The power of magic is mostly found in primitive cultures who haven't been told that magic doesn't exist yet. For the most part, advanced races (and yes, that includes humans) have moved beyond magic and onto science. In a few rare cases, members of some races have kept magic or realised magic exists again. In most cases the former occurs in cultures where magic was very prominent. the latter often occurs in high magic races that realise that their psionic abilities sometimes act in ways contrary to established psi powers.
In theory, magic is the ability to manipulate what is real. Most magic involves illusion and changing consensual reality. When races meet each other, magic has to take the next step of changing more than consensual reality since it changes from race to race and becomes the ability to manipulate either A) the fundamental forces of the universe or B) A semi-aware force that manipulates A. The few scholars on magic (and mages themselves) are unsure which answer is true, if either of them are.
Magic falls into four broad groups, much like psychic abilities:
Creation: The ability to create something from nothing. More accurately, it involves turning energy into matter (or vice versa, sometimes). It is much easier to make items from memory or entirely unique things that reproduce copies of things you see right in front of you. For example, replicating currencies tends to be very difficult since most of the anti-theft devices in them are very minute.
Death: Death involves magics being used to hurt, maim or kill another person. If you can think it up, its in this list. This includes spells from poisoning to fireballs down main streets of cities to bolts of nasty energy.
Destruction: These spells are the opposite of creation spells. Not spells to slay, but spells to obliterate and demolish. The tend to work very well on non-living matter and prove great for the occasional earthquake or falling building.
Life: Life magic is magic that heals or protects others. Healing spells, shields and the simple wardings fall into this category, as so basic counterspells. It is by far the most common form of magic known and used.
Most magics are used instinctively and no known species has really made a scientific study of magic and what it does but according to those with the ability to see beyond the boundaries that make up the reality most inhabit, magic is always there and always will be. In a way, the possibilities of magic are doors that are always there but few have the will to see them and fewer the strength to use magic.
While the cost of psionic use is internal, a large part of magic -- save for the control of it -- is external and outside the user, meaning its use costs them less than a psi ability of equal strength would. Most mages also have (or have cast on them) a creation/life shield that acts as a mental barrier against psychic powers, but is obviously artificial. And organic. Psi's encountering these barriers tend to be very confused and wary of them.
The actual use of magic is frighteningly simple. The caster goes into one of the 5 levels of trance and casts his or her or its magic. The first level of trance simply enhances the normal senses of the race, tripling their efficiency. The second level sense the magic out with the senses, allowing the mage in question to direct specific senses in 1 way, or at one target, which greatly increases their use. The third level of trace works on magic being focused on one being and allows the mage to Know a part of that person implicitly, to become them for a small period of time. Obviously, this is dangerous. The fourth level is the ability to See things, to glimpse the past, present and future and sense other mages. Paradoxically, it is also the easiest level of trance to remain in. The fifth level is only hinted at and no known mage has been able to access it at will. It allows mages to see the inter-connectedness of all things, and quite possibly to change it.
Each mage puts a minimum of 5 skill points into each branch of magic they know. The points in it represent their strength to other mages when their powers test each other (which they do naturally) as well as limit the amount of damage the magic can normally do. Using rituals and deep trances, as well as focusing ones power, allows you to channel massive amounts of magic into one deed, though it is physically draining and frighteningly addictive.
When in trances, a mage might be noticed by an observant psi or by others since the mages attention won't be "with" the normal world as much. This is especially true in fourth level trances, since the mage has no true control over what he, she or it sees when in that state.
Unlike psi, the mage makes up their own spells as they go along, which means they have to have a VERY specific idea of what they do when the cast spells, or the effects might shock them as well.
|1-4||Nothing, unless the GM is really nice.|
|5-10||Basic spells (effect you, maybe 10 people at best, often best with illusions)|
|11-20||Medium spells (up to 30 people, lots of structural damage, protect self well)|
|21-40||Big spells (destroy small ships, make new limbs/species, heal most wounds ..|
|41-60||Max known. These are the spells of legend.|
|100+||Effort obliterates you.|
Psychics are beings of various species with the natural power to reach within themselves and affect the external world with their will. Most psychics can do a few minor things, little tricks theyve taught themselves over the years, and as such few people really believe in psychic powers, or that they are truly powerful. In truth, most of them arent.
Then there are races with natural psychic powers. True psi, abilities that often defy rational explanation and the training to use them properly. It is these races that provide the horror stories of peoples personalities being eradicated or hearts stopped with a glance. These races have PSI -- trained, strong, specialised and often very potent. Luckily for other races at large, all known psi races are also empathic, making it very difficult, if not impossible, to kill someone with their powers and not die also.
First off, psychics are rare. While most races do have some natural mental talents, most either fear, ignore or scorn their uses and those who use them, making learning and teaching of these skills difficult. PSI's (those specialised in 1 (or more) broad power) tend to be far rarer unless their race is naturally PSI, in which case they almost certainly have evolved safeguards to prevent themselves from killing with the mind alone. Specialist teleporters are an exception to this since without the ability to control ones 'porting precisely, they tend to have very limited life expectancies.
Point-wise, haveing 1-4 points in a certain skill is beginning, 5-10 medium, 10-15 is definitely proficient and anything higher is available only to specialists with lots of determination and time on their hands to learn it. You can use skills or quirks (preferably skills, starting out) to gain these powers. If one is a specialist, they are obliged to spend at least half their skill points on PSI abilities.
