The Adept

You master powers or abilities outside the experience, understanding, and sometimes belief of others. They might be magic, psychic powers, mutant abilities, or just a wide variety of intricate devices, depending on the setting. (“Magic” here is a term used very loosely. It’s a catch-all for the kinds of wondrous, possibly supernatural things that your character can do that others cannot. It might actually be an expression of technological devices, channeling spirits, mutations, psionics, nanotechnology, or any number of other sources.)

Individual Role: Adepts are usually thoughtful, intelligent types. They often think carefully before acting and rely heavily on their supernatural abilities.

Group Role: Adepts are not powerful in straightforward combat, although they often wield abilities that provide excellent combat support, both offensively and defensively. They sometimes possess abilities that facilitate overcoming challenges. For example, if the group must get through a locked door, an Adept might be able to destroy it or teleport everyone to the other side. 

Societal Role: In settings where the supernatural is rare, strange, or feared, Adepts are likely rare and feared as well. They remain hidden, shadowy figures. When this is not the case, Adepts are more likely to be common and forthright. They might even take leadership roles.

Advanced Adepts: Even at low tiers, Adept powers are impressive. Higher-tier Adepts can accomplish amazing deeds that can reshape matter and the environment around them.

Suggested Character Descriptions: psychic, occultist, witch, practitioner, medium, fringe scientist


When playing an Adept, you can spend 1 XP to use one of the following player intrusions, provided the situation is appropriate and the GM agrees.

Advantageous Malfunction: A device being used against you malfunctions. It might harm the user or one of their allies for a round, or activate a dramatic and distracting side effect for a few rounds.

Convenient Idea: A flash of insight provides you with a clear answer or suggests a course of action with regard to an urgent question, problem, or obstacle you’re facing.

Inexplicably Unbroken: An inactive, ruined, or presumed-destroyed device temporarily activates and performs a useful function relevant to the situation. This is enough to buy you some time for a better solution, alleviate a complication that was interfering with your abilities, or just get you one more use out of a depleted cypher or artifact.


You get 6 additional points to divide among your stat Pools however you wish. 


First-tier Adepts have the following abilities:

Effort: Your Effort is 1. 

Genius: You have an Intellect Edge of 1, a Might Edge of 0, and a Speed Edge of 0. 

Expert Cypher Use: You can bear three cyphers at a time. 

Starting Equipment: Appropriate clothing, plus two expensive items, two moderately priced items, and up to four inexpensive items of your choice.

Weapons: You can use light weapons without penalty. You have an inability with medium weapons and heavy weapons; your attacks with medium and heavy weapons are hindered.

Special Abilities: Choose four of the abilities listed below. You can’t choose the same ability more than once unless its description says otherwise. If there is a point value after the name, that is the cost to activate that power once.  Abilities tagged as Action require an action to use. Abilities tagged as Enabler are always in effect. 

Distortion (2 Intellect points): You modify how a willing creature within short range reflects light for one minute. The target rapidly shifts between its normal appearance and a blot of darkness. The target has an asset on Speed defense rolls until the effect wears off. Action to initiate

Erase Memories (3 Intellect points): You reach into the mind of a creature within immediate range and make an Intellect roll. On a success, you erase up to the last five minutes of its memory. Action

Far Step (2 Intellect points): You leap through the air and land some distance away. You can jump up, down, or across to anywhere you choose within long range if you have a clear and unobstructed path to that location. You land safely. Action

Hedge Magic (1 Intellect point): You can perform small tricks: temporarily change the color or basic appearance of a small object, cause small objects to float through the air, clean a small area, mend a broken object, prepare (but not create) food, and so on. You can’t use Hedge Magic to harm another creature or object. Action

Magic Training: You are trained in the basics of magic (including the operation of magic artifacts and cyphers) and can attempt to understand and identify its properties. Enabler

Onslaught (1 Intellect point): You attack a foe using energies that assail either their physical form or their mind. In either case, you must be able to see your target. If the attack is physical, you emit a short-range ray of force that inflicts 4 points of damage. If the attack is mental, you focus your mental energy to blast the thought processes of another creature within short range. This mindslice inflicts 2 points of Intellect damage (ignores Armor). Some creatures without minds (such as robots) might be immune to your mindslice. Action

