Saturday, June 21, 2014

Playing a Psychic in Rifts, Part 1: The Basics

Welcome to the next series at Stabilizing Rifts. After spending so much time on magic and magic-users, it seemed natural to go a step to the side and talk about psychics.

I'm going to follow much the same pattern as I did before, with this post and a few others covering the basics and establishing the foundation for the rest of my posts on this topic. Then I will cover the broad archetypes for psychic characters, followed by the posts on specific Psychic types. Instead of "P.C.C.", I will use "Psychic"; "Occupation" will be used where relevant, as I did with the magic-user posts.

That said, the basics.

  • Psychics are born, not made, barring a few exceptions throughout the Megaverse. Magic can be taught; psychic powers are inherent from birth, though they may be latent in expression until a triggering event is had. How they manifest varies greatly, but they tend to conform to a series of archetypes that are commonplace (with variation) across the Megaverse.
  • Psychics do not manifest obvious displays of power use, in the way that magic-users do, when using their powers. They can be still, silent, and display no audio or visual effects by default. While many psychics do make gestures, etc., it is not required; the mark of a disciplined psychic is one that ruthlessly exploits this fact to his benefit and the detriment of his opposition. (Specific powers, on the other hand, can and do make such displays; it's hard to ignore a Psi-Sword suddenly manifesting in a user's hands.)
  • Psychic are much in the same boat as magic-users who don't truly understand their powers; they can, and do, acquire a body of practical techniques but true comprehension of what their powers are and how they work remains beyond most psychics' grasp- and it cannot be taught, as such. Psychic training is, therefore, akin to martial arts training is that the process is intended to be a controlled stress environment wherein senior psychics oversee juniors and guide them in how to make the best use of their powers. (Think X-Men, Xavier's school for mutants.)
  • Psychics, like mundanes, are diverse in both depth and breadth of power. All psychics are not equal, and as with mundanes they are going to fall into a hierarchy built upon that disparity of power as an emergent and persistent property of their existence- there is no "all men are equal" here.
There, we have some pillars to build upon for next week. See you then.

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