Difference between revisions of "Psionics"

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- JFG, with credits to the adventurous NKF-sensei whose field reports I freely draw from. --[[User:JellyfishGreen|JellyfishGreen]] 14:50, 19 Apr 2005 (BST)
- JFG, with credits to the adventurous NKF-sensei whose field reports I freely draw from. --[[User:JellyfishGreen|JellyfishGreen]] 14:50, 19 Apr 2005 (BST)
-Jasonred: In fact, you safely issue them Laser Pistols if you're all armed with Flying Suits, possibly Powered Armor is enough.

Revision as of 05:18, 23 April 2005

Field Manual Addendum: February 2000: Psionics

A brief working theory:

The psionic research group has theorized a "conchfield", or field of consciousness, is put forth by all sentient beings. The scientists speculate that this field exists as an energy on a plane coexistant with our own space but undetectable by Earth technology. They refer to this as "conchspace".

Normally the patterns of a conchfield are individual and isolated. They rise and fall with the electrical brain waves we can measure. No two conchfields can physically superimpose because they are tied to separate minds and bodies in our own space which cannot superimpose. However, there is also some energy which can travel freely in this conchspace and interact with conchfields. Whether by some geometry of conchspace or of our own space, if this energy is continually exchanged between two conchfields, the conchfields start to synchronize patterns.

It is speculated that occasionally this "standing wave" effect occurs naturally, and this has given rise to limited and fleeting psychic phenomena dismissed as superstition.

However the alien technology gives the additional power and control to turn this phenomena into a useful tactical advantage.

Mind Probe:

These allow an impression of a subject conchfield to be briefly superimposed on the operator. The transmission is mostly one-way and usually the subject has a brief sensation of an altered state or a wider consciousness but is not otherwise affected. The information gathered is stored in the mind probe until accessed. This can convey information as general as a feeling of high morale to as specific as the subject's last assessment of their armour. The operator does not need to be trained but must know the physical location of the subject to within a meter. The probe takes several seconds to perform its scan so patience is required.

Squads report successfully approaching and capturing an alien with no resistance after first determining its fatigued state with a mind probe.

Psionic Amplifiers:

The "psi-amp" or psionic amplifier can set up a feedback loop between two conchfields so that the operator can attempt to tranfer thought between their own mind and the subject. The physical location of the subject must be known to within a meter. The operator must be trained.

The amplifier is geared for two forms of psionic attack, the first a projected feeling of fear, apprehension, or panic and the second a near-total control of the subject's mind and body. The subject usually perceives this as a change in their instincts or low-level desires that leads them to change their higher-level behavior, similar to hypnosis. The subject may be behaving completely counter to the norm, such as preparing to fire on their own forces, but as their own sense of self is being suppressed, they may not even be aware they are behaving strangely. The subject's companions, on the other hand, can recognize the change almost immediately. Symptoms include vacant stares, inappropriate emotions or lack of emotion, and unresponsiveness.

The subject's perceptions are also fed back to the user, allowing them in effect to look out through the subject's eyes. This on its own gives the user a tactical advantage if they can gain knowledge of how their opponent has deployed their forces, and also allows them to locate and choose additional subjects.

The alien robotic ground support weapons ("Cyberdisks" and "Sectopods") have psi receiver circuits which allow them to be directed psionically by their squads, much as our own HWP's use a radio link.

A distraction to the user may allow the subject to break the feedback loop and re-establish their sense of self. A user will also find it hard to maintain or even establish a loop if the subject has high psi-strength, although training can help.


The psionic training facility uses a sensitive psionic receiver and a fixed version of the psiamp. The electronics recognize the projection of a trainee and provide auditory feedback through the headset. The trainee attempts to project their impressions of this tone along with their other thoughts. The stronger the feedback loop, the stronger the audio tone. Half of this feedback loop is thus psionic and the return half electronic.

Training consists of both projecting and resisting - projecting is attempting to establish a feedback loop with a remote field, and resisting is attempting to break a feedback loop initiated by a remote field. In combat this corresponds to attack and defence. Psionic skill in attacking is also developed by moving the target, which forces the trainee to be effective in rapidly translating between normal space and consciousness space and performing the projection accurately. Defence depends mainly on psionic strength, a passive ability.

