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Psionics and Magic

There are two different methods of generating supernatural effects in Psi-punk: psionics and magic. The term “psionics” relates to the ability to control, manipulate, sense, and otherwise “do really neat tricks” with your mind. Magic is a term given to electronic devices which can manipulate energy to produce similar effects to those of psionics, albeit with less spectacular and sometimes less dependable results.

Characters that choose to become gifted psionics must do so at character creation; psionics represent an innate talent that cannot be learned. Conversely, characters that use magic devices may purchase them at any time, provided they can find someone to sell them the proper equipment. It is possible, though rarely wise, to use magic devices without training; these devices are unstable and, in the hands of a novice, prone to severe backfire.

Because magic devices attempt to duplicate phenomena produced by psionics, their use by someone who is psychically adept is exceedingly dangerous. Test results have found that there is a large amount of psychic interference when a mental attempts to use a magic device, which in ninety percent of test cases has caused the device to malfunction. Resulting side effects include injury, severe bleeding, brain damage and, in at least a few cases, death.

Legality

The use of psionic powers and magic devices in public is restricted by law. While it is okay for psionicists to use their abilities, they must exercise these rights with caution; no person may use psionics or magic in a way that would adversely affect his environment, harm another living creature, or damage property.

Many psionic powers are treated as weapons because they can produce dangerous and harmful effects. Characters must have a Rank skill to use harmful psionic powers in public. Generally speaking, the higher the Rank, the higher degree of success you can attain without provoking law enforcement. For example, if you have a military Rank of Great (+2) you can use pyrokinesis to create a Great effect without risk of repercussion.

Non-harmful psionic effects, such as ESP, may be used freely in public without the threat of the law. Certain people, such as those in the Anti-Psi League, still may not appreciate the use of these powers and are often forcefully vocal about their disdain.

Using Psionics

See Character Creation for details about how to gain psionic abilities as Gifts. Below is a list of psychic powers and their key attributes. The key attribute is used to determine a character’s overall ability to use that psionic power. A character with a Great Focus attribute would be a good candidate for the mind control ability, for example.

Any time you use a psionic ability, roll against the ability’s key attribute. Characters that do not have the key attribute listed on their character sheet have a default level of Fair. The degree of success determines how powerful an effect you can generate with the psychic ability.

For example: Jane is attempting to create fire using the pyrokineses ability. She rolls a check against her Focus attribute, which she has at a level of Great (+2). After totaling her die roll at -1 and adding her +2, she determines that she rolled a result of Good (+1). With that result the GM rules that she can create a flame about the size of a bonfire. If she had rolled a Fair result, she might have only been able to create a match-sized flame, while a Superb result may have allowed her to generate a raging inferno.

Each psionic power entry includes examples of effects that can be generated by different degrees of success. These are by no means the limits of a character’s psionic abilities, but guidelines as to what possibilities each ability possesses and the relative power level of each.

When using a psionic power, it is possible to enhance your result by spending a Luck Point. For each point you spend, you gain a +1 bonus on the check. This is especially important to note when making opposed checks, since these points may mean the difference between success and defeat! When altering a result in this way, you must declare the number of LP you will be spending before the check is made.

Opposed Checks, Difficulties, and Degrees of Success

Each time you roll to determine the outcome of activating a supernatural ability you will need to determine your degree of success. In the powers listed below, different ladder levels are described to give you an idea of some of the possible effects of the power’s use. In each case, these descriptions are based on the degree of success of the check, not the initial check itself.

Example 1 (Opposed Check): Nathan uses antipsi to resist the effects of Luke’s control animate attack against him (instead of rolling a Body check to resist the attack).

After all abilities and rolls are calculated, Nathan determines that his check result is Superb (+3). However, Nathan’s check is being opposed by Luke’s attack and Luke gets a total result of Great (+2). Nathan subtracts Luke’s result from his own and gets a Good (+1) degree of success. Nathan can suppress Luke’s attack against him for up to 1 minute.

Luke decides it is too difficult to try to remain in contact with Nathan long enough to cause him any harm and decides to back off.

Example 2 (Difficulty): Luke is trying to change a wooden door in to an iron door to try to reinforce it against attack. Because a door is a relatively large object and iron is a harder substance than wood, the GM decides that this task will have a Great difficulty.

Luke is feeling pretty confident about this because he has a Great Focus attribute and is therefore a skilled shaper.

Luke rolls 4dF and gets an overall result of +1 on the dice. He adds that to his Great Focus (+2) for a total result of Superb (+3).

He beat the target difficulty by 1 level: Superb (+3) – Great (+2) = Good (+1). Luke succeeded at the task, but his degree of success was only Good. This means that he is able to change the wooden door in to iron but only for about six hours, after which point the iron door turns back into a wooden one.

Additional Skill Requirements

It may not always be enough to simply activate a psionic power. Some effects require a degree of precision or knowledge that doesn’t come innately.

Depending on the desired outcome of a power’s use, a character may need to roll an additional skill check to accompany a successful result. Success means that the power is activated properly and that the desired result is attained. Successfully activating the power but failing the subsequent skill check means something happened, but not necessarily what was intended (or with as much precision as desired).

It is ultimately up to the GM to determine whether or not an additional skill check is required. Below is an example to give you an idea of what situations may call for additional skill checks.

Example: Lester wants to use control inanimate to turn his cybernetic legs into tank legs temporarily. He has already rolled a Superb result to activate the power, so the GM rules that he has the potential to do so.

However, tank legs require moving parts and a basic knowledge of how they function.

The GM decides to call for an additional Technical or Vehicle skill check at Great difficulty to see if Lester knows enough about tanks to make legs that are actually functional.

Lester gets a Superb result, or a Good degree of success, so the GM allows Lester to turn his cybernetic legs into functioning tank legs for as long as the power allows.

If Lester’s Vehicle check had only been Good (a Mediocre degree of success) he may have been able to turn his legs into tank legs, but they wouldn’t function very smoothly.

If his result was Mediocre (an Abysmal degree) he might have turned his legs into paperweights that only look like the wheels of a tank.

Psionic Powers

Characters who are good candidates for having psionic powers include:

  • Those who wish to be able to do cool things using just the power of their mind
  • Those who think it would be fun to be part of a powerful minority
  • Those who aren’t afraid to be antagonized by “normals” for having superior powers
  • Those who prefer to have a small set of powerful abilities instead of a wide range of less-powerful ones those who don’t necessarily depend on having large amounts of Wealth

Below is a list of possible psionic power groups available to characters that possess the appropriate Gifts. Feel free to work with your GM to include other abilities or uses for these abilities as you see fit. Each entry contains the following information:

Name: the name of the psionic discipline.

Key Attribute: the secondary attribute (Dexterity, Strength, Focus, Spirit, Presence, or Status) used to determine a character’s skill with this group of powers.

