- 1 Classifications
- 2 Rules
- 3 Paths
- 3.1 Psyche
- 3.2 Far Hand
- 3.3 6th Sense
- 3.4 Soma
- 3.5 Bedlam
- 3.6 Vis Craft
- 3.7 Omen
- 3.8 Sympathy
- 3.9 Cloaking
- 3.10 Visioning
- 3.11 Turning
The Phavian Institute categorized psychic individuals into four categories. Though the Phavian Institute and its classifications charts have long been committed to the bonfires of the Church or the dust of centuries past, their methodology accurately modeled an individual's psychic capabilities. Every psychic path can be measured as one of four categories laid out below: latent, natal, operant, and prime.
Though psychics tend to have an affinity for a single path it is not uncommon for psychics, especially those who are members of covens, to develop a variety of abilities. These abilities can often be at different levels. Thus an operant telepath might only be a latent telekinetic. A Prime seer might also by a natal vis crafter.
The exact cause of psychic powers remains as it always has: a mystery. Numerous studies have shown a relation between abnormal pineal gland activity and psychic powers, but aside from this singular abnormality there is no way to accurately predict whether an individual has potential to become a psychic.
An individual's transition from non-psychic to psychic is equally difficult to identify. The first manifestations of a psychic's powers are subtle, often so subtle that the psychic herself has difficulty explaining them. A telepath might find herself suddenly empathizing with strangers or a telekinetic might find herself striking the bullseye more often when she plays darts.
The Phavian Institute referred to these phenomena as “latent” psychic powers, and as a consequence came to refer to these nascent psychics as “latents”. Second Republic screening methods were developed to identify these latent psychics and get them the training they needed to progress in their development. In the depths of the new dark ages, however, most latent psychics are unaware of their status, often believing the strange events that surround them are either a blessing from above or the result of some natural skill.
Every latent psychic has an affinity for a single path, but as a psychic develops her powers she may find that other paths open up to her. These new paths, however, represent unexplored abilities that even the most experienced psychic must spend time to master. As a result a psychic may have a psychic path at the latent level, even while using much more powerful abilities in a different path.
It is not unheard of for a psychic to not realize that she also has latent abilities in a different path.
If latent abilities represent the first unconscious stirrings of a psychic's abilities then the natal stage of a psychic's develop along a path represents the first conscious efforts at control. Unlike latent psychics, a natal psychic is fully aware of her efforts.
Natal psychic powers are often the most fundamental abilities related to a path as well as the simplest. A natal psychic requires little training and practice to master powers at this level. A consequence of this simple learning curve is that most psychics can make use of all natal abilities.
Most psychics in the new dark ages rarely progress beyond the natal stages of development before getting noticed by their community and as a result few psychics develop beyond this stage at all. What few go on to become Church penitents are unlikely to be trained further, though if a psychic is lucky enough to be drafted into a House's dervish corps or drawn into a psychic coven then she may learn enough to progress to become an operant.
In the days of the Second Republic a psychic who had mastered the basics of her path was considered an “Operant” psychic. It is a testament to how far the study of psychic powers has fallen and how persecuted psychics have become that few psychics manage to achieve this level of understanding.
An Operant psychic has a great deal more practice and experience with her abilities. This results in more precise applications of natal psychic abilities- where a natal telekinetic might be able to push and pull with her mind, an operant telekinetic can manipulate objects at a distance as though she were holding them with her hands. As most Operant level abilities are merely more controlled applications of powers learned by the natal psychic, an operant psychic knows all of the powers at the operant level.
If an Operant Psychic represents an individual who has mastered the basics of a path, then a Prime psychic is an individual who has mastered a specialty within the path. The Phavian Institute recognized dozens of unique applications of every path, each requiring a different application of psychic powers. Today few records of these abilities survive, and what few prime powers exist today are the result of trial and error by the psychics who develop them.
Prime abilities represent the most powerful and precise applications of a path. They allow psychics to dominate a person's mind, see into the future, or lift a person into the sky.
