Psychic abilities began to appear in the colonies in its early years. No one has ever given a satisfactory answer as to why. Some speculate that the alien environment of the new world of Terra had something to do with it. Others thought it was a necessary evolutionary step for mankind that was just ready to occur. But the most accepted theory is that while the Hawkings (the ship that brought humans to Terra) had extensive radiation shielding, it was not radiation-proof. The ship’s logs showed that while its human crew was in hibernation, the computer registered several high-intensity gamma ray bursts that impacted the ship. These could have been from any number of interstellar phenomenons. Most of the radiation was deflected, but some got through…though not enough to be lethal or severely damaging. Some believe these bursts mutated some of the crews DNA. As evidence, they point to the fact that psychic abilities seem to run stronger in family lines that are direct descendants of the original crew, whose sleeper cells were less shielded than those of the embryos in cold storage.
Whatever the cause, psychics are a very real and accepted part of life in the Protectorate. Still very rare (half as common as psychics on Rifts Earth, and with nothing even close to bursters and mind melters), psychics are not well understood, and there’s little in the way of schooling and training for those who develop them. The two clans who have invested most in educating psychics and developing their abilities are Clan Hedonis and the Scions of Tellus Mater. Those two clans, along with the Azure Sept, account for 90% of the Protectorate’s psychics. And almost all the psychics from the other clans are either minor sensitive psychics or empaths (if you choose this P.C.C., there is no need to roll for psychic abilities. Otherwise, unless you are a member of one of the previously listed clans, use Rifts optional psychic rules with all percentages cut in half, to determine psychic abilities). The Azure Sept has the largest number of psychics in its ranks, but it has never founded a school, instead using its vast wealth to get the other two clans to do it for them.
Empaths are probably the most well-known and respected human psychics, primarily because they are licensed and accredited. They are master psychic sensitives who have undergone training either at the Solaris Mariposa University, run by Clan Hedonis in the Solaris System; or in the Viridian Ludus Animus, an empathy academy built into an asteroid moon in the Viridian Star System, run by the Scions of Tellus Mater. Those trained by Clan Hedonis become psychologists, counselors, and first contact specialists known as the Solari. Those trained by the Scions of Tellus Mater become psychic investigators and explorers intent on unraveling the mysteries of the universe, known as Viridians. Both are empaths, but have very different styles of education.
The difference between the two can be summed up simply: Solari are focused on the inner mysteries of the mind, both theirs and others. Viridians, on the other hand, use their psychic powers to explore the mysteries of the universe around them. This manifests not only in skills learned, but in psychic abilities as well.
There are laws that govern the use of psychic abilities, though they are in their infancy and have rarely been tested by the courts. One thing that has been struck down repeatedly has been attempts to force psychics to identify themselves by some manner of dress, badge, tattoo or other identifying marks. However, MOST psychics, especially Empaths, will let those they deal with know they are psychic immediately. And both schools stringently train their empaths against the unwilling probing or manipulation of others.
Both have served in the military with distinction, providing a much-needed counter against Arkhon ESPers (See South America II Worldbook). Those in the military, especially those assigned to special forces units, are much more…free…in their use of psychic abilities to get the job done. This is a third area of training that is not licensed or accredited, and these military-trained psychics are encouraged not to let anyone know about their abilities unless necessary. All psychics in the Protectorate are registered in a government database, which is inaccessible to the public. The database can be referenced by law enforcement ONLY if they prove to a judge that they have reason to suspect a person used psychic abilities in the commission of a crime.
There are no overarching laws governing the use of psychic abilities in the Free Colonies, though most colonies have pretty severe penalties for psi-crime. However, with no database, it can be very hard to confirm who is a psychic or who is not. In most cases, another psychic who can read auras is brought in.
No matter what the training, all true Empaths are psychic sensitives, and their abilities are mostly restricted to those which are sensitive in nature. They also tend toward a strong kinship towards one another, and while sometimes competitive, most Empaths feel that even a psychic from an opposing school is more like a brother to them than the average non-psychic human.
Empaths are high on the Arkhon’s hit list, especially those caught outside of Protectorate space. Once the war began, the Arkhon put a large bounty on the heads of any Protectorate psychics, though many have found that collecting that bounty is easier said than done.
Starting Psychic Abilities
The starting psychic abilities of each class differ slightly depending on where the Empath received his or her training.
Military Empaths start with the minor sensitive abilities of Intuitive Combat, Mask I.S.P. and Psionics, Mind Block, Sixth Sense and Telepathy. They start with the major psychic ability of Psionic Invisibility. They are intelligence experts and assassins.
Solari Empaths start with the minor sensitive abilities of Empathy, Presence Sense, Mind Block, Telepathy and Total Recall. They start with the major psychic ability of Empathic Transmission. They are counselors and communications experts.