Description: basic description of the power, including examples of its applications.

Degrees of Success: general description about how powerful an ability is with various ladder results.

Example Gifts/Faults: examples of Gifts or Faults that may be applied to powers to increase their effectiveness or help buy off their cost at character creation.

Antipsi

Key Attribute: Focus or Spirit

Antipsi is a discipline used to still the mind against psionic attacks or nullify existing psionic effects. Antipsi is most often used in reaction to mental attack, to block a telepath from reading one’s thoughts or a “puppeteer” from controlling them. Antipsi can also be used to suppress active psionic effects of all kinds, either temporarily or permanently, depending on the relative degree of success.

When using antipsi to resist a psionic attack, you may activate this power to attempt to suppress or negate the attack. Activating the power in this way requires no time on your part; it is a “free” action. If the attempt fails, your other defenses kick in and you may choose to defend against the attack normally. In essence, by attaining this power you give yourself another line of defense against psionic attacks.

When using antipsi to suppress or nullify an effect, the degree by which you surpass your opponent’s check result determines the length of time you may choose to suppress the effect.

  • Abysmal (-3): You fail to suppress the effect and it is treated as being of one level higher against you (i.e., a Good result is treated as Great against you).
  • Poor (-2) to Fair (0): You are unable to suppress the effect.
  • Good (+1): You may suppress the effect for up to 1 minute.
  • Great (+2): You may suppress the effect for up to 10 minutes.
  • Superb (+3): You may suppress the effect for up to 1 hour.
  • Wonderful (+4): You may suppress the effect for up to 1 day.
  • Phenomenal (+5): As a Wonderful result, and the attacker takes 1 Hurt mental wound.
  • Extraordinary (+6): You may suppress the effect as long as you choose or nullify the effect entirely.
  • Astonishing (+7): As an Extraordinary result and you shut down all of the attacker’s psionic abilities for 1 day.

For example, Jillian attempts to suppress the mental control a puppeteer has over her colleague. She rolls a Focus check to activate her antipsi ability and the GM rolls an opposed check for the puppeteer’s mind control power. If Jillian fails to beat the puppeteer’s result, she is unsuccessful at suppressing the mental control. However, if she is successful, she can suppress the effect for an amount of time as noted above.

Note that the puppeteer’s mind control effect may have a limited duration of its own (see mind control, below).

To negate all of one character’s psionic abilities (which requires an Astonishing result) a character must be able to see the target.

Using the example above, Jillian would not be able to suppress all of the puppeteer’s powers if she was targeting her ally with antipsi if she could not see him. Jillian could, however, negate any other psionic power affecting her ally that originated from the puppeteer, such as modify memory.

Example Fault: Psi Static: The character automatically attempts to suppress all psionic effects within Poor range of herself.

Psionic effects activated within Poor range of the character must succeed at an opposed check or fail to activate properly.

This ability may not be suppressed. (This is considered a Fault because it can suppress both positive and negative psionic effects and the character cannot control its use.)

Electrokinesis

Key Attribute: Focus

Electrokinesis is the ability to manipulate electrical energy and current with one’s mind. This potent ability is commonly depicted as a person shooting lightning bolts from his fingertips, but it encompasses more than just the destructive side of electricity.

With this power, characters can not only zap their enemies with bolts of lightning, they can manipulate electrical current and devices which operate electronically, such as computers, alarm systems, electric vehicles, etc.

Examples of electrokinesis ladder results include:

  • Abysmal (-3): Your attempt fails, electrical feedback causes you to receive one Hurt wound and you cause one Incapacitated wound to any device you are trying to manipulate (if applicable).
  • Poor (-2): Your attempt fails and you cause one Very Hurt wound to any device you are trying to manipulate.
  • Mediocre (-1): Your attempt fails and you cause one Hurt wound to any device you are trying to manipulate.
  • Fair (0): Your attempt simply fails.
  • Good (+1): You disable a device or take control of it for 1 minute.
  • Great (+2): You disable a device for 10 minutes, take control of it for 10 minutes, etc. Where appropriate, you can program a device (such as a computer) to carry out orders which it will continue to operate for the duration before returning to its regular programming.
  • Superb (+3): You disable a device for 1 hour, take control of a device for 1 hour, etc. Where appropriate, you can program a device (such as a computer) to carry out orders which it will continue to operate for the duration before returning to its regular programming.
  • Wonderful (+4): You disable a device for 1 day, take control of a device for 1 day, etc. Where appropriate, you can program a device (such as a computer) to carry out orders which it will continue to operate indefinitely or as defined by you.
  • Phenomenal (+5): You permanently disable or take control over a device, etc. You can reprogram computers and other software-driven devices to execute your commands indefinitely.
  • Extraordinary: As a Phenomenal result, but you may control up to three devices simultaneously.
  • Astonishing: As a Phenomenal result, but you can control up to ten devices simultaneously.

Individual devices will have difficulties appropriate to their size and complexity.

Disabling a light bulb may only have a Mediocre (-1) difficulty since it is a small and simple object, whereas disabling an entire power plant would require you to first break in and find the central control system, then make a check to disable it (most likely a Phenomenal difficulty, though the check would depend on the system’s security rating).

Use your best judgment when determining damage dealt to an electronic device or system. If a character receives a result of Abysmal (-3) when attempting to take out a power plant’s central systems, he likely will not deal any harm to the system (it is probably well-guarded against such attacks).

He may damage a single nearby structure which may, in turn, have its own side effects, but failure should never be rewarded by becoming a haphazard success (such as taking out the power plant because you accidentally blew it up, as opposed to just shutting it down); the end result of disabling the power plant is the same in this situation even if the method is drastically different).

Example Gift/Fault: Cyberpsi: This can be either a Gift or a fault, depending on the setting. As a gift, cyberpsi grants a +1 bonus to a character’s roll when using electrokinesis to manipulate computers and other electronic devices which run software. For settings in which computer hacking is particularly important or powerful, cyberpsi may be a required gift for any character who wishes to manipulate computers at all (and would not gain a +1 bonus on the check).

As a Fault, cyberpsi means the character can only manipulate computers with electrokinesis and he possesses no ability to produce electrical shocks, shortages, or other effects.

ESP

Key Attribute: Focus or Spirit

ESP represents the ability to sense things outside ones normal range of perception.

This includes the ability to see through objects, hear noises above or below the normal human range of sound, locate objects or people (also known as “scrying”) and so forth.

Using ESP actively allows a character to do any of the below things with varying degrees of success.

