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Old 02-05-2018, 11:52 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2015
Default Psionic Powers (tweaked for setting)

The starting human players are all unawakened 'potentials' who soon awaken dormant psionic powers: either as Neutralizers or as Psions (who can take up to 2 'aspects' or Powers). I'm trying to keep the psionics lower-key so they're tools used with instead of replacing other skills and equipment. This will be a rather cinematic campaign, though I'm also hoping to keep things as rules and roll-light as possible to focus on the story. The book the setting is based on could be likened to X-Com, except with more focus on intrigue and battling 'corrupted'/infiltrated human agencies than aliens. It takes place in the near future. Officially, aliens and psions don't exist and both would rather the wider world keep thinking that. Any questions, concerns, or criticism would be appreciated.

Neutralizer: Cancellation, Interruption, Psionic Overload, Psychic Armor, Psionic Shield, True Sight, Para-Invisibility, Screaming.

Energy: Cryokinesis, Dampen, Drain (Attribute), Lightning, Pyrokinesis, Surge, Thermal Diffusion, Energy Flow Vision.
Internal: Adept Reaction, Adept's Balance, Adept's Dexterity, Adept's Strength, Adept's Swiftness, Damage Control, Eagle Eyes, Hardened Ears, Hardened Eyes, Hardened Osmia, Hypersomia, Infravision, Iron Guts, Leap, Recovery, Sharp Ears, Swift Parry, Tactile, Tough Skin.
Kinetic: Mental Stab, Kinetic Wall, TK Bullet, TK Crush, TK Grab.
Sense: Aura Reading, Awareness, Clairaudience, Clairvoyance, Combat Sense, Emotion Sense, Mind Shield, Projected Senses, Signature Sniffer, Psi Sense, Telepathy Sense, Psidar, Telescan.
Telepath: Aspect, Borrow Skill, Confuse, Drain Emotion, Instill Fear, Mental Surgery, Mind Clouding, Mind Wipe, Sensory Overload, Sleep, Strike Sense, Emotion Control, Suggestion, Telereceive (Shallow), Telesend, Telespeak.

My first question is that Telereceive, Telesend, and Telespeak all seem like almost the same power. Should I drop Tele-receive/send and just use Telespeak?

Skyshield (the 'xcom' expy, an international organization with shell-market and black-market funding) is significantly ahead of the world in terms of technology but hasn't caught fully intact samples of alien devices yet so research is slowing and costs are rising. Alien ships so outpace human capabilities that they can only be taken down by mass assault or nuclear-tipped tactical warheads. Aliens as well as selfish human groups both attempt to corrupt human nations for their own gain while Skyshield attempts to fight both the overt aliens and push back the corruption in human nations. Proxy battles are common and most of Skyshield's victories are against alien-sponsored extremist groups.
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Old 02-06-2018, 12:27 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Eindhoven, the Netherlands
Default Re: Psionic Powers (tweaked for setting)

Originally Posted by Mithlas View Post
My first question is that Telereceive, Telesend, and Telespeak all seem like almost the same power. Should I drop Tele-receive/send and just use Telespeak?
That depends on what you want. Telerecieve does a lot more than just read surface thoughts. It also allows one to read deep thoughts, or even dive in and look for hidden memories ("Sister? Sister! Your feelings betray you!"). Telesend is fundamentally covered by telespeak, but it's also cheaper. If you keep them separate, characters might be able to do one and not the other, and might be much better at one than the other ("I can send you a message across enormous distances, but to read your mind, I must touch you"). This is complicated but allows for greater precision of character.

Telespeak, on the other hand, only allows mental communication. You can talk to someone and hear thoughts direct at you, but no more. You cannot read their private thoughts or dredge up hidden memories. Furthermore, your ability to read and to send are fundamentally connected. Both have the same ranges, etc. If you see Telepathy as primarily, or only, about mental communication, then definitely go with Telespeak. It's much simpler!

If you want to have your cake and eat it to, the result is a little more difficult. You'd need a unified version of telereceive and telesend. The easiest way is just to make players buy both in lockstep: level one of "telepathy" then costs 30 points, level 2 costs 54, etc. This has the downside of being, possibly, prohibitively expensive, but it allows the character to fully communicate and fully read minds and fully delve for memories, etc. It also has the advantage of being "simple."
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:55 PM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2015
Default Re: Psionic Powers (tweaked for setting)

I'm not allowing the "deep scan" version of Telereceive, but even without being able to dig down through the target's mind telepathically they can still use a skilled interrogator to bring at least some sensitive topics to surface thoughts. I limit it both to keep Telepathy from becoming 'overpowered' - there's also no mental domination, even from the psionic aliens - as well as to keep telepathy a tool used alongside other more mundane tools.

That being said, do you think that invalidates Telereceive if players can't "dig" with it? Telespeak doesn't say anything about dropping into thoughts, though with techniques it's possible it might allow transmission or reception of thoughts. If that sounds wrong, then maybe dropping Telespeak and leaving the options at Tele-send/receive would allow them the capabilities most will look for without being ridiculously expensive.

What about other powers? Do the lists for each category look like they are reasonable? Is anything off about them? Should Energy-type psis have some minor form of darkness power?
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alien invasion, espionage, psionic campaigns, psionic powers

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