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Old 08-19-2017, 10:19 AM   #1
Eddie T
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Default Alternative Psionics

Hey all, I'm beginning a new campaign tonight that is essentially High-Tech/Ultra-Tech with Psionics (maybe the occasional mage for shock factor).

I'm seeking feedback on alternative ways to model psionics away from the Advantage -> Talent -> Skill framework. Making the characters, I ran into exactly what David Pulver mentioned in Pyramid 3-29 with underpowered psionics in other chargen aspects. I think I might discuss David's method of using spells as psionics with my group tonight.

Has anyone tried simply removing the Talent step out of Psionics? If so, did it seriously break the Psionic characters in relation to the mundanes? Just looking at it ledger-wise, that seems to give a psychic back a lot of points.

I'm curious as to any other alternatives or ways that you all have adapted the rules at your tables. I said on another GURPS discussion list I'm on, I've owned GURPS 4e since 2005ish, but life has repetitively conspired to prevent me from being able to play and use it until recently. Now I'm trying to relearn the little I knew and at the same time work my way through the multitude of other information that the game has accumulated since my first forays.

I appreciate any ideas!
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Old 08-19-2017, 10:46 AM   #2
ericthered
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Default Re: Alternative Psionics

This is a common challenge in ultratech settings. If the best way to handle an advantage that can be reproduced with technology is by treating it as technology.

the two most useful tools for this method are the accessory perk and the license perk. sometimes if you've got a good enough advantage an usual background is appropriate. The other way they pay for the ability is with skills dedicated to using it.

So I'd suggest dropping the advantage cost, not the talent (which is really just part of the skill cost).
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Old 08-19-2017, 11:41 AM   #3
Eddie T
 
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Default Re: Alternative Psionics

Additional world info is that psionics and tech aren't going to be interchangeable with each other. For example, a character with a cybernetic radio in his head can't transmit into someone else's head like a telepath can. Or am I misunderstanding what you mean?

I think I understand the error in my logic, though.

I thought you had to have Telekinesis to get TK Grab, then the skill for TK Grab. I was calling TK Grab the talent when it is its own advantage. So the only real way to reduce the points is to make it a 0-Point Advantage (without limitations, that is)? Am I correct in that?
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Old 08-19-2017, 12:00 PM   #4
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Alternative Psionics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie T View Post
I thought you had to have Telekinesis to get TK Grab, then the skill for TK Grab. I was calling TK Grab the talent when it is its own advantage. So the only real way to reduce the points is to make it a 0-Point Advantage (without limitations, that is)? Am I correct in that?
You obviously have Psionic Powers. In that framework "Talent" still means the psionic Talents found in Basic such as TK Talent 5pts/level adds to all rolls to use TK.

With just Basic all rolls to see if the psi ability is used correctly are against IQ+Talent. Psionic Powers adds Psionic Skills which enable you to raise your roll by learning a Skill. This enables much higher target numbers.

If you don't care for the results of the pre-built Powers in Psionic Powers you can certainly build your own. I find PK's builds frequently overly complicated as a matter of design philosophy myself.

If you really don't want to build your own Powers and/or find Basic costs for some abilities (like perhaps Telesend) to be overly expensive then Pulver's Pyramid 3/29 article may indeed be your simplest alternative.
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Old 08-22-2017, 09:20 AM   #5
Eddie T
 
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Default Re: Alternative Psionics

Sorry for the delayed responses, Sunday was the Honey-Do day yesterday I didn't get on my computer at all either.

So in no specific order:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
You obviously have Psionic Powers. In that framework "Talent" still means the psionic Talents found in Basic such as TK Talent 5pts/level adds to all rolls to use TK.

With just Basic all rolls to see if the psi ability is used correctly are against IQ+Talent. Psionic Powers adds Psionic Skills which enable you to raise your roll by learning a Skill. This enables much higher target numbers.

If you don't care for the results of the pre-built Powers in Psionic Powers you can certainly build your own. I find PK's builds frequently overly complicated as a matter of design philosophy myself.