  • Abysmal (-3): Your attempt fails and you lose your ESP ability for 1 hour.
  • Poor (-2): The attempt simply fails.
  • Mediocre (-1): The character may see, hear, or locate at a range of up to 10 feet.
  • Fair (0): The character may see, hear, or locate at a range of 100 feet.
  • Good (+1): The character may see, hear, or locate at a range of up to 1,000 feet.
  • Great (+2): The character may see, hear, or locate at a range of 1 mile.
  • Superb (+3): The character may see, hear, or locate at a range of up to 10 miles.
  • Wonderful (+4): The character may see, hear, or locate at a range of up to 100 miles.
  • Phenomenal (+5): The character may see, hear, or locate at a range of up to 1,000 miles.
  • Extraordinary (+6): The character may see, hear, or locate at a range of up to 10,000 miles.
  • Astonishing (+7): The character can see, hear, or locate at any distance and even across planes of existence (Material to Astral or ‘Net, for example).

ESP results are always real-time. Characters can choose to either see, hear, or both see and hear what is happening at the target location. Characters who do not wish to be located by someone using ESP may make an opposed Mind check to avoid being located.

The scryer (the person using ESP) may not necessarily know that his attempts are being blocked.

Certain materials and devices may block ESP. Lead is notorious for its ability to block scrying attempts; 1 inch of lead within 5 feet of the scrying target or location imposes a -3 penalty on all attempts to use ESP in that area. Certain antipsi devices may impose similar penalties with varying degrees of effectiveness.

One example might be a magic device designed to dampen scrying or other mental powers, which may impose penalties or negate attempts entirely.

Example Fault: Seer; the character may only use ESP to see things at a distance, not hear them. She may be able to watch two people talking on the other side of a closed door, but she would not be able to hear their conversation. A similar fault would be Listener, which would allow a character to hear, but not see, what is happening at a distance.

Premonition

Key Attribute: Spirit

Premonition is a sub-school of ESP that works only passively, meaning that the character does not choose when to activate it. Instead, the GM makes a secret check against the character’s Spirit attribute. If the check succeeds, the character gains some piece of information that he otherwise would not have perceived, such as an incoming attack from a shadowed thug, a warning about a nearby danger, or a vision about a terrible upcoming event. The GM should use his best discretion when determining how much of the story or information he wants to give to the character and use his degree of success as a yardstick for how much the character can truly perceive.

If the GM rolls secretly for the character and fails, he may opt to give the character false information. When doing so, it is advised that the GM spend one of her own Glitches to trigger the failed ability, since the false information may adversely affect the game.

Example Gift: Combat Sense; the character is especially aware of incoming attacks.

Opponents in combat never gain a bonus against him for catching him unaware.

Precognition Key Attribute: Spirit Precognition is the ability to see in to the future. More often snap shots of events rather than vivid imagery, it can be difficult to tell the future with perfect success because there is no guarantee that it will happen exactly as seen.

Precognitive visions may convey different amounts of sensory information depending on the success of a character’s check result. Unless otherwise noted, the user does not have any control over the exact period of time he is witnessing, and it may be difficult to discern when or where the events might happen.

Characters experiencing precognitive visions may need to depend on clues in the visions they see, such as the time shown on a clock or the date on a calendar, to get a sense of the timeframe they are looking at.

  • Abysmal (-3): The user’s precognitive abilities malfunction; he sees an accurate portrayal of the future (at any time the GM chooses), but he cannot shut it off and remains in a state of precognitive awareness until he can make a Great Mind check to snap out of it. The user may attempt one check every hour until he is successful. The character may have difficulty remembering specific events or objects he witnesses.
  • Poor (-2): The user sees nothing at all.
  • Mediocre (-1): The user sees only brief and erratic glimpses which may not be in chronological order.
  • Fair (0): The user sees brief glimpses of events in chronological order, about 30 seconds worth of time.
  • Good (+1): The user is able to see and hear about one minute of events.
  • Great (+2): The user is able to see and hear about one minute of events at a specified time within one week of the current time.
  • Superb (+3): The user is able to see and hear about ten minutes worth of events at a specified time within one week of the current time.
  • Wonderful (+4): The user is able to see and hear about ten minutes worth of events at a specified time within one year of the current time.
  • Phenomenal (+5): The user may control the total amount of time he views the events and may specify a time within one year of the current time.
  • Extraordinary (+6): The user may control the total amount of time he views the events and may specify a time within ten years of the current time.
  • Astonishing (+7): The user has complete control over the timing of events he witnesses.

Example Fault: Only Works While Dreaming; the character has no control over the ability and only gains precognitive information while dreaming. Results of Superb or better are not possible with this fault. Conversely, the user is not subject to the penalty of an Abysmal result.

Psychokinesis

Key Attributes: Focus

Psychokinesis, literally “mind movement”, represents the ability to control and manipulate objects with one’s mind. A variety of abilities fall into this category, including telekinesis (the ability to move objects), cryokinesis and pyrokinesis (the ability to control cold and heat, respectively), photokinesis (the ability to manipulate light) and sonarkinesis (the ability to manipulate sound).

Each of the potential psychokinesis abilities are detailed separately below and must be taken as individual gifts.

Cryokinesis

Key Attributes: Focus

Cryokinesis represents the ability to control cold and ice. Most cryokinetics are capable of using water vapor in the air to form ice out of virtually nothing, though a few require a more dense form of liquid to achieve the same result.

  • Example ladder results for the cryokinesis ability include:
  • Abysmal (-3): Your attempt fails and you take one Very Hurt physical wound.
  • Poor (-2): Your attempt fails and you take one Hurt physical wound.
  • Mediocre (-1): Your attempt fails and you take one Scratched physical wound.
  • Fair (0): You can form about 3 cubic inches of ice at a range of 5 feet.
  • Good (+1): You can form about 12 cubic inches of ice at a range of 10 feet.
  • Great (+2): You can form about 3 cubic feet of ice at a range of 30 feet.
  • Superb (+3): You can form 9 cubic feet of ice at a range of 100 feet.
  • Wonderful (+4): You can form 18 cubic feet of ice at a range of 500 feet.
  • Phenomenal (+5): You can form 30 cubic feet of ice at a range of 1,000 feet.
  • Extraordinary (+6): You can form 60 cubic feet of ice at a range of 1,000 feet.
  • Astonishing (+7): You can form 120 cubic feet of ice at a range of 1,000 feet.

Optionally, characters with this power can reduce the atmospheric temperature in an area by up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit per degree of success above Good in a radius of 30 feet per degree of success.

Cryokinesis can be used both offensively and defensively. Treat your check result as an offensive or defensive factor as appropriate.

For example, a roll of Superb (+3) would grant an offensive factor of +3 if attacking someone with ice darts or a defensive factor of +3 if attempting to surround yourself in a cocoon of protective ice.

Example Fault: Control Only: You must have a source of water to create ice and you may only freeze as much water as you have available. You may not use cryokinesis to freeze water vapor in the air, and you may not use it to decrease the atmospheric temperature.

