Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A dozen unusual psionic talents for Traveller

Psionics! They're a curious corner of the CT rules, seemingly out of place among mundane things like equipment lists and unrefined fuel and Admin skill. Most of the Psi talents were pretty low-power; CT was not trying to replicate your favorite super-hero comics. But there is that small section, a paragraph really, discussing Special powers. The rarest of the rare. The description paragraph leaves it totally in the hands of the referee as to what those talents might be, offering only the counsel that Special powers be limited by the need for a material focus, perhaps a nod to the Kaiburr crystal from Splinter of the Mind's Eye by Alan Dean Foster.

Warning! The referee who does not ponder long and hard about what these talents might be used for may be in for an unpleasant surprise once players get a hold on them. Make of these what you will; a lot of these come from an old bit of house-ruling I did over a decade ago. I found the files recently and decided to post them. I can't claim that any of these ideas are completely original to me, but I've not borrowed from anyone elses' work as far as I am aware. The player and referee will have to work out how this talent is controlled, what the focus is, and what its' limits are.

Prepare to get a little weird: 

Psi Static 

The person with this talent creates a field of psionic energy, interfering with most normal psi use. Often this talent is difficult to control. This unusual talent is normally on, at no point cost, and the Talent training centers on how to turn it off.


This talent allows the user to induce a state of drowsiness on a subject, in many cases causing the subject to fall asleep. If the victim is unresisting, success is usually automatic. If the victim makes an effort to remain awake and alert, roll 8+ for success, DM-(subject's END/5) or -subject's Shield skill.


A person with Suggestion talent may place ideas into a subject's subconcious, with the intention of influencing that person's actions. For obvious reasons, this talent is classed unethical and often also illegal. Against a shielded mind, failure is automatic, while against an unshielded mind, success is likely, depending on the nature of the suggestion. Any suggestion strongly contrary to the subject's normal beliefs or behavior will be resisted. For example, a healthy, happy person cannot be Suggested into suicide, nor can a Suggestion cause a vigilant guard to let unauthorized persons stroll freely past his post. But the healthy person may be Suggested to take greater risks, and the guard may be Suggested to be less attentive than usual.


The person with Relay talent can act as a communication network between two people. It includes the Send Thoughts and Read Thoughts talents; this talent involves switching from send to receive quickly so that two non-psionics may communicate mentally.


It is not certain whether this talent actually exists. If it does, it enables a person to send thoughts across interstellar distances instantaneously, allowing communication over light years without requiring travel. The sender must send to a specific receiver, but how the mental message locates the subject is not known.


 This is the ability to see into the possible future, based on information known. Visions of a future are not guaranteed accurate, only what is likely to happen. Due to the complexity of most interactions, more general impressions of events will be accurate, while specifics are much harder to predict. Predicting the scores of sporting events is next to impossible.


A postcognitive psionic can look into the past and ‘see’ what happened at a previous time in an area, or to an object. Information gained is mostly visual perception, but some postcognitives have gained intuitive insight into past events that cannot be explained by sensory input.

Psi Detection 

The ability to detect the presence of other psionically capable persons. A psi detector, popularly called a radar, can detect the mental frequencies used in psionic activity. Normally, only active psi use can be detected, such as a telepath reading thoughts or someone using psi-enhanced strength. At very high skill levels, a radar can detect a psi even if they are not using their talents.

Telekinetic Acrobatics 

By applying telekinesis to athletic moves, a Psi can achieve feats greater than normal humans. Examples include extra-high or extra-long jumps, slow falling, throwing objects extra distance or with extreme accuracy.


This talent manipulates the heat energy stored in any physical object, lowering or raising its effective temperature. Lowering temperatures may cause materials to become weak or brittle, while heating them can cause melting. The effect upon living tissue can be seriously damaging or fatal.

Fatigue Recovery

This talent allows a psi to keep moving or fighting after the normal Endurance limit has been reached. Spending one Psi point per round allows the psionic to continue fighting with full strength blows instead of weakened blows. Remember that actual rest or sleep is required to restore expended Psi points, so this skill cannot keep a character going forever.


This talent duplicates the effects of Slow Drug, without the necessity of using actual drugs. From the PCs perspective, the world slows down to half speed, as they are in fact moving at twice normal speed. PCs with the Speed talent can attack twice per round, and run twice as far as normal. The usual effects and after-effects of Slow drug will occur.

And that's just the beginning of all of the possible Special psi talents out there. Please share your ideas for unusual or strange talents in the comments section.

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