Continuum II Psychic Powers Part III – Psychic Senses, Psychokinetic Effects, Telepathic Functions, and Will Force.

The Psychic Wheel arrangement, with its selection of opposing, near-opposing, related, and unrelated disciplines, was a fundamental part of Continuum II’s psychic ability systems – rather like AD&D’s, or d20’s, separation of spellcasting into Arcane (Wizard / Sorcerer, or, in AD&D Illusionist) and Divine (Cleric / Druid) fields, or the later introduction of things like Pact Magic, Incarnum, Shadow Magic, and Truename Magic. It meant that there were ten basic types of Psychic Adepts, each with their own capabilities and methods of solving problems. An adept would probably dabble a bit in related fields – those only one or two places removed on the Wheel – but would be entirely barred from the oppositional and near-oppositional disciplines. If you were a master of Psychokinetic Effects, then the disciplines of Heightened Talents, Life Energy Manipulation, and Natural Forces were beyond your reach. Did you also dabble a bit in Will Force? That would bar you from the Psychic Senses discipline as well. Combined with the choices between Psychomancy (with the option to dabble in C’hi and Introspection powers) and Psionics (and the option to dabble in Empyrean Magic), the net result was to offer several hundred variants on the “psychic” even before they started selecting and customizing their disciplines and other skills. A master of Heightened Talents who dabbled in Psychic Senses might breeze through an investigative scenario – but it would be his partner, a master of Dimensional Warps, who would allow him or her to follow a trail of clues across the solar system in a few hours.

Across the decades, and a hundred or so Psychic characters, the players never did come up with two who were much alike.

Psychic Senses are – at their most basic – powered-up Introspection effects, using psychic energy to modulate, amplify, and extend the user’s natural energy aura while analyzing the resulting interactions with the environment. “Passive” effects rely on picking up energy emanations, just as physical sight relies on picking up radiated photons, and can massively extend the sensitivity, range, and analytic functions of the user’s basic senses. Active abilities rely on extending the user’s energies to actually probe the universe directly – but in either case the Psychic Senses are amongst the most subtle and low-powered psychic abilities since they make no attempt to manipulate the world, but simply observe it. Active abilities cost a bit more, and may be detectable – but even with them it isn’t easy. Unfortunately, that same subtlety makes it easy for users to fool themselves – allowing their own preconceptions and desires to override the subtle cues of their discipline. Psychic Senses are thus incompatible with the Will Force abilities, which rely on throwing massive amounts of raw power into simply overwriting the structure of chunks of the universe, rather than accepting what’s there already. Psychic Senses are closely related to the subtle psychic-energy projection of the Telepathic Functions and to the still-subtle, if more active, manipulations of environmental energy fields employed by the Natural Forces discipline.

Psychokinetic Effects channel energy into the purely material realm, using it to move, re-arrange, and manipulate matter while suppressing the array of action-reaction and related conservation rules that would normally either make such remote-action and reactionless manipulations impossible or – at the least – turn the user’s brain into pulp. Like most natural law violations, this makes this discipline fairly expensive to use, with the energy cost scaling as a function of the mass involved and the degree of fine control required. It also makes Psychokinetic Effects fundamentally opposed to Heightened Talents, which focus on the subtle augmentation of the user’s personal abilities in accordance with the laws of nature instead. They are, however, closely related to the deeper law-negation of the Dimensional Warps discipline and to the blunt power-surges and energy redirection of the Energy Manipulation abilities.

Telepathic Functions rely on a complex array of mental effects, combining the subtle energy patterns of neurological fields and the purely mental conceptual patterns of the astral level to generate empyrean constructs – channeling subtle, nuanced, patterns of mental energy through the empyrean and into their target’s minds. The effective use of abilities in the Telepathic Functions category demands great concentration and precisely controlled thought patterns – although these talents often do not carry over into other activities. Operating primarily on the central nervous system and mind these abilities use comparatively little power. Overall, the fine control of energy patterns makes the Telepathic Functions closely related to the Energy Manipulation abilities, while the fine control of thought patterns and sensitivity to subtle energies are closely related to the psychic senses. However, concentrating on subtle mental effects make this list the “opposite” of Personal Control abilities which concentrate on the physical plane and body through continuous unconscious awareness of it.

Will Force abilities basically bludgeon reality into submission – hammering “What IS” with percipient will and raw psychic power until it gives way, reality breaks, and the user can substitute “What I Want It To Be” for whatever lost chunk of consensus reality used to be in his or her way. While this has all the subtlety of crushing houses with a wrecking ball, and is hideously expensive to boot, it is also versatile, fast, and (if backed by sufficient power) potentially extremely potent – and so Will Force is often a favored discipline for adventurers. Fairly obviously, it’s closely related to the law-negating effects of the Dimensional Warps discipline and to the willful denial of reality and the imposition of a desired pattern used by the Personal Control discipline. Also obviously, it’s utterly opposed to the Psychic Senses discipline, which focuses on subtly probing and exploiting what is rather than what you wish the universe to be. Accepting the universe as it is incapacitates Will Force abilities, while trying to make it what you want blocks psychic senses.

Psychic Senses, Minor Abilities:

01 Ability Classification
02 Alertness
03 Clairvoyance
04 Clairaudience
05 Compatibility Scan
06 Detect (Various)
07 Detection Screen
08 Dowsing
09 Lesser Divination
10 Lifesense
11 Magnetosense
12 Nightvision
13 Nymic Awareness
14 Pathfinder
15 Postcognition
16 Psychic Analysis
17 Psychic Scan
18 Psychic Tracking
19 Psychometry
20 Radar Sense
21 Second Sight
22 Signature Analysis
23 Social Perception
24 Spherical Awareness
25 Stress Perception
26 Surface Persona
27 Surveillance Detection
28 Timesensor
29 Truthsense

Psychic Senses, Major Abilities:

01 Ability Analysis
02 Aura Reading
03 Clairsentience
04 Cosmic Awareness
05 Danger Sense
06 Deepsight
07 Design Analysis
08 Electromagnetics
09 Elemental Sense
10 Falsification
11 Grab Bag
12 Greater Divination
13 Intuit Traps
14 Mystic Analysis
15 Perceptor
16 Precognition
17 Psychic Sensitive
18 Seekersense
19 Sensory Enhancement
20 Sensory Merge
21 Structural Probe
22 Systems Scan
23 Technic Analysis
24 Trigger Perception
25 Weakness Detection

Psychokinetic Effects, Minor Abilities:

01 Acrobatics
02 Armor Construction
03 Body Equilibrium
04 Camouflage
05 Clothing Shift
06 Containment Field
07 Detoxification
08 Dispersal
09 Fractionation
10 Fracturing
11 Gravity Compensation
12 Hindrance Field
13 Immovability
14 Kinetic Bolt
15 Levitation
16 Material Fusion
17 Mechanical Control
18 Mechanism Control
19 Missile Control
20 Muscle Override
21 Personal Force Field
22 Refining
23 Shockwave
24 Stabilize Material
25 Toughening
26 Ventriloquism

Psychokinetic Effects, Major Abilities:

01 Crystallization
02 Environment Control
03 Exokinetic Field
04 Filtration Field
05 Flight
06 Flow Patterning
07 Force Barriers
08 Gathering
09 Ice Creation
10 Inertial Damping
11 Internal Kinesis
12 Kinetic Charging
13 Material Control (Various)
14 Matrix Construction
15 Matter Simulation
16 Molding
17 Molecular Energetics
18 Molecular Patterning
19 Molecular Restructuring
20 Particle Manipulation
21 Plasma Manipulation
22 Poltergeist
23 Positional Lock
24 Reflection
25 Repulsion Fields
26 Solidification
27 Sonic Control
28 Stasis Field Projection
29 Telekinesis
30 Transmutation
31 Vibratory Powers

Telepathic Functions, Minor Abilities:

01 Ability Inhibition
02 Animal Telepathy
03 Attitude Sense
04 Calming
05 Charm
06 Decision Override
07 Domination
08 Dreamweaving
09 Emotion Boosting
10 Empathy
11 ESP
12 Hypnosis
13 Illusion Casting
14 Implant Memory
15 Invisibility
16 Mindlink
17 Mindlock
18 Mindshout
19 Mindwipe
20 Patterning
21 Phantom Slayer
22 Psychic Shield
23 Rapid Teaching
24 Sensory Tap
25 Skill Borrowing
26 Suggestion
27 Tongues
28 Truthsense
29 Vertigo Induction
30 Voicing

Telepathic Functions, Major Abilities:

01 Combat Scan
02 Compulsion Planting
03 Confusion
04 Deep Conditioning
05 Deep Probe
06 Emotion Projection
07 Gestalt Operations
08 Glamours
09 Group Manipulation
10 Inhibition Blocking
11 Insignificance
12 Mental Analysis
13 Mental Disguise
14 Mental Feedback
15 Mental Surgery
16 Mindhealing
17 Mindriding
18 Mindscan
19 Mindtoxin
20 Mindtraps
21 Overtone Analysis
22 Overworld Manipulation
23 Project Madness
24 Psychic Bolt
25 Psychic Bonding
26 Psychic Purging
27 Psychic Transfer
28 Skill Duplication
29 Subliminal Telepathy
30 Telepathy