Photokinesis

Key Attributes: Focus

Photokinesis is the ability to manipulate light using the power of one’s mind. This ability seems singularly focused at first, but when one takes a moment to consider its applications it can prove to be quite powerful indeed.

Photokinetics possess the power to bend light around themselves or other objects, effectively making them invisible, or produce blasts of concentrated light so intense as to cause damage to their target (laser beams).

They can control how they perceive the available light in a room, effectively giving them “night vision” or simply increase (or decrease) the ambient light in a room to affect how everything is seen.

Photokinetics are often masters of stealth, especially when paired with sonarkinesis (see below). A character that possesses both of these abilities could quite literally make himself imperceptible to both sight and sound, leaving him vulnerable only to the senses of smell and touch (and, of course, taste). Because of the versatility of this power, you may need to work with your GM to find out just what abilities are applicable with a given check result. Below are some examples:

  • Abysmal (-3): Your attempt fails and you take one Very Hurt wound of physical damage.
  • Poor (-2): Your attempt fails and you take one Hurt wound of physical damage.
  • Mediocre (-1): Your attempt fails; if you are trying to simply increase or decrease lighting conditions, you may raise or lower the lighting condition by a faint amount (the illumination of a match, for example) .
  • Fair (0): You may increase the light in an area by an amount equal to a flashlight; you can dim the light in a room slightly (60 watt bulbs appear as 40 watt); you can see 50% better in dark conditions.
  • Good (+1): You can increase the light in an area as if lighting a 60 watt bulb; you can decrease the light from 100 watts to 40 watts; you can see 100% better in darkness.
  • Great (+2): You can create light as a 120 watt floodlight; completely darken a 100 watt bulb, or see 200% better in darkness.
  • Superb (+3): You can create light equal to an outdoor floodlight or bright street lamp, completely dim an equal amount of light, see clearly in near-total darkness, or turn yourself invisible.
  • Wonderful (+4): You can create light equal to a light house, dim an equal amount, or make up to three nearby targets (including yourself) invisible.
  • Phenomenal (+5): As a Wonderful result, except you can make up to ten nearby targets (including yourself) invisible.
  • Extraordinary (+6): As a Phenomenal result, except you can make everything in a 30 foot radius invisible.
  • Astonishing (+7): You can create light as bright as the sun, (you choose whether or not there is a focal point that is dangerous to look at) completely darken an area 150 feet in diameter, or make everything in a 60 foot radius invisible.

Photokinesis can be used to generate a projectile attack in the form of concentrated beams of intense light, otherwise known as laser beams. As with other psionic attacks, use your degree of success as an Offensive Damage Factor when using photokinesis in this way.

Invisibility is a powerful tool in any character’s arsenal. Characters must achieve a Superb result or better to make themselves (or others) invisible and must spend their action each round focusing on this ability to maintain it. Therefore, a character attacking another creature in combat must allow himself to become visible during the round in which he makes an attack, and must spend his action (and roll another check) next round if he wishes to try to become invisible again.

Maintaining ambient light in a room does not require the focused attention of the character. However, lighting conditions will return to normal after about 1 minute per degree of success.

Pyrokinesis

Key Attributes: Focus

Pyrokinesis is the much-beloved (and often feared) ability to set things on fire with one’s mind. Using this ability in a public place is highly illegal without a special permit or sufficient rank in a police or military organization. Generally speaking, the more public the place, the higher your rank needs to be to use this ability without alerting authorities.

  • Examples of ladder results for pyrokinesis include:
  • Abysmal (-3): Your attempt fails and you take one Very Hurt physical wound.
  • Poor (-2): Your attempt fails and you take one Hurt physical wound.
  • Mediocre (-1): Your attempt fails and you take one Scratched physical wound.
  • Fair (0): You may produce a flame roughly the size of a lit match at a range of up to 5 feet.
  • Good (+1): You may produce a flame the size of a bonfire at a range of up to 10 feet.
  • Great (+2): You may produce a flame with a radius of about 10 feet at a range of up to 30 feet.
  • Superb (+3): You may produce a flame with a 30-foot radius at a range of up to 100 feet.
  • Wonderful (+4): You may produce a flame with a 45-foot radius at a range of up to 500 feet.
  • Phenomenal (+5): You may produce a flame with a 60-foot radius at a range of up to 1,000 feet.
  • Extraordinary (+6): You may produce a flame with a 75-foot radius at a range of up to 1,000 feet.
  • Astonishing (+7): You may produce a flame with a 100-foot radius at a range of up to 1,000 feet.

When using pyrokinesis you may opt to simply increase the overall temperature of an area. You may increase the atmospheric temperature by up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit for each degree of success above Good, out to 30 feet per degree of success.

Pyrokinesis can be used as a projectile attack in the form of a hurled burst of fire, otherwise known as fire bolts. As with other psionic attacks, use your degree of success as an Offensive Damage Factor when using pyrokinesis in this way.

Example Fault: Only Has Control: Your character can only control pre-existing flames, not create them. Use the ladder results listed above to get an idea of how much of a flame you can control at once, but remember that you have to have a source of flame before you can do anything with this power.

Sonarkinesis

Key Attributes: Focus

This power represents the ability to produce and manipulate sound. With this ability, it is possible to create both loud noises and forceful bursts of concentrated sonic energy. With higher degrees of success you are capable of producing more complex sounds, including the emulation of conversations or even complex musical scores.

Example ladder results for sonarkinesis include:

  • Abysmal (-3): Your attempt fails and you generate a short, incredibly loud burst of sonic energy that leaves you with one Very Hurt physical wound You may need to make a successful Body check at Fair difficulty to avoid being deafened.
  • Poor (-2): You can generate a noise of up to 10dB (decibels) at a range of 3 feet.
  • Mediocre (-1): You can generate a noise of up to 20dB at a range of 5 feet.
  • Fair (0): You can generate a noise of up to 30dB at a range of 10 feet.
  • Good (+1): You can generate a noise of up to 40dB at a range of 50 feet.
  • Great (+2): You can generate a noise up to about 50dB at a range of 200 feet.
  • Superb (+3): You can generate a noise up to about 70dB at a range of 500 feet.
  • Wonderful (+4): You can generate a noise up to about 90dB at a range of 1,000 feet.
  • Phenomenal (+5): You can generate a noise up to about 120dB at a range of 2,500 feet.
  • Extraordinary (+6): You can generate a noise up to about 150dB at a range of 1 mile.
  • Astonishing (+7): You can generate a noise up to about 200dB at a range of 3 miles.

Below is a table of common sounds and their respective decibel values, so you have some idea of what level of noise this power can produce. This chart is a composition of several sources and individual charts you find elsewhere may vary, but for the most part the noises listed here fall within their respective range.

