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Magic in Psi-punk

Magic

In Psi-punk, the term “magic” refers to any technological device specifically designed to emulate psionic abilities.

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 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 deter- mine 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. The manufacturer 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 a megacorp or somehow acquire one illegally (perhaps by breaking in to a weapons facility). Megacorp 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.