Will Force, Minor Abilities:

01 Aspect Assumption
02 Characteristic Focus
03 Command
04 Compensation
05 Computer Emulation
06 Convulsion Projection
07 Emotional Control
08 Enhancer
09 Focused Strike
10 Great Shout
11 Intimidation
12 Lock Keying
13 Mental Barrier
14 Mindpool
15 Neural Support
16 Omnifocusing
17 Oratory
18 Override Control
19 Polarity Shield
20 Potential Conversion
21 Psychic Catalyst
22 Psychic Citadel
23 Psychic Damper
24 Resist Death
25 Sensory Overload
26 Task Focus
27 Temporal Fixator
28 Virtual Creation, En
29 Will Focus
30 Willcrystal
31 Willshield

Will Force, Major Abilities:

01 Absolute Command
02 Chaos Manipulation
03 Compression
04 Cure Insanity (Reversible)
05 Damage Transfer
06 Dimensional Fixiator
07 Free Movement
08 Function Disruption
09 Function Enhancement
10 Function Reversal
11 Great Presence
12 Hieronymus Device
13 Illusory Travel
14 Imprinting
15 Mystic Resistance
16 Order Imposition
17 Pattern Shift
18 Plasticizing
19 Probability Shifting
20 Psyche Theft
21 Psychic Enhancement
22 Reality Insertion
23 Selective Enhancement
24 Selfmerger
25 Sensory Manipulation
26 Shattering
27 Spell Holding
28 Subjugation
29 Trace Amplification
30 Virtual Creation

D20 – The Narrative Voyager:

And for today it’s a spell that’s been requested a number of times…

Narrative Voyager

  • Transmutation
  • Level: Wizard 4, Druid 5, Destiny 4.
  • Components: V, S, Magical Focus (a permanent Extradimensional Space), MF (a complex mechanism of turning gears, crystals, controls, and things that slide back and forth costing 100 GP), Narrative Focus (see below). .
  • Casting Time: Three Turns.
  • Range: Touch.
  • Target: An Extradimensional Space that the caster is already in.
  • Duration: Instantaneous (Special, See Below).
  • Saving Throw: None (Environmental Target).
  • Spell Resistance: No.

Destiny is not an absolute. Few if any points or outcomes are fixed and unalterable. Rather, it is a current – in some places sweeping forward with force, in others a gentle drift, and in yet others a gentle holding gyre or devouring whirlpool, carrying those who do not steer boldly and well into the stygian depths. Still, it has power. It flows around, or over, or ever-so-slowly wears away at obstacles – and, if contained in one place, it bursts free at three others.

Adventurers ride those currents. They may tack and steer to turn them to their advantage, but the seas of fate have always the final say. Still, where those currents come together, where potential accumulates, and where reality itself is but thinly bound… the power of destiny can be tapped.

The Narrative Voyager spell is best cast during a pause, when the currents of destiny have reached a decision point and are gathering together to rush onwards once more. It can only be cast only where the boundaries between the worlds are thin, in a space that is anchored to reality by a mere thread of magic. But if those conditions are fulfilled… it can set a group loose upon the seas of fate.

Narrative Voyage must be cast while inside a permanent extradimensional space. When cast it breaks the link between the extradimensional space and it’s host reality – setting the space adrift upon the currents of destiny, to wash up upon realities shores somewhere else.

  • If it’s cast while the occupants of the space are entangled with the local currents of destiny (A.K.A. while actually on an adventure) it will take a mere 1d6+1 turns for it to relocate the entrance to the extradimensional space used to somewhere within medium range of its original location – but the spell will have no other effect. The waves of the great sea will toss you back upon your original shore.
  • If it’s cast during a pause between the segments of an adventure, the space will almost always “arrive” (or at least re-establish the location of it’s entryway) in position for the next segment to begin – although it shows little or no respect for time, space, and dimension when doing so. The subjective duration of the trip is usually 1d6 minutes, but occasionally extends to hours for no apparent reason (at the will of the game master).
  • If it’s cast after the unsuccessful conclusion of an adventure, the space tends to fetch up somewhere gloomy and claustrophobic, with little in the way of supplies or help available, where a grim adventure, foreshadoing for some later adventure, mysterious entity who will provide puzzle-clues, or similar interlude awaits. Such locations tend to be incredibly isolated villages or settlements if they aren’t space stations, ships at sea, lonely islands, outposts in incredibly hostile regions, or even small demiplanes or other pocket realities. In any case… they are usually virtually devoid of other means of escape. Leaving will usually require resolving the local narrative – one way or another – and thus opening the way to make effective use of this spell again.
  • Occasionally, if cast after the conclusion of an adventure (whether successful or not), the spell will just take the caster (or someone else in the extradimensional space) “home”, usually in about an hour or so. Sometimes there’s an adventure there, but just as often it’s purely for character development and social purposes – or for someone to leave or join the party.
  • If it’s cast after a successful adventure – or when nothing is going on at all – it will normally take you to the start of a new adventure in a subjective time ranging from hours to days. While this does have an annoying tendency to dump you right into the middle of things with little or no chance to find out what is going on before getting involved, get a handle on the local area, or access friends, allies, or supplies, they are invariably environments and situations that the caster and any companions can reasonably handle if they respond cleverly and don’t make any really irretrievable mistakes. After all… the forces of destiny have brought you there to deal with the situation. If they just wanted you to die, THAT could be done with considerable ease. The universe is bigger than any little group of adventurers.

Complications: While being swept along by the Currents of Destiny, an Extradimensional Space will occasionally (about one trip in four) intersect another pocket-realm and become temporarily stuck to it. This will give the occupants a little while to interact with whatever’s there and possibly let them go on a side-adventure.


  • 1) Incursion: Something else that was traveling the planes comes aboard. This may be good or bad.
  • 2) Passenger: You either pick up, or disembark, a passenger.
  • 3-6) Location: You get to visit a pocket-world for a while. Roll 1d100:
    • 01-04) Badlands. Whether desert, plains, tundra, ice, or just rocks, there’s not much here.
    • 05-09) Wilds. Woods, jungle, or plains, this wild and uninhabited landscape is a great place to camp and relax for a bit.
    • 10-14) Isolated Holding. A small family farm or similarly isolated settlement. They will probably be surprised to have visitors.
    • 15-17) Ghost Town. This abandoned settlement may have a few locals, but not many.
    • 18-21) Camp. It may contain hobos, or boy scouts, or loggers, or fishermen, or a goblin warband, but mostly it’s just a temporary encampment.
    • 22-23) Caravan. Whether merchants, gypsies, or star voyagers, it’s a place for traders to stop before moving on. Occasionally this may be aboard a giant ship or some such.
    • 24-28) Thorp. This tiny settlement is a good place to get lunch, but usually not much else.
    • 29-34) Hamlet. You can probably find a bed-and-breakfast and some basic supplies.
    • 34-39) Village. A tavern/inn, possible basic hirelings, and some sort of local healer or priest are all likely attractions of visiting a village.
    • 40-43) Small Town. There are enough people around that you may not be instantly apparent as strangers, as long as you don’t stand out too much. You may be able to find a general store and a few basic specialists.
    • 44-47) Large Town: You can find specialists, currency has pretty well replaced barter, and common supplies are readily available.
    • 48-50) Small City. You can probably find a garrison, traders, banking, and money. There may well be a market for potions, scrolls, and other minor gadgets.
    • 51-53) Large City. Universalizes, libraries, sages, and exotic goods can all be found in a large city.
    • 54-55) Metrapolis. Ethnic districts, enclaves of exotic species, and organized crime have arrived.
    • 56-58) Megapolis. Often the center of a realm, politics, intrigue, wealth, and poverty all exist side by side with trade from distant lands.
    • 59-64) Imperial City. The center of an empire or great realm, this vast city is a center of events.
    • 65-70) Planar Metropolis. Filled with technology or magic so esoteric that it’s pretty much incomprehensible, a Planar Metropolis offers enough activity to support a campaign all on it’s own.
    • 71-80) Warning Realm. This realm is basically a quick survival-run through a “possible bad future” – what might happen to your homeland (or your next stop) if you let the zombie plague get out of control, or the big war starts, or whatever.
    • 81-83) Erroneous Past. Somehow you’re in the past, and – unless you fix whatever’s going wrong there – your future will cease to exist!
    • 84-86) Party. You’ve arrived at some social event. It might be austere, decadent, or simply strange, but you might make some contacts that will be useful later.
    • 87-88) Faerie. Or some other magical realm.
    • 89-91) Ruins. The remains of a fallen civilization, an abandoned megastructure, or something similar. There will be resources to be found, but likely dangers too.
    • 92) Arena. A place where giant monsters, or gladiators, or mecha, or whatever, do battle for some sort of audience. You’ll probably have to participate.
    • 93) A Monster Realm. A lost world full of dinosaurs, or place overrun deadly spiders, or a mist full of horrors, or wherever.
    • 94-98) Dark Realm. It may be full of undead, or be a city of Drow, or otherwise be a deadly place of horror, but there are always people to rescue or a revolution to start.
    • 99-100) Oracle. The place is inhabited by a mysterious being who seems to know much more than they should – and who can offer advice, or warning, or even send you to a particular place.

