Psion

(For rules on psions, see CD10 Advanced: Psionics)

Psions are people who have had significant mutations to their brains, allowing them a wide range of psionic abilities. Colloquially known as 'psychos', these people are feared, persecuted and, in most cases, hunted by the authorities.

Psions are rare in the Fusion City populations and like other mutated individuals, appear almost exclusively in families that live near the Perimeter Wall or in the Shadowmark. However, in difference from physically mutated individuals, psions are far more frequent in the city than in the wastelands.

The great unknown

Psychos, espers, psions, freaks, or whatever people may call them, are a worrisome subject for debate. 'Normies' (non-mutated people) fear them, largely out of ignorance. Stories of how psychos have manipulated people, read their minds, planted false ideas, removed memories our even outright killed people with the power of their mind are common both in everyday life and in fiction.

 

Spread and Societal impact

Psionic mutations appear more often in the city than in the wastes as opposed to physical mutations, who are significantly more common in the wastes. Scientist speculate that with most of the harmful toxins of the wastelands filtered out and blocked by the dome and the perimeter wall, the limited radiation that gets through has a greater chance of affecting the brain and nervous system of gestating infants.

Depending on their mutations, psions usually discover their abilities in late childhood or early adolescence. They learn quickly not to display their powers in public, either because of people's fear, persecution or they are reported to the authorities. Psions are known to have mysteriously disappeared when the government learns of them.

Black Ops Kidnappings

Galwin Dradik ran a series of reports two years back where she reported on illegal government kidnappings of known psionically capable individuals. She claimed to have evidence that these individuals were taken to secret black ops research sites where the government performed illegal and immoral research on them, in an effort to come up with an effective method of countering psionic mutants.

While Galwin's reports stirred a lot of talk and debate, it was never determined whether there was any truth to her statements as she has yet to present the evidence she claimed to have. That doesn't stop the psions of Fusion City of living in constant fear of being exposed.

Psychogenic Dejection

Because of the persecution and constant pressure psions find themselves under in this society, mental ill health is incredibly common. Most every psion suffers from mild paranoia, stress, PTSD and other stress-related issues. Some suffer so badly that their powers subconsciously manifest in dangerous ways.

Manifestation

Psionic ability can manifest at any age, even as young as in babies. Children are seldom aware of their powers however and act largely on instinct. It's most common that the powers grow as the brain develops and a conscious discovery of the power happens in late adolescence.

Psionic ability is empowered by the emotional state of an individual and for this reason it's most common that the power manifests in a stressed, scared or angry individual. These emotions are commonly the ones that people have the hardest time controlling, allowing them to channel them into their powers. But you could use positive emotions to fuel the power as well, but because of how persecuted and oppressed psions are in society, most have gotten stuck using their fear and anger for their power.

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Encompassed species
Significant presence in

Related Reading

CD10: Psionics
Generic article | Aug 9, 2020

Rules governing the use of psionic abilities.

Psychogenic Dejection
Condition | Aug 9, 2020

Psychogenic Dejection, or PD, is a severe psionic condition that can affect psions in great emotional distress. The worst of its effects are the projection of "psyghosts". They take semi-physical form and are often violent and dangerous things.

Identifying Marks

While no one can identify a psion on looks alone, there are certain physical traits that occur more often in psions than others. It is rare to be born with white hair though a lot of people bleach their hair for style, psions are more often than not born with white hair or fur. Psion Hessak often have light gray scales.

Distinct heterochromia in the eyes are another marker that might indicate that the person is a psion. Not every heterochromat is a psion, but the rarity of even sectoral heterochromia makes it a much more reliable marker than albinoism. Heterochromatic psions also have a tendency to exhibit unusual eye colors for their species, with red, pink and purple shades appearing in non-vindral individuals.

Capabilities

Psions are capable of a huge range of abilities of which only a few have been properly documented. Below follows a couple of examples of documented abilities from Vandrid Biotech's research on psionic individuals.

