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Old 12-02-2017, 12:00 AM   #1
Prince Charon
 
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Default [Psi] Mind Arts Online

An AU version of Sword Art Online, inspired by daniel-gudman's fanfiction Fate Revelation Online. The NerveGear helmet stimulates the development of psi abilities (called [Mind Arts]) in the player, while the game trains them in their use. Those who are 'killed' in-game are actually moved to a different server, so as not to waste their potential (though only Kayaba and his AIs know that, and those killed by someone messing with their NerveGear do still die). Optionally, he may actually kill a few of the players who refuse to participate in the 'game,' to encourage the others.

There are ten [Mind Arts], each with its own [Skill Tree] of abilities:

Astral Projection, Ergokinesis, Extra-Sensory Perception, Probability Alteration, Psychic Vampirism, Psychokinesis, Telepathy, and Teleportation work pretty much as in GURPS Psionic Powers, save that Astral Projection includes Spirit Communication (and allows the creation of Fetishes by way of social skills), and Telepathy includes Animal Telepathy (Psionic Powers p71) and Dream Control (Psionic Powers p73). The other two Mind Arts are Biokinesis (Psionic Powers p72), which also includes Psychic Healing and Psychometabolism (Psionic Powers p75); and Meta-Psi, which is basically Anti-Psi plus abilities that enhance or otherwise modify Psi abilities, possibly including an ability to Attune items to a particular psi abilities or abilities, without having to make deals with spirits (the Power Limitation is Meta-Psi, -10%). Optionally, Psychokinesis might include alternate Cyberpsi abilities, for Clockpunk or Steampunk floors (see below).

I've been giving the 'levels' or 'Floors' of Aincrad in this AU some thought, but not a lot of detail, yet. In general, the technology and culture varies a fair bit - the First Floor is pretty much [Generic Medieval Fantasy Mash-up], much like canon SAO, but with less emphasis on weapons, and more Mind Art schools. Later Floors may be anywhere from a Stone Age world (probably Mesolithic or Neolithic (TL0^), and likely a mash-up of anachronisms even before the players get there, possibly including a TL(0+7)^ Flintstones Floor), all the way up to expies of various SF franchises (TL8^ or higher, where Ergokinesis becomes a lot more useful). Cultures and Races will likewise vary, but will most often be shallow and inaccurate portrayals. Cardinal will not necessarily fit a culture properly to its technology level, though to be fair, quite a lot of SF and fantasy fails in that area as well. The base TL of the 'real world' setting is early TL9^.

Many non-psionic skills, and the most basic levels of psi ability skills (1 point per ability or technique, with the first point you actually spend on that skill or technique replacing the temporary point from Cardinal) are provided by the Skill Assist, much like Sword Skills in canon SAO. This is especially important for TL-based skills that vary highly from level to level (semi-automatic pistols haven't changed much in operation since 1911, but could you program ENIAC?). I suggest recording your actual skills on one sheet, and have the skills granted by Cardinal to your PCs SAO character on another, unless you're playing after the game ends, and the newly empowered psis are discovering that their abilities still work. Frequent use of non-psionic computer-assisted skills can also allow the user to learn them, and that was a major selling point of MAO in this AU.

Psi-related (but non-psionic) skills that are available from Cardinal (or to PCs and NPCs with a 10-point Unusual Background) include Electronics Operation (Psychotronics), Electronics Repair (Psychotronics), Engineer (Psychotronics), Expert Skill (Psionics), Hidden Lore (Psi), Mental Strength, Mind Block, Pharmacy (Psi Drugs), and Physics (Paraphysics). On floors below TL6, the Psychotronics skills cannot be gained, but may be used and studied if you already have them. The same is generally true of Pharmacy (Psi Drugs) below TL5 (and in some TL(5+X)^ Steampunk settings), though the skill may be replaced by Alchemy or Herb-Lore, using the Psychobotanics option from Psionic Campaigns (the Old-Time Psi text box on page 5 - Alchemy is generally more powerful and reliable, while Herb-Lore is cheaper and faster to make); Paraphysics is likewise unavailable below TL5, and any questions that might be asked in relation to it at TL4 or below would be better answered by Expert Skill (Psionics). NPCs native to lower-TL floors will mostly not have higher-TL skills, but surprising exceptions are certainly an option.

