Telepathy

Telepathy is the Aptitude that deals most with the mind - that of the psion and his subject! Telepathy has contributed to the state of affairs in the 22nd century to some degree. Paranoia and mistrust are often the rule, as one can never tell when he is being eavesdropped upon mentally. Many nations have imposed or currently argue over laws that restrict use of telepathic powers. In some countries, use of even Mindspeak or Exacerbate invokes charges ranging from invasion of personal privacy to assault (of course, confirming when such an effect has been used brings its own set of difficulties). To be safe, important persons commonly employ psionic dampening bioware to prevent just such unwelcome observation.

In the Empire of the Senses

Many Telepathy techniques involve the use of sight. However, there are blind telepaths, and also sighted telepaths who prefer to work through other senses. Any technique normally requiring sight can be modified to work through sound, smell, touch and even taste. This last option is rarest, for the very simple reason that licking subjects is often not a useful or desirable approach. Ranges depend on the sense in question. Sound carries over distances comparable to line of sight, smell about half that, and the other senses require direct contact. A telepath can choose to learn techniques based on any sense the first time around, but in practice it's disorienting to rely on two or more senses on a regular basis. A telepath whose techniques depend on more than one sense for input risks psionic dysfunction (see below) at the fourth dot of a mode rather than the fifth. Once a telepath learns a technique based on one sense, adapting it to another requires half the experience points required to learn it originally, rounded up.

Mental Landscapes

The environment of the mind is a strange, often unsettling place, even for experienced telepaths. The rules of physical reality don't apply. Here, belief and determination rule.

When entering in a mental landscape, or mindscape, each individual gains a pool of psyche points, equal to Psi + the sum of her mental attributes + her single highest attribute in one of the other categories (physical or social). The player should divide these points among states of minds, assigning a general category and a focus to each. Among Ministry agents, states like Conviction (supremacy of the Chinese system), Ambition (status within the Ministry) and Love (favored individual) are common. A psychopathic killer might have Envy (others' happiness) and Lust (the process of murder), along with other traits. The category should be broadranging, like those that techniques like Sense Emotion and Well of Feeling work on, while the focus should be fairly clear-cut and specific, suitable for inclusion as a one-sentence idea for Mindshare transmission.

There's no limit on how highly rated any single state can be. Obsessive narrowness has its advantages as well as its drawbacks. Few sane people have very many states above 5 dots, however. It's also possible to keep some psyche points in reserve for specific tasks later.

Mental states substitute for attributes while in the mindscape. A character with a strong Conviction pertaining to justice would use that Conviction + Intimidation as a dice pool, while a character trying to persuade another to give up opposition to a government plan would use Conviction or Ambition + Rapport. If the character lacks any particularly relevant mental state, as determined by the Storyteller in consultation with the player, he must roll the ability alone, or may not even be able to attempt the feat at all. This is the tradeoff between a few very strong mental states and more, weaker ones.

Example: Ministry agent Xun Lu creates a mindscape within which to examine captured serial killer Choming An. Xun has Psi 4, Perception 3, Intelligence 3, Wits 3 and Dexterity 4, and therefore has 17 psyche points to spend. Choming has Psi 1, Perception 3, Intelligence 2, Wits 4, and Charisma 3, and therefore has 13 psyche points.

Xun's dominant states include Duty (Ministry), Love (China), Respect (Parents), Friendship (Teammates) and Enthusiasm (Hiking). Xun's player assigns 3 points to each and keeps 2 in reserve.

Choming's dominant states are simpler: Envy (Powerful People), Lust (Freshly Dead Bodies) and Hatred (Mortality). The ST assigns 5 points to Envy (Powerful People) and 4 points to each of the others, with nothing left in reserve.

At the moment of creation, the mindscape is always a featureless twilight plane. Each mental state lets the character define one feature of the mindscape, and it emerges with an intensity equal to the character's rating in that state. Changing a feature requires an extended Psi roll. First the changer must accumulate enough successes to match the feature's intensity. Each success after that lets the changer raise or lower the feature's intensity by 1, or modify it somewhat.

The feature can be part of the foreground, or part of the environment. If it interacts with the characters in some way, it's considered to have a dice pool equal to the strength of the mental state someone used to create it, and to have the same number of health levels, evenly divided among Bruised, Hurt and Wounded. (Extra levels left over after division become Bruised levels.)

The initiator of the mindscape goes first, with others acting in order from highest-rated mental state down to whoever has the lowest rating in his most intense state.

Example: Xun acts first. Knowing that Choming prefers nighttime for his awful crimes, Xun makes it a sunny day. He adds the sound of Xun's family in happy conversation somewhere in the distance, the entrance to the Forbidden City in Beijing as decorated for some formal occasion, a crowd of contented mandarins in procession and a glider soaring overhead, towing a banner listing the major neo-Confucian virtues. Each of these phenomena has a strength of 3.

Choming uses his five-dot envy to blot out the sky behind dense, dark rain clouds. Since his 5-dot state is stronger than the 3-dot state Xun used to create the sky, he actually makes it a dark twilight verging on full night. He sends constant earthquakes throughout the area, and summons forth a lava monster to slaughter the mandarins. He hopes their screams will drown out his family's voices, but he can't do anything about that directly.

Once the landscape's defined, the participants in the mindscape can go to work on it and each other. As noted above, their mental states substitute for regular attributes.

It's also possible to attack directly, with the intent of transformation. This requires rolls of Psi plus a mental state allowing for creative action. When the attacker accumulates as many successes as the strength rating of the target feature, he gains control of it and can manipulate it within the general framework of its nature. Xun could make the clouds clear rapidly, or summon a gentle rain, or even call down a tornado, but could not make them disappear instantly or turn them into a forest in the sky. The attacker can press on for more successes, and with twice as many successes as the target's strength, total control ensues. With eight successes, Xun could do anything at all with the clouds, from banishing them to pulling them down into the hectoring form of Choming's ex-wife.

