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Old 01-17-2021, 11:27 AM   #21
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Default Re: [Psi/Space] Irar, the Jewel in the British Crown

Biopsionic Technology

Also called 'psionic biotechnology,' which is a fairly accurate literal description: Biotechnology in which psionics is very important to the intended function. Psi drugs also fall under this heading, but will be listed separately.

* Several methods have been attempted to activate latent psi abilities, by various cultures that either did not have a catalyst machine or catalyst drug, or wanted something better in some way: Brain Tissue Grafts (GURPS Psi-Tech p37) are generally illegal, and have proven to be largely ineffective. Neuro-Psi Implants (Psi-Tech p38) were experimented with on Gormel, but are basically inferior to and far more invasive and dangerous than the catalyst machine. The Irari already had catalyst machines before the idea even occurred to them. Soma-Traumatic Latency Therapy (Psi-Tech p40) is illegal in most civilised nations, and never worked very well in the first place; using telepathic illusions to briefly fake the loss of a body-part from the subject's perspective was tried on Gormel, and was slightly more effective, but is still cruel and illegal. These are left out of the public archive.


* Drones (Psi-Tech p37) are illegal in the UK and Irari territory, and in most civilized parts of Earth (specific laws are not especially needed, as making a person into a drone, or creating them via cloning, would break many existing ones). A disturbingly large number were made historically on Gormel. Few have been made on Irar, and none are known to have been made on Coeb'.


* Psibernetic Implants (Psi-Tech pp38-39) are basically just very small psychotronic generators that need to be surgically installed in the body to be useful. They've been used on both Irar and Gormel, but were never common, and might not become common on Earth. They are in the public archive, though.


* Psiborgs (Psi-Tech pp39-40) are generally considered creepy, even with the brains of less-intelligent animals. Using sophont brains to create them is illegal on Irar and in the UK, and most other Earth nations agree on this (again, making them would break existing laws). Not in the public archive (national governments were informed, though the process of making psiborgs was not conveyed to them, either).


* Living Tools (not from the book) are lifeforms that consistently activate a psi ability or abilities on command and in the manner that the user controls; they are most often plants, fungi, or lichens, but some are animals. The operating skill is most often that of the user, not the 'tool.' A few are catalyst creatures (for a sufficiently broad definition of 'creature'). Many have been selectively bred on Coeb', and a few were genetically engineered on Gormel before the Final War. While a relatively intelligent and versatile living tool might be written up as an ally that always appears (x4 to cost), most are quite literally equipment that happens to be alive.

A common living tool in some parts of Coeb' is the Repellor Vine: a lichen consisting of a vine-like neurofungus carrying dense cyanobacteria on leaf-like surfaces, which is normally worn on the arm or wrapped around the body. The vine has Telereceive (Shallow) 1 and a pair of psychokinetic abilities: PK Shield+PK Shield (Piercing Only, -40%) are one ability that acts rather like a shear thickening material; PK Shove (see below) is usually an Alternate Ability to the above, but may become the main ability if exercised enough. Some repellor vines may develop other psychokinetic abilities, or be specifically bred and/or trained for them. The operating skill is Innate Attack (Beam).

PK Shove (Crushing Attack 1d; Cone, +100%; Double Knockback, +20%; No Blunt Trauma, -20%; No Wounding, -50%; Psychokinesis, -10%) [7/level]


Thoughts?
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Old 02-01-2021, 10:29 AM   #22
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Default Re: [Psi/Space] Irar, the Jewel in the British Crown

Biopsionics: Psi drugs

Psi drugs (Psi-Tech pp33-35; also Concoctions, GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 14: Psi, pp24-25, which won't be covered in this document beyond the suggestion that Taurus Blue and Taurus Red might have been developed and codenamed by DARPA) can have different effects, or no significant effect, depending on species - most drugs have the same or a very similar effect on Humans as on Coeb'lds, due to their genetic relationship, and Gormelites (also being hominins) are more likely to be affected in the same way as humans and Coeb'lds than Irari are; as noted, the Irari seem not to have had psi drugs before encountering Coeb', though some of their historians and archaeologists suspect than some plants and fungi that are now extinct on Irar may have had biopsionic properties.

* Blocker (p33) is a common drug, with variants for all races. Humans and Coeb'lds use the same variants and dosage, while Gormelites need a higher dosage to get the same effect. Hominins are not effected by the chemical which has this effect on Irari, though they will become nauseous at higher dosages. Irari taking the hominin form of Blocker take -2 to DX and -1 to Move and Dodge, but also apply -2 to attempts to sense them with ESP.

