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In the world of Brainwave, every psychic effectively has two personas: that of Breadspace (the 'real' world), and that of Headspace (inside the mind of receptives). The Skills your character has reflects this double-life they live, with Skills usable in Breadspace (called Proficiencies) distinct and separate from those usable in Headspace (called Powers).

Powers represent what your character is able to do while they are in Headspaces: the fantastical, environment-altering abilities that they possess to interact with and manipulate the Headspace around them. Proficiencies are the less flashy, though no less important, skills and expertise your character possesses in the mundane world, the tasks they can accomplish without much trouble. Which type of Skills your character leans towards is entirely up to your discretion; you start with a balance of both, but by the end of the game it is entirely possible for a character to specialise almost entirely in Proficiencies or almost entirely in Powers.

If a Skill appears to contradict a taken negative Quirk, the GMs will try to emphasise different aspects the two benefit and negatively impact respectively, or find a way to let a Skill succeed with consequences because of the Quirk.


Powers are split into four categories: Fight, Feel, Fleet, and Fabricate, each with four levels: 0 through to 3. All characters start at level 0 in each category, which represents the average, untrained psychic's ability in that field. With time, psychics can increase their level in each category, allowing them to achieve better results when attempting to accomplish tasks related to their field rather than unlocking new abilities. For example, some Nightmares may only be able to be bested in combat by a character with level 3 Fight, or by a character with level 2 and a particularly good plan.

Powers are designed to focus more on the outcome of what your character can accomplish rather than the method. This is intentional, since two psychics can produce the same outcome through two totally distinct, fantastical means. Indeed, we hope and encourage players to come up with their own descriptions for how their abilities manifest in Headspace.


Headspace is full of strange, alien beings, and some of them just need a good knock to the head. Levelling up this field makes you better at combat with entities in Headspace, as well as more capable of causing damage to objects and locations there. Some outcomes that this Power would allow you to achieve could include:

  • You are able to overpower and restrain a Worm, with larger Worms requiring higher levels
  • You are able to figure out a weakness of a Nightmare during combat against one, with more crippling weaknesses discoverable with higher levels
  • You are capable of smashing through a writer's mental block of a few months with level 2


Headspace is not some isolated scenery: it's the manifestation of a person's mind. How the Host feels, what they're thinking, the mental state they're currently in, all of these affect the Headspace psychics find themselves in, and your awareness of this fact makes you better suited to dealing with these effects. Levelling up this area will make you more in tune with the Host, allowing you to sense what they're feeling and even begin to affect those feelings. Some outcomes that this Power would allow you to achieve could include:

  • You gain an understanding why a Nightmare has manifested as it has, with level 1 telling you the Nightmare is a manifestation of the fear of drowning, and level 3 telling you the Host experienced a near-death experience in the River Muse four years ago
  • You can discern that an icy blizzard has originated in the host's memory banks, likely due to a memory causing them worry. With higher levels, you can even intuit a possible solution
  • You can shift the mood of the Host in some way, with higher levels causing greater changes. This will be more effective from certain locations within the Headspace


Brains are big and Headspaces are bigger. Tracking down things in them is hard, getting across the Headspace to them efficiently is harder, and doing so while avoiding detection of native Entities is hardest. Nonetheless, these are all vital skills for a psychic to master. Some outcomes that this Power would allow you to achieve could include:

  • Having learned that a powerful artefact hides in the subconscious wilds, you can use level 2 to find its general location, or level 3 to find its exact position
  • You can more easily navigate a patch of difficult terrain, avoiding the danger there and getting to where you want to go more quickly
  • You sneak past another psychic on the lookout for you, with level 2 Fleet beating their level 1 Fabricated-enhanced hearing


Unlike Breadspace, nothing in Headspace is fixed. The very world around you is a kaleidoscopic quilt whose fibres you can pluck, pull, paint, and even replace. This category allows you to create, improve and destroy items in Headspace, as well as heal, buff, and debuff creatures. Some outcomes that this Power would allow you to achieve could include:

  • You can create objects, such as using level 1 to make either a small, durable hand-held item, or a large, fragile one
  • You grant your friends additional protection against fire hazards, with level 2 protecting against many attacks of a large Nightmare of pain throwing fireballs, but only a single attack of a large Nightmare of fire itself
  • You alter a locked door to become unlocked, with level 3 required to open a door that has been forcibly kept shut by the Host's subconscious for years


Proficiencies are simple capabilities in the mundane world, summed up in a single sentence of “I can do this thing.” You either have or don't have a Proficiency; there are no levels. Players are free to choose their own Proficiencies for their character, subject to GM approval, but they should all be relatively specific and should not exceed the ability of a skilled human in the real world: “I can fix an engine” is fine, “I can fly” is not.

If you are struggling to put a Proficiency you want into the form “I can…”, then please contact a GM for help. Below are a list of Proficiencies for inspiration:

Proficiency What it allows you to do
I can do parkour Allows your character to run through urban areas faster than average and makes you harder to catch while doing so.
I can climb Allows your character to scale certain surfaces provided there are enough handholds, such as a rock face or an apartment building, but not a glass skyscraper.
I can play the cello Allows your character to play a cello very well, and also gives you knowledge about music and musical theory.
I can do First Aid Allows your character to perform basic First Aid, such as bandaging a wound, splinting a broken leg, or treating a burn.
I can hotwire a car Allows your character to get older, less secure cars working without a set of keys.
I can diffuse an argument Allows your character to break up a verbal argument between two NPCs, provided they are not too agitated or emotional.

Gaining and improving Skills

At the start of the game, characters will have 2 Proficiencies of your choice and 3 points which they can put into Powers. You should indicate in Character Creation which Proficiencies your character starts with and how you are spending your points. Each point advances a single level in one of the four types of Powers (Fight, Feel, Fleet or Fabricate), and the highest level you can start with is level 2 in any field.

Each turn, players will gain 1 Skill Point which they can put into either a Power or a Proficiency. If a player choses to put their point into a Power, they should indicate in their Turnsheet which field (Fight, Feel, Fleet or Fabricate) they put the point into to level it up by one. If players chose to put their point into a Proficiency instead, they should give a brief description in their Turnsheet of which Proficiency their character gains, following the formatting of the example Proficiencies above. You do not need to include an IC reason why your character has levelled up their Power or gained a Proficiency, and you do not need to spend an Action to gain the benefits of the new/improved Skill.

You will gain access to the improved Power or the new Proficiency at the start of the Uptime after you spend your point, i.e. just after the Turnsheet you spend the point in.

skills.txt · Last modified: 2022/08/09 12:05 by gm_geraint