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Old 11-29-2020, 06:12 PM   #11
smurf
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Default Re: ESPionage/Cold War and Psionic Powers

Get stuck into the films: Scanners, The Fury, Medusa Touch, etc

Try and think of what you want powers to do rather just opening up the book and cherry pick.
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Old 11-29-2020, 06:38 PM   #12
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Default Re: ESPionage/Cold War and Psionic Powers

Stephen King seems to love the trope of "ruthless government operatives creating/using psychics" so Carrie, Firestarter and more recently The Institute might be helpful.

Main powers seem to be psychokinesis, pyrokinesis, precognition, telepathy, remote murder and mind control, both a crude and direct version, and a subtler suggestive type.
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Old 11-30-2020, 05:33 AM   #13
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Default Re: ESPionage/Cold War and Psionic Powers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher R. Rice View Post
So I'm working on my setting bible for NYC (Next Year's Campaign) and right now I'm expanding psi (I'm using GURPS Psionic Powers). I want to give psychic ability a Cold War feel and I'm wondering if Psionic Powers is missing something from "real world psychic" abilities.
GURPS' psionic powers are fairly comprehensive in that regard. Like much of GURPS' magic, a lot of it is clearly drawn from Isaac Bonewitz' Authentic Thaumaturgy, which was already a grab-bag of what the psychic pseudoscience community believed in.
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Old 11-30-2020, 06:02 AM   #14
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Default Re: ESPionage/Cold War and Psionic Powers

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Originally Posted by RyanW View Post
It's well known that cats exist in a superposition of all possible cats until you look at them and collapse their wave function.
A lot of people want to follow this observer-collapse philosophy, even outside of Denmark, but I've known a few old ladies that demonstrate that the many-cats interpretation is real.
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Old 12-02-2020, 08:04 PM   #15
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Default Re: ESPionage/Cold War and Psionic Powers

Sorry for getting back to this so late, folks. My personal life exploded in a really bad way and then I got food poisoning last week. I'm doing much better now. I'm going to address some of the more interesting posts.


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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Psionic Powers only gives one interpretation of psychic phenomena. To give it a Cold War feel, psychic powers should have a Backlash (something like either Agony or Ecstasy).
That's actually not a bad idea, I think Chronic Pain with Power-Activated might actually be a better way to do that.


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Originally Posted by Anders View Post
And cats. Have you ever seen your cat stare intently at the wall for half an hour? Se is seeing into other realms.
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Originally Posted by RyanW View Post
It's well known that cats exist in a superposition of all possible cats until you look at them and collapse their wave function. Schrodinger vastly underestimated their abilities.
This was something I was already intending to do. Basically, all housecats have some ESP abilities - probably True Sight of some kind and perhaps the ability to dimensionally hop into the Astral/Dreamlands.


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Originally Posted by lvalero View Post
You might want to read "project MKULTRA" available documentantion including "mental rays", using of drugs and torture to stimulate PSI powers.

Probably the Russian intelligence counterpart will be also as interested as the CIA. So, they will also have their own "MKULTRA" project as sinister as the american one (or even worse!)
Any good links for this?

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
We played a pretty successful 1960s psi powers campaign, with significant Cold War elements, using stuff from Psionic Powers.

A telepath and a clairvoyant working together can be very effective at finding stuff out, although they aren't great at combat. Our TK user and probability manipulator did better at that, although mundane backup men with guns were more effective.
Thanks! This is highly useful.

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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
Not "real world psychic powers" but definitely Cold War flavored books involving psi would be: Alexander Key's novels Escape to Witch Mountain (1968) and The Case of the Vanishing Boy (1979) used then contemporary-settings, so were set late in the Cold War period; John Wyndham's Midwich Cuckoos (1957) and Chocky (1968). Film versions such as Disney's Escape to Witch Mountain (1975), Village of the Damned (1960) and its sequel Children of the Damned (1964) would also help for flavour.

Daniel Keyes Flowers for Algernon (short story 1958/novel 1966) filmed as Charly (1968) doesn't deal strictly with psychic powers but as a related experiment to make the mentally retarded, "smart" would carry a lot of the appropriate flavour.

A possible plot to borrow would be a science-fiction movie who's name escapes me but was from the period that involved aliens providing both sides of the Cold War with six small (about fist-size) spheres, which if three are brought together by one side will allow the other side to be annhilated mentally.
Spoiler:  
All really excellent pop culture bits. Thank you.


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Originally Posted by mr beer View Post
Stephen King seems to love the trope of "ruthless government operatives creating/using psychics" so Carrie, Firestarter and more recently The Institute might be helpful.

Main powers seem to be psychokinesis, pyrokinesis, precognition, telepathy, remote murder and mind control, both a crude and direct version, and a subtler suggestive type.
I'm of the same mind. Give the gov't the ability to use psi and it will abuse psi.


Some more thoughts on the campaign itself. I'm thinking the Cold War only ended for some. I'm going to have a USSR agency that's still going and is only semi-rogue because they try to do what's best for Russia even if they don't answer to anyone there. They're still operating because of numerous black budgets they secured before the fall of their country in the 90s.

"The Sixth Eye" is going to be the weird science/psi branch of the Five Eyes that are essentially operators on a global level to deal with strangeness. I'm also going to introduce rival agencies for each country as well since the Sixers are likely to be well-funded, but bureaucratic.