* Blue Fire (p33), which is native to Coeb', requires a larger dose to be lethal to Gormelites and a much larger dose to be lethal to Irari, but also does not enhance their abilities as it does for humans and Coeb'lds; Neurovine serves as an antidote to nerve toxins for all four, though it also gets Irari slightly drunk.

* Brainstorm (p33) is found as an herbal preparation on Coeb', and was also manufactured in the labs of Gormel before the Final War. While it requires a noticeably larger dose for Gormelites than it does for humans or Coeb'lds, it has basically the same effects. In Irari, however, it tends to cause sneezing and other 'cold and mild flu' symptoms, without improving the ability to use Extra Effort. It is generally not addictive to Irari.

* Catalyst Drugs (pp33-34) are fairly rare. One that was available and expensive on Gormel, and is still sometimes made, is derived from the venom of the Vampire Chameleon. Similar drugs are made on Coeb', though they use less rare (and thus costly) ingredients. Apart from dosage levels, the drug seems to have the same effects on each known sophont species.

* Mind Hype (p34) is fairly common on Coeb', and affects all hominins in about the way the book describes it; in Irari, it simply grants +2 to psi skills and abstract thinking.

* Monobloc (p34) exists in nature on Coeb' (refined from the defensive spray of a small relative of the skunk, which is hunted by certain telepathic predators), and is a synthetic drug on Gormel. While it affects hominins and other mammals generally as written, it seems not to do much to Irari beyond temporarily changing how things taste, and in a very small number of cases, temporarily granting Telepathy Talent +1.

* Muffler (p34) is the first psi drug developed by the Irari, and works for them as shown in the book (though it is so new that it is uncertain if there are any long-term effects). The effects on other races are somewhat different: In doses that would affect Irari as written, humans and Coeb'lds become more excitable, and any psi abilities they have gain the Uncontrollable limitation (abilities that are already Uncontrollable activate immediately, with no roll needed). Gormelites at those dosage levels become mildly impaired (-1 to DX & IQ rolls, but not to psi skills no matter the attribute they are based on), but quite cheerful, to the point that self-control rolls for Bad Temper (and Berserk if they have it) only fail on a critical failure; in higher doses, they get more impaired and become more overconfident (treat anything other than a critical success on the self-control roll for Overconfidence as a failure), and their psi abilities are affected as in humans and Coeb'lds.

* Psi Boosters (p34) are found in many, many varieties on the Coeb'ld homeworld (see also Spice and the Boosters text box, both on DF 14 p25, though the list does not include all such drugs); oddly, they seem to produce temporary psi abilities in all species, though not always the same ability, with the same enhancements, limitations, and side-effects, if any (this seems to be partly a matter of quality control, and partly varies by genetics).

* Shatter (p34) is a synthetic drug made historically on Gormel; it seems to have no significant effect on the Irari, but works on hominins as in the book. As Universal Latency is the case in this setting, it is not useful in detecting psis.

* Shiver (p35) is a synthetic drug made on Irar, and affecting the natives as written; in hominins it causes reduced self-control rolls on any mental disadvantages, though it does also boost psi skills.

* Trance (p35) was a chemical weapon used in Gormel's Final War, generally paired with telepathic weapons or powerful, boosted telepaths. A similar, fungus-based drug exists on Coeb', and both affect hominins as per the book. It does not seem to affect the Irari without doses large enough to do toxic damage.

* Window (p35) works similarly in telepaths of all four species, though it requires a larger dose for Gormelites than for humans and Coeb'lds, and Irari who use it frequently become Absent-Minded or suffer penalties on self-control rolls.

* Reminder (not from the book) is a Gormel-native drug often used on prisoners, which in hominins grants Eidetic Memory for the duration of effect, and a +1 bonus to IQ skills that do not involve abstract thinking, but also gives a -2 penalty to skills that do involve abstract thinking, and a -4 penalty to all psi skills; in Gormelites specifically, it also gives a -2 penalty to attempts to lie or otherwise deceive (this was a -3 penalty in Gormellians). In Irari, it causes mild hallucinations, and impairs IQ rolls (and all psi skills even if not based on IQ) by -2, but weirdly gives a +1 to all non-psi DX rolls.


Thoughts?
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Old 02-07-2021, 05:48 PM   #23
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Default Re: [Psi/Space] Irar, the Jewel in the British Crown

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I like this setting, it could lead to interesting campaigns in space playing Royal Aerospace Force officers or intrepid merchants, or on Earth examining the social, technological and geopolitical implications of suddenly - and unwillingly - becoming an interstellar imperial power.