BEACON OF ADORATION

Psionic

Experience Cost: 10
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 5-8
Cast: Action
Range: Self
Area: Sight
Duration: Concentration

Effect:
Kind of an opposite companion of Mental Eclipse. This ability will cause people around you to notice you, pay attention to you and focus on you. When affected by the ability people will want to be near you and listen to you. It's a subtle but strong attraction. The affected will find themselves incapable of resiting the effect and it's so subtle they will likely not notice unless they harbor a strong dislike for you.   Note that the ability does not make them like what you have to say or what you do, they simply cannot help paying attention to you. The effect is temporary and will have no lasting effects once the ability has run its course. The ability can also be weaponized to cause an intense fear and reverence towards you in the target. This fear-effect is however limited to 2, plus your value in Psion, people.   Any person who is in the same general area as you, can see you and hear you, will be affected by this ability when it is activated. They must make a mental save against the amount of PSI points you spent, and if they fail the save, they are affected. (For large crowds, the GM can average out the people affected with one or a couple of saves and determine if most, or few, people are affected. The GM can also rule to approximate without any checks, fitting the narrative.   A psion who is under the effect of Mental Shield will not be affected by this ability in any way. They do not need to make a check at all. However, should they attempt Psionic Backlash they will be affected if they fail.

BEACON OF TERROR

Psionic

Experience Cost: 12
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 5-8
Cast: Action
Range: Self
Area: Sight
Duration: Concentration

Effect:
Beacon of Terror is a darker, more offensive, version of Beacon of Adoration. It is a refinement of the fear component of that ability, allowing the psion to project an aura of fear, domination and reverence. Instead of affecting people to awe and be inspired by you and listen to you, this ability makes them fear you.   It operates on the same mechanics as Beacon of Adoration, affecting those who fail their mental save against the PSI-points spent on the ability. These people will have an unreasonable and unidentifiable respect and fear for you, simply by being in your presence. They are at a -6 modifier to defend against any persuasion or intimidation attempts from you, and most will simply agree to what you are saying out of fear.

CONCENTRATION

Psionic

Experience Cost: 10
Difficulty: 6
PSI cost: 1-6
Cast: Action
Range: Self
Area: Self
Duration: Action

Effect:
You focus your mental abilities on strengthening your own capabilities. For a single skill check, you gain a bonus of +PSI points spent. Activating the ability counts as an action, however, so you are effectively sacrificing one action to become better at another.   If you activate this ability one one turn, you may still benefit from it the following turn. But you cannot hold your concentration for more than one turn before it is lost.

DISTRACTION

Psionic

Experience Cost: 3
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 1-8
Cast: Action
Range: Sight
Area: Person
Duration: Turn

Effect:
You project a mental distraction into the mind of a creature you can see. The distraction takes the form of a visual or auditory hallucination and lasts for a single turn. Should the creature attempt any skill check (including attacks) during the turn it is affected, it suffers an increased Difficulty equal to the number of PSI points spent on every skill check attempted during the turn.   In addition, the target suffers a penalty to their Initiative equal to half the PSI points spent on this ability, rounded up.

ENERGY BARRIER

Psionic

Experience Cost: 10
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 1-8
Cast: Action
Range: Self
Area: Self
Duration: Concentration

Effect:
You project mental energy to form an energy barrier around you that absorbs as much damage as you spend PSI points on it, per turn, for as many turns as you have value in the Psion trait. +2 in the trait and 6 PSI spent gives you a 6 damage shield for 2 turns.   Should the barrier take more damage than it can absorb during a single turn, it collapses and disappears and has to be re-established by a new usage of the ability.   If the barrier does not take damage beyond its limit, it goes back to full charge on the start of the next turn. If it never takes damage beyond its limit, it lasts the full duration.

ENERGY RESISTANCE

Psionic

Experience Cost: 21
Difficulty: 12
PSI cost: 6
Cast: Turn
Range: Self
Area: Self
Duration: Concentration

Effect:
You partially phase out of physical existance and become partially translucent. You become immune to extreme temperatures, radiation, shade, electricity and energy weapons but not physical objects such as people, melee weapons, bullets or flames. Due to your partial phasing, you also gain resitance to poisons and diseases. Whenever you make a physical save for resisting either, add your Psion trait to the save. You also gain +3 to Stealth for the duration thanks to your semitransparent self.   The ability lasts for a full hour, provided your concentration is not broken.