EDIT: I forgot one of the skills: Armory (Psychotronics) is also available.

Much later EDIT: Forgot another important skill: Mathematics (Applied) should also be included in the Skill Assist, and (Pure) or (Paraphysical) might be as well, depending on the GM. If a skill in the Skill Assist has prerequisites, those must also be in the Skill Assist database.


So, thoughts?
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Last edited by Prince Charon; 05-16-2018 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 12-02-2017, 10:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Psi] Mind Arts Online

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
An AU version of Sword Art Online, inspired by daniel-gudman's fanfiction Fate Revelation Online. The NerveGear helmet stimulates the development of psi abilities (called [Mind Arts]) in the player, while the game trains them in their use.
While there is definitely a hint of spiritual powers and carryover into reality in the original, making it the actual intent stretches my suspension of disbelief a lot. It seems like you'd have to *start* with a good understanding of how such powers worked in the real world in order for your simulation to duplicate the sensations or recognize whatever brain physical states activated them in reality so as to activate the (enhanced) versions in the simulation - which would be necessary or the "training" wouldn't teach you anything about the real world versions.

Though I will say it is an improvement for Kayaba *have* a motive that partly makes sense, instead of one he can't even remember himself.
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Old 12-02-2017, 04:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Psi] Mind Arts Online

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
While there is definitely a hint of spiritual powers and carryover into reality in the original, making it the actual intent stretches my suspension of disbelief a lot. It seems like you'd have to *start* with a good understanding of how such powers worked in the real world in order for your simulation to duplicate the sensations or recognize whatever brain physical states activated them in reality so as to activate the (enhanced) versions in the simulation - which would be necessary or the "training" wouldn't teach you anything about the real world versions.
That was actually why I included the Unusual Background: some people, including Kayaba, are already 'in the know' (it's a Secret Psi setting, in other words), Kayaba just happens to be ahead in this specific aspect of psi-tech.

Even if you aren't in the know, though, your character's MAO character may start with Psi Power Talents and Psi Perks, which the players in-story may assume to be randomly generated, but are actually advantages that your character has in his or her real life (this is getting kind of meta). Having active abilities above the Perk level (or psi-based disadvantages like Supersensitive or Weirdness Magnet) requires an Unusual Background, either the same one as above, or a 5-point UB for a psi with no connections to any of the conspiracies (how many, and how much they know about each other, depends on the GM).

Quote:
Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
Though I will say it is an improvement for Kayaba *have* a motive that partly makes sense, instead of one he can't even remember himself.
That was something daneil-gudman came up with, possibly straight from watching the anime and wondering how Kayaba could be made to make sense.

Incidentally, I've edited the OP with something important that I forgot: Armory (Psychotronics) is one of the available psi-tech skills that the game can teach you.
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Old 12-02-2017, 06:59 PM   #4
malloyd
 
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Default Re: [Psi] Mind Arts Online

I suggest establishing at some point that whatever brain structures are involved in psi are somehow easily cannibalized by stuff induced by other stimuli. This explains why everybody needs to be "trapped" for this to work well - it removes those other stimuli that otherwise would undo any benefit you got from playing a few hours and then logging out - and further hints at why sensory deprivation, long periods of sitting doing meditation or severe injuries (that require long periods of bed rest to recover) seem to be historical routes to psychic awareness.
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Old 12-03-2017, 02:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Psi] Mind Arts Online

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
I suggest establishing at some point that whatever brain structures are involved in psi are somehow easily cannibalized by stuff induced by other stimuli. This explains why everybody needs to be "trapped" for this to work well - it removes those other stimuli that otherwise would undo any benefit you got from playing a few hours and then logging out - and further hints at why sensory deprivation, long periods of sitting doing meditation or severe injuries (that require long periods of bed rest to recover) seem to be historical routes to psychic awareness.
That works, I think. Thank you.
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:49 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Psi] Mind Arts Online

Had to edit the OP again, because I forgot another important skill: Mathematics (Applied) should also be included in the Skill Assist, and (Pure) or (Paraphysical) might be as well, depending on the GM. If a skill in the Skill Assist database has prerequisites, those must also be in the database.
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