Tiers

The Tier system is a logarithmic scale devised by the High Council as a means of ranking their members by their psionic power.

As the very notion of "power" is abstract and subject to differences in effective range, sensitivity, precision and the psionor's endurance, Tiers are often dismissed by the larger scientific community as poorly representative or entirely inaccurate. Critics argue that Tiers are often artificially inflated in test records to reflect the psionor's rank and background, whereas defenders of the system posit that Tiers fairly reflect progression and serve as a means of tracking a psionor's development.

Every Tier represents a 20% increase over the previous rank. A Tier 25 is roughly twice as powerful as a Tier 21, and a Tier 29 is ten times more potent than a Tier 16. The vast majority of psionors are ranked somewhere between 20 and 24, and it's thought that as few as twenty individuals in the whole of Alpha Sector's recorded history have ever registered as Tier 30s. Psionors with Tiers of 10 or lower are psionors only in the technical sense, and cannot perform "feats of their Gift". It is a running joke amongst the Tier system's detractors that a literal toaster, linked up to a High-approved psi-activity scanner, apparently has a Tier of 3.

Licensed Tier-examiners are usually telempaths (or, more rarely, very sensitive telekinetics) who use their abilities combined with specially designed scanning and analysing apparatus. While all but the most sophisticated machinery finds it hard to exactly quantify anything as nebulous as "psionic energies", the human examiner can perform a so-called elephant test: hard to describe, but instantly recognizable when spotted. While examiners are subject to intense training and background tests, the combination of a fallible machine and the subjective reports of a human observer has led to controversy in the past. Famously, telekinetics who have performed feats such as flipping over cars have been ranked as low as 18- either due to human error, or some fluke that makes their brain's electrical emissions less noticeable during tests.

Perhaps surprisingly, the Domarian Legion's famous SHARD division recognises the flaws of the system but has been known to defend it. Less surprisingly, the Legion's official line is that the Tier's true issues are the corruption, dogma and bureaucracy of the High Council.

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