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Psi (Supergirl character) (DC Comics)

Psi

(Gayle Marsh)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Psi (Gayle Marsh) is a distinctive DC Comics character, with an arsenal of psionic  powers.

Alas, the majority of her material lies in a single 1982/1983 Supergirl storyline, and she was later tragically killed off.


Background

  • Real Name: Gayle Marsh.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Unnamed parents (deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Chicago, IL.
  • Height: 5’3” Weight: 103 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black


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Powers and Abilities

Psi wields a vast array of psychokinetic and telepathic powers, and is psychically sensitive. She proved powerful enough to maul Supergirl into unconsciousness with telekinetic blasts. Though the Maid of Steel wasn’t burning Hero Points , as usual, whilst Psi was backed by her mentor Dr. Pendergast.

Psi could also emit a pink aura of force to block Supergirl’s blows, or reflect her heat vision back at her. She also held Supergirl for a bit in a pink aura, preventing her from moving until the Maid of Might exerted a greater portion of her strength. When experiencing great distress, Marsh reflexively teleported away while telepathically hitting Supergirl with her own pain.

Psi apparently could telekinetically reinforce her own body, or was otherwise superhumanly durable. Supergirl’s blows (presumably with an EV of around 07-08, in DC Heroes RPG terms) didn’t seem to hurt much. Marsh was once punched through an outer wall and didn’t seem to be wounded.

Other assets and weaknesses

Being unused to super-combat, though, she tended to be disoriented. Especially when Supergirl sent her flying. Psi also didn’t prove as resistant to the Rocket Red armours’s blasters .

Psi displayed the ability to telekinetically rearrange matter a few times, such as when she turned Pendergast into “Decay”. She also once melted a window so she could step through, then reformed it intact behind her. Her abilities seemed potentially vast (in DC Heroes RPG terms, she has Omni-Power).


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History

Born in the Chicago suburb of Skokie, Illinois, Gayle Marsh had a fairly normal childhood. However, by 12 she began exhibiting signs of extraordinary psychic abilities. Her parents were frightened by the powers they discovered in their daughter. Thus, their family doctor recommended that Gayle be turned over into more experienced hands.

He had them contact the Institute for Higher Psychokinetic Study. This was a Chicago-based research facility specializing in the study of extraordinary phenomena.

The researchers at the Institute were excited by the opportunity to study Gayle. They found her telekinetic powers to be among the most powerful ever recorded. One researcher, Daniel Pendergast, found Marsh’s powers fascinating. A friendship quickly developed between him and his young subject.

Doctor Pendergast

Initially, Gayle was only to spend a week or so at the Institute. But during her stay her parents were killed in a traffic accident. As Gayle had no other family to take her in, Pendergast petitioned the courts. He was made the child’s legal guardian.

Psi (Gayle Marsh) and Dr. Pendergast arguing (Supergirl / DC Comics)

Under Pendergast’s charge. Gayle was taught how to develop and use her great powers. The deluded scientist wanted her to fight a grave, global menace. He saw something he called “decay” as affecting everything and everybody, stripping the world of order and anything that was good.

In Gayle, he saw a pure warrior capable of fighting this force of decay.

By the time Gayle entered college at Chicago’s Lake Shore University, her powers had reached their peak. Dr. Pendergast decided it was time to join the battle against decay. Yet Gayle was hesitant to take up the fight. With her empathic powers, the lass feared that the emotional backlash from her victims would be too painful to handle.

Psi world

Gayle was unleashed upon Chicago after a frightening encounter on the campus. She had accidentally touched the hand of Linda Danvers. Psychically sensing the presence and power of Supergirl, Marsh assumed she was an agent of decay. Pendergast convinced her to fight. As Psi, Gayle soared over Chicago to attract the attention of Supergirl.

Using her awesome powers, she flattened the Maid of Might. Dr. Pendergast was about to have Gayle kill the heroine, but Marsh desperately bargained for Supergirl’s life. She convinced him that they should keep Supergirl alive for study, in order to develop Psi’s powers further.

But Psi failed to penetrate the mind of the Maid of Steel, who revived. Seeing that Psi intended to raze Chicago to destroy “decay”, Supergirl flexed free from Gayle’s telekinetic restraints. The Maid of Might started hitting Marsh, calling her a deluded maniac and would-be mass murderer rather than a glorious saviour and pure warrior against taint.

Knowing Supergirl’s words to be true despite Pendergast’s angry rants in her head, the crying Psi snapped. She stunned Supergirl with a bolt of sheer psychic pain and teleported away.

War on decay

Psi came back to her senses on Pendergast’s couch. The doctor was verbally abusing her, telling her how she was an utter failure. He then produced a gun, and Psi instinctively struck first. She somehow restructured Pendergast’s body into what he feared the most – an incarnation of “decay”.

Psi (Gayle Marsh) berated crying (Supergirl) (DC Comics)

The decayed Pendergast went on a rampage, clashing with Supergirl. Psi had fainted, but as she awakened, she felt a strong, painful connection to the decayed researcher. Gayle flew to him, looking for a way to put an end to the pain.

