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Analysis / Psychic Powers

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Psychic abilities can be generalized into two categories; receptive and projective. The Parapsychological Association divides them into psi-gamma and psi-kappa. Receptive abilities are purely internal, displaying no external evidence they're being used apart from the occasional Psychic Nosebleed (and of course, the stance). The ability to see the future is receptive; the character gains knowledge with no external mechanic. Projective abilities affect the external world, requiring acting or special effects to reflect the way these abilities manipulate reality. The ability to move physical objects is projective; the character affects an external object with no tangible connection between them. Naturally there is overlap; Telepathy is receptive in that the character gains knowledge from another's mind, and usually projective by allowing the character to implant thoughts/ideas into the other character as well.


Receptive Skills:

  • Extra-Sensory Perception or ESP — also known as Clairaudience, Clairvoyance, Remote Sensing, Remote Viewing, or TeleSense — is the ability to sense (seeing, hearing, taste, or other senses that may not be part of the standard package) distant places, localizing specific things/people, usually involves a trance state; the amount of control over what is seen can vary wildly, as can the distances the power can encompass, depending on the talent and training of the psychic and how the power works in The 'Verse.
    • Aura Vision is where a character perceives otherwise invisible characteristics, such as morality and powers. Perceiving these invisible characteristics from locations is also called Psychometry.
    • Dream Spying is when characters can use their dreams for sensing distant events.
    • My Significance Sense Is Tingling is when a character senses, somehow, that a major event has just occurred (or is currently underway) somewhere else.
  • Retrocognition/Postcognition — seeing things that happened in the past (without watching recordings). Often happens at crime scenes and often considered a subset of clairvoyance.
    • Dreaming of Times Gone By is when a sleeping character envisions past events that they had never seen before.
    • Instant Expert may gain their incredible skills by tapping into the history of everyone who wielded the weapon they're using.
    • Past-Life Memories is when someone recalls their past lives or ancestral memories. Often called Past Life Regression.
    • Psychometry, or object reading, is when a character "reads" the past of an object. Sometimes also includes aspects of Empathy, by picking up an imprint of strong emotions from the object left by the person who last handled said object. Can include sensing the "auras" of places, too, especially if something violent happened there recently.
  • Precognition — seeing things that will happen in the future (without watching recordings), sometimes in allegorical pictures. Often considered a subset of clairvoyance, and leads to a Prophecy Twist or Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
    • Seers are precogs, and may gain their visions by Dreaming of Things to Come, rather than having an active power.
  • Empathy — the ability to sense emotions. Technically something most humans are capable of, these characters have an extra ability that goes beyond internal mental models of body language and compassion. Their extra sense can put them at risk with strong emotions, and a rare few have the ability to project emotions. Often overlap with Telepathy.
    • The Empath's defining characteristic is their ability to sense emotions.
    • Empathic Healer is someone who can heal another person by sharing their pain.
    • Emotional Powers sounds related, but is actually about characters who experience Power Incontinence due to the relationship between their powers and emotions.
  • Telepathy — also known as mind reading or mindspeech — is the power to know the thoughts of other characters, or transmit their own thoughts to other characters. A "true telepath" may be one who not only reads others' thoughts but can get into their heads and affect their actions, thoughts, emotions, decisions and memories. Telepathy can often be stopped by Psychic Static and Psychic Block Defense.

  • Mediums — the ability to see, communicate with or channel spirits, sometimes with the side effect that they'll follow the medium around in attempts to resolve their Unfinished Business.
    • I See Dead People is for characters that can use this ability in general, usually considered a mystic ability rather than psychic.

Projective Skills:

  • Telekinesis — also called Psychokinesis, and many other -kinesis abilities — is the ability to move physical/elemental objects by thinking about it. The "weakest" is generally the ability to bend paperclips, and more powerful kinetics tend to gain precision (manipulating atoms) as well as scale (manipulating cars, or even planets). Many tropes overlap with specialized expressions of it:
    • Mind over Matter is for the ability to move/bend physical objects.
    • Biomanipulation can be an example of Biopsychokinesis, or Bio-PK — the ability to influence living tissue on the cellular or molecular level. Used for psychic healing, regeneration, Psychic Surgery or as a darker power the ability to kill people with a touch, traditionally by stopping their heart, but can also cause a massive stroke; simply shut the brain down, prevent the lungs from working...
    • Playing with Fire can be an example of Pyrokinesis — creating and controlling fire. In slightly harder sci-fi, this will explicitly reference making the molecules in an object more agitated until it bursts into flames (essentially, that's the way a microwave oven works).
    • An Ice Person can be an example of Cryokinesis — creating and controlling temperature or frozen water. In slightly harder sci-fi, this will explicitly reference making the molecules in an object slow down, optionally referencing Absolute Zero or the Kelvin scale.
    • Shock and Awe can be an example of Fulgurkinesis/Astrakinesis — the ability to create electrical discharges and lightning bolts, sometimes encompasses the control of magnetic fields, too, if the author had a passing grade in high school science.
    • Technopath is an example of Machine Empathy or Technopathy — the ability to mentally link to and control computer systems. and/or to control the flow of electrons inside machines. While it sounds related, it is not electrokinesis.

  • Psychic Teleportation, also known as Apportation and sometimes a subset of telekinesis — the ability to transport objects or people from location A to B, including oneself without occupying the space between A and B.
    • Summon Magic is when the psychic can conjure objects to a point B limited to themselves, and may not be able to return them to their origin.

  • Energy Manipulation — When you can take your thoughts and manifest them in the form of Pure Energy. While it can overlap with Shock and Awe power, this type of energy is in a different field of its own, placed under the category of "energy" under the loosest sense of the word.
    • The Psi Blast is the fasted method of using raw psychic energy offensively, fired waves of psychic energy at the enemy (or whatever else is in the way) as though your brain was a laser-gun.
    • With a much more refined control over psychic energy, it can be molded into a more complex object. It either takes the form of an Energy Weapon, a tool or virtually anything else.