Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: The Psionic Tradition
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Eyeless Blond
After seeing Gothic Rose's excellent homebrew tradition I was inspired to write one up for Psionics. So, here we go:

Concept: "Magic" is nothing more nor less than the power of intelligent thought manifested in the world. Casting spells, conjuring spirits, and all other magical activities are a result of those with exceptional mental power manipulating the common reality through sheer will and mental fortitude.
Combat: Beasts. (Manifestation of primal, "lower brain" thoughts)
Detection: ?Air (Really no idea, but it seems to fit)
Health: ?Fire (Again, no idea. Earth might do well here also, come to think of it)
Illusion: Water. (Water spirits are the essence of flexability, and go well with illusion)
Manipulation: Man. (Higher thought-forms, associated with higher-order spells that directly alter reality)
Drain: Willpower+Intuition (I considered Logic, but Intuition just "feels" more right I guess.)

I think, therefore I am. Descartes, like most so-called "men of science" may have artificially hobbled themselves by limiting their theories to what can be difinitively proven, but he did manage to describe, in one sentence, the first and most essential law in the universe. Thought exists; indeed it is the only thing that can truly be said to exist. The use of magic is evidence of this fact, as it proves that even reality itself can be bent to a strong will.

Unlike hermetics, who base their magic on complex formulae and rigorous study, psions are more flexible in their practice. They believe it is their own willpower that is used to alter reality in spellcasting, their own inner thoughts made manifest when conjuring Thought Forms, or "Spirits" as some of the less enlightened call them.

Mages who are drawn to live the life of a psionic mage care deeply about their personal philosophies. Thought being more important to many psionic mages than life itself, some will pursue their chosen philosophy as wholeheartedly as a fanatic; zealots are all too common among psionic mages. Others choose a more libertarian approach; all thought is sacred, being the fundamental building block of existence, so all thoughts and all thinkers are equally acceptable. Most come somewhere in-between.

As thought is the bedrock upon which their lives are based, psionic mages are drawn to intellectual pursiuts, and many are counted as prominent members of the academic world. Many, though, have willingly left such institutions, insisting that such places are bastions to old, tired dogma, and sometimes strike out on their own to find their own truth. These mages can quickly tire of the feel-good falseness of corporate life and are eventually drawn to the shadows, where truth can exist most freely, or so they believe.

Trappings of psionic magic are many and varied. Crystals and pyramids are in fashion these days, as are magnets and headbands or bracelets made of precious metals and the like. Other psions adhere to a philosophy dictating that the form of an object of power is not so important as the thoughts and feelings associated with them. Such mages will make their foci and fetishes out of childhood toys, favored or important objects in their lives such as a pair of old glasses. Sometimes they will choose objects that are symbolic of ideas important to their own lives, such as a cross for a Christian Psion.

So how's that? I'm a little iffy on the Detection and Health associations, but I couldn't really think of anything better.
i don't understand. it's just as powerful as hermeticism/shamanism. how can it be psionics?

i'd have gone with logic myself, but for much the same reason you went with intuition, so *shrug*. looks good.
Eyeless Blond
Yeah, I could go either way with the drain attribute, so long as it's not Cha. smile.gif The main reason I chose Int over Log was just to emphasize that this is not a formulaic approach to magic like hermeticism, but it would work fine with either.

But how about the other mappings? Does my reasoning sound fair for those?
Ancient History
Have you actually studied any parapsychology? I mean, there's only a century or so worth of research on it.
Eyeless Blond
Heh, no. Psych is what my sister's into; I majored in chemistry. None of that for me, thanks. smile.gif

And that's why I'm asking if any of the above makes sense.
Ancient History
Not really, no. If you were going to do a serious approach to a psionic tradition, you should really throw in more pseudoscientific stuff rather than New Age crystals, pyramids and "the psionic mage."
I'm with Ancient on this one. At least as pertains to existant SR canon, Psionicists have always been portrayed following the traditional parapsychological paradigm, rather than the new age psionist mage (which in fact would have proved far more compatible with Sixth World hermeticism than has previously been portrayed).

