What do psionic powers look like?
Psychic powers cover a wide range of science fiction mental powers. They are broadly divided into six disciplines, each of which have a number of talents which can be gained within them.
These rules are not prescriptive about where psychic powers come from. They could be natural mutations, scientific research or religious experiences with other dimensional entities which bring them about. Some examples of each of these are given in the rules.
Whatever the source, people can be trained in one or more psychic disciplines, and then this is expressed by learning one or more talents within those disciplines. Psychics use the term ‘channeling their mental powers’ through concentration and focus. The difficulty of making the talent work depends upon the realism setting. It is routine in a pulp setting, difficult in a noir setting and exceptional in a gritty setting.
As well as channelling, there is always the option to overchannel. This is the process of pushing yourself beyond your limits to use your talents at greater range, or affect more people, or intensify the strength of the effect.
Of course, because the base difficulty varies with the realism setting, it is easier to overchannel in a pulp setting and more difficult in a gritty setting.
There is a risk associated with psychic powers, because failing a skill check by 10 or more will cause you injury – from the classic nosebleed to the possibility of death if you push yourself too far.
There are six disciplines, two associated with each of the character attributes. Your passion powers telepathy and microkinesis. Your intellect powers precognition and shrouding. Your physique powers telekinesis and redaction.
This is the ability to transmit your thoughts to someone else and to read their thoughts. It starts off with talents connected with surface level thoughts, and then moves on to deeper scans, then to push feelings onto people with empathy and at the highest talents commanding people to obey you.
This is the mental manipulation of the subatomic world. It starts with the ability to recharge devices and mentally connect with computers and electronic devices, and grows through fire starting into the ability to shield yourself against attacks and disrupt individuals or create explosions.
This is the mental awareness extending through space and time. It starts with the ability to be aware of things beyond your current position, seeing into other places, and extends into hints of the future, the ability to be prepared for something which you have foreseen and manipulation of probability.
This is the ability to hide yourself from machines and minds. It starts with fuzzing your image on recording devices, to making yourself less memorable, then invisible and ultimately intangible.
Mental manipulation of physical objects is a well known set of talents, and it starts with pulling and manipulation of small objects and gradually gets more comprehensive, faster and more powerful in terms of the ability to damage things and protect yourself against physical injury.
The ability to edit your own body and mind or the body and mind of others is a scary thing, and is often considered the most freakish of psychic powers. It starts with the ability to quickly rouse people from daze, through first aid and up to surgery. It includes the ability to enhance your own physique and the ability to harm people by messing up their insides. Ultimately it has the potential for vampirically draining other people to rejuvenate yourself.
In each of these cases the very highest level talents are considered appropriate for pulp level campaigns rather than every campaign. They are marked with an Omega symbol to represent that.
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