The game master is always ultimately in control of where the Narrative Voyager spell takes the caster. After all, he or she has to come up with and run the adventure – but characters who take Profession: Narrative Piloting (or something similar) will often be able to influence things a bit – arriving a little earlier than they otherwise would (giving them more time to scout and prepare), occasionally escaping some horrific destination before they can get entangled in a local plotline and have to deal with it, managing to make an intentional stop at a pocket realm to get something they need, or just arriving at a better starting point. Such influence is always limited, but it may be worth putting a few skill points into such a skill if you intend to cast this spell a lot. And yes, this is basically a “TARDIS” spell – but that has been requested several times. After all… a “TARDIS” is a near-ideal way to gloss over the usual bar-crawling, looking for patrons, finding treasure maps, and getting-the-characters involved routine. Instead the characters simply arrive someplace and get tossed straight into the action, acquiring background information and their “briefing” while on the adventure. Even better, they are pretty much stuck with actually going on the adventure before they can leave. There’s none of that bothersome backing out or deciding to go elsewhere.

Continuum II Psychic Powers Part II – Heightened Talents, Life Energy Manipulation, Natural Forces, and Personal Control.

And today it’s a few more of the Continuum II Psionic Disciplines.

Heightened Talents disciplines use a complex array of positive (for ability amplification) and negative (to keep the user’s mind from burning out) feedback loops to anchor the idealized skills and concepts of the astral plane into the user’s physical body – allowing the user to temporarily achieve incredible levels of skill and ability within particular fields. While this is subject to the natural limits of the user’s body and mind, and to the fact that the ideal concepts of the astral plane tend to be “generic” enough to apply to many worlds and dimensions, it’s also rather low cost. After all, it is quite possible to become an expert engineer, brilliant tactician, or deductive genius without any psychic powers at all. Psychic powers just make it easier. It should come as no surprise that Heightened Talents are closely related to the subtle, self-balancing empyrean (the physical-astral interface) Life Energy Manipulation abilities and to the equally subtle – if external – field manipulations of Natural Forces abilities. Equally unsurprisingly, the rules-warping Psychokinetic Abilities – which rely on the distortion of the principles governing physical bodies – are utterly antithetical to Heightened Talents, since they grossly disrupt that controlling feedback, allowing the positive feedback loops to build into uncontrollable destructive oscillations.

Life Energy Manipulations operate primarily on the Empyrean Interface, where the Astral Plane intersects with the Material – the location of the “life-force”. While this allows the users to readily manipulate the energies of that realm to help or harm, it tends to focus their attention on the Empyrean and the subtle energy fields associated with life. After all, without that focus and concentration, the user’s own energy fields will interfere with anything they try to do. Still, once the user achieves the necessary level of control, the amount of power required to manipulate those subtle fields is relatively small – making Life Energy Manipulations one of the more efficient disciplines to use. Naturally enough, the field is fairly closely related to equally-internal, if far less finely-controlled and feedback-driven Personal Control abilities and to Life Energy Manipulations, as shown above. It is incompatible with the feedback-damping “hit it with raw power” effects of Energy Manipulation abilities, since those require blocking the subtle feedback that Life Energy Manipulations require.

Natural Forces abilities are focused on external feedback – channeling the user’s energies into tapping and manipulating the natural, environmental, energy fields of the world around the user. Thanks to the sheer scale of such forces, such manipulation usually focuses on subtle guidance rather than raw force – but there are plenty of available energy potentials in the natural world that are just waiting to be unleashed, making the personal power requirements of these abilities relatively moderate. Such fields include morphogenic fields (that help govern forms and their development), probability fields, the environmental fields of the earth, air, waters, and life, “ley lines” and magical nexi, and various planetary, stellar, and quantum fields – although few user’s attempt to interact with those since making a mistake while meddling with such forces can have disastrous effects. Unfortunately, while the Natural Forces disciplines often have broad applications and implications, the effects of these disciplines often tend to be relatively subtle and slow, and so only a few of them find much favor with adventurers. Obviously enough the Natural Forces discipline is directly opposed by the Dimensional Warps discipline, which focuses entirely on tearing apart and blowing holes in the subtle fields that Natural Forces abilities seek to manipulate. While they operate on a larger scale, Natural Forces abilities are fairly closely akin to the subtle feedback manipulations of Heightened Talents and to the Psychic Senses focus on gently probing reality without distorting it.

Personal Control abilities operate by channeling energy into the users body, using it to establish rigid control over the users personal molecules and energy fields. The discipline thus offers a powerful defensive suite; as long as you have enough power you can simply shrug off the effects of a wide variety of attacks and environmental effects, Even better, the intensely personal nature of the discipline keeps the costs relatively low compared to many other disciplines. Unfortunately, those same factors generally limit the discipline to personal-only powers and the offensive functions are quite limited. The emphasis on the brute-force channeling of energy through the Empyrean and into the user’s physical body makes Personal Control abilities the opposite of the Telepathic Functions, which focus on channeling subtle, nuanced, patterns of mental energy through the empyrean and into other people’s minds – one exercising fine control on the physical level and the other on the purely conceptual level. Personal Control is related to the Will Force disciplines, which focus on channeling raw power into an area to simply “overwrite” whatever is already there and “natural” results and to the Life Energy Manipulation abilities, which also focus on the empyrean interface with the physical body – if in a far more subtle fashion.

What I have here seems to be some older, shorter, discipline lists. If I turn up the longer lists, I’ll update these. There should be some full descriptions around for at least some of the powers too, but I haven’t found those up yet.

Heightened Talents, Minor Abilities:

01 Animal Friend
02 Artistic
03 Balance
04 Charismatic
05 Craftsman
06 Deduction
07 Economic
08 Eidetic Memory
09 Engineering
10 Leadership
11 Mathematics
12 Military
14 Operator
15 Perception
16 Performer
17 Persuasive
18 Precision
19 Programmer
20 Psychology
21 Recognizer
22 Residue Focusing
23 Science
24 Sensitive
25 Stealth
26 Thought Embedment
27 Timekeeper

Heightened Talents, Major Abilities:

01 Analogue Construction
02 Archetype Assumption
03 Artificer
04 Auric Repulsion
05 Combat Awareness
06 Cultural Adaption
07 Dreamsearch
08 Empathic Healer
09 Empathic Predictor
10 Intuitive Physician
11 Logician/Computer
12 Milieu Affinity
13 Multiple Tracking
14 Pattern Detection
15 Power Embedment
16 Probability Calculator
17 Psychic Reservoir
18 Racemind Tapping
19 Residue Shaping
20 Ritual Channeling
21 Role Assumption
22 Sensory Awareness
23 Sensory Interpretation
24 Translation
25 Voice
26 Weaponsmaster

Life Energy Manipulation, Minor Abilities:

01 Age Shift
02 Aura Stabilization
03 Biofield Perception
04 Cause (Various)
05 Characteristic Drain
06 Cure (Various)
07 Damage Control
08 Death Touch
09 Devitalization
10 Empathic Bond
11 Fatigue Banishing
12 Flesh Shaping
13 Healing Sleep
14 Induced Aging
15 Life Channeling
16 Life Support
17 Parasitic Link
18 Personality Imbuement
19 Potential Tapping
20 Repel Undead
21 Resist Life Energy Manipulation
22 Shadow Casting
23 Suspension
24 Vital Points

Life Energy Manipulation, Major Abilities:

01 Animation
02 Avatar Projection
03 Cellular Adjustment
04 Control Undead
05 Duplication
06 Ectoplasmic Control
07 Genetic Restructuring
08 Life Energy Restoration
09 Lifeform Analysis
10 Life Surge
11 Nerveblock
12 Neural Control
13 Physiological Regulator
14 Power Absorption
15 Power Bestowal
16 Power Drain
17 Regeneration Induction
18 Rejuvenation
19 Revival
20 Sending Creation
21 Simulacrum
22 Transition
23 Transplantation
24 Undead Creation
25 Vampirism

Natural Forces, Minor Abilities:

01 Animal Control
02 Animal Powers (Various)
03 Banishment
04 Biosphere Tapping
05 Catalysis
06 Entity Projection
07 Flame Manipulation
08 Hibernation
09 Inhibitor
10 Limited Adaption
11 Luck Manipulation
12 Milieu Empathy (Various)
13 Natural Weaponry
14 Plant Control
15 Plantspeech
16 Potence
17 Seachange
18 Skinchange
19 Worldscan

Natural Forces, Major Abilities:

01 Adhesion Control
02 Animal Imitation
03 Binding Field Manipulation
04 Bioform Expansion
05 De-evolution
06 Diffusion Control
07 Elemental Control (Various)
08 Entrophic Projection
09 Event Catalysis
10 Event Inhibition
11 Friction Manipulation
12 Full Adaption
13 Gravity Channeling
14 Probability Warping
15 Racial Memory
16 Schrodinger Collapse
17 Seamaster
18 Shapeshifter
19 Spirit Binding
20 Transformation
21 Weather Control
22 Worldshaping

