The knowledge in this page may not be accessible to the average character, as it may not be common knowledge.
Please consider if your character would know this knowledge first before using it in roleplay.
Author Note: See 'public knowledge' section.
Psionics is the name given to the use of anomaly by a mind in order to manipulate reality, both through conscious will and accidental subconscious manipulation known as ‘involuntary will manifestation’. Most psions arise from events called ‘awakenings’, in which a psion unlocks their potential through either careful study or forced exposure to cuils. Through their growth as a character, psions learn to become more aware of their manipulation of the flow of anomaly, and learn to make use of new abilities unique to them.
As psions become more aware of the flow of anomaly and the presence of flux, they gain the ability to sense it, allowing them to perceive the presence of active psionic abilities, anomalous objects, anomalous substances, and more. This feeling is typically a feeling of ‘wrongness’, but the sensation is different for everyone.
There are six broad categories, known as subjects, that psionic abilities can be placed into: these are neuroinvasion, clairsentience, esp, metamanipulation, metacreation, and aberrant. These subjects can be arranged into a partial hexagon separated by the aberrant category; this diagram of the psionic subjects is colloquially known as the “horseshoe” because of its horseshoe shape.
A psion, when they awaken, acquire an aptitude for a single subject. Psionic abilities are more effective when they are from the subject the psion has an aptitude for; for example, a person with aptitude in metacreation would find themselves able to effectively develop and harness metacreation abilities more than say, a neuroinvader would. However, it is possible to branch into categories other than the one you have an aptitude with, depending on their placement in the horseshoe. The further a category is from your natural aptitude (using the partial hexagon as a guide), your natural talent with it drops towards baseline level. For example, someone whose aptitude is in clairsentience will find it easier to develop and use neuroinvasion and ESP abilities, but will find it more difficult to develop and use complex metacreation abilities due to that category’s distance from clairsentience on the hexagon. In addition, having more natural talent in a subject allows you to develop more complicated abilities in that subject more easily than you would if your aptitude was far from it. For example, a metamanipulator would have a much easier time developing complex biokinetic abilities than a neuroinvader would. For each step a category is away from a psion’s aptitude, its efficiency in developing it and using it drops by approximately 30%, starting from around a 200% efficiency for your aptitude. It is possible, in some circumstances, for your aptitude to change. Some abilities may be more complex than others and might use techniques or abilities from other subjects, for example a metacreator using metamanipulation to manipulate metacreated objects, or other affector abilities that use sensor aspects in their function.
The horseshoe is divided at the bottom using the aberrant subject; neuroinvasion and metacreation are opposite ends of the spectrum, meaning a metacreator will have trouble developing neuroinvasion abilities, and vice-versa. Aberrant is a separate category on its own, noted by its separation from the circle.
A psion’s aptitude is a culmination of many factors, but primarily depend on their personality traits and the conditions of their awakening. More passive individuals tend to have aptitude with the sensory subjects such as clairsentience or ESP, whereas more proactive and determined individuals tend to have aptitude with affector subjects such as neuroinvasion or metamanipulation. The categories can also be ordered from most common to most rare from top to bottom, with ESP having the most common abilities, and unique abilities being the rarest.
When it comes to it, many psionic abilities develop out of an innate need or desire made possible through cuils; if your desire for something becomes strong enough, you may awaken into a category that accompanies such a desire. This is not always the case, however; when dabbling into anomaly, the outcome is sometimes unpredictable.
Flux and Flow are critical to any form of psionics. Flux is the fuel of psionic abilities and flow is the everpresent ebbing anomaly that psions manipulate in order to enact their abilities.
In researching the intricacies of the mechanics that allow psionics to operate, one can expect to come across two terms which seem to cover a similar topic- but are indeed their own, distinct things. Cuil Flux and Anomalous Flow. Both are directly related to the actual abstraction that baseline reality experiences, however they carry with them the following distinctions:
Although many psions exhibit extremely variable capabilities and powers, there is a certain set of techniques and practices which are universal to all psions. These skills are fundamental to the further development of more niche, advanced power sets and abilities and outline the most basic utilization of psionic powers.
Psionics itself are, fundamentally, the direct and willful manipulation of the abstraction of reality provided by anomality, and the core of all psionic training, development, and techniques are stringent upon this fact.
While most of what is covered below pertains to the training and development of psionic abilities under the tutelage of someone with a great deal of experience in the psionic arts, it is entirely possible- and rather common in certain areas, for a psion to be almost entirely self-taught. What is outlined below simply covers some of the most common practices among those who teach psionics- and training may vary from this depending on the specifics of this training.