Each participant can voluntarily let one of her features dissipate and apply the mental state used to create it to making a new feature next turn. It's also possible to create new features, by "attacking" a chosen part of the mindscape. The empty space has the equivalent of a 3-dot rating in not being anything in particular yet, which the would-be creator must overcome as usual. Upon accumulating six successes, the creator can define a new feature. Raising or lowering the new feature's strength by one requires an additional two successes.

Unassigned psyche points can:

• Heal damage, at two health levels per psyche point.
• Add to the strength of one of the character's mental states for one turn, at one level of state strength per psyche point.
• Assist in the creation of new features, at two successes per psyche point.

Participants can also choose to convert Willpower into psyche points, each dot of Willpower becoming one psyche points. These cannot be regained until the mindscape ends.

Participants can create weapons and armor. Each counts as a distinct feature, adding soak (in the case of armor) or automatic levels of damage (in the case of weapons), at one level per point of state strength. Otherwise combat proceeds with unarmed combat maneuvers.

Vehicles, animals and other modes of movement (like flying carpets, whirlwinds, etc.) appear with whatever performance specifications the creator desires. The mindscape is infinite, and going beyond the last defined feature merely means entering an endless expanse of undefined gray void. Vehicles created after the first can perform as well as the first no matter what their appearance or form; adding additional capabilities requires a separate act of creation or modification. In all cases, the rolls for handling the vehicle are its creating strength + Pilot or whatever the relevant ability is.

Example: Choming lets the earthquakes dissipate and summons up a strength 4 dream of a biotech fighter spaceship, dripping with venom and zooming away at faster-than-light speeds. Now that Choming has established FTL as part of the environment, Xun lets the sunny day (hidden now, anyway) dissipate and creates a strength 3 20th century prop airplane which can nonetheless fly at FTL speeds. In combat, Xun's player rolls (3 + Pilot) dice, while the ST rolls (4 + Pilot) for Choming.

Anyone reduced to Incapacitated level in the mindscape passes out. His features lose one strength rating, and any control he's exerting stops, leaving features to act as last commanded. Anyone reduced to death in the mindscape enters a coma state and must recover in accordance with regular healing rates. An attacker who reduces another mindscape participant to Incapacitated has the option of binding the loser into the mindscape. The victim must then make a Willpower roll to regain external consciousness; this roll can be attempted once per day (by outside time) and requires as many or more success than the strength of the state of the binder used to defeat the victim.

The mindscape usually lasts for one scene. Time passes normally unless someone dedicates some psyche points to modifying it: each point of state strength allows the character to double or halve the flow of time inside the mindscape. It's therefore possible to use mindscapes for confrontations that pass very rapidly in external terms, and to create mental prisons.

Example: After subduing the lava monster, and a series of other distractions, Xun confronts Choming directly, and renders him incapacitated in a series of attacks using Duty + Martial Arts against Choming's Envy + Brawl. Xun wraps strips of the mindscape around Choming, binding him there. Choming will now spend some time imprisoned in his own mind and it will feel much longer, because Xun lets the family noise dissipate. This frees three psyche points, which he uses to speed the flow of time: x2 for the first point, x4 for the second, then x8 for the third. Every minute in the world at large feels like eight to Choming, once he regains consciousness. The exhausted telepath then leaves the scene.

Botching

Botching isn't pleasant to start with, but messing up Telepathy imposes its own special problems. The psion may get headache-inducing mental feedback, may simply access the wrong memories or may completely misunderstand another's thoughts. Even worse, the hapless telepath could cross his own mental wires and inflict psionic feedback on himself, stumble across the subject's deepest fear only to have it become his, or even cause his own psyche to manifest derangements in response to the thoughts he accesses. The Storyteller can (and should) be creative with the possibilities here.

Basic Techniques

Mindscan

This Basic Technique is the stepping stone to much greater capabilities. The psion "tunes" his mind to discover a specific individual's psionic resonance. This doesn't allow the telepath to gauge his target's exact locations or distance (at best, it conveys a sense of "over there a short distance"). However, Mindscan does give the psion a mental connection to the subject through which he may use more significant psi effects.

System: Roll Psi; success indicates that your character picks up on the subject's psionic signature. Your character must be very familiar with the subject (a good friend, long-time co-worker or close relative) or have a psi print to use this effect. If the technique is used on a casual acquaintance or someone described carefully, roll at +1 difficulty. An individual glimpsed briefly or a telepath working off a name alone incurs a +2 or greater difficulty. Other psi effects such as Psi Cloak may also add to the difficulty.

Mindscan stays active for as long as your character concentrates, but imposes a +1 difficulty to all other actions performed due to the degree of focus required. Sensing range equals 100 meters times your character's Psi score. This distance increases by another 100 meters for each extra success rolled.

Once Mindscan is used to discover a subject, your character gets, at most, a general idea of her location. With three or more successes, your character can confirm if a target is in a specific location ("She isn't in her flat.") If your character's uses Mindscan to locate a subject, it doesn't matter if the target is in his line of sight. The telepath may also use other powers through the Mindscan connection as long as they aren't normally blocked by distance or physical barriers.

Pure Thought

The telepath enters a state in which a single thought and emotion dominate all others within his mind. Ordinary background and subconscious mental noise fades out. The thought and emotion are something the telepath really does think and feel, even if they're only part of his overall state of mind; they can't be wholly irrelevant to his actual mindset of the moment.
System: Spend 1 Psi and concentrate for one action. (This counts as one full action for purposes of splitting dice pools, if the psion really wants to try something else in the same turn). For the rest of the scene, all efforts to probe the psion's mind and get anything but the Pure Thought-created dominant state of mind suffer a difficulty penalty equal to half the psion's Psi score, rounded up. Efforts to probe the psion's psyche by non-psionic means like Rapport suffer a penalty equal to the psion's full Psi score.

Empathy

Beyond allowing interpretation of emotion, Empathy gives the psion command over it. This is a subtle yet potent capability, as many Empathy effects can manipulate a subject without that person even being aware of it.

