This page is full of spoilers, so if you're a player you probably shouldn't read them, or you should at least talk to your gamemaster before doing so.
In addition to psi-chi and psi-gamma (see Psi), exsurgents have access to a third level of psi ability (the Psi trait at Level 3), known as psi-epsilon. Psi-epsilon is theorized to allow a level of interaction with the underlying physics of reality that is beyond the comprehension of transhuman science. Though some Firewall scientists have speculated about the manipulation of dark energy or the Higgs field and Higgs boson particles and similar exotic ideas, the truth is that psi-epsilon represents an understanding of science so far advanced and so alien that transhumanity can only guess at its mechanics.
Exsurgent Synthmorphs and Psi
Exsurgents in synthetic morphs that were transformed via nanoplague may use psi, despite lacking a biological brain. Through some unknown mechanism, the infecting nanobots are able to simulate a biological brain’s effects. This feature, however, also makes them vulnerable to psi use by others.
Exsurgent Psi Strain
Exsurgents with Level 3 psi (psi-epsilon) do not suffer strain when using psi. Instead, they draw requisite energy from the environment around them. In game terms, this means that gamemasters do not need to worry about rolling strain for exsurgent sleights. On a cinematic level, it also allows the gamemaster to add creative environmental details to exsurgent psi use: sucking the warmth out of the air, killing the lights, withering plants, draining power from nearby electronics, killing small creatures or insects, lowering air pressure, etc.
Exsurgent Psi-Gamma Sleights
These sleights are available to exsurgents with the Level 2 Psi trait.
|Duration:||Temp (Action Turns)|
This sleight temporarily “shorts out” a portion of the subject’s brain stem. The victim’s cerebral functions and motor activity become severely impaired; apply a –30 modifier to all actions. If an Excellent Success is scored, the target effectively loses all cerebral functioning, including vision, hearing, other sensory functions, and mesh use. Their muscles and limbs also tense and become rigid, essentially paralyzing them in what looks like an agonized state.
|Duration:||Temp (Action Turns)|
This offensive sleight floods the target’s mind with sensory input and thought processes that are so alien and disturbing that they inflict 1d10 + (WIL ÷ 10, round up) mental stress. Increase the stress by +5 if an Excellent Success is scored.
This sleight hijacks the target’s sensorium, replacing it with a virtual scenario controlled by the exsurgent. The effect is much like being jacked into a simulspace scenario, albeit against the target’s will. While the exsurgent cannot harm the target in the scenario, they can learn something about the person’s behavioral responses to certain situations. While under the influence of this sleight, the target is cut off from their physical senses (–60 to any Perception Tests), but they may flail about and otherwise respond physically to events in the scenario, which may cause them to hurt themselves and will make them seem crazy to onlookers. Targets may attempt to ignore the scenario and concentrate on the real world, but this requires a WIL Test each Action Turn and they suffer a –30 modifier from disorientation even if they succeed.
Strip allows the exsurgent to suppress certain memories in the target’s mind. This can be used to block memories of certain events or even the victim’s identity. The process is not exact, however, and so the memories may not be fully suppressed and/or related memories may also be blocked; the gamemaster decides on the effect as determined by the MoS. Strip can also be used to temporarily erase a specific skill from the target’s mind, preventing them from using or even defaulting to that ability while so affected.
Exsurgent Psi-Epsilon Sleights
Psi-epsilon is available to exsurgents with the Psi trait at Level 3. This subset of psi involves abilities that can affect the underlying physical nature of the universe, creating localized reality-altering effects. Psi manipulation on this level is extremely dangerous and should have the potential of disastrous consequences, given that these manipulations violate fundamental laws of nature and sometimes create paradoxes between the forces that glue the universe together. Gamemasters are also encouraged to treat critical failures as appropriately critical.
Given these factors, psi-epsilon should only be accessible to powerful adversaries and used as a gamemaster tool with extreme precaution. The exact mechanics of psi-epsilon sleights are left wide open, for whatever use the gamemaster can dream of. Their intent is to be more cinematic than mechanical, so gamemasters should wing rules effects as needed. This is an open opportunity for the gamemaster to create nightmarish monsters from beyond with frightening reality-ripping and mind-scarring abilities. While some example sleights are provided below, gamemasters are encouraged to modify their effects and to create their own.
At the gamemaster’s discretion, simply observing psi-epsilon sleights in action may inflict 1d10 + 2 mental stress on a character.
All electronics within Close range of the exsurgent mysteriously fail as if electrical power is simply negated. This effectively disables synthmorphs and pods and leaves other characters without access to their devices or implants.
Casimir Force Repulsion
This sleight exploits the Casimir effect (an interaction between the electromagnetic fields of different objects) on a macro-scale, allowing the exsurgent to levitate themself or other objects by creating repulsing fields. This could also allow the exsurgent to push targets away, pin them against walls, etc.
This sleight allows the exsurgent to drain all heat from an area, down to absolute zero, effectively freezing everything within range and inflicting cold damage on unprotected characters.
This sleight diffuses light, laser, and particle beams, effectively making them useless as weapons, or at least impairing the DV they inflict.
The exsurgent uses this sleight to increase the friction applied to kinetic activities. This has a negligible effect on most activities, but high-velocity projectiles like firearms and railguns will be significantly slowed, decreasing their DV by half or more.
This sleight alters the molecular bonds and atomic components of a targeted material, causing it to either weaken and deteriorate or transmutate into some other physical substance. This can also be used to alter the molecular state of a material, causing gases to condense, solids to liquefy, etc. An exsurgent could use this to weaken a door or other barrier, condense a solid bridge out of liquid, petrify organic materials, etc.
The exsurgent redirects electromagnetic waves with this sleight, refracting them around their body, with the same effect as the invisibility cloak.
Similar to cryokinesis, this sleight enables the exsurgent to accelerate the molecules, increase friction, or focus heat in a specific area, causing materials to ignite or smolder.