Every path has a skill associated with it. Unless otherwise stated every use of a power costs 1 stun flesh wound. Unless otherwise stated a psychic power lasts 10 turns. Unless otherwise stated a psychic power can be maintained if at the end of 10 turns the psychic takes another 1 stun damage. Most ranged psychic powers have a range of line of sight initially, but can be maintained at a distance of a number of kilometers equal to the psychic's resolve.
A Natal Psychic has access to all of the Natal powers. An Operant Psychic has access to all of the Operant powers. A Prime Psychic receives 1 Prime Power upon achieving this level, and must pay for all other Prime Powers individually.
+1 in opposed rolls to detect lies.
- Emotion Sense
A psychic can determine a target's emotional state. 1 VP allows the psychic to detect a target's dominant base emotion (anger, happiness, lust, anxiety). 2 Vps allows the psychic to detect subtle distinctions in the emotion (frustrated anger, giddy happiness). 3 Vps allows the psychic to determine if the emotion is directed at anything or anyone nearby.
The Psychic can communicate thoughts directly to the conscious mind of a target. The target “hears” the psychics thoughts but is not required to react to them in any particular way. The number of Vps determines the complexity of the information communicated. 1 VP allows the psychic to communicate emotions, 2 Vps allows the psychic to communicate words, and 3+ Vps allows the psychic to communicate ideas without risk of misunderstanding.
- Brain Blast
The psychic unleashes a raw psychic scream into a target. The target instinctively resists with a Resolve+Focus roll. If the psychic wins, the target rolls Wits in damage dice adds his VPs in damage points for stun wounds.
Roll: Presence+Psyche. Once a commonly used power among psychics at the Phavian Institute, mindlink allows a telepath to communicate with a willing non-psychic in two-way communication. The rules are identical to mindspeech.
The psychic can read surface thoughts of an individual. The target is not aware that her mind is being read unless she is informed by some means.
If the psychic concentrates, however, she can pry into a target's memories to read memories. The target begins to relive her memories as the psychic sifts through them. The target makes a contested Wits+Focus roll against the Psychic's Mindsight- if the psychic wins then the target is likely to simply think she is daydreaming. If the target wins, however, the target realizes that she is being forced to relive her memories by some external force.
If the target is unresisting- either by choice or because she is not aware her mind is being read- the psychic's Vps determine how deep or how quickly she receives answers. Private, treasured memories may require 3 or 4 VPs, whereas the memory of a conversation from earlier in the day might require only 1 or 2.
If the target is resisting, there is a battle of wills, with the Psychic forcefully prying open a target's mind. The same VP requirements as above apply, however the target is allowed a Resolve+Focus roll to resist, with the target's Vps subtracting from the Psychic's. If the target chooses to resist, she takes 1 stun damage.
Characters who are reliving memories often have a faraway look in their eyes as they are lost in reverie.
The psychic forces a target to feel an emotion. The number of Vps determines the strength of the emotion, with 1 VP resulting in mild but noticeable mood changes, 2 Vps resulting in the target being obviously seized by the desired emotion, 3 Vps forcing the target into being overcome with the desired emotion. A target may attempt to gain control of their behavior with a contested Resolve+Focus roll.
Often characters who are 2 or 3 VPs into heartshackle resemble people who, in contemporary terms, might be heavily under the influence of drugs. Characters who are compelled to love might wear a dopey grin, while those compelled into anger might shout rather than speak and strike inanimate objects in their rage.
The psychic digs deep into the conscious mind of the target and speaks directly to the decision-making centers. The psychic issues psychic commands into the mind of the target which the target must obey, believing them to be her own thoughts and desires. The target will attempt to rationalize even the most extreme behavior unless she has some specific reason to suspect occult influence. If the target attempts to resist, roll the target's Resolve+Focus against the Psychic's presence+psyche for each command.
The psychic forces his own will down upon his target's, suppressing the latter. The psychic takes over the target's body. The psychic may only use his own mental skills while in his target's body, though she may make use of any of the attributes or skills based on the target's physiology. This power lasts for 1 scene. While this power is active the psychic's body is comatose. The target automatically resists with Resolve+Focus, initially when the power is activated, and once again every time the power is maintained.