I guess my main question is why the Irari would come to Earth to find imperial masters to rule them, why not pick the more advanced Memer-and-Saret? Is there an ulterior motive in picking a planet less advanced than them?

And how did they come by client species if they're unsuited and uninterested in ruling themselves? Do the Coeb'lds and Gormelites also become part of the Empire?
My question is why would they go with Britain when the United States stood up to them when they were arguably the greatest superpower on the planet at that time. Also without the United States Britain would have had to go on more drastic rationing as food would have been scarcer.
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Old 02-07-2021, 07:19 PM   #24
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My question is why would they go with Britain when the United States stood up to them when they were arguably the greatest superpower on the planet at that time.
I believe I answered the 'Why Britain?' question earlier in the thread, probably on page one. I'm not sure what a couple of wars more than two hundred years ago have to do with anything that the Irari would decide in 2021, though.

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Also without the United States Britain would have had to go on more drastic rationing as food would have been scarcer.
Are you assuming that the USA would suddenly stop trading with Britain?
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Old 02-07-2021, 08:04 PM   #25
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Are you assuming that the USA would suddenly stop trading with Britain?
I should have made clear I was talking about WWII and the Liberty Ships here.

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I believe I answered the 'Why Britain?' question earlier in the thread, probably on page one. I'm not sure what a couple of wars more than two hundred years ago have to do with anything that the Irari would decide in 2021, though.
The "British had a long history of going into other people's lands and telling them what to do, while at the same time being generally nice in the modern era, and are currently desperate for a new trading partner and thus in no position to refuse."

Ok the second I will grant you but much of the US' behavior with its brief "Empire" was taken from Britain's playbook. Also actions such as those in Dividing the Middle East and the mess that was the Boar Wars are part of the reason those regions are basket cases/power kegs in the 21st century.

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... um, I'm going to read this in more detail later, but I think I should point out that there's already a write-up for the Irari, in GURPS Aliens, and also in the 4e conversion for it at GURPSLand.
That version is also on the GURPSwiki
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Old 02-08-2021, 04:07 PM   #26
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Ok the second I will grant you but much of the US' behavior with its brief "Empire" was taken from Britain's playbook. Also actions such as those in Dividing the Middle East and the mess that was the Boar Wars are part of the reason those regions are basket cases/power kegs in the 21st century.
You can't isolate one from the other. The point was that it's a combination of factors.
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:24 AM   #27
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Default Re: [Psi/Space] Irar, the Jewel in the British Crown

OK, reasonably sure this one's ready:

Coeb'
(Irari designation; known locally by various names that mostly translate as 'Land,' apart from the Gastralii name, which translates better as 'Sea')

Major Civilizations
Atoruan (multipolar); Southern (empire with rivals); Gastralii (diffuse); Ventax (unitary).

Great Powers
Kingdom of the Valdranoi (representative democracy with castes, CR2); Lands of the Faithful Synod of the Holy Church (theocracy with castes, CR4 for most castes, CR6 for slaves); Imperium of Greater Vreziat (oligarchy, CR1); Lords and Ladies of Haasta and the Horpes Islands (feudal semi-democracy with castes, CR2); League of Ventax (representative democracy, CR3); Popular Syndicalist Commonwealth of Haasta (dictatorship badly pretending not to have castes, CR5); Muggath Supremacy (feudal oligarchy with democratic leanings, CR3); Kingdom of the Seven Clans (clan/tribal representative democracy, CR2).

World Data
TL: (5+1)^-(5+2)^; Mana level: None
Gravity: 0.95 G
Population: 1.4 billion

Notes
This planet has a number of lifeforms that occasionally allow astral entities and astral travelers to interact more easily with the physical world, as well as lots of other seemingly-natural psychobotanics (see also GURPS Psionic Campaigns p5, in the 'Old-time Psi' text box) and psychozoologics. The Irari are strongly of the opinion that many or all of these life-forms were genetically engineered by some ancient race, long before recorded history. The fact that the Coeb'ld homeworld's fossil record only goes back about 29 million years (and has vertebrates already then) is a pretty strong indicator in that direction. The earliest known ancestor of the Coeb'lds appeared in the fossil record about 83,000 years ago.

