Ideas For New Psi Powers

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heron61
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Ideas For New Psi Powers

Postby heron61 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:33 am

I like characters with nifty mental abilities, so here's my attempt to use the PSI rules to create them, what do people think?

Cognitive Boost
Cognitive Boost is the psionic talent which allows fine control of one’s own mind. Cognitive Boost powers never have Reach – they are used only on the Traveller himself. Cognitive Boost is not capable of affecting others.

Mental Speed
The Traveller can speed up her thought processes to many times normal. She cannot move or act any faster, but the world seems to slow down around her even more than when using metabolic accelerator, but this acceleration only applies to the Traveller's thoughts and sensory perceptions. She does not gain any additional actions. Using this ability in combat provides the Traveller with DM+8 to all initiative rolls. In addition, the Traveller can read 20 times as fast as normal or spend time carefully composing a long speech in the time it takes her to walk up on a podium. She also always has time to carefully consider her options, even in the middle of a fast and furious combat and can easily notice someone beginning to draw a hidden weapon. Finally, she doubles all die modifiers for aiming (although the maximum die modifier gained from aiming remains DM+6). The Traveller retains this mental speed for a number of minutes equal to the Effect of the Cognitive Boost check. Also, when using this ability, the Traveller can switch between mental speed and normal speed thoughts and perceptions at will.
Check: Average (8+) Cognitive Boost (1D seconds, PSI) check
PSI Cost: 1

Translation
The Traveller can understand translate any language created by her own species regardless of whether she has ever encountered the language before. This power can also be used to translate alien languages, including those that no one has encountered for tens of thousands of years, but the process is more difficult. In both cases, the Traveller must have access to at least a page of text, at least several minutes of recorded speech, or one or more speakers of the language who are interested in communicating. The Traveller then listens to or reads the language before the player makes the check. The Traveller retains this linguistic understanding lasts a number minutes equal to the Effect of the Cognitive Boost check x 10, after which point the Traveller retains translations of what she has read, said, and heard, but almost no knowledge of the actual language. The Traveller can only retain knowledge of how to speak or read one unfamiliar language at a time.
Check – Translate Same Species Language: Average (8+) Cognitive Boost (1D Minutes, PSI) check
PSI Cost: 2
Check – Translate Alien Language: Difficult (10+) Cognitive Boost (1D Minutes, PSI) check
PSI Cost: 4

Technological Understanding
By spending a few minutes examining a single unfamiliar vehicle, weapon, or device, the Traveller can gain temporary knowledge of how to use this item without penalty, as long as the Traveller possesses the physical capacity to use this device. This power can be used to provide someone with no military training the ability to use and wear battle dress without penalty or even to aim and fire an unknown alien weapon without penalty. The Traveller retains knowledge of how to operate this device for a number minutes equal to the Effect of the Cognitive Boost check x 10, after, all penalties return. The Traveller can only retain knowledge of how to use one unfamiliar device at a time.
Check: Very Difficult (12+) Cognitive Boost (1D minutes, PSI) check
PSI Cost: 3

Mathematical Prowess
The Traveller can instantly make a single calculation with perfect accuracy, and this calculation can be exceptionally complex. This calculation can be used to decrypt a single code, perform a single Astrogation check without needing to use a computer, or even to precisely predict what roulette wheel will roll when it is spun or where exactly all the debris from an explosion will land when observing an explosion. The calculation occurs instantly, but the Traveller must possess all of the required information, which for a pair of dice or an explosion requires the ability to observe the spinning roulette wheel and the explosion as it occurs. Also, if there is something anomalous occurring, like a weighted, unfair roulette wheel or an invisible force field blocking part of the explosion. Most uses of this ability

Check: Difficult (10+) Cognitive Boost* (1D seconds, PSI) check
PSI Cost: 3
* If using this ability to make a skill check like an Astrogation check, use that skill rather than Cognitive Boost to make this check, but ignore any of the normal difficulty modifiers to this check other than those for incomplete information.

Mnemonics
Mnemonics is the psionic talent which allows fine control of one’s own mind. Mnemonics powers never have Reach – they are used only on the Traveller himself. Mnemonics is not capable of affecting others.

Photographic Memory
All Travellers who possess mnemonics gain a photographic memory. They never forget anything they see, read, hear, or otherwise sense, making all of their memories of an event as clear 30 years later as they were 30 seconds after the incident occurred. This ability works constantly and requires no PSI cost to maintain.