ENRAPTURE

Psionic

Experience Cost: 15
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 4-8
Cast: Turn
Range: Sight
Area: Person
Duration: Concentration

Effect:
Enrapture allows a psion to subtly affect the brain chemistry of a target, changing how they see the psion. An individual affected by Enrapture falls hopelessly in love with the psion. Even if it is neither erotic nor romantic love, the individual will do whatever is in their power to stay in the good graces of the psion, short of harming themselves or people they care for.   When Enrapture is attempted, the target must make a mental save against the Excess of the psion's Psionics skill check, and if they fail, they are affected. The ability lasts either until the psion's concentration is disturbed or until a number of hours equal to the amount of PSI-points spent on the ability. The psion can also end the effect early, should they wish.

MENTAL ACCELERATION

Psionic

Experience Cost: 21
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 6
Cast: Immediate
Range: Self
Area: Self
Duration: Immediate

Effect:
Your mind works at lightning speed and you channel psionic energy throughout your body to make it faster. You gain an additional, free action this turn. This action does not follow the rules of Stressing, meaning you do not suffer any increased difficulty on your other actions the same turn.   You may, additionally, stress in the same turn for two additional actions, but the rules of Stressing do apply in that case.   Alternatively, you can boost your Initiative by +2 for one turn for each point of PSI spent on this ability beyond 6.

MENTAL ECLIPSE

Psionic

Experience Cost: 15
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 5
Cast: Action
Range: Self
Area: Sight
Duration: Concentration

Effect:
You project a field of psionic energy around you with a radius of 250 meters that cause those around you to ignore you. Depending on your psionic potential (trait value in Psion) you can be more or less effective in this. Do note that this ability only work on the minds of creatures and will not fool droids, cybernetic devices or electronic surveillance equipment. Cybernetic devices can record you, but if it's linked to a person, the person's mind will still be fooled and not register you. If they later recall their recording, they will see that you were there.   Psions under the influence of Mental Shield must make an opposed check to see you. To the afflicted you simply blend into the background, disappear in the crowd or if they look directly at you, they don't register your presence at all.   With the exception of psions at +4, you must be unseen when you activate the ability, or it will fail to take effect.  
  1. You remain completely invisible for everyone for as long as you do not move.
  2. As long as you do not draw attention to yourself, make detectable noises or do something suspicious, you remain unseen.
  3. You may appear as if you were someone else, blending into a crowd or pretending you are someone else. To the victim, you completely change appearance and voice. A check for Performance is required to imitate another person's mannerism.
  4. You may vanish completely even standing in plain sight.

MENTAL PROFILING

Psionic

Experience Cost: 6
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 3
Cast: Minute
Range: Self
Area: Self
Duration: Immediate

Effect:
You have the ability to build a mental image from the mind of another person. You must in some way be in contact with the individual for a minute to gather the necessary data. It can be a voice or video call, but the contact must be direct and in realtime. Once you have identified the person, you will get a instinctive, mental image of what the person looks like (if it was voice only) and what they call themselves. Do note that if the person is acting under pseudonym, you will get the person's real name, rather than the pseudonym, as you are probing their mental identity.   A psion with Mental Shield can shield themselves from this ability.

MENTAL SHIELD

Psionic

Experience Cost: 6
Difficulty: 3
PSI cost: 4
Cast: Action
Range: Close
Area: Person
Duration: Concentration

Effect:
You extend a psionic shield around your mind that acts as a protection against mental abilities aimed at your mind. Any psion attempting to use an ability on you that affects your mind must beat you in an opposed Psionics skill check. The one with the highest success wins. Should you win, the ability is blocked and the PSI-points spent by the attacker are wasted. If they win, they penetrate the shield and the ability takes effect. The shield remains however and any subsequent attacks must also overcome the shield.   The shield must be raised prior to the attack, or you are at a -6 internal modifier on your Psionics check against the attacker, because you are unprepared.   The shield lasts for as long as you are concentrating on it for up to a 6 hours.