Empathy is used routinely in diplomatic circles, where it is quite beneficial to "get a feel" for one's fellow ambassadors. It is also extremely useful in business ventures, in which every advantage over the competition is an asset.

O - Sense Emotions

The psion is in tune with the ebb and flow of human emotional tides. He can sympathetically "feel" what his subject feels, and thereby knows that subject's frame of mind.

System: Roll Psi in a resisted action against the target's Rapport Skill Total. the number of successes achieved indicates how much insight your character gets into the subject's current emotional state. A standard success yields a vague impression. ("She's disturbed") Four extra successes convey the entirety of the subject's condition. ("She's aggravated because she has a cold, she's uncomfortable because her shoes are one size too small, and she's' incensed at having to deal with someone as irrelevant as you.") The subject is not aware that his emotions have been put on display for your character's perusal.

Sense Emotion may be used accurately on a visible subject at a range of up to five times your character's Empathy rating in meters. At 3 Empathy your character can use this effect on a number of targets equal to his Psi score, simultaneously. You still roll only once, but your successes are compared to each subject's resisted Rapport roll.

Used creatively, this power can also reveal whether the last thing a subject said was a lie - telepaths are trained to read the signs of physical and emotional discomfort, as can arise when a subject lies.

The Music of the City

The telepath senses the degree of discord or harmony among the other people in the immediate vicinity. He can't tell, via this technique alone, what the prevailing emotions actually are, only how much disagreement there is. A lynch mob in the throes of lethal passion registers to the Music of the City as consistent and harmonious, while a workshop voting on whether to unionize and a church whose congregation is deeply split on a matter of doctrine or practice both "sound" contentious and jangly.

If there is only one other mind in the area, or none at all, the Music is monotonic or altogether absent. A telepath stranded in unfamiliar circumstances can therefore use this technique to check whether he's alone.

System:Spend 1 Psi and roll. One success lets the telepath sense the degree of dissonance within three meters; each additional success doubles the range. The Music remains "audible" for (Psi) turns, plus an additional turn for each point the telepath spends.

Telepaths with three or more dots in Empathy automatically get some sense of the emotions carried on the Music. The details depend on the telepath's individual aesthetic preferences, but destructive emotions always "sound" unpleasant, while happy ones "sound" good. This technique never fully substitutes for Sense Emotion, but can provide a good sense of the general ambience.

Exacerbate

The telepath, having identified a subject's emotions, can play upon them with subtle psionic manipulation. With just a bit of guidance, displeasure becomes antagonism, interest becomes drive and lust becomes unbridled passion. This power should be used with caution; while a psion can intensity a target's emotions, he cannot necessarily control them.

System: Spend a Psi point and roll; the number of successes on the Psi roll indicates the degree of emotional change. The results are largely a matter of roleplaying, although the Storyteller may choose to assign bonuses or penalties to those who are whipped into an emotional frenzy. This power's effects, once activated, last for the duration of the scene.

When extreme changes are imposed, the Storyteller may allow the target a Willpower roll to control her passions momentarily. While your character's emotional tampering isn't obvious, a particularly clever or knowledgeable individual might be able to ferret out the reasons behind someone's sudden emotional change.

At two dots, your character merely increases the subject's strongest current emotion, as long as the target is visible within a range of five times your character's Empathy score in meters. At 3 Empathy, he may reduce that emotion's intensity, instead. At four dots in this Mode, your character may use Exacerbate on a number of targets equal to his Psi rating, simultaneously.

Sense Aspiration

The telepath concentrates on a nearby target and picks up his sense of whether he is fulfilling his capabilities, or making progress toward his goals even if not there yet, or off on a wrong track, stuck in a dead end or otherwise just not there. The telepath cannot tell whether the target is correct, only what the target's own conviction is.

System: Spend 1 Psi and roll. A single success provides a broad, crude sense of the target's sense of self-fulfillment. Each additional success adds some additional information: a sense of progress or failure now compared with the past on two successes, a sense of lofty or mundane aspirations on three successes, and increasingly detailed insight into the target's actual goals and self-appraisal on four and five successes. Keep in mind that this technique does not provide any insight into the target's degree of self-deception, and a telepath who takes everything learned via Sense Aspiration as gospel may be setting herself up for trouble later.

Emotional Achilles

Telepaths are no strangers to the uses and abuses of this Aptitude. By using this power, a psion may subdue his own emotions, thereby becoming cold and distant and utterly self-interested. Telepathy powers used against the psion during this time are scarcely effective; his intellectual interests and emotional weaknesses are buried deep within him.

As this power's name implies, however, it has a weakness. If a clever telepath can divine the psion's inner drive, she may break his will and cancel any protection that this power conveys.

Using this effect proves addictive to some telepaths. Growing ever more paranoid, they retreat to their own personalities or erase them - a fact that earns Empathy its negative reputation.

System: Spend one Psi and one Willpower point, then roll Psi. Your character is completely unaffected by any Empathy effect for the duration of the scene, no matter how it's used. Any Mindshare or Psychbending powers used against him are also at a difficulty equal to the number of successes achieved on the Psi roll made to activate this power. If you got three successes, opposing telepaths are at a +3 difficulty to use Mindshare and Psychbending powers against your character.

If another telepath knows your character's Nature, however, she may affect him as normal. A telepath may only make one "guess" as to this nature per scene; defeating this power reflects a deep knowledge of the character's psyche, not a simple recitation of the Nature list. Still, telepathy effects, Rapport rolls, and Science (Psychology) attempts may help to reveal a telepath's true identity over time.

The Air of Authority

The telepath picks up the prevailing expectations in bystanders' minds as to what trustworthy authority is like. He does not learn precisely who they regard as legitimate authorities, the contents of their leaders' views or anything else of the sort, only the behavioral cues that tell these people "this is a leader to trust and obey." He can then act on those cues or not, as he chooses. Note that the telepath doesn't sense what would actually be in bystanders' best interests, only what they're inclined to follow.

