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Psychics are otherwise normal people who manifest one or more psionic abilities. By default, the Here There Be Monsters setting assumes that Psychics are very rare. Perhaps 1 in 10,000 people have some latent and unrealized psionic potential, but only about 1 in a million actually manifest one or more psionic abilities.

Of active Psychics, some first manifest when very young (sometimes even while still in the womb), and a few manifest late in life, but the majority tend to manifest while going through puberty (or at least before reaching full maturity).

Some active Psychics are not consciously aware of their abilities, using them instinctively or subconsciously. Others struggle to control or to activate them at will, but the most advanced active Psychics are aware of the nature of their abilities and with time and practice can figure out how to make maximum use of them.

Most (but not all) Psychics have a single conceptual power, but this main idea might be modeled with more than one Ability Trait, SFX, Limit, and so forth. For instance Pyrokinesis, the ability to psionically create and / or control heat and fire, is a single conceptual power. It might be represented on a given pyrokinetic Psychic with a single Ability Trait, but it also provides justification for a more complex long as it all ties back to the core concept of pyrokinesis.

Normal vs Psionic Abilities

Aside from however thier psionic potential manifests, Psychics tend to be otherwise normal people. Thus Psychic characters generally have a mix of mundane and psionic capabilities, and their non-psionic abilities follow the same restrictions as those of a Normal character. When writing up a new Psychic character a solid option is to start by making a lower Tiered Normal character as a base, and then add the character's psionic capabilities on top of that. This often results in a grounded, well balanced character.

Some Psychic abilities take the form of enhancing a character's innate capabilities, consciously or not. It often makes sense for such Psychic characters to have Ability Traits and / or SFX in an Ability Set that mixes normal abilities and psionic augmentations. For instance Dorothy is a skilled and capable full contact kickboxer who has learned her skills the hard way just like any normal martial artist. But she also benefits from subconscious psionic potential that allows her to go beyond mere skill. To represent this, Dorothy has a Psychic Kickboxer Ability Set that includes Reflexes and Unarmed Ability Traits at a d8 or less (showing her within normal human range of athleticism and fighting ability), and a couple of SFX (Unleashed and Find Weakness) that model her psionic ability to augment her mundane fighting prowess and agility to sometimes achieve greater than normal outcomes.

Other Psychic characters have more overt psionic abilities that are better represented in a separate Ability Set, to keep them distinct from the character's non-psionic abilities. For instance Jimmy has a powerful psionic ability to suppress the supernatural, but he is also a police officer as well as an action hero kind of guy in general. He has three Ability Sets (Suppressor, Man of Action, and Cop), which represent those ideas discretely. In addition to making it clear that the relevant abilities are separate from one another, when Jimmy is putting together a dice pool for an action or reaction he can include a die from each Ability Set if they are relevant to the narrative.

Representing Psionic Abilities

Psionic abilities are generally represented using a combination of Ability Traits, SFX, and Limits. A character might also take one or more Signature Exploits for their Vocations which represent a way in which they use their psionic potential in conjunction with their vocational pursuits. Similarly, a character might incorporate their psionic abilities into one or more of their Milestone goals.

Ability Traits

Most (but not all) psionic capabilities are represented using at least one Ability Trait. When selecting such traits, consideration should be given to both the mechanical effects and the conceptual fit. When used, psionic abilities should not feel magical or miraculous.

Ability Traits from the Psychic Category

The Psychic category contains Ability Traits that are strongly associated with psionic abilities, and a Psychic character can take any of them that fit their concept. However, to be clear, a Psychic character is not required to take Ability Traits from this category.

Ability Traits from the Innate Category

Psionic capabilities can also be represented using nearly any Innate Ability Trait, which can also be taken at the d10 or d12 step, with the understanding that the Psychic character's greater than normal capability is due to a psionic augmentation or manifestation. For instance, a character might take Durability: d12 as a psionic capability, with the understanding that their superhuman durability is due to a subconscious telekinetic force field (or something along those lines).

Supernatural Senses

Senses taken by a Psychic character to represent psionically augmented perception or extra sensory capabilities are understood to grant the character an ability to detect supernatural emanations, auras, and so forth.

Overlapping Normal and Psionic Ability Traits

In some cases, a character might want to make the distinction between their normal range of usage vs their psionically augmented range usage of an Innate Ability Trait. Applying an SFX and / or a Limit is usually the best way to represent this.

For instance, a Psychic who can temporarily increase their strength could take the Strength Ability Trait at a step within the normal range (d4, d6, d8) and apply a SFX such Boost, Escalation or Unleashed to represent their ability to temporarily go above their normal mundane strength level due to psionic augmentation.

Or, they could instead take the Strength Ability Trait at a step above the normal range (d10, d12) and apply a Limit such as Destabilizing or Unstable to illustrate not being able to sustain such elevated activity, or they could apply something more explicit such as the following Limit:.

