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Old 06-28-2020, 06:25 AM   #1
Arith Winterfell
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Indiana, United States
Default [Sci-fi] [Psionics] A somewhat different telepathy

Iím working on a sci-fi setting Iíd like some help with a few matters.

1. I want to have psionic powers in the setting (at least telepathy) but want to keep the flavor strongly sci-fi rather than falling into the superhero genre. I could use some input on how to do that. My current thoughts about it are that itís a question of power levels, with common sci-fi psionic powers being largely (though not totally) limited to telepathy with certain limitations on it. But what about other abilities? Or those abilities power levels?

2. Iím trying to figure out how to put stats to a collection of abilities and effects for the telepathy Iím imagining in the setting currently. So here are some of the abilities and effects.

a. Telepaths can sense strong thoughts and emotions even without wanting to, as if someone in the room is telepathically shouting.

b. Most of the time, telepaths have to focus and forge a telepathic link in order to perform further actions. This attempt perhaps requires a skill roll (maybe telepathy itself as a skill?) If it fails, it can be tried again and the subject remains unaware of the attempt. If successful the telepath begins to fall into a gestalt mind with the target.

c. As the gestalt state begins the telepath has to maintain mental discipline to keep from falling into a gestalt mind state with the target. This forces the telepath, who starts with a mild state of identity confusion, to spend time sorting out and maintaining identity separation from the target. If successful the telepath maintains his own identity and may act upon the target, inflicting various effects like ecstasy, agony, deeper probing of memories, reading surface thoughts, etc.

d. Telepaths experience the urge to devour the other self in a gestalt, a failure to resist this urge results in the telepath willingly failing to establish a separate identity in the merger.

e. If failed, or the telepath willingly fails this, and falls into a gestalt mind which leads to the telepath reflexively (outside of the telepaths control) trying to assume control over the new gestalt mind.

f. During the reflexive attempt to control the gestalt state of mind the target risks losing parts of their identity to the telepath which causes the target to gain identity/personality traits from the telepath. This is completely outside of the telepathís control and what personality or identity changes occur in the target are up to GM whim. (Generally a setup for dramatic scene stuff).

g. While in a gestalt mind the telepath may enact one of three actions:

i. Attempt again to establish separate identity, making the earlier check again. If successful the telepath ends the gestalt mind and they return to the normal separate identities, however there may be changes to the target as above due to the time spent merged and struggling reflexively for control.

ii. Attempt to maintain the gestalt mind but not assert dominance attempting to leave space for the other identity. This attempt can fail, if so, it results in the same result as the next action. If successful a stable shared gestalt mind might be formed (if participants are all willing).

iii. Attempt to assert control over the gestalt mind which the target may try to resist. If the target fails the telepath finds himself in control of the gestalt mind (in the manner of a hive mind) which grants full access to the subjectís memories, etc., and limited control over the targets body (jerky non-delicate control).
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Old 06-28-2020, 01:38 PM   #2
transmetahuman
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Madison, WI, USA
Default Re: [Sci-fi] [Psionics] A somewhat different telepathy

I might look at a slightly modified form of the Uncontrollable limitation on just the Mind Reading part of the ability to signify that occasional mental "shout".

Maybe Uncontrollable Appetite (Minds) (only when in gestalt: some accessibility limitation) for that aspect?

My only other immediate thought is that an uncontrolled gestalt mind might logically leave the telepath with bits of the other person's personally too.

Last edited by transmetahuman; 06-28-2020 at 01:41 PM. Reason: more thoughts
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Old 06-28-2020, 04:51 PM   #3
NineDaysDead
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Default Re: [Sci-fi] [Psionics] A somewhat different telepathy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arith Winterfell View Post
Iím working on a sci-fi setting Iíd like some help with a few matters.

1. I want to have psionic powers in the setting (at least telepathy) but want to keep the flavor strongly sci-fi rather than falling into the superhero genre. I could use some input on how to do that. My current thoughts about it are that itís a question of power levels, with common sci-fi psionic powers being largely (though not totally) limited to telepathy with certain limitations on it. But what about other abilities? Or those abilities power levels?
Have you looked at the Psionics books?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arith Winterfell View Post
2. Iím trying to figure out how to put stats to a collection of abilities and effects for the telepathy Iím imagining in the setting currently. So here are some of the abilities and effects.

a. Telepaths can sense strong thoughts and emotions even without wanting to, as if someone in the room is telepathically shouting.
Two options:
1. Give most people in the setting Easy to Read (Psychic Only +0%) [-10]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psionic Campaigns p.27
Your resistance rolls against spells or abilities that read your thoughts or emotions are at -8. Moreover, if you are experiencing a high level of emotion or stress, you must make a Will roll (14 or higher always fails) to avoid projecting your thoughts and feelings so loudly that theyíre picked up automatically by all nearby mind readers! Assume that any telepath can ďhearĒ such thoughts within skillX3 yards, or (IQ + Talent)X3 yards if not using psionic skills. You may not learn the Mental Strength or Mind Block skills, nor have the Mind Shield advantage. +100%.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psionic Campaigns p.27
If everyone starts with this trait, it shouldnít count against any disadvantage limit; in essence, buying it off is like purchasing a 10- or 20-point advantage!