When she found him, he was starting to hurt Supergirl. Using her psionic might, Psi destroyed the decayed form, restoring Pendergast’s human form. She then vanished in a pink flash.

Suicide girl

Psi erased her memories of those events to ease the trauma. This left her a self-induced amnesiac. As she started investigating whom she was, the authorities became involved. Marsh had asked for help in determining her identity and controlling her powers.

As a consequence, she was drafted in the Suicide Squad for a mission. As often, it broke bad. Psi was killed by Rocket Red power armour  soldiers. As she died, the self-imposed blocks lifted and she remembered her parents before passing away.

Gayle Marsh was later spotted as a zombie during the Blackest Night  events.


Description

See illustrations.


Personality

Gayle is a weird, shy student. Her head has been pumped full of delusions about how bad the world is, and how the devil is everywhere. She doesn’t fit in at all. Although she dresses normally for a student of her age, she’s a cult victim.

Psi wants to be a haughty warrior for purity. But she is too fragile and sensitive to achieve much in that role. However, Pendergast is always telepathically standing on her shoulder, accessing her might in her stead.

This is confusing for onlookers who do not follow the telepathic dialogue inside Psi’s head. She keeps shifting from confused and frightened teenage girl to overbearing fanatic with mass murder on his mind.

Psi always knew that what Pendergast was doing and asking was wrong. Yet she couldn’t muster the courage of actually doubting his word before her encounter with Supergirl.

Sensitive

As a sensitive, Gayle feels the pain of people around her. Thus, she is reticent to hurt anyone. It’s nearly always Pendergast who has her steel herself in order to blow somebody away.

Due to her empathy being constantly working, she tends to conform to the expectations of others. She acts like other people around her expect her to. Thus, she agreed to be Pendergast’s lover as she felt rewarded by his own pleasure.

When among the Suicide Squad she acted like a tough, arrogant criminal, matching the people around her. This further allowed her not to think for herself, which she’s afraid to do. And it hid the fact she’s confused and scared.

This never completely works, though. Even though she played the part of the tough villain with the Squad, she was shocked when Weasel messily killed a soldier. Then she was overwhelmed by the resolution of the Rocket Red soldiers, and the many minds experiencing high tension during that fatal battle.


Quotes

“I suppose. But those people — dying — killing each other — rotting their bodies with drugs —! Sometimes I’m not sure I can handle it, Mr. Pendergast ! I mean, I can almost feel it — like it was a real, physical thing ! Every time someone dies or hates or destroys … I know it — like it was me doing those things ! I dunno… Maybe you’ve been wrong all along. Maybe I am crazy !”

“Lord… it was terrible ! I’ve never felt such… such raw power in my life ! Why didn’t Mr. Pendergast warn me they’d be coming ?

(Pendergast speaking through Psi) “You pitiful fool ! I could almost feel sorry for you, were not your master the foul being which hungers for the death of our world ! In another time, I might be tempted to spare you… but I’ll not give in to the Decay’s fetid temptations… not with so much at stake !”

“It’s no trick, mister Pendergast ! But I can’t let you continue this — it’s wrong… it’s evil… and… and… it hurts me ! You’re bad, Mister Pendergast… and… and… I’m so… sorry…” (psionically blows away the decay creature)



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Psi

Dex: 04 Str: 02 Bod: 10 Motivation: Upholding the Good/Unwanted Power
Int: 10 Wil: 09 Min: 13 Occupation: Student
Inf: 08 Aur: 05 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 003
Init: 022 HP: 015

Powers:
Control: 09, Detect (superhumans): 10, Empathy*: 09, Flight: 09, Force field: 09, Invisibility: 09, Matter Manipulation: 04, Mental blast: 14, Mind blast: 10, Mind blank*: 13, Mind probe*: 09, Omni-Power: 18, Paralysis: 19, Reflection/Deflection: 16, Telepathy*: 10, Teleportation: 09

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Control is Minor Marginal.
  • Empathy seems to be Always On.
  • Force field can get somewhat opaque and radiant with power. She once emitted an aura of power around herself that prevented Supergirl from getting a clear look at her with super-vision.
  • Force field is Selective (+1) (even when protecting several persons, she’s unlikely to protect the intervening, empty areas).
  • Invisibility has a Selective Area of Effect (1 AP).
  • Paralysis can normally only engage 10 APs. But each time RAPs are scored via Mental Blast — even if LDD’d away — this cap rises by 3 APs, *against this target only*. The max is 19.
  • Mental Blast can have an Area of Effect of 0 APs. But then it has No Range, being centered on Psi but not harming her (+1).
  • Mind blast can only be used when Gayle is herself experiencing great pain and/or serious distress (-2).
  • Reflection/Deflection works vs. ranged physical attacks and all energy attacks (+2). It can also be used during the Phase that follows the Phase when she was attacked. So if attacked by heat vision she could Reflect/Deflect it, then do another attack using Deflected heat vision on the very next Phase.
  • Reflection/Deflection can attack through her Force Field (+1).
  • Teleportation is a Minor Marginal Power.
  • Omni-Power must follow her psychic/telepathic/telekinetic theme (-1).
  • The GM may allow Psi to go into HP debt when she uses Omni-Power if dramatically appropriate.

