Psychology - What can it do?

Okay, here we go.

What is psychology in the Iron Empires universe? Is it akin to the Bene Gesserit ‘Voice’-Powers, or more like full-fledged psionics? Or something completely different?


I’m getting the impression that it’s something like the Second Foundationer powers from Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy. My question is, does it play more like those powers were originally described, where Psychologists are just so damned slick, their knowledge of Psychology so great, that they can put thoughts in your head with their own body language and manipulate your emotions with a word?

Or is is more like in the sequels, where it reads more like actual telepathy?

as soon as we get some basic stuff with the wiki worked out, I’ll be posting the Psychology chapter whole!

stand by.


There are basically three levels of Psychology.

  1. Psychology as a skill. You can have this (although it’s hard to get it) without having either the Bright Mark or Mule traits, though you cannot unlock its full potential without those traits. Psychology as a skill allows you to ‘Read’ people. This functions much as Aura Reading does in Burning Wheel. You detect moods, intents, past lifepaths, traits, psychic connections, the presence of a naiven worm, even Beliefs. In addition, Psychology is a universal FoRK for Social skills, and my also be used to help those skills.

  2. Psychology with a Connections. Connections allow you to unlock most of a Psychologists powers. These are the subtlest of the psychologist’s powers. Other players (including the GM) must accept connections willingly. Mechanically, they cannot be forced. When you accept a Connection, the Psychologist offers you a Connection Die that you can use as Advantage for any Social skill. This is a bigger deal in Burning Empires than it is in Burning Wheel, so the die is very tempting.

Once you have a Connection, Transference, Hindrance and Locks become a possibility. Transference allows you to transfer skills to a person temporarily, Hindrance gives you the ability to create Obstacles, and Lock can be used to make someone essentially catatonic for a scene. Also, a Connection allows you to communicate instantly at any distance.

  1. Force is the iron fist inside psychology’s velvet glove. Force does not require a Connection. It is a bludgeon. Force is a psychic duel through which you can give a character new beliefs and traits. You get an Advantage die if you already have a Connection with the subject.

Aside from all that, psychologists can stimulate glandular output to attempt to kill a naiven worm that has been inserted into their heads. They can also use Connections to coordinate battlefield operations and provide a bonus there.

Unfortunately, there are no mind bullets or telekinesis. :frowning:

Read, and learn!

(…and worship Luke’s web bitch.)

Stare in awe at the 2MB character sheet.

Although may I say it looks massively more usable than the BW sheet.

first wow, I love that character sheet, think we could get a sheet for BW like that? with less graphics though… but that’s much more useable.

ok read the Psychology chapter. first why does it say “the burnig wheel” at the top left?

after reading it I know understand what you mean that the system is very tight knit. all of the rules support each other.

anyhow, I like how Psychology works.

it’s not “wow super powers”.

it’s subversive, power that if you dont have it you would want some of, at the same time it’s power that you have to be careful in using. It can turn around and bite you. very kewl.

dude, so awesome!

worship with techpron!

“The Burning Wheel” is the name of the fourth section of the Burning Empires (much like in BWR where you had spokes / hub and rim). Take a closer look at the table of contents and everything will be clear.

right on! i think its the most elegant system in the game.

luke has a lot to be proud of in BE - but everyone is going to look at Psychology and say “this is how you do it!”

Agreed. This is a most impressive chapter. The theme is unlike anything I’ve ever encountered in a RPG, as are the mechanics. Most intrigueing.

I really look forward to the infection and combat mechanisms. This is going to be interesting.


doh, my brain just wasnt engaged, darn wheels an’ cogs…
I completly forgot that the burning wheel icon came from the Iron Empires. I get it now.

somehow I have an feeling that the infection mechanic, is of stuff that will show up in some form in the adventure burner. That is the setting of meta game goals, and the sign posts of your story.

I just had the chance to read the sample chapter. Psychology is badass.

Hi Gary,

I’m very proud of the Psychology mechanics. They are a pretty simple riff on some basic stuff – player to player communication, in-character knowledge – and minor variant of the Duel of Wits and Steel rules.

But in play, jeebus, they create quite a stir. Mind control is really, really scary. And the simple connection rules create currency of trust at the table that I haven’t seen before. I mean, you should see the outrage on a player’s face when the piper comes for his due – when a connected Psychologist uses the Psychic Duel, Transferrence or Lock rules. Such a hideous betrayal of trust. It changes the game – in a really intense, fun way!