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Eddie T 08-19-2017 11:19 AM

Alternative Psionics
 
Hey all, I'm beginning a new campaign tonight that is essentially High-Tech/Ultra-Tech with Psionics (maybe the occasional mage for shock factor).

I'm seeking feedback on alternative ways to model psionics away from the Advantage -> Talent -> Skill framework. Making the characters, I ran into exactly what David Pulver mentioned in Pyramid 3-29 with underpowered psionics in other chargen aspects. I think I might discuss David's method of using spells as psionics with my group tonight.

Has anyone tried simply removing the Talent step out of Psionics? If so, did it seriously break the Psionic characters in relation to the mundanes? Just looking at it ledger-wise, that seems to give a psychic back a lot of points.

I'm curious as to any other alternatives or ways that you all have adapted the rules at your tables. I said on another GURPS discussion list I'm on, I've owned GURPS 4e since 2005ish, but life has repetitively conspired to prevent me from being able to play and use it until recently. Now I'm trying to relearn the little I knew and at the same time work my way through the multitude of other information that the game has accumulated since my first forays.

I appreciate any ideas!

ericthered 08-19-2017 11:46 AM

Re: Alternative Psionics
 
This is a common challenge in ultratech settings. If the best way to handle an advantage that can be reproduced with technology is by treating it as technology.

the two most useful tools for this method are the accessory perk and the license perk. sometimes if you've got a good enough advantage an usual background is appropriate. The other way they pay for the ability is with skills dedicated to using it.

So I'd suggest dropping the advantage cost, not the talent (which is really just part of the skill cost).

Eddie T 08-19-2017 12:41 PM

Re: Alternative Psionics
 
Additional world info is that psionics and tech aren't going to be interchangeable with each other. For example, a character with a cybernetic radio in his head can't transmit into someone else's head like a telepath can. Or am I misunderstanding what you mean?

I think I understand the error in my logic, though.

I thought you had to have Telekinesis to get TK Grab, then the skill for TK Grab. I was calling TK Grab the talent when it is its own advantage. So the only real way to reduce the points is to make it a 0-Point Advantage (without limitations, that is)? Am I correct in that?

whswhs 08-19-2017 12:42 PM

Re: Alternative Psionics
 
The big problem is that you need a way for someone capable of, say, Mind Reading to be better at it than someone else. The treatment in 3/e had psionic skills that could be bought up. In 4/e, you roll against IQ (for example); but if you take Telepathy Talent, that makes your effective skill higher. If you don't have Talent, anyone who wants to be good at Mind Reading will have to buy up their IQ. That is an option—lots of fictional telepaths are smart, from Odd John to Kimball Kinnison to Professor X—but if you don't want to go that way, I recommend thinking about other ways for a character to be good at a psionic ability.

Fred Brackin 08-19-2017 01:00 PM

Re: Alternative Psionics
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Eddie T (Post 2117871)
I thought you had to have Telekinesis to get TK Grab, then the skill for TK Grab. I was calling TK Grab the talent when it is its own advantage. So the only real way to reduce the points is to make it a 0-Point Advantage (without limitations, that is)? Am I correct in that?

You obviously have Psionic Powers. In that framework "Talent" still means the psionic Talents found in Basic such as TK Talent 5pts/level adds to all rolls to use TK.

With just Basic all rolls to see if the psi ability is used correctly are against IQ+Talent. Psionic Powers adds Psionic Skills which enable you to raise your roll by learning a Skill. This enables much higher target numbers.

If you don't care for the results of the pre-built Powers in Psionic Powers you can certainly build your own. I find PK's builds frequently overly complicated as a matter of design philosophy myself.

If you really don't want to build your own Powers and/or find Basic costs for some abilities (like perhaps Telesend) to be overly expensive then Pulver's Pyramid 3/29 article may indeed be your simplest alternative.

johndallman 08-19-2017 01:44 PM

Re: Alternative Psionics
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Eddie T (Post 2117851)
I'm seeking feedback on alternative ways to model psionics away from the Advantage -> Talent -> Skill framework. Making the characters, I ran into exactly what David Pulver mentioned in Pyramid 3-29 with underpowered psionics in other chargen aspects.

An alternative approach is to concentrate on using psionics for things that tech can't do, or can't do conveniently. Mind reading, rapid healing, things like that. Don't try to compete with technological guns or armour using psionics, because that's way too expensive.

ericthered 08-19-2017 02:12 PM

Re: Alternative Psionics
 
Yeah, talents just boost skill. The advantages are the real buy in.

The main trick with dropping the advantage part and just requiring talent and skill is that characters will always go for the absolutely highest possible level of the advantage. And most of the time there is a big difference. If you can solve that, I think it will work out fine.

One way to handle that is to declare all people have a given psionic power at the same level. This makes the ability yet more tech-like, as all telepaths have work at about the same range. You can set this to be at whatever level you like.

Another way is to say to tie the ability to the level of talent you have: perhaps 1 level of talent lets you have 20 points worth of abilities, or all abilities in your power under 10 points. Or you can do a decent amount of work to set all psis with the same talent to have the same limit on what they can use.

The above methods all basically give free points, from a classic gurps perspective. If its necessary to get your genre to work, then that's what it takes. Additionally, realize you'll want to give some kinds of ability more love in an ultra-tech setting, particularly physical defenses and TK.

NineDaysDead 08-19-2017 07:13 PM

Re: Alternative Psionics
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by whswhs (Post 2117873)
The big problem is that you need a way for someone capable of, say, Mind Reading to be better at it than someone else. The treatment in 3/e had psionic skills that could be bought up. In 4/e, you roll against IQ (for example); but if you take Telepathy Talent, that makes your effective skill higher. If you don't have Talent, anyone who wants to be good at Mind Reading will have to buy up their IQ. That is an option—lots of fictional telepaths are smart, from Odd John to Kimball Kinnison to Professor X—but if you don't want to go that way, I recommend thinking about other ways for a character to be good at a psionic ability.

Such as the Reliable (+5%/level) enhancement?

Fred Brackin 08-19-2017 08:26 PM

Re: Alternative Psionics
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by NineDaysDead (Post 2117943)
Such as the Reliable (+5%/level) enhancement?

.....and it is an issue that Reliable will always be cheaper for any Power that has a base cost of less than 100 pts.

David Johnston2 08-19-2017 10:00 PM

Re: Alternative Psionics
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Eddie T (Post 2117851)
Hey all, I'm beginning a new campaign tonight that is essentially High-Tech/Ultra-Tech with Psionics (maybe the occasional mage for shock factor).

I'm seeking feedback on alternative ways to model psionics away from the Advantage -> Talent -> Skill framework. Making the characters, I ran into exactly what David Pulver mentioned in Pyramid 3-29 with underpowered psionics in other chargen aspects. I think I might discuss David's method of using spells as psionics with my group tonight.

Has anyone tried simply removing the Talent step out of Psionics? If so, did it seriously break the Psionic characters in relation to the mundanes? Just looking at it ledger-wise, that seems to give a psychic back a lot of points.

I'm curious as to any other alternatives or ways that you all have adapted the rules at your tables. I said on another GURPS discussion list I'm on, I've owned GURPS 4e since 2005ish, but life has repetitively conspired to prevent me from being able to play and use it until recently. Now I'm trying to relearn the little I knew and at the same time work my way through the multitude of other information that the game has accumulated since my first forays.

I appreciate any ideas!

The psi talents are only five points. If you have so much as two psibiities, it's cheaper to have the talent.


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