System: Spend 1 Psi and roll. Each success adds +1 to the telepath's Command and Intimidation rolls for the rest of the scene. If, in the course of the scene, the makeup of the immediate population changes enough that different standards of leadership prevail — because a lot of people arrived or left, or the telepath moved — make a Psi roll to reattune to the new consensus. The first such reattunement roll costs no Psi, but if the situation changes again, the second and ensuing reattunements each cost an additional Psi (1 Psi for the second, 2 Psi for the third, etc.).

The Muse

This effect enables the psion to incite whatever feeling he wishes to within an audience. Deep sorrow, raging fury, fawning adoration, and cowering fear are all at the telepath's disposal. This power is used by petty dictators and politicians during speeches to rally their people into patriotic fervor, and by stage performers who generate vicarious catharsis through their performances.

The Muse is certainly useful to anyone who is in the public eye or who suddenly finds himself facing a crowd of surly antagonists. Obviously the more skilled the telepath is, the more people he can influence with this power.

System: Spend two Psi points and roll (at +2 difficulty if the targets are initially hostile or antipathetic toward your character). The number of successes achieved on the Psi roll determines how many people are affected by The Muse. The power covers a radius of up to 50 times your character's Psi score in meters. The effects last for the duration of the scene and your character may further alter the subjects' moods during that time with additional Psi rolls.

Successes Targets Affected
One Two - You can have a date every night if you want one.
Two 10 - Most popular person in your office.
Three 50 - The life of the party.
Four 200 - Politicos take tips from you.
Five 1000 - Don't cry for me, Argentina.
Those subject to The Muse's effects are not aware automatically that they have been influenced psionically. Yet if an individual's natural inclination toward your character is greatly at odds with the emotion that The Muse imposes, the target may feel anger or embarrassment - and if she's familiar with psi abilities or knows your character is a telepath, it won't be too difficult for her to figure out what has happened.

The Well of Feeling

The telepath extends an emotional damper throughout the vicinity, "draining off" a particular chosen emotion — hope, fear, lust, greed, or something else comparably fundamental. While the Well remains open, those within range cannot feel a particular emotion without unusual effort, and may not realize that anything external interferes even so. Those who leave the area (or who are still there when the Well closes) regain the ability to feel the chosen emotion normally, though their emotional state must shift to it naturally: even though its absence was induced artificially, the emotion really is gone from their psyches, not waiting to rebound immediately.

System: Spend 2 Psi and roll. The Well drains off the specified emotion from everyone within attunement range (see Trinity, p. 192), and lasts for ten minutes per success. (The telepath can choose to close the Well earlier, if she wants.) Anyone with a strong subconscious drive or external provocation to feel the drained-off emotion must roll Willpower or Psi, whichever is higher. A single success lets him feel the drained-off emotion for one turn. Getting as many or more successes than on the Well of Feeling roll breaks the effect on that individual altogether, and leaves the individual aware of something artificially blocking his emotions.

Mind Bomb

Officially known as "Emotional Focal Resurgence" the more blunt term "Mind Bomb" better conveys this power's abrupt and often devastating effect. The telepath reaches into the subject's psyche and triggers whatever deep emotional response that the psion desires (love, peace, hate, sorrow).

It doesn't matter what the target is feeling at the moment; Mind Bomb overwhelms her completely. The power's emotional trigger makes the subject recall the full intensity of an emotion related to an especially significant event in her life. Dredging up such powerful feelings can overwhelm the subject. Mind Bomb is often used with beneficial intent, although the power's harmful applications are evident.

System: Spend three points and roll Psi in a resisted action against the target's current Willpower total. If the subject achieves more successes, she shrugs off the power's effect. On a tie, the target is distracted for one turn by the sudden emotional upwelling she feels, putting her at +2 difficulty on all actions that turn. If your character gets a higher number of successes, the subject falls under Mind Bomb's full effect.

The target is dominated by this power's impulses for a number of minutes equal to the extra successes you roll. If your character wants the target to feel joy, the subject becomes infused with happiness, even tossing aside her weapons and embracing a bitter enemy. If your character dredges up rage in the target, the subject is overcome by violent intent, even lashing out physically at loved ones.

Your character May even set the Mind Bomb to trigger at a later time. Each additional Psi point spent puts off the emotional explosion for one hour, giving the telepath plenty of time to clear the area.

The Orchestrator of the City

The telepath focuses on a particular subject — a person, place, idea, thing, etc. — and then reaches into the emotions of those in the area. Without conscious effort or decision, people within range who sympathize with or otherwise support the subject gather around one designated point of attraction, while those who reject or dislike it gather at another. The more intense an individual's feelings, the more strongly they're drawn to one or another of the attractors.

System: Spend 3 Psi and 1 Willpower and roll. If successful, the orchestration affects all within attunement range, and lasts for ten minutes, plus ten minutes per additional success. The points of sympathetic and hostile attraction can be anywhere within range, and the telepath can move either or both at up to normal walking speed without additional concentration. (At the cost of one full turn's concentration, he can move either or both anywhere else in range immediately).

People responding to the orchestration will not put themselves in immediate danger — they won't walk into fires or off cliffs, for instance — but they do proceed with determined persistence past mundane obstacles. Once at the point of attraction, or as close as they can get, they act as if they'd naturally gathered in support of or opposition to the subject. That is, the telepath has just created two mobs, or at least potential mobs. Ministry telepaths generally use this technique only when in teams, with other telepaths on hand to control and study the gatherings.

Individuals who make an Awareness roll with as many or more successes than on the Orchestrator roll are aware of feeling a particular compulsion to go somewhere, and may make a Willpower roll to avoid acting on it. A single success suffices in most cases, though an individual with especially strong passions on the subject makes the roll at +1 difficulty or more, at Storyteller discretion. The telepath may spend 1 Psi and 1 Willpower and make a second roll to disperse the crowd, any time before the effect wears off. If this second roll succeeds, affected people aren't aware of anything artificial having happened to them. Otherwise, they do realize that they've been manipulated once the effect ends.

