What does it take to test a character for Psionics?

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Nog
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What does it take to test a character for Psionics?

Postby Nog » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:04 am

There's a PC in my group who is a trained Psion - with Science (Psionicology) 1, if it matters.
(I can't resist opening a parenthesis. Psionicology?!? That's about as bad as "travelphobia"! Actually worse, because it means something: "the science of the mind/soul and of fingernails"... would that be another name for Art (Manicure)? Parenthesis closed).

Said PC has found another young NPC, and would like to test her for psionic aptitude and, if she displays any talent, train her as an apprentice.
Can it be done without tools? Just "feel-the-force" like?
It seems that should be the case - there are primitive societies that have psionics in the OTU. Then again, maybe they replace standard
psionic-institute tech with TL1 meditation techniques and rare mushrooms; meaning that no, the PC can't just test a would be apprentice "in the field".
Any ideas or pointers?
DickTurpin
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Re: What does it take to test a character for Psionics?

Postby DickTurpin » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:50 am

I do not see anything in the rules that states that any tools are required to test for psionics. If the instructor has telepathy then I think it would be pretty simple to scan another person's mind in search of similar abilities. If the current psion does not have the telepathy talent is would be a bit harder, but he does have his own training experiences to guide him. I would not allow the existing psion to train the student in any talents that he does not possess, but that would not prevent them from being identified so the student could experiment with them on her own.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: What does it take to test a character for Psionics?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:56 am

Traditionally you need a Psionic Institute to test for Psionic potential, but it seems easier in this edition.
Core, p196 wrote: Most teachers will charge at least Cr5000 to test the Traveller’s abilities. Testing takes two weeks.
It seems likely that a character with academic training [Science(Psionicology)] can test other characters for psionic potential.


Actual training seems non-trivial:
Core, p196 wrote:Training requires four months of work, and costs Cr100000.
The cost would hint at that something more than a dojo and an instructor is required.


Nog wrote: "the science of the mind/soul and of fingernails"
?
psionics = the study of the practical use of psychic powers.
https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/di ... h/psionics

-ology suffix = the scientific study of a particular subject
https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictio ... lish/ology

Hence, Psionicology = the scientific study of the practical use of psychic powers, however unwieldy.
Nog
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Re: What does it take to test a character for Psionics?

Postby Nog » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:56 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:56 am
Nog wrote: "the science of the mind/soul and of fingernails"
?
psionics = the study of the practical use of psychic powers.
https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/di ... h/psionics

-ology suffix = the scientific study of a particular subject
https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictio ... lish/ology

Hence, Psionicology = the scientific study of the practical use of psychic powers, however unwieldy.
No. The "-logy" suffix is from the greek root "logos" = "word/thought". So, you generally describe the study of something by taking the greek root of that something (not the English word!), and adding the "logy" suffix. E.g.
biology = the study of life ("bios=life"+"logos=word/thought"). Note that it's not "lifeology"!
psychology = the study of the mind/soul ("psyche"+"logos"). It's not "mindology"!
parapsychology = the study of supernatural mind phenomena ("para=to the side" + "psychology").
xenology = the study of what is alien/foreign ("xenos=foreign"+"logos"). It's not "alienology"!
xenobiology = the study of alien life ("xeno+bios+logos"). It's not "alienlifeology"!

Onicology would then be the study of fingernails ("onicos=claw/hoof/fingernail"+"logos"), if people devoted effort to such an endeavor, and psionicology the study of the mind/soul and of fingernails (or of the soul of fingernails)!
But let's just move on, and away from this pet peeve of mine :)
AnotherDilbert
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Re: What does it take to test a character for Psionics?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:55 pm

Nog wrote: No. The "-logy" suffix is from the greek root "logos" = "word/thought". So, you generally describe the study of something by taking the greek root of that something (not the English word!), and adding the "logy" suffix.
In general, especially in the 19th century. Modern silliness like sexology or jineology would disagree.

Psycho[elektr]onikosology would hardly be better, and no-one would know what it was.

But, I agree, I also will stop beating this very dead horse.
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Re: What does it take to test a character for Psionics?

