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Old 02-07-2023, 04:25 PM   #11
Prince Charon
 
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Default Re: [Psionics/Infinite Worlds] The Psion skerry

OK, this seems to be ready, apart from my inability to write a good 'Current Affairs' section. I thought about posting this with no Notes section at all, and let people speculate, and then decided that some notes were needed and may have gone both too far and not far enough:

Psion-1, 2019

Current Affairs
TBD <conspiracies make a mess>


Divergence Point
In 1981, people who were born after the Trinity detonation in 1945 begin to develop psi abilities.


Major Civilizations
Western (multipolar); Orthodox (empire with rivals); Islamic (multipolar); Chinese (empire); Japanese (unitary); Indic (empire).


Great Powers
United Kingdom (dictatorship, CR5 for most subjects, CR6 for the Irish); France (secret magiocracy, CR4); Germany (representative democracy, CR4); Japan (secret dictatorship, CR5); Soviet Union (oligarchy, CR5-6); United States of America (secret feudal oligarchy, CR4); China (anarchy/civil war, CR0 outside of small enclaves); Brazil (representative democracy, CR3); India (representative democracy bordering on oligarchy, CR4); Crowned Republic of Venice (representative democracy, CR3); Switzerland (secret oligarchy, CR4); Kingdom of Canada (representative democracy, CR4).


Worldline Data
TL: 8^; Mana level: None
Quantum: 6; Infinity Class: Z4; Centrum Zone: Undiscovered

Notes

Polities with 'secret' in the government type are those where a conspiracy or single person has successfully gained control (not just influence) over the government. The type of government that the people believe they have may be quite different. In the case of Japan, the Emperor has assumed direct control of the democratically-elected government (having previously assumed control of a secret cabal that were in control of the government, and then defanging that cabal - Japan from 1998 to 2011 was thus a 'secret oligarchy').

Things started going especially badly in the UK starting in 1984, when a number of psychic conspiracies, some associated with factions who claim the legacy of the Irish Republican Army, began to seriously clash with the authorities and each other, and succeeded in a number of assassinations, the largest being at the State Opening of Parliament, where both the new king, Charles III, and his wife Queen Diana were among the two hundred thirty to be killed. Prince Andrew became Regent for the young King William V (William IV in Scotland and William III in Ireland), and effectively became dictator with Parliament mostly dead, and martial law having been declared. By the time the Prince-Regent had to call for new elections in 1986, his partisans had effective control over the people who counted the votes, and the Sycophantic Parliament (as they were called where the Boss couldn't hear) were either cowed, duped, too politically-weak to matter, or in on the conspiracy. Meanwhile, retaliation against Ireland was harsh, and not only in the North; the Irish Republic had de facto ceased to exist by 1987, though it was not dissolved de jure until the highly-dubious Treaty of Milan in 1993.

(Homeline analysts question whether Andrew of Windsor is intelligent or ruthless enough to accomplish all this, especially as there is no evidence that he has any psi abilities of his own. Some speculate that he may have been replaced, or be a puppet of some unknown group, though evidence suggested that he's mainly a lucky opportunist that has developed some skill at playing conspirators against each other. Whether he is as evil as he seems, or just got caught up in events and made bad decisions while desperately trying to survive, is likewise unknown.)

The king and his brother Henry (often called 'the Princes in the Tower' as a historical reference, despite not living in the Tower of London) were rarely seen in public between their parent's deaths and the boys vanishing and being declared dead in 1992, being taught by private tutors and attended by servants chosen by the Prince-Regent; that same year, two boys believed to be them appeared in Canada, and King William was then recognized as Head of the Commonwealth in opposition to King Andrew, who claims the title but is not recognized as holding it by most members. Canada voted to take the name 'the Kingdom of Canada' in 2003 (many claim that this was done to annoy King Andrew, still called 'Prince Andrew' in Canada, though the actual reasons are more complicated).

The Switzerland of this worldline has maintained its neutrality and remains a leader in finance, as well as more recently being significant in biotechnology (and secretly, biological psi-tech). The elected government is under the control of various conspiracies, with Biotech Chulan currently being primus-inter-pares.