Personal Control, Minor Abilities:

01 Adaptive Regulation
02 Anasensence
03 Biocybrenetic Link
04 Bioelectrics
05 Bouncing
06 Clinging
07 Damage Resistance
08 Desentization
09 Disguise Shapeshift
10 Endurance Enhancement
11 Focusing
12 Gaseous Form (Var)
13 Hasting
14 Life Suspension
15 Merging
16 Omnidigestion
17 Pheromone Manipulation
18 Pressure Hardening
19 Reflex Enhancement
20 Regeneration
21 Resist (Various)
22 Restorative Trance
23 Self Sustenance
24 Self Weaponry
25 Sensory Override
26 Specific Transform
27 Sprinting
28 Strength Enhancement
29 Symbiotic Adjustment
29 Sympathetic Projection

Personal Control, Major Abilities:

01 Absorption
02 Adaption
03 Adrenal Surge
04 Atmospheric Adaption
05 Attribute Shift
06 Biophysical Control
07 Density Increase
08 Elasticity
09 Elemental Merging
10 Energy Resistance
11 Extended Senses
12 Hypersenses
13 Hyperspeed
14 Immortality
15 Intangibility
16 Kinetic Resistance
17 Metabolic Control
18 Neural Surge
19 Non-corporeality
20 Pattern Lockout
21 Pattern Stabilization
22 Phase Shift
23 Self-Transmutation
24 Shapechanging
25 Shielded Focusing
26 Steelskin
27 Thermal Control
28 Tranceshield
29 Venom Generation

Continuum II – Psychic Ability Upgrades, Dimensional Warps, and Energy Manipulation

Continuum II Psionic Abilities were – once again – minor (2 Point) and Major (3 Points) skills – and could be built up or modified by spending more skill points on them, just like any other skill. Unlike more mundane skills, however, Psionic Abilities involved the channeling and manipulation of exotic energies – and so there were a lot more options available for spending skill points than the usual “take a die off the check to get better odds”.

Thus, if you had the Minor Energy Manipulation Ability “Energy Bolt” you could lob around bolts of energy. You wanted to train a stubborn dog by giving it a light electrical zap whenever it went insane with barking at guests again? That’s a “Trivial” application. Melting an ordinary lock or getting your campfire going with wet wood? That’s pretty “Basic”. Throw a bolt at a nearby enemy? That one is – fairly obviously for an offensive ability in a RPG – “Basic”. Extra damage or throwing in a stunning or knockback effect or explosive on that basic blast? That’s probably “normal”. Hit two targets who are standing fairly close together? That might be a bit “Tricky”. Send a bolt arcing through three hostage-holders without touching the hostage? That would probably be “Advanced” unless there were special circumstances involved. Hold your power output even enough to substitute for your ships burnt-out electrical generator? That’s definitely pretty “Complex”. Those things have fairly tight tolerances. Trigger just the circuit you need to get that sealed door open? That’s blatantly “Absurd” – and you’d be a LOT better off using a more appropriate power.

Common ways to upgrade a psionic ability with skill points included:

  • Reduced Cost: Shift one column to the right on the cost chart. You could get this more than once, but couldn’t get off the chart.
  • Specialties: Reduce the application level by one (for relatively broad specialties) or two (for very narrow specialties) ranks. Specialties could be virtually anything. Area Effects? Piercing Defenses? Multiple Strikes? Explosions? Buffering Defenses? Increased Range?
  • Warding: You were never harmfully affected by your own power – although indirect effects, such as bringing down the ceiling, will endanger you normally.

As an option, if you came up with some way to seriously limit your power that the game master felt was reasonable, you could apply a free upgrade. So if you were limited to “Fire” (or, more accurately, low-density plasma) instead of energy in general… you could get a free upgrade, albeit only one.

Now, as for a couple of the specific lists…

“Dimensional Warp” abilities suppress a portion of the local structure of a dimension – such as a natural law or two, the dimensions of space, the structure of time, or some other principle, leaving little in the place of the suppressed principle but the fundamentals of existence – Sequence, Separation, Will (or Life), and Transformation (or Death) – filling that void with the user’s will. As such… they pit the user’s power against the metaphysical inertia of the universe and the massed will of those who inhabit it. The only thing that lets Dimensional Warps operate at all is that the user is generally only attempting to affect a very small area (at least when compared to the universe). Even so, Dimensional Warp abilities tend to be extremely expensive to use. On the other hand, the difficulty tends to depend on the size of the thing affected – not on it’s mass or the amount of energy involved. If you really need to get rid of an unstable quantum singularity, this is the discipline for you.

Naturally enough, the principles of Dimensional Warps are closely related to the Will Force and Psychokinetic Disciplines (which function by related forms of distorting natural laws as opposed to negating them entirely) and oppose Natural Forces (which subtly enhance and guide the local natural laws), Psychic Senses (which rely on gently probing what exists rather than trying to redefine it), and Heightened Talents (which rely on subtle amplification of what is already present rather than on breaking it down).

Energy Manipulation abilities are pretty straightforward: you reach out with your mind and channel raw energy – forcing it to do what you want. Unfortunately, since you’re running a mental interface with that energy, the big trick is to not let enough of it backlash through that interface to destroy your brain. Worse, maintaining such rigid control is power-intensive in itself – and dissipating what waste energies do manage to leak through (there are invariably some) costs even more. There is a reason why so many energy manipulators tend to be obsessed with their specialities, or pay little attention to endangering others, or seem intoxicated by their own power, or are otherwise a bit crazy – and it’s gradually-accumulating brain damage. Masters of Energy Manipulation always have the option to pay a little less psychic strength or push their limits and accept the resulting backlash – but it’s not a good idea to do it very often.

As such, the Energy Manipulation abilities are the opposite of the subtle, internal, disciplines of Life Energy Manipulation, with it’s emphasis on negative feedback loops and self-balancing systems. It’s generally not compatible with the subtle feedback required by Heightened Talents (since it focuses on blocking out such feedback as much as possible) or with the deeply personalized and internal amplifications typical of the Personal Control disciplines. It is, however, related to the imposition of pattern on psychic energies that the Telepathic Functions require and to the similar, but larger-scale, manipulations of the Psychokinetic Effects.

Dimensional Warp, Minor Abilities:

01 Blink Teleport
02 Coordinate Lock
03 Corridor Creation
04 Defensive Shunt
05 Dimensional Adaption
06 Dimensional Awareness
07 Dimensional Navigator
08 Disassembly
09 Displacement
10 Far Traveling
11 Folding
12 Gas Shunting
13 Gate Keying
14 Growth
15 Image Projection
16 Inertial Focusing
17 Inertial Null
18 Kinetic Matching
19 Linking
20 Otherplane Touch
21 Pocket Warp
22 Psychic Surgery
23 Shrinking
24 Space Distortion
25 Stabilization
26 Thought Oscillation
27 Tramline Generation
28 Wards
29 Warp Probe
30 Warp Rebound
31 Warp Tapping
32 Warp Tracing

Dimensional Warps, Major Abilities:

01 Apportion
02 Aspect Shift
03 Astral Projection
04 Axis Reduction
05 Axis Rotation
06 Block Transfer
07 Conjuration
08 Dimensional Lock
09 Dodging
10 Doppelganger
11 Etherealness
12 Geodesic Distortion
13 Hypershunt
14 Internal Gateway
15 Kinetic Shunt
16 Law Suspension
17 Matter Projection
18 Partial Phase
19 Personal Limbo
20 Plane Shift
21 Portal Generation
22 Power Source Creation
23 Reality Bubble
24 Refraction
25 Scattering
26 Stardrive
27 Summoning
28 Teleportation
29 Temporal Fugue
30 Temporal Shift
31 Time Manipulation
32 Warp Anchor
33 Warp Manipulation

Energy Manipulation, Minor Abilities:

01 Attuned Field
02 Cloaking
03 Conduction Field
04 Corona
05 Cybrenetic Telepath
06 Disintegration
07 Disruption Touch
08 Energy Analysis
09 Energy Bolt
10 Energy Imbuement
11 Energy Stabilization
12 Energy Storage
13 Holographic Illusion
14 Illuminator
15 Insulating Field
16 Invisibility
17 Multibolt
18 Nonresistance
19 Personal Shield
20 Plasma Generation
21 Potential Binding
22 Psychic Ground
23 Psychic Source
24 Psychic Seal
25 Reflection
26 Shadow Generation
27 Solidification
28 Storage Field
29 Tachyon Manipulation
30 Weapon Focus

Energy Manipulation, Major Abilities:

01 Amplification
02 Damping Field
03 Electrokinesis
04 Energy Absorption
05 Energy Animation
06 Energy Barriers
07 Energy Channeling
08 Energy Conversion
09 Energy Dissipation
10 Energy Doppelganger
11 Energy Focusing
12 Energy Form
13 Energy Patterning
14 Energy Pulse
15 Energy Redirection
16 Energy Screens
17 Field Manipulation
18 Jamming Field
19 Kinetic Transfer
20 Magnetic Control
21 Minimization
22 Mystic round
23 Mystic Sourcing
24 Negative Energy Manipulation
25 Pattern Stabilization
26 Pattern Suspension
27 Photon Manipulation
28 Radiation Manipulation
29 Seeking Field
30 Sonic Manipulation
31 Technic Ground
32 Technic Sourcing

The Advancing Warrior Part VIII – Branching Out

A followup question on the Advancing Warrior series was how to make a Warrior useful outside of combat.

