Psionics for Fate Core

Yes, I know the RPG project has been on the back-burner for a long, long time. I haven’t completely abandoned it, and here are some thoughts on revising psionics to be more compatible with Fate Core.

I originally based the powers in the setting on the metapsychics of Julian May’s Pliocine Exiles saga, with the power level scaled back, since the setting is more pulpy science-fantasy than four-colour superheroics. Since the setting came from a long-running GURPS game from way back when there’s probably still a fair bit GURPS Psionics in it’s DNA too.

My original intention (from a draft that pre-dated Fate Core) was to avoid stunts entirely and represent psionic powers with skills. I came up with a list of skills representing different “powers”. Now I’m thinking in terms or making the more powerful applications of psionics into stunts based on those skills, and if possible reducing the number of skills in the process. The idea is that skills on their own can be used for Overcome Obstacle, Create Advantage or Defence (three of the four standard actions in Fate Core), but you need a stunt to used any power forAttacks.

I’ve taken my original psionic skill list and listed Fate Core actions attached to each one.

So, two questions. First, do any of these look overpowered or unbalancing as they stand? And second, which of these could be collapsed into fewer skills (such as merging the three “Mind” skills into a single “Telepathy” then breaking out the attack modes into stunts?)

Mind Control
Attack – Direct mental attack, taken out results in a puppet under your control
Overcome Obstacle – Control someone you’ve taken out.
Create Advantage – Project emotion or plant a suggestion in the target’s mind which you can then use to your advantage.
Defence – Foil a physical or mental attack

Mind Reading
Overcome Obstacle – Listen to another person subvocalising to communicate privately without being overheard. Read thoughts and memories of someone you’ve already taken out by mental attack
Attack – Direct mental attack, taken out lets you read their mind as Overcome Obstacle.
Create Advantage – Read strong surface thoughts or emotional state of target which you can use to your advantage.
Defence – Read attacker’s surface thoughts so you know what they’re going to do and can counter their attack.

Mindspeech
Overcome Obstacle – Speak to another person a significant distance away; communicate privately without being overheard.
Create Advantage – Send thoughts or images to an opponent to distract or confuse them to your advantage
Attack – Direct mental attack, taken out knocks the target unconscious.
Defence – Send thoughts or images to distract or confuse your opponent and disrupt their attack.

Precognition
Overcome Obstacle – Passive “danger sense” that can give warning that something bad (like an ambush) is about to happen.
Create Advantage – Create predictions as as Aspects which can then be tagged.
Defence – Predict attacker’s moves in advance in time to counter them

Psychometry
Overcome Obstacle – Learn something about past of an item or location
Create Advantage – Determine one of the item or location’s Aspects

Clairsentience
Overcome Obstacle – Project your senses to see, hear or otherwise sense things a distance away.

Psychokinesis
Overcome obstacle – Anything that needs physical things to be lifted or moved.
Attack – Physical attack on a target (anything that can cause injury)
Defence – Foil a physical attack
Create Advantage – Create obstacles, disarm, throw opponents off-balance, whatever…

Lightsculpt
Attack – Create illusions that frighten and cause shock for mental damage.
Defence – Distract opponent with illusions
Create Advantage – Distract opponent with illusions
Overcome Obstacle – Conceal objects or people. Or for something completely different, use illusions for entertainment.

Matter Manipulation
Overcome Obstacle – Destroy or create things by altering their chemical properties
Attack – Physical attack to cause injury either attacking the body directly or altering their environment
Create Advantage – Altering the environment to give you an advantage
Defence – Altering the environment to make you harder to attack.

Body Control
Overcome obstacle – Heal injuries to yourself and others.
Attack – Cause physical hard to an opponent, essentially healing in reverse.
Defence – Soak up injuries
Create Advantage – Push yourself past normal limits for feats of strength or endurance.

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2 Responses to Psionics for Fate Core

  1. Michael Orton says:

    Where does “alter memory” fit?

    Precognition is a pain for GMs. I would not want any PC in a world I was running to have it.

    I don’t like the way you are using the term “lightsculpt”.

    Mental illusions should be in the mind, not created things you see with your eyes. Mind control can be used for invisibility, but this is not about not being seen, it is about not reacting to what is seen. For this reason a spell “Detect Invisibility” will not be any use against this mental ability as the spell’s caster must ignore the invisible person and that includes anything telling the non-observer that there is something to observe.

    The projection of real images which can be seen even by people whose very existence is not even known to the caster is not a mind control power. Illusions are a different “school” of magic, which may or may not be possible in any given game world, and that includes insisibilty by camouflage. In this case the defence against invisibility is the same as that for all illusions. The ability to project illusions may be a mental power, but that power has to be projection, and the normal laws of physics apply thereafter.

    I wonder if part of the problem here is insufficient common frame of reference. I haven’t read much Julian May and therefore I am thinking more about other forms of fiction. For example, “The Force” in Star Wars might be defined as a mental power.

  2. Tim Hall says:

    Lightsculpt was part of the Metacreativity power in the Exiles saga, which was why I included it. Saying that, it’s not a power any character has taken in games I’ve run; it’s all been telepathy or PK.

    As for Precognition, FATE is one system that actually handles it elegantly, through it’s use of aspects. Successful use of Precognition creates an aspect either on “the future” or on a character, which can be tagged in any roll for an action that makes whatever has been forseen more likely to occur.

    I had that one come up in-game. One character tried to predict the future of a minor villain; the result was an aspect “He’s going to get what he deserves”. Which promptly gets tagged for a +2 bonus for an action doing something bad to him.