Skills:
Accuracy (Mental blast): 09

Advantages:
None.

Connections:
Dr. Pendergast (Low).

Drawbacks:
Partial Attack Vulnerability (Energy attacks, -1CS RV), Secret Identity, MPI (Paranoid fear of the Decay), MPI (Emotionally dependent on Dr. Pendergast), Attack vulnerability (-2CS OV/RV against emotional manipulation), Uncertainty.


Design Notes

  • As usual, this mostly Pre-Crisis writeup is done on a Post-Crisis scale.
  • As usual, it was difficult to gauge how much Supergirl was pulling her punches when hitting Psi.
  • As usual, assume that in her Post-Crisis reconstituted continuity she actually battled Power Girl.



Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Psi — Averaged PL11.6

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
00 00 (10) 00 00 00 (04) 01 00 (05) -1 (02)

Powers

Psychic sensitive ● 42 points ● Descriptor: Psionics
– Enhanced Awareness 5, Enhanced Perception 8, Enhanced Insight 8.
– Mind reading 10, Quirk (reading strong emotions cannot be turned off).
– Senses 1 (Communication link with Dr. Pendergast).
– Senses 3 (Extended Detect 2 (Superhumans)).

Core psi powers ● 116 points ● Descriptor: Psionics
– Psychic shield — Enhanced Will 10 (Limited 1 to psionics and similar).
– Warrior for purity — Enhanced Stamina 10, Enhanced Fighting 4, Enhanced Presence 3.
– Warrior for purity — Enhanced Advantages (Defensive Roll 2, Improved Initiative).
– Flight 8.
– Deflect 15 (Reflect, Redirect) (Limited 1 to ranged attacks) (Quirk – her force field must be up) (Extra 1 – Psi can also do a Reflect/Redirect attack on the round that *follows* the attack she Deflected).
– Telekinetic restructuration — Transform 7 (2 pts – melt or unmelt unliving solids).

Unreal ● 10 points ● Descriptor: Psionics
The Gamemaster may elect to have Psi manifest additional effects as if she had Tiring Ranged Variable 18 (psionics). The Player can of course make suggestions, but this is only used at dramatic moments as part of the story. Turning Dr. Pendergast into his decayed form was an example.

Focused totality of her etc. etc. ● 35 points ● Descriptor: Psionics
Array :

  • Mental override — Ranged Affliction 9 (Dazed/compelled/controlled, resisted by Will), Tiring.
  • Force field — Protection 8, Affects others, Feature (shimmering. This prevents clear vision at a range, but isn’t Concealment).
  • Cloaking field — Passive all visual Concealment, Affect Others, Burst Area 1.
  • Psi-bolt — Ranged blunt Damage 13.
  • Psi-blast — Burst-area blunt Damage 13.
  • Mind blast — Perception psychic Damage 9, resisted by Will, Limited 1 (Psi must be experiencing great pain or distress).
  • Teleportation — Tiring Teleport 16 (Change direction & velocity).
  • Telepathy — Mental Communication 3.
  • Stasis gangue — Ranged Affliction 18 (Dazed, immobile, paralysed, resisted by Will). The top 9 Ranks have Limited 1 – they can only be used against targets Psi has damaged with her psi bolt. Each such hit allows for engaging 3 Ranks, to a maximum of 9 additional Ranks (total: 18) for a target that was damaged three times by psi-bolts.

Combat Advantages

Defensive Roll 1, Improved Initiative.

Other Advantages

None demonstrated.

Skills

Close combat (Unarmed) 1 (+5), Insight 2 (+15), Perception 1 (+14), Persuasion 2 (+4).

Offense

Initiative +4
Unarmed +5, Close, Damage 0
Psi-bolts +14, Ranged, Damage 13

Defence

Dodge 06 Fortitude 12
Parry 04 Toughness 10*/11
Will 06/16**

* Without Defensive Roll
** Against psionics and similar

Complications

  • Student Gayle is young, has no marketable skills and has little money.
  • One-girl cult Psi is mostly a thrall to Dr. Pendergast and his creepy, paranoid delusions.
  • One-girl cult Gayle’s Will is 00 against manipulation by a person preying on her insecurities and conditioning.
  • One-girl cult Gayle is paranoically scared of the “decay” force.
  • Sensitive Psi gets hurt and disoriented by the suffering of others. This can also makes her hesitate before she attacks.
  • Secret ID That Gayle is Psi is a secret.

Powers Levels

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 14, Dodge/Toughness PL 9, Parry/Toughness PL 8, Fort/Will PL 12.
  • Points total 215. Abilities 00, Defences 9, Skills 3, Powers 203, Devices 0, Advantages 0. Equiv. PL 15.

Notes

Her PL is all over the place since so much depends upon which part of her Array is currently active.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Daring New Adventures of Supergirl comics.

Helper(s): The Belle Reve Sourcebook (Mayfair) ; History section originally based on the one in DC’s Who’s Who ; numerous comments from Gareth Lewis and Chris Cottingham.

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