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Old 08-29-2019, 11:24 AM   #21
Prince Charon
 
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Default Re: [Psionics] [Space] Psi Trek - Worldbuilding

OK, here is my first attempt at a 'young supermen' template. It's rather more pointful than I originally intended.

Enhanced Human v1.78 Template

Attributes

ST +5 [50]; DX +1 [20]; IQ +1 [20]; HT +2 [20]

Secondary Characteristics

Per +2 [5]; FP +4 [6]

Subtotal: 121


Advantages

Absolute Direction [5]
Absolute Timing [2]
Ambidexterity [5]
Appearance: Attractive [4]
Eidetic Memory [5]
Lightning Calculator [2]
Night Vision 2 [2]
Smooth Operator 2 [30]
Voice [10]
and 30 points in any of Artificer [10/lvl], Born War-Leader [5/lvl], Circuit Sense [5/lvl], Empath [5/lvl], Jack of All Trades [10/lvl], Intuitive Statesman [10/lvl], Mathematical Ability [10/lvl], Natural Scientist [10/lvl], Superior Equilibrioception [5/lvl], or higher levels of Appearance, Eidetic Memory, Lightning Calculator, or Smooth Operator.

Subtotal: 90


Disadvantages

-50 points of mental and social disadvantages including one or more of Bad Temper, Bully, and Callous, and either Overconfidance or Megalomania.

Subtotal: -50


Features

Taboo Traits (Genetic Defects; Unattractive or worse Appearance). [0]


Racial Skill Bonuses

Psychology [2]
Speed Reading [2]

Subtotal: 4

Total: 165

Notes

The wide range of possible advantages and disadvantages is due to the fact that the young supermen are prototypes, and the genetic engineers haven't perfectly isolated the genes for every advantage or disadvantage. They can be very sure of some talents and advantages, and increase the probability of several others, but can't prevent the children from having various psychological problems. Note that 'socially positive' mental disadvantages like Honesty, Pacifism, and Code of Honor are certainly possible, but they aren't so common, and it's the aggressive and nasty ones that made the mess, and made the news.

Social disads would naturally depend on the culture and era, and probably include some form of Social Stigma (or Secret) in a lot of places even before the Genetics Wars. In a few areas, social advantages like Status and Social Regard are plausible.

'Enhanced Human v1.78' is a possible in-setting designation. The intention is that they were really not supposed to be produced beyond enough to study and make further improvements, but the combination of impatient politicians and businesscritters, human rights advocates, and the laws of the pro-bio-tech polity where they were produced lead to this pattern of genetic modifications becoming available for 'designer babies' in fairly large numbers, and not just to people from the nation that the company was based in (though a lot of the parents kept secret that they were getting a designer baby implanted). A little over twenty years later, many of them talked their way into power (or lead coups) in nations all over the world... which was a serious problem, given how common Megalomania is in this genome.


Thoughts?
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Old 08-29-2019, 01:21 PM   #22
ericthered
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Default Re: [Psionics] [Space] Psi Trek - Worldbuilding

Ok, so you're more interested in the home front of your setting than in first contact missions. That's an interesting approach. May I ask why a super-human template is your starting point? And what the "default activities" for the setting are?

A template should focus on traits that make its characters stand out from other high point characters.

When I see the advantages Absolute Direction, Absolute Timing, Eidetic Memory and Lightning calculator all in the same place, my mind immediately jumps to "Implanted Computer Chip". I'm not saying this is the cause of that, but these advantages are very often found in AI. I don't think they're bad, because they also do a great job of showcasing intellectual superiority without actually outclassing their peers that badly. I have a perfect memory, can time events down to the second while going about my daily life, and solve complex math problems by looking at them. But when I actually need to solve something, I'm only at +1 vs. a baseline human (unless it actually involves equations quickly or remembering minutia)

Voice and Appearance are natural inclusions, but they should probably have the"off the shelf" modifier, where people become resistant to the good looks and soothing voice because they see the engineered stuff so much. See basic page 21 "Off-the-shelf-looks"

Universal Ambidexterity and night vision are weird on this template. I'm not sure why those are prioritized. On the other hand, they are memorable, and it could be fun for "perfect vision and ambidexterous" to be a give away as to what you are. Any reasoning there?

The attribute increases aren't bad. They're fairly generic, but increasing mainly HT and ST makes sense, and we are trying to convey "Superior Human".

