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Psionics in Modern Mythras

Alex Greene


This week, I thought I'd bring in psychics and psionics to a modern Mythras game.

Psionics in modern games tend to be more or less cloned from Traveller. Your character must find a psychic (or "Psionics Institute"), get tested, roll their PSI rating, then get trained, and randomly pick from a small range of Talents - Telepathy, Clairvoyance, Telekinesis, Awareness (basically Mysticism from the Mythras Core Rulebook) and Teleportation. And that's it.

M-Space has its Psionics section. Worlds United has its Gifted. After The Vampire Wars has its Seers. Luther Arkwright has, well, that setting is all kinds of gloriously messed up.

Reflecting The Real World

Real world psychics don't tend to specialise in one Talent, but rather learn to do a bunch of things - psychometry, remote viewing, mind reading, dowsing, spoon bending. It's always low-grade stuff, and stage magicians take delight in going around debunking the more public sensitives who make their name in the public eye.

The matching distribution - Fanshawe - 2018 - Significance - Wiley Online  Library

Skill: Psionics (POW + CHA)

The psychic skill, Psionics is checked whenever the psychic character declares that they are using an active psionic Talent. The list of things a psychic is capable of is outlined below. A psychic can only use one Talent at a time, but they are not restricted by "Power Points," "Prana Points," or any such mechanic.


Passive Triggering

Psionics skill can be passively triggered by a nearby psychic discharge or strong emotional field. The psychic experiences a strong sensation, which could range from a momentary descent of darkness around them, or vertigo, or a sense of "somebody walking on my grave." The sensations can also be positive - a sense of "somebody watching over someone," or a deep sense of the rightness of something, as if it were blessed somehow.

The Games Master should control where and when these sensations occur. Depending on the nature of the psychic phenomenon which is being read, it can range from dread to elation, from attraction to revulsion, from fear to anger.

Games Master: you are encouraged to use a tool such as an Alphabet of Desire to select the emotional input being sensed by the psychic.



This is an automatic thing, and it allows the psychic character to prepare a more active scan, typically requiring a Psionics check.


Psychic powers are not confined to ranges. A psychic might pick up on a weak signal miles away, yet be virtually oblivious to something at their feet. It is not the physical range which matters to the psychic, but the familiarity the psychic feels for the target.


The Price You Pay

Psychic abilities come with a heavy price. It's a social one. Your psychic characters may come off a little ... eccentric at times. You are plagued with psychic impressions on people, objects, animals, and places.

A person might carry a heavy stink of death as they approach you, and you may feel that they are either not long for the world or that they have helped people to the next world ahead of their time. A place might carry a darkness about it, or a sense of sacred ground, or an aura of intense pain where something horrible had happened in the area over a prolonged period of time.

Either way, these sensations might colour your reactions in the vicinity of the psychic emanations. Whenever your Psionics skill is active, all social interactions with non-psychics are one grade harder. If you are dealing with skeptical, judgmental, or obnoxious people, the penalty for social interactions with them is two grades harder.


After a scene where a psychic has used their Talents (actively used Psionics skill), they may want to rest. A good night's sleep may help (unless the psychic is plagued by Nightmares - see below). A minimum recommended period of rest is typically 1d4 hours, minimum. SYmptoms of an unrested psychic could include headaches, possible accumulation of fatigue, and all skill checks involving POW or CHA being one grade harder.

The Talents

Talents have certain Traits - an Action Point cost or a time to activate, or Meditation (minimum of 10 minutes), or Concentration (as the Sorcery Concentration Trait in Mythras Core), or Resist (as the Trait in Mithras Core).

Psionic Intensity

Psionic Intensity is important for some psychic Talents. It is equal to 1/10 of the psychic's Psionics skill.

Read Mind
1 AP, Resist (Willpower)
The psychic can read a random surface thought or strong emotion from a nearby unshielded mind (Games Master: the psychic may ask one question per point of Psionic Intensity regarding person being scanned).

1 AP, Resist (Willpower)
The psychic can send and receive telepathic communications with a nearby mind. With another telepath, the range of the telepathic communication is effectively unlimited. If the psychic is attempting to communicate with a non-psychic who is nowhere near the vicinity (e.g. next door, another town, another country, another dimension) they must spend 3 AP to prepare this Talent.

1 AP, Resist (Willpower)
The psychic induces an emotion in the target, or causes the target to perform some sort of task which they would otherwise not be inclined to do. This is not the same as hypnotising the target - that requires a skill such as Influence (which takes the form of hypnosis). If the task is a tiny nudge, rather than something overt (such as making a guard feel hungry, rather than just suggesting "Go and get a burger"), the skill check is one grade easier. If the action is dangerous, the Psionics skill check is one grade harder.

1 AP
The psychic can read the aura of a being and determine their state of physical and mental health (Games Master: the psychic may ask one question per point of Psionic Intensity regarding the object, person, or place being scanned. On a critical success, the psychic may ask two questions per point of Psionic Intensity. Questions must focus on the physical or mental health of the target. If the being is possessed or a spirit present, the psychic sees two auras - this knowledge is to be given to the psychic for free). Subject to passive triggering.