With this power, it is also possible to amplify existing noises. The highest decibel level you can amplify a given noise is based on your degree of success and mirrors the levels found in the examples above.

Common Noise Decibels Other Notes

Normal Breathing 10dB Little more than minimum human hearing Rustling leaves 20dB Whisper 30dB Refrigerator humming 40dB Quiet office, normal conversation 50 – 60dB Vacuum cleaner 70dB City traffic 80dB Subway, motorcycle 88dB Prolonged exposure may cause gradual hearing loss Lawnmower 85-90dB Garbage truck, train 100dB Jet flyover at 1,000 feet 103dB Regular exposure of 1 minute or more may cause hearing loss Jackhammer, symphony orchestra 110dB Thunderclap, loud stereo 120dB Rock concert 110-140dB Shotgun firing 140dB Pain begins Jet engine at 100 feet 140dB Even short-term exposure can cause damage without protection

Space shuttle launch 170dB 180dB Death of hearing tissue 1-ton TNT explosion 210dB Enough to literally kill a person standing too close without both ear and body/shock protection

The difference is that when amplifying a noise, its decibel level only changes if you are successful; you do not lower the level of a sound by failing to amplify it. Conversely, you may also attempt to decrease the decibel level of an existing sound. To determine how much you can reduce the noise level, simply invert the example ladder results listed above. For example, to reduce a noise to 10dB would require a Wonderful check result, assuming the noise is 50dB (Fair). To reduce a 200dB noise to 50dB would require a Phenomenal check.

Sonarkinesis can be used as a projectile attack in the form of concentrated bursts of sonic energy, often referred to as sonic blasts. As with other psionic attacks, use your degree of success as an Offensive Damage Factor when using sonarkinesis in this way.

Telekinesis

Key Attributes: Focus

One of the most widely known and understood psychic abilities, telekinesis, refers to the ability to directly control objects with one’s mind. Through the use of telekinesis people have been able to open doors without raising an arm, lift monumental structures without lifting a finger, and even fly through the air without the aid of technology (or wings).

A skilled telekinetic is capable of moving great objects with a single thought, but it is said that a group of skilled telekinetics, working in tandem, could move meteors from outer space (though it may take thousands of them to do so). Most mundane citizens are therefore justifiably weary of allowing groups of telekinetics to gather, while Magicorp actively does what they can to prevent any such phenomena from occurring.

Examples of ladder results for telekinesis include:

  • Abysmal (-3): Your attempt fails, you take one Very Hurt mental wound, and you cannot use this power again for 12 hours.
  • Poor (-2): Your attempt fails and you take one Hurt mental wound, but you do not lose control of this power.
  • Mediocre (-1): Your attempt fails and you take one Scratched mental wound, but you do not lose control of this power.
  • Fair (0): You can lift a single object weighing up to five pounds at a range of up to 30 feet.
  • Good (+1): You can lift up to two objects weighing up to 20 pounds each at a distance of up to 100 feet.
  • Great (+2): You can lift multiple objects or creatures weighing up to 100 pounds total at a range of up to 100 yards or you can use the power to hover no more than five feet off of the ground (you cannot propel yourself forward or backward, only up or down).
  • Superb (+3): You can lift multiple objects or creatures weighing up to 1,000 pounds total at a range of up to 300 yards or you can use the power to fly at up to 30 feet per round.
  • Wonderful (+4): You can lift multiple objects or creatures weighing up to one ton (2,00 pounds) at a range of up to 500 yards or you can fly up to 60 feet per round.
  • Phenomenal (+5): You can lift multiple objects or creatures weighing up to five tons (10,000 pounds) at a range of up to one mile or you can fly up to 90 feet per round.
  • Extraordinary (+6): You can lift multiple objects or creatures weighing up to ten tons (20,000 pounds) at a range of up to two miles or you can fly up to 120 feet per round.
  • Astonishing (+7): You can lift multiple objects or creatures weighing up to 20 tons (40,000 pounds) at a range of up to three miles or you can fly up to 150 feet per round.

Characters using telekinesis to fly need only roll a check when in a stressful situation, such as in combat or when trying to be stealthy, otherwise they should be allowed to use their attribute bonus as their check result. Characters who attempt to fly at maximum speed during combat should be required to spend their action each round to concentrate on activating the ability. If they wish to fly as part of normal movement and still be able to act, characters should only be allowed to fly at one quarter the maximum speed listed for their result.

Lifting objects that are not held by other creatures should have a difficulty appropriate to the object’s weight and the distance at which the character is trying to lift it. For example, lifting a notebook off of a table from across the room is only a Fair difficulty, while lifting a fully-loaded semi-truck (about 40 tons) from a mile away would be an Astonishing feat indeed. Pulling in a meteor from the earth’s orbit would require thousands of Astonishing checks originating from a central place.

Telekinesis can be used to hurl objects at other characters or objects. Since attempting to calculate real-world physics can drastically slow down gameplay, it is advised that players and GMs not think too hard about the actual properties of an object. Instead, they should use the basic offensive/defensive factor guidelines when trying to determine how much damage a hurled object does. Treat this type of attack as a projectile attack, but instead of using your degree of success as an ODF, use the object’s material value.

Try not to worry about calculating what the damage of a 10-ton object hitting another character might be (assume, if it helps, that the player’s defensive bonuses include dodging out of the way or getting lucky and not taking the full force of the damage). If you need to know whether or not a semitruck can crush the wall of a building when being hurled from 500 feet away, assume that it can.

Example Fault: Flight Only; the character using telekinesis only has the power to fly, not to control other objects.

Psychometabolism

Key Attribute: Focus or Spirit

This ability allows its user to control the very molecular structure of creatures and objects. It is a potent ability with far-reaching implications. Those skilled in psychometabolism, often known as “shapers”, can heal themselves and others, change their appearance, transmute solid rock to sediment, and boost a person’s physical abilities.

Because this psionic ability encompasses so many different types of effects, it is actually broken up in to two different powers.

Each of the following powers must be taken individually.

Control Animate Objects

This power grants the shaper control over living creatures. He can heal, harm, or alter their shape with varying degrees of success. To use this ability on a creature, the shaper must have physical contact it.

Unwilling targets may oppose the shaper’s Focus roll with a Body check to reduce or negate the intended effects.