Mindshare

The "traditional" telepathic Mode, Mindshare is the transmission of information from one mind to another. Mindshare depends on waves of psionic energy more so than any other Aptitude does - sensitives claim they literally "see" the waves of thought as they move from one person to another.

1 The Babel Effect Inspiration
2 Mindspeak Synchronicity
3 Pilfer Shared Perceptions
4 Brainjack Mental Landscape
5 Network The Library of Babel
The Babel Effect

This power enables the psion to access a subject's surface thought patterns that tie directly to what a person is currently saying - and to project the same on others when the telepath himself speaks. Tying mental concept with physical speech in this way enables the psion to create a sort-of "universal translation," no matter what languages individual speakers use.

Noeticists posit that the Babel Effect translates only actual communication (from speech to sign language) and not pure thoughts because the power concentrates on the brain's speech centers. Purely mental communication requires a higher degree of telepathic skill than this effect allows.

System: When your character speaks to someone and translation is necessary, roll Psi. Success indicates that he has no problem comprehending the subject's speech, or communicating his own back for the remainder of the scene.

Your character can use the effect on a total number of subjects equal to his Mindshare rating, simultaneously. (3 Mindshare allows for three people to understand one another through the Babel Effect). Again, this technique works with actual physical communication only, whether it's spoken words or gestured signs.

Communicating with aliens may be attempted with a difficulty assigned by the Storyteller (as a reference, the Babel Effect used on a Qin is rolled at +1 difficulty).

Inspiration

The telepath focuses on a subject (not herself) and passing a jolt of confidence, courage or sheer persistence — some manifestation of the will to persist because the goal is worth overcoming a present trouble.

System: Spend 1 Psi and roll. The subject receives one free Willpower to spend by the end of the scene, after which it's lost. Every two additional successes and another dot. The subject must be within line of sight, and is aware of receiving an external boost alongside the sense of rightness in his chosen path.

Mindspeak

This effect allows the psion to converse with a subject via pure thought. Each individual need merely think at one another with about the same amount of concentration used to speak verbally. Unlike verbal communication, however, Mindspeak transcends language differences, distance, and physical barriers. This level of intimacy disturbs many people, including psions, so it is customary for telepaths to ask permission before making such contact.

System: Spend one point to initiate Mindspeak between your character and another individual. If the subject resists this attempt, you each roll Psi in a resisted action (even a normal human gets one die). If you get more successes, the link works (but don't expect to have a terribly productive conversation). Actively thinking to disrupt the Mindspeak requires the subject's full attention, putting her at +1 difficulty to all other actions as she maintains her "mental screen."

Once initiated, Mindspeak lasts for the entire scene on that individual (it can't be shifted suddenly to another subject).

At two dots, Mindshare may be used on a target up to a kilometer distant. If the subject is not in line of sight, a psi print or Mindscan is required to initiate contact. At three dots in this Mode, the distance increases to his Psi rating in kilometers. At 4 Mindshare, range increases to fie kilometers per Psi, and a psi print is no longer required (although your character must be familiar with the target, even if only through a hologram). At five dots in this Mode, Mindspeak may be maintained at 10 kilometers for every permanent Psi.

Synchronicity

The telepath picks a particular idea or insight, and spreads it through the area. Everyone within range arrives at the idea through apparently natural means, either as the apparently logical outcome of a chain of reasoning or as a bolt from the blue that nonetheless feels natural and appropriate.

System: Spend 1 Psi and roll. If successful, the telepath affects everyone within two meters; the range doubles with each additional success. Those affected pick up on the idea by the end of the scene. The idea may contain the equivalent of up to one simple sentence's worth of information per two levels of Mindshare the telepath knows, rounded up. Thus a telepath who knows one or two levels of Mindshare could spread the idea that "the Ministry is the most honest organization in the Chinese government," while someone with three or four levels could add "the Æon Society means well for the people of China" and someone with five levels could go beyond that to suggest "we ought to grant the Autonomous Regions more independence".

If a target has some very strong bias against the concept, she may make a Willpower roll. One success weakens the idea down to something that occurs but seems clearly wrong and inappropriate; getting as many or more successes than on the Synchronicity roll allows the target to realize that someone's trying to implant something into her mind.

Pilfer

The psion may search through a subject's memory to extract specific thoughts. No longer limited to conscious thoughts, the telepath has complete access to all of the information stored in the target's mind. Use of this power is immediately recognizable if the subject consciously thinks about whether her mind is being searched (this is why most telepaths prefer to do their Pilfering while their targets sleep).

System: Spend one Psi point and roll. The depth of memories and thoughts that can be isolated depends on the Psi roll's degree of success (see below). The attempt is made at +2 difficulty if the subject resists the search.

While simple facts are gleaned easily, more detailed memories flash into your character's mind almost as if she experiences them herself. If your character or the subject is mentally unstable, such an event can be extremely disturbing.

Successes Information Revealed
One Cursory - What the subject had for lunch yesterday; what color underwear she's wearing (if any!)
Two Consequential - Plans for the evening; parent's phone number
Three Important - Ambitions and goals; people with whom she is in regular contact
Four Grave - Criminal activities in which the subject is involved; sordid life affairs
Five Monumental - Memories of birth; suppressed, very secret thoughts
The length of time needed to transfer this information depends on the successes rolled; one success' worth of information takes a few seconds to understand. Deeper, more detailed memories can take minutes to extract. Entering a target's mind requires line of sight, Mindscan or a psi print (although these are no longer required with four dots in Mindshare), and the subject must be within a range of 100 times your character's Psi score in meters.

Shared Perceptions

The telepath and a chosen subject gain full access to each others' sensory experience of the surrounding world. It takes some effort to shift from one person's sensorium to the other, more to try selecting some senses from one participant and some from the other, and still more to let both sets of senses send signals and try to separate them in the mind.

