Monday, June 22, 2009

Fading Suns and d6 Metaphysics Pt.4

Of all the technologies forbidden by the Church, only a handful are viewed more dimly than Psitech. Still, such technologies are highly-coveted because they can greatly increase the power of psychics and theurgists. There are two categories of psitechs based on who created them, Second Republic and Anunnaki (the jumpgate builders). All psitechs are based on a family of crystalline materials which have been observed to react to psychic manifestations. They basically do three things, detect psychic energy, focus psychic energy and store psychic energy. Anunnaki psitechs can typically do all three of these things and some of the more powerful artifacts such as Philosophers Stones and the most potent Gargoyles display other capabilities as well. They can also diminish or suppress Urge.

Second Republic Psitechs:
Psi-detector - A fairly simple device using a psi crystal attached to some sort of scanner. The psi-detector does just what the name implies, detects the presence of psychic abilities in the target. A psychic can attempt a Difficult willpower roll to avoid detection, assuming he is aware he is being scanned. Typically, a hand-held psi-detector will have a range of 3 m, although some larger units can have ranges of up to 100 m.

Wyrd Tabernacle - Typically an ornate box or similar container with a psi crystal mounted inside, a Wyrd Tabernacle is a psychic battery capable of storing a number of Wyrd points for later use by the psychic or theurgist attuned to it. Most are capable of storing 10 Wyrd points, although a handful have been created to store two or three times as much. Note that a Wyrd Tabernacle cannot switch between Psi and Theurgy. It can only be created for one type of Metaphysics. It takes 24 hours of close proximity for a psychic to attune himself to a new Wyrd Tabernacle and he can have only one at a time.

Psi Lens - A lens-shaped psi crystal, usually mounted into some sort of headgear or jewelry, a psi lens can focus psychic powers, making manifestations easier to create. The use of a psi lens provides a +3 skill modifier to psychic manifestations.

Troecker Amplifier - Based on research by a Second Republic scientist named Arvin Troecker in an attempt to use psychics to discover new jumpgates, the Troecker Amplifier is a cubic chamber within which a psychic may sit. A crown-shaped array of psi crystals surrounds the head of the user. Although it never achieved its intended purpose, it did allow psychics to greatly improve their sensing capabilities. Any psychic using his sense skill in a Troecker Amplifier benefits from a -10 difficulty modifer on his manifestations. Given the size of the Troecker Amplifier, few have survived from the Second Republic era. The Emperor is believed to possess one. Also, both the Charioteers and the Engineers are likely to have access to the technology.

Urge Bomb - A particularly nasty piece of psitech, an Urge Bomb appears to be a large grenade or smoke canister. It was developed by members of The Invisible Path, a group of psi-supremacist terrorists who have fought a centuries-long, undergound war against any of their fellow psychics who don't share their belief in psychic dominance of the Known Worlds. Upon detonation, the Urge Bomb releases a 30 m diameter field of hateful, Urge-laden psychotronic energy which temporarily doubles the Urge level of any psychic caught in the radius. The effects last about an hour, although any doppelgangers created will remain after the effects wear off. For every level of Urge above 9, an additional doppelganger is created. A psychic can resist the effects of an Urge Bomb with a Very Difficult willpower roll.

Anunnaki Artifacts:
Soul Shards - Ranging in size from a few inches to menhirs weighing several tons, Soul Shards are psi crystals capable of effects no Second Republic psitechs can duplicate. Soul shards which are discovered in their pristine state are colourless and transparent, with a hint of silvery iridescence. As they become attuned to a particular user, they become milky with an opalescent display of shifting colours radiating from within. The nature of the display is a function of the dominant type of use. Soul shards used mainly for attack and defense tend towards red and yellow, while those used for healing and information-gathering tend toward blue and green. Soul shards act as both focusing and storage devices. A typical soul shard will grant the user a -5 difficulty modifier on his psychic manifestations and will store 10 Wyrd points. A soul shard can also detect the presence of the Urge levels of a psychic who comes within 10 m and gives the afflicted psychic a Moderate willpower roll to lose one level of Urge. Any time the owner of a soul shard encounters a circumstance that could lead to gaining a level of Urge, the willpower roll to resist is never more difficult than Moderate.

Gargoyles - Mysterious statues and bas-reliefs of demonic figures are commonly found on all Anunnaki structures, including jumpgates. Many of these display unusual properties. The larger, more powerful ones are known to induce visions of future events in the minds of psychics and theurgists. Additionally, Urge effects tend to be suppressed within a certain radius around gargoyles. Typically, larger gargoyles are more powerful and capable of suppressing higher level Urge effects over larger ranges. Gargoyles are highly-sought after by starship captains because they are believed to repel void krakens when mounted on the outside of ship hulls.

Philosophers Stones - The most powerful of all the Anunnaki artifacts short of the jumpgates themselves, no two philosophers stones are identical. Some appear as intricate clockworks, incomprehensible in function, while others are statues, primitive in design, but awe-inspiring in craftmanship and precision. Still others appear as ornately-decorated melee weapons or beautiful, natural crystal formations. Typically, philosophers stones are portable, but too large to be concealed and, invariably, they exhibit multiple soul shards incorporated into their design. Discovery of a philosophers stone can potentially make someone rich and powerful, but it will also earn him some powerful enemies.


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