Tuesday, November 4, 2014

d20 Rifts - Psionics Basics

How Psionics Works

Psionics is the ability to tap into the inherent power locked in your own body and mind. Everyone has the potential to tap into this power, but very few succeed in actually doing it. Those who do gain access to some remarkable abilities.

In order to gain access to psion abilities, you need three elements. The first is one of the psion Basics feats, which unlocks one of the families of psion skills. The second is competence in at least one of the psion skills themselves, i.e., putting skill points in the skill. (Note that you cannot put skill points into a skill unless you have either the relevant Basics feat, or another special ability such as the Wild Talent feat). The final piece is increasing your psion level, which can be done either through feats, or by taking levels in a psion class.

Most of the psion skills have four checks listed under them. The first two are basic checks, and can be accomplished by anyone with ranks in the skill. The third, labeled “Master,” can only be attempted by a psion with the relevant Mastery feat. The final check, labeled “Supreme,” can only be attempted by a psion with the relevant Supremacy feat.

The use of psionic abilities leaves behind a tell-tale signature of energy. This energy can be detected by other psions (with the Psionic Sensing skill), and by certain technological scanners. A psion can suppress this trace either by taking a feat, or by wearing a headband that is made for the purpose. (The headband is a Caliber II Tool, has a Durability of 2, and can be worked into any number of other objects, such as a helmet, fedora, or tiara.)

It is also important to note that use psionics takes a great deal of concentration. If the psion has been damaged in the round immediately preceding activating an ability, he must make a Concentration check with a DC equal to the total damage suffered (after DR is applied) plus 10 to activate the ability. If the Concentration check fails, the psion cannot activate the ability, but must pay the vitality cost anyway. Similarly, if the psion suffers damage while a psion ability is active, he must make a Concentration check with a DC equal to the damage suffered (after DR is applied), or the ability immediately ends.

Body Burn

As psionics comes from within, it is also powered by your own energy. This is represented with a vitality cost associated with each ability. The psion loses the specified amount of vitality when the ability is activated. The psion cannot reduce their vitality below 1 by activating psionic abilities, and any attempt to do so causes the ability to automatically fail.

In practical terms, this means that, as psions use their abilities, they become tired and hungry. (It is extremely rare to meet an overweight psion, as they can simply use body burn to consume any excess fat.) If the psion is reduced below half his vitality, he begins to suffer from headaches and body-aches, similar to flu symptoms. If the psion is reduced below one-tenth of his vitality, he begins to suffer from spontaneous bruising and nosebleeds.

Vitality spent on psionic abilities is considered lost, just like any other vitality. It can be healed by rest, magical healing, a refresh action, or similar methods. However, body burn bypasses all damage resistance, and cannot be reduced in any way. Also, body burn is not healed by supernatural regeneration.

The Psion Skill Check

The core mechanic behind any use of a psionic ability is the psion skill check. Each ability requires a check to be made. The check is made just like any other skill check, with only a couple differences. First, only one psion skill check may be made in any round, even if it is a half or free action. Second, because psion skill checks don’t have standard successes and failures (the check result simply indicates how much of an effect you generate), they also do not have threat and error ranges, nor critical successes and failures. Finally, it is not possible to take 20 on a psion skill check, though it is possible to take 10 if circumstances permit.

There are certain terms that are used in the descriptions of the various psion skill checks. The first is “check result.” This is, quite simply, the result of the psion skill check (d20 + skill ranks + attribute modifier + miscellaneous modifiers). The second is “check bonus,” a number which is derived from consulting the following table: (Table removed because ain't nobody got time for dat.)

The Psion Skills

I'm not actually going to be posting the psion skills that I worked up. Even though I made some significant changes, they are still basically the ones out of Spycraft. I would really not like to post too much of their IP here.

Also, that's a few pages of just ability after ability. Kind of dry stuff.

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