Esper Rating-Psychic Powers

I have a player who was wondering about other psychic powers, more than telepathy. I asked what he was thinking about, he defined it as psychometry…I know what it is…just having a hard time defining that in STA terms…any help is appreciated.

I have often also wondered about Esper Rating that was discussed in TOS. Thinking about how to define that as well.

They recently released the Voyager Characters. They include Kes, which has a bunch of psychic powers. She has a talent that allows her (among others) to:

  • Move objects with her mind
  • Glimpse events from a possible future
  • Altering local ambient temperatures
  • Possibly others

These actions all require a Task.

This would work the same way with Psychometry. The talent allows reading an object with a Task. I think this is the simplest and most flexible way to handle this.

I’m not a TOS guy, but Esper Ratings sound very 60s to me. I would give a character with a high Esper Rating an appropriate Trait, like “High Esper Rating”. The Trait can then be used wherever it makes sense.

For TOS they only mentioned it in the one episode Where No Man Has Gone Before they just assigned two numbers sort of implying scores similar to how IQs are (higher = more) but specified little else.

Esper rating (Memory Alpha)

Other than Telepathy/Mind meld we don’t use them in the group I run (we run TOS era). I prefer TOS and through the series there was a lot of storylines where having “powers” was mostly relegated to bad guys

I had forgotten about Kes, will go take a look but thanks for giving me a great idea to work with!!


Incidental impressions from objects with a strong imprint, Difficulty 0 task using Insight + Science. Obtain information would then ensue. Increase Difficulty to 1 for weaker impressions. GM roll in secret in either case.

When picking touching an object and trying to pick up impressions with deliberately…Difficulty 1 (Strong Impressions) or Difficulty 2 (Weak Impressions) Task using Control + Security. Player roll.

Complication could be stuff along the lines of being overcome with whatever the last emotional impression was with the object.

Hmmm, I rather like the idea of espers in a game. I, too, will run a TOS game and I like the idea of psychometry, the problem I see is keeping it under control. I don’t want the player dragging it out Every Single Scene. Perhaps tie it into Determination somehow? I suppose you could end up with the same problem if the character had a mild telekinesis, also.

The example of Kes in the Voyager crew pack has helped define the psychic abilities. They haven’t been used to excess yet, we are still early in our adventures.

There are several Canon races that use different Psionic techniques than the Limited ones provided for the Betazoids and Vulcans. Putting aside those that would seem most like those – the Remans abilities for example, there are others that are pretty interesting. I’ll give you some samples and links in Memory Alpha so you can check them out for yourself.

The Ullians: Divergent from basic Telepathy, they people deep dive into a subject’s memories. TNG era.

The Napeans: Relatively recent in their history, a bioterrorism act rendered them Empathic Projectors… they have trouble not involuntarily projecting their emotions, particularly the negative ones. The intent was to make them stop warring with each other as the victim’s pain was projected into the attacker. TNG era.

The Cairn: A strong Telepathic species but unlike the Betazoids and Vulcans, one that didn’t use verbal communication at all and instead had a massive library of Pictographs/Memes they sent to each other as language. The Betazoids were helping them learn to vocalize internally and externally after they made contact with the Federation. TNG era:

Gary Mitchell and Elizabeth Dehner: Two Humans who had high ESPER ratings, the actual canon term used. Mostly this reflected a mild precognative and/or clairvoyant ability, but after they were taken through the Galactic Barrier they powered up into beings with so many powers and at such a level that they could literally terraform the planet they were on with their minds. TOS era: and respectively.

In the Last Unicorn Games and Decipher takes on Star Trek, there was an additional Psionic attribute that governed such things. In a home grown game you could easily add this… give a base stat level to species that come by their Psionics honestly as a race, allow those from races that have potential but aren’t fully that way to spend a talent on it. You could then add a short list of Psionic Disciplines: Telepathy, ESP, Psychokinesis, etc and then add Focus for these Telepathy, Psychometry, Telekinesis etc – all with GM permission limitations, and treat them like the other mundane mechanics.

Picking up a book like: Will provide you with great flavor to such a thing, this one covers the various ESPer arts of the Vulcans in nice thematic appropriate detail.

Or you can just tell your player that its not something you want to deal with and focus on either things or let them spend a Talent on something called Psychometry and have them make an Insight+Command test to use it and drive on. The important thing is, such an ability is thematically appropriate so you don’t have to worry about including it in your game if you want to. Just don’t let the character hijack all your mystery plots by touching an item and saying "I know who the killer is: – Psychometry should be showing what an emotional residue would reveal not a security feed. YMMV, Peace.

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