Limit: Psionically Augmented Strength: When you add this Ability Set's Strength trait to a dice pool, you must either step it down three times or suffer d4 Ego Stress (your choice).

Or, they could skip taking the Strength Ability Trait at all, and get it done by taking something such as the following SFX, which keeps a clear distinction between the character's normal and augmented prowess, but has a dangerous downside.

SFX: Psionically Augmented Strength: You can justify taking actions and reactions as if you have Strength: d12. When you do add both a d6 and a d12 to your dice pool, but you must keep an additional effect die and apply it to yourself as Ego Stress.

For yet another option, a character could take the Strength Ability Trait at a step within the normal range (d4, d6, d8) in one Ability Set that represents their normal capabilties, and take the Strength Ability Trait again at a step above the normal range (d10, d12) in a second Ability Set that represents their psionic capabilities (probably along with one or more Limits that restrict its usage). This costs a lot of Advances, but on the plus side that character would be able to include both dice in relevant dicepools as each Ability Trait is from a different Ability Set.

Ability Traits from Other Categories

Ability Traits in other categories except the Mystical category can be used to represent psionic abilities, with effort taken to describe how such capabilities are psionic in nature. To avoid blurring the intended distinction between magical and psionic phenomena, Ability Traits that are in some other category but are also in the Mystical category require significant justification. The Spells Ability Trait (and variants such as Necromancy) should not be allowed at all.

For instance, the Summoning Ability Trait is in both the Special and Mystical categories. A Psychic spirit medium with Astral Interaction abilities that uses Summoning to represent their ability to "call upon restless spirits" is on brand as a thing that is often seen in fictional representations of Psychics. However, a supposedly Psychic character with the same mechanics that accomplished the same outcome but by intoning esoteric incantations over rare components as part of an elaborate ritual is leaning very hard away from "psionic" and towards "hermetic magic".

Custom Ability Traits

In some cases, it might be better for a player and GM to work together to make one or more custom Ability Traits to represent a character's psionic abilities. This option allows for unique and weird Psychics and can be very rewarding. It might proceed from taking an existing Trait that is similar to the desired ability, and just tweaking or refining it to exactly model the intended effect. In other cases the custom Trait might be a mashup combining some elements of two or more existing Traits. Or, it might be an entirely bespoke thing from start to finish. In all such cases, care should be taken to make sure the new Trait's general potency is on par with existing Traits, not noticeably weaker or stronger.


Psionic abilities are generally Psyche based, and manifested by either instinctive intent or as an act of will. As such it is common for the intensity of psionic abilities to vary based upon the current mental state of the Psychic; SFX such as the following are common (but not required) in Ability Sets representing psionic abilties.

SFX: Boost: You may step up or double one of this Ability Set's traits for an action or reaction. If you do, shut down this SFX after the action or reaction is resolved. You may activate an opportunity or spend a Transition Scene to recover this SFX if it was shut down in this way.
SFX: Escalation: You may add a d8 to the doom pool to step up and double one of this Ability Set's traits for your next action or reaction.
SFX: Push [trait-name]: Step up and double [trait-name] for one action, then step back [trait-name] trait until you are able to recover it by activating an opportunity or during a Transition Scene.
SFX: Surge: In a dice pool including one of this Ability Set's traits you may remove two dice of equal steps from the dice pool; if you do you may step up one of the removed dice and put it back into your dice pool.
SFX: Unleashed: You may step up or double one of this Ability Set's traits for one action. If the action fails, add a die to the doom pool equal to the normal die rating of that Ability trait.


Psychics generally have a supernatural aura, thus it is typical for an Ability Set with one or more psionic Traits or SFX to include the Supernatural Aura Limit or a variation of it. Those with advanced supernatural awareness (d8 and higher) can perceive the difference between psionic, mystical, and other types of supernatural auras.

Limit: Supernatural Aura: You have a supernatural aura that is detectable by those with special senses. Gain one (1) Plot Point when this becomes a Complication for you.

Psionic abilities are not spells and usage of them does not require spell-like flourishes such as material components, incantations, gestures, pentagrams, or similar "mumbo jumbo". However some Psychics require intense concentration or effort, or can become too fatigued to use some or all of their abilities, or can suffer mental strain from using their abilities in stressful situations, and similar drawbacks. Thus Limits such as the following are common (but not required) in Ability Sets representing psionic abilities.

