28 June 2019

Spiral King

The ritual was apparently working perfectly, but the summoning circle not so much. The electric candles flared and one after another flickered out. Ariman'ja looked over the suddenly darkened room, fear quickly blooming in her stomach.

It was hiding behind the cupboard, although she knew there was no space where its tall, inhuman body could fit. It was impossible to look at directly, but always there in her peripheral vision, even as she turned to run. It didn't bother to walk around all the alchemical equipment and tables with spelling components, it flowed up the wall and into the shadows of the ceiling.

She only had seconds, she knew. Couldn't really escape, but didn't need to. Three steps to the door, open the door, then press the emergency button to enter a lockup mode. The laboratory will be encased in phasic fields, the spiral king trapped inside. She'll have time to think, to try a new binding or maybe banishment...

It stepped out of the keyhole right in front of her. Crouched just to get into the room and still out of her eyes' focus. Tentacles struck from all around her, not even ruffling her shirt as they went through seams and buttonholes. She tried to scream, but it grabbed her by the throat and pulled. The world swam before her eyes as she was folded sideways and dragged to and through a corner of the room, elsewhere.

Only a few droplets of blood remained splattered on the floor as the candles lit up again.

Elona fanwork.

For those who don't know, Encounter Critical is a gonzo pseudo-70s hoax RPG based on the principles of TRUE SCIENTIFIC REALISM, featuring chainmail bikini clad amazon psionic witches, wookie doxies, robodroid pioneers and Darth Viraxis in his fuchsia armour. I really, really want to play it some day.

Quick Note: I'm using alternate armour rules here, based on the Asteroid 1618 module. Instead of a single Armour Saving Throw, you get Kinetic (KD) and Energy Defense (ED) for physical and elemental damage, respectively. As in basic rules, successful defense roll will half the damage taken, and rolling under half your chance negates all damage.

Spiral King
# Appear: 1
# ATT: 1d4
Melee ATT: 93 %
Damage: 1d4 (fractal tentacles)
Hit points: 113
KD: 42 %
ED: see Command Energy
Psi Resist: 48 %
Command Energy: 71 % (as 10th level Psi Witch)
Edible: 3 %
Lurk: 81 %
$ Value: 312

Fractal Tentacles: Spiral king attacks with a multitude of tentacles coming from all possible and impossible directions. Both the number of attacks each turn and the damage die for each tentacle attack explodes on 4, with no upper limit. Its attacks ignore armour.

Pandimensional: Spiral king doesn't seem to interact with gravity or dimensions in the same way as most creatures. It can walk on water, walls or ceiling, plus through any corner or crack only to emerge from a different cranny. It may also drag a victim through a corner to a different dimension.

Command Energy: Spiral king will use its power over energy to deflect laser attacks and disrupt nearby electronics.

24 June 2019

Thousand Gods Heresy Redux

Here are four more patrons for the cultists of the Thousand Gods Heresy. Woe shall be to those who stand against the tide.
 
 

Ahazu, the Seizer in the Dark

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
- Zork

Starting Items:
  • lavish clothes stained with old food and vomit,
  • as many empty bottles and chewed bones as you can carry.

Mark & Taboo
There is an endless starry void in the back of your throat. Your stomach is hideously distended and bloated.

You may never miss a meal. Should you break your Taboo, you must hold an opulent feast for three days and nights.

First Secret of the Hungry Darkness
You may eat any number of rations in a single action. For every ration eaten, you gain +1 on your next roll. You are always hungry and produce no body waste.

You may swallow inedible or dangerous substances with no ill effects, but gain no nutrition from them. You could snack on razors and drink acid without harm, or try the effects of monstrous meat and unknown potions by gulping them up.

Second Secret of Darkness Without
You may start vomiting endless torrents of darkness that fill a 30' radius around you. The darkness blocks sight and weakens other senses for everyone except for you.

You cannot stop vomiting until you pass a Save, but can act normally even as darkness pours from your mouth. This ability recharges whenever you eat.