If you really don't want to build your own Powers and/or find Basic costs for some abilities (like perhaps Telesend) to be overly expensive then Pulver's Pyramid 3/29 article may indeed be your simplest alternative.
Yes, I have Psionic Powers and am definitely going to use it at the least. As others have said, I'm a fan of the skills for Psionics in it. Which is what I was originally envisioning when I posted - Generic Telekinesis + some number of the Telekinesis skills found in Psionic Powers instead of the TK Grab advantage. That is what I meant by removing the "talent" step of the equation. Then I caught my error in my logic. Isn't that essentially the same model as Magic with Magery, though?

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
An alternative approach is to concentrate on using psionics for things that tech can't do, or can't do conveniently. Mind reading, rapid healing, things like that. Don't try to compete with technological guns or armour using psionics, because that's way too expensive.
Unfortunately, I'm already committed to Psi-Sword from the Pyramid article, Data Retrieval from Psionic Powers and a few others in the character builds. One of the characters comes from an Amish-style Psychic culture -> no tech if we can do it with our minds instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
The above methods all basically give free points, from a classic gurps perspective. If its necessary to get your genre to work, then that's what it takes. Additionally, realize you'll want to give some kinds of ability more love in an ultra-tech setting, particularly physical defenses and TK.
Yeah...I'm trying to avoid blatantly free points, or at least free points that overpower the mundanes. I can always offset with cooler gear, but I'm trying to find a way to do this without forcing myself to be Santa Claus at the same time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostdancer View Post
I created a psi system that used Realm Magic as a its base. It's type of psionic power was a given "realm." I had six tiers total. Worked quite well. I had a single controlling VH skill for each power. It worked pretty decently.
Realm magic? I don't recall seeing that one yet. Is it in Magic or Thaumatology? Or somewhere else?
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Old 08-22-2017, 09:27 AM   #6
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Alternative Psionics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie T View Post
Yes, I have Psionic Powers and am definitely going to use it at the least. As others have said, I'm a fan of the skills for Psionics in it. Which is what I was originally envisioning when I posted - Generic Telekinesis + some number of the Telekinesis skills found in Psionic Powers instead of the TK Grab advantage. That is what I meant by removing the "talent" step of the equation. Then I caught my error in my logic. Isn't that essentially the same model as Magic with Magery, though?
Power to generically possess a type of Psi and skills to use it different ways would effectively be 3e Psionics. 4e just doesn't work that ways. It's Powers to be able to do a specific task and skills to do it well. Psi Powers does introduce Psionic Techniques which does complicate matters rather a bit.
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Old 08-22-2017, 01:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: Alternative Psionics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie T View Post
Realm magic? I don't recall seeing that one yet. Is it in Magic or Thaumatology? Or somewhere else?
It's in GURPS Thaumatology under syntactic magic.
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Old 08-19-2017, 11:42 AM   #8
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Default Re: Alternative Psionics

The big problem is that you need a way for someone capable of, say, Mind Reading to be better at it than someone else. The treatment in 3/e had psionic skills that could be bought up. In 4/e, you roll against IQ (for example); but if you take Telepathy Talent, that makes your effective skill higher. If you don't have Talent, anyone who wants to be good at Mind Reading will have to buy up their IQ. That is an option—lots of fictional telepaths are smart, from Odd John to Kimball Kinnison to Professor X—but if you don't want to go that way, I recommend thinking about other ways for a character to be good at a psionic ability.
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Old 08-19-2017, 06:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: Alternative Psionics

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
The big problem is that you need a way for someone capable of, say, Mind Reading to be better at it than someone else. The treatment in 3/e had psionic skills that could be bought up. In 4/e, you roll against IQ (for example); but if you take Telepathy Talent, that makes your effective skill higher. If you don't have Talent, anyone who wants to be good at Mind Reading will have to buy up their IQ. That is an option—lots of fictional telepaths are smart, from Odd John to Kimball Kinnison to Professor X—but if you don't want to go that way, I recommend thinking about other ways for a character to be good at a psionic ability.
Such as the Reliable (+5%/level) enhancement?
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Old 08-19-2017, 07:26 PM   #10
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Alternative Psionics

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Originally Posted by NineDaysDead View Post
Such as the Reliable (+5%/level) enhancement?
.....and it is an issue that Reliable will always be cheaper for any Power that has a base cost of less than 100 pts.
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