Now, to a large extent, that’s a role-playing thing. One of the best out-of-combat leaders, investigators, and tricksters I’ve ever had in one of my games was back in first edition AD&D – a basic fighter who’s player was good at planning, almost never missed or forgot a clue, and virtually always had some clever idea for taking advantage of a situation, his companions special powers, or an opponents weaknesses – and it’s not like first edition gave basic fighters a lot to work with except role-playing.

Still, 3.0/3.5/Pathfinder 1’st edition is a lot more complicated – so the first thing to look at is what ARE the noncombat roles? There’s…

The Healer. Every adventuring party needs some healing – but that means that the game has to include a lot of ways to do it. Thus this specialty comes in three levels.

  • Level One: The out-of-combat hit point battery. For good or ill, this “role” really isn’t worth worrying about, since Healing Belts, wands of Lesser Vigor or Cure Light Wounds, Boots of the Earth, Healing Touch (and various other feats), or even simple skills and a little time can generally handle out of combat healing with little difficulty and – at mid-levels and up – with a relatively small investment.
  • Level Two: The emergency healer. This character can perform a fair amount of out-of-combat healing and can usually manage to keep gravely wounded characters from dying in combat – at least provided that they swiftly get out of combat. That’s partially because the line between “functioning at full power” and “dead” is generally pretty thin in d20, but this is still relatively cheap. Investing one to two levels in Warrior-Mage (Healer) options will cover this.
  • Level Three: The primary healer. This character can use high-level powers to heal large amounts of damage in battle, to raise the dead, neutralize exhaustion and many other long-term effects, and to readily cure all kinds of poison and diseases. It’s always worthwhile having a primary healer around, but this sort of thing is generally not a job for dabbling fighters. It’s not that they CAN’T do it, it’s simply that the cost is high enough that they wind up as fighter/healers, not just a fighter. Still, there’s no reason why you couldn’t spend four levels on picking up (for example) a Healing Martial Discipline. Perhaps L1: Close Wounds, Lesser Restoration, L2: Cure Moderate Wounds, L3: Restoration, L4: Panacea, L5: Monstrous Regeneration, L6: Heal, L7: Greater Restoration, L8: Revival (Raise Dead with no monetary cost), L9: Mass Heal, 48 CP.

The Expert. This character has a lot of skills. Depending on their specialties, they can find and disable traps, tell you about monsters abilities and weakness, locate hidden passages, persuade NPC’s to help you out, get you out of legal trouble, or make stuff for the party. Even presuming that you don’t want to go the full Skillmaster Warrior route (which is a bit expensive), a second instance of Adept (6 CP) and Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus (adds a second attribute modifier to the user’s (Int Mod) for the purposes of gaining skill points, 18 CP) will cover much of this at a cost of 24 CP or about two levels worth of special purchases. If you want to throw in a third level… Luck with +12 Bonus Uses Specialized in Skills, Corrupted / only to take 20 in advance (6 CP) or some Witchcraft just for getting skill boosts (6+ CP) will give you some pretty big boosts. For further whimsy, here are a couple of +1 level special talents to consider:

  • The Trapper: This 12 CP / one-level package lets the user make life difficult for opponents by adding various traps to the environment – usually starting with the classic “did you know that you’re standing in a bear trap?” routine. Buy 3d6 Mana With Reality Editing, Corrupted for Increased Effect and Specialized for Reduced Cost / only to shove targets into traps (1 Mana to move a Large or smaller target up to ten feet, save DC 15 + Con Mod) and create Traps. (1 Mana/CR of the resulting trip, maximum CR = Level) plus Rite of Chi with +2 Bonus Uses, Specialized and Corrupted / Takes one hour per die, only to recharge the mana reserve above (3 CP).
  • The Battle Sage has some relevant tricks, but one of the most entertaining is the Chains Of History ability, which can pe picked up for a mere 12 CP or one levels worth of special purchases.
    • Chains Of History (12 CP): 1d6 (4) Mana with Reality Editing, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect (Minor Edits cost 1 Point, Notable Edits cost 2, Major ones cost 3, and Grandiose ones cost 4). Requires a History Check at DC 15/18/24/36 for Minor/Notable/Major/Grandiose Edits, only for Reality Editing, only to “recall” convenient “facts” that can be used against a particular enemy, allows a Will save at a DC of (14/18/22/26 + User’s Int Mod) to resist, may only spend 4 mana on Chains of History per encounter. Plus Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized/only to refill the Chain of History Mana Pool.
      • Minor: “Call upon the Light of Ixion when you cast! She will empower your spells to pierce his cloak of darkness!”. Reducing an opponents effective Spell Resistance can be quite helpful.
      • Notable: There is a bare patch on his left breast! Aim there and your arrows will sink deep!” At this level… you get a bonus to hit and extra damage. As a minor edit, you might just get a small bonus to hit.
      • Major: “His Crown! Much of his power lies within his Crown! If you destroy much of his magic will fail!”
      • Grandiose: “But I know your true name, Ramthonosiderin Of The Seventh Abyss, and by it I command you to return to the Darkness from which you came!”
  • Finally, of course, Mystic Artist is a wonderful compliment to an Expert build. You can pick up the basics for a mere (6 CP), and once you learn to inspire small groups with positive levels handing out small but well-chosen abilities and bonuses can make a wonderful contribution to a party.

The Landlord. This character has a base and/or immobile property. What’s more, it’s a base with various employees and special facilities that can provide support for your adventures or property that can provide special benefits. Do you need magic items, a home that’s protected from basic scry-and-die tactics, or perhaps access to a powerful Ward Major or Heartstone? The Landlord can have that, and may well be able to get you in on the action.

It is important to note that a Landlord is almost always tied to a particular region and community. It’s awkward to try and pack up your businesses, castle, and allies and move on when your murder-hobo “friends” have made themselves unwelcome in the area yet again. While I tend to see this as a good thing, there are quite a few players who try to avoid all possible attachments. Of course, if they’re really dedicated about it, they’d probably never even consider this path anyway.

  • Bases are normally built using Sanctum (6 CP), although most of them have a few extra abilities thrown in (usually another 6 CP). As shown by Caercrwydryn, the Citadel Of The Wanderer (or the far more tongue-in cheek Baron Ectar’s Fortress Of Doom) that’s quite enough to build a pretty decent fortress even at low levels – although you won’t have much of a staff, any crafters, or a Ward Major until level seven or eight or so (although those will continue to improve as you level up). Of course, even most fighters will not be wanting to invest a levels worth of special purchases in a base until they have most of the basics covered, so that’s not much of a limitation.
  • You can also take Privilege (or Major Privilege) / Investor. This gives you various local, tangible assets – ownership of, or shares in the ownership of, businesses, lands, structures, or special resources, with a net value of one-half (3 CP) or three-quarters (6 CP) of the base wealth of a PC of your level. Sadly, these cannot (for some reason) be converted to cash. You get a 5% yearly return on whatever portion of your holdings you devote to getting cash or get to use 10% (whether in amount or time) of whatever facilities you own. Thus, if you own a shipping company with three ships, you could reasonably divert one for three and a half months (10% of the 36 they will have available this year) to take you and your friends on an expedition – or use 10% of the space in the ships holds to transport your own cargo or some such. Similarly, you could use an office and some of the space in their warehouses. In general, this is best used to gain access to various facilities or (if lifestyle costs are in play) to pay for those. Like it or not, 5% of 50% (or even 75%) of your wealth by level will not greatly increase your power – but at higher levels it will pay for a nice lifestyle and get you some social influence. (There are more details available over HERE).

Investments are especially useful to adventurers if Heartstones (The Practical Enchanter) or Magical Businesses are in play – although, even if those are not common features of the setting and you’d normally have to build your own, you can take Major Privilege / may purchase fractional shares of magical businesses or Heartstones (6 CP) and get in on the action at a fairly low level. For example, a Monument Of The Enduring Warrior (+2 / Caster Level Eight) can grant +2 enhancements that last until dispelled on up to 480 shields or sets of armor at a total price of 8000 GP. So that’s 834 GP to be entitled to the use of five of those boosts. Go ahead; equip yourself and a friend. Sure, that’s one of the cheapest bonuses you can get, but it will be pretty useful at level three – and you can continue to expand and upgrade your investments as you go up in level.

This also comes out to 12 CP or one level worth of special purchases – allowing you to be a wealthy noble landlord with a good deal of backing and extra magic for a mere two levels worth of special purchases.

