The Body Control Psionic Power For GURPS

by Stéphane Thériault

Some people feel that the Healing power in GURPS Psionics is too limited. There are many examples in stories of those characters who could control not somebody else's mind or body, but his own body. For example, there was an episode of the Bionic Woman where someone was able to manipulate his body's functions to climb an electrified fence without any damage. So this inspired the question: What could somebody do if he could control every cell of his body individually? The answer is, pretty amazing things.

This article presents optional rules that revisit the Healing psionic powers, to change its focus from mostly healing to a more complete Body Control power. This power includes all the Healing abilities, but introduces many new abilities having to do with controlling one's own body. Metabolism Control is now the center piece of the power, and every new ability -- except for Body Monitoring and Psychic Surgery -- needs it as a prerequisite.

Most of the new abilities are suitable for normal psionic campaigns. The last two ones, Body Overdrive and Berserker Trance, should only be available in high-power cinematic games.

BODY CONTROL POWER (5 points per level)

Except for Healing, Sense Aura, and Psychic Surgery, all abilities described below can only be used on the psi himself.

Adrenaline Rush *n/a    

Prerequisite: Pain Control-15 and Strenghten Metabolism-12

This ability gives the psi the Hyper-Strength and Combat Reflexes advantages for (Power) seconds at a cost of 1 fatigue per second. At Power 10, he also gains the High Pain Threshold advantage. Finally, at Power 20, he gets the Hyper-Reflexes advantage (cumulative with the first Combat Reflexes).

Body Monitoring *1    


This skills allows a psi to monitor exactly the functioning of his own body. On a successful roll, he knows exactly what is his blood pressure, heart rhythm, body temperature, etc. He can also identify external organisms in his system. If he does a medical intervention on himself, or is able to talk to someone who's doing an intervention on him, this gives the psi a +3 on the Diagnosis rolls.

Special Enhancement: can be used on someone else; +50%

Death Control *n/a    

Prerequisite: Metabolism Control-12 and Healing-12

Whenever the psi fail a HT roll to stay alive, he rolls immediately against his Death Control skill, at a -1 penalty for each full HT hit points he is missing. If the roll succeeds, he falls into a coma for (Power) minutes; after which, someone must make a Surgery-5 or Psychic Surgery roll, or use unnatural healing methods like magical or psionic, to keep him alive. If the roll fails, or no roll is made at all, he will die without ever waking up. If the roll succeeds, he is stabilized and will be able to recuperate normally. The psi will become scarred permanently, however, and lose one level of appearance. If he goes below -5xHT, he will need Power 20+ to just even try a roll, and the roll is at -5. No roll can be made if the psi reaches -10 x HT.

While in the coma, the psi is still vulnerable to any kind of damage. Every time he takes additional damage, he will have to make a new roll. If he succeeds, the trance starts anew.

The life-saving roll at the end of the trance may only be attempted once.

If using magical or psionic healing instead of Surgery, the roll is considered a normal use of the appropriate healing method, but the first four hit points given are used by the body to stabilize its condition. All points after the first four raises Hit Points normally. If less than four points are given, they won't have any effect and the psi will die.

Enhanced (Sense) *n/a    

Prerequisite: Metabolism Control-12

This is actually four different abilities. Possible senses are Vision, Hearing, Smell/Taste and Vision. The first three options give the psi Acute (Sense) +(Power/2). The last one gives Sensitive Touch. Duration is (Power) seconds.

Healing *3    


As described in P15.

Healing Trance *n/a    

Prerequisite: Metabolism Control-12 and Healing-12

On a successful roll, the psi will go into a healing trance identical to deep sleep; after each (24/Power) hour of trance, he can make a HT roll to regain one HP. This is in addition to all other forms of healing, natural or not. This sleep does not, however, make him recover any fatigue. The Autotrance advantage adds its bonus to the skill roll.

Life Extension *n/a    

Prerequisite: Metabolism Control-14

As described in P15.

Metabolism Control *1    


As in the description in P15. If the optional Bleeding rules (B130) are used, a successful roll at -1 per 5 hit points lost will completely stop any bleeding. Finally, the psi can make his body more resistant to poison; a successful roll gives him a +1 per 5 full levels of power to his HT roll to resist poison.