For those who are self-taught, simply expect the processes for grasping each of the concepts outlined below to be done over a longer period of time with a greater amount of trial-and-error as a fledgling psion slowly discovers the various facets of their abilities. Oftentimes, self-taught psions will end up having a more incomplete picture of what psionic powers entail, likely causing them to misunderstand some of its mechanics or what capabilities they have with it.
Given the somewhat arcane, esoteric nature of most institutions’ research of psionics, the exact specifics of the methods utilized by any one institution which is able to train people in the psionic arts will differ from others. Some view psionics as an ancient, inherently spiritual art, while others view psionics from a purely scientific- almost sterile angle. Some through the nature of the specifics of their training, can only pass along proper tutelage to a select group of people with whom the sort of training will properly resonate.
One acquires psionic abilities through a process called psionic awakening, in which following an "awakening event" suddenly develops psionic abilities in response to such an event or trauma. Some psions undergo a process called "guided awakening" in which their minds slowly awaken over time instead of suddenly.
Once a psion has become consciously aware of the flow of anomality around them to a proper degree, the next stage of their training begins. This stage is centered around honing the psion's ability to actually begin exerting their will upon this flow through the act of shaping its naturally chaotic, turbulent nature into one which is more deliberate.
There exist two fundamental states of manipulated flow:
Shrouded flow, that which is manipulated so that it is concentrated in a safe manner around the psion for their immediate use and to increase their ability to detect both the level of anomality around them as well as heighten their sensitivity to others that may be manipulating it.
Expelled flow, that which is manipulated so that it is pushed away from the psion, giving them reprieve from the strain of its direct exposure when a psion is in a higher ECF environment temporarily and making the process of their detection much more difficult.
To learn to manipulate flow, a psion is typically placed within a vessel filled either with smoke, or a fluid which clearly shows the turbulence of its currents. The psion is then directed on sensing the flow of anomality around them within the chamber. Once they have locked onto it, they are then directed to slowly imagine pulling it toward themselves, using the gyres of either the smoke or the tinted fluid to guide their mental focus on the task. As they manage to redirect the flow, they will visually be able to confirm their progress simply by watching the smoke/fluid begin shifting, creating waves and rings as the anomalous flow is dragged through it. Once concentrated around the psion, it will be clearly visible to them as their training medium will have coagulated around them, forming a small pocket of extreme turbulence.
Sensationally, it will be as if they were draped in the flow- its tactile stimulation being much stronger than when it is in a more passive, distributed state. Once a psion has shown a good handle on concentrating the flow, they are then directed to push it away, observing the reverse process within their training medium.
With advanced ability in flow control, psions can condense their flux further, able to even turn it into liquid or solid flux. Flux in this state has special qualities, and advanced users can condense their flux into a solid ‘lens’ in front of their eyes that gives them the ability of cuilsight, allowing them to see flux itself and areas of higher ECF.
Now that a psion has become both aware of the presence of anomalous flow, and they’ve learned to manipulate its local concentration- it is time for them to move on to the last step of their basic training. Once they have become accomplished enough with these principles, they may move on to more specialized, focused training centered around their own particular proficiencies and gifts.
Learning to harness the ability to manifest a deliberate, discrete, and desired outcome from anomalous flow is the key to higher level abilities as a psion, and it is the most fundamental aspect of forming truer ‘abilities’ that may either transcend or better utilize the basic principles.
To start, a psion is directed to manipulate the flow around them to a state of being highly shrouded- as concentrated as they can safely make it. Once this flow is so strongly concentrated around them that it almost feels like a damp blanket being hung over them, they are then directed to focus on the flame of a candle in front of them, placed outside of the range of their shrouded flow. Once they have cleared all else from their mind but this candle, they are then instructed to put as much of their focus as they can into manipulating something about this candle’s flame. The result of this test will inform both the psion and their instructor as to their true proficiency in a particular psionic subject.
With the results of this test, they are then directed to focus on that particular change they made, and attempt to reproduce it. This process is repeated over and over again, many times, until the psion can cause the given change to occur to the candle’s flame at will.
The entire time that they are training with this method, a psion is slowly honing and increasing their natural ability to generate Flux- the usable form of anomalous flow which is able to be safely harnessed by a psion to enact their desires upon the world. Although a psion can force their will into action directly through the naturally present flow around them, it is far more unpredictable and dangerous to do so- and as such, is generally associated with untrained or self-taught psions who are unaware of the possible risks involved with this use of their powers.
Flux, given its nature, responds much more readily to the influence and action of a psion’s will- and as such, a psion who is capable of producing large quantities of Flux in short order will be much more adept at quickly putting their ability to use, particularly in greater quantities or over extended periods of time.
Different species’ biology, and the individual’s previous experiences and upbringing, etc. can influence the awakening and development of psionic abilities. Though flow manipulation and the other basic techniques are typically the same for all species, some species develop certain types of powers significantly easier than others, or some species may have an inclination or even restriction to a certain subject rather than others. Similarly, some species may have trouble developing certain powers.
Novakids are a rare exception of inorganic species being capable of psionics, likely due to their mysterious origins as a species. Novakids develop abilities related to plasma, magnetism, electromagnetism, and electricity significantly easier. However, it is impossible for Novakids to develop neuroinvasive and clairsentient abilities that affect or sense other organic species.
Florans natural affinity with plants gives them an incredible affinity towards developing abilities that involve plants, to the extent that some Florans simply develop certain biokinesis abilities without much effort. Florans’ natural affinities with certain ability can depend on the specific subspecies of Floran they are; for example, Florans that adapt to be more animalian would have an easier time with abilities related to animals.
Agarans have similar affinities as Florans, except with abilities involving fungus instead of plants. Like Florans, different subspecies of Agarans can have different affinities.
Hylotl develop abilities related to liquids easier if they spent an extended length of time living in an underwater colony. As a side effect of this, Hylotl also tend to be better with flow manipulation and techniques stemming from it.
Deadbeats have natural affinity with abilities related to radiation and mutation. And sometimes guns.
Nas'Beru have thought transference and a natural affinity towards neuroinvasion.
Greys have affinity towards neuroinvasion.
Glitch are also a rare exception of inorganic species being capable of psionics. Assumed to be a feature of being designed by a precursor species, it is currently unknown what mechanism within them actually grants them this potential. Glitch psions may have affinities toward metamanipulation abilities which revolve around the fine-tuned control of machine code through the manipulation of the recorded electron states. Very rarely and under extremely specific circumstances, a Glitch may become an antipsion- capable of influencing order rather than anomalous flow or cuil flux. Glitch psions often have a great difficulty utilizing neuroinvasive or clairsentient abilities on organics, though it is possible with enough training. In the past, certain psions have utilized precursor-level technologies that have ended up increasing their aptitude toward this sort of ability through currently unknown methods.
Froggs have affinity towards clairsentience.
Generally, public knowledge of psionics is considered mere superstition and met with large skepticism from the greater scientific community. Some niche aspects of psionics may be recognized but explained by different means, such as the telepathic ability of Archons being explained as an anomalous property of erchioids. Some cultures are aware of its existence, seeing it in different lights and contexts. Psionics has existed for countless years and influenced history in ways unseen to modern historians, though the extent of this influence and which historical or mythological figures may have been real psions is likely something that will remain a mystery.
Regardless of the situation, it is universally agreed upon between most psions learned in their field that knowledge of their abilities must remain secret for the safety of themselves, the prevention of misuse of their abilities, and the protection of society as a whole. In the scientific community, psions are essentially unicorns- treasure troves of potential for anomalisticians to study. Some scientific groups such as the Miniknog take this far, actively kidnapping those who are outed as psions and forcing them to undergo experimentation for the sake of the Miniknog. In addition, a public uneducated to the nature of psionics may panic at the revelation of its existence, and may view psions as a hostile force- could your neighbor be a mind controller? And, such a revelation would bring disaster to other fronts such as society or economic sectors; faith in science would upturned as something is discovered that science cannot explain, and many may question the spirituality of it all- is religion real? If religion is real, which ones are real, and which one are not? And the economic sector would suffer as society panics; unregulated corporations could hire neuroinvaders to influence their competition, and psionic abilities could be weaponized and used for the military.
Despite the secrecy that its learned practioners attempt to maintain, psionics has influenced history and found its way referenced into subject matters such as occult writings or myths or paranormal sightings; renaissance tomes on alchemy describe a 'prima materia', a substance which could become anything, and secret societies have formed from psions with varying agendas.
Most characters in Galaxy Citizen would know nothing about psionics unless they have heard of it or experienced it; and even then, the most common sense reaction would be to wave it off as superstition or some sort of show trick. When characters are aware of psionics, it should be regarded with a sense of mystery- and perhaps caution. 'Psionics' and other terms are, for the most part, OOC and several different terms exists for psionics among different cultures and groups. Secretive Hylotl orders that train psions call psions saishi, and flux as ensū. Occasists learned in psionics call it cabalistics, or commonly "the Art", and refer to flux as aether and the collection of flow in the universe the etheric plane. A person that has been newly awakened with no knowledge of psionics would of course be confused and likely scared of suddenly developing dangerous abilities.