China closed the Bamboo Curtain tight in the 1980s, but that couldn't last with a civil war going on. What Infinity and Homeline China believe happened is that too many conspiracies with psychic abilities formed from people who resented the government, but also hated each other. The result was a perfect storm of bad decisions and bad luck, leading to a new Warlord Era.
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"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
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Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.
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Old 02-15-2023, 06:23 AM   #12
m_weh191
 
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Default Re: [Psionics/Infinite Worlds] The Psion skerry

These are interesting worldline ideas! In 2018 an article I wrote for Pyramid (3/117 "East Berlin") included a short description of a psychic worldline (Rejdák, named for Czech parapsychologist Zdeněk Rejdák) in which the Cold War never ended and the U.S. and USSR continue to fight a psionic arms race in 2009.
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Old 02-28-2023, 11:21 AM   #13
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Yamada Hanako, 2019 - Psion-1

Age: 15

Attributes

ST 9 [-10]; DX 10 [0]; IQ 11 [20]; HT 10 [0]

Secondary Characteristics

HP 9; Will 12 [5]; Per 13 [10]; FP 10

Thrust: 1d-2; Swing: 1d-1

Basic Speed: 5; Move: 5; Dodge: 8

Social Background

Languages: Japanese (Native) [0]; English (Broken) [2].

TL: 8^

Cultural Familiarity: 21st Century East Asian [0].

Subtotal: 27


Advantages

Attractive [4]
Borrow Skill (Unconscious Only, -20%; Uncontrollable, -10%) 1 [5]
Gizmos 3 [15]
Mental Surgery (Remove 'Contact Agent,' 'Melee Attack, C,' and 'Slow and Sure,' +20%; Unconscious Only, -20%; Uncontrollable, -30%) [35]
Mind Clouding (Unconscious Only, -20%; Uncontrollable, -10%) 5 [21]
Pitiable [5]
Protected Power (Telepathy) [5]
Evil-spirit Sense (Psi Sense w/ Signature Sniffer) 2 [18]

Street Smart Talent +2 [10]
Telepathy Talent +3 [15]

Perks

Classic Features (Traditional Japanese). [1]
Deep Study. [1]
Honest Face. [1]
Improvised Tools (Lockpicking). [1]
SOP (Always checks for 'evil spirits' if she's going to be in one place for a while). [1]

Subtotal: 138


Disadvantages

Compulsive Secrecy ('Evil Spirits') (6) [-30]
Delusion (Major; 'An evil spirit is following me, and messing with people's minds!') [-10]
Paranoia [-10]
Phantom Voices [-5]
Secret (Psychic Mind-controller) [-30]

Wealth: Dead Broke [-25]

Quirks

Assumes any psychics she meets are hostile. [-1]
Likes dogs. [-1]
Nocturnal. [-1]
Thinks she speaks English well. [-1]
Uncomfortable with nature. [-1]

Subtotal: -115


Features


Skills

Animal Handling (Canines) [IQ/A] [2] 11
Area Knowledge (City) [IQ/E] [1] 11
Bicycling [DX/E] [1] 10
Borrow Skill [IQ/H] [1] 12**
Climbing [DX/A] [2] 10
Computer Operation/TL8 [IQ/E] [1] 11
Detect Lies [Per/H] [4] 13
Filch [DX/A] [8] 12
Hobby Skill (Shoujo Manga) [IQ/E] [1] 11
Holdout [IQ/A] [2] 11
Housekeeping [IQ/E] [1] 11
Jumping [DX/E] [2] 11
Lockpicking/TL8 [IQ/A] [2] 11
Mental Surgery [IQ/H] [2] 13**
Mind Clouding [IQ/H] [4] 14**
Merchant [IQ/A] [2] 13*
Psi Sense [Per/H] [2] 12
Running [HT/A] [4] 11
Scrounging [Per/E] [1] 15*
Shadowing [IQ/A] [1] 12*
Sports (Track & Field) [DX/A] [1] 9
Stealth [DX/A] [4] 11
Streetwise [IQ/A] [2] 13*
Throwing [DX/A] [2] 10
Urban Survival [Per/A] [2] 15*
Weather Sense [IQ/A] [2] 11

*Includes +2 from Street Smart Talent
**Includes +3 from Telepathy Talent

Techniques

Area Effect (H) Mental Surgery-5 [5] 12

Subtotal: 62

Total: 112


Equipment

Cheap clothes
Cheap shoes
Cheap bag of stuff

Notes

Hanako was built with some inspiration from the Unexpected Psi template from GURPS Psis, p19. She basically started as a thought experiment: 'What would a mind-controller with no control of their power be like?' The result, at least in this case, is a mentally-ill homeless girl in a generic Japanese city (who could be adjusted for cities in other countries with little effort beyond changing the languages, culture, and possibly her name and hobby). She could be a distraction, or a few kinds of adventure seed (e.g. 'the trouble her power periodically causes has been noticed,' or 'her family ask you to track her down'), but probably not a PC in most games.

Her Gizmos should always be small things that a homeless teenaged thief could plausibly have picked up at some point. Her Mental Surgery is unleveled because it's too different from the standard for an equivalent level to be accurate.

