Bullets ricochet off a paper-thin barrier surrounding a Kygad in her expensive suit. She grits her teeth and draws her pistol.
A Maeshari laughs and touches the shoulder of the host of a gala. They slip into an empty hall and in an instant, they are wearing the host’s form.
An Ix marine concentrates on the glowing implements in his skull. His senses sharpen, and the potential dangers of his future clarify in his mind.
Psions are psychic spellcasters who use cerebral implants and honed discipline to manipulate the universe around them. These tough and flexible warriors can fill any number of roles on or off the battlefield.
Psions are relative newcomers to the galactic scene. It is only in the last hundred years that the technology inherent to their powers was developed. Significant amounts of experimentation and study proved definitively that psychic magic is innately different than arcane magic, and with that distinction came the development of new technologies.
Cerebral implants were developed as a way to enhance the innate abilities for dark matter manipulation an individual might possess. Throughout history, individuals who would later come to be known as adepts displayed a unique talent for the discipline and focus necessary to exert their will over dark matter. Naturally, scientists hoped to emulate their abilities, and thus, cerebral implants were invented. The resulting psychic warriors, called psions, had powers similar to adepts, but their ability to channel power through their implants separated them in distinct ways. Using their internal dark matter energy, psions cast spells and manipulate the world around them with ease.
A psion’s spellcasting talent is connected to their implants. Each implant enables a psion to focus on a different school of magic. Early tests proved that each implant could regulate only a single school of magic at a time without causing insanity and eventually death. Similarly, a psion’s mind can only attach to a certain number of implants before the mental load is too great and they perish. Even the strongest psions in the world can never connect to more than four cerebral implants. Additionally, once an implant is placed in the brain, it cannot be removed without causing permanent damage to the psyche and intellect of its host.
Magical healing has been unable to alleviate this damage, as the implant is treated as part of the whole and healthy mind. Likewise, returning an implant after it has been removed cannot reverse the harm caused by its removal. Like it or not, becoming a psion is an irreversible decision. As such, most clinics and laboratories require extensive waivers, background checks, and tests before allowing cerebral implants.
Creating a Psion
When building a psion, it is important to ask yourself both where and why they got their cerebral implants. Programs over the last hundred or so years have doled out implants to a variety of people, both willing and not. Your psion may have been part of a government, corporate, research, or private program, or they may have voluntarily gone to a cybertech or medical clinic. There are even shady and illegal implantation programs. Accepting a permanent change to one’s mind is no small decision. If your character received implants against their will, perhaps at a young age, who made that decision for them? If they chose their path for themselves, what led them to it?
Although all four implants can be installed into the brain at once, with some implants remaining inert until the brain has been conditioned to handle the strain, in many cases each implant is installed separately after a psion has adequately prepared for it. Which method did your character undergo? All of these questions can help you define your character by exploring their past and the source of their power. Without their implants, they might have been a typical adept or fighter. Take time to consider how they ended up on this particular path.
The psion is an Intelligence-focused class intended to be flexible. Unlike other classes, it doesn’t have archetypal paths. Instead, it allows you to combine the talents of specific schools of magic to create your own archetypes. This flexibility allows the psion to fill any number of party roles. As a psion you gain the following features.
Hit Points: 1d10 per psion level
Armor Proficiencies: Light armor, medium armor, and shields
Weapons Proficiencies : Simple weapons, melee martial weapons
Tool Proficiencies : None
Saving Throws: Constitution, Intelligence
Skills: Choose two from Acrobatics, Athletics, Arcana, Computers, Etiquette, History, Insight, Investigation, Mechanics, Medicine, Persuasion, Piloting, Science, and Stealth
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background.
- Four implants already fused into your brain, though three are inactive at 1st level.
- A weapon costing 1000 cc or less.
- A suit of armor costing 1500 cc or less.
- A credstick with 1500 cc.
- Cyberware purchased and installed at charactercreation is half price for you.
The full Psion class will be found in the Spaceships and Starwyrms: Core Sourcebook.