Psionics Rules Archive

Old Psionic rules

Psionics is the exercise of mental energy. The psionicist’s world view is one where the mind, body and spirit have been honed to perfection. Psionicists spend a great deal of time honing the skills that shape those abilities.



Psionicists tend towards two forms of groupings; solitary and Towers. Finding a solitary teacher is rare, as they seldom seek out students. Towers are somewhat easier to run across, especially if the seeker already has some psionic talent.

Towers generally accept students without requiring payment, but only if there is a need within the group for more workers. In areas where they are common, Towers serve as communication stations to link kingdoms and empires together, so telepathic aptitude is generally well sought after. However, some areas have found use for psionicists as anything from police forces to the nobility itself.


A psionic possesses six Aspects, one for each of the major groupings of psionic talents, namely clairsentience (CS), metapsionics (MP), psychokinesis (PK), psychometabolics (PM), psychoportation (PP), and telepathy (TP). His strength in each of these becomes the strength he can put behind the skills he will learn to manipulate them.

The total Aspect of a psionic can never, under normal circumstances, exceed his current POW characteristic. Certain races are known to possess psi potential greater than the norm, however.

[Example: Loco has a POW of 16. He could have the following breakdown: CS:2, MP:3, PK:1, PM:3, PP:4, and TP:3.]

Each Aspect has several skills (or disciplines) that fall under it. A psionicist is limited both by his skill in the controlling discipline and by the strength of his Aspect.


Experience: When a psionic increases his POW by any means, he may choose to increase any one of his Aspects by transferring the point of POW to the Aspect he wishes to raise.
Training/Practice: A psionic individual can also give himself added levels of in the same fashion that he might employ to raise his POW characteristic.
Other: If a psi “forswears” a discipline he has mastered, he may add one point to the strength of the governing Aspect that does not count against his limit.


Experience: Disciplines are skills; normal experience is just as effective on them as with any other skill.
Training/Practice: Again, as skills, psionic disciplines are as easily trained or researched as any other skill.


Some races are just naturally psionic. Whether this is a survival trait for the species, or something selectively bred for, such beings have a flair for psionics that “endowed” individuals cannot match.
For races with such a natural gift, certain facets of their Aspect are not limited by their POW. For example; an afidae’s Telepathy Aspect is counted as only 1/3 rd of it’s total strength (i.e. an afidae with a score of 9 in TP are considered to only have a score of 3 with regards to balancing their Aspects.


Solitary – Usually, whenever a psionicist activates a discipline, a percentile dice roll under their discipline’s skill is required. Under normal circumstances, the normal point cost for that discipline will keep it active for a number of rounds equal to that discipline’s governing Aspect. A critical roll will enable the psi to keep the discipline functioning for a number of turns equal to the strength of his Aspect.

[Example: Arik possesses CS: 4 and has 55% in the Danger Sense discipline. 1 magic point will cause his danger sense to remain operative for 4 rounds.]

Gestalts – When psionicists work together in groups, it is required that all of the participants in an operation have the same effects, in addition to knowing the skill of Gestalt. For each psionic in a gestalt, +1 is added to the highest Aspect of the group.

[Example: in a group of 4 psis, Kathaalis has the highest Aspect in Telepathy (6). The other 3 members increase his Aspect to 9.]

To form a working link, the psionicists in question must live in close association with one another for several weeks as well as develop a positive percentile skill in Gestalt.


Simply put, Gestalt is the skill of linking minds together easily for the purposes of psionic operations. To form a Gestalt, the group must successfully roll against the lowest of the member’s Gestalt skill, which is modified by -5% for every member of the group. In a Tower, new members are usually restricted to minor tasks that only involve small groups, so that their low skill does not negatively affect the operations of the Tower as a whole.

A Gestalt takes a number of melee rounds to enter equal to the number of participants. This check can be made once per melee round.

While in a Gestalt, each contributing member besides the coordinator increases the Aspect of the coordinator by 1. However, the magic point cost for the discipline is increased by 1 for each member in the gestalt, as well.

