Unknown Armies

Archetypes

Characters

Psychic Power Rules

These rules are meant to model psychic abilities in various horror and urban fantasy cinema. While at the high end they can be very powerful, they avoid the super-powered framework. They can also be tiring and damaging to the psyche.

A psychic power is simply a Mind or Soul skill, and is considered an extra obsession skill for the character using the skill. Each character has one and only one psychic power; they cannot gain any others. Psychic skils start at 10% and can be raised as normal with skill points at character generation.

A psychic power is used like any other skill. A failure on the skill check may mean that the power doesn't work at all, or simply that it works poorly. However, in the event that the character fails with a matched roll, the power stresses the character's mind and has other dangerous effects as well. She must make a Rank-10 madness check, the type of madness depending on the psychic power in question, then consult the power to determine what else happens.

Example Psychic Powers

  • Psychokinesis (Mind): This is the power to move objects with the mind. A psychokinetic could lift heavy objects, or even wield weapons from a distance. Psychokinesis allows raw manipulation; it doesn't allow comic book abilities such as the creation of force fields or psychokinetic bolts. However, a character may use her action to block many types of attacks with his Psychokinesis; sometimes, this may be more difficult. As an example, stopping a bullet might require the character's roll to not only succeed but succeed and be higher than the opponent's. The strength of the character's Psychokinesis is determined as if it were the Body attribute. On a matched failure, not only does the character exhibit mental stress, but she does damage to herself equal to the sum of the dice. Thus a matched failure of 77 does 14 points of damage. Madness: Violence
  • Psychoportation (Soul): Psychoportation is the psychic ability to teleport very short distances. This is a dangerous power, as a failed teleport can lead to the psychoporter ending up inside an object, with very painful results. A Psychoporter can only teleport to places she can see, though a camera feed or a picture, though the latter is very dangerous. A successful Psychoportation check brings the character to the target, and a Psychoporter can jump a number of feet equal to twice his skill value. A matched failure (or a normal failure in the event a location markedly changed from a picture) causes the character to not only exhibit mental stress, but end up partially inside an object. The Psychoporter takes damage equal to the sum of the matched failure and in some cases will be unable to move till she breaks herself free. Madness: Helplessness
  • Telepathy (Mind): Telepathy allows a character to look into the mind of another and even communicate at higher levels. Reading the surface thoughts is relatively easy, and is usually unresisted. Scanning deeper into another character's mind is far more difficult, and can be resisted by a Soul check or skill check if the target has a suitable skill. A telepath always knows when her mind is being invaded, and can resist even a surface scan. If the Telepathy skill is at 50% or higher, the character can transmit thoughts as well. A telepath can only scan and send thoughts, not control minds, project illusions, and so forth. On a matched failure, not only does the target know who scanned her but learns something the telepath doesn't wish her to. Madness: Self