MINDSHATTER

Psionic

Experience Cost: 21
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 1-8
Cast: Action
Range: Sight
Area: Person
Duration: Immediate

Effect:
You focus your mental energies into a mindspike, aimed at a target. The target takes 1 damage per PSI point spent on the ability and the attack targets the mind of the victim. The victim must make a mental save against the damage. Armor does not protect them.   A psion under the influence of Mental Shield must make an opposed check against your attack. The one with the highest success wins. If you win, the target takes the listed damage, reduced by their Psion trait. If the target wins the check, they completely block the attack, taking no damage.

POSSESSION

Psionic

Experience Cost: 21
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 8
Cast: Turn
Range: Sight
Area: Person
Duration: Hour

Effect:
The possession ability is the poster boy for people's fear of psions. This ability allows a psion to gain full control over a person's mind and sense. The ability is performed like a mental attack and the target makes a mental save against the Excess of the psions skill check. If they fail, the psion gains control of the person as if it was their own body. This ability lasts until it is ended by the psion or if either the psion or the target takes at least a Serious Injury. If the subject dies during control, the psion must immediately make a save against 9 and suffer the mental scarring of experiencing death first hand.   Due to how the power works, any skill checks performed uses the psions skill values, but the physical values of the target. The psion is not able to access the conscious mind or memories of the target, as they are "mentally displacing" the target's mind, rather than diving into it. In addition, the person is not aware of the control taking place, as it feels as if they are asleep and dreaming. They are there and can perceive what happens, but it seems unreal.   Because of the immense focus and power required to fully supplant someone else's consciousness and also control their body, the psion can no longer control their own body or even use their own sense while in control of another. The psion will appear to be in a coma. All higher brain functions are focused on the target's mind and only the instinctual, life-sustaining functions remain to keep the body alive.

PRESENTIMENT

Psionic

Experience Cost: 15
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 4
Cast: Minute
Range: Self
Area: Self
Duration: Immediate

Effect:
This is an ability that has a passive component and an active component:
  Passive component
A near innate ability to some psions, Presentiment allows the psion to get brief glimpses of intent, fate and future. The flashes of insight allow the GM to guide the presentient psion to clues or things that might have been missed. The character may get a sudden flash of walking into a trap, or a strong sense of hostile intent (indicating an imminent attack or an alarm about to go off). Should the GM wish this ability to be less assured, she can roll a hidden check against the psions Psionics skill against a difficulty she deems appropriate. The passive ability is always active (unless disrupted by White Noise or other interference) and requires no active action from the psion to use.   Active component
A presentient psion can force a premonition through concentration. The psion spends a minute focusing their ability and clearly states a subject they wish to have a premonition of. They must then pay the PSI cost and perform a check against 9 or another difficulty set by the GM. The GM chooses how much information is divulged. Greater Excess should divulge more information.

PSIONIC BACKLASH

Psionic

Experience Cost: 10
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 2
Cast: Action
Range: Self
Area: Self
Duration: Immediate

Effect:
When you come under psionic attack in some way, you may attempt to reflect the attempt back at the attacker. You must win an opposed Psionics check in order to reflect the ability. If you fail, the attacking ability takes full effect. If you succeed the backlash of your reflection causes the target to take mental damage equal to the amount of PSI points spent on the ability and you suffer no effects from the ability.

PSIONIC EMPATHY

Psionic

Experience Cost: 6
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 2
Cast: Immediate
Range: Close
Area: Person
Duration: Concentration

Effect:
You reach out with your mind and touch the mind of another, probing gently for it's current emotional state and surface thoughts. For as long as you are concentrating on this ability, you continually read that emotional state of the target and get a sense for what is currently on its mind. You cannot probe any deeper for knowledge or things that it isn't actively thinking about.   If the target has psionic ability, it may use Mental Shield to protect its mind.

