Psychic Powers

And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires
— Marvell

Psychic powers among the myriad species and cultures of the galaxy are as various as literature or music. The dominant school of psychic practice in the Core and along the Corridor is the Quartet School, which recognizes four basic psychic powers: telepathy, clairvoyance, levitation (or "static TK"), and control of chance ("stochastics" or "dynamic TK" or "dicing").

The main alternatives to the Quartet school are Auric, Contact, and Enhancement. This page examines the four basic Quartet skills and then examines the other schools by comparing them to Quartet.

In a psionically rich environment, people (and animals and sentient machines) may pick up elementary psychic skills without training. Many untrained people can feel the difference between psilence and open psi. (Psilence is a psionic condition in which psychic skills cannot be used.) A smaller fraction can tell when psychic activity is going on, and a still smaller fraction can identity the psychic or the skill being used.

There are also idiosyncratic powers that just crop up, not teachable and not in the system of any school. These are called Knacks. Some are listed at the end.


Telepathy has no range limit, but contact is vulnerable to quantum and relativistic effects. Telepathic contact varies in depth; the standard levels, in increasing depth, are:

Telepathic contact is always reciprocal — if I read you, you can read me, and just as deeply. It is still possible that the read may not notice the reading, or may choose not to read back. Quartet School telepathy does not include coercive or controlling power.

Without special shielding skills, a deeper contact includes all the shallower ones. So, for instance, if you are in verbal-level contact, you are also in empathic contact and aware of each other's emotions. This makes the communication necessarily honest.

To make telepathic contact, you must be in sense-shot of the target or have made contact in the past. This residual contact is broken or greatly weakened by transilience or hyperdrive.

These related skills require telepathy as a prerequisite:

In Endeavor, it take 3 psi pts and a successful skill roll to make contact. For more detail, see the FuRPiG rules.


Clairvoyance takes more forms than any other psychic mode. In the Quartet School, it is usually trained into vision and hearing through a disembodied viewpoint. This gives a great deal of clear information, but there are constraints on placing and steering the viewpoint that give Quartet clairvoyance a more restricted scope than other schools of clairvoyance.

You can launch a clairvoyant viewpoint from yourself, or through the eyes of anyone you are in telepathic contact with, or from a "tracer." This is a tag or bookmark you can set on a physical object, to refer to later. Tags are vulnerable to transilience and hyperdrive.

Clairvoyance can also be used to see in the dark and through walls, and to detect others' tracers and clairvoyant viewpoints.

These related skills require clairvoyance as a prerequisite:

In Endeavor, it take 3 psi pts and a successful skill roll to launch a viewpoint. For more detail, see the FuRPiG rules.

Telekinesis – Levitation and Dicing

The two forms of TK have range limits characteristic of the individual psychic. Both require sensory feedback, the more immediate the better. Few Terran levitators can lift more than 400 kg; mechanical TK easily outstrips living psychics (including AIs) in raw force. Mechanical reproduction of dicing, on the other hand, is difficult and limited.

These related skills require levitation or dicing as a prerequisite:

In Endeavor, it take 3 psi pts and a successful skill roll to start TK. Your range is one meter per point of Psi attribute. Your load limit is 10 kg per point of Psi attribute.

Dicing must be cast when the uncertain action is happening, e.g. as the dice are rolled or the cards are shuffled.

For sustained levitation, the GM asks for repeated rolls against your Psi attribute, getting harder as time goes on, failing after a few mintues.

For more detail, see the FuRPiG rules.

Other Schools

Other schools are rarer, partly through historical accident, partly because the Quartet school is easier to learn, and partly because it is harder to learn the other schools if you have learned Quartet first. Because of the last, some people deliberately learn another school first and Quartet second, or take amnesia on their Quartet skills while they learn another school.

There are schools still rarer than the three listed here, and familiarity varies from place to place. Some are much more specialized, e.g. the Timekeepers, which teach Anticipation and Foresight (see Knacks) as skills, along with Retrocognition, but teach no telekinetic skills.


Allows for the same range of effects as the Quartet school, but uses a bodily aura as an organ for sensing and acting. The aura is usually visible as light in a color characteristic of the psychic, extending no more than three meters from the psychic. It costs 5 psi pts. to cast the aura, but you can then use it for anything for a number of minutes equal to half your Psi attribute before the GM starts asking for Psi attribute roles.





In addition to the TK effects available to the Quartet school, the following skills are available, all requiring levitation or dicing as a prerequisite:


This school requires physical contact for a lot of things, but is much cheaper in psi. Here, "physical contact" means "able to exert force on the target using your own body"—



This really takes the "tele" out of "telekinesis," but–


The psychic can take a skill or ability in which they excel and work it up to superpower levels. If you have 90% or more in a skill, you can Enhance the skill. Each Enhancement is advanced as a separate skill; practice in Enhanced Singing has no effect on Enhanced Dancing. If you have a 99% skill level and roll a 00 in that skill, you acquire 1% in Enhancement. Psi point cost is variable.



The psychic goes into a trance, in which telepathy, clairvoyance, and TK run simultaneously, for 3 psi pts. The trance lasts until interrupted. To resist an interruption, or to walk and talk at the same time, make a Focus roll and spend 3 focus pts. To work machinery at the same time (e.g., drive), make a hard Focus roll and spend 5 focus pts.

In the vision, telepathy seems to be talking to the target. Deeper than the Verbal level, the experience becomes more dreamlike, but the target is still your companion. If the target is a telepath, the contact feels like the form of telepathy they are used to. If the target is not a telepath, the contact feels like an imagined conversation that they cannot stop imagining.

Clairvoyance is a moving viewpoint as in Quartet clairvoyance, but your visionary body seems to be there. And this visionary body is visible to other clairvoyants.

TK is simply doing stuff with your (visionary) hands. TK fails and the visionary body becomes impalpable outside TK range; you are left with telepathy and clairvoyance. It is more difficult for Visionaries to learn TK skills other than levitation, such as Firekey or Binding, and Dicing is a Knack for them, and a rare one.


Knacks are psychic skills that people learn without formal training. Some a very common, others very rare. Some knacks are "knacks" for one school, because that school cannot teach them, but are simply skills in other schools.

Psychic Illnesses

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Copyright © Earl Wajenberg, 2010