- Psychic Surgery
The psychic implants false memories, removes real memories, creates false emotional connections or enhances or reduces real ones. This process is extremely lengthy, and unlike the effects of certain infamous Ur artifacts, its results are not irreversible.
The psychic must first determine what level of effect she is attempting using the chart below. For every hour, roll the Psychic's skill versus the target's Resolve+Focus. The telepath must win by the margin below in order to achieve the affect.
Alternately, the target may willingly allow the telepath into her mind- This gives the telepath a +2 to her roll.
(The chart is ultimately a guideline- the storyteller will determine the applicable number).
1 VP- Erase minor memories (a brief conversation, a face in the crowd), adjust existing emotional connection in a minor way. 2 VP- Erase memories of an entire scene, adjust existing memories to contain false details (faces, snippets of conversation), adjust existing emotional connections in a serious way. Create minor emotional connection. 3 VP- Erase all memories of an individual or major emotional event. Totally rewrite existing memories. Create or destroy emotional connections. 4 VP- Create a false personality.
Called “Telekinesis” by the Phavian Institute and by the few Guild experts in the area, Far Hand is among the three most common psychic powers. How telekinetics (as they are called) create the force they use to lift and manipulate objects was an area of much debate, but there was little argument that it is among the most directly dangerous of powers. Latent telekinetics might notice objects shifting or moving when they get upset. +1 to throwing and lifting rolls.
A natal telekinetic is often capable of only the most clumsy applications of her powers. Unidirectional forces are all a psychic with this level of power can achieve- with concentration she can lift or push an object carefully, or with much less care she can shove all of her will into a wall of moving force large enough to topple a man.
- Lifting Hand
Roll: Resolve+Far Hand
A character can lift 10 kg per point of Resolve.
Roll: Resolve+Far Hand
Rather than a constant force the psychic creates a single push. The character treats the activation roll as a ranged combat attack. Treat the attack as a firearm attack for the purposes of dodges. The damage on the attack is equal to the character's Resolve+VPs and is treated as stun damage. A character struck by Telekinetic Push must make a Strength+Vigor roll (1 VP) or be knocked down.
An operant telekinetic has developed the ability to create multiple distant forces. This allows her to manipulate objects at a distance as if she held them in her hand or accelerate a small object to amazing speeds with the precision of a firearm.
- Dueling Hand
Roll: Wits+Far Hand
A character can manipulate any object within sight with Dexterity equal to her Wits and Strength equal to her Resolve.
- Telekinetic Crush
Roll: Resolve+Far Hand
The telekinetic uses the grappling rules on a target at a distance. Use Resolve in place of Strength.
- Telekinetic Throw
Roll: Dex+Far Hand
The psychic propels a lifted object (10 kg per point of Resolve) and lobs it at a target. If the psychic picks up a smaller object, however, she can accelerate it to near bullet speeds. Thrown objects do the Psychic's Resolve + VPs in damage. Alternately, if the psychic picks up a small object she may do Resolve -2 + VPs in Piercing damage. Attacks in this fashion use the Ranged Combat rules, and Telekinetic Throw is treated as a semi-automatic attack.
Prime Telekinetics vary radically in their focus and abilities. Some continue to expand their ability to create additional forces, lifting and manipulating several objects at a time. Others turn inward and learn how to propel not just objects, but people into the air. Still others learn to turn the force they create in on itself, releasing tremendous amounts of energy when the power is released. Dozens of applications of Telekinesis were developed during the Second Republic. Only a very few are known today.
- Far Arms
Roll: Wits+Far Hand
As Dueling hand, but can manipulate a number of items equal to Resolve. Note that even though this may mean that a character may be able to take a separate action with each levitated item, particularly complex actions (dueling with a sword, aiming a gun, putting a key in a lock) may incur penalties if they are all done simultaneously. The psychic receives a -1 penalty to each action directed at different targets, and a -1 for every two actions directed at a single target.
Roll: Dex+Far Hand
As Telekinetic Throw, except rather than a single object being thrown the psychic launches multiple projectives. The psychic may treat this ranged attack as an automatic weapon attack and may use burst actions with it. A psychic may throw a number of objects equal to their Resolve.