2. Enhance Mind Reading with Reflexive +40%;

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
I'd say that Mind Reading (Reflexive, +40%) [42] is about right. Variations include adding Temporary Disadvantage, Supersensitive, -15% to that (makes cost 38 points) or taking Supersensitive [-15] full-time (makes overall cost 27 points), depending on what model you prefer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Mind Reading with Reflexive is essentially "just another sense." Although Reflexive does mean rolling dice, that angle simply makes Mind Reading work like hearing, vision, etc.: you roll dice to notice easily missed or deliberately obscured items. The only difference is that the die rolling is a Quick Contest of IQ vs. Will instead of a Per roll. As with normal senses, there would be no special reason to roll for obvious stuff, where "obvious" here means everything that a non-mind reader could glean through mundane skills like Detect Lies and Psychology. The point cost (42 points) is on par with that of a sense that can look inside things and through light cover (Para-Radar [40]), perceive things that are normally too fast to perceive (Enhanced Time Sense [45]), or give spontaneous visions of the past (Psychometry (Immersive, +100%) [40]), which seems balanced.

Don't forget that no amount of Mind Reading is Mind Probe. Mind Reading gives surface thoughts -- things that an emotional person might accidentally say, and that anybody might rather clearly convey via body language and tone of speech. So passive Mind Reading isn't an ultimate ability to pry into the thoughts of everyone nearby, just a souped-up version of Empathy.
Mind Reading (Decreased Immunity 3 +150%; Reflexive +40%; Reliable +10, +50%) [112]

You can eavesdrop on othersí surface thoughts. You must be able to see or touch the subject to affect him. Without Concentrating you can instantaneously roll a Quick Contest of IQ+6* vs. the subjectís Will. Modify the roll for range penalties to the subject (see p. 550).

If you lose, you may try again, at no penalty. Should you critically fail, you may try again, at no penalty. (Decreased Immunity 3)

*Reliable gives +10, Reflexive gives -4, total +6

Or

Mind Reading (Area Effect +300%; Decreased Immunity 3 +150%; Reflexive +40%; Reliable +10, +50%) [202]

as above but you can simultaneously roll quick contests vs everyone in range (64 yards), but without Compartmentalized Mind you can only focus on one thought stream at once (Think of it like being in a noisy bar, you can hear everyone, but only focus on one person at once.)
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Old 06-28-2020, 05:12 PM   #4
Captain Joy
 
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Default Re: [Sci-fi] [Psionics] A somewhat different telepathy

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Originally Posted by NineDaysDead View Post
Have you looked at the Psionics books?
Up vote.

You may (or may not) find my Vulcan Mind Meld a useful worked example.
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:48 PM   #5
Pursuivant
 
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Default Re: [Sci-fi] [Psionics] A somewhat different telepathy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arith Winterfell View Post
1. I want to have psionic powers in the setting (at least telepathy) but want to keep the flavor strongly sci-fi rather than falling into the superhero genre.
The Racial limitation to Telecommunications, Mind Reading, and Mind Probe is highly appropriate. The Vague limitation to Telecommunication is also appropriate.

For all realistic psi powers, levels of Reduced Range are appropriate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arith Winterfell View Post
b. Most of the time, telepaths have to focus and forge a telepathic link in order to perform further actions. This attempt perhaps requires a skill roll (maybe telepathy itself as a skill?) If it fails, it can be tried again and the subject remains unaware of the attempt. If successful the telepath begins to fall into a gestalt mind with the target.
Require a Follow-Up "attack" from Telecommunication. For Mind Reading, there's the Telecommunications limitation which can be applied to similar advantages.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arith Winterfell View Post
c. As the gestalt state begins the telepath has to maintain mental discipline to keep from falling into a gestalt mind state with the target.
Nuisance Effect limitation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arith Winterfell View Post
e. If failed, or the telepath willingly fails this, and falls into a gestalt mind which leads to the telepath reflexively (outside of the telepaths control) trying to assume control over the new gestalt mind.
Temporary Disadvantage (Compulsive Behavior)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arith Winterfell View Post
f. During the reflexive attempt to control the gestalt state of mind the target risks losing parts of their identity to the telepath which causes the target to gain identity/personality traits from the telepath. This is completely outside of the telepathís control and what personality or identity changes occur in the target are up to GM whim. (Generally a setup for dramatic scene stuff).
Mind Control with the Involuntary limitation.
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Old 07-05-2020, 01:43 PM   #6
Arith Winterfell
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Indiana, United States
Default Re: [Sci-fi] [Psionics] A somewhat different telepathy

Thanks for the suggestions so far. It's been helpful!

I actually own several of the Psi books (Psionic Powers, Psis, Psi Campaigns, and some others). I'm just now going over the rules again in some of the books.

Now one thing I'm debating though is, Is this too complex of a setup to be fun for players?

Another question I'm debating is how to play psionics in the campaign. I've been initially thinking about psionics as a result of the mind manipulating forces that were previously unknown. The existence and access to those forces has only been recently (with in a few generations) learned of from precursor technology which uses telepathy as its form of communication, and to facilitate that activates certain genes in those who attempt to use the tech found in ruins along with infecting them with helpful biotech nanites (partly for gene activation, partly for better accessing forces these precursors used). Using this tech requires certain genes and so only some people get the benefits if they interact with the tech in the ruins.

Though alternatively I've pondered eschewing a technical explanation for a mysticism type approach, but I remain torn as that's been done a lot already with Dune and Star Wars.
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Old 07-05-2020, 06:26 PM   #7
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: [Sci-fi] [Psionics] A somewhat different telepathy

I would suggest something different. Allow people to purchase the Psionic Talents and Psionic Skills, but I would not allow them to purchase beyond the first level of Psionic Powers. If they wanted to manifest Psionic Powers beyond the first level, I would suggest using the Power Corrupts rules from Horror (p. 146-148). Instead of calling it corruption though, call it 'psychic strain' and have any disadvantages that manifest be purely mental in nature.
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