Examples of ladder results for control animate:

  • Abysmal (-3): The intended effect backfires completely. If you were trying to heal someone, they instead suffer one Hurt wound. If you are intending to harm them they instead heal one Hurt wound. Attempting to change a creature’s shape succeeds, but you do not get the intended shape (a new shape is chosen at the GM’s discretion, or the GM may choose to deliver one Hurt wound to the target).
  • Poor (-2): You fail to affect the intended creature in any way. The strain causes you to lose control of the ability for one hour.
  • Mediocre (-1): You simply fail to affect the intended creature in any way.
  • Fair (0): You may heal a character from one Scratch, deliver one Scratch to an opponent, or alter the creature’s form in some minor way (change skin color, alter their size by up to one inch, etc.). Shape changing effects last for up to one hour.
  • Good (+1): You may heal a creature of two Scratched wounds, deliver two Scratched wounds to an opponent, or alter a creature’s shape to a greater extent (change skin, hair, and eye color, alter their size by up to six inches, etc.). Shape changing effects last for up to six hours.
  • Great (+2): You may heal a creature of three Scratched wounds, deliver three Scratched wounds to an opponent, or alter a creature’s size or shape in a significant way (change all physical aspects of a person, change size by up to two feet, change a dog in to a cat, etc.). Shape changing effects last for up to nine hours.
  • Superb (+3): You may heal a creature of one Hurt wound, deliver one Hurt wound to an opponent, or change size and shape in a drastic way (change a human in to a frog, a bird in to a giraffe, etc.). Shape changing effects last for up to 12 hours.
  • Wonderful (+4): You may heal a person of one Very Hurt wound or deliver one Very Hurt wound to an opponent. You can alter the very nature of a living creature (change a human in to a mushroom, a sapling in to a full-grown tree, etc.). Shape changing effects last for one full day.
  • Phenomenal (+5): You may heal a person of one Incapacitated wound or deliver one Incapacitated wound to an opponent. You can alter the very nature of a living creature (change a human in to a mushroom, a sapling in to a full-grown tree, etc.). Shape changing effects last for two days.
  • Extraordinary (+6): You may heal a person of one Near Death wound or deliver one Near Death wound to an opponent. You can alter the very nature of a living creature (change a human in to a mushroom, a sapling in to a full-grown tree, etc.). Shape changing effects last for one week.
  • Astonishing (+7): You may bring a character back from the dead or instantly slay a target. You may change the nature of any living being in to any other living being. These effects may, at your option (and with GM approval) be permanent.

Note that severely large changes (such as changing a shamrock in to a blue whale) may almost never become permanent, while changing a dog in to a cat is much more easily made permanent.

Note: Healing which results from the use of control animate is for physical healing only; you cannot alter someone’s metabolism and heal their mental damage. Healing mental damage requires the use of a mind control power and functions in a similar manner. Likewise, damaging a target with this ability is always physical damage.

Remember that healing a creature with this ability is still dependent upon one’s degree of success, with a difficulty equal to that of the wound level (see Playing the Game for details and Table 4.14: Wound Level Summary for a quick reminder about wound level difficulties).

Using control animate takes some time depending on the severity of the change.

Harming a creature only takes one round as you quickly alter their metabolism in any way that might harm them, but healing a creature takes a lot of care to put their pieces into the right places (it takes one round of continuous contact per wound level).

Changing someone in to a mushroom may take several minutes of concentration and constant contact with the creature. If you do not have enough time to complete a significant change (which the GM can help you determine) then the effect fails. As a general rule, it takes one minute per success level to make the appropriately difficult alterations (0 minutes for Fair, 1 minute for Good, 5 minutes for Phenomenal).

Example Gift: Healer’s Touch: You gain a +1 bonus to your check when using this ability to heal a creature’s wounds.

Control Inanimate Objects

This power functions similar to control animate but instead of working on living creatures it works on non-living matter.

Most objects do not have wound tracks, but they can be healed and harmed (or repaired and destroyed) with this ability. When repairing or damaging an object, use the degree of success to determine how much an object is repaired/damaged; small objects may be destroyed entirely with just a Good result, while complex objects may be partially disabled with the same result but completely destroyed with a Superb result.

Changing the shape and structure of an object should likewise follow similar guidelines.

A Fair result may be able to change a #2 pencil in to a mechanical pencil but wouldn’t be able to turn it in to a pen, whereas a Good result could change the same pencil to a pen, marker, or other writing utensil. With a Phenomenal result you may be able to change that same pencil in to a tank, given enough time. Note that the GM may decide you need an equal amount of material to convert one object in to another, so you may need several palettes of lumber to make a tank; it largely depends on what power level the GM wants to allow in his campaign.

Using control inanimate still requires that you have physical contact with the object you wish to manipulate. Since most objects do not have the ability to oppose your roll, an appropriate difficulty modifier should be set to be able to manipulate the object at all. The degree of success is determined by comparing your check to the target difficulty.

Psychometry

Key Attribute: Focus

Psychometry is the ability to visualize past events by touching an object and experiencing its history. All objects have an memory of what has happened to them in the past, including where it has been and who has touched it. Those with the gift of psychometry may attempt to gather information from the objects they touch.

A psychometric reading can be difficult to interpret; unless the object is a time piece it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact moment in its history that is being observed.

Other clues, such as the amount of daylight visible in a room, the period clothing of the object’s handler, etc., may need to be considered when interpreting a psychometric reading. GMs are encouraged to provide clues about a reading rather than literal information about the reading’s results, especially since objects do not have the ability to speak or relate their experiences.

It can take time to glean information from a reading, since it is not possible to “jump to” a specific moment in an object’s past unless you already know which moment you are looking for. A reader can choose to focus on a specific event to try to gain more detail about it, or simply continue looking further back in history for more details. The reader must continuously concentrate on the object to gain information about it.

Examples of ladder results for psychometry:

  • Abysmal (-3): The check fails and the reader’s link with the object is permanently severed.
  • Poor (-2): The reader gets a false reading.
  • Mediocre (-1): The check simply fails. A new reading on that particular object may not be attempted for one hour.
  • Fair (0): The reader may view up to one day of past events; this takes a minimum of one minute of focus.
  • Good (+1): The reader may view up to three days of past events; this takes a minimum of one minute of focus.
  • Great (+2): The reader may view up to one week of past events; this takes a minimum of one minute of focus.
  • Superb (+3): The reader may view up to one year of past events or he may read up to one week of events in one-half the required time.
  • Wonderful (+4): The reader may view up to ten years of past events or he may read up to one year of events in one-half the required time.
  • Phenomenal (+5): The reader may view up to 50 years of past events or he may read up to ten years of events in one-half the required time.
  • Extraordinary (+6): The reader may view up to 100 years of past events or he may read up to 50 years of events in one-half the required time.
  • Astonishing (+7): The reader may view past events from the entire life of the object or he may read 100 years of events in one-quarter the required time.

Note that most common objects are not more than a few years or decades old. Buildings and other complex or large structures are actually composed of multiple (sometimes hundreds or thousands) of individual objects, each with its own unique memory.

Unless the reader rolls an Abysmal result, he may attempt to read the same object again in the future. Once a successful result is made (Fair or better), the same result is always used for that particular object and the reader cannot gain a better result in the future unless the player spends a Luck Point to try again.