[Example: In the above example, each member of Fred Parker’s group would have had to expend 7 magic points to perform their mental surgery.]


For the most part, psionic disciplines are skills, and can be taught like any other skills. Anyone who knows a discipline at 90% or better can write down a description of it, using his Write skill. A student who successfully Reads this scroll and studies it for 50 hours can learn the discipline by rolling his INT or less on 1d100. If he fails, he can study another 50 hours, then try his INT x2 or less. Then INT x3, and so forth. If the writer got a Critical success in Write, the reader gets to add his INT x2 to his chance of success on each 1d100 roll( i.e., he starts out at INT x3 instead of INT). If the reader gets a Critical Read when studying, then for that 1d100 roll, he gets to add his INT x2 to his chance.

[Example: A critically-Written scroll in Ancient Bakluni describes the discipline of Power Transfer. Arik gets a critical Read Ancient Bakluni while reading it. This means his 1d100 roll is equal to his INT (basic chance) + his INTx2 (for his Critical Read) + his INT x2 (for the scroll’s bonus) totaling his INT x5.]

If a teacher who knows the discipline helps, his skill is added to the student’s chance. If he is teaching more than one pupil, his skill is divided among the total number of students. Example: the instructor knows Animate Shadow at 89% and has 8 students. 89/8 = 11.125, so each student gets +12 to his chance of success when rolling to learn the discipline. At the end of the training or research, the student receives a skill in the discipline equal to his INT.
For each point of Aspect a psionicist has, he may possess one discipline in that field. A psi may expand his possible disciplines by either raising his Aspect in that field, or by investing his Aspect into an outside source, and using that external Aspect to store new disciplines.


Alternatively, a psi may “make more room” in himself by forgetting the use of disciplines he already possesses. This process takes a number of hours of meditation equal to the current skill.
If a psi “forswears” a discipline he has mastered, he may add one point to the strength of the governing Aspect that does not count against his limit.


On rounds when a psi elects to use his powers, he gives up the opportunity to perform physical actions for the rest of that round.

After the name of each discipline will be either a (I) or (S). (I)nstant disciplines require the expenditure of their rated point cost to work once, and (S)ustained disciplines will remain in effect for a number of rounds equal to the strength of the governing Aspect.

Psionic Recovery

A psionic expends magic points to fuel his abilities, just like a magic user, and his power points regenerate at their normal rate.

Psionic Range

All psionic disciplines have a range based on the strength of their governing Aspect, as per the table below.

Aspect Range
1 Touch
2 10 m
3 25 m
4 50 m
5 75 m
6 100 m
7 200 m
8 400 m
9 800 m
10 1.6 km
11 3.2 km
12 6.4 km
13 12.8 km
14 25.6 km
15 51.2 km
16 102.4 km
each additional +1… double previous range

The only way to increase the range of a discipline is to enter into a gestalt with enough members to boost the strength of the governing Aspect to the desired level.


All psionic disciplines, once successfully activated, remain in operation for a number of rounds equal to the strength of their governing Aspect. At the end of that time, roll for the discipline again with a (cumulative) -10% penalty, and if successful, the discipline remains in effect with no further expenditure of magic points. If the roll fails, the psi may elect to refuel the discipline with magic points, or allow it to lapse.

Certain disciplines look forwards or backwards into time. In these cases, consult the table below. Take the skill of the character and divide it by 20. The view is accurate to the limit of the governing attribute, and less than certain for each point of skill/20 in excess of that point.

Discipline/Time Table
Levels Delay Levels Delay
1 1 round 6 1 day
2 1 minute 7 3 days
3 1 hour 8 1 week
4 6 hours 9 1 month
5 12 hours 10 1 season
[Example: Arik possesses CS: 4 and a skill in Precognition of 80%. If he were to attempt to foresee any dangers that lie ahead on the trail his caravan will be traveling. he’d have a clear picture of what the next 6 hours held, but would not be able to see beyond that. If he possessed a skill of 90%, his vision would extend into the next 12 hours, but would be less clear after the seventh hour.