The 'Popular Syndicalist Commonwealth of Haasta' is neither popular, nor particularly syndicalist (socialist, something they vaguely pay lip-service to), nor a commonwealth, nor does it hold the Haasta Paeninsula (nor did the Commonwealth of Haasta under the previous, more democratic constitution - Haasta has been separate since the fall of the Grand Duchy of Haasta over a century ago). The PSCH, along with the Kingdom of the Valdranoi, Lands of the Faithful Synod of the Holy Church, and the Lords and Ladies of Haasta and the Horpes Islands, are the major powers of the Atoruan civilization, the dominant and most technologically advanced civilization on their world. The Atoruan culture is vaguely like mid-to-late 19th century Europe with important exceptions, such as clear castes, a worse economy and less stable politics, a higher (but eccentric) level of technology, and roughly 18th century (or earlier) police forces. Their majority religion never had a 'Pope' equivalent, instead having something sort of like the Greek Orthodox Church's ecumenical patriarchs. They became expansionist relatively recently, around mid-TL5^. An interesting cultural quirk of the Atoruans is that submarines of any size are operated by an army's scout/skirmisher/assassin (treat that as one word that's hard to directly translate) corps, while both heavy tanks and sea-going surface vessels with large guns are operated by the artillery, and airships are mostly the responsibility of the signal corps or cavalry. The continent is roughly the size of Europe plus parts of North Africa and the Middle East.

The native civilization of the League of Ventax should be obvious, and they've reached TL(5+1)^ in the richer cities. They mostly share a landmass with Atorua, but are connected only via a narrow, volcanic land-bridge (that has been known more than once historically to sink beneath the waves and rise again, centuries later), and thus Ventax is considered a separate continent, nearly the size of South America.

The Imperium of Greater Vreziat (their main language is called approximately 'Vreziath,' with an unvoiced th as in 'think') is the main empire of the Southern civilization, lagging only a little behind the Atoruans at TL(5+1)^; the Muggath Supremacy is their closest rival (still a little too weak to make the civilization bipolar, but they are growing). The Southern continent is about the size of Asia. Interestingly, the native Coeb'lds are largely in shades of green, rather than blue. The continent's rainforests are highly colourful.

The Kingdom of the Seven Clans is the biggest trading partner other civilizations have among the Gastralii (mostly due to being the least hostile toward non-Gastralii), and the most advanced, being TL4^-5^ (the others vary between mid-TL3^ and mature TL4^, a range of variation that is of great interest to Irari xenologists). It remains to be seen whether they will unify their peoples - they've already made a start on that, having been the Kingdom of Five Clans before being 'discovered' by a Valdranoi Royal West Sea Company trade-exploration flotilla, but there are over a hundred other Gastralii clans. The Gastralii are somewhat geographically-isolated from the other cultures, living on a range of islands that could be described as 'Polynesia writ large', across the Western Sea from the others. They are born in a variety of shades from the blue of the northern continents to the green of the southern, but are mostly a shade in-between.

There are other continents, but they either have small native populations or, in one case, no modern Coeb'ld population at all beyond expeditions and very new colonies. That continent, which the Atoruans call by variations on 'Belfan,' seems to have had a TL3^ Coeb'ld civilization roughly 10,000 years ago, but they all died out for reasons unknown. 10,000 years ago is also the date of the earliest evidence of Coeb'lds on the other continents, but those Coeb'lds were TL0^, being Neolithic at best. This is of great concern for many Coeb'lds, and the Irari (who landed on Belfan before any other continent). A number of species not yet known to the Coeb'lds live in the unexplored parts of the continent, including the largest extant primate species the Irari are aware of, which appear to be relatives of Gigantopithecus, and resemble huge (SM+2), upright orang-utans. They are omnivorous, make use of tools made from stone and other natural materials (largely suggestive of the Lower Paleolithic), and seem to have a language more based on gesture than sound (though they use both). They do not appear to express any form of ritual psi, though some may have non-ritual psi abilities.

For the past ten years (nine years on Earth and Irar) an increasing number of Coeb'lds have reported seeing oddly disc-ike 'phantom airships', some few of which include close encounters with the crews. These crews seem to be 'very smart bird-people' who preposterously claim (if both communicating at all and mentioning their origin) to be from another planet, orbiting a distant star. The most credible incident of a close encounter with the bird-people was at an isolated hamlet where a group of children were caught in a cave-in. A phantom airship soon arrived, and several bird-people flew down, dug a hole perpendicular to the cave-in, and were able to rescue the children, even healing those that the local Healer could not. Astronomers have also recorded seeing anomalous comets or asteroids. Many 'sensible' people refuse to believe that these are aliens from another star, of course, offering such explanations as swamp gas, clouds, misidentified normal airships, pranksters, and spirits. Even those who accept the existence of these entities often dismiss the bizarre claim to be from another star, instead suggesting that if these are material beings, they most likely come from an undiscovered island or continent, something that the Coeb'lds are more familiar with. Expeditions have even been mounted to locate the Hidden Island of the Bird-People, and though they haven't found it, they have discovered a few other islands (though they found the continent of Belfan before the Irari arrived).
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:25 AM   #28
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The three largest land predators are a quadrupedal species of owl the size of a bear (SM+1, a few at +2), a giant carnivorous relative of the squirrel (SM+0), and the ape-folk of Belfan. The 'mouse' niches are mainly filled by tiny (SM-7 or less) relatives of the woolly mammoth, though there are rats and mice in some areas. Roaches of various types are also annoyingly common.