I'm working on a possible approach to Psionics that loosely maps the spell types and paradigm structure on the traditional Psionics disciplines of Pyrokinetics/Cryokinetics, Clairvoyance, Holistic Healing, Telepathy and Telekinetics, There are a couple of kinks still needing working out but it's coming along nicely.

I've always been intriuged by a possible link between the psionics tradition and dragon magic. Telepathy is basically dragon speach. And remember that one of the key non-magic capabilities Aardelea had back in ED was telekinesis. In my campain I had alot of fun having "some" psionic mages actually being humans decended from Aardelea (but not full drakes).

Given the trend of mainstreaming magical traditions, I'd call it a shade of magic.
  • Intuition + Logic (considering the touchy-feely nature attributed to psychics)
  • Spirits of Man, Earth, Air, Fire, Water
  • Strong sense of denial that "psychic" energy is any different from traditional magical systems, despite holding to the same rules and restrictions as any other magical tradition

Poof - psychic.

For that matter, all "traditional" mages are in denial since there is no such thing as magic and it's all psychic energy. Mages cripple themselves by clinging to foolish superstitions tying their power to ancient mumbo jumbo.

Eyeless Blond
Well as I said I make no study of psychology, para- or otherwise. The most I get to runs to neurochemistry. smile.gif

In my defense though you'll notice I only refer to crystals and pyramids and such New Age drivel as a fashion trend. I never intended a majority or even a large number of psions to fall for any of it, and indeed I spent more time on symbolic focus design.
i like the beast spirits for combat. eyeless's "primal, 'lower brain' thoughts" are pretty much id. manipulation as ego also works well.
Eyeless Blond
Much as I hate to resort to Freud, it is the closest thing to modern psychology that I know anything about. I also had the thought that Detection and Illusion seem more related to the superego, as they both connect with correctness of internal reality as opposed to outward reality. Detections spells involve granting new abilities to discover reality, while Illusion spells involve manipulating what others perceive as reality. None of that really contributes to a good spell school==spirit type mapping though, so I left it out.

Thinking about it a little though I guess Earth might be a better spirit type for Detection, as it relates to grounding, stabalizing connection to reality, while Illusion would be Water, being flexible and ever-changing. But now I'm really streching what little I know, so I'll leave the rest to wiser heads.
I really can't blame his Psionic Mage for having little to do with Parapsychology. None of the magic traditions in Shadowrun relate to their real-life counterparts in any but the most ephemermal ways.

Real parapsychology research is a pretty boring read, much like real Hermetic philosophy has precious little to do with pointy hats and Fireballs. This is somewhere that realism really doesn't need to be interjected.
I feel I just have to bring this up here. I have a (non-game specific) NPC that is a master of technology and associated phenomenon; otaku ^ GM fiat. Among her talents is a mastery of electrokinesis to the point where she can read a person's mind based on the ELECTRO-chemical reactions in their brain. If need be, she can also alter them to create/destory memories (though frying the brain is far easier, based on her skills), trigger certain areas of the brain (instill emotions), etcetera.
In SR3 terms, she can cast certain manipulation and detection spells based on her psionic electrokinesis, and more that you'd think at first glance.
Though not technically telepathic, she can fake it quite well.
Be creative/devious when you approacj psionics. wink.gif
Catharz Godfoot
Ressurrecting an ancient thread!

This isn't a "tradition" it's an (incorrect) view that psionics hold about the nature of magic. Use whatever tradition you like.

According the the psionicists, magic is completely explainable in rational scientific terms, *and* has nothing to do with religion, ritual, or mysticism. Psions are usually Adepts or Mystic Adepts.

Psions (e.g. Awakened) are thought to usually be gifted in one of four fields:
Clairsentience ('ESPer'), Psychokinesis ('TK'), Psychometabolism ('Shifter'), or Telepathy ('Telepath').
  • Clairsentience involves any sort of sensory ability which the user does not physically posess, so long as that sense isn't Telepathic. It also involves the few powers which directly work to counter such senses.
  • Psychokinesis is any sort of physical manipulation at a distance.
  • Psychometabolism is any sort of biological change in the psion or within others at a touch, not including Telepathy.
  • Telepathy is any sort of mind-influencing effect at a distance, as well as any language-based mental effect.