Push (2 Intellect points): You telekinetically push a creature or object an immediate distance in any direction you wish. You must be able to see the target, which must be your size or smaller, must not be affixed to anything, and must be within short range. The push is quick, and the force is too crude to be manipulated. For example, you can’t use this ability to pull a lever or close a door. Action

Resonance Field (1 Intellect point): Faint lines in a color you choose form a tracery over your entire body and emit faint light. The effect lasts for one minute. Whenever a creature within immediate range makes an attack against you, the pattern energizes to block the attack. You can make an Intellect defense roll in place of the defense roll you would normally make. If you do so and you get a minor effect, the creature attacking you takes 1 point of damage. If you get a major effect, the creature attacking you takes 4 points of damage. Action to initiate

Scan (2 Intellect points): You scan an area equal in size to a 10-foot (3 m) cube, including all objects or creatures within that area. The area must be within short range. Scanning a creature or object always reveals its level. You also learn whatever facts the GM feels are pertinent about the matter and energy in that area. For example, you might learn that the wooden box contains a device of metal and plastic. You might learn that the glass cylinder is full of poisonous gas, and that its metal stand has an electrical field running through it that connects to a metal mesh in the floor. You might learn that the creature standing before you is a mammal with a small brain. However, this ability doesn’t tell you what the information means. Thus, in the first example, you don’t know what the metal and plastic device does. In the second, you don’t know if stepping on the floor causes the cylinder to release the gas. In the third, you might suspect that the creature is not very intelligent, but scans, like looks, can be deceiving. Many materials and energy fields prevent or resist scanning. Action

Shatter (2+ Intellect points): You interrupt the fundamental force holding normal matter together for a moment, causing the detonation of an object you choose within long range. The object must be a small, mundane item composed of homogeneous matter (such as a clay cup, an iron ingot, a stone, and so on). The object explodes in an immediate radius, dealing 1 point of damage to all creatures and objects in the area. If you apply Effort to increase the damage, you deal 2 additional points of damage per level of Effort (instead of 3 points); targets in the area take 1 point of damage even if you fail the attack roll. Action

Ward: You have a shield of energy around you at all times that helps deflect attacks. You gain +1 to Armor. Enabler

Adept Background Connection

Your type helps determine the connection you have to the setting. Roll a d20 or choose from the following list to determine a specific fact about your background that provides a connection to the rest of the world. You can also create your own fact.

d20 Background

1 You served as an apprentice for an Adept respected and feared by many people. Now you bear their mark.

2 You studied in a school infamous for its dark, brooding instructors and graduates.

3 You learned your abilities in the temple of an obscure god. Its priests and worshippers, although small in number, respect and admire your talents and potential.

4 While traveling alone, you saved the life of a powerful person. They remain indebted to you.

5 Your mother was a powerful Adept while she lived, helpful to many locals. They look upon you kindly, but they also expect much from you.

6 You owe money to a number of people and don’t have the funds to pay your debts.

7 You failed disgracefully at your initial studies with your teacher and now proceed on your own.

8 You learned your skills faster than your teachers had ever seen before. The powers that be took notice and are paying close attention.

9 You killed a well-known criminal in self-defense, earning the respect of many and the enmity of a dangerous few.

10 You trained as a Warrior, but your Adept predilections eventually led you down a different path. Your former comrades don’t understand you, but they respect you.

11 While studying to be an Adept, you worked as an assistant for a bank, making friends with the owner and the clientele.

12 Your family owns a large vineyard nearby known to all for its fine wine and fair business dealings.

13 You trained for a time with a group of influential Adepts, and they still look upon you with fondness.

14 You worked the gardens in the palace of an influential noble or person of wealth. They wouldn’t remember you, but you made friends with their young daughter.

15 An experiment you conducted in the past went horribly awry. The locals remember you as a dangerous and foolhardy individual.

16 You hail from a distant place where you were well known and regarded, but people here treat you with suspicion.

17 People you meet seem put off by the strange birthmark on your face.

18 Your best friend is also an Adept. You and your friend share discoveries and secrets readily.

19 You know a local merchant very well. Since you give them so much business, they offer you discounts and special treatment.

20 You belong to a secretive social club that gathers monthly to drink and talk.