Edit Memory
The Traveller can edit her own memory, removing a single specific memory or set of related memories, like all memories of a specific individual or she can choose to forget entire days or even entire years. On a successful check, the memory is gone and cannot be accessed via any technology or psionic power. All the Traveller remembers is causing herself to forget something and roughly when the forgotten memory occurred, but not what was forgotten. Also, the fact that the Traveller used her psionics to forget something is also impossible to detect using lie detectors or psionic powers. However, by making the same check again, the Traveller can instantly remember what was forgotten. If the Traveller causes herself to forget several incidents, she can choose to recall any of them, while leaving all of the others temporarily forgotten, but can only select the incident based on the surrounding, intact, memories, not on the memory's contents.
Check: Average (8+) Mnemonics (1D x 10 seconds, PSI) check
PSI Cost: 1

Sculpt Memory
The Traveller can rewrite any single memory, changing everything from a memory of a robbery so that he goes from being the robber to one of the victims, to remembering a quiet day at home, when he actually visited the orbital highport. These memories are detailed an accurate, but cannot contain any information that the Traveller did not previously possess. If the Traveller creates a memory of visiting the local highport, but does not know that it was attacked by pirates when he was supposedly visiting, he does not remember the attack. However, on a successful check, the memory is entirely altered and the fact that it has been tampered with cannot be determined using any technology or psionic power. However, the Traveller has a vague sense that the memory has been tampered with. By making the same check again, the Traveller can instantly remember the true events, while retaining somewhat less clear memories of the memory he created.
Check: Difficult (10+) Mnemonics (1D x 10 seconds, PSI) check
PSI Cost: 2

Enhanced Memory
The Traveller can temporarily memorize and absorb vast amounts of information, such as reading about and watching video or holographic footage of an individual and being able to perfectly impersonate them (with a suitable disguise), studying engineering manuals on a particular starship, or reading and listening to instruction on learning a particular language. Regardless of the subject matter, the Traveller can only memorize a single subject at once and must spend at least eight hours in intensive, uninterrupted study. If the check is successful, these memories eliminate any unskilled penalty to the check and provide a DM+4 too all checks related to using this knowledge, such as impersonating the individual studied, making Engineering and Mechanics checks on the type of starship studied, or speaking a particular language. However, this ability is most useful for individuals with little or no previous understanding of a topic. The total bonus provided by a skill the Traveller knows and this ability cannot exceed +5. If a Traveller learns the detailed specifications of a particular starship and already possesses Mechanic 3, he still cannot gain a total bonus from skills and enhanced memory greater than +5. Also, the knowledge provided by this ability is quite narrow - how to impersonate one individual, speak a single language, or repair a single model of starship.

This enhanced memory lasts a number days equal to the Effect of the Mnemonics check after which point the Traveller retains memories of studying the subject, but gains no more competence or understanding than anyone else would from eight hours of intensive study. The Traveller cannot use this ability again until after the enhanced memories gained from a previous use have faded.
Check: Difficult (10+) Mnemonics (1D x Hours, PSI) check
PSI Cost: 5
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Re: Ideas For New Psi Powers

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:07 am

Has anyone ever attempted to use precognition in a game, I guess basically a character's future self sends precognitions to his present self. Like for instance a character is killed in the future, and he sends a mental image of his own death to the past, so he has a chance to avoid it. A precognitive sending should be hard to do, because one needs to break the time barrier and communicate with one's past self.
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Re: Ideas For New Psi Powers

Postby Condottiere » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:44 pm

Prophecy and oracles need interpretation and can be misunderstood.

Precognition means the Dungeon Master has to figure out how he wants the story to go.
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Re: Ideas For New Psi Powers

Postby IanBruntlett » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:33 pm

Condottiere wrote:Prophecy and oracles need interpretation and can be misunderstood.

Precognition means the Dungeon Master has to figure out how he wants the story to go.
As a GM of a game, I use precognition about the forthcoming game to know well enough to disallow players from having precognition skills :)
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Re: Ideas For New Psi Powers

Postby alex_greene » Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:53 am

Tom Kalbfus wrote:Has anyone ever attempted to use precognition in a game, I guess basically a character's future self sends precognitions to his present self. Like for instance a character is killed in the future, and he sends a mental image of his own death to the past, so he has a chance to avoid it. A precognitive sending should be hard to do, because one needs to break the time barrier and communicate with one's past self.
It doesn't have to be something that breaches the time barrier. The psion can sense probabilities, and those probabilities are affected by the Observer Effect in the future, not to mention made cloudy by a lack of physical evidence if the sense had some sort of forensic basis. Here are some ways it can be done.

Probabilities
(based on Sense}

The psion's mind is unusually good at working out the probability of an event happening, and possible consequences. But due to the need to process events quickly, the brain's unconscious part takes control of the processing, resulting in vague and confusing imagery which might seem irrelevant but is at least symbolic of what is going on.

Example: The psion realises that the game is rigged when he sees images of lopsided horses running one way around the track; he sees that all the horses in the race have the number 7, no matter what their livery.

