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Anachronistic Adventurers: The Sensitive

publication date: Mar 8, 2013
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"There, Mr. Hatteras, this is a—well, a trick—I learned from an old woman in Benares. It is a better one than the last and will repay your interest. If you will look on that paper for a moment, and try to concentrate your attention, you will see something that will, I think, astonish you."

Hardly believing that I should see anything at all I looked. But for some seconds without success. My skepticism, however, soon left me. At first I saw only the coarse grain of the paper and the thin vapor rising from it. Then the knowledge that I was gazing into a dish vanished. I forget my companion and the previous conjuring trick. I saw only a picture opening out before me--that of a handsomely furnished room, in which was a girl sitting in an easy chair crying as if her heart were breaking. The room I had never seen before, but the girl I should have known among a thousand. She was Phyllis, my sweetheart!

I looked and looked, and as I gazed at her, I heard her call my name. "Oh, Dick! Dick! come to me!" Instantly I sprang to my feet, meaning to cross the room to her. Next moment I became aware of a loud crash. The scene vanished, my senses came back to me; and to my astonishment I found myself standing alongside the overturned restaurant table. The glass dish lay on the floor, shattered into a thousand fragments. My friend, the conjuror, had disappeared.

—Guy Boothby, A Bid For Fortune

The sensitive is a master of awareness and understanding; someone able to drink in all the sensations of a spring day and know a storm is coming, glance at a friendly face and sense the ill-intent it hides, or contemplate her own actions to reveal subconscious motivations. Sensitives are often religious or philosophical figures, often offering words of wisdom and guidance to those who wish to better themselves. Others are quiet contemplatives who seek on self-awareness, while a few put their perceptions to work delving into the urges and motivations of criminals and monsters.

However, it would be a mistake to think of all sensitives as “kind souls,” or to think that awareness of the thoughts and pains of others somehow ensures their motives are always pure. Some of those who find themselves in tune with the universe around them use that awareness to better manipulate and incapacitate others for their own ends. Sensitive villains can be tragic figures so troubled by the pain of others that they wish to control the world to bring peace (or in more extreme cases just put the world out of its misery), evil mesmerists who have learned to read signs of weakness as a form of power, or even bright-eyed madmen who can’t distinguish between their real insights and the voices of delusion talking in their heads.

Also included in this 19 page book are three new archetypes: the ESPer, profiler, and volur. In addition, you'll find complete rules for Psychic Abilities - mental "tricks" that allow characters to do things that violate the normal rules of the world around them, and that are common in fantastic modern-era adventure stories. Finally, we discuss how Psychic Abilities differ from Psionics, how they interact with each other, and give some advice on ways to incorporate both into your game.



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