At Spin Two Swords
Rolling up a Psionic Character
These are the rules for generating a human psion in the Third Imperium. Following the rules are general guidelines for training psionics outside the Third Imperium.
Because of the Imperium’s fear of Psions, chances are that most characters coming from a planet with a strong imperial presence will have been tested for psionics. The rules for Psionic Potential are, therefore, unnecessary. The character either knows whether he has psionic potential or whether he doesn’t.
Instead, a character may, at any point during character creation, roll for Psi-Points. The roll is (2d6-3-the number of terms the character has already gone through at the time of the roll). Once a character determines psi points, they must either register and join service, register and begin taking Psi-off, or choose to hide their powers and become a fugitive. These options are explored below.
Note: a character can skip the hassle of trying to be accepted as a Psion in the Third Imperium by simply not rolling Psion points. Psionics may be developed later following these rules.
Register and Join Service
A registered Psion has a limited number of career options but may attempt to go to a psionics institute or university to learn their talents. This is probably the easiest way to be trained as a Psion. A registerd Psion attempting to join service MUST attend an imperial University.
Attend an Imperial University
The roll for this is:
See page 9 of Book 4: Psion for the difference between these institutions.
This roll is made differently than most rolls. Roll once. Whichever difficulty is beaten, this is the institute that is entered.
The roll is modified as follows:
|• Edu 10+||+ 1|
|• Social -6||- 2|
|• Social 10+||+ 1|
|• Psionic Strength||DM|
|• Aged 30+||– 2|
Failure to Enroll
If the enrolment fails, the character has been deemed untrainable as a Psion and must either begin taking Psi-off medication or become a fugitive. A character who rolls a natural 2 for enlistment is suspected (rightly or not) of being a dangerous Psion. The character is ejected from the university immediately. The character must either undergo Psionic amputation or become a fugitive.
This is a modification from Book 4: Psion in that there are no Psion institutes in the Third Imperium. All institutes are Imperial run and, aside from quality, there is no difference between them.
Careers as a Registered Psion
A registered Psion, having gone to an imperial university, may attempt to enter a Psion career path in Imperial (or corporate) service. These career paths include:
- Dedicated Psion Agency
- Psion Agents
- Psion Army
- Psion Navy
- Psion Scholar
- Psion Scouts
- Psion Spacefarer
- Underground Psion Network: Fifth Columnist only
Psionic characters cannot be drafted.
If the character rolls a natural 2 on a check for a Mishap, the character is accused of being a dangerous psion. They are kicked out of the career path and forced to either undergo psionic amputation or become a fugitive.
Note: a character who fails to enlist in their chosen career cannot simply become a drifter or join the draft. Instead, they are forced to begin a regimen of Psi-off or become a fugitive. They can no longer attempt to join a psion career path recognized by the Third Imperium.
Mustering Out of Psion Careers
The Imperium isn’t particularly happy to have Psions running around unattended, even those who it has trained and used. A Psion who begins the game without a rank of 3 or higher in a Psion Career is expected to start taking Psi-off or become a fugitive. A Psion who begins the game with a rank of 4 or higher in a Psion Career may forego Psi-off treatment. They are considered a loyal Psion of the Imperium. Congratualations.
Registering and Psi-Off
These are the rules for being a registered Psion who has not been admitted into an imperially sanctioned Psion career and who does not want to go on the lamb as a fugitive. Such characters are expected to take Psi-off once every four months to neutralize their psionic powers (see Psionics in the Third Empire). A character who begins a regimen of Psi-off suffers a -2 to their Social characteristic and is considered a Registered Inactive Psion (RIP) for all intents and purposes.
A RIP may follow any career path they want at -1 advancement and enlistment penalties. If an RIP rolls a natural 2 on mishap check, they are accused of still having their psionic powers, ejected from the service and forced to undergo psionic amputation. Otherwise, they are treated as non-psion characters for the remainder of their careers.
Note: this does not assume that the psion character actually is taken their Psi-off on a regular basis or that they will continue to take it once play starts only that as far as the world is concerned, their psionic powers are neutralized.
RIPs and Psion Careers
Assuming that the Psion is not actually taking their medication and that they are continuing to use their psionic abilities in secret, an RIP can follow the following career paths:
*Underground Psionic Network
RIPs who follow a Psion Career Path are at DM -1 to avoid Mishap.
The only way to truly avoid the Imperium and its registration is to become a fugitive. A fugitive character with psi-points must still be trained. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of ways to be trained. The character could seek out a monastic order and attempt to find psionic training there. Alternatively, they could seek out a mentor and get trained. Finally, they could leave the space of the Third Imperium and find psionic training amongst the other races. All three paths have their own individual risks.
*Seeking out a monastic order generally involves joining the order. The threat of discovery by the Imperium continues to be a threat.
*Seeking out a mentor means developing psionics outside the workaday world of the Imperium. Psionic careers are very limited.
*Because of vigilant monitoring of psions, getting in to and out of alien space can be difficult. Furthermore, aliens are not eager to train the Third Empire’s Psions.