Third Secret of Darkness Within
You may swallow creatures or items whole, up to one size category larger than you. Unwilling creatures must be grappled before being swallowed. All the swallowed objects are placed within an extradimensional space in your stomach that resembles a vast, lightless and timeless cavern with alien stars twinkling overhead.

You may safely store no more than [Cultist templates] things at a time, irrespective of their size, otherwise the superfluous objects may start to disappear into the darkness. You can regurgitate anything within your stomach at will.

Ritual of the Pregnant Darkness
There is a small pool of amniotic fluids and darkness in your stomach-cavern. By eating a raw chunk of a creature's flesh, you can begin to gestate a loyal clone of it in this pool. The clone takes a full day to gestate, and may be regurgitate at any later time, already adult. It dies a week after you release it from your stomach. You may only have one clone at a time.

The Broken God by SunnyClockwork

Astaroth, the Broken Clockmaker

He is very old. He is hurting very badly. He is underwater, in space, and everywhere else. He cannot get off his chair. He is stuck there forever because he is so badly hurt.
- SCP-1348, SCP Foundation

...not afraid of The Lord, for He is as we are, broken and scattered. As we restore the body of God, so we restore ourselves. To join with the Lord is good. As we give honor and worship to the Lord, so does He honor us. To serve the Lord is good. As we guard the Lord from harm, so does He...

- Church of the Broken God Bible Fragments, SCP Foundation

Starting Items:
  • toolbox (3 slots, but has nearly any tool you might need),
  • broken pocket watch.

Mark & Taboo
You constantly weep tears of black oil. Loud ticking is heard from your innards.

You may never harm a machine or mechanism, or allow them to be harmed. Should you break your Taboo, you must repair or build more mechanisms than were harmed.

First Secret of the Mechanisms and Machinery
You can speak with machines and mechanisms, and gain +2 to Reaction rolls with them. This includes mechanisms as simple as locks or traps, and machines as complex as alien supercomputers. You may negotiate with them and persuade them to do you various favours.

You can tell time perfectly.

Friendly locks will open for you, allied crossbow might get a bonus to hit.

Second Secret of the Cog and the Key
You do not eat, drink, breathe, sleep or age. Instead, you have a slot between your shoulder blades where a winding key can be inserted. You cannot reach there and need someone else to wind you up, or you will stop living until your are wound again. For every minute of winding, you gain one hour of functioning. Should someone wind you up for more than twenty four hours of life, you become overwound and take 1d6 damage for every additional wound up hour.

You take 1d6 damage per minute in water as your skin starts to get covered in rust and your movement grinds and screeches.

Third Secret of the Ticking Clock
You may increase your clock speed. This allows you to take up to [Cultist templates] extra actions per round, but at the cost of one hour of winding per extra action.

Ritual of Grafted Steel
Where flesh gave way, steel shall prevail.

With tools, materials and time, you can repair living beings as if they were machines. You need a forge and some clockwork components, then you can rivet the wounds and weld the bones. It takes a minute to heal 1 hp, or an hour to heal 1 point of attribute damage. Talk with your GM about implants and clockwork prosthetics.
 
Ain't he cute?

Buer, the CEO of Evil

FUCK OFF BUER!!!1!!!1!
- TheLawfulNeutral

Starting Items:
  • spiked black leather armour,
  • goatee (women get a fake one),
  • evil laughter.

Mark & Taboo
Your legs bifurcate into four cloven hoofed feet.

You must kill anyone who insults or makes fun of you. If you break your Taboo, kill another intelligent creature instead. Your minions are intelligent enough to serve you in this way.

You know how some villains keep killing their own minions when they get angry, just to show you how evil they are? You are one of those guys now.

First Secret of the Master
You are served by [Cultist templates] x 2 minions of Buer. They are HD 0 with only 1 hp, and deal 1d6 damage with their various limbs. They also look pretty ridiculous (roll here, automated generator on the sidebar) and act in generally silly, dumb way. They are absolutely loyal to you, though, and will do anything without question - walk into a known deadly trap, blow themselves up as suicide attackers, hold their breath until they pass out. They never roll Morale and cannot be turned against you.