Remote Viewing
2 AP, Meditation
The psychic enters a trance, and projects their senses to a remote location. Typically, the psychic needs this Talent to pinpoint the remote target and discern their location, present activities, and state of health. Clues come in the form of visual, auditory, olfactory and haptic sensations - a glimpse of a landmark nearby, a sound, a smell, or even a texture. The Games Master can give the psychic one sensory impression per point of Psionic Intensity, relating to the whereabouts and condition of the target. On a critical success, they may offer the psychic two sensory impressions per point of Psionic Intensity.

See Spirits
1 AP, Meditation
The psychic can perceive spirits in the vicinity. They appear as distortions, auras without bodies attached. The psychic can communicate with them by spending an extra 1 AP to turn a passive Talent into an active one. If used to read the spirit landscape, the psychic can ask the Games Master one question per point of Psionic Intensity, relating to what they are sensing. These questions include identifying the nature of the spirit, its general strength, and so on.

1 minute, Concentration
The osychic requires a focus to dowse - a pendulum over a map, a forked hazel wand, and so on. The player must specify what the character is dowsing for - typically an underground water source, a missing object, buried artefacts, and so on. The Games Master may give the dowser hints - "You feel a pull to the right," "Your pendulum is indicating a strong source dead ahead," "You're standing right on top of it," and so on.

10 minutes
The psychic uses a divination tool for a focus - Tarot cards, runes, yarrow sticks and copy of the I Ching, and so on. They may ask the Games Master one question regarding the Querent (the person who is asking the psychic for guidance) per point of Psionic Intensity.

10 minutes, Meditation, Resist
The psychic attempts to drive a possessing spirit out of a person where it does not belong, or quiet a ghost or similar being. The psychic pits their Psionics skill against the Spirit Combat skill of the possessing spirit. Use the Spirit Combat rules from Mythras Core, but using Tenacity (from Mythras Core or Mythras Companion) rather than "Magic Points."

1 minute, Meditation, Concentration
The psychic may attempt to move an object using the power of their mind alone. The target must be visible. The mass of the target is irrelevant: the strength of the psychomotive impulse is not measured like a STR characteristic, but rather more like a Brawn skill check where the skill being checked is the Psionics skill.


1 AP, Resist (Endurance), Touch
The psychic can attempt to disrupt the target's aura. The attack requires an Unarmed attack to touch the target's body.
This check always has a base difficulty grade of Difficult, rather than Standard. If the attack is successful, the target feels the effect in the form of intense pain. Their Healing Rate is halved, and all skill checks are two grades harder for the rest of the scene.
The price paid by the psychic is deeply spiritual: the attempt leaves the psychic prone to Nightmares for a number of nights equal to their Psionic Intensity. This can be reduced to a single night with a few hours of meditation. This Talent can be used to kill small animals, up to the size of a goat; if it is used to kill, the Nightmares cannot be alleviated or their pain relieved through any means. Even alcohol or drugs cannot prevent the Nightmares.

1 AP, Resist (Willpower)
The psychic can attempt to drain the life energy of a target. This is deeply unethical, and runs the risk of the psychic being overwhelmed by the physical and emotional sensory impressions picked up from the target.
The Psionics skill check is, at base, Difficult rather than Standard. This attack requires an Unarmed attack to get close enough to the target to physically grapple with them. The target either takes Hit Points damage to the Chest area as their very breath is sucked out of their lungs, or they accumulate levels of fatigue as if through blood loss (see "Blood Loss" in Mythras Core) equal to the Psionic Intensity of this Talent.
This Talent always requires a check for Nightmares, which take effect immediately if the psychic loses this test. See below.

Walk Through Walls
1 AP
This sovereign power requires intense self-belief, and an unshakeable personal sense of one's own reality. The Psionics skill check for this Talent is Formidable. The psychic can phase through solid walls at a dead run, or translocate (teleport) to a location with which they are familiar, such as any location they have visited at least twice. Greater mastery of Psionics skill makes this check easier: the check is Difficult for Adepts, Standard for Masters, and Easy for Grandmasters.


Nightmares may plague psychics who use their Talents for evil (inflicting harm, acting unethically). If a Talent is used unethically, there is a risk of suffering Nightmares.

The psychic's own Psionics skill is pitted against their own Willpower score in a simple opposed check. If the psychic's Willpower prevails, they get through the ordeal feeling shaken, but otherwise suffer no further mechanical penalties.

If the psychic loses this conflict, they suffer Nightmares for a number of nights equal to the Psionic Intensity of the Talent which they used unethically. The Intensity is based on the skill check at the time, so if the skill had been reduced due to a Formidable check, its Intensity will have been reduced accordingly.

The Nightmares can be reduced to a single night with several hours of meditation. However, if the psychic had managed to kill someone, those Nightmares cannot be alleviated or relieved by any means at all.

Developing Psychic Ability

Any psionic Talent can be used by any psychic, at any time. But for each successful use of a specific Talent, e.g. Psychometry, keep track of how many times the check succeeded. Once the number of successful checks for that Talent exceed their Psionic Intensity, they may choose to specialise in that Talent, and the base Psionics skill check is made one grade easier.

Example: Amanda has a Psionics skill of 45, and a Psionic Intensity of 5. She has attempted Telepathy seven times in play, with only two failures. Her player Julie has kept a check, and realises that she has used Telepathy successfully five times. Amanda attempts Telepathy a sixth time to contact her friend Rose. She succeeds. The Games Master William tells her that next time she uses Telepathy, the Psionics skill checks will be one grade easier.

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Edited by Alex Greene


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