System: Spend 1 Psi, plus another per additional subject, and roll. Unwilling targets may make a Willpower roll to resist, and fend off the sharing if they get more successes than the telepath did with the Shared Perceptions roll. Make an Awareness roll to shift perceptions from one participant's body to another, at +1 difficulty to exclude one particular sense or +2 difficulty to pick and choose specific senses. Allowing sensory input to overlap does not require an Awareness roll, but it's distracting — anyone trying this suffers a difficulty penalty of (6 - Psi) to all rolls involving interaction with the outside world.

Shared Perceptions do not include thoughts, feelings or other mental phenomena, only the sensory data coming in to the mind. The effect lasts for one scene, or earlier if the telepath chooses to end it sooner. Other subjects may make a Willpower roll to cut themselves loose prematurely, and can do so with as many or more successes than on the Shared Perception roll.

Brainjack

This power (known as Addling or Befuddlement amongst polite society) is named after the mental effects it causes in the subject. By interweaving his own random thoughts with those of his subject, the psion engenders such an overwhelming sense of confusion that the target is unable to take any action whatsoever.

There are tales of poor fools who have suffered at the hands of Brainjack, leaving them totally defenseless while antagonistic psions' allies have literally beaten the victims to death. This power is not used lightly, and its implementation is considered assault and battery in most civilized countries.

System: Spend two points and roll Psi. Each success equals a turn in which the subject is hopelessly confused, lost in a whirling dervish of random familiar and foreign mental impulses (effectively, she's dazed, unable to take any actions or to even speak coherently). Your character is at +2 difficulty for the turn following the use of Brainjack, due to the brief but intense mental focus the effect requires.

A target may be affected at a range of up to 30 times your character's Psi score in meters. At 5 Mindshare, the psion may Brainjack a number of targets equal to his permanent Psi, simultaneously (although each additional one after the first requires another Psi point and a separate roll, and must be either in line of sight or sensed via Mindscan).

Particularly willful targets (with Willpower scores of 7 or greater) may attempt to throw off the confusion once it has started; the subject may roll Willpower once per turn (against a difficulty equal to the number of successes achieved on your Psi roll) to shake off the confusion and act normally in that turn.

Mental Landscape

The telepath and one or more subjects stop perceiving the outside world and experience a noetic environment reflecting their thoughts and feelings.

System: Spend 2 Psi, plus 1 Psi per additional person to include in the emerging mindscape, and roll. If successful, the psion creates a mindscape as described in "Mental Landscapes," below. Unwilling subjects may make a Willpower roll to resist inclusion, and need as many or more successes than the psion got on the Mental Landscape roll. The mindscape lasts for the rest of the scene; participants may make a Willpower roll to drop out earlier, and need as many or more successes than on the initial roll.

Network

The telepath becomes a virtual "switchboard" for a group of select individuals. By opening channels among a number of people, the psion facilitates mental communication between those people. The people to whom the psion extends his services are able to converse from mind to mind.

These individuals are able to carry on full-fledged mental conversations with the entire group, not to merely send thoughts to and receive information from the psion. The psion is skilled enough at this level to filter out most of his own stray thoughts. Others aren't necessarily so capable and may accidentally communicate thoughts meant only for themselves.

System: Spend one Psi for each individual tied into the Network, after which mental communication is possible between the selected members for the entire scene. This power doesn't work on an unwilling subject, and doesn't allow for pilfering or other invasive attempts.

Once linked, any one member with Telepathy may affect another target - or even the entire group - through the Network. Since all of the members of the Network are connected, it's entirely possible that a power used in this way backlashes on its user.,

Your character maintains supreme control of the Network, and may shut it off temporarily or even eject an individual from it. Connected subjects may range as far as 30 times your character's permanent Psi in kilometers before contact is broken. The total number of people that your character may connect (aside from himself) equals his Psi score.

The Library of Babel

The telepath and chosen subjects merge their knowledge at a subconscious level — they can all draw on each other's training and experience to perform abilities at the highest competence enjoyed by anyone in the gestalt. This does not provide conscious access to memories, only a sense of what must be done to accomplish a particular task.

System: Spend 2 Psi and 1 Willpower, and roll. One subject per success is included along with the telepath in the resulting gestalt. For the rest of scene, as long as the participants stay within attunement range, they all perform as if they had the highest ability rating of anyone involved. The telepath automatically knows who's contributing the knowledge for a particular feat; others may make a Psi roll to do so. A botched roll drawing on someone else's knowledge disconnects that individual from the gestalt.

Psychbending

This Mode concerns manipulating the conscious and subconscious impulses and actions of others. Skilled Psychbenders can have their way with their subjects, and leave the victims oblivious to the experiences afterward. It is just this danger that makes Psychbending punishable as rape in many countries of the world.

1 Willfinder Passion Recognition
2 Will Control Calming the Torrent
3 Mindshield The Good Citizen
4 Mindwarp Psychic Community
5 Shagg's Folly The Receptive Soul
Willfinder

The psion attunes himself to others' psionic resonances. He may determine whether a subject is under the influence of a Psychbending power by looking at the emanations of the subject's mind. Not that he can do anything about it.

System: Spend a Psi point. Your character is attuned to the particular psi resonance involved with Psychbending effects for the remainder of the scene. He may check for any mental tampering when interacting with anyone. Make a simple Psi roll for each attempt.

Passion Recognition

The telepath examines a subject's noetic pattern in search of points of compulsion. Depending on the individual, these may be addictions, overwhelming psychological drives or other matters where the individual's reason cannot readily override the urge.

System: Spend 1 Psi and roll. Each success identifies a particular driving urge within the subject, who must be within the telepath's line of sight.

+++Will Control
This manifestation of Psychbending covers the submission of the subject's will to the psion's. The telepath transmits a mental command to hits subject that she is compelled to obey.

System: Spend one point and roll Psi in a resisted action against the target's Willpower. The command's power and complexity increase along with your character's skill in this Mode. The chart below indicates your character's Psychbending level, and his degree of influence.