PSIONIC INTUITION

Psionic

Experience Cost: 10
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 4
Cast: Turn
Range: Self
Area: Self
Duration: Immediate

Effect:
This ability works similar to how the trait Intuition works. The GM makes the check and you pay the PSI point cost for using the ability. What the GM then tells you it what your intuition tells you, right or wrong.

PSIONIC OBSERVATION

Psionic

Experience Cost: 15
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 4-8
Cast: Minute
Range: Self
Area: Self
Duration: Immediate

Effect:
Spending a couple of minutes in a trance-like state, the psion can read the mental and emotional state of a neighborhood or area. It is the equivalent of spending an entire night doing research, asking around and scouting the area. After the psion has scanned the area, the GM answers any questions about the area that the psion may have that the GM deems reasonable that the psion should now know.   Topics could be what people have been in the area, local gossip, what factions or organizations are active in the area, local hangouts etc.

PSIONIC OVERDRIVE

Psionic

Experience Cost: 12
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 4-8
Cast: Action
Range: Self
Area: Self
Duration: Concentration

Effect:
Through intense mental effort, you throw your senses into overdrive. For the duration of the ability, you gain +1 per additional PSI point spent (beyond 4) in Perception and your vision and hearing distance doubles. You are able to hear a normal conversation up to 100 meters away, and identify individual's faces at that same distance. You are acutely aware of temperature and pressure changes and finally you do not gain any difficulty modifiers for firing weapons at a range. You are able to see in pitch darkness.   You can hear frequencies up to ultrasounds and smell body pheromones, which allows you to tell the emotional state and stress level of an individual on smell alone.   The ability lasts for up to half an hour or until your concentration breaks. Should there be any sudden loud noises or bright lights near you when this ability is active you must pass a mental save against 6 or the concentration is broken and you suffer one point of Stress.

PSYCHIC BLAST

Psionic

Experience Cost: 10
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 1-8
Cast: Action
Range: Close
Area: Person
Duration: Immediate

Effect:
You manifest your psionic energy as a physical ball of force and hurl it at a target. The psychic blast functions as a physical object and does 4 Blunt Damage plus 1 for each PSI point spent on the ability. The target's armor applies to the damage, as does any cover that is hit. Since the blast is entirely physical, Mental Shield does not work against it.

PSYCHIC DEFLECTION

Psionic

Experience Cost: 21
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 4
Cast: Action
Range: Self
Area: Self
Duration: Immediate

Effect:
You gain limited precognition and see an attack coming before it happens and attempt to deflect the attack with psionic energy. This ability allows you to make a defense check against an attack, even if it is a ranged attack. You may use this ability instead of a defense check in melee or an Acrobatics check for ranged attacks. If you succeed, the lethality potential of the attack is reduced by 30 as you block the attack with pure psionic energy.

PSYCHOMETRY

Psionic

Experience Cost: 10
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 5
Cast: Minute
Range: Touch
Area: Touch
Duration: Concentration

Effect:
You attempt to read faint psionic remnants in an item to find out what has happened to it. You must be in touch with the item for up to a minute to get a full scan of the faint signatures in the item, but once you have done this you can tell who last owned the item, who last touched it and when, unless it's more than 10 years ago. If the item has been in contact with intense emotions, the event that caused the emotion can be perceived by you for up to 50 years after its occurance.   This ability can be used on living beings to attempt to recall a situation where the creature experienced strong emotion. It can also be used on the recently (within a couple of days) deceased to get a reading of their last moments in life.

SENSE ENERGY

Psionic

Experience Cost: 6
Difficulty: 6
PSI cost: 4
Cast: Action
Range: Close
Area: Close
Duration: Immediate

Effect:
You use your sensitive mind to read the area around you for energy fields. Within about 10 meters around you, you can sense things like radiation, shade energy, magnetic fields generated by electronic devices and infrared radiation. This ability can be used to locate hidden electronic devices that run on electricity, living creatures in the dark (that expel heat) as well as cybernetic devices on people.