Every night, you may summon new minions for any who died that day.

Second Secret of the Commander
You may sacrifice any number of your minions to gain +X to a Save, or to decrease the amount of damage you take by X, where X is the number of sacrificed minions. All the minions somehow protect you, but tragically and grisly die in the process, showering the surroundings in copious amounts of gore.

Third Secret of the Dark Lord
You are always dimly aware of all your minions. You can command them telepathically, and with concentration you may access all their senses. You can even speak through their (many) mouths.

Ritual of Demonic Possession
Mix ash, fat and blood, then draw the unholy symbol of Buer on the forehead of a helpless victim. One of your minions will possess the victim and you can then use them in the same way as any of your minions, but also gain access to their abilities.
 

Ikor, the Lamb of the Pyre

"For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink."
- John 6:55, NET Bible

Starting Items:
  • gnarly staff,
  • plain white robe,
  • devoted disciple.

Mark & Taboo
Smoke comes out of your mouth when you speak. Your blood smells sweet and delicious.

You may not allow your blood to be spilled in vain. Should you break you Taboo, you must take the blood of whoever bled you against your will, or a blood freely given if the offender escapes or doesn't bleed. As much blood as you bled must be taken.

Bludgeoning attacks are assumed not to draw blood, so the actual concern are enemies with sharp weapons.

First Secret of the Holy Blood
Your blood is sacred, nutritious and as flammable as oil. Every pint (2 hp worth) of your blood is equivalent to one ration, bottle of holy water and a flask of lamp oil.

Your spittle may ignite flammable substances.

Second Secret of the Stigmata
Your blood lives. When outside your body, you can command your blood to flow and climb in any direction.

You may also shape a pint of it into any simple item (a dagger, 10' of rope). Larger items may require more blood, and intricate items may require some skill or foreknowledge (for example, you can shape a key, but if you don't know what type of key will open a door, your key will likely not fit). All blood-shaped items last for 10 minutes.

Don't forget that your blood can now cover surfaces or drip on your enemies from above, and then you can spit on it...

Third Secret of the Burned Offering
When you die or when you will it, your body explodes as a fireball with number of MD equal to your HD, showering everyone nearby with burning gore. You can also will your limbs to explode independently as a fireball with 1 MD - this deals no damage to you, but leaves you with a smoking stump. If this attack kills any creature, you heal 1d6 hp per their HD. This healing may resurrect you if you exploded because of your death.

Ritual of the Sacred Salamander
Prepare a pyre or rare woods, sprinkled with incense and adorned with prayer strips. Anyone may sleep on the lit pyre as a part of their daily rest. They will take no damage from the flames and awaken in the morning with one of their lost limbs restored or a crippling injury healed.

 

16 June 2019

Traditional Vampire Weaknesses

Maybe you want a traditional vampire, but with a little bit of randomness sprinkled in. Maybe you just want to stop the sparkling...
 