Example Fault: Can’t Turn it Off; the reader has no control over this ability and automatically begins reading the history of any object he comes in contact with. This can be distracting at best. Special gloves imbued with an antipsi aura may need to be worn to prevent accidental readings.

Telepathy

Key Attributes: Focus or Spirit

Telepathy, like psychokinesis, encompasses a wide variety of different abilities.

Some telepaths can sense imminent danger, others can communicate mentally across vast distances, and still others can impose their will upon other living creatures. Each telepathy sub-set of abilities, listed below, must be acquired separately.

Empathy Key Attributes: Spirit

Empathy is the ability to sense another person’s emotional state and, in some cases, adopt aspects of it. Empathic characters are able to tune in to other peoples’ emotions, which helps them communicate more effectively and their ability to “absorb” emotions has a variety of applications.

Some ladder examples follow.

  • Abysmal (-3): You absorb a far greater deal of emotional energy than you had intended. You suffer one Very Hurt mental wound and the target character(s) must succeed at a Mediocre Mind check or also suffer one Very Hurt mental wound.
  • Poor (-2): You suffer one Scratched mental wound. The target(s) do not suffer any wounds.
  • Mediocre (-1): Your attempt simply fails.
  • Fair (0): You accurately sense the emotional state of one specified target within ten feet and gain a 1dF reroll bonus on any follow-up skill checks made to interact with that target.
  • Good (+1): You accurately sense the emotional state of one specified target within 100 feet and gain a 2dF reroll on any follow-up skill checks made to interact with that target.
  • Great (+2): You accurately sense the emotional state of all people within 100 feet and gain a +1 bonus on follow-up skill checks made to interact with them.
  • Superb (+3): You accurately sense the emotional state of all people within 100 feet, gain a 1dF reroll and a +1 bonus on skill checks to interact with them, and gain a 1dF reroll on mind control checks made to implant suggestions in one or more targets within that range.
  • Wonderful (+4): As a Superb result, except your bonuses increase to 2dF+1 and +1, respectively.
  • Phenomenal (+5): As with a Superb result, except your bonus to follow-up interactions becomes +2 and your bonus on mind control attempts increases to 1DF+1.
  • Extraordinary (+6): You accurately sense the emotional state of all people within 1,000 feet. You gain the same bonuses on follow-up skill checks as a Phenomenal result, but you can also absorb some energy to heal your own mental wounds. You may heal one Hurt mental wound.
  • Astonishing (+7): As an Extraordinary result, but you may also choose to deal one Hurt mental wound to any number of targets within range. Each target may make a Mind check with a Fair difficulty to prevent this damage. For large numbers of targets, GMs may wish to make a single check and apply a single group modifier to prevent this damage.

Example Gift: Empathic Healer: You may draw out negative energy from within another character. Doing so heals that character of one mental wound level per degree of success. However, doing so is very taxing to your own body and its balance of energy; you take one physical Hurt wound when healing another character of either a Hurt or Very Hurt mental wound. Healing a character of an Incapacitated or Near Death mental wound causes you to suffer one physical Very Hurt wound instead.

Example Fault: Lack of Control: You are empathic, but lack the ability to control its use. You permanently gain a +1 bonus on skill checks made to interact socially with other people and a +1 bonus on checks made to implant suggestions in them. However, crowded locations are dangerous for you.

The GM should secretly roll a Spirit check for you each time you enter a crowded location.

On a result of Fair or better, nothing happens. A result of Mediocre or worse causes you to suffer the ill effects listed in the power’s ladder description.

The GM should alter the difficulty for this check based on the number of other people in your presence. For example, a room with only 10 people in it might be a Fair difficulty, but a crowded auditorium may have a difficulty of Great or higher. GMs should consider giving players a Luck Point when they activate this ability in places of Superb or greater difficulty.

Mental Communication

Key Attribute: Focus or Spirit Mental Communication represents the ability to send and receive messages telepathically over vast distances. Using this ability, a character can deliver a message to someone, receive their mental response, or even read the mind of willing (or unwilling) recipients.

Example ladder results for mental communication include:

  • Abysmal (-3): You fail the attempted communique and take one Very Hurt mental wound.
  • Poor (-2): You fail the attempted communique and take one Hurt mental wound.
  • Mediocre (-1): You simply fail at the attempt.
  • Fair (0): You succeed at communicating telepathically with one target, but communication is basic. Single messages are limited to 25 words at a time.
  • Good (+1): You succeed at communicating with one target. Communication is limited only by your ability to speak the target’s language.
  • Great (+2): You succeed at communicating with up to two people at a time. Communication is only limited by your ability to speak their language(s).
  • Superb (+3): You can communicate successfully with up to five people at a time. This communication is not limited in any way, even if you do not speak the targets’ language(s).
  • Wonderful (+4): You can communicate with up to ten people at a time. Communication is not limited in any way.
  • Phenomenal (+5): You can communicate with up to 50 people at a time with no limit to your ability to communicate with them.
  • Extraordinary (+6): You can communicate with hundreds of people at a time with no limit to your ability to communicate with them. You may communicate with animals on a primal level (you can get a sense of their instinctual thoughts).
  • Astonishing (+7): You can communicate with any number of people, even across planes of existence (Material to Astral or the ‘Net, etc.).\

As a general rule, mental communication requires you to be aware of the target in some way and be able to see them (except when communicating across planes with an Astonishing result). As an additional Gift, you may be able to communicate with people at range and without the need to be able to see them.

Example Gift: Telecommunicate: The distance at which you can communicate with people is determined by your degree of success, as noted below:

Result Distance Fair 100 feet Good 100 yards Great 1 mile Superb 10 miles Wonderful 100 miles Phenomenal 1,000 miles Extraordinary 10,000 miles Astonishing Unlimited, even across planes

Example Gift: Mind Reading: Characters must possess this additional Gift if they wish to use their mental communication power to read the thoughts of unwilling targets (willing targets automatically grant the telepath access to their thoughts). To activate this ability simply use the mental communication power and make an opposed check against the target’s Mind check. Success means that you can probe the thoughts of unwilling characters with restrictions based on your degree of success, as noted above.

If you have both the telecommunicate and mind reading Gifts, you may use this Gift at a range equal to your telecommunicate ladder result.

Mind Control

Key Attributes: Focus or Persona

As the name implies, mind control is the ability to enforce your will upon another living being. This ability manifests itself in several different ways. Mind control can be as simple as implanting a suggestion in someone’s mind or as complex as exerting complete mental dominance over their will.

It can alter memories, deliver damaging mental shocks and so forth.

As with mental communication, mind control can be used generically or in conjunction with Gifts that grant a character additional uses for the power. Examples of using mind control as a generic ability follow.