Coeb'lds are mostly GURPS Banestorm Kobolds, save that they have, on average, 30 points in one or more Talents, which tend to run in families; the Irari consider the fact that Coeb'lds are basically always talented in some set of skills as evidence that they were genetically engineered. Some Coeb'lds are very strong-willed, though most aren't. Some Coeb'lds buy down or buy off Short Attention Span, or more often replace it with an Obsession or Compulsive Behavior, or have a Short Attention Span that only kicks in for things with no relation to an Obsession or Compulsive Behavior that they have. A Coeb'ld is far more likely to have IQ 9 and Natural Scientist 4, or even 6, than to have base IQ higher than 10 (which is not to say that they don't exist, they're just quite rare). Coeb'lds among their own people tend not to have Social Stigma (Uneducated), naturally (apart from those who lack a proper Coeb'ld education). Oddly, they are genetically similar enough to humanity to produce viable offspring.

While no Coeb'ld nation has a proper space program, some groups and a few individual scientists have begun work on liquid-fuel rocket technology, with an eye toward eventually reaching the Moon and other planets.

Most Coeb'lds who demonstrate psi abilities at all use psi drugs, and in many cases, have no active powers without them (though they may have Psi Talents or even Psi Perks). Thus, they make less use of ritual psi than the Irari or Gormelites; those that do are more likely to use Ritual Magic, Religious Ritual, or Symbol Drawing as their core skill, though there are some who make use of Meditation or Combat Art skills. Several styles have Esoteric Medicine or Fortune-Telling as a prerequisite and/or a complementary skill. Book styles are rare, but less so than among the Gormelites, who only have one Book style (though with several Books) that the Irari are aware of, practiced by one community. (Therefore, 'common' in the paragraphs below tends to mean 'common for those who use ritual psi at all,' rather than 'common for Coeb'ld psis in general.')

One power or path that was a surprise to the Irari is Necrokinesis: psychically animating dead bodies, usually through specialized psychokinetic or ergokinetic effects (in some cases, the animation is performed by astral entities with Barrier Breaking and PK or EK, rather than by a living psi directly); it is most often illegal. Some styles put Biokinesis & Necrokinesis in the same Path, though certainly not all; Bioknesis itself (including Psychometabolism and related Psychic Healing abilities) is found in most Coeb'ld styles, though it is sometimes divided up by general type of lifeform (not specific species, but specific kingdoms or broad categories within a kingdom). There is an equivalent of Cyberpsi that affects fluidic computers; it is part of Psychokinesis when not a separate power/path. Electrokinesis and Photokinesis are sometimes separate paths, and sometimes together. Photokinesis is sometimes instead placed with Sonokinesis and minor psychokinetic or biokinetic effects in a path that is mostly translated as 'Glamourie.' Psychic Vampirism is generally a distinct path, and frequently illegal, or at least requiring a license. ESP, Probability Alteration, and Meta-Psi paths are fairly common to most styles. Telepathy and Teleportation are somewhat rare as separate paths, though some rituals in other paths may include some telepathic effects (e.g. 'Telereceive (Shallow)' and Telescan are commonly part of ESP paths, and Mind Shield is often part of Meta-Psi or Psychic Vampirism). Astral Projection is more complicated, and is covered below.

Most Coeb'ld cultures divide Astral Projection (which includes Spirit Communication) into several Powers or Paths based on which spirits are being contacted. Known examples include Celestial Communion (the gods and their servitors, or other astral entities that are considered 'elementally good'), Diabolism (evil spirits, often overlaps with the more hostile parts of Probability Alteration or Psychic Vampirism), Necromancy (ghosts, overlaps with or is treated as part of Necrokinesis; some styles place both under Diabolism), and Naturism (nature spirits, may overlap with Biokinesis or Animal Telepathy (or include abilities thereof, and possibly regular Telepathic abilities, as well), and overlaps with Probability Alteration in regard to the weather), which is sometimes divided further based on the environment (sea, desert, forests, et cetra), or by types of life, or separates weather spirits into their own Path (Kairomancy). Dream Control also seems to fall into this area, though sometimes nightmares are under a form of the Path of Diabolism, with other dreams either being their own Path, or part of Celestial Communion or Necromancy. Other branches of Astral Projection are possible (e.g Spirits of Mathematics), but less common. Some styles consist entirely of Astral Projection paths. Necromancy and Diabolism are frequently illegal, and some or all branches of Naturism may be, depending on the nation.

