There is ongoing debate over whether psionics, (a skill first exhibited by Araellians), is a unique phenomenon, or whether it is simply a self-centric adaptation of existing magical techniques. Since the various magical domains are highly politicized at the moment, there has been little crossover study between the fields, though some few have dedicated their research to comparisons of the two philosophies.
While there is not currently a centralized institute for the study of psionics, those seeking apprenticeship most commonly find a teacher in the floating city of Araellia. Those practiced in the art are becoming more common throughout the disparate land shards, any teacher worth noting can trace their instruction backward to one of the Araellian “masters.” In fact, those who have not spent at least some time studying in Araellia itself are often viewed as amateurs, even if their psionic ability is significant.
Whether the character has studied under a master or is self-taught, they must have the Arcane Background (Psionics) edge. Purchasing this edge gives the user access to three powers.
Because a central tenet of psionic practice is that power comes from within, psionicists claim that their abilities can not be aided by the use of personal elemental crystals. Whether this limitation is self imposed or a result of the unique practices by which these powers are worked is a topic of debate, but to this point no one has yet been able to apply an elemental crystal to psionic activity.
Unlike spellcasters, who weave threads in order to protect themselves from the dangers of elemental backlash, a practitioner of psionics steels the mind to accept and absorb this tempest. When activating a psionic power, one can take two approaches.
First, and the more traditional of the two, is to enter a period of meditation during which the practitioner centers his or her mind in preparation for the task at hand. After each minute, a Centering (Spirit) skill check is made, which (if successful) grants a +1 bonus to the drain check resulting from activation of this psionic power. There is no limit to the length of time one can spend in preparation for these techniques, and it is common for students of the art to spend more time finding this internal focus than is strictly necessary.
Unfortunately, life does not always wait for one to clear one’s mind, and it is not uncommon for a psionicist to take short cuts when time is of the essence. As long years of training in the psionic arts typically leave a student with calm mind, the practitioner is almost always ready to apply their studies quickly. Since this does not allow time for additional centering, the drain will be felt full-force by the user’s mind. While most studied masters look upon this as the penalty one pays for trying to cut corners, more pragmatic individuals have started to explore possible methods for more easily dealing with this backlash. So far, no reliable technique has been discovered.
Whether the adept chooses to center the mind or not, the rest of the process continues as follows. The psionicist makes a Psionics (Spirit) roll, which takes one turn. If the roll is successful, the technique takes effect. The practitioner must then immediately make a Centering (Vigor) check to deal with the strain such tasks take on the psyche. Each “power point” listed for the power being activated must be negated, and each success or raise indicates the user’s ability to deal with one of these levels. Any drain level that is not accounted for immediately becomes a level of fatigue. Should the psionicist become incapacitated during drain resolution the power will still take effect, however the adept would be incapable of maintaining this power if it required their ongoing concentration.
Some psionicists have become skilled at staying focused even when exhausted: A player with the “Mind Over Matter” edge can push the limits of mental fortitude (and common sense). If a drain check would result in incapacitation, the character may instead convert any excess levels of fatigue into wounds. Blood leaks from the character’s ears, eyes and nose as they fight their own brain to remain conscious.