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Old 07-15-2017, 03:02 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2010
Default [Psionic Powers] Subconscious Hand-off

I have a question about this technique
from PP p. 62.

Does the roll replace the skill to gain
control of the victim?

It is stated that control is shifted to the
subconscious. That seems like flavor text
to me. In the Psychosomatic technique,
having an effect on a pre-existing victim
requires a second and also opposed roll.

If it does not replace the first roll,
is the second roll unopposed

(by the Willpower of the victim) ?
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Old 07-15-2017, 09:39 AM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: [Psionic Powers] Subconscious Hand-off

It's a Technique, which is a sort of sub-skill of another skill, in this case the "Sensory Control" skill. See p229 in the Basic Set (Characters).

Use of a Technique replaces the normal skill roll. You don't, for example, roll Broadsword and then Feint to feint; you just roll Feint. You are using that base skill, just to do one specific thing, which usually have some difficulty higher than that of the base skill.

Techniques have a default level that's the base skill minus some penalty, in this case Sensory Control - 10 (as seen in the "Default:" line on PsiP 62). It's a Hard Technique, so can be improved independently for 2 CP for the first level (default +1, or a net -9) and 1 CP per level thereafter.

If you first established the normal, concentration-required Sensory Control, and then later wanted to try the Subconscious Hand-off for some reason, I'd call for a second roll to make that switch. But you could also initiate the control by using the Subconscious Hand-off Technique from the very first roll.
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Old 07-16-2017, 11:53 AM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2010
Default Re: [Psionic Powers] Subconscious Hand-off

Thank you.

Next question, about detection psionic usage:

If a person succeeds at a Per roll to notice the effect, it
doesn’t mean he understands what’s going on; anyone unfa-
miliar with psi [...]
Rolls against the better of Expert Skill
(Psionics), Occultism-2, Psychology, or IQ-4.

This is the most unfitting thing I've read this week.
Psychology consists of applied and statistical fields.
Neither of both imply the existance of psionic powers.
Hidden Lore and e.g. Trivia (SciFi) actually could, as is for Expert Skill and Occultism.

This seems to be a replacement for Body Language or Detect Lies,
to look through the act of 'a human mind tried to fool me',
but who says the psi is a human being and not one of
Star wars' force-using canines?


The 'applied' field of Psychology could be about detecting manipulation.

Other systems (The Dark Eye) feature an explicit skill about
Knowledge of human nature
(in german: Menschenkenntnis).
To this skill, applied Psychology is the closest would fit.
But is it intended to work whenever anyone in plain sight
tries to conceal something from you?

As a competitive roll, looking for a Psi should require Acting on part of
the attacker. Yet detecting psi should seems to not be about
human behavior but human minds, where again, it is
unscientific to say 'he used supernatural powers'. So lets allow
acting, but not opposed to scientific inquiry with something that ends
in '-ology' when it's about a different form of magic.

(Exception to the rule: Thaumatology )

Last edited by fdenzer; 07-16-2017 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 07-16-2017, 01:58 PM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: [Psionic Powers] Subconscious Hand-off

Well, that's a much fuzzier question, and it's really about the setting and the feel you want the game to have, rather than the rules. So there's not going to be one single correct answer. If it makes no sense in your setting for people skilled in Psychology to know anything about psi that ordinary people (or Occultists) wouldn't, then you'd just ignore that skill for this purpose.

A couple of counter-observations, just for points to consider. Historically, the academic study of psi was indeed usually conducted by psychologists and people found in psychology departments of universities. J. B. Rhine is probably the most famous, at Duke University. If psychology is the study of mind (as opposed to masses of neurons), and psionics is a thing that minds can do, it seems reasonable that psychologists in a setting where psi is a real and studied thing would know about it, and be more familiar with its side effects, much like a chemist has a better shot at telling you why fireworks are the pretty colors that they are, even if they specialize in and work in other fields of chemistry altogether.

Per RAW, Psychology must be specialized by race (which in RPG tradition, really means something more like "species"). So, Psychology (Human) wouldn't help detect activity by that Force-using canine.

However, that's also a setting feature. I can certainly see an argument that if two minds share so much in common that psionic power (whatever that is) can mutually interact, then those two minds are enough alike that the setting's science of mind ("Psychology", for lack of a better word) would be effective on both species. That might mean that there is just one Psychology specialty covering both, or it might simply be that the default between Human and Force-Using Canine specialties is mild, maybe only a -1 or -2. (The size of the penalty would depend on how different the two species really are in terms of thought and motivation.

Most fiction has aliens that are really humans in funny rubber suits, but psychologically nearly identical to humans, except perhaps for some exaggerated trait. Other fiction tries harder to make the aliens different -- but ultimately a human author writing for a human audience faces the problem of making his truly understandable or worse, sympathetic, which means those human audience members have to be able to understand and identify with the alien thought processes. A truly alien alien would simply be incomprehensible, and the story would be about frustration with its random behavior or simple mystification -- Rendevous With Rama, minus all the bits where anything makes any sense at all, just "well, this is certainly different and weird". So a setting creator has to decide just how his species can interact, and that applies to psionic interaction as much as it does to the more usual sorts of communication, reaction, and influence. Do you want the species to have non-mutual-interactive sorts of psi? Then make it so. Want them to be able to affect each other, or work together in gestalts? Then rule it that way.

The GURPS rules generally don't attempt to define a setting that you have to use, though sometimes they do have default assumptions for the sake of simplicity. Just about any rule will get called into question on the forums as to its suitability for a particular setting, and how to modify it to get the feel that's desired. So often you should just start with defining what you want from the setting, then tweak with that goal in mind. And you'll have to describe that setting and feel to the forum in order to get compatible suggestions. Simply objecting to an implication of an existing rule suggests an effect you don't want, but still leaves us guessing as to what you do want.
And since I lack any human-compatible psi powers myself, you'll have to explain the slow, painful, low-tech way of Internet forums rather than simple mind-melding.
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Old 07-16-2017, 02:30 PM   #5
Join Date: Nov 2010
Default Re: [Psionic Powers] Subconscious Hand-off

On a near-future earth, inhabited by humans,
when psi is suspected, denied or known,
Parapsychologists could exist.

For them, Parapsychology might be part of Psychology?

Funny Axiom:
Mind-Melting is not possible for the participants of this thread.
Thank god(s).

Funny Question:
Wouldn't sender-receiver problems still occur when brains talk directly
to each other, since thought is neither objective nor
language-independent (Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, ak.a. watch the movie

Last edited by fdenzer; 07-16-2017 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 07-17-2017, 07:04 PM   #6
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: [Psionic Powers] Subconscious Hand-off

You might make parapsychology part of the Psychology skill. Or if the scientific skill is to be important in the game, you could also make it into its own skill, perhaps with a generous default to Psychology -- or perhaps not. Consider the way that Thaumatology skill is different from Occultism or Hidden Lore in games where there's formal study of magic and it's relatively well known, in contrast to those settings where magic is an obscure province of cults and Books Man Was Not Meant To Read.
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