Due to the local conditions mentioned in the first paragraph, some plants, animals, and other lifeforms can 'weaken the barrier' between the Outer Astral Plane and the physical world, whether for Astral Projection abilities in general, or only for specific branches of Astral Projection. This means that where these effects are active, some or all Astral Projection abilities (as well as any other abilities that one tries to use through Barrier Breaking) gain a bonus, generally between +2 and +7. The Barrier Breaking and Cross-World Communication techniques gain twice that bonus (though abilities used through Barrier Breaking only gain the unmodified bonus), as do the various forms of Spirit Communication. The lifeforms that cause this are often essential ingredients in related psi boosters.

As with some humans, a number of Coeb'lds have Psi Adept with an 'Only When Nude' or 'Only When Skyclad' limitation - the latter being in this context 'nude in a location with no roof, other than possibly tree branches.' Gadget or Trigger limitations that are psychological crutches are fairly common limitations on Psi Adept. Like other races, 'One Path Only' or 'Limited Paths' limitations are quite common ('Astral Projection Paths Only' is one of the more common examples, though the Coeb'lds have multiple conflicting theories as to why, if they acknowledge it at all). Environmental and astrological limitations are also fairly common.

One rare but famous ability does not appear to be available with ritual psi: Astral Patron, a form of Divine Favor with 'Astral Projection, -10%' replacing 'Divine, -10%' (see also the Totem Spirits webarticle - scroll down to 'Divine Favor and Totems'; the most powerful Astral Patrons that seem to exist in this setting (including on other planets, if any are found) would fit 'Minor Deity, -15%'; 'Minor Spirit, -50%' is far more common). Coeb'lds with this power are nearly always granted high positions in the priesthood of whichever faith worships their Patron (or more often, worships their Patron's Patron).

Many native psi drugs are addictive to various degrees. This is particularly known to be a problem in the case of Necrokinesis-boosters in general, Necromancy-boosters specifically, and Diabolism-boosters (the latter being psychologically addictive to a great degree).


Thoughts?
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Old 02-19-2021, 02:20 PM   #29
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Default Re: [Psi/Space] Irar, the Jewel in the British Crown

Related to the above:

New and Modified Talents for Coeb'lds

A few Talent advantages require small modifications: In Cunning Folk and Green Thumb, Herb Lore should be replaced by Pharmacy (Herbal), which the Coeb'lds use to make psychobotanics (including some psi drugs). In Dungeon Artificer and Occultist, Alchemy is replaced with Pharmacy (Synthetic), which the Coeb'lds use to make psi drugs (usually of greater expense than those made with Herbal Pharmacy, and sometimes of higher quality, reliability, and/or safety), and a few other psychobotanics. In Occultist, Thaumatology is replaced with Expert Skill (Psionics). In Thanatologist, Theology is removed in favor of Pharmacy (Herbal), with a focus on Necromancy/Necrokinesis-related psychobotanics and psi drugs. As suggested in Power-Ups 3: Talents p14, Freight Handling and Shiphandling are added to Seafarer, and Mariner is generally not used.

New Talents:

Airship Technician, 5 points/level
Based on Artificer.
Airshipman, Armoury, Gunner, Mechanic, Piloting (Lighter-Than-Air). (Armoury and/or Gunner are sometimes replaced by Meteorology and/or Navigation (Air).)

Analytical Engineer, 5 points/level
Steampunk Computer Wizard for fluidic computers and a telegraphy-based proto-internet. For something closer to Babbage's Analytical Engine, replace Engineer (Fluidics) with Engineer (Mechanical), and Mechanic (Fluidics) with Mechanic (Analytical Engine); if there's no Internet-equivalent, drop Electronics Operation (Communications).
Computer Operation (Analytical Engine), Computer Programming (Analytical Engine), Electronics Operation (Communications), Engineer (Fluidics), Expert Skill (Analytical Engine Security), Mechanic (Fluidics).

Combat Artificer, 10 points/level
Based on Artificer.
Armoury, Artillery, Carpentry, Engineer (Combat), Explosives, Gunner, Mathematics (Applied and Surveying), and Smith.

Master Accountant, 5 points/level
Based on Mathematical Ability.
Accounting, Cryptography, Finance, Market Analysis, Mathematics, and Merchant.

