Empath

An empath (pl. empaths) is a type of psychic capable of sensing emotions in those around them.


Physiology

Empaths have no physical characteristics to distinguish themselves from an ordinary human - in other words, they have the perfect camouflage. Because they deal closely with emotions, some empaths are often found with sympathetic or understanding expressions on their faces, but these are just maybes - psychics are as varied as regular humans, and follow no particular pattern.

Like all humans, empaths can have allergies or grow ill. They live a normal human lifespan, assuming dealing with their powers doesn't have an adverse affect on their mental health.


Magical Characteristics

Strictly speaking, empaths are not 'magical'. Their abilities are a phenomenon of metaphysics, and therefore cannot be sensed in the same way that magic can, or prevented in the same way. Empaths control their abilities (to the extent that they are able) with their minds. Keeping an empath drugged or unconscious thus effectively incapacitates them.

An empath feels an echo of the emotions around them - the stronger the empath and/or the stronger the emotion, the stronger the echo. They don't usually know the reasons for the emotions they feel, or what the emotion is directed toward, but the stronger they are the greater the detail they pick up. Usually a psychic starts out with absolutely no control, developing their powers somewhere between childhood and puberty. If they acknowledge the power and practice with it, they can grow stronger and have more control - if they are in denial their development is considerably hindered, and 'accidents' may occur. Without control, an empath will pick up every emotion everyone around them gives off. With enough control, an empath can mute the impressions they receive, or reach out at a greater radius to pick up emotions from people farther away.

Empaths are also adept at sensing differences in auras. They might not always know what they're dealing with, but they know when someone isn't human, and if they have enough practice they can differentiate between species.


Society and Habitat

Empaths live in normal human society, though they do tend toward the outskirts. Often, empaths are isolated occurrences - their traits are not inherited, simply… the occasional genetic fluke. They are few and far between, and therefore many spend their lives feeling a bit like freaks, and not discussing their abilities with anyone else. If they accept their abilities, they might find jobs where reading emotions is an asset, such as therapy or mediation. However, feeling powerful or numerous emotions can cause great mental strain - no empath feels comfortable in a crowd, with emotions pressing them from all sides. An empath surrounded by people is in a best case scenario agitated and uncomfortable, and in a worst case scenario curled into a fetal position trying to make it stop.