Postby Saladman » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:19 pm

Nog wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:04 am
Said PC has found another young NPC, and would like to test her for psionic aptitude and, if she displays any talent, train her as an apprentice.
That's good thinking; it's a reasonable play to make.
Nog wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:04 am
Can it be done without tools? Just "feel-the-force" like?
Here's a question I ask myself about PC plans sometimes: why isn't everyone doing it already? If I don't have any answer, I can be sure I've set a cost too low, or made a die roll too easy, and I need to look for that. If I do have an answer, I should let them try the plan (and I have an idea of challenges and complications).

In this case, no tools and feel the force, a powergamer could train an army of psions if you stick to the precedent. And even if your players don't abuse it, it's still a hole in worldbuilding.
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:56 am
Traditionally you need a Psionic Institute to test for Psionic potential, but it seems easier in this edition.
Core, p196 wrote: Most teachers will charge at least Cr5000 to test the Traveller’s abilities. Testing takes two weeks.
It seems likely that a character with academic training [Science(Psionicology)] can test other characters for psionic potential.


Actual training seems non-trivial:
Core, p196 wrote:Training requires four months of work, and costs Cr100000.
The cost would hint at that something more than a dojo and an instructor is required.
I would definitely keep those times, and probably the costs (after some allowance for psionic institute profit). OP's "rare mushrooms" line plus this reminded me of something else that costs 100,000 credits: a batch of illegal drugs (base cost) on the trade code chart. I'd be real tempted to go that route. So two weeks of testing, and four months of 'shroom-fueled psychedelic vision quest training montage later, yes, you could train an NPC as a psion.

But just in a week or so in between adventures or in jump space, no, not that easy.
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Re: What does it take to test a character for Psionics?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:03 pm

Saladman wrote: Here's a question I ask myself about PC plans sometimes: why isn't everyone doing it already?
It's highly illegal and actively suppressed in the Imperium.

A lone psion can stay hidden, a growing group is much less likely to do so. The men in black will pay a visit...


In the Consulate everyone is routinely tested, afaik.
Saladman
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Re: What does it take to test a character for Psionics?

Postby Saladman » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:10 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:03 pm
It's highly illegal and actively suppressed in the Imperium.
Are you now implying you'd drop the time and cost requirements, as these social costs are enough?

Or do you simply mean I would have had to spell this other cost out in my post, despite not being relevant to my point, to avoid being corrected on the internet?
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Re: What does it take to test a character for Psionics?

Postby HalC » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:18 pm

Mind you, this is only what I'd do if a player asked me that question...

My guess is that for a Psionic Institute to test someone, they likely have EVERY psionic talent possible, present on hand to not only test outright, but teach how to use that specific capability. If a player character Psion wants to test only for those things they know how to do, I'd say "go for it". But if they don't, I'd say "um, you can't do it, how do you test to see if someone else can do it?"

In the end? I'd say that the Psionic Institutes have guidelines on how to test someone. If a character went through those tests, they might REMEMBER some of what they went through in good detail, and forgot minor but important details over time.

Maybe a Hard Int Roll to remember? Perhaps a penalty per 4 years since the tests were taken? Who knows?

;)
AnotherDilbert
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Re: What does it take to test a character for Psionics?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:25 pm

Saladman wrote: Are you now implying you'd drop the time and cost requirements, as these social costs are enough?
I may have cut the quote a bit short; I commented this:
Saladman wrote: In this case, no tools and feel the force, a powergamer could train an army of psions if you stick to the precedent. And even if your players don't abuse it, it's still a hole in worldbuilding.
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Re: What does it take to test a character for Psionics?

Postby Linwood » Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:21 am

It wouldn’t surprise me to find out there are any number of “realize your potential” self-help primers that allegedly help one train their inner psi talents. And as in Kung Fu Hustle, once in a very great while they actually work....
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Re: What does it take to test a character for Psionics?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:00 am

Nog wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:04 am
Can it be done without tools? Just "feel-the-force" like?
"What card am I holding?"
Nog
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Re: What does it take to test a character for Psionics?

