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Old 11-29-2014, 10:01 PM   #1
Otaku
 
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Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#21): Channeling

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Channeling [10] (p. B41, p. P43-44) is an Exotic Mental Advantage that requires the user enter a trance to properly use (requires one minute of concentration and a successful Will roll). Once such a state is achieved, any nearby spirit can enter your body and use it to communicate. The player's character (and thus technically the player) is unaware of the world around him/her/it at this point: the GM controls what the spirit says and does. The spirit must answer questions put to it, but does not have to answer truthfully. This does indeed count as a minor form of possession but (again) is restricted only to using the subject to communicate... but if the spirit in question has the Possession Ability (p. B75) it will be considered "touching" you and thus can attempt to fully possess you. According to RAW you are considered "wary" and thus get a +5 to resist.

Powers makes this trait more generic and universal; if the setting permits you can instead take Channeling oriented towards contacting entities of the cyber world, the dream world, parallel realities, the past, etc. They still occupy your body as a spirit would.

Modifiers
The Base Set presents no unique Modifiers for Channeling. A quick look through the general Enhancement options doesn't show much that looks like it would work well (or even make much sense) with Channeling, but there are a few Limitations definitely worth considering. Accessibility, Costs Fatigue, Limited Use, Nuisance Effect, Pact, Preparation Required, Takes Recharge, Trigger, Unconscious Only, Uncontrollable and Unreliable can all be used to replicate (be they fictional or historical) the rituals and results of Channeling. On Powers p.44, Preparation Required is specifically mentioned for representing things like a seance.

Powers also provides two Modifiers unique to Channeling: Aware [+50%] (p. P43) and Specialized (-50%). Both are pretty much exactly as they sound, with Aware meaning you are aware (and able to exert control over) your body and surroundings even while channeling a spirit while Specialized seems to be a specialization of Accessibility (and of course of Channeling): select one specific class of spirits that you can Channel.

Related Traits
Autotrance (p. B101, Power-Ups 2: Perks p. 12) provides a +2 bonus to your Will roll for Channeling. Medium (p. B68) allows you to sense and attempt to communicate with spirits without the need to be possessed. Spirit Empathy (p. B88) allows one to "get a feeling" about the general intentions of spirits as well as allowing you to attempt to use Influence Skills with them (assuming you can communicate with them in the first place).

There are a few skills that may prove beneficial as well, but unfortunately I can't find it spelled out in RAW that they are allowed. Autohypnosis (p. B179) has (as one of its options) going into a trance and getting a +2 bonus to Will but I am uncertain if one is allowed to use Channeling while in such a state or if that counts as an outside activity. Meditation (p. B207) likewise can be used to enter a meditative trance and thus I would think could replace the Will roll for going into a trance for Channeling but again, the RAW doesn't state that (or at least not clearly enough for me).

Occultism (p. B212), Physics (Paraphysics) (p. B213), Theology (p. 226) seem like good ideas to help identify and deal with documented kinds of spirits, assuming of course that the setting is one where such skills are accurately studied. If available, you probably want at least one (preferably as many as can learn it effectively) members of your party to know Exorcism (p. B193) for when a Channeling attempt turns into a possession. Possessing it yourself probably isn't going to do much good. If spirits are inherently magical/mana-based, the relevant magical skills would also likely prove useful (let alone several Spells).

Power-Ups 3: Talents p.24 suggests Channeling as one of the prerequisites or Enablers for Occultist (p. 14), Parapsychologist, Spirit-Talker and Thanatologist Talents. None of these provide much in the way of direct bonuses for using Channeling, but most cover at least one of the skills recommended in the previous paragraph), even if alternate benefits are being used.

Discussion Starters

1) Have you ever run a character that used Channeling? What about someone else in the party or an NPC? If yes to either, feel free to share about the experience.

2) Does Channeling seem overpriced, under priced, or properly priced?

3) Does Channeling feel like it has the best "neutral" setting for being "generic" and "universal"? Are there aspects you would add-in or remove from the basic form of the Advantage?

