Imperial Conditioning

Corruption and madness are inevitable realities for Acolytes of the 41st millennium. Constant exposure to the alien, the heretic and the daemon takes its toll on body and soul, and the best many player characters can hope for is to die with their duty complete.

The lore paints a pretty bleak picture of this and suggests there is no significant way to turn back the clock. What if there was another way…?

Imperial conditioning is a catch-all term for a number of equally bleak practices of purging the soul at the expense of the body and the mind – gruelling mental and physical tests, shock therapies and hypno-indoctrinations to name but a few.

All is done under strict observance to affect the character’s independent decision-making and physical prowess as little as possible. It sharpens the faith and any doubts in the Emperor’s plan for you gets washed away. It purges the soul and hardens it against attack. Despite the agony the character would endure, it is seen as a blessing that He has thought you worthy of such clarity of purpose – to know one’s enemy.

Imperial conditioning is an extremely labour-intensive endeavour, it takes the character away from action for months in a secret facility and messes with their brain chemistry to the extent that characters need an outstanding reason to be submitted for conditioning rather than simply ‘written off’ by the Inquisition.

Perhaps they have some knowledge of the Arch Enemy that cannot afford to be lost to corruption or madness, perhaps they possess a unique set of skills that cannot be replicated in the field. Whatever the case, submitting a character for conditioning is not a light decision, and despite the clear benefits of cleansing corruption from them, the side effects can be terrible indeed…

Rules for Imperial Conditioning

The player chooses how many Corruption Points they wish to purge from their character, and you immediately gain twice that many Insanity points. You also gain every talent listed from the right column on the table below up to your chosen level. Gaining these talents in this way supersedes any requirements for the talents.

For example, if you chose to purge 3 Corruption Points, you would immediately gain 6 Insanity Points and the Light Sleeper, Jaded and Hatred (Heretics) talents.

You do not lose Malignancies already gained from Corruption but you may gain a new Mental Disorder.

In addition to choosing a level from the table below, you must also roll on the Sanctioning Side Effects table on p26 of the Dark Heresy 1st Edition core rulebook and immediately apply the result to your character. You may re-roll if you do not like the outcome, but you must accept the second result.

Corruption Points
Insanity Points
Talents gained
1 2  Light Sleeper
2 4  Jaded
3 6  Hatred (Heretics)
4 8  Paranoia
5 10  Dark Soul
6 12  Resistance (Fear)
7 14  Flagellant
8 16  Insanely Faithful
9 18  Hatred (Daemons)
10 20  Armour of Contempt
11 22
12 24  Resistance (Psychic Powers)
13 26
14 28 Unshakeable Faith
15 30
16 32  Strong Minded
17 34
18 36  Orthoproxy
19 38
20 40  Pure Faith

I wrote a short story about the trials and tribulations involved in such a bleak process called ‘The Imperial Condition’.