Psychic Rules


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            ³ Call of Cthulhu is produced by Chaosium Inc ³


Psychic phenomena are somewhat different than magical phenomena, although there are some common points. Keepers should take care not to overrun magical spells and purposes with Psychic abilities. Where Psychic abilities become very much like magic, a Keeper should reconsider its use. In some areas the similarity may be satisfactory.

Psychics may be regarded as witches, hedge wizards, or kooks, but true Psychics have a not inconsiderable ability. Psychic phenomena lack the raw power of most true magic, though this also means a lessened destruction to the mind. Psychics must be designated as such at chargen (though Keepers are free to introduce 'awakenings' as desired). Psychics have some form of unusual birth circumstance, such as a 7th son of a 7th son, eyes of different colors, born with a caul, born during an auspicious astrological event, and so forth.

A Psychic may pick, as 'hobby' skills, Psychic skills. Each skill is rather narrowly focused in what it affects and how it operates. Note that Psychic phenomena often have very characteristic and synchonistic ways of operating. A precog may only get visions featuring water, or a empath might need to look at people's hands to get a read. A complex and characteristic skill should be designed.

Sometimes, non-Psychics may manifest Psychic talents briefly. These people are either latently Psychic or expressing some talent all people possess. One of the most well known and common of these manifestations is for a girl to exhibit sporadic minor Psychic phenomena during puberty. A Keeper may allow extreme stress or other events to bring on the chance of a Psychic episode, and further allow a character to gain a Psychic skill. If so, it is highly recommended that such events be very rare.

Psychic skills are roughly divided into two areas: ESP and PK.

ESP (Extra Sensory Perception) covers the broad gamut of abilities that perceive the world in ways mundane man has refused to accept, looking into the future or over distances. The ESPer faces a world which is more mysterious, less explicable, than that of peers. ESP offers insights and information inaccessible to the ordinary person, but it also exposes the ESPer, and can be quite detrimental to the psyche.

PK (PsychoKinesis) gives a powerful ability to directly control the world and manipulate it, beyond that of mortal man. Pekes have great power, though it can disappear as quickly as it comes.


In addition to other factors, Psychic abilities have specific foci. ESP powers will often have a specific factor which must be present to function. Other variations or interpretations of Foci are strictly Keeper's prerogative. Ex:

Precog (sense future visions of people) has a foci of horses. There must be a horse in any visions he will see.

Precog (sense future visions of animals) has a foci of horses. This can either have horses as a subject, or involve horses in some way.

Telekinetic with focus of iron, or long shapes.

Telepath at visible range has a focus of eyes. Target must be visible and so must the target's eyes (though perhaps a glimps to thoughts pertaining to eyes is possible)


Psychic abilities have specific ranges:

Line of Sight: There must be nothing solid between target and Psychic. There may be poor visibility, the target can be invisible to the Psychic, there may not be even transparent objects between the two. Otherwise, range is theoretically infinite.

Fixed: A range of a fixed distance, regardless of intervening substance. Range is Pow x 10 feet.

Visible: Target must be clearly visible to the watching Psychic. Intervening substances do not matter. The image could also be relayed by close circuit monitor or television, but there must be no more delay in the signal than 5 seconds or it is considered an old image. Recorded images are considered as Picture Link range.

Touch: Psychic must be touching the target. If target is unresisting, range may be up to 1 inch. At touch range the difficulty categories of Psychic attempts are shifted down. Trying to control someone would shift from a Magic test to a Power test, for example.

Sympathetic Link: Psychic is in range if he has a part of the target.

Contagious Link: Psychic is in range if he has something once worn by, contained in, or extensively used by the target.

Picture Link: Psychic is in range if he has a picture of the target.

Record Link: Psychic is in range if he listens to a recording of the target.

Similar powers:

Under Keeper prerogative, variations of a power may be accomplished, either at equivalent or x1/2 Psychic skill. It is suggested that at most one or two variations should be allowed. Since Psychic skill is used solely to connect and prevent disconnection, the Keeper should rarely allow full skill for variations. A Keeper may also require a round or two of additional concentration, or increased cost, for such efforts.

