Tharkold Preview #8 – Psionics
Today we take a look at psionics in Tharkold. Please note that the powers previewed here are still under development and may not be in their final form.
Art by Gunship Revolution
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- Common Threats of the Blasted Lands w/ Brian Reeves and Leamon Crafton
- Major Players of Tharkold w/Greg Gordon and John Watson
- Blasted Lands Map Zone Update w/Darrell Hayhurst and Deanna Gilbert
Over the eons long war with the Tharkoldu, the Race have used every tool at their disposal for survival. In the past decades psionic power has risen from a rare but coveted anomaly into a species-wide phenomenon. The Race have mastered the use of these powers as secret weapons to fight their demonic masters and free other thralls.
The Tharkoldu have either an inability or lack of interest in tapping into their own psychic potential, so they have fallen far behind the Race in this aspect. The high Social Axiom in Tharkold has almost been driven exclusively by the Race. Their Awakened, as the Race calls their psi masters, learn a variety of different psionic abilities, though the majority tend to focus on subterfuge and combat. All the Race are born with at least a small amount of psychic potential, however, those who actively push, train, and focus their minds into weapons follow a teaching known to the Race as the Way.
The Way only began to emerge within the Race in the past two centuries, started among The Free and silently disseminated to the thralls via telepathy and secret cabals. As the Social Axiom increased on Tharkold, the innate psychic abilities of the Race also advanced.
When the Awakened first began to unlock the powers mastered through the Way, they were few. The Race leadership eventually noticed the value these “super psis” could offer to the war effort as they began to appear more frequently. Like with all other advancements within the Race community, the impact this had on their fight against the Tharkoldu gave its advancement greater priority. Masters of the Way were given more resources and students to increase the Race’s psionic skill set. Psychics born in the slave pens were kept secret at all costs.
The technodemons did not predict the Race would master such powers. They were preoccupied with keeping the Magic Axiom at a level that would sustain their physical forms. Only very recently as those awakened to the Way have become common and noticed have the Tharkoldu realized they had something more troubling to deal with from the monkeys.
In an unlikely coincidence—or perhaps as a result of a long gestating plan—the Psychic Research Institute in Russia housed more psychics on Core Earth than in any other part of the world. After the invasion of Tharkold, true psychic potential was unleashed in Russia. What would once have been considered minor psychics now potentially commanded extraordinary powers.
The Institute is decades old, and was originally conceived to groom psychics for espionage and special operations during the Cold War era. It was controversial and seemingly ineffective, but it did manage to discover actual precognitives who helped map out the future of the Institute. During the changes in government the Institute was largely forgotten, except by certain key figures who remained in charge behind the scenes.
Though foresight was the most powerful of the untapped abilities used by subjects of the institution prior to the invasion, they now study various power disciplines. At the direction of Duke Volkov, their training and research expanded on enhancing the psychics skills of infiltration and information gathering
Advancements in psychic research happened rapidly in the days after the invasion. Even though the surge in psychic energy only happened a year ago, a significant number of new abilities have been refined and taught in this time.
Today, the researchers are not above using manipulation, torture, and other methods considered cruel by Core Earth standards to inspire their subjects to enhance their mental abilities. Subjects are treated like lab rats until they are considered to have developed their abilities enough to be of use to Duke Volkov’s plans in the field. It is common for an Institute field agent to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or some other psychosis. Some minds handle the vigorous “training” better than others.
Despite these measures, the Institute takes great care not to break their valuable wards, or turn them away from Russia. When a subject is pushed too far a scientist or commander is selected as a scapegoat, and then the “rogue” official is punished and his victims brought back into the fold.
The diverse training explores power that only properly function inside Tharkold. Psychics from Core Earth may learn these with the usual increased risk of disconnection. For Stormers and Storm Knights that represents an inconvenience. For an ordinary psychic some level of madness is usually involved, but that’s a price Volkov is willing to pay.
Here are the lists of psionic powers available to members of the Way or the Institute:
And here are a couple of examples of the psionic powers: