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Mongoose Traveller: Book 4: Psion

Mongoose Traveller Book 4: Psion

This book presents a comprehensive survey of psionics (the powers of the mind) within the Traveller game, with plenty of options as to how you can use them - assuming, that is, that you want to do so. In the Official Traveller Universe, they're frowned on in most places and strictly controlled where they are permitted, but you may choose to take a different view: and why not, it's your game after all.

The first section, Defining Psionics, sets the scene, reproducing the basic information and rules from the core rulebook. A chart shows how different technical levels of society view psionics as a general rule, with actual understanding of what is going on rare before TL6 or 7. This section provides a basic understanding of what is being discussed here, what psionics are all about.

Next, in Doors of Perception, there is more detailed discussion of how psionic abilities develop within an individual, how they are tested for and subsequently how the individual can be trained to use their abilities to best effect. The material here is based on the premise that everyone has some latent psionic ability, but that in many if not most of them it is miniscule. It also assumes that most if not all psionically-active people receive testing and training from some kind of institution. If you decide that psionics are openly accepted, it may even be possible to study and train at university, in a different setting the would-be psion may have to seek out an underground institute, an adventure in itself. An alternative route is via the practice of a religion that views psionic powers in a favourable light, or one might even find a mentor with which to train. Plenty of options for you to decide upon.

Then comes a section on Psion Careers. Naturally, there will be plenty of psions who do not follow a 'psion career' but are happy doing something else entirely, but especially in settings where psionics are accepted and may be practiced openly, there will be specific career paths open to them. Both the Babylon 5 and Judge Dredd settings published by Mongoose have their own distinct take on psion careers and if you are using either of those, leave this chapter aside and run with the relevant material there. Of the ones here, there are opportunities to become an agent either of an organisation responsible for controlling and policing psions or of one which uses psions as part of law enforcement, espionage or other activities. There are commercial and military options as well along with drifters, rogues, scolars, scouts, and specialist spacefarers. One really wierd one is the Temporal Agency, which monitors timelines, only of use if time travel is possible in your game, likewise there's the opportunity to work in an Interdimensional Agency if parallel worlds are possible. It's even possible to become the actual 'brain' of a spaceship, one career choice that is irreversable!

Next Psionic Powers goes into great detail about the actual powers a psion can develop, and introduces a lot of new ideas beyond the basics as found in the core rulebook or the first section of this book. There's also advice on how to devise new powers of your own. One neat set of powers are to do with ship handling, enabling the psion to 'fold' space and so travel the sort of distances the rest of us mere mortals use a Jump drive to cover!

And then comes the flip side, a section on Psionic Trauma. Psions can risk damaging themselves or even becoming insane through injudicious use of their powers, psionic attacks from someone else or even environmental phenomena... and it's not wise for psions to indulge in drug use (over and above the damage that substance abuse does to anyone). There are even FOUR whole pages of phobias to inflict on unlucky psions!

This is followed by a section on Psionic Equipment. It's quite surprising how much there is available for people whose power rests between their ears! Drugs, suppressors, detectors, enhancements... not to mention weapons and vehicles fine-tuned to their talents. The last section is more of the same, it discusses Mind Ships, that is, ships powered or at least controlled by the mind, and includes ships capable of both temporal and spatial travel.

It all depends on how you intend for psionics to be viewed and used in your game, but once you have decided that this book will help it all work both conceptually and in game mechanical terms. A good expansion to the core rules in this area.

Return to Mongoose Traveller Book 4: Psion page.

Reviewed: 4 June 2015