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Psionics




Psionic Strength

Psionics are powered by the Psionic Strength characteristic (abbreviation Psi). This characteristic cannot be rolled or bought during character creation without the Referee’s permission. To determine a character’s Psionic Strength, roll 2d6 and subtract the number of terms served by the character in any career (Psionic Strength diminishes over time unless actively used). Using a psionic talent costs a number of Psionic Strength points, temporarily reducing the character’s total. As the Characteristic DM for all Psionic skill checks is determined by the characters’ current Psionic Strength total, it gets harder and harder to use powers as the character’s strength declines. Recovering Psionic Strength Points: Expended Psionic Strength points are recovered at the rate of one point per hour, beginning three hours after the character last used a psionic talent.

Institute Testing

The first step is testing a character’s Psionic Strength, which is determined as described above (2d6 – number of terms served). If the character still has any Psionic Strength remaining, he can be trained. Training requires four months of work, and costs Cr. 100,000. As part of training, the character may attempt to learn any of the common psionic talents on the Psionic Training table by making a Psionic Strength check. He may attempt the talents in any order, but suffers a -1 DM per check attempted. If a character learns a talent, he gains that talent at level 0.
Talent Learning DM
Telepathy +4
Clairvoyance +3
Telekinesis +2
Awareness +1
Teleportation +0
Per previous talent acquisition check -1

Psionic Talents

There are several psionic talents, each of which works like a skill for the powers in question. A character trained in the use of psionics may develop his talents over time just as if they were normal skills. Unlike other skills, psionic talents cannot be used untrained. The most common talents are:
  • Telepathy – reading minds and mental communication.
  • Clairvoyance – perceiving at a distance.
  • Telekinesis – mind over matter.
  • Awareness – control over one’s own mind and body.
  • Teleportation – moving from one point to another instantly.
Each talent grants access to all of its powers – a character with Telepathy 0 can use life detection, read surface thoughts or assault as the situation demands.

Using A Psionic Talent

To activate a talent, the psion must make a skill check using the appropriate talent (Telepathy, Telekinesis, etc), adding his Psionic Strength characteristic DM and any other DMs. He must also spend the listed number of Psionic Strength points if he succeeds, or one point if he fails. If this cost brings him below zero Psionic Strength, then any excess points are applied to his Endurance score as damage. A character with no Psionic Strength points cannot attempt to activate a power. Using a talent in combat is a significant action. Many abilities are ranged. The Psionic Range table lists the number of points to project an ability out to a given range – these must be paid as well as any points to activate the ability. Each talent has a different set of costs, with the exception of Awareness – all Awareness abilities apply to the Psion only.

Telepathy

Telepathy is the talent of mind-to-mind contact. It is subtle by nature but can also be used to bluntly crush the wills of those who oppose the telepath.

Life Detection

The most elementary form of telepathy is the ability to detect the presence of other minds. Life detection enables a character to sense the presence of other minds, the number of minds present, the general type of minds (animal, human, and so on) and their approximate location. Life detection is reasonably sophisticated, and can distinguish intelligent beings from bacteria or unimportant animals in the area. It functions best at detecting intelligent minds. Shielded minds are undetectable (whether the shield is natural or artificial in origin). If an individual whom the telepath knows is ‘life detected’ he or she will be recognised. Telepathy, Psionic Strength, 10-60 seconds, Easy (+4). Costs 1+Range.

Telempathy

The communication of emotions and basic feelings is accomplished by telempathy. This ability serves well in the handling of animals and beasts of burden but may also be applied as a psychological weapon against humans. Sending of emotions such as love, hate, fear, and others may influence other beings (although not necessarily in the manner desired). Telempathy also allows the emotions and feelings of others to be read by a character. The Effect of the check determines the strength of the projected emotion. Telepaths will always recognise when someone is using telempathy to bend their emotions but others will not. The change in mood may be dramatic and inexplicable but most people will simply ascribe it to the mercurial nature of human emotions. Shielded individuals are immune to telempathy as they are all other Telepathy powers. Telepathy, Psionic Strength, 10-60 seconds, Routine (+2). Costs 1+Range.

Read Surface Thoughts

The most widely known feature of Telepathy is the ability to read the thoughts of other individuals. Only active, current thoughts are read by this ability, with the subject (if himself not a telepath) unaware of the activity. Individuals with telepathic ability cannot be read due to the presence of their natural shields, unless they willingly lower their shielding. The Effect of the check determines the clarity of the telepath’s perceptions. Telepathy, Psionic Strength, 10-60 seconds, Average (+0). Costs 2+Range.