d30 Vampire Weaknesses
  1. Animosity: Most animals are afraid of the vampire, running away or attacking. Bats, wolves and insects instead adore him.
  2. Black eyes: The vampire is blinded in bright light. In any lighting above a dim candlelight, the vampire's eyes appear solid black.
  3. Bloodline: When the sire dies, all his children die as well. Those not yet fully turned are cured instead.
  4. Bloodlust: If not fully sated, the vampire must Save vs going into bestial frenzy at the sight of blood. If hungry, she must Save in the presence of any living creature with blood.
  5. Burial ground: The vampire must sleep on at least a small amount of dirt from her grave, otherwise she cannot heal from resting.
  6. Coffin: The vampire must sleep in the coffin he was buried in, otherwise he cannot heal from resting.
  7. Daysleeper: The vampire cannot stay awake during daylight hours and won't wake up even if threatened.
  8. Dead blood: Coming into contact with dead blood (drinking from a cadaver, being injured by a weapon coated in old, clotted blood) forces a Save vs unconsciousness.
  9. Vampire blood: Drinking the blood of another vampire forces the vampire to Save or devolve into a ravenous bat-beast.
  10. Healing blood: The vampire cannot heal but through the consumption of blood.
  11. Fatal hunger: The vampire must feed at least once per day. Starvation kills the vampire instead of resulting in deathless sleep.
  12. Feeble hunger: The vampire becomes physically weaker than a normal human while malnourished.
  13. Fear of fire: The vampire must Save vs Fear in the presence of any flame larger than a torch.
  14. Food rejection: Consuming anything but blood causes severe and prolonged vomiting.
  15. Garlic: The vampire cannot use any supernatural powers while poisoned with garlic.
  16. Hideous: The vampire has the appearance of a rotting corpse, a pale and gaunt husk, or a gargoyle-like demon. She cannot use any magic to hide this.
  17. Holy ground: The vampire cannot enter consecrated ground unless physically forced onto it, and cannot take any other action but flee while there.
  18. Holy symbols: The vampire must Save to advance against anyone who presents a holy symbol of faith they truly hold.
  19. Holy water: In addition to the normal damage against undead, holy water temporarily blocks the vampire's supernatural powers.
  20. Insanity: The vampire is not really of sound mind. Most likely insanities are delusion, compulsion, obsession, paranoia, or quirks.
  21. Invitation: The vampire cannot enter a long-term dwelling uninvited. Campsites or hotel rooms are fine, though.
  22. No reflection: The vampire has no reflection and involuntarily recoils when looking into a mirror, gaining disadvantage on her rolls.
  23. No shadow: The vampire has no shadow. She automatically fails any Saves vs light-based magic (including illusions).
  24. Pride: The vampire may not refuse any challenge that she believes she would win, nor may she break her word unless the other party betrays her first.
  25. Running water: Whenever the vampire has more than a half of any body part (legs above knees, arm above elbow, body up to chest) submerged in running water (any river or brook, but not lake or sea), this body part becomes immobile and unusable. Especially in the case of legs, this can make the vampire fall into the water, rendering him completely immobile until removed from the flow.
  26. Salt: The vampire takes damage from salt and salt water as if it was acid.
  27. Silver: The vampire takes double damage from silver weapons, or 1d4 damage per round per any silver item touching his bare skin.
  28. Scorching sunlight: The vampire is turned to dust instantly in sunlight, instead of only taking damage.
  29. Stoning sunlight: The vampire is turned to stone instantly in sunlight, instead of only taking damage.
  30. Wooden stake: If impaled through the heart by a wooden stake of a specific wood (ash, hawthorn, cherry), the vampire is instantly slain and crumples to dust. Other types of wood only paralyse the vampire until the stake is removed.

Here are several examples of what I consider good vampire looks:


 


12 June 2019

On Carcosan Magic

When I think about sword & sorcery spellcasters, I imagine evil high priests invoking their incomprehensible gods, or mad sorcerers working their cruel rituals. What I don't see is a wizard casting a certain number of fireballs per day. But RPG systems that fashion themselves sword & sorcery, even if they try to emulate that feel of "forbidden knowledge" by making magic more scarce and dangerous, still end up with some variation on wizards casting fireballs.

The only book I can think of (and any recommendations are very much welcome!) that does magic really differently is Carcosa. The system of rituals presented therein is dark, horrible, and really hammers home how unnatural magic is. Even better, the rituals don't need any artificial restrictions on how many you can cast per day, or on which character level. Just getting the necessary resources together is a nice limit on the amount of magic any sorcerer can use.

Carcosa still falls short of what I would think of as an ideal sword & sorcery magic system, though, because of the very limited diversity of presented rituals. I'd like to find a middle ground between only summoning, binding, contacting or banishing otherworldly entities and casting the traditional, simple, boring D&D spells.

Here is an attempt at that, with several nasty but useful rituals.