The talents and disadvantages are weird. I'm not sure why there are specific point values of the lists. Smooth operator feels bad, but some of that is that it gives very little for being a 15 point talent and so the optimizer in me is nauseated every time I see it. I'd be happier with "most human 1.5's have 20 to 40 points in the following talents, and the following disadvantages are common among them". I'm surprised that charisma didn't make your list.

My greatest objection to the template is that as a player taking it doesn't give me any abilities I couldn't gain through being an awesome individual, and it demands I pay for some abilities that are a touch less than ideal.
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Old 08-29-2019, 05:18 PM   #23
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Default Re: [Psionics] [Space] Psi Trek - Worldbuilding

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
Ok, so you're more interested in the home front of your setting than in first contact missions.
I'm really not, I just needed something to start with, and I've been doing and reading a lot of alternate history stuff, so starting early in the timeline seemed like a good idea, the Eugenics Wars being a reasonably good point of divergence between our history and that of Star Trek. Most of the rest of what I've got nearly ready for posting is tech stuff, though I've been thinking about what's going on in the rest of the Sol System when the Genetics Wars are happening on and near Earth.

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
That's an interesting approach. May I ask why a super-human template is your starting point?
The superhuman template got written up on a whim because we were discussing the Genetics Wars, and I needed a template that was both something that I thought that scientists might come up with, and that would be capable of taking over various countries. That's pretty much my reasoning for most of the traits you ask about below.

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And what the "default activities" for the setting are?
Being the officers and crew of an exploratory or general-purpose spacecraft. We haven't reached that point yet, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
Voice and Appearance are natural inclusions, but they should probably have the"off the shelf" modifier, where people become resistant to the good looks and soothing voice because they see the engineered stuff so much. See basic page 21 "Off-the-shelf-looks"
Hadn't considered that. Might work, but it implies a degree of quality control that I'm not sure they have. These are in most cases designer babies that start with the genetics of the parents, and modify them to fit, which means that they should have some element of one or both of the parents' appearance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
The talents and disadvantages are weird. I'm not sure why there are specific point values of the lists.
For some reason, I've gotten into the habit of trying to have exact numbers for my templates. If you're talking about the Subtotals, that's just to aid my math, so I can get the total without trying to add up every item all in a row.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
Smooth operator feels bad, but some of that is that it gives very little for being a 15 point talent and so the optimizer in me is nauseated every time I see it. I'd be happier with "most human 1.5's have 20 to 40 points in the following talents, and the following disadvantages are common among them". I'm surprised that charisma didn't make your list.
I thought about it, but chose Smooth Operator because Charisma is supposed to be 'force of personality' or something like that. I think I recall someone in another thread, or a Pyramid article, or something like that, suggesting that Smooth Operator made more sense for something that would be genetically engineered into someone. Maybe Charisma with some sort of limitation (would be cheaper than Smooth Operator for a fairly similar utility in this context), but I'm not sure what limitation would best fit. Might also replace Smooth Operator with a less expensive Talent that has the essential skills needed to seize power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
My greatest objection to the template is that as a player taking it doesn't give me any abilities I couldn't gain through being an awesome individual, and it demands I pay for some abilities that are a touch less than ideal.
Ouch! I don't really disagree with you, though. Luckily, this is a draft, rather than a final template. For that matter, there may be over a dozen different types of 'Enhanced Human' out there when the Genetics Wars start.
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Old 08-30-2019, 09:30 AM   #24
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Default Re: [Psionics] [Space] Psi Trek - Worldbuilding

We're expecting Hurricane Dorian, so if I stop communicating around the time it hits, that's why.

If no-one has a better idea, this is going to be the answer to the 'Eugenics Wars' question, since it seems to be consistent with the consensus:

Vague Genetics Wars timeline

2020s: Several countries relax restrictions on human genetic research. Human Enhancement Project begins. Colonization of the Moon and of Earth orbit begins. Human exploration of Mars begins. Transtator is invented.

2030s: Pushed by political and corporate interests, Human Enhancement Project scientists begin making designer babies available to those who can afford them, despite concerns about the mental health of the enhanced children. Transtator-based inertia manipulation is invented. Colonization of Mars, Martian orbitals, Phobos, Deimos, and Near-Earth Asteroids begins.

2040s: Colonization of the Main Belt asteroids and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn begins. Martian Colonial Police founded to deal with inter-colonial crimes and mobile criminals, as well as performing search-and-rescue work; Creeping Featurism sets in, as the MCP provides all emergency services outside of colonies that have their own (and some that do, if the emergency is bad enough).