Forensic Postcognition
(based on Clairvoyance)
The psion can piece together an image of what went on in the past in a given room, based on the available material forensic evidence. The image comes through in the clear in the mind, based on what known evidence is visible. However, the psion will not be able to identify attackers unless the evidence is unequivocal (though there will still be doubt, and any evidence would be purely circumstantial, not to mention inadmissible in court).

Example: The psion smells the blood in the air, sees broken furniture scattered all about, and as he concentrates he watches layers of time peel back, the corpse rising backwards from the floor, the shadowy figure unstriking blows, the victim fighting back in reverse and furniture reassembling itself as the struggle proceeds backwards to the start. He sees the moment the fatal fight begins, turns to his fellow officers and says "The attacker was two metres twenty centimetres tall. By the force exerted, he was likely from a high gravity world because I get an impression of him being stocky for all that he was tall. Unlike our willowy victim here, from a low grav world. By the ferocity of the attack, our deceased here would have been thrown about like a rag doll. I very much doubt the poor soul stood much of a chance ..."

Read The Sky
(based on Clairvoyance)
The psion can establish the probability of future weather occurring, in descending order of likelihood. The most likely future weather will be experienced in the form of physical sensations - cold and wet, dryness, intense heat, a prickly electrical skin sensation presaging an oncoming thunderstorm or sharp pains from being pounded by future hailstones. The sense only predicts the most likely immediate weather - long-term changes are not sensed with this ability. The psion could sense the approach of an oncoming storm, but could not sense the weather following.

Another drawback to this ability is that the psion does not know when the next weather pattern will strike, or how long it will last.

Example: The psion knows that the heatwave will change, and he hopes it will be soon. All morning long, instead of intense heat he has been smelling ozone and cold in the air, feeling the prickling of rainwater on his skin and hearing the booming of thunder. Already, the horizon is a thick line of black ...

Disaster Sense
(based on Tactical Awareness)
The psion knows that disaster is looming, and that the location will soon be teetering on the brink of a catastrophe curve. The signs to look out for appear clearly in his mind, and resonate with a sense of portent when they appear.

Example: The psion knows that something big is happening. He gets impressions of the Mixxon Corporation's logo writ large, looming over the city; bursts of intense heat and pain. The names "Terravaldis," a known terrorist organisation, and "methyl acetate," seem to echo in his thoughts, along with a terrible sickly sweet odour and nauseating taste of poison, and the sound of chimes, six times. When he sees news reports of a runaway Mixxon grav tanker drifting towards the centre of the city, carrying a cargo of 1500 tons of methyl acetate, he realises that it will reach the centre of the city and explode at 6 o'clock ... and that this is an act of sabotage and terrorism.
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Re: Ideas For New Psi Powers

Postby Condottiere » Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:39 pm

Pricking

When evil comes.
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Re: Ideas For New Psi Powers

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:35 pm

IanBruntlett wrote:
Condottiere wrote:Prophecy and oracles need interpretation and can be misunderstood.

Precognition means the Dungeon Master has to figure out how he wants the story to go.
As a GM of a game, I use precognition about the forthcoming game to know well enough to disallow players from having precognition skills :)
Precognition could be used as a do over, lets say the player does something that gets his character killed, so in his last dying breath, he sends a precognition back to his past self, his past self then tries to do something different that avoids his forthcoming death. Now like anything, you roll a chance to succeed, and it the roll doesn't indicate success, the player doesn't get to do over his characters actions in hopes of achieving a different outcome, of course everyone else in the party gets a do over as well, so the GM just rolls back time to the moment in which the precognition gets sent, the precognitive character can choose to share his insight with the party or not about what is about to happen. The further back in time the character wants to send his precognition, the harder it will be to achieve.
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Re: Ideas For New Psi Powers

Postby Condottiere » Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:43 pm

Not that great a Tom Cruise fan.
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Re: Ideas For New Psi Powers

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:55 pm

Condottiere wrote:Not that great a Tom Cruise fan.
You lost me there, are you referring to a Tom Cruise movie?
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Re: Ideas For New Psi Powers

Postby Condottiere » Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:01 pm

There are two, Edge of Tomorrow and Minority Report.
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Re: Ideas For New Psi Powers

Postby Synther » Sat Jul 23, 2016 8:38 am

Condottiere wrote:Prophecy and oracles need interpretation and can be misunderstood.