Once again, there is no limit on how often the sorcerer can use these rituals, the inherent cost and peril should be enough. A ritual is botched if some of its steps are followed incorrectly, or if it's interrupted before completion.

 
Mother's Daughter
This ritual can only be cast by a female sorceress in the ruins of a destroyed temple, on her birthday. She must kill a male and a female siblings in a sacrifice to Os and Oa, the conjoined demon-gods. If they accept the offering, they will possess the corpses and lie with the sorceress. Nine month later, the sorceress will give birth to a clone of herself, who will grow to a perfect copy of the sorceress in a year and a day, including all knowledge and abilities. A botched ritual will strike the sorceress permanently sterile.

Infallible Messenger
The sorceress must carve the runes of bondage and journeys into the flesh of a child no older than twelve years. She shall then sew their mouth shut and whisper a message into their ear. The child will immediately seek out the recipient, never loosing the path no matter the distance. Until the message is delivered, the child will run faster than a horse and never rest, unable to die from exhaustion, starvation, exposure or injury. The recipient, and only him, may cut the thread sealing the child's lips, hearing the message in the sorceress' own voice. A child enchanted with a botched ritual will, once its lips are parted, scream until it drops dead and everyone nearby lies unconscious and bleeding from their ears.

Slavery of Slime
The target of this ritual must be stripped naked, painted with holy symbols of Juiblex and bound with ropes of Bone Men intestines. They shall then be buried alive in the sands of Nogg, with only a straw for breathing and sustenance. The sorcerer shall feed them with seven types of oozes, slimes and puddings, each for a different day of the week, until two full moons pass. The target may then be dug out, transformed into an utterly loyal sludge vampire. If the ritual is botched, though, the vampire will only feign its loyalty and strike at the sorcerer when he is most vulnerable.

I know I said there are enough summoning rituals already. Oh well.

Blood of the Lamb
The sorcerer shall rape a virgin until they beg for help and mercy, then slit their throat with an obsidian knife while chanting prayers to the Leprous Dweller Below. The victim's blood will be consecrated through agony, despair and lost purity. A single person should then lap up the gushing blood before it stops its flow, healing from all diseases and maladies. A botched ritual will see the victim bleed putrescence instead of blood, transforming into a hostile diseased guardian.
 
 
Keel Cleaves the Clouds
The sorceress must mix her own tears with a droplet from the Watery Death and fresh rainwater, then make an Ulfire Woman drink the concoction. After that, the woman may be crucified on the bow of a ship. Until the woman dies, the ship will sail on fog or clouds as if they were water. The woman needs not necessarily die during the ritual, and various invigorating drugs are often provided both to help her survive the ordeal and to extend the effect of the magic. On a botched ritual, the woman will start to vomit prodigious amounts of water immediately after taking the concoction, until she drowns herself.

Invulnerable Hero's Skin
The sorcerer shall flay alive a man of the same race as himself with a severed claw of a byakhee, then wear the skin on his naked body. Care must be taken so that the victim doesn't die, or the spell will end. Any damage that the sorcerer would suffer while he wears the stolen skin is transferred to the victim instead. Obviously, sturdier victims are preferable for this ritual, especially barbarians and fighting-men. A botched ritual will simply result in the death of the flayed man.

Sheathe of Broken Love
The sorceress must plunge a weapon into the heart of a person she truly loves while shouting insults to Yog-Sothoth. Afterwards, for as long as the weapon remain in the corpse and the corpse does not completely rot away, the sorceress may instantly summon the weapon to her hand. It will return back to the corpse once she lets go of it, or once it strikes its target if thrown. If the ritual is botched, it seems to work normally but the sorceress also becomes pregnant* with a spawn of Yog-Sothoth.

Hundred Tongues
This ritual must be performed with a knife blessed by a priest of Nyarlathotep and requires the sorceress to cut out her own tongue, though it may be preserved for later use. She should then cut out the tongue of any human or creature and place it into her mouth. She will be able to speak the native language of the victim. Many sorcerers store hundreds of jars with preserved tongues in their lairs, thus the name of this ritual. A botched ritual will bring permanent muteness to the sorceress.
 
