In the world of CyberReich, the exploration of the far edges of science has proceeded without the bounds of human morality. In this dark world, secret government agencies have worked hard to gain an edge over their foreign competitors by any means necessary. To this end, even the suspected power of psychics was ambitiously explored and exploited. Over time, techniques were developed to bring forth the power in talented but extremely rare individuals. As a result, psychic agents were and are employed in the field to work as agents of the Reich, America or Japan.
Soon it was discovered that most powerful psychics often left a strong signature behind them when they used extremely powerful levels of ability. This residue occasionally triggered side effects in sensitive individuals who may have come in contact with the area soon after a strong psychic emanation. Thus, spontaneous psychics have from time to time appeared. Since they were not trained by powerful government agencies, these individuals eventually became free agents.
Playing Psychics in the Game
Psychics are meant to be very rare and powerful individuals. They are not commonplace anywhere in the world of CyberReich. Therefore, it is recommended that if the GM allows a Player to create a Psychic Hero they should limit it to one or two at the most in a group of Players. Also, it should be noted that among Psychics, Mind Masters are far more rare.
Psychic Powers often cost Mental stress to activate. Once the Hero exhausts all their Mental stress, they must stop or absorb the Mental stress with consequences. If the character can't or won't absorb the mental stress, then they are Taken Out. Often this means some kind of burnout has occurred, but the specifics are up to the GM.
With rest, the Hero can recuperate the lost Mental stress per the usual rules in Fate.
Unless noted otherwise, most effects are instantaneous; the power is used and the effects are felt immediately, but then it shuts off. In some cases, a player might devise uses of powers that last longer, especially when using powers to create advantages and place aspects. In these cases, assume the effects last for the duration of a scene.
Purchasing Psychic Powers
The first requirement is to devote an aspect to the fact you have either Psionics or Mind Mastery. Usually, you can not have both Psionics and Mind Mastery, but if you GM allows it, then you should have one aspect describing your Psionics and another aspect describing your Mind Mastery. This is the price of entry.
Once you have your aspect chosen, show it to the GM to be sure your idea meshes with the GM's game. After that, you can purchase one of the skills below. Example stunts can be uses as-is or just use them as an example of how to create your own psychic stunts.
Requires a Psionics Aspect
Psionics is the skill of forcing one's will over the environment itself. Being able to physically affect the world through the strength of one's thoughts is an extremely powerful ability but one often fraught with side effects. The psychic energy "bleeds" into the environment and causes unpredictable disturbances. Whenever a Psionics power is used, there is always some amount of disturbance. These might be small whirlwinds that push small debris about, long crackling bolts of static electricity, a slight tremor inside buildings, etc. The more powerful the power used, the more obvious the side effect. In general, side effects won't damage people, but if the power used is great enough, it could cause collateral damage in the destruction of smaller delicate objects, or possibly even the structure of buildings. You can describe your typical side effects using the aspect that describes your connection to Psionic powers. When you use your Psionics skill, the GM can offer compels to increase the side effects, thereby potentially restricting or influencing your actions.
Some uses of Psionic powers cost Mental stress.
Overcome. Psionics can use their psychic strength break down barriers such as force walls, or other structures.
Create an Advantage. Use Psionics to set up static barriers like walls of force. They remain so long as the psionic is in the area and can devote some of their concentration on maintaining it. This costs a point of Mental stress, but any attempt to overcome such barriers is actively defended by the psionic.
Attack. A psionic's attack is typically simply an instant effect, a burst of kinetic energy that damages people, things, structures. Barely controlled, it costs the Psionic nothing.
Defend. Using Psionics to defend against a physical attack is one use of Psionics that does not cost Mental stress. The character must be aware of the attack. Psionic individuals have a number of ways of deflecting incoming physical attacks, whether it might be a barely-visible wall of force that snaps into instant existence when she is attacked, or a more subtle ability of slightly altering the trajectory of bullets, knifes, or whatever physical attack threatens her. The style used is usually consistent but up to the player to describe.
- Costs 1 Mental stress
- You can use your Psionics skill to fly. This can allow you to overcome barriers more easily and certainly can give you a maneuvering advantage. You can move around in any direction as well as if you were on the ground. This lasts for a scene.
- Flight (Advanced)
- Requires Flight
- This stunt grants you a +2 to actions using Flight due to your great speed and maneuverability in the air.
- Force Armor
- Costs 1 Mental stress
- Activating Force Armor means your character has Armor:2 for the rest of the scene. This stunt can be purchased twice for a maximum gain of Armor:4 at a cost of 2 Mental stress.
- Costs 1 or 2 Mental stress
- This powerful ability allows the Hero to move from one physical location to another instantaneously, effectively allowing the use of Psionics in place of Athletics or other movement skills at the cost of 1 Mental stress. This can mean some barriers can be bypassed more easily. Usually, a Character must see where they are going in order to teleport, but if the character is willing to spend 2 Mental stress, the Hero can teleport to a location he has memorized ahead of time. This is something that should have already been done in play -- but a player can spend a Fate point to 'declare a story detail describing how she had already prepared to teleport to a distant location.
