Monday, February 6, 2012

What's on your mind? Psionics!


In the setting of the Fifth Frontier War, psionics are an ability reserved to the Zhodani Consulate.  Imperial anti-psionic hysteria prevents any official, organized use of psionic talents by the Imperial military. Psionic skills can be classified into four broad talents.

Teleportation: A mental talent that allows the user to displace himself and his personal equipment. The Zhodani form entire units (known as commandos) of teleports that allow for insertion into or behind the lines. Like all mental activities, these attacks are draining and are limited in number.

Telekinesis: A mental talent that allows the user to manipulate physical objects. This talent is used by specialist ‘assault’ teams that attempt to use an enemies own weapons against themselves – pulling pins on grenades, flipping safeties and squeezing triggers. Like all mental activities, these attacks are draining and are limited in number.

Telepaths: a mental talent that allows the user to identify and read thoughts. Used by recon teams and intelligence officers. Like all mental activities, these attacks are draining and are limited in number.

Clairvoyance: The mental ability to ‘see’ a location remotely. Clairvoyants are employed as recon specialists and as part of the support team that finds safe locations to which Commandos can teleport.

Effects of telepathy in the game

Initiative: For each psionic recon or scout team in your force, you may gain an additional die to your initiative roll.

Reactions: psionic recon and scout teams gain a +1 to all reaction die rolls. If attached to a squad, the entire squad benefits from this modifier. A recon or scout team can detect hidden units by rolling a successful TQ check. It may perform this action twice a game before exhausting their mental strength..

Morale: If an officer (platoon leader or higher) has the telepath trait, he may use his talent to motivate his troops twice per game in one of the following ways;
  • he may impart his morale level to a subordinate unit for the duration of the game – even if out of line of sight of the leader. If the leader’s morale changes, so does the unit’s morale. If the leader is killed, the unit takes an immediate morale check using their original morale.
  • He may cause a unit to immediately rally from a shaken result.  

Telekinetic attack: A psionic assault team may launch a telepathic assault against an enemy group. To resolve the attack, treat as a small arms attack that is always at optimal range. Line of sight is not required.

If defender has psi shield helmets, they receive additional defense die equal to their tech level. All Imperial forces above tech level 11 include the psi shield as part of the helmet and armor.

Teleportation: Treat a teleportation into the battlefield as similar to a fast rope insertion. The entry point is marked on the tabletop. Each figure is placed within 4” of the target point. The unit may not act for the remainder of the turn. It may not react in any fashion for the remainder of the turn.


  1. Very cool.

    Only suggestion is that I always saw what you've termed as Telekinetic attack to be more of a suppression thing (esp against troops who know they're facing Zhodani). I'd be inclined to treat it as allowing an auto-suppression of an enemy unit twice in a game before psionic stamina gives out.

    Oh, and the Zho' aren't the only psionics you might face on the battlefield. Droyne of course use their mind-clouding ability to render themselves 'invisible' to adversaries. Probably this could be covered by giving Droyne the Stealth attribute.

  2. Good idea re: the suppression effect! I suspect it should be an opposed check between the scrambler team and the target. That would reflect the effect of training for the defender being prepared to deal with the attack (better trained troops being more likely to shrug off the attack).

    Did the Droyne participate in the Fifth Frontier War? (I ask for a friend, who has himself a whole mess of Droyne with disintegrator pistols).

  3. The Droyne don't have a polity of their own so they would only be engaged fighting for one or other of the belligerents, or as planetary defence force units if a Droyne-populated world was attacked by one or other side.

  4. Addendum:
    There is actually an indication of Droyne involvement in the wars on page 73 of GURPS Traveller Alien Races 3. Don't know if you have that one, but it describes Zhodani recruiting a Droyne oytrip into their service during the Frontier Wars.