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Old 11-29-2014, 09:01 PM   #1
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Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#21): Channeling

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Channeling [10] (p. B41, p. P43-44) is an Exotic Mental Advantage that requires the user enter a trance to properly use (requires one minute of concentration and a successful Will roll). Once such a state is achieved, any nearby spirit can enter your body and use it to communicate. The player's character (and thus technically the player) is unaware of the world around him/her/it at this point: the GM controls what the spirit says and does. The spirit must answer questions put to it, but does not have to answer truthfully. This does indeed count as a minor form of possession but (again) is restricted only to using the subject to communicate... but if the spirit in question has the Possession Ability (p. B75) it will be considered "touching" you and thus can attempt to fully possess you. According to RAW you are considered "wary" and thus get a +5 to resist.

Powers makes this trait more generic and universal; if the setting permits you can instead take Channeling oriented towards contacting entities of the cyber world, the dream world, parallel realities, the past, etc. They still occupy your body as a spirit would.

The Base Set presents no unique Modifiers for Channeling. A quick look through the general Enhancement options doesn't show much that looks like it would work well (or even make much sense) with Channeling, but there are a few Limitations definitely worth considering. Accessibility, Costs Fatigue, Limited Use, Nuisance Effect, Pact, Preparation Required, Takes Recharge, Trigger, Unconscious Only, Uncontrollable and Unreliable can all be used to replicate (be they fictional or historical) the rituals and results of Channeling. On Powers p.44, Preparation Required is specifically mentioned for representing things like a seance.

Powers also provides two Modifiers unique to Channeling: Aware [+50%] (p. P43) and Specialized (-50%). Both are pretty much exactly as they sound, with Aware meaning you are aware (and able to exert control over) your body and surroundings even while channeling a spirit while Specialized seems to be a specialization of Accessibility (and of course of Channeling): select one specific class of spirits that you can Channel.

Related Traits
Autotrance (p. B101, Power-Ups 2: Perks p. 12) provides a +2 bonus to your Will roll for Channeling. Medium (p. B68) allows you to sense and attempt to communicate with spirits without the need to be possessed. Spirit Empathy (p. B88) allows one to "get a feeling" about the general intentions of spirits as well as allowing you to attempt to use Influence Skills with them (assuming you can communicate with them in the first place).

There are a few skills that may prove beneficial as well, but unfortunately I can't find it spelled out in RAW that they are allowed. Autohypnosis (p. B179) has (as one of its options) going into a trance and getting a +2 bonus to Will but I am uncertain if one is allowed to use Channeling while in such a state or if that counts as an outside activity. Meditation (p. B207) likewise can be used to enter a meditative trance and thus I would think could replace the Will roll for going into a trance for Channeling but again, the RAW doesn't state that (or at least not clearly enough for me).

Occultism (p. B212), Physics (Paraphysics) (p. B213), Theology (p. 226) seem like good ideas to help identify and deal with documented kinds of spirits, assuming of course that the setting is one where such skills are accurately studied. If available, you probably want at least one (preferably as many as can learn it effectively) members of your party to know Exorcism (p. B193) for when a Channeling attempt turns into a possession. Possessing it yourself probably isn't going to do much good. If spirits are inherently magical/mana-based, the relevant magical skills would also likely prove useful (let alone several Spells).

Power-Ups 3: Talents p.24 suggests Channeling as one of the prerequisites or Enablers for Occultist (p. 14), Parapsychologist, Spirit-Talker and Thanatologist Talents. None of these provide much in the way of direct bonuses for using Channeling, but most cover at least one of the skills recommended in the previous paragraph), even if alternate benefits are being used.

Discussion Starters

1) Have you ever run a character that used Channeling? What about someone else in the party or an NPC? If yes to either, feel free to share about the experience.

2) Does Channeling seem overpriced, under priced, or properly priced?

3) Does Channeling feel like it has the best "neutral" setting for being "generic" and "universal"? Are there aspects you would add-in or remove from the basic form of the Advantage?

4) Feel free to bring up anything relevant to the [Basic] Advantage of the Week threads in general; I'm trying to make them better but sometimes I'm not sure of what constitutes "better" while other times, I just make mistakes.
My 4e library consists of Basic Set: Characters, Basic Set: Campaigns, Martial Arts, Power-Ups 2, Power-Ups 3, Powers, Powers: Enhanced Senses, Social Engineering, Supers, and one issue of Pyramid (3/83), mostly provided through the generosity of others. Thanks! :)

Last edited by Otaku; 12-21-2014 at 09:59 PM.
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