Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Psychic Powers in Athanor

The following system is my answer to a psionics system, inspired by the random acts of psychic ability found in Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom novels. At least early on in the series, John Carter mentions the Martians' natural psychic ability, as well as his own, and his resistance to same said powers. Other than that and Thuvia's later ability with animals, the psychic angle kind of fades away to other elements of Barsoom.

With that as my inspiration, I propose the following rules (in draft form) as an alternate system. I have stolen ideas here from what I have read of McKinney's systems in Carcosa, as well as from Goblinoid Games' Mutant Future. This system a variant of the Athanoran variant magic system I have posted earlier.

I'm not sure whether to recommend this as an added system, or as a replacement for magic. I certainly wrote it as the former.

Determining Psychic Powers

The chance of a character having psychic abilities is equal to 1% per point of Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma above 15. Thus, a character with 16 INT, 17 WIS, and 14 CHA has a 3% chance of having psychic powers. If using the gonzo races option, Zamorans get a 5% bonus to this chance.

If a character has psychic abilities, roll 1d6 on the Number of Psychic Powers Table to determine the number of psychic abilities the character has:

Table: Number of Psychic Abilities
1d6Number of Abilities

To determine psychic abilities, roll on the Psychic Abilities Table. Duplicate rolls will allow the character to avoid burnout more over the course of the day.

Table: Psychic Powers
1Animal Communication
2-3Body Control
6-7Know Direction
8Mental Illusions
10-11Mind Shield

The Powers

Animal Communication
The character can speak with and understand animals and try to charm them into doing his or her will. This has a range of 90 feet.

Body Control
The character may either boost a physical attribute by 2d6, heal him or herself of 2d6 damage, or enter a trance that mimics death for 2d6 hours.

The character can extend his sense of sight or hearing outside of his body by entering a trance. The character can project his or her senses past walls, doors or barriers, but only to a distance of 30 feet.

Know Direction
The character will not be able to be lost for 2d6 rounds, and will have a clear sense of the cardinal directions.

Mental Illusions
The character is able to create a mental reality for an opponent. If the opponent fails a saving throw, the illusion will seem real to every sense but touch. Once the victim touches the illusion, it will fade away.

The character is able to charm a single target if the target fails a saving throw. This effect will last 2d6 rounds.

Mind Shield
This ability permanently grants the character a +4 bonus to saves vs. psychic powers.

The character will be able to get psychic impressions off items he touches, learning who has held or possessed the item.

The character is able to manipulate objects at a distance of up to 50 feet weighing up to WIS x 10 pounds. The character cannot lift him or herself and thus fly or levitate. This is tiring, thus the power can only be maintained for 5 rounds. Using the power requires concentration, and takes the place of the character's attacks while it is used.

Using this power, the character can directly contact another's mind, removing the necessity for shared language. This has a range of 50 feet.

Using Psychic Powers

Whenever a character uses psychic powers, have the player roll on the Psychic Success Table. The table has three possible results: success, delayed and failure. On a success, the power works immediately. On a delayed, the power may be used in 1d2 rounds. On a fail, the power fails and burns out, leaving the character unable to use the power until he or she rests a full night. If a character has multiple results of the same power, he or she can still use the power until all instances are burned out.

Table: Psychic Success