If you roll more successes than the subject does, those successes determine his degree of control. If your character gets four successes beyond his opponent's total, he may have the target perform anything up to a complex command. If the subject rolls an equal or greater number of successes, she resists the compulsion. While your character must decide on his command prior to the roll, he may alter it if he succeeds but doesn't score quite enough successes to fulfill the original command.

The target may "buy down" the command's intensity by spending a Willpower point immediately after the resisted action. Each point spent drops the level by one, modifying the command appropriately. Specific alterations to your character's command are left up to the Storyteller, but should somehow suit the original compulsion. For example, a target under a complex command to shoot someone else spends one Willpower point. The Storyteller decides that the subject maintains just enough control to turn her weapon aside and shoot the nearby bulkhead instead.

Successes Command Intensity
One Subconscious - Sneeze, blink, scratch an itch
Two Minor/Quirky - Eat a bug, hail a hovertaxi, wear an ugly shirt
Three Major/Noteworthy - Do my homework, buy lunch for someone you hate
Four Complex/Antithetical - Worship a foreign god; fill out this form, place it in an empty locker in the magtrain depot, click your pen three times and hum the following tune…
Five Epic/Suicidal - Memorize a library's worth of information, cut off your own head
Will Control may be inflicted on any target within a range of up to 10 times your character's Psi score in meters, and lasts until the command is completed.

Calming the Torrent

The telepath weakens the subject's passions and drives, rendering her susceptible to command. Affected individuals are markedly calm and placid, even when acting alertly and promptly in the face of danger.

System: Spend 1 Psi and roll. Each success reduces the target's temporary Willpower by 1 for the rest of the scene. The telepath must be able to make eye contact (or comparable direct engagement with another sense, as described in "In The Empire of the Senses" above). Targets reduced to 0 Willpower this way do not suffer the compulsion to act in accordance with their Nature so as to regain Willpower. Instead, they remain especially open to suggestion from others.

Mindshield

The best offense is a good defense…at least with regard to this Aptitude! The psion can safeguard himself against telepathic intrusion. The psion diffuses incoming telepathic effects into harmless waves of psi energy by setting up a barrier of psionic static.

System: Spend one Psi point to put up a Mindshield for the remainder of the scene. Whenever your character is assaulted telepathically, make a resisted Psi roll against the attacker's own roll. If the attacker gets more successes those are applied to her effect as normal. Otherwise your character resists the attack.

At 4 Psychbending, your character may bestow Mindshield on others. Your character simply touches the individual; spend a point and roll Psi. The mental barrier surrounds the subject for one minute for each success. Note that the recipient rolls her own Psi score against any attacks while she is gifted with the Mindshield.

The Good Citizen

This technique combines several specific commands into a single package, the result of years of experiment both in the lab and in the field. In theory it could be modified to allow for a different set of commands, but so far none of the thieves who've grabbed the crucial data on this technique have managed to do so. The Good Citizen transforms its subject into just that — a good citizen, by the standards of the New Chinese Empire and the Ministry of Psionic Affairs. The subject is obedient to authorities, dutiful in family obligations, and devoted to virtue, freedom and responsibility as Bue Li promotes them.

System: Spend 2 Psi and make a resisted roll of Psi against the target's Willpower. If the telepath achieves one success, the target becomes slightly inclined toward the bundle of virtues. Two successes make the target seriously inclined toward them; she must make a Willpower roll to act contrary to them. Each additional success thereafter adds +1 to the difficulty of this roll, to a maximum of +5. The changes are permanent, though the subject may later come to a changed outlook through normal means.

Mindwarp

This aspect of Psychbending is the creation, deletion, and alteration of a subject's memories. Governments and secret societies typically keep telepaths skilled in this effect on hand for use against subversive elements. Successful use of Mindwarp can leave the subject changed quite radically from her original state.

System: Spend two Psi and one Willpower, then make a resisted Psi roll against the subject's Willpower. If the target rolls an equal or greater number of successes than the subject does, these successes indicate the degree of alteration that your character may perform (see below).

Your character must decide his intended memory alteration prior to the roll, but if his successes don't reach the appropriate level needed, the change reduces in intensity. The Storyteller may want to make the resisted roll herself to keep the resolution in doubt. The target may also try to "buy down" the Mindwarp's intensity by spending a Willpower point immediately after the resisted action. Each point spent drops the level of change by one, modifying the alteration appropriately.

Specific changes are left up to the Storyteller, but should suit the original manipulation. For example, a subject commanded to forget that she was ever married spends one Willpower point. The Storyteller decides that the person knows she was married, but can't remember to whom.

Successes Degree of Manipulation
One Trivial - Your phone number is one digit off; you don't remember what brand of liquor you like
Two Minimal - You forget where you put your credit card; you saw someone else instead of me
Three Major - You forget where you work; you were married to a person who never existed
Four Severe - You forget your native language; you remember your mother being a man
Five Disastrous - You forget to breathe; you remember being born two thousand years ago on the planet Krivos, over one million parsecs away
Mindwarp may be inflicted on a target at a range of up to 10 times your character's Psi score in meters, and requires your character's full concentration for a number of minutes equal to the successes needed for the appropriate alteration.

Psychic Community

This technique lets a telepath affect a whole target population at once. Whatever the majority view is on any topic becomes everyone's view: the consensus imposes itself on individual dissent. Only the strongest-willed individuals can resist this.

System: Spend 2 Psi and 1 Willpower and roll. If successful, the Psychic Community effect works on everyone within attunement range. Individuals whose current Willpower is less than or equal to the number of success automatically join the consensus, losing any minority opinions they may have. Individuals with higher Willpower must make a Willpower roll to resist, and need as many or more successes than on the Psychic Community roll.

The consensus ebbs and flows as people move in and out of range; the telepath can freeze it any time before the end of the scene, at which point innate — the consensus view doesn't wear off, though individuals can again change their minds naturally, through normal processes of social interaction and personal decision-making.

Each additional Psi spent lets the telepath introduce one simple sentence's worth of outlook into the consensus, which prevails among all affected individuals just as if it were a majority view.

