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Old 12-26-2017, 08:39 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Aiken, South Carolina
Default [Psionics] Help with Psi Powers for Psi in a Space Setting

Would appreciate some help with some Psionic Powers for a Psionic First Contact Specialist for a game in a SciFi Space Setting. The Pre-Gen character is to be in the crew of a small scout ship sent to land on worlds where a first contact situation might arise. The general idea is a version of the telepathic communications officer from Joel Rosenberg’s ‘Emile and the Dutchman’.

What I would like the Psi First Contact Specialist to be able to do with Psi powers includes:
1) sense Alien minds in an area,
2) sense the emotions of the Aliens in an area,
3) communicate with the Alien and learn enough of its language to set up a translator program. It would be nice if this power could assist in learning a language remotely, like over a radio/video connection.
4) have some defenses versus mind attacks.

And ideally, I would like to limit the overall cost to say 100 points if possible. I'm not optimistic.

Below are some thoughts, details, and specific questions.

1) Sensing Minds:
The idea I had is for the Psi to stop, concentrate, and make a roll; if they are successful, they know if there are alien minds in the area, and depending on their level of success, they may learn more, and what they know is reduced with distance steps. So what they know about in the first range band, is reduced in each subsequent range band.

For levels of success, I was thinking about something like: if they just succeed, they only know yes or no that there are minds within a range; if they succeed by a 1, they also get rough numbers; by 2, they get better numbers and also get rough direction(s); by 3, they get better directions and also get rough range(s); by 4, they get better range and also get rough IQ ranges; and by 5+, they get better IQ estimates and know if the minds are exhibiting active telepathy.

For IQ ranges, I was thinking something like: Mindless (IQ 0), Low Animal (IQ 1-3), High Animal (IQ 3-5), Presentient (IQ 5-6+Bestial), Low-sentient (IQ 6-8), Average sentient (IQ 9-11), and High sentient (IQ12+).

For ability range bands, I was thinking about something in between the distance modifiers (B.550) and the long-distance modifiers (B.241). The idea I have is something like a multiplier on the distance modifiers (B.550) (e.g., with x50; 0 modifier for 0-100 yards, -1 for 101-150 yards, -2 for 150-250 yards, …, -10 for 3500-5000 yards).

In play, I would envision it working something like the following: PC Psi with Telescan skill 14, stops in a desert ruin and uses their ability, rolling a 12 (success by 2). GM reports that they only sense a group of 10 or so minds, to the north (Psi had sensed a family of low Animal bat analog creatures, sheltering in a part of the ruins, 80 yards away, and totally missed the Sentient Alien observer, watching the PC from 251 yards away).

Looking at GURPS Psionic Powers, this seems to be close to Telescan with the Omniscan Technique (p.67) and Telepath scan (p.67), all based around the Detect advantage.

Telescan: Detect (Minds (Common); Variable effect based on roll, ?%; Range, ?%; Telepathy, -10%) [30 +/-?%].

Question 1 – Any ideas on the best way to build this?

A variation would be a role for presences of minds, and then separate rolls for intelligence level, number, direction, distance, and presence of telepathy.

Question 2 – Any idea on the best way to build this?
Question 3 – Any alternative ideas to get a similar effect?

2) Sensing Emotions:
I think of this as the ‘Deanna Troy’ package. It seems to be simple the Emotion Sense package from GURPS Psionic Powers, p.68.
Emotion Sense: Empathy (Short Range 1, -30%; Requires IQ vs. Will Roll, -10%; Telepathy, -10%) [18].

Which, with a successful IQ vs Will roll, will allow the Psi to “feel” the Alien’s emotions at distances using the distance range penalties (B.550). So if the Psi has an IQ of 13 and an Alien has a Will of 10, and both roll 10’s (success by 3); the Psi could “feel” the Alien’s emotions if the Alien was 7 yards or less away.

Question 4 – Do I have this correct?

With the next level costing [20], with a successful IQ vs Will roll, will allow the Psi to “feel” the Alien’s emotions at distances using the long-range modifiers (B.241). So the Psi with an IQ of 13 of 14 and an Alien with a Will of 10, and both rolling 10’s (success by 3); the Psi could “feel” the Alien’s emotions if the Alien was 3 miles or less away.

Question 5 – Do I have this correct?

3) Communicate and Learn Languages:
The first idea I had was to have a “Borrow Language” ability, similar to the “Borrow Skill” in GURPS Psionic Powers.

Starting with the Telepathic Learning Base 5pts + 4pts per level...

Borrow Language: Telepathic Learning 4 (Limited, Languages Only, -20%; Required IQ Roll, -10%; Telepathy, -10%) [13].

Which I believe, after 4 seconds and a successful IQ roll with long-distance modifiers (B.241), would allow the Psi to speak with an alien at an accented level. And if the Psi also had the language talent advantage, then they would be able to speak at a native level.

Question 6 – Does the -20% for “language only” seem fair?
Question 7 – Do I have the point cost correct?
Question 8 – Is the long-distance modifiers (B.241) correct, or is it the range modifiers (B.550)?
Question 9 – Does “Language Talent” work here per RAW?

With 4 levels of “Takes Extra Time”, at -10% per level, for 5 points the Psi could speak to the alien in their language at an accented (or native with “Language Talent”) level after a minute.

Question 10 – Does this seem correct?

Picking up the Retention technique, I am thinking would allow the Psi to add words to a translator database, after the conversation with the alien is over.

Question 11 – Is adding words/grammar to a translator database Computer Operations, or Computer Programing?

A second idea I had, would be to jump straight to Telespeak with Universal technique from GURPS Psionic Powers (p.59).

Telespeak: Mind Reading (Accessibility, Projected thoughts only, -20%; Link, +10%; Telecommunication, -20%; Telepathy, -10%) [18] + Telesend (Link, +10%; Short Range, -10%; Telepathy, -10%) [27] Total: [45].
Universal (H) (Telesend-5) […] –

Which, with a successful skill vs Will roll, will allow the Psi to “hear” alien speech and be “heard” at distances using the distance range penalties (B.550). So the Psi with a skill of 14 and an Alien with a Will of 12, and both rolling 10’s (success by 2); the Psi could “speak” with the Alien if it were 5 yards or less away.

Question 12 – Do I have this correct?

A third idea I had, was to use the universal translator advantage build from GURPS Powers (p.148).

Make contact telepathically, be able to hear the Alien, and it is a full blow universal translator. But it runs 78 points … a bit budget blowing. Adding Telepathy, -10% is a start, but ideally it would be less than 30 points.

Questions 13 – Any ideas for reducing the cost?

4) Mind Defense:
Want the Psi to have some defenses against hostile psi.
A few levels of the Mind Shield advantage (4 points per level) seem to fill the need. Alternatively, could use GURPS Psis’ “Mental Guard” ability (p.31), for [25], which has Mind Shield 4, Telepathy Sense power, plus the skills to use both.

Question 14 – Any alternative ideas?

Last edited by DAT; 12-26-2017 at 08:42 PM. Reason: Clarify item 2
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