The Transporter. This character can find paths and/or get you (and your gear) places – either very quickly, past terrible obstacles, or to strange and normally-unreachable places. Classically that’s a job for Teleportation, Plane Shift, or spells like Water Breathing for exploring unlivable environments – none of which are really well-suited to a fighter-type unless they want to invest in the “Shattered Labyrinth Of Planes” Martial Discipline or some such (Perhaps L1: Benign Transposition, Time Hop Punch, L2: Rope Trick, Baleful Transposition, L3: Dimensional Anchor Touch, L4: Dimension Door, L5:Greater Blink, L6: Improved Plane Shift, L7: Mass Teleport, L8:Maze, and L9: Gate. ).

  • Fighters, however, are usually more interested in mounts, vehicles, and pathfinding. Mounts are generally covered under Rider, the Beastmaster Warrior, or via investing in a Fantastic Stable. There’s a Template for turning a Companion Creature into a vehicle or mobile base, creating a tank, dirigible, ornithopter, or similar, as used by The Master Of The World. This particular option has a base cost of 12 CP or one level worth of optional purchases and can be Specialized or Corrupted to reduce that cost further. Alternatively, characters who have already invested in a bit of Witchcraft can use Birth Of Flames to create a vehicle quite cheaply – as covered in part IV of the Pulp Hero article HERE. That will suffice to get you a Mole Drill, Flash Gordon Starship, Spider Walker, Cursed Transdimensional Ship, or any of a variety of other vehicles with a total investment of 3-12 points – for a maximum of a one-level investment. It’s probably well worth it. If you’re using the cheap-end Witchcraft approach, you can even afford to throw in a Pathfinding ability.
  • If you’re spending a lot of time in a particular environment, it may be worthwhile taking some of the Travel abilities – although they’re most useful if you specialize in a particular region. If you’re playing a campaign set entirely in Sherwood Forest, or the Underdark, or some such – especially if it’s a low magic setting – spending a few points on Specialized and/or Corrupted Travel boosts can provide a pretty major advantage. This will probably make being a Transporter a two-level investment though.

Now, if you want to be able to guide the party into fictional words, you can purchase:

  • Mystic Artist/Cartography, Specialized/gets no basic abilities, one daily use is automatically imbued into each map he makes, only works when making a new map (2 CP).
  • Echoes: Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (no time limit on usage, works for everyone in the immediate vicinity of the map when it’s activated): Each map can only be imbued with a single use of Mystic Artist, which only serves to prime the Echoes ability, which can only be used for the Path of Whispers. After the Echoes are expended, they are simply maps (6 CP).
  • Path of Whispers: Subliminal, Conditioning, Compelling, and Undertow, all Specialized and Corrupted/only as prerequisites, requires drawing a new map each time (8 CP).
  • Path of Whispers/Immersive, Specialized and corrupted/only to convey visions of places, requires drawing a new map each time (2 CP).
  • Path of Whispers/Worldgate, Corrupted/requires drawing a new map each time (4 CP).

That will let you draw maps – each with three “charges” – that are capable of either granting visions of the place portrayed or of actually transporting those in the area when the map is activated into the realm it portrays. More importantly… it doesn’t have to be a real place. You can jump into a historical setting, a myth, or a popular tale and will be placed in an appropriate role within it. Once the plot is completed (or hopelessly derailed) those participating will be returned from whence they came.

At a total cost of 22 CP that’s basically a two-level package – but it offers access to much of the multiverse that’s out of reach of almost anyone else.

Magical and Psionic Item Crafting usually isn’t a fighter thing, simply because it tends to call for a major investment in magical and/or psionic powers to get the various prerequisites for making said items. Still, there are a few things a fighter can do along these lines:

  • Shaping, Corrupted and Specialized for increased (level one and possibly weak level two) effects / can only produce the effects for which the user has the appropriate foci ready, can only support a limited number (seven and three) of minor charms and more notable talismans (from The Practical Enchanter) at one time, charms and talismans take some time to attune for use (6 CP). While Charms and Talismans are fairly minor devices, they can be quite handy – and this ability will allow even a first level character to use a selection of them.
  • Major Privilege / gets a Wealth Level from The Practical Enchanter based on their Hit Dice (6 CP). In general: 0-4 Hit Dice: Common, 5-8 Hit Dice: Well-Off, 9-12 Hit Dice: Affluent, 13-16 Hit Dice: Wealthy, and 17+ Hit Dice: Imperial. This is a bit of a rules hack since the Wealth Levels are intended to replace detailed treasure accounting rather than supplement it, and thus provide the use of some Charms and Talismans, a lifestyle, servants, ordinary equipment, and some bonuses – but it’s probably comparable to a Wizard who takes a Crafting feat, which can provide some pretty hefty bonuses for everyone in the entire party. It’s good, but not game-breaking.
  • Siddhisyoga (6+ CP) has already been mentioned under Archers, but it does let you turn treasure into slot-free magical powers very directly indeed. Unfortunately, it generally doesn’t do a thing for the rest of the party.
  • Create Artifact (6 CP) is nice and cheap and can create extremely powerful items of pretty much any kind you want – but it requires all kinds of quests, mighty deeds, weird rituals, and exotic ingredients.
  • Buying access to some Occult Skills such as Dreambinding, Legendarium, or the Shadowed Galaxy Equipment Skills at Normal Cost (6 CP per skill) can let you produce all kinds of items and supplies – but the amount is pretty limited at lower levels.
  • Still, the big one here comes in the form of various combinations of Create Relic and Enthusiast. For some examples you can look at the Golden Ones and “A Doctorate In Philosophy” (6 CP) or “Where does he get those wonderful toys” (Varies). The Houngan Conjurer Package (only 6 CP) is another excellent choice.

Several of those are very useful – but a fighter type won’t need to invest more than 12-24 CP – 1-2 levels worth of optional purchases – to get them.

The Politician. This character can get you access to special resources and talk people into things. Do you need the services of a high-level specialist, access to a tome the government keeps in a sealed vault, a military diversion, an interview with the local king, tickets to a concert, a propaganda campaign, or to borrow a powerful item? Your party politician knows where the bodies are buried (Specific Knowledge, SP only), has Contacts (1-2 CP each), is owed Favors by his or her Connections (2-12 CP), has Influence (Action Hero / Influence, 6 CP), and Privileges (3-6 CP), and can get you into places. If they happen to have the proper Mystic Artist talents (6+ CP) they can influence entire nations. If they dabble in magic such as Charm Person or Glibness they become even more formidable – and all they need otherwise is a few social skills.

Unfortunately, a Politician isn’t so easily priced as most other minor specialties.since what you need to buy is heavily setting-dependent. Still, it shouldn’t take much more than a one or two level investment to handle the job.

The Seer can find the party quests to go on and detect various things. The easiest way to cover this minor speciality is Witchcraft with a few Pacts. Between Witchsight and The Sight you can handle most of this job withe a mere one-level investment. If you want to provide advance warning of things, throw in another levels worth of purchases and grab some options off of the Distant Divination list over HERE.

Finally we have the Utility Caster, Buffer/Debuffer, and Countermagic Expert. Those are indeed good things to have in your party – but we’re talking about FIGHTERS here. If you want to invest enough levels in the project to be any good at any of these roles… you’re not really going to be a fighter any longer.

Earlier articles in this series have covered…


Advancing Fighters:

  • Part I: Universal Basics, Lockdown/Tripper, and Fearmonger.
  • Part II: Smasher, Charger, and Thrown Weapons Master
  • Part III: Mounted Fighters.
  • Part IV: Two Weapons, Sword and Board, One-Handed, Massive Damage and Effects Monger Critical Fisher
  • Part V: Archers and Summoning Shots.
  • Part VI: Cyborgs, Power Armor, Mutants, Tinkers, and Mechwarriors.
  • Part VII: Beastmasters, Drawing Aggro, Totemic Warrior, Skillmaster Warrior, Spellslayer, Warrior Mage, and Multi-Talented Warrior.


Apex Campaign, Star Fleet Timeline Cluster, Augment Victory Timeline. The Augment IV Racial Package

The human mind is built on ancient neural patterns – deep instincts, systems that process sensory information, logical and emotional feedback loops that keep it running, and even the patterns of motor neurons that operate the body. If you change any of those too much… the mind warps and changes, taking on a new form. The result is unpredictable, often no longer functional at all, and never much like a normal human being even when it still functions – and, so far, it has never been sapient. No one is quite sure why that’s true, but (at least in the Apex setting) there seems to be a component beyond mere physical reality.

So there are limits. You can transfer an existing mind into a mostly-artificial body – but if you want a NEW mind to develop properly… there has to be a childhood. You can make the senses sharper, or even very slightly expand their range – but not much past the limits of normal human potential or even an existing mind will soon go mad. There need to be bones, and muscles, and various internal organs. You can boost intelligence and reaction time somewhat, and you can enhance durability and strength considerably – but not too much or instabilities will soon develop.

And, at least so far… redesigned humans only develop more-or-less normally if they are born to existing redesigned humans. Trying to leave out a recognizably-human set of parents, infancy, and childhood, leads to failure at best and rampaging monsters at worst. At least the first generation (no second generation births have yet occurred) have to have transferred minds.