  • Abysmal (-3): You fail to reach the target’s thoughts and take one Very Hurt mental wound.
  • Poor (-2): You fail to reach the target’s thoughts and take one Hurt mental wound.
  • Mediocre (-1): Your attempt simply fails.
  • Fair (0): You may implant a minor suggestion in the target (such as “come here” or “these aren’t what you’re looking for”). Targets will not act against their nature (will not kill themselves or someone else, unless they’re otherwise inclined to do so) and will shake off inappropriate suggestions regardless of success. The suggestion lasts until the target carries it through to completion or until you make another suggestion.
  • Good (+1): You may charm the target, causing them to perceive you as a friend. The target considers your words and interprets them in the most favorable manner, but he is still unwilling to do anything that goes against his nature. You must maintain control of a target’s mind and cannot activate any other psionic powers or become distracted to a point that you would not be able to focus on maintaining control (such as in combat or other stressful situations).
  • Great (+2): You charm a target in the same way as with a Good result, but you may continue to activate psionic powers while maintaining control. During stressful situations you must make a Great Mind check to avoid losing control of the target’s mind.
  • Superb (+3): You exhibit complete mental dominance over another character. They obey your orders to the best of their ability despite their own nature and perceive you in the best possible light. You must maintain control of a target’s mind and cannot activate any other psionic powers or become distracted to a point that you would not be able to focus on maintaining dominance (such as in combat or other stressful situations).
  • Wonderful (+4): You dominate a target’s will as with a Superb result, but it takes less effort to maintain concentration. You may continue to activate psionic powers while dominating a target’s mind. During stressful situations you must make a Great Mind check to avoid losing control of the target’s mind.
  • Phenomenal (+5): You fully submit a target to your will. Maintaining control requires a Mind check of only Mediocre or better.
  • Extraordinary (+6): As with a Phenomenal result, but you do not need to make a check to maintain concentration. You may dominate up to two targets at a single time in this way, or dominate up to five targets while maintaining concentration (requiring a Fair or better Mind check).
  • Astonishing (+7): You may dominate up to five targets without the need to maintain concentration, or up to ten targets while maintaining a Fair degree of concentration.

You may substitute any of the higher level successes for an improved lower level success. For example, with a Superb result you may opt to implant a suggestion in to dozens of peoples’ minds, as opposed to dominating a single target.

Example Gift: Alter Memory: with this mind control Gift you have the ability to change the memories of another person.

This check is opposed by the target’s Mind check. If you succeed, use the degree of success to determine how much of the opponent’s memory you can alter at once. The table below offers some guidelines for determining the outcome.

Result Example Fair Alter one recent memory within one day Good Alter one memory within one week Great Alter one memory within one month Superb Alter one memory within one year Wonderful Alter one memory within one decade Phenomenal Alter one memory within 25 years Extraordinary Alter any one memory in the target’s life Astonishing Wipe the target’s memory completely clean

Example Gift: Mental Shock: using this Gift, you can deliver a mental “shock” to an opponent, causing severe damage to his psyche. To use this ability, simply make a check opposed by the target’s Mind check.

You deal one point of mental damage for each degree of success by which you exceed your target’s roll. As with any form of attack, your minimum required result is Fair.

Magic

In Psi-punk, the term “magic” refers to any technological device specifically designed to emulate psionic abilities. The world’s largest manufacturer and supplier of magic devices is Magicorp, a global super- company whose roots date back to the Anti-Psi League.

Magic is both difficult and expensive to manufacture and it takes a skilled hand (and mind) to utilize properly. While nearly every psionic power has been emulated by magic, not all of them have been perfected.

Even the most powerful devices cannot quite emulate the degree of power that is displayed by highly skilled psionicists, but the ability to access a wide range of powers often outweighs the drawback of not specializing.

Characters who are good candidates for using magic include:

  • Those who do not wish to play as a “mental” but want to use their cool abilities
  • Those who would prefer to have access to every psychic power instead of just a handful of dedicated abilities
  • Those who prefer technology to supernatural phenomena
  • Those who wish to play a wealthy character (magic is expensive)
  • Those who are outright opposed to “mentals”

Using Magic

Activating a magic device is similar to activating a psionic power in almost every way. Characters who control magic devices spend their action to activate the effect and roll the appropriate check to determine their overall result or their degree of success.

The ladder results are similar to those listed for individual powers, except as follows.

Power Rating

Because magic does not draw from a character’s innate mental powers, it doesn’t have a Key Attribute. Instead, each magic device has a Power Rating, ranging from Mediocre (-1) to Wonderful (+4). When activating a magic device, add the device’s Power Rating to your check result in place of a psionic power’s Key Attribute.

For example, Ash is using a pyrokinesis device to generate a fireball. The device has a Power Rating of Great (+2), so when making a check to activate the device she will add +2 to her roll.

Maximum Check Result

Magic devices have a maximum check result of Extraordinary (+6). Despite being built with highly sophisticated technology, they are no substitute for the extra effort and force of will that the mind is capable of exerting.

Abysmal Failures

A check result of Abysmal (-3) when activating a magic device causes it to malfunction, permanently destroying it. Characters attempting to activate the device still suffer the negative effects of an Abysmal result.

Magicorp assumes no responsibility for the colossal failure of their devices or any harm caused as a result.

Cost

Unlike psionic powers, magic devices must be purchased since they are not an innate talent. See Equipment for information on how to price magic devices.

Availability

Not all magic devices are readily available to the general public. There are many local retail stores offering basic devices of Fair or Good power ratings, but Great and Superb devices may be harder to come by.

As a rule of thumb, Great devices are police grade and require special permits to carry.

Having a contact in the police field or a gift that grants a character an appropriate license would bypass this requirement. Otherwise, characters may be able to find these devices on the black market, but must be cautious about showing them in public.

Rarer still are Superb magic devices which are of military-grade quality. A separate (or second) gift may grant characters access to these devices or they may come at the cost of a favor. Rarely can this grade of device be found even on the black market, but should a character acquire one, he must be extremely cautious when using it in public unless he has the appropriate certification.

Finally, devices with a power rating of Wonderful are prototypes requiring high level access to acquire. Characters shouldn’t have these readily available unless they work for Magicorp or somehow acquire one illegally (perhaps by breaking in to a Magicorp weapons facility). Magicorp employees must have sufficient security clearance within the company (another gift) and generally are only lent the device, not granted permanent use of it.

Characters with a Rank skill equal to the device’s Power Rating may meet the requirements to purchase magic and carry it with a license, depending on the organization with which they hold sway. Work with the GM to discuss which organizations your skill might apply to and which devices you would gain access to by having sufficient Rank.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Psi-punk Copyright 2012, Accessible Games; Author Jacob Wood