dais. During the battle, all of Farsight's accompanying Ethereals were killed by the gruesome creatures, and Farsight was only able to attain victory thanks to discovering a mysterious blade he used to close the portal, though he was briefly overcome by extreme bloodlust[12]. The experience of battling these foes and gazing into their sinister portal rattled O'Shovah, who realized there were far greater threats than the Ethereals were telling him.[4g]

Shortly after setting the foundations of the Farsight Enclaves, Farsight's decision to exile himself is what ultimately saved him from corruption by the Chaos Gods Khorne and Tzeentch, who had begun their ploy to corrupt his soul on Arthas Moloch.[12]

Necron Psykers

Crypteks are Necron technological specialists whose purpose is to study the highly advanced and ancient technology of their race. They are masters of the scientific and technological and in many ways a Cryptek's powers mirror those employed by the psykers of other races, such as the Imperium and Eldar. However, they differ in that instead of using a mutant mind to channel Warp energies, the Cryptek employs arcane science to harness the universe's fundamental forces.[13a]

Trazyn the Infinite carries a specialized staff known as the Empathic Obliterator which is rumoured to contain the technology of the Old Ones. Should the Empathic Obliterator slay an enemy, a psionic shockwave ripples out from the body of the victim, striking down all nearby creatures of similar mind and purpose.[13b]

Tyranid Psykers

The Tyranid forces are highly interconnected and linked to each other using psychic powers. The Hive Tyrant acts as a node for the other forces on the ground. The Dominatrixes act as relays between the Norn-Queens and the other ground forces, helping to co-ordinate attacks from orbit.[Needs Citation]

They use the Warp to communicate and travel, spending a good deal of their time in the Warp, travelling between planets to find sustenance. Tyranids tend not to use their psychic powers offensively, except for the Zoanthropes and Neurothropes, whose psychic abilities are devastating.[Needs Citation]

Genestealer Cults

A Genestealer Magus is born from at least one parent who is a Psyker, and this combined with its xenos DNA makes the creature a highly potent psychic being. He can use his psychic abilities to coerce or enslave others to his cause. Should a Patriarch or Magus dominate a region completely, the psychic shadow that gathers around him will grow darker and thicker until it begins to coalesce. This ever-shrinking miasma hardens into a many-limbed form known as Genestealer Familiar that will faithfully serve its Magus.[10]

Leagues of Votann Psykers

The Squats of the Leagues of Votann have souls that burn dimly in the Warp and few amongst their kind display any psychic abilities. However, special psychoactive Cloneskeins exist that have allowed for psychic specialists to exist, most notably the Grimnyr. Using specialized Barrier-Tech, these specialists can draw forth the power of the Warp and manifest it in a manner similar to the psychic powers of other races.[12]

See Also