Psionics

Psionic powers are rare in the Sunset Isles, but they are not unknown. Gnomish adepts have maintained the longest and most vigorous use of these powers, albeit there are other smaller schools of thought that have developed over the centuries. Individual psionicists may or may not be aware of the finer intellectual points of their powers, but adepts who study soberly into psicraft generally understand at least the basic outlines of psionic power's place in the world.

To a lay outsider, there appears to be very little difference between psionic powers and wizardly ones. Both psions and wizards perform wild feats of destruction, summoning, translocation, and transformation. The space between a sorcerer casting a Fireball and a psionicist hurling an Energy Ball seems vanishingly small even to experts. Most convincing of all is the fact that protections against conventional magic function perfectly well against psionic powers, and vice-versa. For all practical purposes, psionic powers are magic, simply arranged in a slightly different way.

Even those more versed in the subtleties of the art must admit the general truth of this. Just as divine and arcane magic are both branches of one natural power, so also is psionic magic. The distinction, they would insist, is that psionic magic is "preformative", drawn from a source that manifests before the subtle arts and earthly entanglements of the world can stain it. Divine and arcane magic is intimately intertwined with the immanent world, requiring gestures, magical ingredients, spoken words, and a host of other impedimentia of deed and material objects. Psionic magic requires none of these things.

Conventional magic is very rigid in its manifestations. A caster of greater power and erudition can sometimes get a more powerful effect out of a given spell, but rarely is there great room for this. An archmage's Magic Missile spell will hit no harder than the same spell cast by a wizard of half his talent. Indeed, most spells never do anything but the exact thing they were designed to do, no matter how potent the caster. Psionic powers, on the other hand, are usually perfectly scalable, growing in might limited only by the power and experience of the wielder.

For spontaneous casters such as sorcerers or favored souls, their connection with magic taps from one of the divine or arcane branches of the power. The magic they inherit from their link is of the static, refined variety expressed as magical spells, for all that they may not understand the theory behind it. Psions draw from a less 'coalesced' form of sorcery, and impose upon it their own control and manifestations. While this means that they require much more effort to learn and maintain a particular power than a comparative sorcerer or wizard, it also means that they can usually augment the ability with far more facility than an arcane or divine caster.

Due to the highly abstract and inchoate nature of magic at the stage in which psionics taps it, it's often possible to use it to affect minds and perceptions much more easily than conventional sorcery. Mental control and clairvoyance is a particularly strong suit of this form of magic, and it also excels at manipulation of raw forces- in neither case is it necessary for the psion to "lift" dispersed background power into focused energy or even more rarefied thought. Conversely, psionic power has a hard time interacting in subtle fashion with the world around the user. While some patterns of manifestation have been discovered that give surprisingly delicate control, it's rarely any match for the kind of precision and flexibility that wizardly sorcery allows. Indeed, many effects are so undisciplined as to leave behind a kind of "ectoplasm", the physical result of raw possibilities and thoughts made material by the discharge of this energy.

The particular names for psionics as a whole vary depending on the tradition of the wielder. Gnomes and those trained by them most often know it as "The Subtle Way", favoring as they do the intricacies of telepathy and clairvoyance. Most outsiders simply consider it "brain witchery" when they make any distinction at all between a psion and a sorcerer.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License