M. Jared Swenson Productions

This blog chronicles my projects, developments, and all things related to tabletop gaming. I will try to avoid rants and reviews. Mostly games I'm developing, and progresses from my campaigns.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Star*Drive Saturday: Psionics

Last week I covered a 2 parter about cybertech (Part 1 and Part 2). This week will continue with more player options:


The mind is a muscle. Exercise it and it gets stronger. Humanity started to diagnose actual documentable human psionics and supernatural abilities around the end of the 21st century. These were before seen as hoaxes or just unexplainable events, but later as technology advanced more and more cases were documented, skepticism toward psionics started to quiet. Whether this was due to careful observation or a new evolution in humanity is unknown. Regardless, the tide of evidence became undeniable, but still the fraction of population with these talents remained very small. The first contact with the fraal brought us into a step in the proper direction.

The fraal are all psionics, it being a part of them and their lives as breathing is to ours. They recognized the few talents among our young species and decided to act as guides and tutors for the few who could be taught. Thus the disciplines of the mindwalkers were born. Psionics are a potentially very dangerous power that can be easily abused, and even fatal to the user who hasn't learned to control it.

Others in the galaxy who exhibit some psionic capabilities are called talents. While only about 0.1% of the galaxies population sport psionic capabilities, talents are about 10 times more common than full discipline mindwalkers. The media often portrays talents as wild and out-of-control mutants and mindwalkers as the sensible disciplined masters, but often talents are just as stable as the others, wanting to live, love, and thrive in a world that can be very suspicious of them. Some often wish they didn't have the power or responsibility. Psionic abilities do exist in genetics, although it is not completely understood, but bloodlines and families exist which are known psionics.
Nevertheless the rarity of psionics almost guarantees that those with the power will never have a life like that of the non-psionic majority. Each stellar nation has its own laws and customs regarding talents and mindwalkers. They are just too useful and dangerous to ignore. Certain laws regarding them are pretty universal, most requiring registration of powers to the appropriate government, and common screening for powers are performed during pre-school. Commonly, crimes committed with psionics are treated fairly. Murder with pyrokinesis is the same as murder with a laser pistol. But mind probing and mind reading are generally considered invasions of privacy. Mindwalkers even find careers in law, acting as expert witnesses and forensics investigators for crimes.

Some stellar nation attitudes toward psionics are noteworthy. Both religious organizations, Orlamu Theocracy and Hatire Community revere mindwalkers as a miracle of a greater power, providing privilege, special treatment, and unique training. VoidCorp uses mindwalker employees as it does all its assets. The Orion League and Union of Sol allow their mindwalkers almost unchecked freedom, while the Nariac Domain requires they live with psi-restraint implants, allowing the state to control them. The Galactic Concord leaves them alone, but many Administrators are said to be mindwalkers themselves. Law enforcement among mindwalkers are usually other mindwalkers, and technology such as psi-decectors, that can detect psionic use up to 100 yards away, and psi-restraints that inhibit the use of powers by being clasped around the neck.

New Archetype: Mindwalker
Not all psionic users are mindwalkers. It refers specifically to a person who has spent his or her life under specific training to master their unique abilities. All others with psionics are merely considered talents. Each nation and culture has their own variation and version, but most all have the same principles for training that stem from the original fraal disciplines. This makes the term 'mindwalker' universal, even though many different forms exist.
  • Race Restriction: Human and fraal only
  • Attribute Bonus: +1 Empathy
  • Starting HP: 1d6+2
  • Gear Restriction (optional): L armor and L weapons only
  • Special Rules: Mindwalkers are psykers, regardless of whether or not they meet the usual Empathy requirement. They can also have 1 additional psionic power at level 1. (note this means that fraal mindwalkers can have 3 powers)
Note: Non-mindwalker archetypes still abide by all other psionic rules (+2 Empathy bonus required, and 1 psionic power at level 1). Fraal non-mindwalkers still get 1 extra power at level 1.

New Psionic Powers
Psionic power use still follows the same guidelines outlined in the Rogue Space Rulebook. The following are new powers in addition to those listed in the rulebook. A player who can choose psionic powers may take them from either source.

Biokinetic Weapon
Generates a melee weapon of biokinetic energy that extends from the psyker's hand. Strain determines its damage. L(7 tn) M(9 tn) V(11 tn) and X(13 tn). In combat the psyker's Fighting attribute is still used for attacking with it. Lasts until the psyker uses another psionic power or loses concentration.

Control Metabolism
Allows the psyker to survive longer with no food or water and in hostile climates. Severity of the conditions determines the TN (Storyteller's choice) Example: Arid world = TN 7, Toxic atmosphere = TN 13.

Creates a short range link to electronics that is treated exactly like an NIJack cybernetic. Familiarity and range away from the device determines the TN. Example: Touching a computer console = TN 7, Interfacing with an alien computer from accross the room = TN 13. This character must have established some skill and knowledge in computers and grid use to make this power usable.

Allows the psionic to create electric shocks and charges. Strength and damage depends on the TN. L(7 tn) M(9 tn) V(11 tn) and X(13 tn).

Heals self of damage and disease. Strain determines the amount healed. L(7 tn) M(9 tn) V(11 tn) and X(13 tn).

Kinetic Shield
Creates a psychic shield of kinetic energy around the psyker, providing an armor bonus. Strain determines the protection value. L(7 tn) M(9 tn) V(11 tn) and X(13 tn). Lasts until the psyker uses another psionic power or loses concentration.

Causes the psionic to float in the air. Height and distance determines the strain. Example: Float silently across the pressure sensitive floor alarm = TN 7, Soar quickly to the top of a skyscraper = TN 13.

Alters your physical appearance to look like another of your species. Strain determines how convincing of a disguise you achieve. Lasts until the psyker uses another psionic power or loses concentration.

Allows the psyker to determine his/her current location and even plot a course to a destination. Distance and difficulty of situation determines the strain. Example: Direction to travel to nearest settlement on a planet = TN 7, Drivespace course from one star system to another = TN 13.

Can tell past events that happened in the surrounding area or on a solid item you can touch. Further back and greater distance determines the strain. Example: Events occurring in a room just recently = TN 7, Who wielded a pistol several years ago = TN 13.

Can tell future events that may occur in the surrounding area or on a solid item you can touch. Further forward and greater distance determines the strain. Example: Where the enemy ship will strike next during a space battle = TN 7, The results of the government elections 4 years from now = TN 13.

Allows the psyker to disappear from one location and instantly appear at another. The psyker should at least be familiar with the new location, or it be in visual range. Distance and familiarity with the teleportation determines the strain. Example: From one end of a room to another = TN 7, From the bottom floor of a building to the top floor = TN 13.


  1. MJ this is fantastic! Really cool new Archetype and I dig the new psionic powers!

    1. Thanks I really appreciate it. What did you think of my new cybertech rules? And stay tuned for next week, I will be covering mutations.