Each station is screened from the others. The headset also muffles external noise. Special goggles flood the eyes with a soft red light. It is in this sensory deprived trance state that projection comes most easily. As the trainee becomes more skilled at initiating and establishing an interface with the psiamp, the sensory deprivation equipment can be reduced and eventually removed. Soldiers are then able to go into this trance state without aid in the field.

This training serves to both screen soldiers for latent psionic ability and to exercise that ability. For several weeks, even the best soldiers may not be able to grasp what is asked of them, so a full month is required for proper evaluation. Psionically gifted soldiers are of course extremely valuable assets. Due to the high casualty rate of XCOM, commanders have recommended that the soldiers undergoing training should be given less hazardous duties or taken off active duty for that month, until at least a preliminary screening report is available.


Psionically strong but unskilled soldiers can be used in any scouting or fire support role. As per standard doctrine, they should relay all information about the position of the enemy as efficiently as possible; this allows both support fire and psionic attacks to be brought to bear.

Psionically skilled and strong soldiers should be kept out of direct combat to allow them to concentrate on using the psionic amplifier. They do not need to leave the landing craft to carry out their duties, so leave them here unless the craft is under attack.

It may be useful to assign them an aide who can evaluate targets with the Mind Probe and help determine the best use of a psionic attack.

Preferred targets would be higher-ranking units, psychically capable units, or heavy weapons units. It is possible to control any alien, including the psionically controlled robotic units. Some skilled psionic operators have had success with simply attempting control of every alien encountered and disarming them, then using the controlled alien as a scout to determine the next target unit, then taking the next target unit and leaving the previous unit for a mop-up squad.

Easiest actions with a controlled unit are movement and firing or dropping the held weapon. It is possible but tricky to do more.

Countering psionic attacks and tactics:

The former doctrine on psionically attacked soldiers also applies to soldiers who have been psionically screened. Namely, soldiers weak in psi-strength or who have become victims of psionic attack should be dismissed or re-assigned at the earliest opportunity for the safety of the rest of the squad. If retained on active duty they should never be knowingly sent on missions against psionic capable aliens.

If such soldiers are deployed against psionic capable aliens, they may still have use in limited roles.

  • 1) Unarmed medic or equipment operator. If controlled, they cannot injure other soldiers, but they can give away their positions.
  • 2) Support fire. A riskier tactic, where the soldier provides long-range support fire for a spotter and endeavors to never come within sight - and thus control - of an alien.
  • 3) Non-lethal weaponry. Stun rods or stun guns again prevent injury of other soldiers but the risk of control and loss of tactical advantage remains.
  • 4) Diversionary. An extremely risky tactic for the soldier, this role is similar to that of an unarmed scout. Attempting to separate themselves from the main group, the soldier attempts to get themselves mind-controlled rather than shot. If they are under mind control, the soldier will often be spared by the alien. Every mind-control attack on the "decoy" is one less attack on the rest of the squad and one more psionic alien kept busy.

However be aware skilled psionic aliens can often locate the entire squad if allowed to see even one soldier. This "rapid location scan" is a feature of the alien implants we have not been able to duplicate in our psi-amps. The only way we have of blocking it so far is through the base "mind shield" which is not presently portable and no good at close (battlescape) range.

Kamikaze tactics have also been used but cannot be recommended here.

HWP's can continue to be used in all roles against psionic capable forces.

Heavy Support Weaponry should be assigned to soldiers with high psionic strength to prevent its counteruse.

If all forces are equipped with Powered Heavy Armor, which is proof against light ballistic weaponry, standard rifles and pistols can be freely issued with little risk of lethality even if counterused. Note Ethereals are less affected by these weapons than Sectoids.

- JFG, with credits to the adventurous NKF-sensei whose field reports I freely draw from. --JellyfishGreen 14:50, 19 Apr 2005 (BST)

-Jasonred: In fact, you safely issue them Laser Pistols if you're all armed with Flying Suits, possibly Powered Armor is enough.