Great ideas are everywhere. As Picasso said:
“Lesser artists borrow; great artists steal.”
— Pablo Picasso
One thing you have to admire about later editions of Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder is the whole idea of archetypes; modifications to a master concept that changes it in ways as to better fit a specific vision or purpose. Rogues, for instance, in D&D 5e can be a Thief or Arcane Trickster and Pathfinder has a plethora of them including a Carnivalist, Dreamthief, Rotdrinker or Trapsmith. There’s a lot of different flavors there!
Luckily, since I primarily use the HERO System Sixth Edition for my games, there are no classes. Technically, you can build whatever you want but I’ve always found that if you allow that it causes nearly everyone to develop decision paralysis and lock in place.
Knowing this, when I run Trigate games I employ the idea of Concepts which are like classes, archetypes, jobs, or whatever other terms you’re familiar with but are just an idea to use as a springboard. If you look at the Roguish concepts on the Zd10 Wiki, you’ll see a few listed there. They are just different flavorings of the Rogue and in fact, you could pick the Rogue and build it and end up like any of the other ones listed there.
Since they are only ideas and a very loose collection of mechanics only pertaining to theme, this makes it a lot easier to implement these Concepts since I don’t have to create fully detailed classes. I can tell players what the idea is behind it and if they got on board, they can build on it. Alternatively, if they have a hard time working within the concept’s idea, I can assist.
In D&D, you have the Warlock class. These are individuals who have made some sort of pact or have a bloodline relation with beings that exist in some sort of higher state more powerful than mortals but not quite on the same level of Gods. To give you an idea of what I mean, some examples of the Otherworldly Patrons (the Warlock’s different archetypes they can pick) are the Archfey, a Great Old One or even a Genie.
I like this idea and it already exists in some form as different Concepts already. Some examples:
- A Witch makes deals with powerful spirits for abilities within their domain. Often the spirits are those existing in nature, but not always.
- A Godhand has their deal forced upon them with an arm of theirs being transformed for attempting to steal divinity.
- An Annelidist has a more physical pact by sharing their body with various worms or similar creatures which grant them abilities.
- A Remnant is someone physically present where daemonic energies tore through reality. This traps them in a sort of shell they can learn to control.
- An Outsider is someone who has attracted the attention of beings far beyond anything else, being “blessed” by them with power.
I was working on ideas for a Warlock I’m playing in an upcoming D&D 5e game and was thinking of different “power sources". What I mean by that is, at their core, rules as written, Warlocks are associated with the arcane. If you were to change that to the divine, it’d just be a distinct form or type of Cleric. But then I thought… what would a psionic Warlock be?
Enter the Extrascient.
Where Warlocks have their powers through bloodline or pact, the Extrascient (from extra-, meaning extraordinarily good; superior; and -scient, meaning knowing, being aware of) acts as a direct conduit for psychic power. A being of immense psionic power called an Overmind uses the Extrascient as a sort of lens, channeling their power to affect reality. Why these Overminds need Extrascients is unknown, though some suspect that it may be because of massive levels of scale. This makes these beings even more horrifying.
Extrascients are bestowed Enlightenment by whom or whatever their Overmind is. The abilities they manifest are also known as Enlightenments and typically rank from Least, Lesser, Greater, and Clandestine.
As they cannot explore abilities beyond those granted by their Overmind’s Enlightenment, the Extrascient can freely manifest some less powerful psionic powers that would normally tire a Psion. The most common example seems to be lensing their Overlord’s psychic energy into the minds of others, which is thought to be quite unpleasant.
Where would Extrascients fit in the Trigate universe?
Their existence would be secretive, for sure. There wouldn’t be guilds of Extrascients but maybe a small handful under the same Overmind may congregate. Nobody really even knows what an Extracient is. I also imagine that the term Extrascient exists entirely in a meta context of what we call them in game terms. If one was given powers by, say… an Overmind named Kermit the Green, they would probably just think of themselves as a Servent of Kermit.
I imagine that the first of them emerged on the Plane of Remar, the home of the Seer Gnomes. Their world was once lush and green, though unfortunately it was serving as the host of a world-shattering stellar parasite. Upon its birth, the creature destroyed much of Remar and consumed it with its corruptive influence. The Seer Gnomes must consistently fight against this chaos-being in both the physical and mental realms, as it invades their lands and their minds. Its powerful psionic influence twists and warps both the landscape and the life on the surface.
Maybe the influence of such a powerful being attracted the gaze of other intelligent beings. After all, as the saying goes… sometimes you need to fight fire with fire.
I reach into the depths of my soul and I draw forth your doom. By the power given unto me by the Emperor, I shall blast your body to ashes and sear your soul to nothing.
— Ezekiel, Chief Librarian of the Dark Angels, Warhammer 40,000