Military Technician, 5 points/level
Based on Artificer.
Armoury, Guns, Hiking, Mechanic, Soldier. (Sometimes Survival is added, or replaces Hiking or Mechanic.)

Nautical Technician, 5 points/level
Based on Artificer.
Armoury, Carpentry, Mechanic, Meteorology, Seamanship, Shiphandling. (Armoury is sometimes replaced by Navigation (Sea).)

Skyfarer, 10 points/level
Based on Seafarer.
Airshiphandling, Airshipman, Freight Handling, Gunner, Mechanic, Meteorology, Navigation (Air), Piloting (Lighter-Than-Air).

Some Coeb'lds have their own rare or unique Talents, though few or no Coeb'lds have shown a Talent for Administration. A century ago, Airship Technician and Skyfarer were among these rare talents, though they have become more common as airships have. Analytical Engineer is similarly new, though less so than airship-related talents.
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-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 5/25/2021: September, 2014 article has been posted.
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Old 02-19-2021, 02:21 PM   #30
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Default Re: [Psi/Space] Irar, the Jewel in the British Crown

Castes of Atorua

During formal education, the Atoruan culture places young Coeb'lds into castes based on what Talent or Talents one has (or rather, based on a series of examinations and observations that certain Talents help with). Ending up in a lower caste than one's parents is possible, and a source of great shame; ending up in a higher caste is also possible, and can result in being adopted into a family in that caste, or being allowed to marry into one, as well as benefiting one's birth-family socially and financially. Significant achievements later in life can lead to one being placed in a higher caste than one graduated into, often with the excuse that one had 'tested badly' before. The ease or difficulty of moving from one caste to another after adulthood varies by time and region. The Valdranoi currently have fairly loose castes with relatively easy mobility, while the Lands of the Faithful Synod have the least caste-mobility in Atorua. The Popular Syndicalist Commonwealth of Haasta theoretically has no castes, and no Status, but in practice does - they simply have very shallow justifications for putting people 'in their proper place' without admitting that this is what they're doing (they also theoretically have elections, but the Syndicalist Party 'counts' the votes, and declares the result in line with what benefits the Party, with little regard for who people actually want in office).

Other cultures will test for various Talents, but mostly do not have castes - unless you stretch the definition of 'caste' unfairly.


Atoruan castes (normal Status ranges, not accounting for Wealth or Rank):

* Priest (Status 2 to 6): The highest caste, socially, mediating between the people and the gods (through study and ritual, or the use of drugs that stimulate Celestial Communion or other permitted Astral Projection-related abilities, or in rare cases by having an Astral Patron); in some Atoruan nations, the Priestly Caste is merged with the Nobility, or with the Sage Caste (or both, in the Lands of the Faithful Synod of the Holy Church). Helpful Talents for this caste include Close to Heaven, Close to the Earth, Psientist, and Spirit Talker. Charisma is also helpful, as are high levels of Devotion or Empath; some Healers may be brought into this caste, especially if they have other useful Talents or work especially hard on learning religious skills, or are good at Biokinesis (but are not seen to use Necrokinesis). Psi-drug addiction is more common among the Priestly caste than in any other save the lowest. Not all priests or priestesses are part of this caste: followers of foreign (non-Atoruan) gods are either outside the hierarchy due to being foreign visitors, or may be placed in a caste without regard to their status in their own religion, for Atoruan priests/priestesses of non-Atoruan gods. Followers of forbidden Atoruan gods (e.g. the Goddess of Thieves, God of Evil, and God of Death are acknowledged members of the Atoruan pantheon, but cannot legally have their own priesthoods in most Atoruan states) are placed in the Criminal caste, below.

* Noble (Status 2 to 5): Arguably the highest caste in practical terms, being the folk that military officers, higher administrators, courtiers, and politicians are drawn from (though in the most egalitarian nations, members of lower castes may stand for election and even have a chance at winning). Particularly useful Talents are Born Tactician, Born War-Leader, Intuitive Admiral (Sea or Air), Smooth Operator, Talker, and again, Charisma. There is a certain amount of division between military nobility (Born Tactician, Born War-Leader, Intuitive Admiral) and court nobility (Smooth Operator, Talker), which become separate castes in some nations (with military nobility often being part of the Warrior caste, which may be placed higher there than it is on this list).

* Sage (Status 1 to 4): The intellectual caste, as well as the caste most bankers come from. Helpful Talents include Analytical Engineer, Cunning Folk, Mathematical Ability, Natural Scientist, Occultist, Parapsychologist, and of course Sage; most Healers are also part of this caste. Some nations merge this caste with the Merchant and/or Technical casts, below, or the Priest caste, above. Many ritual psis are in this caste.