Send Thoughts

Complementary to the ability to read surface thoughts is the ability to send thoughts to others. Such individuals need not themselves be telepathic to receive such thoughts. Telepathic individuals are normally open to such transmissions, but may close their shields against them if they become bothersome or threatening. Telepathy, Psionic Strength, 10-60 seconds, Difficult (-2). Costs 2+Range.

Probe

The application of great psionic strength will enable a telepath to delve deep into the mind of a subject and to then read his innermost thoughts. Questioning can be used in the procedure to force the subject to divulge specific information. The prober can easily determine deliberate untruths told (thought) by the subject. Probe cannot be used against a shielded mind. Again, the Effect of the check determines the clarity of the telepath’s perceptions. Telepathy, Psionic Strength, 1-6 minutes, Very Difficult (-4). Costs 4+Range.

Assault

Violence may be dealt by a telepath. An unshielded mind, when assaulted telepathically, is rendered unconscious immediately and the character suffers 2d6 + Effect damage. Unlike normal damage, assault damage is applied to Psionic Strength (if the victim has it), then Intelligence, then Endurance. Psionic Strength and Endurance return as normal. Intelligence returns at the rate of one point per day. When a shielded mind is assaulted the two telepaths make opposed Telepathy checks. If the attacker wins, the victim suffers damage as normal. Telepathy, Psionic Strength, 1-6 seconds, Formidable (-6). Costs 8+Range.

Shield

All telepathically able characters learn how to create a mental shield which protects the mind against unwanted telepathic interference. Shield is automatically in force at all times and requires no Psionic Strength point expenditure to maintain. However, while a telepath has his shield up he cannot use any telepathic powers either. Shield can be lowered to allow telepathic contact or to use telepathic powers – this takes a mere thought (a free action in combat).

Clairvoyance

Clairvoyance is the general talent which allows a person to sense events at some location displaced from the viewer. There are several levels of clairvoyant ability. Clairvoyance abilities allow eavesdropping activities as well as spying and detection-free exploration of situations. While telepathic life detection will determine the presence of living minds in a closed room, for example, sense will determine if a room is occupied or empty. Clairvoyant activity cannot be sensed by others, including by other psionic individuals.

Sense

The basic ability to sense things at some point in the distance. A character will become aware of the most rudimentary characteristics of a location when applying this ability. For example, the Referee will give a basic description, without detail: ‘a room containing four dogs’ or ‘an open plain with a tree, and no animals or men present’. The clairvoyant character must state the range at which he is applying his talent, and will generally sense the most interesting or important feature at that range. The Effect of the check determines the level of accuracy and clarity. Clairvoyance, Psionic Strength, 10-60 seconds, Routine (+2). Costs 1+Range.

Tactical Awareness

With this ability, the character can perceive dangers and foes around him using his clairvoyant abilities. This enhanced spatial perception allows him to ignore the effects of darkness, smoke, fog or other environmental effects that impede vision. He may also detect hidden foes within range. The Effect of the check how long the enhanced awareness lasts in rounds. Clairvoyance, Psionic Strength, 1-6 seconds, Average (+0). Costs 2+Range

Clairvoyance

This specific ability allows actual remote viewing of a situation at some displaced point. Rather than the ‘snapshot’ that sense gives, clairvoyance allows the psion to observe as if he was there in person. The clairvoyant character must state the range at which he is applying his talent. The Effect of the check determines the level of detail perceived and the duration in rounds the vision can be maintained for. Clairvoyance, Psionic Strength, 10-60 seconds, Average (+0). Costs 2+Range.

Clairaudience

This ability is identical to clairvoyance, with the exception that it allows hearing instead of seeing. Clairvoyance, Psionic Strength, 10-60 seconds, Average (+0). Costs 2+Range.

Clairsentience

This power combines the effects of clairvoyance and clairaudience. The character is capable of both seeing and hearing a specific situation. Clairvoyance, Psionic Strength, 10-60 seconds, Difficult (-2). Costs 3+Range.

Telekinesis

Telekinesis is the talent which allows objects to be manipulated without physically touching them. Any manipulation is treated as if the person was physically handling the item but physical danger, pain, or other stimuli are not present. Telekinesis includes a limited amount of sensory awareness, sufficient to allow actual intelligent manipulation.

Telekinesis

This basic form of the talent allows the character to move objects at range. The Effect of the check determines the duration of the telekinesis in rounds. The number of points spent determines the Strength of the Telekinesis. Telekinesis, Psionic Strength, 1-6 seconds, Average (+0). Costs Strength+Range.

Flight

By applying telekinesis to his own body the character can fly, or at least levitate over short distances. The character can fly for a number of rounds equal to the Effect of the check at a speed of six metres per round. Telekinesis, Psionic Strength, 1-6 seconds, Average (+0). Costs 5.

