Companion Point Buy and Psionics


Banded Mongoose
If using the Point Buy character generation system from the Companion, how would you handle Psionics?
  1. Just have the player purchase the Psionics stat, and then appropriate skills?
  2. Make Psionics a benefit that must be purchased and then purchase the stat and skills as above?
  3. Something else?
This is assuming that only one of the party members is interested in psionics. If it is to be a psionics campaign, one could simply provide enough more points to purchase the stat to a base of 7, etc.
Point buy is assuming just six stats. So if somoene wanted to be a ESPer, they would have at least 86 points less than everyone else. So if everyone is doing 250pts the Psionic will be using 164 points. Ouch.
I dont see a fair way to do this under point buy. Giving the Psi player an additional 86 points to get to at least seven psi doesnt seem fair. Though if everyone else at the table is fine, then go nuts.
I'm thinking that if the character is from a culture, or species, for whom Psionics is a regular thing, they can purchase it directly, as long as they abide by any other restrictions. For example, for Zhodani, I'd say that if they want a trained PSI of 9+, they'll also need to purchase a SOC of at least 10. I'm not sure how it would work for Droyne. Any thoughts on how to "balance" that against everything else? For Imperials, I think it would be fair to require that Psionics be a benefit that must be purchased to access, costing perhaps the same 25 points as a commission? That would give them access to purchase the PSI stat, and buying PSI skills will cut into available points for other skills, and stats.

The psionic is getting an edge that the other characters don't have. If they want PSI, they'll have to pay for it. That said, it only costs 14 pts to buy a PSI of 7. Take a look at the Very Quick Point-Buy. It's 84 points for all 6 stats of 7. For 7 stats of 7, that would be 98pts, not terribly onerous. Desired disciplines would need to be purchased at character creation, or additional work would be required in game play to add new disciplines. If you want a full complement of abilities, it's going to cost you. With 250 points, it's not cheap, but it's not crippling.

The point being that it should be doable, but not so easy that it doesn't make sense not to do so. If it's too easy, it becomes another TL12 cloth undershirt. Everyone would have to have it just to maintain parity.
For the Psi Talents, I would say keep them the same as Skills, but for each additional one, after the first, they have a compounding +1.
First Talent, +0 additional cost
Second Talent +1 additional cost
Third Talent +2 additional cost ect
I would keep Telepathy at either a normal cost have it cost free to mimick the gaurenteed of getting if the first talent you try to get. The mounting cost for additional talents also mimics the unlikely hood of having all the talents.
If a character ends up with extra stats then I'd have one stat per extra start at 7 by default. The normal method doesn't require you to shuffle dice away from the standard six, and this isn't just considering psionics but the extra stats that some characters have due to race/culture (like Aslan TER). The 7 doesn't have to go in the extra stat - you can put it somewhere else and have the extra be low if you like, but the end result is equivalent to the 'extra' two dice that each one would involve under the normal method.

The actual disciplines would need to be bought since those operate more or less like standard skills anyway.
Points are meant to balance out characters and characteristics.

I don't agree. Points are offered as a means to choose how your character gets built, side-stepping the life-path system. The need to have PvP video game levels of mania about balance in character power is self-imposed. Nothing in the rules or how the game plays makes this a requirement. Life is uneven, unfair and so is Traveller.

Once you set aside the need to impose absolute, numerical equivalence on the players, you're left with a simple problem of simulating how PSI works in the game:
  1. All characters potentially have a Psi Stat, they just may not ever test for it and therefore have not unlocked the pool of points.
  2. So potentially, the characters without Psi points at the outset can go get tested and acquire them.
  3. PSI talents need to be unlocked through training, which costs points potentially earned through experience.
Note also that the game has a balance built in - PSI = 2D6 - terms served when tested. So if balance matters that much to you, you can trade off terms vs PSI strength.

So, I'd suggest don't get hung up on point-buy balance, it's not the system's intent unless it matters to you. I don't think it should matter except at the extremes. Simulate how the non-point buy Psi stat works and it's not hard to make any of this work, really.

It depends on how your party uses points.

Kickass in no way measures up to Superman, outside of pain reduction; you could say that Superman is only limited by radiation, whether solar or kryptonite, and his code.

Everyone could be allocated enough points to recreate Superman, but someone could forego that and just play Kickass.

Batman is also a multibillionaire, likely genius level, and secretly has a regeneration ability; chances are he doesn't need much sleep.

Points are an allocation of available resources, and if you need more than are available at the moment, the player would have to come up with a rationale why it should be granted to him. If something very unusual (for the setting), than you'd have to pay extra.

Consider how many points is worth a starship?
It depends on how your party uses points.

Exactly my point - Some games try to have every aspect of the character, the party and associated aspects accounted for in points (GURPS for example) others do not. Traveller without Point Buy is very uneven - maybe you got lucky with ship shares, or the rolls for your attributes vs someone else, maybe you're a 4 term character and someone else is a 1-term greenhorn.

That's why I say that point buy in the companion is best viewed as an alternative to life-path character gen, that lack of balance is the game working as intended. If you try to extend the choice mechanic in point buy to balance the game when play is happening, you will tie yourself in knots that there is little or no game design to support.
In Traveller, everyone has psionic potential, which is random but has a half life if not arrested and trained.

Skills and their respective levels tend to be based on how many professions and respective terms you've served.

Physicals and mental attributes have maximums at the beginning, can be improved beyond those, but are subject to degradation, due to accidents and age.

Resources would include pensions, social standing, equipment, and ranks, plus if you want to throw in contacts.

So a point system has to be based on life paths and choices made during character generation, for Traveller, and presumably survival throws.

Starburst for Extreme Heroism seems like a good investment, as it would raise your standing with military contacts, likely local influencers as well.
If using the Point Buy character generation system from the Companion, how would you handle Psionics?
  1. Just have the player purchase the Psionics stat, and then appropriate skills?

As 1, and no extra points to do so. Anyone asking about Psionics in the first place either already has or can quickly figure out a plan to make that pay while lowering one or two of their base stats.

And, if they come out with fewer standard skills to get more psi skills, that's sort of like fewer terms which is sort of like getting tested early before psi potential drops, so it is sort of like how the core system works anyway.