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Old 06-09-2021, 07:22 PM   #1
Arith Winterfell
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Indiana, United States
Default [Sci-fi, Psionics] Help with character skills

I'm working on a psionics heavy (at least for player characters) sci-fi setting at TL 10. However, I'm having trouble figuring out what skills these two characters should have as player characters and could use some help. A general sense of the game is that is centers on a starship with a crew that goes from world to world doing various jobs (think akin to Firefly or Farscape).

The first character is a former psi-ops interrogator for what was a cruel and oppressive regime on a obscure world. Eventually a rebellion overthrew the regime forcing him to flee his homeworld, and now he wanders the stars with the rest of the crew of the PC's ship. My main problem with this character is figuring out what sort of skills he should have from his original work as a psi-ops interrogator and then what skill set he should have for the second half of his story, one of survival and wandering, seeking to avoid being tracked by the new regime on his homeworld. He possesses Telereieve (Shallow) 4 (readings surface thoughts, no deep probing, used especially to check for attempts at lying), Telesend 4, Suggestion 5 (for giving complex commands to try and compel rebels to give up their secrets), Mental Blow (especially the Agony and Ecstasy variant techniques, in order to compel target to comply), and Mental Surgery (another part of the job to reprogram potentially useful targets). Those are the relevant psi abilities.

For this character I've already picked a number of skills that fit, but I'm looking for any gaps in my skills or skills I should change. The current skill list includes:

Original skill set:
Expert Skill (Psionics)
Hidden Lore (Psions)
Psychology (Human) (as opposed to the aliens in the setting)
Interrogation (for obvious reasons)
[Brainwashing] (was here, but cut it as I felt it was not needed due to mental surgery)
Electronic Operations (Psychotronics)
Computer Operation \ TL 10
Savoir-Faire (Military) (Not sure if this is needed, maybe something else??)
Administration (Again not sure if needed)
Mental Block (partly for dealing with other telepaths)
Research \ TL 10
Detect Lies (this one is crucial for figuring out if target is lying about information)
First Aid \ TL 10
Diplomacy
Intimidation
Beam Weapon (Pistol)
Knife
Brawling
Area Knowledge (Rilani Sector)
Literature
Public Speaking
Observation
Writing

Second part of background skills:
Vacc Suit \ TL 10
Free Fall
Spacer \ TL 10
Stealth
Electronic Operations (Sensors) \ TL 10


The second character is a blind ESPer with a para-radar scanning sense, retrocognition, and a special See Invisible (Cosmic Threads) with an Exclusivity modifier (not seeing the normal world). Basically her player wanted to be able to perceive reality as threads running from objects back to their source, so a stone from another worlds would have a "cosmic thread" that led back to its world of origin. Normally her ability to see the threads only reaches a certain distance, so normally a thread from the above stone would just seem to lead off into sky and disappear. Its only with psi-enhancing tech tied to the starship's engine that allows her to "see the cosmos" allowing her to navigate Hyperspace to track these threads to distant worlds and stars. For reference, Hyperspace travel in the setting is dangerous and requires an ESPer of some type (normally one with standard vision) to navigate safely. This character was grown as an experiment in psionic abilities, she has eyes, but not the parts of the brain structure that handle vision instead having that area devoted to psionic ability. She was raised by loving parents, both scientists on the project that grew her from her gene manipulated genome. They treated her and her abilities (including her blindness) not as a disability, but as a treasured ability, making her not only their special child, but also special in terms of the scientific project. For her in general I'm struggling on what skills she should have as a whole given her backstory.
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Old 06-10-2021, 07:17 AM   #2
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: [Sci-fi, Psionics] Help with character skills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arith Winterfell View Post
Original skill set:
Expert Skill (Psionics)
Hidden Lore (Psions)
Psychology (Human) (as opposed to the aliens in the setting)
Interrogation (for obvious reasons)
[Brainwashing] (was here, but cut it as I felt it was not needed due to mental surgery)
Electronic Operations (Psychotronics)
Computer Operation \ TL 10
Savoir-Faire (Military) (Not sure if this is needed, maybe something else??)
Administration (Again not sure if needed)
Mental Block (partly for dealing with other telepaths)
Research \ TL 10
Detect Lies (this one is crucial for figuring out if target is lying about information)
First Aid \ TL 10
Diplomacy
Intimidation
Beam Weapon (Pistol)
Knife
Brawling
Area Knowledge (Rilani Sector)
Literature
Public Speaking
Observation
Writing

Second part of background skills:
Vacc Suit \ TL 10
Free Fall
Spacer \ TL 10
Stealth
Electronic Operations (Sensors) \ TL 10
Psis seem to be a secretive minority in their native culture, but a known one. I don't think that's what Hidden Lore is normally used for. We don't have skills like Hidden Lore (Jews) or Hidden Lore (Gays).

The character as described seems to be more a cop than a soldier, which suggests Savoir-Faire (Police) rather than (Miiitary). Criminology might also be relevant, and perhaps even Forensics (if psi leaves identifiable traces) or Intelligence Analysis (if psis have secretive groups).