The amount to which powers can vary is up to the Keeper's vision of how Psychic abilities should work. Exs:

Precog who can see visions of people's future tries to see a vision of the future of a place, Precog at x1/2 skill or double connect cost, or two additional round of concentration.

Same precog tries to see the present appearance of a place, at x1/5 skill, or five times connect cost, or five added rounds of concentration.

Telekinetic of iron tries to start a fire, sense iron, or TK wood at x1/2 skill.

Telekinetic of iron at touch range tries to move an object further at x1/2 skill.

Main Mechanic:

Most Psychic phenomena use the following mechanic, in one form or another:

Using a Psychic abilty works in steps.

To connect the power to a target requires either 1 Magic Point or 1 SAN.

Then a Psychic skill check is required to successfully connect

To use a power, once connected, requires another 1MP or SAN, and an appropriate check:

Control someone: Magic test

Scan someone: Power test

Scan uncontested: Idea, Spot Hidden, Listen, or other skill to interpret

Affect uncontested: Luck or other skill to understand what is attempted

To switch powers being used requires a check of the new Psychic skill, but no MP or SAN. Failure requires original Psychic skill check to avoid disconnecting.

If the use of a power fails, another Psychic skill check to avoid disconnecting.

Every minute connection is up requires another 1MP or SAN.

Disconnecting requires a Psychic skill check at x2, with no cost.

If a disconnect is contested, it may be treated as a Psychic use. If total SAN loss, from connect to disconnect, is 5 or more, must roll the Psychic skill again to avoid temporary insanity.

Required Time:

One Psychic step may be attempted per round. A Psychic leaving the opportunity of one other action 1 MP or SAN more for the Psychic step, or skill of step at x1/2. A Psychic can leave opportunity for two other actions at a cost of 5 MP or SAN, or skill at x1/5.

The propogation of psychic abilities is either instantaneous or light speed, as Keeper desires.

Passive or Automatic Use:

Passive use of sensory powers (where applicable) require a Psychic check to notice something odd and for surface impressions. Passive use is good for scanning for something, or getting basic information.

When interacting with something Horrid (mindreading Cthulhu, say) either actively or by passive 'bad vibes', a Psychic check is required to shield the influence. If this fails, the Psychic will take appropriate SAN loss.

Optional Occult rule:

The Occult (or Theology, or some other form of belief, perhaps even Math or Physics) can be used to structure the Psychic's thoughts and aid in performing a Psychic phenomena. However, it is rather time consuming. This structuring gives a bonus, credit against which MP and SAN of the following Psychic attempt draw. Before each Psychic attempt, some appropriate ritual must take place for this to take effect. Appropriate ritual components and tools may be reusable.

Ritual lasting 1-60 minutes will give a bonus of Mins/12, round down,

1-6 hours gives bonus of Hrs+4,

6-24 hours gives bonus of (Hrs/8)+10, round down. Exhaustion prevents further useful ritual.


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              ³ Time       ³ Bonus ³ Time        ³ Bonus ³


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              ³ 12-23 mins ³ 1     ³ 4 hours     ³ 8     ³


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              ³ 24-35 mins ³ 2     ³ 5 hours     ³ 9     ³


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              ³ 36-47 mins ³ 3     ³ 6-7 hours   ³ 10    ³


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              ³ 48-59 mins ³ 4     ³ 8-15 hours  ³ 11    ³


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              ³ 1 hour     ³ 5     ³ 16-23 hours ³ 12    ³


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              ³ 2 hours    ³ 6     ³ 24+ hours   ³ 13    ³


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              ³ 3 hours    ³ 7     ³             ³       ³

              ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÁÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÁÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÁÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ If the Occult skill check succeeds, bonus is a credit against which MP and SAN of the following Psychic attempt draw. Note that the Psychic attempt is part of the ritual, so that if the Occult roll fails, the Psychic connection must still be attempted. Also, bonus does not roll over into other Psychic attempts. If a Psychic attempt ends with bonus unused, the advantage is lost. EX:

A shaman spends 2 hours in chanting and ritual. He can accomplish 6 steps in a Psychic attempt at no cost.

Possible reasons for Psi:

William H Timmins -