Thursday, July 24, 2014

Designer's Notes: Mind and Body


Pyramid069-final_1000A new Pyramid is out today, and I'm in it (woo-hoo!). Writing Mind and Body was actually fairly easy. I'm a fan of psionic powers and especially PK's GURPS Psionic Powers (which I playtested), so writing this up was easy. In fact...I already had it written out (along with a style for every power listed in Psionic Powers) for a campaign I'd been hired to design - a science fiction (semi-)space opera - think Dune + Cthulhu with elements from the Forver War. My client is a damn fine fellow and when he commissioned me one of the things, he was adamant about was me using anything I created for him in future submissions to SJ Games. So...that's what I did. Originally, Mind and Body had eight styles, but the word count was ludacris. So I had to remove some. I picked my favorite of the eight (The Way of the Cerulean Blade) and then two other styles that I felt were useful for players and GMs alike and then fit them in the word count that I'd allotted myself. I decided that since I had a style that was both offensive and defensive, I needed a style that was extremely aggressive (Ishin-Denshin) and one that was extremely defensive (Third-Eye Fighting). I then added in a bunch of new traits, some new gear, and a couple of new powers. Now, when I write something, I do my best to squeeze in as much fluff and crunch as I can. I like stashing all sorts of tidbits all over the place, that why you catch new stuff when you read it again. I also like giving my readers as much bang for their buck as I can. Maybe I'll be able to do a follow-up article detailing some more styles or even a book - I'd love to do a small PDF in the form of GURPS Thaumatology: Magical Styles, except replace magic for psionic powers. So enough rambling, here are a few psi-techniques I ended up having to leave out:




Ignition
Hard
Default: Pyrokinesis-7.

When determining if the target catches fire (Making Things Burn, B443), you treat the flammability class of the subject as two steps higher than it actually is. For an additional -6 penalty (which can be bought off normally) you can treat it as three steps higher. Furthermore, in games that use uber-techniques (GURPS Psionic Powers, p. 75), the GM may allow a psi to accept an additional -21 penalty to treat it as four steps higher! This effectively allows you to set anything on fire - even non-flammable substances like asbestos or stone.

Statistics: This adds Incendiary 2 (+20%) and Cosmic, Higher Incendiary Levels (+50%). For an additional -6 penalty this increases it to Incendiary 3 (+30%) and Cosmic, Higher Incendiary Levels (+100%). The uber-technique version adds Incendiary 4 (+40%) and Cosmic, Higher Incendiary Levels (+300%).


Mindscaping
Hard
Default: Omniscan-7

This technique allows you to mentally "ping" an area of up to 8 yards from your current location to build up a mental map of the area. This gives you a +4 bonus to any skill for keeping track of who is in the area (e.g., Tactics). This doesn't tell you what's physically in the area, just if any minds are there. It does track movement (which lasts for a minute like all psi-techniques). This halves your Telscan level for all purposes. For every 5 points by which you make your (modified) skill roll, you can double this radius, cumulatively.

Statistics: Adds Area Effect, 8 yards (+150%) plus Emanation (-20%) and halved for halving its penalty. Since this technique builds on an already established psi-technique (Omniscan) it defaults from that - not the Telescan skill.


ESPanopticon
Hard
Default: Awareness-8.
Prerequisite: Awareness 10+

You can temporarily refine your ability so that you can see in 360°. This works identical to the 360° Vision advantage (p. B33). For an additional -6 (which can be bought off normally) you don't need our eyes to see anything - it operates period and allows you to sense anything you could normally sense with your Vision. Additionally, you can see around corners, in vents, and similar obstacles by "bending" your psi-granted sight. Like other psi-techniques, this lasts for one minute and may be extended normally.

Statistics: This uses the Abilities at Default rule (GURPS Powers, p. 173) and exchanges Scanning Sense for  360° Vision and the Periscope perk.


Sneaky Strike
Hard
Default: TK Grab-1

When wielding an object with your TK Grab, if you catch your target by surprise (including ambushes, blows from behind, etc.) your TK Grab's damage is considered to be twice what it normally is. If your target gets an Active Defense for any reason, you use your normal level instead.

Statistics: This is a little tricky, I first determined what the approximate percentage of ST was for damage (Striking ST), basic lift (Lifting ST), and mass (HP). Since Striking ST is 5/level then the Telekinesis (Striking Only) is probably worth about 2.5 points, I applied the "Assassination" limitation from GURPS Action 3 (p. 14) which made Telekinesis (Striking Only) for surprise attacks only worth about 1 point. Thus for surprise attacks only you can temporarily double your TK Grab if wielding a weapon and attacking someone. Since a Psi-Technique is always at least a -1 penalty and 2 FP, that's the base cost I used.

2 comments:

  1. Doing your own designers notes is really great given that SJ games word count means they cant really do it for every author despite the material being 99% good enough for publication.

    Makes me want to buy your work more or if ive already bought it feel like im getting 10% extra free with the purchase.

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  2. Thanks! I appreciate hearing that. It's always good to get feedback on this blog - lets me know people want to actually read the stuff I'm putting out. I try not to push the link on people - but I have a Patreon page for this blog (http://www.patreon.com/Ravenpenny) and even a doller a month is a lot for me (writing is my sole income). Plus, you get to steer the ship (blog) and decide what you'd like to see. I even have a special entry I do every month for my Patrons. I'm also going to try and find a way to have a section on my blog for Patreon patrons only (still working on that) where downloadable goodies and special entries will be.

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