Viridian Empaths start with the minor sensitive abilities of Mind Block, Object Read, Remote Viewing, See Aura and Speed Reading. They start with the major psychic ability of Telemechanics (one of the few Empath powers that is not strictly sensitive).
The following bonuses are common to all Empaths:
1. Starting I.S.P.: All Empaths add 2D4x10 I.S.P. to their M.E. to get their starting I.S.P. They receive 2D6 additional I.S.P. per level of experience, and also automatically get the meditation ability, and are able to regenerate 8 I.S.P. per hour of rest or meditation, and 4 I.S.P. per hour of light activity.
2. Bonuses: All Empaths are master psionics, and need only a 10 or better to save vs. psionic attack. They also get to receive any bonuses from a high M.E. to their save vs. psionics roll. +3 to save vs mind control, +2 to save vs. horror factor and +1D4 to save vs insanity.
3. Learning new psychic abilities: At every new level of experience, Empaths can learn one new sensitive psionic power except at levels 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15, when they can learn one Super psionic power from the following list: Empathic Transmission, Group Mind Block, Group Trance, Mentally Possess Others, Mind Block Auto-Defense, Mind Bond, Mind Wipe, P.P.E. Shield, Psionic Invisibility, Psychic Omnisight, Psychosomatic Disease, and Radiate Horror Factor.
Empath R.C.C. Stats
Attribute requirements: None, although a high M.E. is strongly suggested.
Starting S.D.C.: 4D6
Racial Restrictions: Human. Most likely to come from the Azure Sept, Scions of Tellus Mater, or Clan Hedonis.
O.C.C. Skills (all)
Read and Write Native Language: 98%
Read and write additional language of choice: (+20%)
Basic Math (+15%)
Computer Operation (+10%)
One piloting skill of choice (non-military) (+5%)
Lore: Psychics and Psionics (+10%)
W.P. Energy Pistol (includes rocket pistols)
Hand to hand: Basic can be upgraded to expert at the cost of one “other” skill, or to martial arts (or assassin, if evil) at the cost of two “other” skills
Depending on the type of Empath, the player character also receives the following additional skills and bonuses”
Receives a +2 to P.S. and +10 to S.D.C.
Also receives the following skills:
Radio: Basic (+10%)
Two Military skills of choice (+5%)
W.P. Energy Rifle
Hand-to-hand is automatically upgraded to expert at no cost.
+2 to M.A., +1 to save vs insanity, and +1 to save vs. psychics.
Also receives the following skills:
Two additional languages of choice (+10%)
Two Communications skills of choice (+10%)
Receives a +2 to M.E., +2 to save vs. Horror Factor, +2 to save vs poisons, toxins and diseases
Also receives the following skills:
Advanced Math (+15%)
Lore: Galactic/Alien (+5%)
Wilderness Survival (+10%)
O.C.C. Related Skills: Six other skills at level one, plus one skill at levels 3, 5, 8 and 11 and 14.
Communications: Any (+5%)
Electrical: Basic Electronics only
Espionage: None (except Military Empaths, who also receive a +5%)
Horsemanship: General only
Mechanical: Basic only
Medical: First Aid and Paramedic Only (except Solari, who also receive a +5%)
Military: None (except Military Empaths, who also receive a +5%)
Pilot: Non-military only, except Military Empaths who can choose any.
Pilot Related: Any
Rogue: Any (+5%)
Science: Advanced Math only (except Viridian Empaths, who also receive a +5%)
Technical: Any (+5%)
W.P. Ancient: Any
W.P. Modern: Any
Wilderness Skills: Any
Secondary Skills: Select four Secondary Skills at first level from the Secondary Skill List in the Skill Section of Rifts Ultimate Edition. These are additional areas of knowledge that do not get any bonuses, other than any possible bonus for having a high I.Q. All Secondary Skills start at the base skill level.
Standard Equipment: Several sets of clothes, light body armor of choice, an energy or rocket pistol of choice and two spare clips, backpack, goggles or sunglasses, portable mini-computer, personal communicator (planet-wide on networked worlds, 200-mile range on frontier worlds), and personal possessions. (Military Empaths receive an additional energy or rocket rifle, four spare clips for each weapon, a vibro-blade, and a “hard suit”).
Vehicle: Limited to hovercraft and rocket cycles initially, may acquire a small space craft at a later date.
Starting money: 3D6x1,000 to start. Pay varies with assignment and employer (Military Empaths receive 6,000 per month, with room and board free. They are officers in the Stellar Navy and “Warrant Officers” in the Colonial Marines)
Cybernetics: None to start, generally prefer biosystems if needed. Cybernetics are not popular or wide-spread among the Protectorate.
Experience: Use the Psi-Stalker experience table.