That need for growth, development, and maintenance along human lines is pretty limiting for the engineering too. You can’t just install bigger parts; they have to GROW in situ – for which you need something analogous to a circulatory system to transport materials, as well as something analogous to a metabolism and to both taste and smell (and eating thanks to those copied-over instincts). Sure, most of the bone structure can be magnetically-reinforced nanotubes and diamond with reinforcing magnetic fields instead of calcium – but it still has to grow and be filled with channels to integrate it into the circulatory system. The electro-contractile muscles and tendons may be stronger (and powered by the electrical energy delivered by the “nerves”), but the layout – and ways in which the arrangement doesn’t bend – is much the same. Joint locks work almost as well (given that they are generally stronger and tougher) on augmented humans as they do on regular ones. The skin may incorporate tougher polymers and resist chemicals a lot better, but it still has to grow, stretch, heal, and shed itself.

Fourth generation Augments were little more than speculations at the beginning of the Eugenics Wars (A.K.A. WWIII). While prototypes of limited parts of the technology where in testing, no complete design (let alone implementation) was available. Thanks, however, to an open-ended time loop engineered by one or more members of the so-called Q Continuum, development of the Type IV design continued – albeit with only a single sample and a small research team that spent most of their time catching up on what they did last time – through 281,223 iterations of the relevant several-year section of the loop before Armand, Blueblood, and Scotty intervened to prevent further looping. While progress – especially during the later loops – was infinitesimal each time, that many loops eventually resulted in a fully-developed design. Combining a through understanding of the physical side of the human brain, advanced genomic and proteomic systems, computers, cybernetics, and nanotechnology, researchers were eventually able to complete a full rebuild of the human body – including a virtualized and optimized brain replacing the old-style natural neural network, am optically-based peripheral nervous system, and superconducting energy storage system fed by a high efficiency fuel cell.

Unfortunately, attempting to generalize from the original single test case has left the basic design in the “open beta-testing” phase as bugs and issues are worked out.

Perhaps worst of all, Type IV Augmentation only seems to work on Star Fleet Timeline Terrans – the “reality-manipulating” homid subspecies – and cuts off all access to magic, psionics, temporal manipulation, and all the other natural-law-violating tricks of the “natural” races.

Name: Type IV Augment

Val Char Cost
8/30 STR -2
13/20 DEX 9
9/20 CON -2
7 BODY -6
8/30 INT -2
11 EGO 2
10 PRE 0
15 COM 2
7 PD 1
7 ED 3
3/4 SPD 0
10 REC 0
0 END -20
32 STUN 0

Characteristic Rolls: STR: 11/15-, DEX: 12/13-, CON: 11/13-, INT: 11/15-, EGO: 11-, PER: 19/23-. Run: 6″, Swim: 2″, Jump: 6″, Lift: 76kg/1600kg

Cost Powers END/Roll

6 Elemental Control: Artificial Body (15-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (User may not develop Psionic or Magical Abilities): -½; Generic Limitation (Cannot alter or improve these abilities): -1

  • a-10 3d6 Aid to Attributes (Fade/5 min., Max. 22); Range: 0; Affects: All Powers of Special Effect, +2; Generic Limitation (Str, Dex, Con, Body, Int, and Spd Only.): -1; Generic Limitation (Does not heal damaged attributes.): -½; Generic Limitation (Effect does not stack with buying up base attributes above “10” or with buying up speed at all, cannot take speed above 4 in any case.): -½. 5 End when activated.
  • b-5 Power System: END Reserve (180 END, 12 REC/turn); Side Effects (When an Augment takes BODY damage, a roll of 15+ will detonate their power reserves, causing a 3d6 physical killing explosion centered on them. ): 60/All,
  • c-4 Armor (8 PD/8 ED); Always On (User is immune to normal medical techniques and healing powers.): -1; Hardened: ×1, ¼; Linked (To Attribute Enhancement): -½.
  • d-6 Life Support (total); Generic Limitation (Technological Limitations: Provides high resistance and duratbility, not immunity.): -½; Costs END: -½; Reduced END: Half, +¼.
  • e-5 Enhanced Perception (all) (+8 to PER); Linked (To Augmented Attributes): -½; Champions Advantage (Can record sensory input. ): +¼.

Integrated Electronics; Linked (To augmented attributes): -½

  • (2) Absolute Time Sense
  • (2) Ambidexterity
  • (2) Bump of Direction
  • (7) Eidetic Memory
  • (2) Lightning Calculator
  • (2) Perfect Pitch
  • (2) Speed Reading

Package Disadvantages

  • 5 Distinctive Features: Android; Concealability: Easily, 5; Reaction: Noticed and Recognizable, +0
  • 20 Normal Characteristic Maxima
  • 10 Unable to interbreed with normal life forms, greatly reduced fertility even with other Augment IV’s, usually need “repair” effects rather than “healing” effects (Infrequently, Greatly)
  • 10 Cannot buy off restrictions on magical and psionic powers. (Infrequently, Greatly)
  • 5 Cannot buy up Body (Infrequently, Slightly)
  • 30 Susceptibility to Technology Nullifying Effects (1d6 STUN and BODY/Phase); Condition: Uncommon, +5. Note that this drastically restricts the range of universes that they can function in.

As normal for Apex racial packages, the “package” disadvantages are only counted at half value – leaving the Augment IV baseline “Race” with a grand total of zero points, just like the other races.

OCV: 7; DCV: 7; ECV: 4; Mental Def.: 0; Phases: 3, 6, 9, 12, PD/rPD: 15/8; ED/rED: 15/8

As perhaps befits a superhero campaign, the Apex game currently involves the primary timeline (consisting of several merged timelines, with – courtesy of Blueblood – the Astral Vortex that the Ethereal Cataclysm had left in place of the lost pacific continent of Mu replaced by Equestria and a scattering of other cartoon and anime locations), the Primary Mirrorverse, traces of an alternate Timeline and Mirrorverse that are proving difficult to remerge with their primaries, a timeline where the planet was collapsed into a Black Hole (the ongoing efforts to get rid of that thing are apparently giving rise to a likely future Shadow Universe), the High Astral (a source of mystical energy), an assortment of Afterlives in the Middle Astral, the Lower Astral domain of the Elder Ones, the Exile pocket realm (apparently located between the Middle and Lower astral), and Mars. Kicking around those areas (and wandering back and forth in time) the group has revived the Rolassin and the Ethereals, brought the Freshwater and Saltwater Lemurians, out of hiding, and restored the Hyberboreans to go with the existing Atlanteans, and the Africaans species, as well as several relic species of presapient Homids. Mars, of course, has it’s five sapient species as well, all now revived from extinction or near-extinction.

In the Star Trek universe next door there are several alternate timelines, including one where the Augments won the Eugenics Wars (courtesy of the player characters) and one where they lost – both with Elder Martians, possibly with something on Venus, and with the full selection of Star Trek aliens.

d20 and Rapid Hiring

And this small request is, perhaps, a bit silly – but it struck me as amusing and didn’t demand much time, which has been in very short supply.

Voice Upon The Winds

  • Conjuration (Calling)
  • Level: Variable, normally a base of L2 Cleric, Wizard, Skill-Based Magic for Contracts, Management, and Playboy (among others). Probably suitable for various specialty classes and Hedge Wizardry as well.
  • Components: S, M (a written notice).
  • Casting Time: Ten Minutes.
  • Range: Special.
  • Effect: Calls forth a possible employee or employees.
  • Duration: Special (The message is instantaneous, arrival usually is not).
  • Saving Throw: None (Harmless).
  • Spell Resistance: Yes, but irrelevant; someone who doesn’t want to be employed will not be targeted anyway.

This unusual spell causes qualified potential employees to arrive (or merchants to pass by). The caster writes out a list of primary duties, any necessary special qualifications, and a list of what salary and benefits are being offered, and hangs it beside his or her door. Presuming that the job is suitable for a relatively normal person, that the benefits are reasonably good for whatever the job is, and that the location of your door is at all reasonable (whether or not anyone would really be likely to pass by under normal circumstances), a suitable potential employee will normally turn up to inquire about the job shortly. The spell may be cast at a higher level to enhance it’s effects. Possible enhancements include calling for a small group of applicants (+1 Level), calling for rare and/or exotic types (+1 Level), having very specific qualifications (+1 Level), and asking for basic magical capabilities (+1 Level). On the other hand, if you are simply looking for an apprentice, houseboy, dishwasher, lantern-bearer, or similar unskilled entry-level employee that is (-1 Level).

You can look for very specific and powerful groups – perhaps you want a group of adventurers who are capable of killing that miserable dragon that’s moved into the caves nearby – but while casting this at level six will ensure that an appropriate group hears about your offer, it in no way guarantees that they will bother to respond and – if some do – you will just have to put up with whatever you get. Adventurers are like that.