Pain Control *n/a    

Prerequisite: Metabolism Control-12

Everytime he takes damage, roll versus skill. On a successful roll, penalties due to damage is reduced by 1 for each level of power possessed.

Psychic Surgery *2    


The psi knows instinctively how to fix any wound. A successful roll gives him a bonus of (Power/5) to any First Aid, Physician, and Surgery roll. With a sufficient power level, he can make surgeries without any equipment! This power can be used on the psi personally or on others.

If many races are present in the game's world, the psi must specialize in a given type, as explained in the Medical Skills section header on p. B56.

Sense Aura *1    


As described in P16.

Strengthen Metabolism *n/a    

Prerequisite: Metabolism Control-18

For a short period of time, the psi can modify the internal structure of his body to reinforce some specific trait at the cost of others. He can raise one of ST, HT, DX, or DR by 2, with a penalty of -1 to the other three, for each 10 full levels of Body Control Power. Cost is two fatigues, lost after the effect is over. The change is good for (Power/4) seconds. Note that negative DR simply means that the body is so fragile that any wound received cause additional internal damage.

Special Enhancement: The psi can concentrate the effect on one particular part of his body: head, torso, one arm, or one leg. He can get double raises for the same penalty. The penalty itself still applies to all the body. For example, a psi could raise his right arm ST by 4 at the cost of two fatigues and -1 to DX, HT and DR to his whole body. +20%.

Suspended Animation *n/a    

Prerequisite: Metabolism Control-12

Allows the psi to fall into Suspended Animation (as for the spell on p. M50) for a maximum of (Power square) months at a time. The psi can, however, choose the duration of the trance, or determine certain conditions that will awake him before time. Roll is at -1 for each of these conditions.

Cinematic Abilities

These abilities are extremely powerful and are only suitable for cinematic campaigns.

Body Overdrive (M/VH) *n/a    

Prerequisite: Metabolism Control-20, Strengthen Metabolism-20, Enhanced Senses-20, and Power-20

This ability puts the psi's body in overdrive -- literally. For each 20 levels of Power, he gains one level of Altered Time Rate and the Enhanced Time Sense advantage for (Power) seconds. However, because almost all of his body resources are concentrated into making him go faster, it becomes more fragile. HT is reduced by 1, and he gain the Low Pain Threshold and DR-1 disadvantages for the duration of the effect. Effects are cumulative with current advantages/disadvantages (i.e. if the psi has High Pain Threshold he loses it; if he doesn't have it or Low Pain Threshold, he gains Low Pain Threshold; and if he already has Low Pain Threshold, its penalties are doubled. Same for DR). When the effect wears off, his fatigue drops to 0, and he passes out from exhaustion.

Berserker Trance (M/VH) *n/a    

Prerequisite: Body Overdrive-20, Adrenaline Rush-20

This ability allows the psi to enter a voluntary state of communion with the "inner Essence of the Warrior" that sleeps inside each of us. He effectively become Beserk (p. B31), but with the following bonus: he gets all the advantages of Body Overdrive without any of the disadvantages, DR +1, and all the effects of the Adrenaline Rush ability. The trance lasts for a maximum of (Power) seconds. When it wears off, his fatigue drops to 0, he loses 1 HT for each two seconds spent in the Berserker trance (round up), and he passes out.

The Autotrance advantage adds its bonus to this skill roll.

Special Enhancement: The psi always remembers who his allies are, even in the Beserk trance, and will never attack them. Special prerequisites: Will or Mental Strength at 15+, Vision roll at 15+. +50%.

Special Enhancement: Reduced Damage +20%. For each level of this enhancement, the damage the psi takes when the trance wears off is reduced by 1.

Special Enhancement: Somebody dear to the psi can try to stop his trance by trying to appease him. Make a reaction roll, at +3 if the person is especially dear to the psi (like a wife or a child), +2 if that person has the Empathy advantage. Charisma and Voice are the only other advantages/disadvantages that affect this reaction roll. On a good or better reaction, the psi snaps out of his trance. +30%.

Article publication date: August 31, 2001

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