Fugitive psions who roll a natural 2 when checking for a mishap are discovered and forced to undergo psionic amputation. A fugitive Psion is, furthermore, limited in the careers he or she may take. The character may only follow the following career paths:
*Underground Psion Network
Characters who train at a monastic order should roll on the table on page 10 of Book 4: Psions to determine the orders relationships to Psions. Modify the roll by the character’s Psi-point DM.
A character trained in Monastic Order may join the mystic order career path. If he or she takes this path, psionic training is free.
After training, the character must roll a Deception or Stealth roll against 7+. If the character fails, he is discovered by the law and is psionically amputated. If the roll is a natural 2, the character reveals the monastic order for what it is and makes an enemy.
The rules for being trained by a mentor are on page 11 of Book 4: Psion.
Life with a mentor requires a roll of Deception or Stealth against 6+. Failure means discovery and psionic amputation. A natural 2 on this roll means making an enemy of one’s mentor (who, having been caught, is also forced to undergo psionic amputation)
Training with Aliens
Training with aliens is the same as training at an institution according to Book 4: Psion, although prices are all 150% of their listed total. In order to train with an alien race, however, the character must roll a Deception or Stealth roll against 5+. Failure means capture at the border and psionic amputation. Rules for enrollment can be found on page 9 of Book 4 with the following addendum: enrollment is at -1 DM for everyone or -2 for characters belonging to a different race than those he hopes will train him.
Trauma in the Third Imperium
Any attempt to cure trauma in the Third Imperium suffers a DM of -2. The empire simply isn’t well equipped to deal with burned-out Psions.
There is a chance, however slim, that a young latent Psion could, spontaneously, become a fully functioning Psion without training or guidance. A character seeking out spontaneous Psion status should roll to learn Psion Talents according to Book 4: Psion page 4 at a base -4 DM. If the character gets a talent, the next talent is easier to get by one (-3 DM) and so on until DM 0. A character needs to learn 2 basic talents before getting a chance to learn an advanced talent. As soon as a character fails a Psion roll, he cannot roll for more Psionic powers without training.
A spontaneous Psion is limited in his or her career choices to mostly non-Psion career, except for the Navy or the Marines (which he cannot join). He may attempt the following Psion Careers paths:
*Underground Psion Network
The spontaneous Psion cannot enter a University and training of any other type costs 150% and takes 150% as long. The character has to unlearn all of his or her bad habits. If discovered a Spontaneous Psion will be subject to psionic amputation immediately. On the other hand, if the spontaneous Psion came from a world where testing was not customary, the Imperium may not know about the character’s existence.
It’s not, however, all upside. A character who fails to get any Psionic powers has burned himself out. He immediately develops an insanity and loses one point from a physical characteristic. The character may roll again after one career term to spontaneously generate Psionic power at a -1 DM.
Alien Empires and Alien Psions
Obviously, some empires are more open to Psions and others less so. The Third Imperium is sort of middle of the road in this respect. A character who is of a race where psionics are common place and who resides in that race’s empire or space may train as per Book 4: Psion without modification, or according to the rules for psionics according to the rules for that alien. Both universities and facilities will operate as listed in those books. The rules listed here, in those situations, should be forgotten. Among extremely psionic races, like the Droyne, it is not difficult to find a powerful mentor.
Empires in which aliens are common place, however, do not always test for Psionic potential. A character will have to take care of this themselves. A Droyne would have trouble determining whether or not a human had the power to develop psionic powers (although Vilani psions operating in Droyne space might be willing to conduct the test). They will know their psionic potential value before they enter into a training environment but not whether or not they are actually psionic!
Some empires are more stringent towards psionics. In these societies, all results that would lead to Psi-Off become Psionic Amputation. Furthermore, all attempts to hide from the government are at a -1 or -2 DM. The Solomani genetically test anyone born in Solomani space and then keep the peace with a secret police force. The chance of someone slipping through their surveillance is extremely unlikely.
Psionic Acceptance by Species
- Aslan: The Aslan are not psionic. They are likely to commit psionic amputation against Psions as part of a prison sentence.
- Droyne: The Droyne are mostly psionic. They openly accept psions and may look down on non-psionic characters.
- Hivers: Hivers are neither accepting of or hateful of psions. They do not have training facilities.
- K’Kree: The K’kree are similar to the Third Imperium regarding psionics but are slightly more accepting of Psions: they do not believe in psionic amputation and have adequate care facilities for psionic trauma. The K’Kree, however, only train other K’Kree
- Darrians: Psionics are few and far between among the Darrian. They follow whatever psionic attitude prevails in their host society.
- Vargr: Vargr are as psionic as humans but not as organized. The Vargr do not have psionic amputation and do not use Psi-off. They deal with dangerous psions through imprisonment and capital punishment. The roll to determine the quality of a psionic university is at DC -2. The space wolves are not, however, decidedly against psions, and do not punish those whom they find hiding their abilities.
- Solomani: The Solomani are as psionic as the Vilani, but more careful about what they will tolerate. They prefer psionic amputation rather than Psi-off. Psions either enter service or are amputated. There is really little chance of hiding one’s psionic potential from the Solomani.
- Zhodani: The Zhodani are a psionic race. They are tolerant of psionic beings and consider both Psi-off and Psionic Amputation to be crimes against humanity. Enlistment in a Zhodani psionic university will most likely result in being ‘re-educated’ to the Zhodani way of life.