  • You want to pay a few coins for a reasonably reliable local kid to guide you around town for a day? Level one, and unlikely to take more than a few minutes. Pretty much every town has some bored kids. It may get odd if it’s a ghost town and you get a ghost kid, but what can you expect if you look for employees in a ghost town?
  • You want an apprentice/aide who has at least a slight acquaintance with and talent for magic but you will be providing more advanced training along with support and occasional pocket money? That’s a pretty standard apprenticeship deal. Level two, but it might take a week or two. Kids don’t travel very fast even if the requirements aren’t very exacting there..
  • You want a skillful nanny to look after the kids? Level two, usually in a few hours presuming that you’re in or near a reasonable settlement for raising kids in. They might want particular days off or something – and you probably won’t get Mary Poppins or Nanny Mcphee – but there are lots of older women who are good at handling children.
  • You want a group of pretty-and-compatible young women to be light duty house servants and concubines? Level three, and usually in a day or two if your terms are good. It’s not like housekeeper/mistress is a particularly unusual position – and cute young women are not all that rare either (unless you’re of some exotic species of course, in which case you may be out of luck).
  • You want an acolyte of a particular faith to look after your shrine and teach your kids some basics? Level three (if followers of the required faith are reasonably common in the area) or four if they are not. Could take a few days or weeks (and may well fail) if someone would have to come from hundreds of miles away and you’re not offering enough benefits to make it worth it.
  • You want to hire a group of competent Drow Spies? That’s a group (+1) of rare (unless you live in a Drow City or some such) types (+1) with some very specific qualifications (+1) for a total level of five – and if there aren’t any drow spies around who would be willing to work for you… it won’t work.
  • You want a pathfinder-style “Team” of Archers? That’s a group with some fairly specific qualifications, so level four if there are any such groups within a reasonable range. You want Elite Elven Archers who each know a little bit of Weapons Magic? Level six, and very likely to fail entirely if no such group is available for hire.

It is important to note that this is a Calling spell; what you want has to be out there and available. If you’re asking for people to work in an impossible environment, are looking for a qualified hyperdrive technician in a medieval setting, want to hire Drow in a setting that doesn’t include them, or some such, the spell will probably not be able to find a candidate. On the other hand… it IS a calling spell. If you fail to live up to your contract, or there’s some major difficulty, your employees have the option of simply going home. So if the Dark Lord teleports in and starts burning your castle to the ground at least you can pretty well count on your servants and clerks making their escape.

Continuum II, Basics of Psychomancy and Psionics

The “Psychic Wheel*” is a graphical representation of how Continuum II’s various psychic powers are interrelated and function:

*This version is a bit sloppy because the original was generated with a version of AutoCAD more than thirty years ago, and even if I could find the original file, I doubt that it would open properly in any modern application. Ergo, I slapped this version together in a basic graphics program by eye.

  • Your personal psychic power reserve – often known as your “Third Eye” or “Chakra” – occupies the center of the wheel. Having a fair reserve of psychic power is pretty much a requirement for the controlled use of psychic powers.
  • The triangle of internally-centered personal energy manipulation powers – Introspection, C’hi, and Mentalism – appears one level out. Their proximity to the various Disciplines shows what they can be used to do.
  • The ten primary disciplines of Psychomancy (fueled by purely personal power) and Psionics (fueled by using personal power to tap into external power sources) occupying the power wheel. Related disciplines are, of course, closer together, while opposing disciplines on the other side of the wheel are pretty much the opposite of their counterparts, and are generally incompatible. As a mnemonic, Psychomancy approaches those disciplines from the inside of the wheel while Psionics approaches them from the outside.
  • Finally, beyond the Wheel, we have the many disciplines of Empyrean Magic – powered by ambient psychic energies, popular images, memes, cultures, beliefs, and all the other detritus of the worlds’s minds. Unfortunately, this means that it’s unreliable and difficult to control. If you call upon the “Spirit Of Christmas” or “The Mother Of The Race”, or of a popular cliche or meme, you can never be sure of how much power there is in it or exactly what it’s going to do. It’s not uncommon for characters to dabble in Empyrean Magic despite those flaws since it’s pretty easy to learn and use.

Basic Psychic Strength Point Costs :



Warps and
Will Force
Psychokinetics and Energy
Control and
Natural Forces
Life Energy
and Telepathy
Psychic Senses
and Heightened
Trivial 5 to 10 2 to 5 1 to 4 1 to 3 1 to 2
Basic 10 to 20 3 to 8 3 to 6 2 to 4 1 to 3
Normal 15 to 25 5 to 12 4 to 9 3 to 5 2 to 4
Tricky 20 to 35 8 to 20 6 to 12 4 to 6 3 to 5
Advanced 30 to 45 15 to 25 9 to 20 5 to 10 4 to 7
Complex 40 to 60 20 to 35 12 to 25 8 to 20 5 to 10
Absurd 50 to 120+ 30 to 60+ 20 to 40+ 12 to 30+ 8 to 12+
  • Dimensional Warps and Will Force abilities cost twice as much for psychomancers.
  • Psychokinetic and Energy-Manipulation abilites cost twice as much for psychomancers if they’re attempting a high-energy effect, but have a normal cost otherwise.
  • Mentalists attempting to use Psychic Senses and Heightened Talents use the “Dimensional Warps” column.
  • Mentalists attempting to use Life Energy Manipulations or Telepathic Functions use the “Psychokinetics” cost column.
  • The “Attempted Application” row to use is a judgement call. Throwing a lightning bolt at someone using “Energy Bolt” from the energy manipulation list is a “basic” use. Using it as a welding arc is “advanced”, and powering a delicate circuit with it is “absurd”. Electrokinesis offers considerably more flexibility and control – but using electrokinesis to generate that same lightning bolt is at least a “normal” task. Worse, attempting to use disciplines in “advanced” (Or higher) fashions often requires success rolls.

Empyrean Transfer Impedance is the primary limitation on the operation of psychic powers within a dimension. It measures the resistance to, and the quantity of waste energy generated by, moving energy through the empyrean.

  • At values of 6+ psychic abilities do not function in any way, including most of the subconscious feedback effects involved in social interactions. Few universes have such a base value, although zones are occasionally generated.
  • ETI Values of 5+ prohibit the development of disciplined psychic abilities save, perhaps, for the few characters with massive natural talents and many years to practice. Even they will be limited to introspective disciplines. Fortunately, the unconscious social aspects of introspection will operate – as will occasional flashes of C’hi powers (This phenomena is generally limited to occasions of extreme psychic stress and moments of complete focus. It’s responsible for things like “Hysterical Strength” – and is extremely hard on the user’s system).
  • Values of 4+ allow the practical development of Introspection (and C’hi, in the case of exceptional natural talents).
  • A value of 3+ allows the practical development of C’hi (and Psychomancy with an exceptional natural talent).
  • Values of 2+ allow the practical development of Psychomancy (and Psionics with an exceptional natural talents.
  • Values of 1+ allow the practical development of Psionics. If sufficient energy sources are available, and no other inhibiting factors are involved, psionics can accomplish remarkable things.
  • If the ETI value is less then one, those using psionics may multiply the cost of using their abilities by it. Sadly, very low ETI values are only typical of the most extreme comic-book-style worlds.

Special cases include Superstition (Making use of the energies which have been absorbed by individual objects. This requires an ETI value of 3 or less), Empyrean Magic (The use of ambient psychic energy. This requires an ETI value of 2 or less), Aura (Basically psionics drawing on the general population for power. This can get very odd, and requires an ETI value of 1 or less) – and Mentalism (Feeding external energies into the empyrean through the user’s psyche. This can be used at ETI values 4 or less – but the higher the value is, the greater the strain on the user. In general, a value of 3 is the the practical limit – and a value of 2 or less is strongly recommended).

GM’s may create dimensions with fractional ETI values if they so desire. Values between 4 and 5 permit limited Introspection. Those between 3 and 4 have similar effects on C’hi powers;

  • X.1) Powers may not be developed past the sixth level.
  • X.2) Powers may not be developed past the fifth level.
  • X.3) Abilities cost an extra skill point to develop.
  • X.4) Powers may not be developed past the fourth level.
  • X.5) Powers may not be developed past the third level.
  • X.6) Abilities cost two extra skill points to develop.
  • X.7) Powers may not be developed past the second level.
  • X.8) Powers may not be developed past the first level.
  • X.9) Abilities cost three extra skill points to develop and may not be developed past the first level.

Psychomancy and Psionics take less internal precision – but are limited by how much energy can be channeled into an effect, making some branches impossible to develop…

  • X.1) Prohibits Dimensional Warps disciplines.
  • X.2) Also prohibits Will Force disciplines.
  • X.3) Also prohibits Energy Manipulation disciplines.
  • X.4) Also prohibits Psychokinetic disciplines.
  • X.5) Also prohibits Natural Forces disciplines.
  • X.6) Also prohibits Personal Control disciplines.
  • X.7) Also prohibits Life Energy Manipulations.
  • X.8) Also prohibits Telepathic Functions.
  • X.9) Also prohibits Heightened Talents disciplines.

Other options are available… These include; raising the cost, rather then prohibiting fields and skill levels, “favoring” specific fields – and many other modifications. “Local” dimensional laws are highly variable...