- The difficulty to move is similar to Athletics in that it is equal to the number of zones they character wishes to move. Barriers aren't usually a problem. Also, when teleporting to a location that has been memorized ahead of time, the difficulty is Mediocre (+0). Add +1 to the difficulty for each extra person you wish to take with you (or for each extra 100 kg of stuff you are transporting).
- You are especially adept with defensive uses of your telekinetic powers. You may even have been trained as a psionic bodyguard. Whatever the case, you gain +2 to Defend actions using Psionics.
This discipline concentrates on controlling the mind, be it the character's own mind, or that of another. The Psychic abilities described here often Mental stress in order to use them. Normally, a psychic character with Mind Mastery would wear or carry a special crystal with them that helps them "channel" their mental powers. Therefore, if the Character has a crystal, she pays whatever the Mental stress might be required of a Mind Mastery skill use. If she does not carry a crystal, or simply doesn't have one, then the cost to use the powers is increased by 1 Mental stress.
Overcome. Use an Overcome action to see through mental illusions caused by other characters. You can also use Mind Mastery to send telepathic messages to another character, and receive thoughts directed at him. This simple use of Mind Mastery doesn't cost Mental stress, but requires willing targets.
Create an Advantage. Use this action to place beneficial effects upon yourself to boost your own mental defenses, or spend a point of Mental stress to create illusions in the mind of one individual. Targets resist with Will.
Attack. An unfocused and brutal attack that Mind Masters are rightly feared for is the Brain Burn. This attacks the mind of a target directly, and it costs the psychic 1 Mental stress each time she does it. This kind of action is usually regarded as a very inefficient way to use Mind Mastery and is often a desperate action to take. Wise psychics will take time to build up a number of aspects with free invokes on them before attempting this.
Defend. While not typically useful as a defense against physical attack, a psychic with Mind Mastery can use their skill to defend against Mind mastery actions.
- Costs 1 Mental stress to initiate a Domination attack
- This feared ability is used by psychics seeking to dominate the mind of another person. Engaging in an attempt to dominate another person requires a setting without distractions from physical conflict. Typically, this means a psychic will seek to get his target alone.
- Next, the psychic engages in a special kind of conflict. If the victim does not possess the Mind Master skill, then they resist only passively. The difficulty for the attacker is the target's Will. Shifts of success inflict Mental stress. A tie will grant the attacker a boost, but failed rolls will cost the attacker 1 Mental stress per point by which they failed the roll. The psychic can break off the attack any time, should they not fare well. If the target is Taken Out, then they are not killed but permanently change an aspect to Slave of [Attacking Character] or something similar. They are required to follow the commands of their new master. A Telepath can remove this aspect and free the character by removing memory of the conflict.
- This is a very evil power. Any use of Domination in a game should be carefully thought out. A PC uninterested in roleplaying the consequence of being taken out by this power should be given other options than simply becoming the slave of his enemy.
- Heightened Awareness
- Costs 1 Mental stress
- This allows you to use your Mind Mastery skill with a +2 bonus for Overcome actions in place of Notice or Investigation skills that depend on using one of the five senses.
- The Sight
- Costs 1 Mental stress
- You have the ability to mentally walk multiple paths of probability at once. This means you can know where to be to avoid being hurt in the next few seconds, allowing you to use Mind Mastery to defend against Physical attacks. In addition, your grasp of probability and seeing multiple futures at once allows you an advantage in choosing which future is most beneficial for you to cause to exist through your own actions. In other words, you gain a +2 to Create an Advantage using your ability to see the future.
- Because possible futures branch into the thousands and then millions after the near term, this ability can't be used to create advantages further ahead than a single scene.
- Soul Thief
- This dread stunt grants the psychic the ability to attack, to Brain Burn, without having to pay a point of Mental stress each time.
- Some uses costs 1 Mental stress
- This stunt marks the psychic a Telepath. A Telepath can create psychic links with up to 1 other person per point they possess in the Mind Mastery skill. These individuals must be willing, but after the link is established (and noted on the character sheet!), telepathic communication can be maintained at any distance.
- A Telepath can also Mind Dive. By spending 1 Mental stress, the telepath can engage in a type of mental battle with another individual. Distractions will end a telepath's attempt to get inside the head of his target, so in the middle of a battle or other conflict is a bad time to attempt this. In a setting in which the telepath can capture the complete attention of his target, the telepath engage in a mental battle using his Mind Mastery versus the target's Will. Unlike normal conflicts, this is somewhat one-sided in that only the telepath rolls dice. If the telepath exceeds the target's Will, he inflicts mental stress. If he fails, the telepath takes mental stress equal to the number of shifts of failure. A tie means the telepath gains a boost. The telepath can break off mental combat any time, but he'd be wise to wait until his mental stress clears before he tries again. If the telepath Takes Out his target, then she may done one of the following:
- Probe and uncover secrets, memories or deeply guarded thoughts
- Remove a memory
- Implant a memory
- There is an exception to this. If the target also has Mind Mastery, he can actively resist and also take action using his own mental powers against the attacker. This looks like a normal conflict, except it takes place entirely within the minds of the participants.