Telekinetic Punch

Telekinesis can be used as a direct attack, smashing the foe with a blast of telekinetic force. The damage inflicted is 2d6 + the Effect of the check. Telekinesis, Psionic Strength, 1-6 seconds, Average (+0). Costs 1+Range.

Microkinesis

This more challenging form of telekinesis allows for fine manipulation of very small or even microscopic objects. A telekinetic can use this power to pick locks, perform microsurgery, sabotage a computer system and so forth. The range is always Personal. Telekinesis, Psionic Strength, 10-60 seconds, Difficult (-2). Costs 3.

Pyrokinesis

By exciting the substance of an object the character can raise its temperature, possibly even causing it to burst into flames. Roll 1d6 and add the Effect of the check.
Pyrokinesis Effect Target…
0-4 Becomes warmer, but is undamaged.
5-8 Is burned, suffering 1d6 damage.
9+ Suffers 2d6 damage and may burst into flame if flammable.
Telekinesis, Psionic Strength, 10-60 seconds, Difficult (-2). Costs 3+Range.

Awareness

Awareness is the psionic talent which allows control of one’s own body. Awareness powers never have a range – they are used only on yourself.

Suspended Animation

Personal body activity may be suspended for varying periods of time. A character with Awareness may enter a suspended animation state (similar to cold sleep but without the intrinsic danger of death) by willing himself into it. Such a state continues for 7 days without need for food or water and with minimal air needs. Such a person could effectively travel in a low passage berth without actually undergoing cold sleep and its dangers. Suspended animation may be stopped at any time previous to its duration expiring, provided external stimulus is given to awaken the sleeper (such as a friend or a mechanical alarm). Awareness, Psionic Strength, 1-6 minutes, Average (+0). Costs 3.

Enhanced Awareness

By focussing his mind, the character can improve his concentration and ability to perform complex tasks. While under the effects of enhanced awareness, the character may add his Psionic Strength DM (if positive) to any skill checks. Enhanced awareness lasts until the character fails a skill check or sleeps. Awareness, Psionic Strength, 1-6 seconds, Average (+0). Costs 1.

Psionically Enhanced Strength

Psionic Strength points may be converted to normal Strength points on a temporary basis. The character makes the commitment, reduces his Psionic Strength by a specific number of points, and increases his physical Strength characteristic by that number. In no case may the number of Strength points gained exceed the character’s current level in Awareness, and Strength may not be increased beyond the character’s racial maximum. Psionically enhanced strength reaches its new level immediately, remains at that peak for ten minutes, and then declines at the rate of 1 Strength point per minute until the normal Strength level is reached. This power works as normal on wounded characters but their Strength returns to the wounded level rather than the normal value. It cannot be used as a ‘quick heal’. Awareness, Psionic Strength, 1-6 seconds, Average (+0). Costs boosted Strength.

Psionically Enhanced Endurance

Psionically enhanced endurance works in exactly the same way as psionically enhanced strength except the characteristic boosted is Endurance rather than Strength, including its lack of healing ability. Awareness, Psionic Strength, 1-6 seconds, Average (+0). Costs boosted Endurance.

Regeneration

Wounds and injuries may be healed rapidly. Strength, Dexterity and Endurance lost to injury, disease, poison or other trauma may be healed by the application of this ability, exchanging one Psionic Strength point to regenerate one characteristic point. Any amount of Psionic Strength may be expended with a single use of regeneration but it may not be used again until all expended Psionic Strength is recovered. Regeneration may also be applied to the growing of new limbs or organs to replace lost ones or to heal unrecovered old wounds suffered prior to psionic training. Regeneration may not be used to counteract aging. Awareness is not capable of affecting others and may not be used for healing or enhancing other characters. Awareness, Psionic Strength, 10-60 seconds, Very Difficult (-4). Costs amount healed.

Body Armour

By channelling psionic strength to his skeletal structure and boosting his healing rate, the character can enhance his ability to absorb damage. Body armour lasts for a number of rounds equal to the Effect of the check and provides an armour rating equal to the number of Psionic Strength points expended. This armour stacks with worn armour as normal. Awareness, Psionic Strength, 1-6 seconds, Very Difficult (-4). Costs amount healed.

