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Old 10-15-2022, 08:05 AM   #1
johndallman
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Default [Basic, Powers] Advantage of the Week: Psi Static and Static

Psi Static [30] is a supernatural mental advantage. You, and things you’re wearing or carrying, are immune, by default, to psionic abilities. This advantage first appeared in GURPS Psionics for 3e.

Static [30] is likewise a supernatural mental advantage, a generalisation of Psi Static. You, and things on you, are immune to powers from one particular source, such as “generic super-powers,” magic or psionics. You can buy this advantage for more than one power source, but you’ll need to talk to your GM about the limits of this, and what powers are susceptible to interference or jamming. You cannot have abilities with the power source that your Static defends you against. This advantage first appeared in GURPS Powers.

Powers says that you emit “energies” that cause the effect. That makes perfectly good sense for magic or psionics, but seems unlikely for divine powers, for example, where Static could be explained as being due to protection by a deity. Static only protects you from direct use of a power: if you had Psi Static, someone with telekinesis cannot use it to pick your pockets, but they could still drop a piano on you.

These advantages have several special modifiers: Area Effect is +50% per level, where the first level gives you 1 yard radius, and successive levels double the radius. Discriminatory is +150% and means only hostile uses of the power source are blocked (see Powers p. 98). Switchable is +100% for obvious reasons. Resistable is ‑50% and allows an attacker to affect you if they can win a Quick Contest of Will with you; if they are using an ability that would require a QC anyway, there’s only one QC, but you defend at +5.

These advantages aren’t used a great deal in GURPS supplements. Psi Static will protect you from one of the Magic: Artillery Spells, and Anti-Psi abilities are fairly common in Monster Hunters. PU5 Impulse Buys lets you make permanent areas of any kind of Static, and Psi-Tech has technological “null-field generators” which produce Psi Static. Psionic Powers makes Psi Static part of an Anti-Psi power, and Sorcery: Protection and Warning Spells creates Static for a whole category of attacks, gazes, justified because they’re quite rare. Supers points out that a racial template can’t have a power source – if you need magic to survive, that’s a Dependency – but Template Toolkit 2 qualifies that: powers on a racial template can have a power source.

I’ve never seen these advantages in play. Have you?
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Old 10-15-2022, 11:05 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic, Powers] Advantage of the Week: Psi Static and Static

Immunity to a particular class of power is unusual for GURPS4, which generally tries to avoid absolutes.

"Static" to me implies an jamming field that would be obvious at least to power users, but that's not supported by the power description. (Attacks are always obvious by default, Low or No Signature p. B106, but other powers don't need to be.)

There's a question as to just where the boundary of the effect happens. "Anything you are carrying or wearing" is clear enough, but I'd like to see that put on a more formal basis (and perhaps to be a standard for various sorts of power, rather than defined here in the advantage).
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Old 10-18-2022, 02:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic, Powers] Advantage of the Week: Psi Static and Static

I use this advantage one type of character: an anti-magic knight who can't be effected by magic. The ability is usually part of his sword.



Variations of this effect show up fairly often in my games/planned games, usually as Pregen PC's or NPCs. The Quick Play game on my blog "The Sword of Ryland" has such an effect on the namesake sword, and only one pregen character can use it, so static shows up on his sheet. I've also stuck it on a NPC named Arthur Stuart who got it from Excaliber whenever he behaved (by nature he's a lovable rouge). Arthur Stuart used the ability a lot, and he saw a lot of screen time in one arc of Lost in Dreams.



My experience is that static works best if a single power source is quite powerful in the setting and quite common, at least among enemies. Also, being able to selectively choose what magic is suppressed makes the advantage a lot better.
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Old 10-19-2022, 05:02 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic, Powers] Advantage of the Week: Psi Static and Static

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
My experience is that static works best if a single power source is quite powerful in the setting and quite common, at least among enemies.
Yeah. If the only weirdness is psi, and the game is about psis fighting psi enemies, and you're immune to psi, that's huge. If the response is "oh, he's immune to psi, I'll switch to magic, superpowers, vril force, etc." it's rather less significant.

(Sure, they can always shoot you.)
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Old 10-19-2022, 09:37 AM   #5
ericthered
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Default Re: [Basic, Powers] Advantage of the Week: Psi Static and Static

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(Sure, they can always shoot you.)
True, but that's usually the point. Most Psis aren't great shots. You didn't win, but you did force the fight to be fought the way you prepared for, rather than the way they prepared for.
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Old 10-19-2022, 12:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic, Powers] Advantage of the Week: Psi Static and Static

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
True, but that's usually the point. Most Psis aren't great shots. You didn't win, but you did force the fight to be fought the way you prepared for, rather than the way they prepared for.
There's also something to be said about the active decisions that are allowed by passive protection. Psi Static allows you to treat psis as nonthreats (or at least greatly diminished ones) and act accordingly, rather than just stay safe when the scenario happens to put you in the path of psis.

Catfall is a similar example. A lot of players don't think it's that useful because they don't suffer fall damage that often. The smart player will think about all the times they avoided an action because of the threat of fall damage, and realize just how much parkour it opens up.
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Old 10-19-2022, 02:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic, Powers] Advantage of the Week: Psi Static and Static

Psi Static is incredibly cheap protection if you're designing a "mundane" character in a psionics-heavy or other "weird supernatural stuff" campaign.

You still have to deal with indirect psi attacks (e.g., poltergeist TK effects), but you can't be psionically mind controlled or mind probed, you can be psionically levitated, and you and your stuff can't be thrown around by TK or set alight using pyrokinesis.
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Old 10-20-2022, 01:44 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic, Powers] Advantage of the Week: Psi Static and Static

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Catfall is a similar example. A lot of players don't think it's that useful because they don't suffer fall damage that often. The smart player will think about all the times they avoided an action because of the threat of fall damage, and realize just how much parkour it opens up.
If you have 10pts to spend why not just get flight at -75% ? You can get that by taking a 5ft ceiling (-25%) and Gliding (-50%)
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Old 10-20-2022, 03:22 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic, Powers] Advantage of the Week: Psi Static and Static

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Immunity to a particular class of power is unusual for GURPS4, which generally tries to avoid absolutes.
It is a bit of an oddball due to that. It basically has the same issue as stating an immunity-to-damage-type advantage. If you're playing a SUPERS game and the only power sources are Mutant & Psionic, then picking up static for both is extremely good value. In a 100-point mystery campaign with half a dozen different power sources it is terrible value.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
If you have 10pts to spend why not just get flight at -75% ? You can get that by taking a 5ft ceiling (-25%) and Gliding (-50%)
Catfall really should probably give more at that cost, I'd personally be fine with blanket fall-damage immunity for 15 points. That said, I wouldn't permit the above flight write-up, to me it implies you can start gliding when you reach 5ft which is no enough to slow down a fall from terminal velocity. ...but just picking Gliding + Winged or something works out similar, though at the cost of needing to protect the wings.
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