Witches from Penny Dreadful are the perfect
example of a terrifying spellcaster.

*) Male sorcerers will be impregnated as well.

10 June 2019

Flux Shields

Inspired by Dune, of course. Dune is the best.
 
Flux shields are a rare piece of pre-Turn technology sometimes found in the ruined government vaults and military bases lost deep within the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Unlike other types of force field generators, flux shields are small enough to carry on your person, usually on a shield belt, or integrated into power armour.

When activated, the shield generator projects a flexible force field wound tightly around the wearer, offering variable damage reduction based on the power cell used to power the flux shield.

Every time you are struck by an attack while using a flux shield, roll its Power Die. The damage taken is reduced by half the number rolled (round down). Thus better power cells will offer greater protection for longer, and the amount of protection decreases as the power cell is slowly drained.

Roll the Power Die at least once per round even if no attacks hit you, as the shield drains energy just by being activated. Active flux shield glows as brightly as a candle and  emits a low droning sound.
 
Flux shield generator.
 
Unfortunately, flux shields are highly vulnerable to energy attacks, such as lasers, phase weapons, lightning, etc. Whenever an active flux shield is struck by an energy weapon, roll its Power Die on the below table:
  1. The shield's power cell is drained of all energy.
  2. The shield generator burns up and must be repaired.
  3. The energy weapon short-circuits and its power cell is destroyed.
  4. The shield flares up, blinding anyone who is looking at it for 1d6 rounds.
  5. The shield collapses. The user takes double damage from the energy attack.
  6. The shield generator overloads, encasing the wearer in an impenetrable force field for 1d6 rounds.
  7. The shield generator explodes, inflicting the damage from the energy attack in a 10 m radius.
  8. The energy weapon explodes, inflicting its damage to the attacker.
  9. The energy attack completely ignores the flux shield.
  10. (And more.) Both the shield generator and the energy weapon explode, dealing X damage in a 10 m radius, where X is the number rolled.

As all electronics, shield generators can also be temporarily disabled through EMP.

4 June 2019

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE NO PSYCHIC POWERS AND ARE SAD

Do you have any recommended 'things that might give you random psychic powers' ideas?
- Ezra Bloom

Sure!

Some of the entries below are more suited for a fantasy setting, some for a sci-fi. Take what you like.

Psionic powers can be found here.
 

