In efforts to further progress the narrative of Warhammer 40,000, the Psychic Awakening offers to move the grimdark story forward whilst sprinkling in new rules and options for armies. Faith and Fury, second book in the series, sees the Space Marines (both loyalist and heretical) receive a smattering of new rules and traits. Is this a supplement-tier offering for these armies? Or does Faith and Fury simply fizzle and fall over?
I’ll kick this off by saying, as a premise, I’m a huge fan of what Psychic Awakening seeks to achieve. The ushering in of 8th edition 40K saw Cadia blown to pieces and the galaxy torn in two. I find myself more invested in the system knowing that there’s a bigger story being told. An overarching narrative within my conflicts and throughout the countless battles taking place. It’s also made me keen to try more narrative missions as opposed to friendly matched games with friends. Generally speaking, I truly like what these books are attempting to do.
Storytime in the Talledus System
The first section of the book goes into the lore/narrative unfold in the Talledus system. Kor Phaeron and the Word Bearers are looking to bring the system to heel and conquer its capital; Benediction. With the Night Lords and Iron Warriors to his aid, the outlook is bleak for Talledus. Can the Black Templars and Adeptus Soriritas hold back and break the tides of Chaos?
Whilst the details and vivid explanations of the war-fronts are very cool, it’s hard to gauge the impact on the wider galaxy with the information from this book. Not dissimilar from the last Vigilus book, there lacks any concise conclusion or urgency in the bigger picture. What are the consequences? Who wins and who loses? This works out nicely for players wishing to run narrative campaigns and have the story unfurl before them. However, I’d like something a little more concrete. Call it canon, if you will.
Fortunately, for those wishing to write the story themselves there are a couple of narrative missions included in the book. These are played as if the fate of Benediction and the Talledus system would lay in your own hands. It’s a nice touch and even includes Theatres of War available for use in games of Warhammer 40,000 regardless of setting. It’s a welcome addition that helps to tie the book together and stops it feeling like such an isolated product.
All Faith and Fury, No Filler
The main meat of the book comes in the form of updated rules, traits and more for various Space Marine and Chaos Space Marine sub-factions. This is the largest segment of the book and is where most of the value is situated.
The Black Templars receive a generous face-lift of rules in Faith and Fury. Warlord Traits, Strategems, Litanies and datasheets provide a substantial update to the fearsome crusaders in black. A swathe of Chaos Space Marines legions receive a similar treatment. All of the aforementioned even get new tactical objectives and handy name generators.
There’s enough here to make these sub-factions enjoy a fresh breathe of air in a number of ways. The reintroduction of Daemon Weapons helps to imbue that sense of risk and reward that any true warrior or Chaos would relish. Whereas the first founding Space Marines receive new rules allowing players to field their own higher-echelon Space Marines. These can include a Master of the Forge, Chief Librarian, Chief Apothecary and more.
These inclusions feel as though they’ll give players the option to implement even more ways to personalise their own chapters and legions. If you’re keen to put some time into your power armoured armies to make them feel unique and personal to you then this book feels like a very solid purchase. The amount of options available feels perfect for those looking to have their own particular brand of space-faring super soldiers.
It’s Raining Space Marines
That said, the book is not without its faults and imperfections. It’s fitting and consistent in only featuring Astartes-based armies as the first book dealt solely with Eldar armies. That being said, I’d hope the next book has a wider breadth of armies included with some variety throughout. Another issue with Faith and Fury comes in the form of Legion Traits, or lack thereof. We have relics, warlord traits and more, so it feels odd to completely omit Legion Traits from the book. Although, it’s no surprise as a Word Bearers player that I’m feeling neglected. The legion trait for my particular flavour of Heretic Astartes is easily the worst of them all.
Psychic Awakening: Faith and Fury feels as though it tries to do two things. Firstly, it attempts to push forward with the story of the 41st millennium within the Talledus system. It tries and falls somewhat flat whilst still proving an exciting read. There’s simply a lack of crescendo or strong, final scene to bring it to a close.
The second feat it attempts is to provide a host of new ways for Space Marine and Chaos Space Marine players to further customise their armies. All whilst remaining thematic to their chosen legion or chapter, which it does particularly well. Word Bearers can have Possessed Daemon warlords, Emperor’s Children can consume empowering elixirs and Black Templars can attempt to completely shut down psychic attacks with relative ease. Everything in this 93-page book has a solid purpose, but it definitely becomes more engrossing as you leave the story-focused section and dive into the new rules.
There’s a chance that some of these traits and artefacts in this book could prove earth-shatteringly powerful with the right synergy. With a sickening grin, I’m almost excited to see what the community can do with some of these new weapons, relics and traits.
If you play factions such as Orks, Necrons or Tau, I’m sorry to say you’re still waiting a while longer. This book will likely do nothing for your armies. I’m crossing my fingers that sometime imminently the Orks, Necrons and Tau will see their fair share of the spotlight.