Hanako's variant of Compulsive Secrecy is due to her neither knowing nor believing that psi is real, and instead ascribing all such phenomena to the action of 'evil spirits' that interfere with humanity. This is also the reason for the alternate name of the only psi ability that she has conscious control over. When her unconscious uses a psi technique, she believes that the spirit drained her of energy. She likewise believes that the Phantom Voices are spirits trying to speak to her; the level of the disadvantage has more to do with how much it impedes her than what she thinks is happening.

A nearly identical version of Hanako exists on Psion-4, save that 'I am not a psychic' is added to her Delusion, since they're known to exist. The Delusion also allows her to have the same Compulsion there as here. The Hanako who exists on Psion-2 is quite different, but I don't have a write-up for her, yet.
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Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.

Last edited by Prince Charon; 02-28-2023 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 03-01-2023, 08:31 PM   #14
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Default Re: [Psionics/Infinite Worlds] The Psion skerry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
Imagine the effect of a chimpanzee with TK Bullet. That could happen in these settings. I probably did make psychic animals too rare in most of the Psion settings, though (since things like 'need to deal with trouble caused by a hydrokinetic elephant with a toothache' are plausible adventure seeds). Mind you, the number in Psion 1 and 4 is hard to determine, since they instinctively hide their powers.
In the one and only Supers campaign (International Super Teams based) I ran waaaaay back in the early 90s, roughly a third of the issues the party had to face were emergent groups of super-powered animals causing havoc and human deaths.

Sadly because none of the PCs had 'animal control powers', they often had to settle for putting down* the animals... which in hindsight probably led to the campaigns early retirement.


* When the animals either weren't uplifted in intelligence by their powers or inherently domesticated to start with, they simply often became very dangerous to most people.
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Old 03-02-2023, 07:08 AM   #15
Prince Charon
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mburr0003 View Post
In the one and only Supers campaign (International Super Teams based) I ran waaaaay back in the early 90s, roughly a third of the issues the party had to face were emergent groups of super-powered animals causing havoc and human deaths.

Sadly because none of the PCs had 'animal control powers', they often had to settle for putting down* the animals... which in hindsight probably led to the campaigns early retirement.
Ouch! Lesson learned, though, and I hope I remember it if I do get to run a game in this setting.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mburr0003 View Post
* When the animals either weren't uplifted in intelligence by their powers or inherently domesticated to start with, they simply often became very dangerous to most people.
Yeah, that fits. RL chimpanzees are a serious problem at zoos that still have them, and they don't have superpowers (beyond greater-than-human-average ST and DX). If a freaking-out chimp gets into the crowd, there are almost always serious injuries, and at least one death (the poor chimpanzee).

EDIT: More humourously, orang-utans are smart enough to teach themselves lockpicking, and at least one (I forget which zoo this was) concealed a wire under his upper lip, and got zookeepers in trouble for a while (until the senior zookeepers found out this was what happened) by unlocking his cage and various others.
__________________
Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.

Last edited by Prince Charon; 03-02-2023 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 03-02-2023, 08:24 PM   #16
dcarson
 
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I'm now imagining a version of Westlake's Help I'm Being Held Prisoner where a group of criminals plan a bank robbery where thye have the perfect alibi. They are in prison. Instead of escaping with the tunnel they've dug they're going to rob two banks and go back in. So a now intelligent group of orangutans escape the zoo and commit robberies and go back.
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Old 03-14-2023, 09:57 PM   #17
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I do have some more Psion-1 characters and ideas, but they aren't ready for posting, while this is about as ready as it's likely to get any time soon:

Psion-2, 2019

Current Affairs
TBD <psychic 'superheroes' and 'supervillains'; moon colonies>


Divergence Point
In 1981, people who were born after the Trinity detonation in 1945 begin to develop psi abilities.


Major Civilizations
Western (multipolar); Orthodox (empire with rivals); Islamic (multipolar); Chinese (empire); Japanese (unitary); Indic (empire).


Great Powers
United Kingdom (representative democracy, CR3); China (oligarchy, CR5); European Union (representative democracies, CR3-4); Japan (representative democracy, CR4); Russian Commonwealth (near-feudal oligarchy, CR3-5); United States of America (representative democracy, CR3); Brazil (representative democracy, CR2), India (representative democracy, CR4); Egyptian Caliphate (magiocratic dictatorship, CR5); Kingdom of Joseon (magiocracy, CR3); Principality of Trieste (magiocratic dictatorship, CR4).