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE NO PSYCHIC POWERS AND ARE SAD
  1. Mutations, mutations, mutations! Have I mentioned mutations yet? Also mutations.
  2. Be very, very ill. It's well known that brain cancer can very rarely grant psionic powers before killing you, but there are other options, too. The best known is probably Naussian fever, a highly contagious disease that causes rapid development of telepathic powers in its victims. It is suspected to have been bio-engineered as a simple way of establishing communication network by ancient Naussians.
  3. Lifetime of meditations. Through asceticism and introspection, hermits strengthen and sharpen their minds into powerful tools. Multiple monastic orders offer teachings for you to follow on a path towards enlightenment. Enlightenment means understanding. Understanding means power. Power means mastery. Mastery means control. Control your mind, and you shall control the world around you, too.
  4. Get possessed. It may be a demon, an ancestral spirit, or just any ghost you can find. Having a spirit break its way into your mind and squat there sometimes breaks your subconscious limitations, too. Any demon hunter will tell you that a possessed heretic may snap your neck with a glance, but sometimes such powers remain even after a successful exorcism.
  5. Get attacked by psions. Your mind will slowly adapt with repeated exposure, until one day you'll shrug off the attack and fry their brain with a power of your own. Unfortunately, psions tend to be well aware of this phenomenon and will take great care to cull any slaves that start to show resistance to their powers.
  6. Get tapped into by "energy vampires". These psions can leech your mental strength to fuel their own psionics, leaving residual imprints of their powers in your brain. If you are thus drained frequently, you will either go insane or gain psychic powers of your own. The insanity is more likely.
  7. Do a dream quest. The Dreamlands are vast and dangerous, with creatures made of nonsense and monsters made of madness. If you venture there successfully, maybe you can return with the conceptual treasure of a psionic power. Be careful though, as you might prove a tasty morsel for a gug, or have your dream-self stolen by the slavering Men of Leng.
  8. Find yourself in mortal danger. When faced with imminent death, sometimes the body will push you over the edge to survive. Maybe it will flood you with adrenaline until you can can push the car off yourself. Maybe it will prod your mind to throw the car away.
  9. Get it all jumbled in the head. Mental trauma brings insanity, and insanity turns heroes into nervous wracks. Mostly. There are the lucky ones for whom with great insanity also comes great power. Unfortunately they tend to turn quite homicidal with their new found abilities.
  10. Be crippled. You lost your arms but still can feel phantom pain? Maybe you can use it, focus it, master it. You will soon have no need for arms. Of you were blinded, but still imagine the world around you in incredibly lively detail? Maybe your clairvoyant mind really can see without seeing.
  11. Brain surgery. If you cannot find the way to power yourself, have someone cut it into your brain with a scalpel. Just hope you've paid the back alley surgeon enough.
  12. Eat raw brains! Mind flayers, elans, su-monsters, yuan-ti, they all can be devoured in your quest for psionic enlightenment. It's not likely that it will actually work, but you can always try. Don't eat aboleth brains, though.
  13. Stick psicrystal needles right into your grey matter. Psicrystals are formed in brains of powerful psions and contain psychic imprints of powers. Shattered into sharp "needles" and embedded into your brain, they let you channel your mental energies through them, manifesting similar powers that the original psion had. Of course, you just stuck needles into your brain, which is not very healthy.
  14. Overdose on psi-drugs. While such drugs are invaluable to psions, even people without psychic powers can use them to enter a queer state of expanded awareness. In massive doses, they may force you latent talents to manifest into full-blown powers of your own. You will much more likely die, but the point is you can do it.
  15. Find an alien artifact. I'm sure it's completely save to use the unsettling polyhedron of metal and liquid sound that makes you float above the ground and see the future.
  16. Get a symbiont. Pyllasian headcrabs serve both as a source of psychokinetic powers, and as a fancy non-removable helmet. Even a parasite will do in a pinch - several types of mind worms will grant you empathic or suggestive powers before they eat your brain out.
  17. Inject a highly experimental superserum. Recorded effects include mild headaches, nose bleeds, various psychic powers, cerebral apoplexy, near-omniscience, and several cases of exploded heads.
  18. Cerebrospinal fluids transfusion. Get a powerful psion and drain them of some brain juice. A measure of their psychic potential should pass on you, but repeated transfusions might be required if your psionics start to fade. I hope you were prepared to become a serial killer, leaving behind victims with dried heads.
  19. Implants. Impossibly rare and expensive, plus banned in all civilized societies. Unless you're a spy or a supersoldier. They don't grant you psionic powers as much as provide a focal point, a doorway to your hidden reserves of power.
  20. Wish for some. Easier said than done unless your GM likes to throw wishes around.
 

1 June 2019

Simple Psionics

Psionic powers are normally gained as a mutation. Nearly all powers allow a Save to resist the effects. Powers that are not instantaneous last until your concentration breaks. Each psionic power takes up a Memory slot.

Mental psionics target living, thinking creatures - droids are immune and invisible to mental psionics, while replicants (synthetic humans) and cyborgs are highly resistant (and thus have advantage on their Save).

