This article was originally posted to the pre-magazine Freelance Traveller website no later than 2002, and reprinted in the August 2014 issue.
Most local Traveller and Megatraveller campaigns had a higher availability and use of psionics than the Third Imperium; their list of specialized psionic drugs and equipment was much more extensive. Even in a stock GDW-style campaign, these drugs and equipment would almost certainly be known to the Psionic Institutes and in actual use by the Zhodani.
[Editor’s note: It’s not too difficult to envision even an “orthodox” Traveller campaign where these or similar items would be known to the Imperial government]
As psionics can be enhanced by certain drugs (as in stock Traveller or Megatraveller), so it can be suppressed by other drugs. Psi-inhibitor drugs are generally used to restrain captured psi users, and prevent them from using their talents. In cultures where psionics is available, these drugs will also be available to military, intelligence, police, and medical personnel; they will also be used by the underworld and found on the street—anywhere someone might need to nullify a psi-user. All psi-inhibitor drugs have an additional depressant side effect.
A basic psi-inhibitor drug; available at TL8, merasha acts as an antidote to Booster. If no Booster has been taken, decrease Psionic strength points by -3 if at full strength, -2 if at reduced strength. Further doses have no effect, and a dose wears off after 1 hour. Cr500/dose.
A stronger mix of merasha, available at TL10; acts as an antidote to Double. If Booster has been taken, reduces Psionic strength points as basic merasha; if no psi drug has been taken, decrease Psionic strength points by -6 if at full strength, -4 if at reduced strength. Further doses have no effect, and a dose wears off after 1 hour. Cr2,000/dose.
A still-stronger psi-inhibitor, available at TL12; acts as an antidote to Special. If Booster has been taken, reduces Psionic strength points as merasha-double; if Double has been taken, reduces Psionic strength points as basic merasha; if no psi drug has been taken, decrease psionic strength points to zero at the rate of one/hour. The dose lasts another six hours, after which psi points recover normally. Merasha-special has the same risks of overdose and synergy as does Special; in addition, functions as a moderately-strong depressant. Cr5,000/dose.
Rarest and strongest of all psi-inhibitors, available at TL14. Immediately drops psionic strength to zero for eight hours, after which psi points recover normally. Has the same risks of overdose and synergy as does Special, with a DM of +2; in addition, has extreme psychodepressant side effects which normally turn the person dosed into a drooling zombie. Cr10,000/dose.
Some rare forms of natural crystals can resonate from psionic energy; so far, these “psychic silicon chips” have been impossible to duplicate artificially.
A psi-detector crystal, usually of quartz or amber, shiral crystals glow in the presence of psionics. A crystal’s range is sharply limited, and depends on its quality. Roll 1D for its range in meters; the crystal will glow if any psi activity originates within this range. Average mass is 10-100g; cost is Cr 10 × range (in meters) × mass (in grams). Shiral crystals are a useful aid in concentration exercises, as the glow is proportional to the amount of psionic intensity. They are often used as a physical focus for “Special” psi talents, as a security measure to detect psionic intrusion, and are also worn as luminescent jewelry in psionics-using cultures.
A psionic battery, these crystals tend to be denser and richer-colored than shirals. A jerraman can store psionic strength points for later use; roll 2D for the maximum capacity of the crystal. a psionic-user of Level Five or above may charge the crystal by expending his psi points into it, and later use the crystal’s charge instead of his own psi points; in either case, the user must be in direct physical contact with (touching) the crystal. Average mass is 100-500g; average cost is Cr 10 × capacity (in psi points) × mass (in grams).
Only a psionicist trained to at least Level Five may store or draw energy from a jerraman crystal; if the user’s level is less than five or the user’s maximum psi rating is less than the number of points stored in the crystal, the crystal will release all of its stored energy explosively into the user (treat as a telepathic assault of strength equal to the number of points stored in the crystal).
A psi tuner is a briefcase-sized piece of equipment incorporating several shiral crystals tuned into a resonance pattern, used to focus the psi energy for greater range. Psi tuners are rated in “Marks”; the Mark number denotes how many points may be subtracted from normal range costs. (A Mk.III psi tuner allows the user to subtract 3 points from range costs.) Minimum range cost allowed is zero. A teleport must teleport with the tuner to gain its range advantage; this effectively restricts its use by teleports to those of level 9+. Mass: 10kg. Cost: Cr10,000 + 5,000 per mark over 1. TL: 10 + 1 per mark over 1.
Authors’ Acknowledgement: Merasha, Shiral crystals, and Jerraman crystals are based on those from the Deryni Chronicles series of novels by Katherine Kurtz; the psi tuner is from the novel The Yngling, by John Dalmas.