* Warrior (Status 0 to 3): The caste of professional combatants and military support, from which most NCOs and peacetime enlisted personnel derive (other castes may be drafted into the ranks in the event of war), though few commissioned officers come out of this caste, unless it is merged with the military nobility. Common Talents include Airship Technician, Born Soldier, Combat Artificer, Dungeon Artificer, Military Technician, Nautical Technician, Stalker, and Survivor; most experienced soldiers and such have one or more high physical stats. It is possible in most nations to join the military without being part of the Warriors or the Nobles, but one is less likely to rise much beyond the lowest NCO ranks, or if managing to get a commission or warrant (most common with Sages and Merchants), the lowest officer ranks.

* Merchant (Status 0 to 2): Shopkeepers, traders, farmers, fixers, artists, and so on are part of this caste (though a lot of fixers are also criminals, and may find themselves in that caste if caught). Beneficial Talents include Airship Technician (the less martial variants), Allure, Born Entertainer, Gifted Artist, Green Thumb, Master Accountant, Musical Ability, Nautical Technician (the less martial variant), Poet, Seafarer, Skyfarer, Street-Smart, and Street Smarts (yes, those are separate). The greatest Merchants have a high imputed Status from their Wealth, but must still be careful not to offend those in higher castes, lest they lose it all. The lowest caste that can run for political office (in nations where that's an option at all) and have a chance at winning without a higher-caste Patron. The crews of military airships and waterships are often a mix of Warriors and Merchants or Technicians, the Warriors being in charge of the guns and any other combat systems, and the rest being there to 'make it go,' which the (generally Noble) officers decide where it should go; the ship's Master, most often an experienced Merchant seaman or airman, decides how to get there, and hopefully the Captain and Master cooperate well in maneuvering the ship in combat.

* Technician (Status -1 to 2): The more respected of the two 'working class' castes, those who build, maintain, run, and repair the machines that make civilization go; household servants are also often from this caste. Common Talents include Artificer and most variants thereof (which is the most common type of Talent), Airship Technician, Animal Friend, Born Sailor, Nautical Technician, Goodwife, and Master Builder (which is often the Talent held by members of this caste who grow in Wealth).

* Criminal (Status -2 to 0): The lowest and generally poorest caste. The normal way to enter this caste is by being born in the 'wrong' family and not having the education or Talent to get out; anyone who committed sufficiently serious crimes or badly offended someone of sufficiently higher caste and Status (which some would claim is the same thing) may also end up here, whatever caste they or their family is in. The Close to Hell, Craftiness, Strangler, Thanatologist, and Tough Guy Talents, while not usually tested for, can lead one to this caste if developed, especially if one has no Talents associated with higher-Status castes; so can the use of 'unclean' powers like Necrokinesis or Psychic Vampirism, or evidence thereof. Despite the name, there are many legitimate jobs for the 'Criminal' caste, it's just that those jobs are mainly unskilled labour, and pay poorly. Even then, the general assumption is that members of this caste are probably guilty of something (and thus are likely, but not required, to have a negative Reputation and some degree of Watched, as well as low Status).

In some regions, the equivalent of this caste is called something like 'the Labour caste,' instead, and they do have it easier, though the assumption that they're probably criminals often remains; being punished by being dropped down to this caste is far more rare in those nations. In a few regions, most notably the Lands of the Faithful Synod of the Holy Church (which practices a relatively new, more fundamentalist interpretation of the majority religion of Atorua), this is the 'slave caste,' and they actually have it worse than the Criminal caste in other nations (criminals usually have rights); in that region, the Goddess of Emancipation (freedom from slavery) is also on the list of proscribed deities. Drug addiction is depressingly common at this level of society, not limited to psi-drugs.


Some occupations are not really limited by caste. Stay-at-home mothers are common to every caste, of course, and stay-at-home fathers, while very rare, are at least possible. Anyone might be a writer or story teller, and all castes have teachers for the caste's skills (though in some cases this is more like an apprenticeship). Artists are most common in the Merchant caste, but might be found in any of them, and in democracies, politicians might come from most or all castes. Prostitutes are another example: sacred prostitutes, priestesses (and priests) whose form of worship involves sex (and accepting donations for the service) are the most respected, though most professional sex workers are in the Merchant caste; outside of those castes, it's more difficult to get a license in the polities that require one. Some part-time prostitutes who accept gifts rather than money could come from any caste, but are not legally considered prostitutes, and thus require no license.


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 5/25/2021: September, 2014 article has been posted.
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