Every time you use a psionic power, roll a Talent (Intelligence) check to retain the power. On a failed roll, the power manifests normally but you cannot use it again until you take a daily rest.
 

d30 Psionic Powers
  1. Biokinesis: Your mind can alter living flesh. Heal 1d6 hp with a touch.
  2. Brain Lock: As long as you stare into someone's eyes, they are paralysed.
  3. Charm: A creature regards you as a good friend for the rest of the day.
  4. Disruption: Tear at the molecular structure of the target, dealing 2d6 damage and disintegrating them into dust once they reach 0 hp.
  5. Dominate: Until you loose concentration, the target is forced to act according to your will.
  6. Electrokinesis: Control the flow of electricity, power up electronic devices, or deal 1d4 electric damage with a touch and force a Save vs stun.
  7. Empathic Projection: Alter emotions of creatures you see, though it must be within the limits of sanity (no berserk rages).
  8. Empathic Reading: Read emotions of creatures you see (and incidentally always know when they are lying).
  9. ESP: Sense nearby minds.
  10. Hypnosis: Force a nearby creature to sleep.
  11. Invisibility: With concentration, warp the perception of nearby foes until they cannot see nor hear you.
  12. Kindle: Object or creature you stare at must Save or catch aflame.
  13. Kinetic Blast: Fire a blast of telekinetic force, dealing 1d8 damage and forcing a Save vs knockback.
  14. Kinetic Shield: Reduce damage taken from a physical attack by 1d12.
  15. Levitation: With concentration, hover slowly above the ground.
  16. Memory Manipulation: Read memories, erase memories or plant false memories. This power takes a while to use.
  17. Mind Blast: The target is stunned on a successful Save and knocked unconscious on a failed Save.
  18. Mind Block: Automatically succeed on a Save vs mental psionic power and cause the manifester to fail her check to retain it.
  19. Precognition: Examine the future to tell if a straightforward choice will likely result in imminent physical injury or mental distress.
  20. Psychic Imitation: Once you have seen a psionic power, you can imitate it for the rest of the day or until you fail the check to retain it.
  21. Psychometry: Touch an object to see its past. The most important or interesting events of its history are shown first.
  22. Pyrokinesis: Control existing fires, move or extinguish them.
  23. Sense Location: Sense the location of objects and creatures related to a focus item.
  24. Sixth Sense: You cannot be surprised. Roll the check to retain the power every time it warns you about an ambush or trap.
  25. Suggestion: A creature will act as if one sentence you tell them was their own idea.
  26. Synchronicity: Alter probabilities in your favour. You may choose the result of a single die roll.
  27. Synesthesia: Create false sensations that creatures perceive as real.
  28. Technopathy: Interface with any cybernetic device through touch and read computer data directly.
  29. Telekinesis: Lift, move or hurl up to person-sized object. You don't have complex control.
  30. Telepathy: Read surface thoughts of creatures you see, and talk in thoughts with willing targets.


Psionic Treasures

Psicrystal
Slowly formed in brains of powerful psions and extracted after their death, it contains the psychic imprint of a psionic power. Anyone can use it to manifest its power, but once the roll to retain the power is failed, it blackens and falls apart.

Yes, it's a sci-fi scroll.

Psionic crown
Artifact of a bygone era, made of ridiculously complex tech and powered by raw quintessence. When you fail a check to retain a psionic power, you may choose to loose a different power instead.

You need at least two psionic powers to make any use of it.

Psychic stimulant
Psi-drugs, brain fuel, miracle sugar. Delivered as (d4): 1) an eyedrop, 2) a transparent pill, 3) a serum injector, 4) a sniffed powder. All of your powers are refreshed and for 1d6 minutes, you can use them without rolling to retain their use. Highly addictive.

Sensory deprivation tank
A soundproof coffin, its inner walls painted vantablack, filled with gel that numbs your body as you float in nothingness. The range and precision of your powers is vastly increased while locked inside.

Some powers are simple to enhance - telepathy lets you probe deeper into the mind, operate with greatly extended range, or access mass mind, the world-wide telepathic network. But even powers that would normally seem useless while locked in a tank should have some use, so don't be shy about inventing something that could be an extension of the base power.

Kinetic shield could be enhanced into a large inertia dampening field. Sixth sense might allow you to guess the location of all nearby points of interest. Biokinesis might let you regenerate lost limbs or reverse ageing through sheer power of will.