Teleportation

Teleportation is a talent which allows effectively instantaneous movement from one point to another point without regard to intervening matter. Psionic teleportation is limited to the movement of the teleported character’s body and (for highly skilled teleporters) his or her clothing and weapons. Unlike the other talents, Teleportation has only a single power: the ability to teleport yourself. Teleporting without any equipment or clothing uses the Teleportation talent with the Psionic Strength DM as a modifier. The act of teleporting takes 1-6 seconds (a significant action in combat) and costs nothing except what the psion spends on range. Teleporting with up to 10 kg of equipment or clothing is Difficult (-2 DM) and costs 2 + range Psionic Strength points. Teleporting with up to 500 kg of equipment is Very Difficult (-4 DM) and costs 4 + range Psionic Strength points. Teleportation always involves the movement of one’s body to another location. Independent items or other individuals may not be moved. Teleportation involves certain requirements in order to be accurate, and to insure obedience of the laws of physics. Preknowledge of Destination: A character must always have a mental image of his or her destination before teleporting. This mental image is acquired by personally visiting the location first (or viewing it from a distance), having the mental image implanted in one’s mind (by telepathy) by another person who has visited the destination, or by viewing the location through clairvoyance. The key to remember is that someone has to actually view the location – recorded images are not enough. Energy and Momentum: Teleportation involves serious restrictions on movement in order to assure the conservation of energy and momentum. On planetary surfaces, teleportation is restricted to jumps of Very Distant range or less. Jumps at Very Distant range involve disorientation for a period of 20 to 120 seconds (2d6 x 10) after arrival. This restriction results from the law of conservation of momentum: on a rotating planet, two locations will have different rotational speeds and directions. A jump from a point on the Earth’s equator to one of its poles would result in a total velocity difference between the character and his surroundings of over 3300 kph, which would lead to a messy death in short order. Teleporting to or from vehicles travelling at high speed can also result in energy gains or losses. When teleporting into, onto or out of a fast-moving vehicle the psion takes damage as if the vehicle had rammed him at its current speed. Changes in altitude (actually all movement to locations of differing gravitational potential) will result in potential energy changes, manifesting themselves as changes in body temperature. A jump of one kilometre straight down will result in a temperature increase of 2.5 degrees Celsius; this is sufficient to cause extreme fever, brain damage, and even death. A jump up will cool the body by the same amount, with equally serious results. To be safe, a jump may not involve an elevation change of more than 400 meters, and multiple jumps should not involve a cumulative elevation change or more than 600 meters in one hour. These problems may be gotten around through the use of technological devices: energy compensators, heated suits, and other means. Characters may feel driven to invent such materials, commission their invention, or seek them out from those who already have them.

Psionic Technology

Psi-Drugs (TL 8+): These drugs restore Psionic Strength if taken when the character has already spent Psionic Strength points, or temporarily increase the character’s Psionic Strength if taken when he is at full Psionic Strength.
Drug TL Psionic Strength Restored Psionic Strength Boosted Cost (Cr.)
Standard 8 3 2 1,000
Double 9 6 4 4,000
Special 10 9 6 10,000
A character who takes more than one dose of Standard or Double Psi-Drug, or a single dose of the Special drug must make an Endurance check, with a -1 DM per dose of psi-drug taken in the last week (not including the one just taken). If the check is failed the character falls ill with a serious fever, suffering 3d6 damage and permanently reducing his Psionic Strength by one. Inhibitor Drug (TL 9): Psionic inhibitors dampen the brain’s ability to generate psychic effects. A character who takes (or, more often, is forcibly injected with) an inhibitor drug suffers a -4 DM to all Psionic Strength checks and cannot regain Psionic Strength points. Each hour the character may make an Endurance check to throw off the effects of the drug with a +1 DM for every previous check. Inhibitor drugs have no effect on non-psionic individuals. The drugs cost Cr. 500 per dose. Psionic Shield (TL 12): Any armour incorporating a helmet or hood can be outfitted with a psionic shield, blocking Telepathy. Unlike the Telepathy power shield a technological shield is invulnerable to assault and blocks send thoughts. It cannot be lowered without removing the helmet or hood containing the shield. Cr. 40,000. Buildings and vehicles can also be psionically shielded, but this is much more costly, increasing the cost by 10%. Teleportation Suit (TL 12): This device can be integrated into a suit of armour or worn as a form-hugging body-suit. It rapidly cools or warms the body after a teleport, minimising the damage from sudden energy gains or losses. The suit costs Cr. 50,000 and allows a character to jump up to 600 metres up or down in a single teleport, or up to ten kilometres in a single hour when using successive jumps. Psionic Interface (TL 14): Any weapon or technological device can be outfitted with a psionic interface. A character using a device with a psionic interface can use his Psionic Strength DM instead of his Dexterity DM when using the weapon or device; a character without psionic ability cannot use the device. The character must either touch the device or use telekinesis to interact with it at range. Adding a psionic interface increases the cost of the device by 20%.