Limit: Burnout: For two (2) consecutive Panels you may step up or double any of this Ability Set's traits; at the end of the second Panel shut down this Ability Set. You may roll against the doom pool to attempt to recover this Ability Set during a Transition Scene if it was shut down in this way.
Limit: Conscious Activation: Shut down this Ability Set if stressed out, asleep, or unconscious. Recover this Ability Set when stress is recovered or you awake. If Ego Trauma is taken, shut down this Ability Set until trauma is recovered.
Limit: Destabilizing: To use one of this Ability Set's traits or SFX on an action or reaction you must either spend one (1) Plot Point, or take a die from the doom pool and include it in your dice pool. If you take a die from the doom pool, after the action or reaction is resolved step up that die and return it to the doom pool.
Limit: Exhausted: Shut down any Ability Trait in this Ability Set to gain one (1) Plot Point. Recover Ability Traits shut down in this way by activating an opportunity or during a Transition Scene.
Limit: Non-Combat: When using one of this Ability Set's traits or SFX during a combat situation, a failed action is considered to be an opportunity.
Limit: Sensitive: You are sometimes affected by sensory overload; this Ability Set's Senses trait becomes a Complication and you gain one (1) Plot Point when this happens.
Limit: Unstable: While you have no Plot Points remaining, all of this Ability Set's traits are stepped down.
Limit: Wrung Out: You suffer d6 Ego Stress whenever you spend your last Plot Point.

Extradimensional Interaction

Unlike mystics and believers who (knowingly or not) tap into or manipulate extradimensional energies to achieve supernatural effects, Psychics manifest their abilities via the power of their own minds.

However, some Psychics have the ability to perceive or cross into other dimensions. For instance, though it is a very rare ability some Psychics are able to teleport, typically by connecting two points in their dimension by intersecting with some other non-adjacent dimension. Similarly, many espers (Psychics with extra sensory perceptions) can perceive into nearby dimensions or dimensional focal points or detect traces of extradimensional energy being channeled into their own dimension.

The Astral Plane

Additionally, some Psychics have an affinity with a closely adjacent dimension referred to variably as the "Astral Plane", or "Umbral Realm", or the "Ether" and several other terms. Many disposesed spirits who fail to pass on to further flung dimensions remain stuck in this dimension, and Psychic mediums can communicate or interact with (some of) these spirits. Some Psychics can project their consciousness into this dimension and use it to spy upon the prime dimension at potentially great distances from their physical body, or to interact with other consciousnesses present in the dimension. It is rumored that a few very powerful Psychics can further utilize the Astral Plane for other bizarre or insidious purposes, but documentation is spotty.

Psionic Taxonomy

The most common kinds of psionic abilities found in the Here There Be Monsters setting are described below:

  • Extra Sensory Perception
    • Cognizance (superhuman knowledge or awareness of one or more things)
    • Empathy (sensing the emotions of others): such as Cordelia
    • Mono-directional Telepathy (receiving the thoughts of others)
    • Clairsentience (perceiving things at great distances)
    • Tempuscogniton
      • Precognition (perceiving possible future events): such as Sabrina
      • Postcognition (perceiving past events)
        • Psychometry (perceiving past events via contact with objects)
  • Psionically Enhanced Capabilities
    • Savantism (psionically enhanced skills)
    • Sensitivity (psionically enhanced senses)
    • Vitruviology (psionically enhanced physical abilities): such as Joshua
  • Mental Projection / Manipulation
    • Bi-directional Telepathy (direct mental communication, reading and sending thoughts)
    • Mental Possession (direct piloting of other living beings)
    • Mental Domination (control over mental states and / or behavior)
    • Mental Invisibility (invisibility achieved by blocking living minds from perceiving)
    • Mental Assault (psychogenic projection; directly attacking minds)
    • Empathic Domination (control over emotional states and / or behavior)
  • Astral Interaction
    • Astral Medium (interaction with entities residing in the Astral Plane)
    • Astral Vessel (ability to allow self-possession by an entity residing in the Astral Plane)
    • Astral Influence (control over entities residing in the Astral Plane)
    • Astral Projection (out of body experience)
  • Cosmic Manipulation
    • Probability Manipulation (alteration of statistical outcomes; luck): such as Jalen or Drew
    • Spatial Manipulation (teleportation and non-linear spatial phenomenon)
    • Time Manipulation (alteration of temporal phenomenon)
    • Suppression (psionically suppressing other supernatural abilities)
  • Kinesis
    • Telekinesis (control over physical systems)
    • Cyberkinesis (control over electronic systems)
    • Biokinesis (control over biological systems)
      • Psychic Surgery (altering organic tissue at the cellular level)
      • Cellular Destruction (destroying organic tissue at the cellular level)
    • Ergokinesis (control of dynamic forces)
      • Psychokinesis (force projection and / or control)
      • Pyrokinesis (heat emission and / or control)
      • Cyrokinesis (cold emission and / or control)
      • Electrokinesis (electricity emission and / or control)
      • Lumenkinesis (light emission and / or control)
      • Magnekinesis (magnetic emission and / or control)
      • Plasmakinesis (plasma emission and / or control)