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Old 08-23-2017, 09:32 AM   #31
Eddie T
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Default Re: Alternative Psionics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostdancer View Post
It's in GURPS Thaumatology under syntactic magic.
Ah, ok. I just bought and downloaded that last week. I haven't gotten to it yet on my reading list.
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Old 08-23-2017, 04:05 PM   #32
a humble lich
 
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Default Re: Alternative Psionics

I'm trying to think of RPGs from the roughly same time as when the GURPS magic and psionics systems were being developed. In most of them treated magic and psi very differently, although I can't think of too many which had both magic and psi. In both 1st and 2nd edition of AD&D, psioncis were very different from the magic system. In 1st edition, psi were just special powers that your character might randomly have, and in 2nd edition there was a psionisist class, but the system was radically different from the Cleric or Wizard spell casting system. The Paladium RPGs (Rifts, Paladium Fantasy, and Beyond the Supernatural) also had a psi system which differed a fair amount from the magic system

In contrast, I remember the Rolemaster games and the games from Bard Press (Atlantis and Talislanta) having "mentalist" classes which were basically just another type of magic user.

Also, I'd like to give a warning that the 3rd edition Psionics rules had some balance issues. I personally like the general design of 3rd edition Psionics, but points-wise they are much cheaper than 4th edition.
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Old 08-23-2017, 04:54 PM   #33
Eddie T
 
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Default Re: Alternative Psionics

Before I go and start making alterations (even as the option Pulver gives in Pyramid), I want to make sure I'm understanding them as written. Maybe I've just been thinking too much on them...

So, please bear with me.

Basic Set had 6 psionic powers. Now with Psionic Powers, we have 10 and a multitude of Abilities.

In Basic Set, Telekinesis allows you to:
- move objects without touching them
- use objects like you have a set of hands, etc.
- Strike/Grapple
- Levitate
- Throw things

With Psionic Powers, it's actually broken out those bullets (essentially, some are grouped together) as the Ability and a corresponding skill. You can add a talent to a category and it applies to all abilities in that category? The parent Telekinesis advantage in Basic is no longer needed to be taken. If using the more detailed Psionic Powers system.

Or you can take the standard Telekinesis by choosing Telekinetic Control.

Do I have that right?
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Old 08-23-2017, 05:10 PM   #34
Kallatari
 
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Default Re: Alternative Psionics

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Originally Posted by Eddie T View Post
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.
If I understand your problem, you're saying the Psionic abilities as a power framework is too expensive, costing to many character points to first buy the ability, and then the skill. Your first suggestion was to use "spells as psionics" where you change the power framework into a skill-based approach. This would reduce the cost of learning psionics, and thus allow a psi character to have many abilities.

I'd suggest a possible variation. Use the GURPS Psionic Powers book to define how your psi abilities work, but give the abilities (i.e., advantages) for free. If they learn the psionic skill, then they can use the ability. Basically, it's like a skill-based magic system, except you're using the psionic abilities to define how they work. The abilities will therefore certainly have more of a psionic feel to them.

The one item you'd have to work out is how to differentiate the levels for some psionic abilities. With the "magic as spells", levels of power are defined by the amount of Energy you have to provide to power the spell, thereby keeping it in balance. Using a "psionics skill" approach based on the power framework, I'd recommend that, for every 10 full character points of value of the ability you're trying to activate, you receive a -1 penalty to your skill roll. (If you prefer an Energy cost like "magic as spells", then just have every 10 character points of ability cost 1 Energy... but I find this makes it too much like magic, and at which point you may as well go with spells as psionics... also, it may be a flavor-based issue if you have both magic and psionics in the campaign as its nice, flavor-wise, to have different powers work differently).
For example (using the 10 point threshold), I want to use the Astral Armor psionic ability (Psionic Powers, p.26). To do so, I need the Astral Projection Talent and need to purchase the Astral Armor skill, as well as the Astral Travel skill as a prerequisite. The ability costs 3/level. With only the skill, I can therefore activate up to level 3 at no penalty, up to level 6 at -1, at up level 10 at -2, up to level 13 at -3, etc. I could theoretically, with just 1 point in the Astral Armor skill, attempt to activate an Astral Armor with DR 100... but that would be at -10 to skill.
As another example, using Astral Travel, to get the ability, you only need the Astral Travel skill. Looking at the cost of the ability for levels 1 to 6, to use Astral Travel at level 1 is at -2 to skill, -3 to skill for level 2, -4 for level 3, -5 for level 4, -6 for level 5, and -8 for level 6.
That's what it looks like with a 10 point threshold. Play around to find the levels you like for your game. Perhaps a -1 per 5 points will keep the powers more in check, or you can go for -1 per 20 points if you clearly want super-psis.

You otherwise apply all the usual rules for psionic abilities as per GURPS Psionic Powers. This includes the requirement of Psionic Power Talents as prerequisites, the -1 to skill rolls for every currently active ability of the same power talent, the ability to use psi techniques at a penalty to skill (on top of the penalty based on the cost of the underlying ability) and a cost of 2 FP, etc.

One change I'd recommend for balance purpose is to eliminate the ability to use psionic skills at default. Like mage spells, make them spend at least 1 point on the skill to let them use it.