SENSE MIND

Psionic

Experience Cost: 15
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 3-8
Cast: Action
Range: Self
Area: Sight
Duration: Immediate

Effect:
You reach out with your mind in an attempt to locate a mind you are familiar with. The ability has a base area coverage of a 10 meter radius around you. You may spend additional PSI points to add an additional 10 meters per point. If the check succeeds, you locate the mind and get a general distance and direction to the target. You also gain a brief sense of the current emotional state of the target.   In order for you to locate and single out the mind of the individual you must be familiar with the person in question. You must have spoken to them, used Psionic Empathy or Mental Profiling on them to learn their mind's identity. If you do not know the person, you cannot distinguish their mind from a crowd. If they are the only person in range that you are not familiar with, you can still guess that they are your target.   If the target is a psion under Mental Shield, the GM makes a hidden check with your success vs their skill. If the target succeeds the check, they are invisble to you and you cannot detect them. If they fail their check, you locate their mind as usual.

SHARED SENSES

Psionic

Experience Cost: 12
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 5-8
Cast: Action
Range: Close
Area: Person
Duration: Hour

Effect:
A psion can sublty piggy-back on someone else's mind and hijack their senses. The psion attacks the person and the person makes a mental save against the total amount of PSI-points spent on the ability. If the person fails the save, the psion gains control of their senses.   The person is not aware that the psion's mind is present. The psion chooses what senses they want to borrow, and the effect is that the psion feels exactly what the target is feeling. If the psion has borrowed sight and hearing, the psion will hear and see what the target sees.   The psion keeps their own senses, but they are subdued in the background and it takes some practice to determine which sense is triggered. For the duration, the psion is at -3 on Perception checks regarding their own senses.

SUGGESTION

Psionic

Experience Cost: 15
Difficulty: 9
PSI cost: 7
Cast: Minute
Range: Close
Area: Person
Duration: Month

Effect:
You reach into the mind of an individual you are conversing with and attempt to plant and idea, a memory, a belief or change their stance on something. You must be physically close to the person (within ~10 meters) and they must make a mental save against 2 + your Psion trait.   If the target fails the mental save they take a Serious Injury (completely invisible, as it is mental) and you have the intended effect on their mind. You cannot completely alter someone's base ethics or radically change their opinion on something they firmly believe in, but you can affect small things. Examples include seeding doubt and distrust towards a collegue or a friend, seed doubt regarding a cause, change a single fact in a memory (such as a car being blue instead of red, or an event taking place at night instead of in the day). The GM is encouraged to be flexible but reasonable with what can be affected and what cannot.   If the attack succeeds the target suffers 2 + your Psion trait Stress but no Shock. The suggestion will last until the injury has healed (~6 weeks) at which point the memory, trust, belief or whatever change you did will revert back.   The person may experience confusion over their sudden change of heart when the suggestion fades.

TELEPATHY

Psionic

Experience Cost: 10
Difficulty: 0
PSI cost: 3
Cast: Immediate
Range: Sight
Area: Person
Duration: Life

Effect:
The ability to transmit and receive thoughts from a willing target is called telepathy. With this ability you can speak with a person with thought alone. The receiving target does not need to be telepathic, as you establish the link, but the target has to be aware and willing in order for you to read its thoughts and have a two-way conversation. Establishing a connection requires no skill check. You simply pay the PSI cost and the telepathy link is established.   If the target is unwilling, you can still transmit messages to the target, but you will not be able to get a response. Your capability with telepathy is reliant on your power as a psion. Depending on the value of the Psion trait, you have different capabilities.  
  1. You must maintain eye contact with the target in order to send any thoughts.
  2. You must be able to see the target in order to carry on the conversation. If the target leaves your line of sight, the contact is broken.
  3. You must be able to see the target in order to establish contact, but once its established, you can carry on a conversation even if the target leaves your line of sight. Should you break the contact for more than a minute, you must again establish line of sight in order to re-connect to their mind.
  4. You may establish contact with any target that is within range (~500 meter radius around you). You must be familiar with the mind (know the person or have spoken to them) to find them without seeing them.
For powerful psions, there's a method known as "pinging", where the psion continually sends small messages, akin to "Marco-Polo", to the target in order to maintain their location and connection.



Cover image: Free Fractal Art - Modified by Tobias Linder by Tobias Linder

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