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Old 11-15-2019, 03:35 PM   #1
Celti
 
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Default [Basic|Psionic Powers] What counts as a "change" for Conditioning?

My group is working through a Psionic Powers game, and there's a point of contention over exactly how Mind Control with Conditioning (p. B69) or more precisely, Mental Surgery (Psionic Powers, p. 61) works.

Both books cite a penalty of "-1 per full -5 points of disadvantages changed." One of us was under the belief that that means you can transform one disadvantage into another of equal cost for that penalty; e.g., Callous [-5] into Selfless (12) [-5] for a -1 penalty.

Both books also have the language "add or remove any mundane mental disadvantage." (or similar). The other of us assumed that meant that you would need a penalty to buy off the original disadvantage, and another to add the new one; e.g., Callous [-5] into Selfless (12) [-5] is a total of [-10], for a -2 penalty.

Which assumption is correct? Or neither?
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Old 11-15-2019, 04:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic|Psionic Powers] What counts as a "change" for Conditioning?

Certainly open to interpretation either way.

The definition of the ability reads " In effect, you can add or remove any mundane mental disadvantage", which doesn't include direct change. The word "change" only shows up later, in a place where it seems to me they were just avoiding the clumsier and longer "per -5 points of disadvantages added or removed". So my interpretation is that usually you're not just mutating existing Disads in place.

I'd allow a reduced penalty for Disads that were just being altered (which is to say removed and replaced with the same general Disad), rather than replaced with an unrelated Disad that just happens to have the same point cost -- say, changing a Phobia of snakes to fear cats instead, or altering the object of a Sense of Duty to be the psi instead of the subject's family. A "change" from one Disad to an unrelated one (say, Phobia -> Truthfulness) would just be a delete-and-add, two distinct operations, so the full penalty for doing both would apply.

(If the wording had been the other way around, defining the ability as "changing" Disads, with the later text being "add or remove", I'd have read it as a clarification that straight addition or removal was also possible, not just substituting one Disad for the other, thus able to reduce or increase the total Disad points. )
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Old 11-15-2019, 06:24 PM   #3
evileeyore
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Default Re: [Basic|Psionic Powers] What counts as a "change" for Conditioning?

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Originally Posted by Celti View Post
The other of us assumed that meant that you would need a penalty to buy off the original disadvantage, and another to add the new one; e.g., Callous [-5] into Selfless (12) [-5] is a total of [-10], for a -2 penalty.
That's what I've always gone with as you're removing one and adding another, thus two seperate changes, so a total of 10 points worth of change.
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Old 11-15-2019, 06:45 PM   #4
Not another shrubbery
 
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Default Re: [Basic|Psionic Powers] What counts as a "change" for Conditioning?

Conditioning is already a very potent enhancement, and I think that using the first interpretation in the OPs question might be increasing its flexibility too much. It seems to me that the intent is the second interpretation. Conditioning is not editing the character's point totals, but rather their character sheet. If you want to remove one trait and replace it with another one, I don't see any reason in the text of Basic or Psionic Powers to assume that you can swap traits with the same CP value with less trouble than just removing the original one. It should be the cost to remove the one PLUS the cost to add the other. I've assumed that traits are done one at a time, which removes any obscurity about this, but again that's me. You'd have to check with PK or Kromm to get a definitive ruling.
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Old 11-16-2019, 10:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic|Psionic Powers] What counts as a "change" for Conditioning?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celti View Post
My group is working through a Psionic Powers game, and there's a point of contention over exactly how Mind Control with Conditioning (p. B69) or more precisely, Mental Surgery (Psionic Powers, p. 61) works.

Both books cite a penalty of "-1 per full -5 points of disadvantages changed." One of us was under the belief that that means you can transform one disadvantage into another of equal cost for that penalty; e.g., Callous [-5] into Selfless (12) [-5] for a -1 penalty.

Both books also have the language "add or remove any mundane mental disadvantage." (or similar). The other of us assumed that meant that you would need a penalty to buy off the original disadvantage, and another to add the new one; e.g., Callous [-5] into Selfless (12) [-5] is a total of [-10], for a -2 penalty.

Which assumption is correct? Or neither?
I tend to think it depends on how different the new advantage is from the old one. Changing Callous into Selfless is a big difference, so I'd say the -2 is a more plausible penalty, whereas changing a -5 phobia against snakes into a -5 phobia against lizards, or a wider (but still -5, so with a higher self-control number) phobia against reptiles in general, is a relatively small change, more like a transformation, and so would use the smaller penalty.
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