Biokinesis (bike) - This classification involves all abilities to affect both the psychics body and the bodies of others using touch and mental power alone.
Telekinesis (teek) - At its most basic, teeking is the ability to move objects through the air. It also includes other kinetics, such as producing fire and electricity or changing the weight of objects.
Telepathy (peep) - Telepathy is a fairly broad power, covering everything from enhanced intuition to projecting thoughts, mental communication, basic mind reading and empathic abilities.
Teleportation (porter) - This ability covers the skill to move oneself from place to place with a thought and altering ones perceptions of time.
In the Confederation, only telekinisis is officially considered a weapon that can cause direct death and must be registered as such with the appropriate authorities on arriving at a new world or place. While all psychics and psis are legally obliged to report their presence, only teeks (and often peeps) can face legal consequences for not revealing their presence.
Absorb Blow - absorbs the damage of the next physical attack directed at them.
Armour - The PCs body becomes tougher.
Change Self - Changes the psychics physical appearance to an extent.
Heal - The PC heals someones wounds by draining 1 toughness for every point healed.
Hurt - Takes the damage from an absorbed blow and sends it back into the attacker.
Restore Energy - Invigorates someone with burst of hyper energy and reflexes.
Deflection - This ability allows the psychic to direct one missile assault away from them.
Electric Ecstasy - sends wave of pure pleasure into someone, incapacitating them for 1 minute. The reverse is also possible.
Gravity Shift - Increases the weight of air around someone. Strong enough shifts can force someone to their knees or stop them from moving.
Mind Hand - 5. lb telekinetic hand. Range limited to 10 m..
Open - Opens a door you touch, as long as the security locks arent too strong.
Shield - A shield that absorbs simple damage. It covers a 10 m. area around you and can move with you.
Steel Shield - this creates a visible shield (like glass) dome shaped around you and up to 20 m.. It can absorb either physical or energy or even psi attacks. This shield can be placed over others or over and area and remains until the damage dealt to it breaks it.
Teke Lift - lift 50 pounds. Can move it as quickly as you can move.
Alter Self - you can wipe out and replace your own memories.
Change Person - This power allows a telepath to literally rewrite someones personality. It is rarely used and unethical by any standard.
Commune - can open a link to someones mind and talk to them. They must be willing and either side can break the link at will.
Empathy - Read surface emotions of others. Always active.
Mind Blast - causes a bolt of mental energy to lash into an unprotected mind.
Probe Mind - Scans the surface thoughts of someone for information.
Project Thought - Can send one basic sentence into up to 10 peoples minds in visual range.
Read Mind - Reads someones mind. This works best is the subject is sleeping or agrees to the reading.
Read Object - Read the last 10 minutes history of who touched what you pick up.
Sense lie - Sense is someone is lying to you.
True Empath - Read In depth emotions of others. Or change them, perhaps.
Change Speed - You move a bit .
Dimension Shift - You pop into a random dimension.
Phase - You alter the molecular bonds of your body and can all between walls etc. Teleport - teleport 100 yards per point spent. This version is limited to visible range.
Trueportation - teleport anywhere you have been in 1 world.
World Hop - Jumps you to another world.
Obviously, this list is far from complete. Rumours of Psis who Double Specialise (only knowing two Psi powers but being good at them) or Psis with one power they control frighteningly well abound. Generally, most people hold psionics in low regard and as a myth. Meeting people with psionic powers happens but meeting real psis is incredibly rare unless the entire race are psis.
Specialising in 1 mental power means you can only use powers from 2 other abilities (at most) and only ones you have skills in. Also, you can't put more than 1/2 your skill points placed into your specialist power into your non-specialist psi powers. However, youre powers in that skill function twice as well as normal.
Alter Texture - Alters the texture of something you touch, hardening or softening it.
Control Body (free) - can control body rhythms. Slow bleeding from wounds, slow heart beat etc.
Feign Death - Youre bodys bio-patterns are suppressed greatly.
Join - Allows two beings to forge permanent mental bonds. They can sense each other anywhere and know the state of the others mind. Mental communication is instantaneous.
Precog (free) - You can see possibly futures.
Xenopath (free) - Can read the mind of aliens as well as ones own species. Very useful.
Wide Scan - Scan a crowd for basic thoughts, ideas, plans. Can pinpoint people, but it takes time.
Energy Drain - You drain the energy of weapons and other power sources by touch..
Shatter (free) - destroy most small objects (2' by 2' by 2; or smaller) with a glance. It can't be organic.
Death Touch - Reach into someones chest and stop their heart. Even if it fails, is induces a heart attack in the subject. Is the single least talked about and most feared psi power.
Control 'Port (free) - You wont 'port into solid buildings or people. Very, very useful.
Jump - The teleporter can teleport up to 10 yards away from any target. This gives them an extra attack.
Move Object - Teleports an object that could fit in a human hand in visual range thats not held down into yours.
'Port Other - You can teleport another person up to 100 yards away to a location you know.
Obviously, this list is far from complete. Rumours of Psis who Double Specialise (only knowing two Psi powers but being good at them) or Psis with one power they control frighteningly well abound. Generally, most people hold psionics in low regard and as a myth. Meeting people w/ psionic powers happens but meeting real psis is incredibly rare.
Making up additional powers is welcomed and encouraged as this list is, obviously, far from complete.
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