2050s: Genetics Wars begin, as many 'young supermen,' the children designed by the Human Enhancement Project, seize power in various countries. They rapidly begin to quarrel among themselves, and to provoke their neighbors. Nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons will all be used by the time the wars end. Lunar and Earth-orbital colonies are unable to avoid being pulled into the wars, along with some, but not all, of the Near-Earth Asteroids. More distant colonies watch in horror.

2060s: Offworld colonies are effectively cut off from the homeworld, forced to survive on their own; Earth-appointed governors lose power to colonial assemblies and such. Genetics Wars end. A few of the 'young supermen' hide among humanity. Others do not, and in most cases are killed. The Post-Atomic Horror begins on Earth.

2080s-2090: The Post-Atomic Horror ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.


Thoughts?
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Old 08-30-2019, 10:39 PM   #25
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Default Re: [Psionics] [Space] Psi Trek - Worldbuilding

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Star Trek is not a particularly psi-heavy setting. Sure, some people have it, but it's usually a novelty to the characters. It's more a power of aliens that causes problems for the crew. What makes you think it's a consistent fit with Star Trek?
In a typical human-dominated campaign psi isn't an issue, but it gets important fast the moment the GM allows a Bajoran, Betazoid, or Vulcan player character.

Also, literally from the pilot episode of TOS, psi has been an element of the Star Trek universe. Several early episodes of that series dealt with humans either being psionically influenced by aliens, or suddenly acquiring powerful psionics and then badly failing to control their powers.

If you want to do psionics TOS-style, sudden acquisition of psi powers must be combined with enough dangerous mental disadvantages to at least balance the newly acquired abilities. Disadvantages like Bad Temper, Bloodlust, Callous, Intolerance (Non-Psis), Megalomania, and Overconfidence are almost required.

Bajorans psis have Detect (Pagh Wraiths and similar), Empathy, Intuition, Oracle, Precognition, and Serendipity with suitable limitations.

Betazoids have Detect (Sapient life), Empathy, Mind Reading, Mind Shield, Mindlink (Family and Lovers) or Special Rapport (Family members and/or Lovers), and Telecommunication (Telesend).

Human psis tend towards Danger Sense, Empathy, Intuition, and limited Precognition.

Vulcans have some combination of Detect (Sapient Life), Extra Life, High Pain Threshold, Mind Control, Mind Probe, Mind Reading, Mind Shield, Mindlink (Family members and/or Mate), and Special Rapport (Family Members and/or Mate) with the appropriate limitations. Innate Attack and limited Telekinesis is also possible. Due to all the potential powers, plus high attributes, a skilled Vulcan psi can easily top 350 character points, even before adding things like Starfleet training or social traits.

Finally, no need to reinvent the wheel. Bob Portnell's "Final Frontier 3.3" take on ST and the anonymous but extensive GURPS 3E Star Trek supplement both exist on the web. Captain Joy's web site has very nice TOS-era rules. Keyword searches will yield gratifying results.

Last edited by Pursuivant; 08-30-2019 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 08-31-2019, 12:01 AM   #26
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Default Re: [Psionics] [Space] Psi Trek - Worldbuilding

Because TOS was produced in the mid 1960s, the writers made some very optimistic projections about how quickly humanity could move into space. Later episodes postulated that there were nuclear wars on Earth in the 1990s, but at the same time there were STL ships which were capable of interstellar travel and reliable if somewhat immature "cold-sleep" technology.

The only way to reconcile our timeline and the Star Trek prime universe timeline is to assume that ST takes place in an alternate universe from our own.

Due to interventions by ancient aliens and time travelers from the future, human history in the ST universe is very close to our own history until about 1965. After that, humanity develops interplanetary space travel at a much faster rate than we do in our timeline. Due to the presence of the Augments, there is greater overall technical progress, but also much more serious wars in Eurasia, including nuclear exchanges. Possibly the US and Western Europe manage to stay neutral during these wars. The USSR never breaks up (or, at least, Leningrad isn't renamed St. Petersburg in the 1990s).

Prince Charon's timeline is reasonable for one of the myriad ST alternate universes, but slows human technological development down by about a century.

Canonically:

* Various coalitions of Augmented Humans taking control of much of the world by the late 1980s or 1990s. This implies that a number of augments were born in the 1950s to 1970s, which might imply the existence of ultratech (TL9+) genetic engineering technology prior to that time.

* Robust STL interstellar space travel exists by the 1990s. STL exploration of the Sol system begins.

