“The Knowledge Hoarder”
This is a very different beast to the action hero, one who derives pleasure from the game in a very different way.
Most likely their only useful game stat will be intelligence and their only real part in the show knowing things that other players don’t.
This character will usually relish the idea of being the font of all knowledge and most of their gaming pleasure will be in getting one over on the bad guys with some obscure knowledge, knowing something vital to the plot that their meat-head allies may not or simply being plied with hoards of information, some useful, some not.
Often they’ll be the only one who has the forbidden lores, so they’ll also get a host of info that they shouldn’t know, could get them killed for knowing, and for using it….well…Witch Hunter Rhykuss brooks no heresy to spill into the wrong hands.
For the knowledge hoarder this is usually enough for them. She’ll never leap over a chasm to save the day, she’ll rarely shoot the fleeing heretic through the skull and it’s a rare time she’ll throw herself in dangers way to save a weaker fellow, however when they need to know how to defeat Tysiak Crowfather, Deamon Prince of the Four – she’ll have that all important trick up her sleeve, in her own way she has saved the day.
Obviously the benefit of having this kind of player/character around is that your lovingly written plot will often have a nice outlet to be fed to, and if they’re brainy enough even the mightiest heretic can be taken down by some well placed information.
Keeping the knowledge hoarder interested is a tough one sometimes, they’re usually interested in the plot mainly; with combat and some social scenes coming second.
This can mean that for 2/3 of the game your knowledge hoarder seemingly has very little to do.
There are a couple of tricks you can pull in keeping them interested – in my campaign – The published Haarlock legacy sprinkled with some of my own adventures – I’ve revealed the Adept, Fenria Heiralis as the scion of Haarlock.
Maybe you could have an Inquisitor Lord secretly “acquire” her services on the quiet, maybe her ancestors were known heretics and her bloodline was supposed to have been totally eradicated, or there are agents of the enemy looking for a drop of her valuable vitae?
In our game it gives her a bit of roleplay to bounce off of, gives her something to have always bubbling under the surface of a scene and also when the other acolytes realised it gave a lot roleplay between the group.
Kept them all busy and has led to more than a few pistols being drawn on each other – so beware. You don’t want an acolyte murdering spree really, the game is for your players first of all.
Another trick for me has been with downtime – often the character that plays the bookish type in game will be a bit bookish in real life, plenty of cool downtime information can keep them intrigued.
The odd handout being sent to them, the odd letter from upon high, maybe even just cut and paste a bit of 40k lore from somewhere, jazz it up a bit and send it out as some obscure classified information.
All this sort of stuff will make them feel they have a little edge over others at all times which in a way they do.
The downside to this character can be a lack of communication of said knowledge.
We all know that knowledge is power and acolytes are taught that from the outset.
Many Adept types will take this to the extreme and keep the information secret and to themselves – this should be actively discouraged.
While it is perfectly reasonable for the know-it-all not to tell the Psyker all she knows about the Cult of the Fleshless, who empower all psychic potential by ritual scarification – if they’re the big bad of your campaign if might be prudent that she shares a little info on their modus operandi at least.
Also, obviously, they tend to get a little lost when it comes to combat. Not always, but more often than not they will be outshone by almost every other class.
Just keep them plied with plenty of libraries to visit in game and fellow bookworms to interact with and you should keep them amused for long enough.
Don’t forget it is your duty to keep all your players equally amused, and with the Knowledge Hoarder this can be a bit more difficult.
My advice would be to put in a few more downtime hours, provide a few awesome looking handouts and if possible offer their character an offer they literally can’t refuse…..