It is important to note that the future is not set: even a clear view of the future can hold surprises.


Psionics is not magic. Spells designed to protect a character from magic generally have either no effect whatsoever, or a lessened effect against psionics (although, depending on the number of psionics in your campaign, the magic users are sure to design spells to better counter their effects). Spells which provide the user with bonuses in Spirit Combat work at half effectiveness against Telepathic attacks. Conversely, Magic is not psionics, and while there are psionic abilities designed to detect magic, there aren’t many designed to directly counter magic, either.


Psionicists are taught the skill of Psionic Combat, a highly specialized form of attack and defense that in some ways resembles Spirit Combat. Every trained psionicist has the skill, Psionic Combat. During a melee round, a psi may make an attack on a SR equal to his INT. Each turn combatants get a number of points of action equal to 1/10th their Psionic Combat skill (round up). These points are divided into dice as the combatant desires, attack and defense. N points convert into an “1dN” roll. To keep it easy, only the values of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12 may be used. When attacked, a psi may decide to defend, or reserve all of his points for attack when his turn comes. Obviously, a d1 roll has a value of 1. Psionic combat normally costs no magic points for attack or defense (unless your defenses fail), though there exist telepathic disciplines that can be used for attack and defense that do require magic points to employ.

[Example: Nuril Chya (INT 13, magic points currently 16, TP: 4, Psionic Combat 75% = 8 points) takes on a Fred Parker (INT 15, magic points currently 17, TP: 5, Psionic Combat 67% = 7 points). The first turn Nuril decides to use 6 on attack, and 2 on defense. Fred decides to use 3 on attack and 4 on defense. Nuril rolls 4 for attack and 1 for defense, and Fred gets 2 for attack and 3 for defense. Nuril’s defenses soak up 1 point of the damage, so he loses 1 magic point, lowering it to 15. Fred’s defenses block 3 points of damage, so he also loses 1 point, lowering his magic points to 16.

The next action, on SR5, Fred does not attack, but assumes a defensive position. Nuril, on SR3, looking for a quick resolution to the fight, decides to expend 3 magic points on his telepathic Bolt attack and rolls a 9 on a 3d6, in addition to committing all of his 8 points to offense, rolling a 3, for a total of 12. However, Fred chose to erect a Shield on 5, using 2 magic points and rolling a 10 on his 2d6, and rolled a 5 on his defense roll, for a total of 15. Fred’s defenses hold, but he still loses the 2 mp he spent for the shield (leaving him with 14), and Nuril loses 3 for his bolt (leaving him with 12).

Next round, on 15, Fred maintains his defenses, expending no further mp (his wall will remain for 5 rounds). His Shield roll this time is 8, and his defense roll is a 3, for a total of 11. Sensing his opponent’s weakness, he invests 3 mp in his own Bolt, and rolls a 12. Nuril can only defend, and he rolls a 5 – not enough! Fred’s Bolt removes 7 magic points from Nuril’s 12, leaving him with 5. On 13, Nuril is erecting his own Shield, spending 4 magic points, and rolling a 15 on his 4d6.

On 5, Fred launches another Bolt, expending a full 5 magic points and rolling a 21 – Nuril rolls his defense and only gets a 5, and Fred’s Bolt tears away his remaining magic point, leaving him unconscious…..

Non-psionicists do not have access to telepathic attacks, but they always defend against them with their full magic points. Once an opponent has been reduced to 0 magic points, a psi has full access to their mind, unopposed by resistance on the part of their target.


Psionicists, like most other arcane practitioners, can specialize in their abilities. Those who specialize in any branch of psionics do so at the cost of never having any of the other Aspects ever rise above 1; in return, their chosen Aspect may rise to the full value of their POW.

Psionics Rules Archive

Dark Sun: The Karsto Campaigns Michael_Feare