* In the 1990s, conventional and nuclar wars which kill millions are instigated by augment rulers, notably Khan Noonien Singh. The surviving citizens of the affected nations revolt, forcing the Augments to flee Earth. Earth quarantines the remaining Augment embryos, keeping them in cyrogenic stasis. Laws are enacted which restrict genetic manipulation of humans to just correcting genetic defects.

* Between the 1990s and the mid-21st century, numerous interstellar colonization ships leave Earth for various alien planets. Many of these ships, or the colonies they founded, are lost. Starfleet periodically discovers surviving isolated human colonies until the late 24th century.

* By 2024, social conditions in the US had badly deteriorated, to the point that poorer people were confined to walled ghetto areas. Things only improved after the Bell Riots of 2024.

* At some point in the 21st century, the colony of New Berlin is founded on the moon.

* Sometime after 2050, a permanent colony is established on Mars.

* In 2053, a severe nuclear war devastates much of the planet, setting up the social conditions necessary for a united Earth government.

* In 2063, Zephraim Cochrane achieves Warp I travel. The crew of the Vulcan ship T'Plana Hath immediately makes first contact with humanity.

* From 2063 to 2151, the Vulcans assume the unofficial role of "senior partners" in guiding humanity towards a higher moral and intellectual state while also restricting human access to state of the art interstellar technology. Humans starships are typically limited to Warp 2. Sometime in this period, the United Earth Cargo Service, consisting of a number of freighters, is established to link Earth with other warp-capable species.

* In 2151, United Earth Starfleet finally completes the first warp 5 capable starship, NX-01 USS Enterprise. Humanity begins to explore the Alpha Quadrant, eventually becoming an important unifying force in the region.

* In 2153, at least some timelines, a species from an alternate plane of existence, known only as the Sphere Builders, convinces the 5 species of Xindi Alliance to attack Earth.

* In 2154, Romulan plots to foment war between the Andorians, Humans, Tellarites, and Vulcans backfire badly, leading the four species to create a loose self-defense coalition.

* In 2163, the United Federation of Planets is established in San Francisco, Earth. The Andorians, Humans, Tellarites, and Vulcans are the initial members.

For ST obsessives, the Memory Alpha fan site is probably the best source available for canon material. They have timelines that are far more detailed.
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Old 08-31-2019, 12:17 AM   #27
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Default Re: [Psionics] [Space] Psi Trek - Worldbuilding

As an aside, a permanent colony on the Moon is probably unfeasible without artificial gravity (1/6 gravity probably does not allow for proper development of fetuses or for sustained health, though we will not know for a while). Of course, Star Trek always plays fast and loose with science.
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:50 AM   #28
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Canonically, the Eugenics war didn't involve nuclear weapons, the NX class Enterprise wasn't the USS Enterprise and the UFP was founded in 2161.
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:56 AM   #29
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Canonically, the Eugenics war didn't involve nuclear weapons, the NX class Enterprise wasn't the USS Enterprise and the UFP was founded in 2161.
Canonical Star Trek history is constantly mutating. There was a nuclear war and it is frequently conflated with the Eugenics Wars.
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Old 08-31-2019, 02:08 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
As an aside, a permanent colony on the Moon is probably unfeasible without artificial gravity (1/6 gravity probably does not allow for proper development of fetuses or for sustained health, though we will not know for a while). Of course, Star Trek always plays fast and loose with science.
In this case, the artificial gravity is a psychotronically-generated psychokinetic field (aka 'inertia manipulation using transtator-derived technology'), inducing a continuous acceleration toward the surface designated 'the floor.' Mostly the acceleration is enough to simulate one gravity in whatever gravitic environment the system is located (so, more force is needed on Luna than on Mars, and less force is needed on Luna than on a space station in microgravity). Airlocks and such, or paths leading to or from them, often have some variable acceleration, like a path that has higher gravity on one end than on the other, or an airlock that increases gravity when being filled with air, and decreases it when being evacuated, so that the user doesn't trip over a sudden change in acceleration while walking.

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Canonical Star Trek history is constantly mutating. There was a nuclear war and it is frequently conflated with the Eugenics Wars.
This, very much so.

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Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
Finally, no need to reinvent the wheel. Bob Portnell's "Final Frontier 3.3" take on ST and the anonymous but extensive GURPS 3E Star Trek supplement both exist on the web. Captain Joy's web site has very nice TOS-era rules. Keyword searches will yield gratifying results.
I'm doing a GURPS setting that looks like Star Trek, rather than a Star Trek setting for GURPS.

I do think that your two rather informative posts so far may become useful, though, so thank you.
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