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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


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.

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, Omni-Power).


History

Born in the Chicago suburb of Skokie, Illinois, Gayle Marsh had a fairly normal childhood. However, at the age of twelve, she began exhibiting signs of extraordinary psychic abilities. Her parents were frightened by the powers they discovered in their daughter, and 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, seemed to find Gayie’s powers particularly 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.

Under Pendergast’s charge. Gayle was taught how to develop and use her great psychic powers. The deluded scientist had plans for Gayle Marsh to help him fight a grave menace that he believed held the world in its sway. 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 that the battle against decay be joined. Yet Gayle was hesitant to take up the fight. The lass feared that the emotional backlash from her intended victims would be too painful for her to handle due to her empathic powers.

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 it was time to fight. As Psi Gayle soared over Chicago, attracting the attention of Supergirl.

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

Psi, however, 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 the telekinetic restraints placed by Psi.The Maid of Might started hitting Marsh, angrily accusing her of being 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 and teleported away. She stunned Supergirl with a bolt of sheer psychic pain as the air exploded.

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 eventually pulled a gun as her usefulness had come to an end. Psi struck instinctively. She somehow restructured Pendergast’s body into what he feared the most – an incarnation of “decay”.

The decayed Pendergast went on a rampage, clashing with Supergirl. When Psi awakened, she felt a strong, painful connection to the decayed Pendergast. 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 back to his human form. She then vanished in a pink flash.

Suicide girl

Psi eventually erased her own memories of those events to ease the trauma. This left her a self-induced amnesiac. Of course, she then found herself wondering who she was. Gayle eventually asked the authorities for help with establishing her identity and developing her powers.

As part of the price for this help, she was drafted in the Suicide Squad for a mission. As with many Suicide Squad missions, this turned very sour. Psi herself was killed by Rocket Red 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 pretty much a cult victim.

Psi wants to be a haughty warrioress 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.

Still, 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 and act like other people around her expect her to. Thus, she agreed to be Pendergast’s lover as she felt rewarded by his own pleasure.

She also tended to act as a tough, arrogant criminal while working with the Suicide Squad, matching 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 sheer number of 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)


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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).
  • 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).
  • 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.


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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