If the character is a telepath I'm not sure why they would need Detect Lies. Though you might use the GURPS Powers suggestion of letting a telepath get +2 to Detect Lies (it's as if they always have a lie detector) or even +4 (they have a miraculous awareness of the subject's mental state that goes beyond what the best equipment will allow)—and then let them get by with only minimal points in the Detect Lies skill. This is a lot like their not needing Brainwashing.

With the original background, I don't see why this character would have Diplomacy or Public Speaking. How often is an investigator called on to make speeches to the public? As for Diplomacy, when they're dealing with suspects, they can use Intimidation or Interrogation, and when they're dealing with their own organization, they can use Administration (to deal with their superiors) or Savoir-Faire (Police) (to get along with other cops).

If they do undercover work, or did, Acting seems indicated.

Were they assigned a vehicle to use, and did they have Driving, Pilot, or even Boating?
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Old 06-10-2021, 12:18 PM   #3
Arith Winterfell
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Indiana, United States
Default Re: [Sci-fi, Psionics] Help with character skills

I see what your saying about the Hidden Lore skill. That makes sense and I'll probably remove it then. I only grabbed it as it gets suggested as a possible skill in Psionic Powers to represent psychic individuals and institutes who are hidden or their machinations, or at least I thought that was what they meant. But I do get what you mean, and psions are accepted as part of society, however scrutinized.

You're right about the police though. I think I pictured him as more of a high ranking figure in the secret police. When it comes to those additional skills, I looked through them just now, I'm not sure if Criminology fits. It kinda could though? Perhaps not really as I'm not sure he is really the one out there catching the criminal's directly. But I am thinking Intelligence Gathering might fit as a major aspect of his work was ferreting out members of the rebellion against the regime he served. He also would work to thwart the rebellion's plans against the regime.

I see him as a relatively rare example of a gifted telepath, the regime valued enough to bring him into training at a young age, and valued his abilities not wanting to risk him in violent undercover activities.

I think I also see what your saying about Detect Lies, so I'll just leave that as 1 point in the skill (his high IQ and Will means this is still a fairly high number by default anyway). He also has Empathy and Callous, he understands and even empathizes with others feelings, but he will do what it takes kind of attitude.

I see what you mean about the Diplomacy and Public Speaking. I'll probably drop the Public Speaking (it was just a background skill really anyway). However, I was thinking of diplomacy (which perhaps should have been in the second skill section) as more of a shift in his approach in life, having just 1 point in it. He's had to radically change how he approaches the world with the death of the regime on his homeworld. I thought perhaps he would begin working toward being a more diplomatic person in life with others rather than always trying to get what he wants by fear.

I'll make sure to add Driving (Hovercar) too though.
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Old 06-10-2021, 12:29 PM   #4
Donny Brook
 
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Default Re: [Sci-fi, Psionics] Help with character skills

How old is your second character? Does she have any occupational background?
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Old 06-10-2021, 01:29 PM   #5
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: [Sci-fi, Psionics] Help with character skills

I'm glad to have been of some help.
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Old 06-10-2021, 02:32 PM   #6
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [Sci-fi, Psionics] Help with character skills

n the first part of his career the interrogator may not have done enough street work to ahve needed Streetwise but in the second part as he's dodging other cops he defintely needs it.

The second character needs Navigation(Hyperspace) and at a high level. Either jsut buy it straight and say the psi abilility is the basis of most of that or perhaps create a custom Talent that includes the Nav along with Physics either plain or specialized in Hyperspace and some other quasi-esoteric Science Skills. Perhaps Engineer (Hyperspce Engines) for one.

Mathematics(Applied) is a prereq for the Physics. Depending on how complicatd interfacing with the ship is there may be a need for Computer Operations or even Computer Programming.
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Old 06-12-2021, 09:40 PM   #7
Arith Winterfell
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Indiana, United States
Default Re: [Sci-fi, Psionics] Help with character skills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
How old is your second character? Does she have any occupational background?
Her player expressed her character is in her early 20's and largely grew up among scientists who raised her. Doing some research, it turns out there are a number of skilled blind mathematicians in history, so once I shared that with her, she expressed interest in adding that idea to her character. So she wants to add a focus in mathematics so I've added Lightning Calculator and Mathematical Ability Talent 2 and plan to add the skills in Mathematics (Applied) and Physics. (I'm just doing the write ups of the characters as I have the GURPS books.) So those are some additions to her character. I've been sort of urging the suggestions to her about the idea of being an astrophysicist giving a measure of "science officer" flavor to her work as a navigator. Though the setting isn't really "star trek officers" sort of flavor.
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Old 06-12-2021, 09:51 PM   #8
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: [Sci-fi, Psionics] Help with character skills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arith Winterfell View Post
Her player expressed her character is in her early 20's and largely grew up among scientists who raised her. Doing some research, it turns out there are a number of skilled blind mathematicians in history, so once I shared that with her, she expressed interest in adding that idea to her character. So she wants to add a focus in mathematics so I've added Lightning Calculator and Mathematical Ability Talent 2 and plan to add the skills in Mathematics (Applied) and Physics. (I'm just doing the write ups of the characters as I have the GURPS books.) So those are some additions to her character. I've been sort of urging the suggestions to her about the idea of being an astrophysicist giving a measure of "science officer" flavor to her work as a navigator. Though the setting isn't really "star trek officers" sort of flavor.
Have you thought about giving her 3D Spatial Sense?
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