The Unblinking Eye
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Psi is an attribute unique to Psychic characters, replacing the Destiny attribute that Heroic characters get. It is an attribute that measures the psychic potential and raw power of the psychic character, while also defining the distance from his or her fellow man.
While Psi isn’t directly rolled to invoke psychic powers, its importance to a psychic character cannot be understated. It determines the pool of Wyrd points from which the Psychic can draw to make his powers more effective. It replaces the easy to beat resistances that non-psychics have against psychic powers, providing a powerful defense that requires advanced training to crack. Finally, it allows the psychic to know when powers are being used nearby, often an essential bit of information.
Along with psychic power comes distance from non-psychics. This isn’t a problem in entirely psychic races like the Obun and Ukar, but among humans it’s a big problem. Even if any obvious signs of psychic power are covered up, and powers aren’t used, humans tend to get a sense that something is not quite right. Even worse, merely having a Psi attribute inflicts visible and damning Stigma on the character. Extreme religious fanatics, like most of the Inquisition and some other priests, consider the presence of Stigma good enough reason to purge the psychic by flame.
The various aspects of the Psi attribute summarized here are detailed more below. It is important to note that Psi is never Invoked, Taxed, or Consumed like Destiny.
As Psi increases, the psychic gets a larger and larger pool of points he can draw on called Wyrd points. They can be best thought of as raw psychic energy, which is stored not so much in the actual body of the psychic, but more in her spirit. This power is a real energy source that can manifest physically when manipulated by some of the more esoteric psychic powers.
Wyrd can be spent in a variety of ways to boost psychic powers. Most powers will detail the specific ways they can be used, but some universal ways to spend Wyrd are listed below.
- Range Extension: Powers with a range beyond sensory can generally be extended with Wyrd. As a general rule, it takes 1 or 2 Wyrd points per range ‘step’ of increase.
- Duration Extension: Powers that have a duration measured in units of time rather than combat rounds can generally be extended with Wyrd. As with range extension, the cost is generally either 1 or 2 Wyrd for an extra ‘step’ up the ladder of durations.
- Boosting Psychic Rolls: A maximum of 1 Wyrd can be spent to boost a psychic power roll. Spending Wyrd in this way adds 3 dice to the roll.
- Boosting Normal Rolls: Wyrd points can boost a character’s general ability, but it is horribly inefficient at doing so. Up to 3 Wyrd can be spent to boost a non-psychic roll, but only 1 die is gained per point spent.
Regaining Wyrd: Wyrd is regained naturally by the Psychic, with rest and meditation. It will come back with no effort on the psychic’s part over the course of the day, and a lot more is regained while sleeping. Meditation can also bring Wyrd back more quickly. Finally, there’s one Psychic Path called Viscraft that can pull in Wyrd from outside sources.
- If no effort is made to regain Wyrd quickly it comes back at the rate of 1 point every 3 hours.
- Meditation (Composure + Resolve) restores 1 point of Wyrd per success on the roll. However, 30 minutes must be alotted for each point of Wyrd regained. 4 successes on a roll when the Psychic only has 1 hour to meditate will result in only 2 points regained.
- A psychic can meditate only once per day to regain wyrd under normal circumstances.
- Sleeping for at least 6 hours returns 6 points of Wyrd.
Wyrd Pool: The chart below shows how increasing Psi increases the total amount of Wyrd the character can hold at one time.
Psi is rolled directly to sense the presence of psychic powers in the area. It can be rolled by the GM to see if the character notices something, or the player can directly declare that they are trying to sense something. Either way the GM rolls the sensory roll so that the player doesn’t know if the roll failed or there is simply nothing to sense in the case of a negative result.
Theurgy, Antimony, and other mystic effects can be sensed but the roll is penalized by -2 when trying to sense such phenomenon, as they don’t resonate as clearly with the psychic.
Every human psychic is marked by a Stigma of some kind. The Obun and Ukar don’t seem to suffer this problem, though some would say that their alien countenance is stigma enough. The Stigma manifests as a clear physical sign that something is off about the person. As Psi increases, the stigma gets worse, or additional stigma are added. The chart below shows the level of Psi where the stigma worsens. Stigma should be covered up in the presence of church fanatics unless the character is looking for confrontation. Even among supposedly tolerant people, they cause discomfort and are a constant reminder that the psychic is different.
|Psi Level:||Stigma Type:|
|3||1 Major or 2 Minor Stigma|
|5||2 Stigma, at least 1 major|
|7||2 Major Stigma, 1+ minor|
A minor stigma manifests as a strange but not obviously alien eye color, slightly different ear shape, a large birthmark, hair in strange places or loss of hair. Minor physical effects that could be explained away but will cause suspicion.
A major stigma is something obviously alien and/or mystic. Birthmarks become actual runes on the skin, eyes are an obviously alien color like Violet, or become luminescent, skin color may change or the timbre of the psychic’s voice may change. Major Stigma are very hard to cover up, requiring a level of concealing clothing that may in itself arouse suspicion.
Unconcealable stigma are a combination of major and minor stigma that can’t be concealed without literally covering the whole body. In some cases it can be extreme enough that the psychic can be mistaken for an alien.