Shagg's Folly

This power was named after one of the first psions, who was reputed to live "15 seconds in the future" (his peers were unfamiliar with the fineries of Psychbending). The effect telepathically reveals the immediate plans of all those surrounding the psion. The telepath may then act on this knowledge, anticipating others' movements before they even begin to carry them out.

This power is rumored to have driven many users mad, their minds scrambled by an influx of information at an incredible rate.

System: Spend three Psi points and roll. The number of successes achieved indicates how many individuals' imminent actions are revealed to your character. This starts with the subject closest to your character and radiates outward to the one furthest from him (up to a range of 30 times his Psi score in meters), regardless of whether the individual is friendly or not.

The character's actions in the following turn are revealed, and these declarations must be adhered to as closely as possible. This power can be used for an entire scene once activated, although you must make the Psi roll each turn to anticipate actions accurately. Though Shagg's Folly does not confer any extra speed upon the user, it still prepares your character for events before they unfold.

The Receptive Soul

This technique breaks down some of the noetic structures that support individual psychic identity, allowing the telepath to use the subject as a "vessel." If the psychic bridge-building succeeds, the telepath can at any time take full control of the subject as long as the subject is within attunement range. The degree of control can vary, at the telepath's whim, from slight nudges up to full-blown "possession." Bue Li uses this technique with extremely precise control to move from one mental host to another.

System: Spend 3 Psi and 1 Willpower and make a resisted roll against the target's Willpower (if the target resists), or a regular Psi roll (if the target cooperates). If successful, this technique builds a lasting connection between telepath and subject. Unfortunately, there's usually a great deal of collateral damage. The subject's temporary Willpower and Psi both fall to 0, and must rebuild normally. In addition, the subject's permanent Willpower and Psi both fall to 1, plus one per additional success on the Receptive Soul roll up to their usual maximums. Psions capable of using this technique usually apply it in an extended roll, precisely to avoid blasting the subject's capacity for psi and determination to smithereens.

The connection between psyches lasts for 1 week, doubled for each additional success on the roll. While it's in effect, telepath is constantly aware in a low-keyed way of how the subject feels, and can at any time spend one action to shift awareness into the target's senses. With one turn of concentration, the telepath can take control at any desired duration and intensity, from issuing a single command to drawing on all the subject's memories and abilities. In this state of full engagement, the subject also receives fragments of the telepath's thoughts and feelings.

Psionic Dysfunction

Telepathy is one thing — the aptitude — not three separate things strung together without any real, fundamental connection. The three-fold division of modes does reflect an actual division within the aptitude's potential, but it's also partly a matter of tradition and practice, the evolved pedagogic conventions of the Ministry and other telepaths as well as a scientific reality. The modes must work together if the telepath wants to preserve psychic stability.

Psions who lose track of the unity within the aptitude and concentrate too exclusively on one of the modes develop psychological and behavior abnormalities. Specifically a telepath with one mode at five dots and both of the other modes at one dots enters a state of psionic dysfunction. Less intense forms of the abnormalities described below appear in telepaths with one mode at four dots and the others at one dot each, or with one mode at four or five dots and one of the others at one dot but they don't really become crippling until the dominant mode reaches five dots and both of the others stay at one dot.

The dysfunction remains in effect until the telepath adds two more levels to the other modes, either one level each or two levels in one of them. The dysfunction then fades rapidly, within a few days. The memory remains vivid, of course, and many formerly dysfunctional telepaths need counseling to regain lost confidence.

Empathic Dysfunction

A character overly focused on Empathy becomes hyper-sensitive to the feelings of others, and in particular to their feelings about him. He becomes euphoric when convinced that others in the area approve of him, despondent when suspecting they disapprove, and in either case goes to great extremes to find out what they think and to try to make them think well of him. Semi-conscious abuses of his powers usually follows. When by himself, he's prone to wild mood swings, often repeatedly within a few minutes, and usually (though not always) feels driven to seek out the company of others. As soon as others notice this frenzy, the character suffers a +2 difficulty penalty to all social interactions, and even before they notice, must make a Willpower roll to resist the urge to forcibly alter others' unfavorable opinions of him.

Mindsharing Dysfunction

A character overly focused on Mindshare becomes obsessed with the knowledge in others' heads. She tends to favor direct mental communication over verbal or other physical channels, regarding anything but thought itself as imprecise and unreliable. She's driven to seek out others' secrets, to find out what others are doing and what their motives are. She's also highly susceptible to adopting the strong opinions of others as her own, particularly when she lacks strong preexisting convictions on the subject. She must make a Willpower roll each scene to restrain the urge to probe others' minds by telepathic means, and another Willpower roll on each instance when an opportunity to snoop in private documents or other evidence arises. She's also at +2 difficulty to resist efforts at persuasion and intimidation unless she has a very strong view on a topic.

Psychbending Dysfunction

A character overly focused on Psychbending becomes obsessed with control, eager to control others and thoroughly paranoid about whether others are trying to control him. Any use of Telepathy in his vicinity makes him suspect a plot to manipulate him, and in turn he uses his own powers almost casually to try to keep others subservient to him. He sees all interactions in behavioristic terms, regarding people as complex automata generating fixed output in response to specified input. Intuitive and otherwise non-rational motives confuse him and make him suspect an unseen plot. He suffers a +2 difficulty penalty on all relevant social interactions, and must make a Willpower roll each scene to avoid trying to force — by both psionic and neutral means — everyone around him to follow his orders.

The Ministry has a particularly organized program for dealing with psionic dysfunction. Any member who shows clear signs of dysfunction is immediately removed from active duty and kept under close watch at an isolated facility. Instructors attempt to persuade the member of her imbalance and the need to redress it, and offer crash training to help the dysfunctional regain balance as quickly as possible. Individuals who resist suasion are subject to coercive treatment if the Ministry regards them or their work as particularly important — the Ministry simply can't afford to let talent telepaths go to waste for the sake of essentially petty obsessions.