- Far Wall
Roll: Resolve + Far Hand
The psychic creates a barrier of psychic force with a maximum area of (Resolve)^2 (m^2). The wall must be a single continuous piece, though it can be shaped into a dome or sphere. The barrier is typically immobile and does not need to be anchored to anything- a psychic can create a bridge out of this force, or a hovering platform. The barrier provides an armor rating equal to the telekinetic's Resolve+VPs.
Roll: Wits+Far Hand
The telekinetic flies at a rate of (5 +VPs) kph/ point of Resolve.
- Demolishing Hand
Roll: Wits+Far Hand
The psychic rolls Wits+Far Hand like a ranged attack. VPs determine how close to the target the psychic detonates a hyper-compressed ball of air. The detonation does Resolve+VPs in stun damage, -1 damage/meter.
Another of the most common psychic powers, Sixth Sense, originally called “Extrasensory Perception” allows the practitioner to perceive details and events beyond the range of normal human limits. As the psychic's mind begins to open to this path she often begins to notice details she didn't before. +1 observe
Roll: Intuition+Sixth Sense.
The psychic may choose a sense and enhance it. A psychic might enhance her sight to perceive in darkness (this may take the form of biolelectric radar or an adjustment to the psychic's eyes), hear radio frequencies, or feel distant troop movements through vibrations in the ground. The psychic receives a +2 to her observe roll and may receive special information based on her new perceptions.
Roll: Intuition+Sixth Sense.
Premonition allows a psychic to receive warning of danger directed at her. 1 VP gives the character a vague sense of danger, 2 Vps gives the psychic a sense of which direction the danger is coming from, and 3+ vps allows the psychic to take a defensive action against the attack.
- Subtle Sight
Roll: Intuition+Sixth Sense. This is identical to the Aura chart from Second Edition.
- Far Sight
Roll: Presence+ Sixth Sense.
Use the range chart from FS3. Use ½ FS2 familiarity penalties/bonuses. Use the effect for Far Sight and Far Sound combined.
- Shared Sense
Roll: Presence+Sixth Sense.
Some kind of Shared Sense thing.
- Wyrd Sight
Roll: Intuition+Sixth Sense
Some kind of Wyrd Sight thing.
- Senses Shock
Roll: Presence+Sixth Sense.
The psychic opens up the target's senses, overwhelming it with a flood of sensations. The target resists with Resolve+Vigor. If the target fails to resist, she takes a -5 penalty to all rolls.
Psychics developing in the Soma path feel in tune with their body more than the average individual. Initially a latent soma psychic will feel more energized and full of life, able to will her body to run a little faster or jump a little farther than it had before. +1 on Vigor rolls.
The earliest skills a Soma psychic learns is how to drive her willpower into her body, causing muscles to surge with psychic strength or loosen to absorb an impact. She also experiences a blossoming awareness of the subtle workings of her cells, though she must shut off all outside stimuli in order to direct her will into repairing damage to her person.
As a free action the psychic may activate Strengthening. The VPs on the roll add to the characters strength.
A character with 2 or more VPs added to her strength begins to move very differently - simple physical tasks that might have required exertion before seem effortless and tasks which would seem impossible for the character (judging by her frame or apparently musculature) suddenly become achievable.
As a free action a character may reduce damage from any one source by the twice the VPs of the activation roll. The character's body seems almost to contort at the point of impact like rubber.
- Healing Meditation
A character may enter a healing trance. A character in the trance is comatose for 1 full day, at the end of the day a character may recover 1 Critial wound for every 4 Vps, 1 Serious wound for every 2 Vps, and 1 flesh wound for every VP. The character rolls at the beginning of the trance and may exit the trance at any time. However, if the character exits from the trance early, either due to a failed roll or too few VPs, she takes 1 stun damage. Otherwise this power does not cause 1 stun damage to the character.
The Operant Soma psychic has forged a much closer connection between her mind and body. In addition to simply causing power to surge into muscles she can also directly affect skin and fat cells to harden for a brief while. Through oneness with her body she can briefly give herself supernatural quickness and balance and urge her cells to repair themselves much more quickly.