Ability in more than one field is thought to be exceedingly rare. One popular theory is that those with abilities in more than field find their abilities difficult to control. This theory is supported by the example of so-called 'summoners.' Summoners are capable of generating powerful manifestations of multiple disciplines at once, but are then forced to 'negotiate' with their own creations, which are subconsciously rather than consciously controlled.

The Psionic tradition's organization of spells~


 Analyze Magic
 Analyze Object
 Astral Clairvoyance
 Combat Sense
 Detect Magic
 Detect [Object]
 Mana Window/Astral Window
 [Sense] Cryptesthesia
 Spatial Sense/Extended


 Ram [Object]/Wreck/Demolish
 Chaos/Chaotic World
 Improved Invisibility
 Physical Camouflage
 Physical Double Image
 [Sense] Removal/Mass
 Sound Barrier
 Trid Entertainment
 Trid Phantasm
 Vehicle Mask
 Alter Temperature
 Control Actions/Mob Control
 [Element] Aura--Sound
 [Element] Wall--Sound
 Magic Fingers
 Physical Barrier
 Shape [Material]


 Death Touch
 Lightning Bolt/Ball Lightning
 One Less [Species]
 Enhance Aim
 Night Vision
 Alleviate Addiction
 Alleviate Allergy
 Cure Disease
 Decrease [Attribute]
 Decrease Reflexes
 Healthy Glow
 Increase [Attribute]
 Increase Reflexes
 Resist Pain
 Physical Mask
 Gecko Crawl


 Slay [Species]/Slaughter
 Analyze Truth
 Borrow Sense/Animal Sense/Eyes of the Pack
 Detect Enemies
 Detect Individual
 Detect Life/Extended
 Detect [Lifeform]/Extended
 Mind Probe
 Thought Recognition/Area
 Confusion/Mass Confusion
 Double Image
 Hot Potato
 Alter Memory
 Astral Armor
 Calm Animal/Pack
 Compel Truth
 Control Animal/Pack
 Control Emotions/Mob Mood
 Control Thoughts/Mob Mind
 Mana Bind/Net
 Mana Static

So, there you have it. Just my philosophy on psionics. Hopefully useful to someone smile.gif
Catharz Godfoot
Oh, here is some more powers by psionic discipline:

Psionic Tradition Adept Powers~


Astral Perception
Blind Fighting
Combat Sense
Magic Sense
Motion Sense
Piercing Senses
Three-dimensional Memory


Critical Strike
Elemental Strike
Great Leap?
Killing Hands?
Missile Mastery
Missile Parry?
Penetrating Strike
Power Throw
Quick Draw
Smashing Blow
Spell Resistance
Traceless Walk
Wall Running


Attribute Boost
Cool Resolve
Distance Strike
Eidetic Sense Memory
Empathic Healing
Enhanced Perception
Facial Sculpt
Great Leap?
Improved Physical Attribute
Improved Reflexes
Improved Sense
Iron Lungs
Melanin Control
Metabolic Control
Mystic Armor
Natural Immunity
Nerve Strike
Nimble Fingers
Pain Relief
Pain Resistance
Rapid Healing
Temperature Tolerance
Voice Control


Animal Empathy
Commanding Voice
Enthralling Performance
Iron Will

Other abilities:
Astral perception & Manifestation are telepathic abilities. Astral Projection is clairsentience.

For the most part psions don't use magical items. Fetishes and foci are generally viewed as crutches for the superstitious. Some psions, however, have managed to create "psionically active" technological or biotech items, which act as the various types of magic items.
how is lightning based spells psychometabolic? imo, that's definitely psychokinetic (more specifically, electrokinesis).
Catharz Godfoot
how is lightning based spells psychometabolic? imo, that's definitely psychokinetic (more specifically, electrokinesis).

You're probably using a different definition of psychokinesis than me. In this case, it's metabolic because the psionicist is using his own bioelectrical energy. He's acting like an electric eel.

But if you want an 'electrokinetic,' who generates static charges out of thin air, that would work fine too. Remember that this is actually all incorrect unless you house-rule the way magic works.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012