His fists are a blur as they deflect an incoming spray of bullets. The Saguarin leaps over a barricade to throw himself into the ranks of security robots on the other side, knocking away their stun batons and sending them reeling.
A tattooed Hanadarian settles into a balanced stance. They exhale and their focused mind ignites the air around them, enveloping their foes in flames.
Moving silently through the night, a black-clad Glabrau steps into the shadow of an archway and emerges from another inky shadow on the balcony above. She slides her blade free of its scabbard and peers through the window at her mark, vulnerable in the grip of sleep.
Whatever their discipline, adepts are united in their ability to harness the energy that flows through their bodies. Whether channeled as a striking display of combat prowess or a subtler focus on defensive ability and speed, this energy infuses all that an adept does.
The History and Science of Psionic Ki
It is well-documented that the magical radiation that emits from dark matter particles can cause genome mutation. Creatures affected by this sort of mutation have increased brain activity and a deeper connection to the dark matter particles within their own body. Through discipline and training, a person can learn to manipulate those particles through and accomplish impossible tasks that seem like magic, but aren’t. This manipulation of energy is referred to as psionics, while the energy itself is referred to as ki. Though most denizens of the galaxy possess the changed genome after centuries of living in the void, few ever realize or utilize the energy within themselves. Years of discipline and meditation are required in order for an individual to know themself well enough to use their internal dark matter energy. The use of ki and psionics sparked the invention of cerebral implants, which helped individuals who were unwilling or unable to undergo the necessary mindfulness to bring out latent adept powers to use their dark matter energy. Individuals who utilize these implants are known as psions, and the technology involved did not so much imitate the adept as it created something entirely new. An adept acknowledges the path they walk and determines their own fate through focus and training. Their powers may not be true magic, but the most powerful adepts use their internal dark matter energy to manipulate the world around them in the same ways a spellcaster might. According to legends, some have even learned to transcend planes and manipulate matter itself with will alone.
Unlike other combatants who utilize weapons to inflict harm, the adept has a unique skill set that allows them to turn their body into a deadly weapon. Though their training and discipline can include weaponry, they are almost always more effective when striking with their ki-infused unarmed attacks. Adepts can be both dextrous and athletic, and mastering their mind is as important as their body in the meditative training they undergo. In a world of guns and other technologies that have changed the field of battle, the adept is often viewed as a relic. Yet the ways of the adept have adapted to the trials of fighting ranged weaponry. Their ki can make them faster than incoming shots and can even deflect projectiles. They can move quickly across a battlefield, and energy barriers can’t stop their fists.
Creating an Adept
When creating an adept, remember to consider why they chose to spend many years of strict routine to harness their ki, rather than choosing to undergo the implant procedure. Did they lack the funding, or did they shy away from the invasive procedure? Did they prefer self-discipline over technological training? Or did they like themself better without implants? When you’ve answered these questions, ask yourself how your adept, who is quite in tune with the universe, views the world around them. Understanding oneself can change one’s understanding of the universe. Consider that training to be an adept is rarely a solitary process. Did your character have a mentor, or peers they learned alongside? How much of their personal philosophy comes from their mentor? All of these are important questions to consider when building an adept.
The adept is one of two alternate classes in this guide that help bring a different flavor to a previously established class. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the flavor of the monk, S&S has used this as an opportunity to fill out the technological and mystical landscape of the world in a new way. The following features are gained by taking levels in the adept class:
- Hit Dice: 1d8 per adept level
- Armor Proficiencies: None
- Weapon Proficiencies: Simple weapons, plasma swords, plasma whips, and shortswords.
- Tool Proficiencies: One set of artisan’s tools and one instrument of your choice
- Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity
- Skills: Choose two from Acrobatics, Arcana, Athletics, Etiquette, History, Insight, Mechanics, Medicine, Perception, Persuasion, Piloting, Science, and Stealth
Equipment: You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background.
- A weapon you’re proficient in costing 1000 cc or less.
- A credstick with 2000 cc.
Psionic Specialty: When you reach 3rd level, you commit yourself to a specific form of training to empower the innate strength granted by your mind. The Way of the Mystic and Way of the Void are both included at the end of the adept entry, but you can also choose any monk tradition in any 5th edition source book.
For the full Adept, check out the Spaceships and Starwyrms: Core Sourcebook.