A character gains armor equal to VPs for a scene. There is no visible effect but the character's skin feels strange and tough to the touch.
- Perfect Balance
As a free action the psychic may activate Perfect Balance. The VPs on the roll add to the characters Dexterity.
Characters who gain 2 or more points to their dexterity with this power begin to move differently - there is an obvious change in the gracefulness and precision in which they walk, move, and fight in proportion to the VPs on the roll.
A character heals lethal damage one time level faster. This power lasts for one hour and can be maintained at a rate of 1 stun damage per hour.
The key difference between operant and prime level Soma path powers rested on whether the psychic was urging her body to do a natural function better or more efficiently, or whether she was using her psychic powers to change her body's function. Soma practitioners who reached the prime level learned how to force their cells to metabolize dangerous chemicals, adjust blood ph, grow or shrink bones and even radically warp facial and body structure.
A character becomes immune to toxins (Vps relating in some fashion to whatever our poison rules are).
A character becomes immune to the effects of vacuum or airborne effects.
A character may alter her form following the masking rules from second edition. This includes changing body features, facial features, voice, and even height and weight.
+1 to fight and Melee rolls
By focusing her psychic power into her limbs or melee weapon the psychic is able to strike with greater force. The psychic adds her VPs on the activation roll to all damage for the duration of the power. This power is activated as a free action.
- Whirling Dervish
The quintessential Dervish power, with Whirling Dervish the psychic harmonizes her spirit with the ebb and flow of battle. While this power is active the psychic may choose to either make two rolls and take the lower, or deny opponents any advantage from having an advantage in numbers. This power lasts for a scene or single combat.
Characters under the effect of this power move with obvious preternatural speed and precision, appearing to almost predict their opponent's strikes while flowing around them. This power is not subtle in its effects.
- Prana Vibration
The psychic synchronizes with the vibrational frequency of an energy shield, allowing her strikes to bypass it. A psychic using this ability may act as though they have the 'shield fighting' maneuver, regardless of fighting style or weapon. This means that once damage is calculated it is divided in half and applied to the target. If the psychic is already using the 'shield fighting' maneuver and uses this ability, then do not divide damage in half. This power is activated as a free action.
A perceptive individual (3 VPs on an Intuition + Observe roll) might be able to hear a subtle humming coming from the psychic while this power is active, but nearly anyone can see the effect of the psychic's weapon passing through a target's shield unimpeded.
- Prana Burst
The psychic gathers her energy and releases it in an explosive charge. The psychic may fight defensively while gathering power for this technique at a -2 (for a total of +0), but she may take no aggressive action. At the end of the round the energy she has gathered is treated as the detonation of a plasma grenade, centered on the psychic. The psychic does not take any damage.
As this power charges the air around the psychic seems to shimmer and when it is released a compressed wave of energy erupts out.
- Paralyzing Strike
As a free action the psychic activates this power, which lasts until it is discharged. Once the psychic strikes the target the target resists with Strength+Vigor. If the target fails to resists, she is paralyzed for a number of combat rounds equal to the Vps minus the Vps on the target's resistance roll.
The Path of Vis Craft is a rare one, dedicated to perceiving and manipulating electrical and to a degree spiritual energy. Below is an outline of the abilities. This section is not complete yet
+1 working with Tech Redemption involving electricity.
- Vis Flow
Roll: Intuition+Vis Craft.
The fickle flows of vis energy become visible to the psychic and with effort she can redirect them from one source into another, even causing them to leap through the air in brilliant arcs. A psychic using this power may ground out electrical flows or redirect them in order to either charge batteries or strike targets. The psychic must be less than 1 meter away from the wires or source of the electricity and she must roll 1 VP for every meter she wishes to arc the electricity. The amount of electricity a psychic may channel is determined by any VPs remaining: 1 VP- Small handheld electronics or blaster pistols/laser pistols. 2 VPs- large handheld electronics, blaster or laser long-arms. 3 VPs- Energy shields, small vehicles, building electricity running to a single piece of electronics. 4 VPs- Dueling or Assault energy shields, a large vehicle or a small building's power, starfighters. 5 VPs- A large building's power, a small spaceship such as an explorer. 6 VPs- A local power grid, a medium sized spaceship such as a frigate.
