A Day in the Psi Life: Everyday Existence for Psionic Folk
Okay! Now that you have your funky new psi character, what do you do with him? Does he just sit around all day, hanging out at the local diner watching television, waiting for that news flash about the latest criminal caper? Well, maybe. But he might just have a life, you know. Daily Life
The convenient thing about a psi is that he shows no outward sign of having any super-human nature, unless he's actually using a power. This makes it awfully easy for a psi to maintain a secret identity. As such, most tend to do so, since this helps to keep trouble away from the house (and thus, away from friends and relatives). Not all of them do, mind you, but it's easier in the long run.
An important thing to consider is how easy one's psi powers can help out their job. Imagine the television repair man that has diagnosis, or the lawyer with lie detection. These psis could be frighteningly good at what they do, and make lots of money in the process. Is this entirely ethical? That's a very hard question to answer, but when the bills are due, it can be difficult to resist the temptation to 'cheat' with one's powers.
Of course, the opposite lifestyle is also an option. The character could live in costume, having a public identity and staying in a hero group's headquarters. He just might watch the news looking for trouble, or go out on patrol in the Psimobile with his trusty sidekick. The hero biz can easily be a full time job as well. It's all a matter of what best suits the character, something that will have lots to do with his origin, to be sure.
Either way, under normal conditions, a psi will spend an hour or two per day in deep meditation and study, honing his powers to a fine degree. At least. This time could easily be doubled if the psi is attempting to learn a new power. There is no set time needed to learn new powers, but it's recommended that a psi learn no more than one power per adventure. If he's got a bit of excess karma, make him wait a little while.
What he does with the extra time is, ultimately, up to him. He could go to work, stop a bank robbery, or anything else that turns his crank. If his studies are interrupted, it won't necessarily put a dent in his power ranks; it might just take a little while longer to learn that next power, or to raise an existing rank that much higher...
Now we all know that, were the world a better place, super-heroes wouldn't be necessary. Unfortunately, a very small percentage of the population is bad to the core, and sure enough, a lot of 'em have super powers. As such, a psi will eventually get into a fight for some odd reason or another, and there's a few things he ought to know about using his powers in battle, to save himself from any unpleasant surprises.
To begin with, psionic combat flows in the same manner as does a regular fight. You determine what you're going to do, you roll initiative, and when it is your turn, you go. The trick is, a psi's powers aren't always 'on', and he must specifically activate them to benefit from their effects. As such, a psi is most vulnerable when taken by surprise or ambushed, as he likely has no powers active in his defense.
Now, though he may have twenty-six or so psi powers, a psi can only have so many active at one time. The number of powers the psi can simultaneously operate depends on his Reason (mem) rank. To begin with, a character with a Reason rank of Typical (6) or less can only use or maintain one power at a time. For each Rsn (mem) rank higher than Typical (6), the psi can operate or maintain an additional psi power.
Also, it normally costs a psi one action in combat to activate a power, but none to deactivate one. This applies to any psi power, whether it is maintainable (flight, armor, etc..). or not (empathic hammer, psi bolt, etc..).. Now, if a psi anticipates trouble a bit in advance, he can usually activate all the powers that he normally can ahead of time.
For example, say we have a psikinetic fellow with a Remarkable (30) Reason (mem). He can operate a maximum of four powers at once. Now, he knows he's about to get in a scuffle with some mutant thugs, and activates flight, force field, and concussive strike, but leaves room for one more power, just in case the mutants pull something out of their sleeves that he didn't account for. You know those sneaky mutants... Character Advancement: the Development of the Psi
As the psi gains lots and lots of karma during his adventuring career he may, for some reason, wish to do something with it. Like any other character type, he can spend karma earned through his actions to buy himself new talents, contacts, or ability and power rank increases; this is handled as defined in the Creative Campaigning book. One facet of karma use that is different for psis is the process of buying powers.
Purchasing New Powers
Since psi powers are learned through extensive studies that awaken abilities we all supposedly have, the purchase of new ones is handled much like the buying of talents, although the price of doing so depends on a psi's schooling. For traditional psis, arts will cost 1500 karma points, talents cost 1000 karma points, and skills cost a measly 500 karma points. Intermediate psis pay a little more for powers; for them, arts cost 1875 karma points, talents cost 1250 karma points, and skills cost 625 karma points. Powers aren't cheap for the casual psi, as arts cost 2250 karma points, talents cost 1500 karma points, and skills will cost 750 karma points whenever purchased.
Another issue is a psi's development of exciting new ways to use his existing powers; these are known as power stunts. Power stunts cost 50 Kpts per try, but are otherwise governed by the same basic rules that exist for all other characters. So go ahead and give that crazy idea of yours a try... it might just work!!
Mastery of the Disciplines
Although the majority of the disciplinary mechanics have been talked about at length, things change a little bit after character generation is complete. For instance, after a psi has learned nine powers in one discipline (three arts, talents, and skills), he is considered a master of that discipline. This reaps a few cool benefits.
First off, the cost of purchasing further abilities within a mastered discipline is reduced by twenty percent. Secondly, all of the psi's powers in the mastered discipline are boosted by + 1 CS, to a maximum of Unearthly rank. This rank boost applies to existing powers as well as those the psi buys later within this discipline. Finally, as far as traditional students are concerned, the mastery of a discipline leads to overminding.
Overminding in a Discipline
Regardless of the rigid training and all else they must tolerate, traditional psis have it good, since their strict schooling reaps lots of benefits. Both traditional and intermediate psis can master any discipline, but only a traditional student can overmind in one. Overminding is a special situation that occurs within the mind of a psi after he has acquired at least half of the available powers in a discipline.
The theory is this: since the powers in a discipline are structured so similarly, they will begin to overlap in the psi's mind after he learns a majority of them. This will cause a psi to spontaneously develop new psionic powers, ones he hasn't even learned (or paid for) yet! In other words, he need not buy any more powers in that discipline, as they are all going to show up within a month or so, anyway.
This overlapping has another effect as well, that being yet another increase in power; the psi will receive another + 1 CS on all of his power ranks within that discipline, exceeding an Unearthly rank only under very special circumstances (in other words, if your Judge is dumb enough to let you get away with it..).. Also, since this utterly completes that discipline, the process of overminding allows the psi to begin work on another discipline if he hasn't already, starting the process all over again!
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