psionics in the works

Over the last stretch of weeks, after contemplating the idea for most of last fall (I can be very slow), I’ve been putting together a set of psionic talents for pocketrpg stuff.

(I’m kind of thinking of tweaking the phrasing of a few of them and releasing a Creative Commons version of the talents themselves, like I did when I put out a hundred CC spells over the holidays)

And yeah, I basically used the tried-and-true thematic subdivisions, because

1) they work so why change it
2) they’ve existed through all branches of specfic as well as through sff rpgs
However! My end results have seven paths/schools/disciplines/whatever, instead of the “usual” (A)D&D six, for the following reasons and rambling train of thought to get to the end result:

1) I liked some of the ideas behind the Metapsionics discipline in 2e, but not all of them, and also the idea of locking stuff behind/into “the uber discipline” was and is annoying
2) similarly I really like the Metacreativity discipline in 3e, because making stuff is cool, manipulating ectoplasm — originally as much considering a psychic manifestation as a ~ghosty manifestation, thanks so much Ghostbusters *grumbles* — is cool, and why I never liked anything to do with crystal anythings why do you ask *shifty look*
3) if psionics is powered by your will, your “you”, your spirit/soul/insert-whatever-term, there should be spirit stuff in general
4) buuuut I hate the (often frankly creepy and not in a horror way) “occult” trappings that get slathered all over that end of things (a turnoff I have with Pathfinder’s approach to psionics, for example, because it lays it on thick)
5) I wanted to try to avoid the exoticizing/Orientalizing that keeps slinking into psionics stuff, from names to definitions

Also “telepathy” needed some tweaking, although in the end it really is about messing with people’s minds as much as talking to them and that’s annoying. I’ve avoided the worst mind control, though, I hope.

So in the end I have seven groups, labeled with one-word titles because frankly I think a good amount of the “psionics doesn’t belong in fantasy” crowd — aside from having missed whole branches of the fantasy genre in general for the many decades — are put off by the oft-deliberate pseudo-scientific name schemes in place.

To whit:

– Sight (“clairsentience”)
– Mind (“telepathy”)
– Body (“psychometabolism”)
– Forces (“psychokinetics”)
– Motion (“psychoportation”)
– Matter (3e “metacreativity”, tweaked just a smidge)
– Spirit (“metapsionics” 2e stripped down and recombined with spirit- and ghosty- and intangible stuff)

Twelve talents each, and I did my best to avoid jargon with the talent names also. (oh gawd I wrote another 80-odd thingers plz end me *lol*)

Hopefully I get some simple formatting done and these up by the end of the week or maybe next week. Definitely debating over a CC version also though.

And of course, nothing’s stopping anyone from using these, once they’re up, as just another pile of spells to add to a spell pool anyway; there’s nothing inherently different about them in the end. It’s all cool.

Dicember 2021 – runic

Runes are a collection of small enchantments — or evocations of the power of the world, or bits of spirit knowledge, or however you choose to apply them in your game — that anyone can pick up and learn.

There are no “spell slots” or the equivalent involved, just the knowledge of the rune and the time to prepare it. Once made, a rune may be kept almost indefinitely; however, they certainly aren’t immune to being lost, damaged or erased, or deliberately destroyed. Activating a rune — which requires contact — expends the power of it, but the physical rune may often remain and can be “topped up”.

The number of runes an individual may have prepared depends entirely on their available materials and time. The number of runes which may be used in a day, however, are limited by one’s fortitude and will (i.e. the higher of a character’s applicable attributes — Body and Psyche for Wandering Jewel Moons, Constitution and Wisdom for OSE/The Black Hack/etc — divided by 3).

Some sample runes:

01. Gleam: Limns supernatural things or manifestations in a soft, brief glow
02. Soothe: Calms the nerves, removes fear and lifts fogginess of the mind or heart
03. Mend: Restores a repairable object; think torn clothing
04. Sustain: Nourishes as a good meal and drink does
05. Ignite: Kindles a flame, or grants fire’s warmth
06. Freeze: Induces cold, potentially enough to cause frost
07. Illuminate: Creates light of the power and duration of a candle
08. Communicate: Understand an unknown language until encounter with it ends
09. Hold: Seal a portal or container closed
10. Inspire: Uplifting surge ensures next task will succeed
11. Abjure: Repel specified malignant forces for a dawn-dusk cycle (or reverse)
12. Heal: Banish disease or infection, last injury knits twice as fast

You can give them more interesting names, of course, even simple ones, maybe something like

01. Wyrdrune
02. Heartrune
03. Weaverune
04. Breadrune
05. Flamerune
06. Frostrune
07. Brightrune
08. Speechrune
09. Lockrune
10. Faterune
11. Wardrune
12. Bloodrune

Each rune requires at least two of several possible elements in order to be successfully created; perhaps a specific colour of pigment, a particular addition to that pigment, or a burin or knife or stylus or brush made at least partially from a specific substance. Some may also have a “preferred” material to be placed upon.

It’s not a terrible idea to also design some omni-applicable elements — perhaps suitably unusual or rare — to give out as goals, or simply as a flavour to add.

An example set of associations, using the runes above:

01. seashell; silver; dew; ivory tool
02. applewood; rose; wine; willow tool
03. leather; tawny; dust; oak tool
04. maplewood; green; blood; willow tool
05. jet; orange; ash; iron tool
06. glass; azure; salts; iron tool
07. horn; yellow; wax; oak tool
08. paper; violet; sugar; ivory tool
09. foil; black; resin; iron tool
10. copper; gold; gall; willow tool
11. parchment; red; incense; ivory tool
12. linen; green; marigold; oak tool
* omni-applicable — black rosewood or tree ivory; ultramarine; musk; moonsilver or sungold tool