Postby Nog » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:08 am

Saladman wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:10 pm
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:03 pm
It's highly illegal and actively suppressed in the Imperium.
Are you now implying you'd drop the time and cost requirements, as these social costs are enough?
I think it was a sensible answer to the question you asked: "why isn't everyone doing it if the costs to the tester are so low?"
It has heavy social costs. Or another way to put it: it may be that the intrinsic costs are pretty low, possibly nonexistent, but it's the fact that it's illegal that drives up the price; it happens for many drugs, after all. Even if the tester needs no tools at all, 5000 Cr of net profit for spending two weeks taking a risk equivalent to selling illegal drugs does not seem unreasonably steep a request from the "typical" psionic instructor.

By the same token, 100 000 Cr for four months of training seems in the right ballpark. It's certainly more per week (about twice as much); but on the one hand you are giving the trainee an actual, concrete advantage that mere testing does not provide; and on the other hand, it's significantly riskier on many levels (including the legal one!) to produce a trained psion, rather just tell a person "you have psionic aptitude!".

Note that in the OP I mentioned nothing about the time costs. I would not drop those. I think that spending two weeks to test if a person has aptitude for a "tricky" activity, and four months giving that person elementary training, is very reasonable and in line with what learning other skills takes in Traveller.
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Re: What does it take to test a character for Psionics?

Postby paltrysum » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:14 pm

Nog wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:08 am
I think it was a sensible answer to the question you asked: "why isn't everyone doing it if the costs to the tester are so low?"
It has heavy social costs. Or another way to put it: it may be that the intrinsic costs are pretty low, possibly nonexistent, but it's the fact that it's illegal that drives up the price; it happens for many drugs, after all. Even if the tester needs no tools at all, 5000 Cr of net profit for spending two weeks taking a risk equivalent to selling illegal drugs does not seem unreasonably steep a request from the "typical" psionic instructor.
Agreed. Furthermore the travel costs of getting to a system that has a psionics institute would be prohibitive. First of all, with Imperial suppression, it is doubtful that psionic institutes advertise their whereabouts whether they be within Imperial borders (super dangerous) or even outside the borders but within Imperial reach. Secondly, travelling is not something every citizen does. Most NPCs probably live out their lives on their homeworlds engaging in little to no interstellar travel.

On another note, I don't see where it says in the rules that the tester has to be a psionic herself. Perhaps an individual with Science (Psionicology) can perform this task. At least they can and have in MTU.
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Re: What does it take to test a character for Psionics?

Postby steve98052 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:46 am

Here's how I imagine psionic testing would be done at a Psionics Institute:

1. A tester with a reasonably high power level in Telepathy would test Telepathy power by entering the mind of the student at a moderate depth to explain how to relax any reflexive shield that the student may have developed, then go deeper to guide the student through activation of Telepathy power, perhaps a basic power such as Sense Life at progressively greater distance. "Feel the kitten, like this. Good! OK, try to feel the puppy over there. Yes! Now try the monkey. Nothing there, right? It's a hologram, so you're not supposed to sense anything there. All right, try the parrot. Nothing there, but it's different from the hologram, isn't it? We trained the parrot with a Shield. Let's push and see if we can get through the Shield." And so on. "Excellent. I can't say how strong you are, but you definitely have Telepathy, and you're strong enough to be worth some training. Congratulations."

2. A tester with a reasonably high power in Telepathy and another power, Awareness for example, and enter the student's mind to try to activate a low level of the power. "Let's start by trying to slow down your metabolism for just a moment, like this. I could feel you doing the right thing, but nothing shows on the machine. Let's go a little deeper. Good. Now let me guide you through a strength boost. I can feel you going through it, but it's not activating. You have a degree of Awareness, but I'm not sure it's enough to be worth training."

3, 4. Same as Awareness, but for Clairvoyance and Telekinesis.

5. Teleportation is a special case because it requires a fairly high level of both power and training to do anything. To test it requires someone with very powerful Telepathy, not just enough to show how to activate a power, but enough to push the student's mind through a Teleportation, like the difference between showing a child how to grasp a pencil and pushing their hand through a drawing with the pencil. Testing Teleportation would also require Teleportation skill at sufficient level to teleport, even if not the power to do it oneself.

In some cases, one might be able to substitute for an absent skill by making a telepathic link to both the student and a fellow psionic who has the skill to test, so the tester can feel the power in action.

Finally, there may be a psionic Special power for testing, training, and related activities. That could be a shortcut to having a team of testers, each with the skill to test and Telepathy.

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