4) Feel free to bring up anything relevant to the [Basic] Advantage of the Week threads in general; I'm trying to make them better but sometimes I'm not sure of what constitutes "better" while other times, I just make mistakes.
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Last edited by Otaku; 12-21-2014 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 12-03-2014, 09:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#21): Channeling

I've never used Channelling on a PC or NPC. A PC group I'm in considered having someone buy it as a way of allowing an ghost Ally who used to be a PC to use his skills in the physical world, but we found it won't serve: the spirit needs the Possession advantage.

I suspect that this advantage needs exactly the right setting to be worth the points: one where there is a significant need to gain information from spirits, and where simply talking to them won't serve, because there's a need for them to talk to groups of people. Most of the time, Spirit Empathy is probably more useful. I wouldn't be especially keen to remove this from GURPS, because it does something unique, but a bigger version that let you be possessed by spirits that lack Possession would be a worthwhile addition.

A GURPS: Theosophy campaign would see this used a lot, but most parties of PCs are probably going to be willing to let the shaman or other specialist do the talking to spirits.

The advantage may also suffer from having a name taken from an eighties occult fashion, which didn't seem very plausible at the time, but I have no idea how many people remember that.
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Old 12-03-2014, 10:13 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#21): Channeling

Channeling can also be a step toward Alternative Form.

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Old 12-03-2014, 10:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#21): Channeling

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Channeling can also be a step toward Alternative Form.
Do you mean Alternate Form Base cost (only while Channeling, -10%) or something else?
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#21): Channeling

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Originally Posted by roguebfl View Post
Do you mean Alternate Form Base cost (only while Channeling, -10%) or something else?
I mean that if your body is occupied by another entity, you may gain powers from that entity's presence, represented as your having an alternate form in which the entity is riding you.

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Old 12-03-2014, 12:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#21): Channeling

I never saw it in use. Medium - that one I did take once. But Channeling seems very tied to settings with specific ways how spirits work, which seemed to be uncommon in campaigns I played.

I guess the trait's rareness is the reason for a low-activity thread.
(Also, might consider merging with the discussion of the Medium trait.)
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#21): Channeling

In 3e, page 103 of the Hellboy RPG had a Psychic Investigator template ilas a BPRD agent who could have 3 levels of the Channeling single-skill power, which can also be a sub-ability of the Ectoplasmic Projection power on 134. It is cheaper 2(/Lev instead of 3/Lev) as just Channeling other spirits into ectoplasm without the ability to projectyour own mind into it.

This "can be inhabited" (willing only I figure) by a spirit in immediate area. They are tethered and cannot travel away.

Similar to possession it can try to stay if it doesn't want to leave when you evict it. The spirit can steal your hit points and give you its energy to fuel the power (it has costs FP)

Building this would be interesting. I think it would be Channeling (insubstantial only) with Insubstantiality (projection, ectoplasmic form) but I an missing the piece which prevents your mind from going out...Basicay you are only projecting a mind to let it be possessed, cannot use it yourself.
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#21): Channeling

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I've never used Channelling on a PC or NPC. A PC group I'm in considered having someone buy it as a way of allowing an ghost Ally who used to be a PC to use his skills in the physical world, but we found it won't serve: the spirit needs the Possession advantage.


A GURPS: Theosophy campaign would see this used a lot, but most parties of PCs are probably going to be willing to let the shaman or other specialist do the talking to spirits.
Medium is far more popular because it is more interactive and lets the player talk to the spirits rather than sit around being used by them.
As for the Possession issue
Compartmentalized Mind (Controls) could let a spirit use the body without needing Possession and I would allow a new enhancement Ridden, +100% to allow that.
Also from GURPS Psionic Powers I allow Mind Trap see A Cage of Thought (p. 66)and the Technique on p. 67 to apply which allows you to trap a spirit.

Edit: The enhancement to Mind Shield is called Lockdown, +100%
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Last edited by Refplace; 09-29-2017 at 12:40 PM.
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