A bane or a boon, the zapper's ability to ionize the very air around them is at the very least, impressive.   In the same way that bursters manipulate the strong nuclear force to harness thermonuclear energy, so zappers manipulate the forces of electron attraction to harness electromagnetic energy. They can strip the electrons off molecules and toss them around with ease. They can magnetize anything they touch, ionize the air around them, and direct the mass of free electrons towards a target of their choosing, they can even create plasma. They do this naturally, by instinct. But putting it to good use? That is another thing altogether. Mental discipline, training and good old-fashioned trial and error are required to harness this power effectively.



Zappers are born with the ability to manipulate the electromagnetic force. This is not something that can be learned. Either they are born zappers or they are not. Furthermore, to actually be considered a true zapper, they must be capable of manifesting this ability in useful (and/or destructive) ways. Accordingly, only those born with the condition who have a certain amount of mental discipline and have spent time training to use their abilities are really considered Zappers.

Career Progression

A novice zapper who sets out into the world would typically be fully capable with the three aspects most associated with them:   The first aspect is their aura. They can ionize the very air around them, affecting all unshielded electrical and electronic systems in their vicinity.   The second aspect is their ability to control the motions of free electrons, polarizing objects they touch and even discharging them as lightning.   The third aspect is their psionic affinity with electricity and magnetism. Zappers can literally drain electricity from anything they touch and can sense the flow of electrons, even in biological beings.   Seasoned zappers are able concentrate on one of these aspects and make it stronger. Veteran zappers can strengthen two aspects. By the time a zapper is considered heroic, they have been able to strengthen all three aspects.


Social Status

Zappers are shunned by most technological communities. Their unconscious ability to derange electronic equipment does not endear them to people who rely on said equipment.   On the other hand, some manufacturing professions are entirely dependent upon zappers'ability to control electrical current and create magnets. Northern Gun and the manistique Empirium regularly and actively recruit young zappers in coalition territories.   Zappers are so rare they haven't even warranted a psionic tattoo registration symbol from the coalition states. If one is encountered, they are given the same tattoo as a burster.


Stripping electrons from an atom apparently requires far less psionic ability than splitting the nucleus of an atom. So unlike bursters, zappers are not necessarily master psionics. This does not mean that a zapper can't be a master psionic. Most powerful zappers are. it just means that the abilities of a zapper manifest even in psionically capable people who are not considered master psionics. One would think that this means there would be more zappers than bursters or even mind melters, but such is not the case. Zappers are among the rarest of manifested abilities on Rifts Earth. Some theorize that it is the presence of bullarum that keeps the population of zappers in check. Others suggest that the ability to magnetize and polarize surfaces allows zappers to perform tasks that appear to be telekinesis and they go through life with an incorrect diagnosis. But whatever the true reason for the extreme rarity of zappers, most are human. There is a small number of zappers of other races but their prevalence is directly related to how long those races have lived on Rifts Earth.



Zappers tend to stay away from wearing or carrying ferromagnetic materials, cybernetics and most electric devices. Synthetic materials and non-metallic ceramics are the materials of choice for a zapper. Sure they can control the electromagnetic fields they create and make sure that individual items and objects can be included in or excluded from their powers. But exercising that much control takes a significant amount of concentration and time. To illustrate this idea, imagine a painter attempting to paint a room with a sprayer. The painter can either paint all the furninshings, art, and knick knacks in the room along with the walls, the painter can spend the time and effort to tape off all the objects they don't want painted, or the painter can clear away the objects and paint the walls quickly with a sprayer. So it is with a zapper. In order to exercise their powers efficiently, they remove all the objects from their person that they would otherwise have to either spend time and effort excluding or not bother, including them in the electromagnetic influence.   Shielded electronics are protected from the electromagnetic fields created by a zapper. This means they will not get fried or deranged by an AoE field. But just because they are protected from an EM field does not means they are immune to the zappers abilities. A zapper can still control the electricity within devices and even turn a device's shielding against it. Furthermore, any electrical or electronic device that relies on electromagnetic transmission, to include magnets, radio waves, microwaves, etc., can have those transmissions disrupted, regardless of whether the device itself is shielded.

Provided Services

Zappers are highy valued by organizations that manufacturer and repair electronics, power generation equipment, motors and radios for their ability to polarize and magnetize individual components with very fine control as well as troubleshoot and test prototypes.   Zappers are also a convenient emergency resource for charging e-clips and other batteries. It is not uncommon to find a zapper trying to make some quick cash charging batteries.
In the Coalition States, people with psionic powers must be registered. Psionic registration includes a facial tattoo on the forehead, between the eyebrows. Since, Zappers are so rare, they do not warrant a tattoo of their own, so they are tattooed with the burster tattoo:

This has caused some consternation, however. Since zappers pose a significant problem to anyone with electrical or electronic gear, especially those with unshielded cybernetics, many people have requested an alternate symbol specific to the threat posed. The Coalition has begun using a blue spade rather than a black spade as a result:
  If you encounter someone with a blue tattoo, it is someone whom has been registered only in the past year.

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