Psychology Magic?

Hi all,

I’ve just recently picked up the BE game and will be joining a BE game group shortly. I would like to play a psychologist. My character concept involves a character that would use mental powers exclusively and forego any traditional weapons or armor as they are beneath is capability. However, the character is not anti-violent by any means and I wish to equip him with mental powers to provide him with some sort of offensive and defensive ability. Would it be reasonable to include/acquire mental spell-like abilities and if so which game mechanic would they fall under. Traits, skills, tech?

Some thoughts and suggestions would be most welcomed.


Well, in the game canon, you Psychology does not necessarily provide “offensive and defensive” capabilities. However, in the game Psychology is ridiculously powerful and doesn’t need any augmentation.

But if you’re still bent on acquiring psi-blades and mind shields, use the mechanics in the Alien Life-Form Burner to create the traits for your character. You’ll arrive at a trait point cost for the enhancement. Your character will NOT be able to pay for it – it’ll be too expensive. So you’ll have to go crawling to your group on your knees and ask them to please please please make your uberpowerful character even more powerful. I’m sure they trust you and will give you what you need.



Thanks for the lightning quick response. I was looking for an alternative combat approach, not one that is more effective than top shelf weapons and armor or to make the character over the top.

Perhaps I don’t fully understand the capabilities of a psychologist. As I read in the BE book the psychologist can enhance abilities and skills which is kewl but that’s not as fun as getting into the thick of combat. Mentally locking an opponent could avoid an encounter all together is a mega powerful ability but certainly not as enjoyable as fighting it out IMO. Plus the book states that psychological force may not be used during a firefight. (insert whining here lol)

My thinking is relating to DnD terms where both a cleric & wizard use magic but one class primarily acts (magically speaking) as a buffer while the other is more combat oriented.

As I ponder this more deeply, I agree that the psychologist is a powerful character but many of it’s powers are those I’d rather replace with lesser powers that I would find more enjoyable to play in a more traditional RPG. Perhaps, I’ll be more flexible in my desires, play the psychologist as written for now, and make good use of some color tech to fullfill the players need to make his character unique and flashy.


Can you hear me belly laughing? Burning Empires ain’t no traditional game. And you certainly don’t need fighty ability in order to be a powerful character and engaged player.

However, if you’d like to play the most powerful character type in the game, try this out: Born to Rule, Novitiate, Circle of 10,000, Stormtrooper, Anvil Captain, Lord Pilot Anvil, Anvil Lord. I’m pretty sure that’s a legal build. Have fun!

<chuckles> Well that lifepath sure confirms my other thought that you can have a well armed & armored mental nutcake set loose in the Empire. Can you imagine what a circle of 10,000 vote must be like? <shudders> Probably makes our political campaigns here in the US look like gummy bear snacks. (no offense implied to the gummy bear community) :slight_smile:

You could also, fairly easily, burn up a powerful close combat weapon in the tech burner with the categorical limitation ‘must be weilded by someone with the bright mark or mule trait’ and then call it a psi-blade or (ew) weirding module.

You need to finish reading that paragraph.

Timing of Psychological Force
Psychological Force may not be used during a Firefight. However, if a
character corners a psychologist with the I Corner Him and Stab Him in
the Face rules, the psychologist may engage his opponent in a psychic
duel so long as he wins the Tactics/Close Combat test or he has an
Instinct, “When assaulted, fry their brains.” If he wins the test, factor
the Close Combat tests and then, regardless of injury, incapacitation or
death, engage in the psychic duel. It happens in the space of a thought!
If he has an Instinct, skip the Close Combat and go straight to the
psychic duel.

Also I don’t believe that applies to the psychic lock.

Psychologists are way too cool to need something lame like a crystal mind blade.

Wahoo…I’m a ‘Cattle Slave’…is that an alien life burner option? :stuck_out_tongue:


Mike…thx for the tip. I probably will experiment with that or something very like it. I might have to buy the GM donuts though…


Luke…Stormtrooper doesn’t do anything to further the progression but I uncovered some nice paths, based from yours, here’s one of them.

Born to Rule->Novitiate->Circle of 10k->Court Armiger->Lord-Pilot Anvil(Stewardship & Court version)->Anvil Lord->Forged Lord[requires grace or majestry trait purchase] (7 LPs)

Some Options: -add Anvil Captain and drop Forged Lord
-drop Forged Lord and maybe Anvil Lord and add Hammer Captain, Lord-Pilot Hammer, and/or Hammer Lord
-you can also use Lieutenant in place of Court Armiger but it doesn’t appear to be as beneficial
-obviously there’s more but those seemed to stick out as some good options to me

You had to get my munchkinism going didn’t ya! :slight_smile:

See ya in the coals,

oh up to ‘Forge Slave’ now… \o/

Stormsweeper…yeah I read that part but that always puts the onus on the enemy iniating combat and not your character. It would be nice to be able to slug somebody physically or mentally and not be restricted in doing so.


Psychology as I understand it is a great alternative TO combat, but yeah, it’s not great IN combat. Well, unless you’re somewhere off the battlefield locking someone down remotely or something like that maybe.

EDIT: or you know, doing that thing Stormsweeper suggested, with the cornering and the stabbing and the psychic dueling.

This stands out to me as massively important:

You want to get into some fights. That’s cool. Psychology can be used to buff people, but if that’s all you’re doing, that’s such a waste of psychology’s potential and you’re gonna find yourself bored.

Seriously though? I would either:

Burn up something with Eremite in it. Grab some weapon skills to cover the fighting and experiment with the psych rules when you’re not fighting. Get a feel for what it can and can’t do; what it does well and what it does not so well. Develop your character in play from there.

Alternatively: Make a straight up psychologist and use the rules to buy/burn up a bodyguard. Use the bodyguard to kick ass and cover your butt (i.e. give you something to do in combat) while you use your main character to learn how psychology works (and pursue Machiavellian plots the rest of the time).

Not saying you can’t find creative ways to use your psychologist in combat, but this’ll give you something a little more familiar while you get your feet wet.

Seperate from the whole psych discussion, there’s bears commenting on. Unlike traditional DnD, I think you’re gonna find that fights in this game aren’t something you get into quite as casually as you do in DnD. It can be pretty brutal, though if you save the fights for the stuff that you really care about as a player, it’s definately worth it. I’m sure someone can elaborate on what I’m trying to get at here.

Unlike traditional DnD, I think you’re gonna find that fights in this game aren’t something you get into quite as casually as you do in DnD. It can be pretty brutal, though if you save the fights for the stuff that you really care about as a player, it’s definately worth it. I’m sure someone can elaborate on what I’m trying to get at here.

Dude. I know everyone here probably has more horrifying stories of the lethality of BE combat, but in our last big Firefight my players’ unit lost 10 men to ONE shot. Yes, it was a PaC, and we were playing a platoon-level battle, but still. 5 guys vaporized outright and 5 more killed by the blast. And it was awesome.

If you want your character to get in a fight, you make sure he’s not going to get shot in return or you bring some meat shields.