Worldline Data
TL: 8^; Mana level: None
Quantum: 7; Infinity Class: Z3; Centrum Zone: Undiscovered

Notes

The European Union here is both smaller and closer than that on Homeline or many close parallels; France, the Low Countries, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, and the Ukraine have a single currency (the eurotaler), a unified monetary and fiscal policy, compatible laws, and a unified military. The ESA covers the EU and a number of other EEC countries, and has a moon base with the beginnings of a colony; other moon bases are owned by the USA, UK (jointly with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, & other British Commonwealth nations), China, and Japan, as well as a failed Russian base that they have vowed to rebuild, and under-construction Indian and Brazilian bases.

The Kingdom of Joseon was North Korea, until several groups of psychics (mostly local, but some from South Korea and nearby nations) took over. The new government is rather less hostile to South Korea than the Kim regime had been, but still holds itself as the legitimate government of the whole paeninsula.

The Principality of Trieste covers the territory that had previously been the Free Territory of Trieste, as well as much of the Gulf of Trieste, and parts of the former Yugoslavia. It is ruled by a supervillain who was called 'Gospodar Sudbine' (Croatian for 'Master of Fate') before he had fully seized control, with a high level of power in Probability Alteration, and somewhat less power in other areas. The Gospodar was born in the city of Kopar on February 10th, 1947, under the name Vitomir Novak, and for the first seven years of his life, was told by his parents that he was the symbol of their new nation... and then in 1954, not only did his nation functionally cease to exist, his city was handed over to the communists.

In 1977, the country that had been dead in fact became likewise dead in law, as the Treaty of Osimo came into effect; by that point, Vitomir was an electrical engineer and tinkerer (and a minor criminal, doing off-the-books repairs and other technical work for folks the police would not want him helping) with a wife and children of his own, but he'd never completely forgotten the dreams of his childhood, nor the anger when his nation was taken away. In the 1980s, things began to change, as Vitomir and his children were among those who gained power, and his criminal and anti-government contacts were soon brought in on his vision for the future. By the time Yugoslavia began to break up in 1989, the Master of Fate was the undisputed master of the revolutionary and criminal underworld in the region that he later ruled openly. By the end of 1991, he was the only de facto authority in the Croatian and Slovenian parts of his intended domain, but taking Trieste itself from Italy took until 1995, and he did not get international recognition from anyone other than the Egyptian Caliphate until 2000 (see below).

In modern times, the aging Prince Vitomir has begun to hand over the reins of power to his elder son, Grand Duke Radoslav, while his second son Grand Duke Dragutin, daughter Grand Duchess Zdenka, and son-in-law Duke Vittorio scheme to seize power once the old man is out of the way (and may perhaps seek to see him gone faster; nor do they all agree who should rule in place of Radoslav).

The Caliph had recognized Prince Vitomir's government as part of a multilateral trade agreement in 1993, before the Caliph himself had firm control of Egypt. He still doesn't control the Sinai, where the rump Egyptian state holds the Suez Canal, ironically supported by Israel, Britain, and (more reluctantly) the EU. The Caliph wants to control the Canal less for the money than for the ability to block the transit of ships from polities who strongly oppose him, and wants to expand his Caliphate as far as he can manage. Israel and the rump government of Egypt want to survive, and Britain and the EU want trade to flow freely through the canal.


Thoughts?
__________________
Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.
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Old 03-15-2023, 05:55 AM   #18
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It's really odd to have Ukraine in the EU but none of the Baltic States, much less Scandinavia or the Med.
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Old 03-15-2023, 08:33 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by TGLS View Post
It's really odd to have Ukraine in the EU but none of the Baltic States, much less Scandinavia or the Med.
Its an oddly small and close EU that's part of the EEC, rather than a successor to it. One of the fun things about alternate histories, for me at least, is finding out what things happened after the point of divergence, that might have been changed by it (admittedly, sometimes I miss important things, but such is life, and in finding out what I missed, I learn new things).
__________________
Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.
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Old 03-15-2023, 08:42 PM   #20
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Its an oddly small and close EU that's part of the EEC, rather than a successor to it.
Yeah, and I still find the idea that Ukraine being part of it weird. Besides that part, reasonable enough. But if the Baltic States aren't pursuing European integration with gusto (which implies a more passive Russia on the world stage), then the question becomes why would Ukraine be so in favour? On top of that, what happened to Ukraine that got it up to speed with the necessary liberalizing reforms (probably to a higher standard than OTL, given how much tighter this EU is than ours).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
One of the fun things about alternate histories, for me at least, is finding out what things happened after the point of divergence, that might have been changed by it.
I agree, but for this difference, it comes off as a bit a propos of nothing to me.
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