One of these will be the Phoenix Directive which is the umbrella group in the US that took on the Stargate Project, MKULTRA, and all the other odd fringe science-y programs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Any thoughts on groups or organizations vying for control of the weird/psi?
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Old 12-02-2020, 08:57 PM   #16
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You might Google Project Stargate or Technical Remote Viewing for how participants claim Psi worked during the actual Cold War.
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Old 12-03-2020, 12:20 PM   #17
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Chronic Pain would not work as a Backlash. Now, you could have Temporary Disadvantage (Chronic Pain), Temporary Disadvantage (Epilepsy), and/or Temporary Disadvantage (Neurological Disorder), all of which would be thematic for Psionics. For example, a telepath could have Mind Control (Telepathy, -10%; Temporary Disadvantage, Epilepsy, -30%) [30], in which using Mind Control forces them to make a HT roll during stressful circumstances to avoid suffering an epileptic episode.
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Old 12-03-2020, 01:01 PM   #18
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Default Re: ESPionage/Cold War and Psionic Powers

Isn't the whole idea of psionic powers as represented in the psionic powers book and sci-fi since the 60s all rooted heavily (if not entirely) in the mythos of cold war era psychic power investigations?

I'd definitely also use the Psi-tech book, and just make sure what psi-tech you use is TL appropriate. This was the era of "maybe the supernatural exists and can be scientifically measured." It was the era of using EEGs and drugs and sensory deprivation tanks, etc to try to measure or alter the abilities of the mind. Psi-tech as per psionic powers, psi-tech, and the literature they were based on, was basically invented in this era.

But the idea of having lots of backlashes; using drugs that are addicting and have bad side effects; critical failures, particularly when under the influence of new experimental drugs, causing strange effects like temporarily de-evolving the user, etc is solid. This is the era in which this stuff is getting first pioneered. Making it a all a bit dirty and not totally understood is definitely aesthetic.
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Old 12-04-2020, 07:02 AM   #19
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Default Re: ESPionage/Cold War and Psionic Powers

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Isn't the whole idea of psionic powers as represented in the psionic powers book and sci-fi since the 60s all rooted heavily (if not entirely) in the mythos of cold war era psychic power investigations?
That's definitely one stream, which combines a lot with UFOlogy, alien cover-up conspiracies and US marine outposts on Mars-style beliefs, but there's also the "New Age" stream of psychic belief that traces from 19th century spiritualism and mesmerism, through Blavatsky and Theosophy and such, to modern day transcendental meditation and new age cults.

Psi-tech probably lends itself more to the former though.
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Old 12-04-2020, 04:52 PM   #20
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: ESPionage/Cold War and Psionic Powers

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Originally Posted by SimonAce View Post
You might Google Project Stargate or Technical Remote Viewing for how participants claim Psi worked during the actual Cold War.
I've found a few things, but nothing really concrete.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Chronic Pain would not work as a Backlash. Now, you could have Temporary Disadvantage (Chronic Pain), Temporary Disadvantage (Epilepsy), and/or Temporary Disadvantage (Neurological Disorder), all of which would be thematic for Psionics. For example, a telepath could have Mind Control (Telepathy, -10%; Temporary Disadvantage, Epilepsy, -30%) [30], in which using Mind Control forces them to make a HT roll during stressful circumstances to avoid suffering an epileptic episode.
It's better than mucking around with the costs of powers on abilities and it has its own flavor. For my purposes, it works better than the limitations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oneofmanynameless View Post
Isn't the whole idea of psionic powers as represented in the psionic powers book and sci-fi since the 60s all rooted heavily (if not entirely) in the mythos of cold war era psychic power investigations?

I'd definitely also use the Psi-tech book, and just make sure what psi-tech you use is TL appropriate. This was the era of "maybe the supernatural exists and can be scientifically measured." It was the era of using EEGs and drugs and sensory deprivation tanks, etc to try to measure or alter the abilities of the mind. Psi-tech as per psionic powers, psi-tech, and the literature they were based on, was basically invented in this era.

But the idea of having lots of backlashes; using drugs that are addicting and have bad side effects; critical failures, particularly when under the influence of new experimental drugs, causing strange effects like temporarily de-evolving the user, etc is solid. This is the era in which this stuff is getting first pioneered. Making it a all a bit dirty and not totally understood is definitely aesthetic.
I suppose so. Do keep in mind that I kind of want the feel of psi powers in the Cold War, but they've been around for a while. They've been researched since 1920 or so in-world so there's been time for scientists to figure out how they mostly work.

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Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
That's definitely one stream, which combines a lot with UFOlogy, alien cover-up conspiracies and US marine outposts on Mars-style beliefs, but there's also the "New Age" stream of psychic belief that traces from 19th century spiritualism and mesmerism, through Blavatsky and Theosophy and such, to modern day transcendental meditation and new age cults.

Psi-tech probably lends itself more to the former though.
I'm staying away from UFOs for a couple of reasons, mostly because I don't want to create their entire culture (something I'd feel obligated to do).

The setting itself is a mix of horror flicks like Scanners and Firestarter with the cult favorite Push tossed in along with the Mythos. Specifically the idea of the Dreamlands as a real place from the latter.
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