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Psionic Abilities

This article appeared in the August 2014 issue.

The abilities included in the Core Rulebook offer some opportunity for using psionics in adventures, but there’s plenty of room for a creative referee to come up with others. These are some abilities that resulted from some brainstorming sessions.

Telepathy Abilities

Talent Lift

Talent Lift, also called “Borrow”, allows a psion to use another psion’s Talent as though his/her own for the length of the task. For example, if Sharik “borrows” Alex’s Teleportation talent, Sharik will be able to teleport, using the standard teleportation tasks, with DMs based on Alex’s Teleportation level and her own Psionic Strength, and paying the cost out of her own Psionic Strength.

Telepathy, Psionic Strength, 1-6 minutes, Very Difficult (-4).
Cost: 6+Range

Dream Reading

Dream Reading allows a psion to perceive a person’s dreams up to three hours after they’ve awoken even if the subject is unable to recall the dream. Roll 1D6: 1-3, one dream is detected; 4-6, two dreams are detected; 6, three dreams are detected. The Effect of the check determines the clarity of perception although it should be noted that being able to read the dream doesn’t necessarily give any ability to interpret it. This is of particular use in psychological healing although it can also be misused.

Telepathy, Psionic Strength, 10-60 seconds, Simple (+6).
Cost: 1+( Range) (round fractions up)

Dream Planting

This is a much more subtle form of Send Thoughts in which the subject is convinced on waking that the images or ideas have come to them in dream form. The Effect determines how clearly the dream is apparently remembered.

Telepathy, Psionic Strength, 10-60 seconds, Average (+0).
Cost: 1+( Range) (round fractions up)

Shield Drain

If a psion encounters someone using psionic Shield to protect themselves, the PC will need to overcome this shield in order to use Telepathic powers against the individual. This ability is intended for use when Psionic Assault is inappropriate.

Telepathy, Psionic Strength, 1-6 seconds, Average (0).
Cost: 3+Range

The target should be allowed an Opposed Check to defend (see Core Rulebook:50). Success reduces the target’s psionic strength by the Effect.

Clairvoyance Abilities

Animal Mind

This is the ability to use the senses of an animal as if they were your own, even at a distance. It is similar to Clairsentience in that it allows the psion to to perceive events at a remote location, but with different time limits and lower cost. It differs in that where Clairsentience allows the character to observe as if he was there in person, Animal Mind only presents the animal’s sensory data to the psion. These may be limited (for example reduced color perception) or enhanced (for example the eyesight or hearing of a raptor). It’s also possible the character will receive sensory data that can’t be interpreted (such as a hunting feline keeping head and eyes very still so that only movement of prey is visible; a vision mode that doesn’t exist in humans who see shape and detail because our eyes are constantly in motion), or for which there is no human equivalent (such as a migratory avian’s magnetic sense). At the Referee’s discretion it is possible that the psion may be injured by ‘brain-burn’ if overloaded with sensory input, or presented with input that can’t be interpreted. The Referee may also wish to limit what animals can be used in this way to, say, “only animals over kg” or “no insects”. Also called CritterSense.

Clairvoyance, Psionic Strength, 1-6 hours, Routine (+2).
Cost: 0+Range

As presented, the psion cannot direct the animal’s attention. Alternatively, the Referee may choose to link this ability with Telepathy, allowing the psion to direct the animal’s attention. If Telepathy is used, the task becomes more difficult and requires a greater expenditure of Psionic Strength. This model of the ability may also be called Familiar.

Telepathy, Psionic Strength, 1-6 hours, Difficult (-2).
Cost: 2+Range

Precognition

The ability to sense at a distance in time rather than space. The precognitive character can get a feeling of how future events will unfold in the space they are occupying, or in their own vicinity if they move, or both at the Referee’s discretion. The ‘time range’ must be stated and the Referee should give a description of events as vague or specific as appropriate (this can be guided by Effect). Future actions of PCs may of course be quite opaque and the Referee may well want to limit the power such that the precog cannot see future events they would be immediately involved with but only events they cannot influence. For example, the precog might foretell an earthquake, but not that she, or companions, will be able to rescue the heir of the local autarch trapped in a building collapse in that ’quake.

Clairvoyance, Psionic Strength, 10-60 seconds, Difficult (-2).
Cost: 4+Time Range

The referee may optionally decide that Precognition is a separate talent, not an ability tied to Clairvoyance. If so, when testing for this Talent according to the Core Rulebook, the learning DM for Precognition is 0.

Precognition, Psionic Strength, 10-60 seconds, Difficult (-2).
Cost: 4+Time Range

Regardless of which model is used, the following costs for time range are used.
 

Time Cost
Less than 30 seconds 0
30 seconds to 5 minutes 1
5 to 30 minutes 2
30 minutes to 1 hour 3
1 to 2 hours 4
2 to 10 hours 5
10 hours to 1 day 6

[This talent previously appeared in 13Mann’s adventure, “Three Blind Mice”, by the author of this article, and is used here with the permission of the publisher.]

Telekinesis Abilities

Caress

Perhaps the polar opposite of Telekinetic Punch, this is the ability to touch and stroke a subject in stimulating ways without necessarily being in physical contact. Also called “Touch”, it requires finesse to use rather than the mere force or power of Punch.

Telekinesis, Psionic Strength, 1-6 seconds, Easy (+4).
Cost: 0+Range

Weather Control

The character can affect the atmosphere in the immediate vicinity (Long range or closer) and generate wind, precipitation, or other weather effects. The changes will last for 10 minutes + (Effect 10 minutes). If the psion is acting to oppose the natural weather progression (e.g., trying to cause rain while it’s sunny, or vice-versa), the task is Formidable (-6) as shown. If the psion is acting to “enhance” the current weather progression (e.g., make it rain harder, or increase existing winds to clear clouds), the task is merely Very Difficult (-4)

Telekinesis, Psionic Strength, 1-6 minutes, Formidable (-6).
Cost: 4+Range

Awareness Abilities

Metatherm

The character can exercise conscious control over his body temperature. Note that this can be extremely dangerous, however it can be used in conjunction with Teleportation involving changes in altitude to negate the effects of potential energy changes. It may also be useful to some extent in case of fever, potential hypothermia, or inhospitable climes.

Awareness, Psionic Strength, 10-60 minutes, Difficult (-2).
Cost: 3 per degree up or down

SlowThink

This is essentially a non-pharmaceutical version of Metabolic Accelerator (or ‘Slow Drug’), which boosts the psion’s reaction times. It has the same effects as the drug (see Core Rulebook:94) except it begins its effect at the end of the task duration, and the costs are against psionic strength rather than in credits. This may be combined as a power with FastThink (or Suspended Animation) and called Metabolic Control such that the psion can perform either activity.

Awareness, Psionic Strength, 1-6 minutes, Difficult (-2).
Cost: 3

FastThink

An alternative name in some places for Suspended Animation – see Core Rulebook:155. This may be combined as an ability with SlowThink and called Metabolic Control such that the psion can perform either activity. Metabolic Control uses the SlowThink task above.

Computer Empathy

The character can sense the flow of data within a computer or network making Computers tasks easier. The character must be in physical contact with some part of the computer to use the power. Add the Effect to the Computers task to a maximum of +3. This differs from other Machine Symbiosis powers (Book 4: Psion) in that no psionic interface is required in the computer.

Machine Symbiosis, Psionic Strength, 10-60 secs, Average (0).
Cost: 2

[This ability was inspired by the ability of the same name in Traveller: The New Era.]