Anyway, that should let you built a relatively powerful psi with just a few points while still maintaining the flavor of psi defined in GURPS Psionic Powers rather than the flavor provided in GURPS Magic.
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Old 08-24-2017, 02:44 AM   #35
Mailanka
 
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Default Re: Alternative Psionics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie T View Post
Before I go and start making alterations (even as the option Pulver gives in Pyramid), I want to make sure I'm understanding them as written. Maybe I've just been thinking too much on them...

So, please bear with me.

Basic Set had 6 psionic powers. Now with Psionic Powers, we have 10 and a multitude of Abilities.

In Basic Set, Telekinesis allows you to:
- move objects without touching them
- use objects like you have a set of hands, etc.
- Strike/Grapple
- Levitate
- Throw things

With Psionic Powers, it's actually broken out those bullets (essentially, some are grouped together) as the Ability and a corresponding skill. You can add a talent to a category and it applies to all abilities in that category? The parent Telekinesis advantage in Basic is no longer needed to be taken. If using the more detailed Psionic Powers system.

Or you can take the standard Telekinesis by choosing Telekinetic Control.

Do I have that right?
"Standard TK" is TK-Grab, and having messed with psionic powers for awhile, I can safely say that's 90% of what most people will do with TK. Psionic Powers adds TK bullet (not just throwing things, but throwing small things fast enough that they're better treated as innate attacks) TK-Crush (Which destroys internal organs). I don't know if levitate is included in Telekinetic Control, but the idea of buying it is that it's cheaper to just take flight than to take TK for the purpose of floating around.

So Telekinetic Control is not "GURPS standard telekinesis," it's the sum of Psionic Powers TK rolled into a single ability, which actually makes a lot of sense, because if you're crushing someone's throat, you're probably not using TK-bullet, and if you can only do one of these at a time, conceptually, you're talking about alternative abilities.
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Old 08-24-2017, 07:53 AM   #36
hal
 
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Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Alternative Psionics

From my perspective, 4E was ushered in not only to fix some of the game mechanics, but also deal with the issue of pricing abilities higher because people thought some advantages and/or powers were too cheaply priced. Psionics is a perfect example where the cost of old abilities under 3e rules became more costly under 4e rules. My experience with 4e has been such that if all players get the same number of build points, those who take "mundanes" have a lot of points left over to pay for wealth, status, disease resistance, luck, etc because Psi abilities are so much higher. It's sort of a catch 22 situation if you want magic, psionics, etc in the same campaign.


My advice would be to try GURPS CLASSIC PSIONICS and see if it meets your needs. If it does, great. If it doesn't, then it's back to the drawing board, assuming you don't like the 4e version. Frankly? Some things or powers are, in my players minds, too expensive for what they do, that my players won't buy them.

An interesting experiment would be to build a 100 point character in 3e, and price that character under 4e and see how close the 4e version is to 150 points. Both 100 and 150 are suggested base costs for character design for 3e and 4e respectively. Might be interesting to see it side by side.
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Old 08-24-2017, 12:16 PM   #37
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Alternative Psionics

The problem with 3e Psionics is that was most apparent at higher point levels, I ran a Supers game once and the psi easily outclassed all the other characters.
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Old 08-24-2017, 02:11 PM   #38
hal
 
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Default Re: Alternative Psionics

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
The problem with 3e Psionics is that was most apparent at higher point levels, I ran a Supers game once and the psi easily outclassed all the other characters.
I'm curious. What were the point levels being used in your campaign at the time?

I learned early on as part of my "style" - that it is often best to keep a tight rein on the points being granted to players in game play, and to use the time use rules for learning new things etc.

I also made it a point to say that points could not be spent on things not done in game play (Oddly enough, because a player saved up 40 points unspent, and suddenly spent those 40 points on increasing his Psionic abilities in a Harn World campaign - so I agree with you there on the high end psionics being really world shaking!)

The thing that maybe would have saved 3e Psionics, is if the designers of the rules had priced those higher abilities on a scale much like they did with attributes. The lower functionality powers relatively cheap, the higher functionality commensurately higher - instead of a linear cost across the board?

That's old history to be sure, but just my musing "scaled costs instead of linear" might give the original poster a clue on how to resolve those issues if he uses the 3e set instead of the 4e set in his campaign.

I could write more, but that's potentially off topic. ;)
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Old 08-24-2017, 02:21 PM   #39
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Alternative Psionics

Quote:
Originally Posted by hal View Post
I'm curious. What were the point levels being used in your campaign at the time?
I think it was a 500 point campaign, as I think was the recommended starting points in GURPS Supers.
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Old 08-24-2017, 02:43 PM   #40
hal
 
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Default Re: Alternative Psionics

Quote:
Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
I think it was a 500 point campaign, as I think was the recommended starting points in GURPS Supers.
For the original poster in case he decides to maybe use Classic Psionics...


What would you recommend as a point cap for points spent on Psionics using the older rules? Or - perhaps, with a short list, list those things that are potentially abusive past a given level of power for a given psionic ability. That's assuming you want to take the time in case it is time consuming.

What might make for a good thread is to explore the topic of the older rules, and listing what is or is not potentially an issue at a given power level.

Just a thought.
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