Precognition means the Dungeon Master has to figure out how he wants the story to go.
AMEN! I laughed reading this! "Oh man! This guy just rolled a crit on precog. What do I have going on four rooms down and how do I want this to go...."
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Re: Ideas For New Psi Powers

Postby FreeTrav » Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:05 am

I've never particularly liked the idea of psi at all, and certain of the powers just strain credulity a bit too much for me. Also, I tend to be a "fellow traveller" with respect to the idea of Old School Roleplaying, where you don't have a skill for everything; you make do with what you do have, and not every action requires a skill check, anyway.
With that understanding, here's my take(s) on the Standard Powers (MGT2) and heron61's suggestions:

Standard Powers:

Teleportation: No. Just No. Not at any level.

Telekinesis: Also Just No.

Clairvoyance: probabilistic only, not actual occurrence. The clairvoyant cannot "see" events directly involving xirself, those xe is with, or those who may question xir about the future, because intimate foreknowledge of such events changes reactions of the "participants" in uncertain and unpredictable ways. This actually represents an innate and unconscious ability to analyze and predict based on information not consciously gathered from the surroundings, as well as specific conscious research - so if information isn't available, the "clairvoyant" can't make relevant predictions - and the more information that's available, the more accurate the predictions will be.

Awareness: Limited self metabolic control only. Can slow bleeding from serious wounds by slowing heart rate. Control over pain, but it's about the same as being given the kind of drugs that leaves you in a state where "there's pain, but it's 'way, 'way over there, somewhere", but leaving the person clear-headed enough to function normally - as long as xe does nothing to aggravate the cause of the pain.

Telepathy: About all I'm willing to allow is Read Surface Thoughts and Telempathy, and they're both pretty much the same - like Clairvoyance, it's probabilistic, not certain, and represents an innate and unconscious ability to analyze and "guess" the thoughts or emotions of the target from such things as body language and involuntary responses - e.g., contraction and dilation of the pupils, sweating, pheromone release, and so on.

Now, for the purposes of analyzing heron61's suggestions, I'll (reluctantly) accept the MGT2 powers as written.

heron61's Suggestions:

Cognitive Boost

Mental Speed: I think that as written, this is too good. Cut it back to being only enough to gain an edge, not necessarily guarantee that the user will always have initiative. Similarly, cut back the reading speed and ability to compose speeches "on the spot". Also, it really looks like it fits well in Awareness; I'm not a big fan of creating whole new categories.

Translation: Again, cut it back. The user can't learn to speak it from just reading/writing; xe needs a fluent speaker - though recordings can qualify. If the language itself is unknown to xir, and no related language is known to xir either, a living, native speaker is required; recordings won't be enough. Reclassify it as a Telepathy skill.

Technological Understanding: Why bother at all? This can be covered by J-o-T skill and no psi. Or, if the user has a related skill, use that. And no psi. If xe doesn't have either, sucks to be xir. Sometimes, you gotta take your unskilled lumps.

Mathematical Prowess: Rename this to 'Savant', and place it in Mnemonics. The user can't always do the complex calculation perfectly, but can almost always spot a 'wrong' answer, and if shown the work, can usually spot where the error was made. It need not be limited to mathematics, though that should be the most common; for example, allow that some Savants can just as easily spot "mistranslations" instead, when they can see/hear the original and the translation in close proximity. Translation, above, may be an expression of Savant, and if so, that particular expression of Savant can be reclassified as Telepathy. An idea to think about: If the character has Savant, roll to choose a skill whose governing characteristic is INT. That skill represents the area of the Savant's ability, and when doing a skill check on that skill, double the INT DM if positive, give an INT bonus of +1 if INT DM is zero, or eliminate the penalty if the INT DM is negative. Where the skill has specializations, a Savant's INT DM, if positive or zero, applies (unmodified) to specializations that the Savant does not have specific levels in, and there is no penalty for INT DM negative. Also, for that skill only, the Savant does not suffer an Unskilled penalty, even if actually unskilled.

Mnemonics

Photographic Memory: Also called eidetic memory. Really exists, pretty much as written. Some people have a lesser version of it, in the sense that they don't remember everything, but things that had a high emotional impact or were otherwise important to them do tend to be remembered with the same kind of exactitude. In the game universe, shouldn't be considered psi (e.g., in the Third Imperium setting), though doing so is a useful convenience for dealing with it in the rules.

Edit Memory and Sculpt Memory: These seem to me to be more or less different uses of the same functionality, and, quite frankly, I wouldn't allow either. I wouldn't consider them ethical under any circumstances if they could be performed on someone else, and I won't consider them ethical even for self-use - I consider this deliberate creation of delusion.

Enhanced Memory: This is more or less the "lesser version" of Eidetic Memory discussed above, and should be folded into it.
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Re: Ideas For New Psi Powers

Postby Condottiere » Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:47 pm

Jedi knights probably have variable degrees of being able to foresee the future, in most cases it just manifests itself in knowing where they'll be out of the way or deflect an incoming bullet or whirling plasma cylinder.

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