In order to hit with arcing electricity the psychic treats her activation roll as an attack roll (subtracting VPs for arc length). All regular ranged attack rules apply, but the "source" of the attack is the socket or outlet from which the electricity arcs (note that not many people take cover from wall outlets). Damage is always treated as Stun damage, ranges from 1-9 depending on the source of the power.
Example: While rummaging through the ruins of a Second Republic service facility, Shara Harrison is attacked by bandit looters. She takes cover behind an overturned table while the bandits hide behind a counter across the room, shooting at her. Luckily the building still has a trickle of power running through the wiring and she sees an outlet right next to where the bandits have taken cover. She reaches out and rolls Intuition+Vis Craft, scoring 2 VPs. The electricity needs to only arc 1 meter, so that leaves her with 1 VP on her ranged attack roll against a bandit. The bandit has no cover from the outlet and is at no range penalty, therefore the bandit is struck by a blue-white arc of electricity from the socket. The damage is determined by the storyteller to be only 4 due to the tiny amount of power in the facility, so with 1 VP that goes up to 5 Energy stun damage.
- Vis Shock
Roll: Resolve+Vis Craft.
The psychic is in the process of learning to use her own psychic energies to create vis flows within herself. At this level of mastery she can only hold onto the charge for a short few moments before it is discharged. This is enough time, though, to strike an individual with a sword and release the vis energy through a sword, fist, or kick. The psychic makes a free activation roll to charge up her body. She may hold the charge for a number of rounds equal to her resolve. When the character strikes an opponent she may release the charge, doing extra Lethal energy damage equal to the number of VPs rolled on the activation roll. While the charge is held blue-white electricity runs up and down the length of the psychic's arms and into the weapon being held (or down her legs if she is using her legs to kick).
Note that if the psychic is using a technique that slips underneath shields (fencing or grappling, for example), this damage is added after any damage reduction is calculated.
- Vis Shield
Roll: Resolve+Vis Craft.
The psychic has learned to hold onto a charge around her body for a much longer duration. When activated the psychic surrounds herself with an invisible field of energy similar to an energy shield. The energy shield may take a number of hits equal to the psychic's Resolve+VPs rolled on the activation roll and it lasts for a scene. It may be activated over any armor lighter than plate mail.
- Vis Bolt
Roll: Wits+Vis Craft.
The psychic may gather her psychic energy into a cackling ball of super-heated plasma in her palm and direct it at a target. Treat this as a ranged attack with a blaster rifle.
- Vis Storm
Roll: Wits+Vis Craft.
Drawing upon her own internal spiritual energies as well as ambient electrical energy in the air, the psychic wills a vortex of lightning and plasma into existence anywhere within sight. This vortex is 3 meters wide x VPs rolled, and anyone caught in it takes damage as if caught in the blast of a plasma grenade. The vortex lasts only a single round, but it may be extended at the cost of an additional stun wound every round. As the psychic channels this power Vis energy sparks all around her.
- Vis Barrier
Roll: Resolve +Vis Craft.
Identical to Vis Shield but implemented with much greater power and refinement. The psychic shield now may take a number of hits equal to the psychic's (Resolve+VPs)x2, and may be activated over any armor.
The Path of Omen is dedicated to seeing through time, both backwards and forwards. This section is not complete yet.
The Path of Sympathy is dedicated to forging spiritual connections between objects and people. This makes the use of other psychic powers easier and is common among covens. This section is not complete yet.
The Path of Cloaking involves using a psychic's power to shroud an individual, initially from other psychic or occult powers but eventually from sight and sound. This section is not complete yet.
The Path of Visioning is similar to that of Psyche, though rather than reading minds it is dedicated to projecting illusions and nightmares into the minds of others. This section is not complete yet.
Among the rarest of psychic paths, the Path of Turning involves manipulating spiritual energies. It allows the psychic to diffuse other occult powers and even redirect them to different targets. This section is not complete yet.