Monday, April 25, 2016

Psi Wars: Technological Character Considerations

That was a long iteration.  The observant among you might have noticed that I listed skills, advantages and perks at the end of many posts.  I did this to record what pertinent element might come up, so I would remember later.  Each individual technological element might impact character design, and so when I'm finished, I compile all the notes I have into one single master document, and I use those to revise the templates to take what I've learned into account.  This isn't quite the same thing as a master advantage/disadvantage/skill list so much as compiled notes to help me remember what I've done.

I've included this new list below.  It includes notes on advantages, skills, a pile of new perks, and a mess or new or revised skillsets.


3D Spatial Sense: +2 to Navigation (Hyperspace)

Gunslinger: Gun Fu includes a variety of options for "limited" Gunslinger.  Beam Weapons (Pistol) only or Beam Weapons (Rifle) only are -40%; Blaster Pistols only, Blaster Rifles only, Plasma Rifles only, Laser Rifles only are all -60%.

Serendipity: Can provide the necessary “Lucky Break” for an attempt to hide

Quick Gadgeteer (Scavenger -20%) [40]
A quick gadgeteer with the Scavenger limitation may analyze ancient technology, but not alien technology that comes from outside the galaxy. They're as lost as anyone else when it comes to something truly bizarre.  They may use the quick gadgeteer rules to improvise existing technology, but not invent new technology.  Thus, a quick gadgeteer can put together a rudimentary blaster rifle using a power cell, an overcharged plasma capacitor, some wiring, some cufftape, and a stick, but they cannot make disintegrators or force beams or nanotechnology, because things don't exist in Psi Wars. Finally, Scavengers may apply up to a -10 for time taken to their repair rolls, and double the bonus gained for applying penalties to the item repaired or improvised.


Beep Fluency: You always understand the gist of what a robot is trying to say, even if it cannot speak.  It still cannot communicate highly detailed information to you (You can understand "I am unhappy" or "That man worries me" or "It's a trap!" but not "Tell the password 'ashanti' to the blue-haired woman sitting on the third stool to the left at the bar"
Bug Sweeper: You always sweep your gear for bugs.  You may always get at least attempt to see if there's a bug, even retroactively.
Corvette Switchboard: You may use the Cockpit Multitasking rules while piloting a corvette, provided the GM agrees that such tasks are reasonably done from the cockpit.
Duct Tape Savant: You may always attempt to jury-rig repairs to a starship during a 20-second turn, and you may ignore up to -2 points worth of penalties while doing so.
Equipment Bond: Toolkits, Vehicles, Ships
Feel of the Ship: You can judge the state of a ship just by feeling how it flies.  You always know its state (its HP, what system is damaged and how) even if no computer system can tell you that information.  The GM may require you to roll Pilot(Starship) at some penalty to uncover truly unusual things, such as detecting the presence of a hyperspace tracer by the fact that the ship is just a touch heavier on one side.
Fishbed Flier: If the "Heavy" optional rule is in effect, you may ignore it.  SM +6 fighters, SM +9 corvettes, etc, do not get the -1 Handling when you fly them.
Good with Robots: Empathy doesn't generally apply to Robots, but you have Sensitive with Robots only.  While emotions might be a bit of a stretch, you can generally tell if something is wrong with a robot (especially if he is berserk) or if something has changed in his programming.  You may also attempt to understand the general gist of what a robot with Cannot Speak is attempting to say with a basic IQ roll.
Intuitive Starfighter: You may ignore the multi-task penalties for Pilot and Gunner(Beams), provided you are using Cockpit Multitasking.
Light-Jumper: You may ignore up to -2 in time taken modifiers for either plotting your hyperspace route, or for jumping to light speed quickly.
Mark of the Ace: Whenever you defeat an enemy ship using Gunner (Beams), you may make a free Intimidation roll against all survivors.
Maverick: Increase your stability by 2 for the purposes of determining whether a failed Pilot roll resulted in a mere Uncontrolled Drift or a Crash.
Neurolash Field Parry: You have learned to position the neurolash field in such a way that its natural magnetic energies guide a destructive weapon, like a light saber, away from the material components.  If you accept a -1 to your parry, you may safely parry a destructive weapon with your neurolash weapon.  If you parry by exactly zero, you still parry the force sword, but it damages your neurolash weapon normally.
Old Space Hand: Gain +1 to DX or HT to resist personal disasters associated with space and spaceships, including space sickness, resisting radiation or vacuum and buckling down during a high-G dodge.  If using the Casualties table from GURPS Spaceships, apply instead a -1.
Reacquire Target: If you have just dodged a missile, on your next turn, you may make a ballistic attack using Electronics Operation (EW) in place of Artillery (Guided Missile) on an opponent currently Engaged with you.  This attack doesn't use up one of your missiles (You're using the existing missile to attack your opponent).
Robot Slayer: You may use one of the Cinematic Combat Options found on page UT 34.  Generally, you may choose one of Logical Paradoxes, Paint on the Sensors or Cinematic Knockback.
Sidewinder: You may make deceptive attacks with your missiles.  Apply the same penalty to point defense attacks on your missile that you apply to dodge.
Signature Gear (Starships): Signature Gear applied to a starship, using the starting values for your ship budget.
Soar like a Leaf: You may use the "Light" optional rule even if it isn't standard to your campaign. SM +4 fighters, SM+7 corvettes, etc, gain +1 handling.
Smooth Jump: Requires Navigation (Hyperspace)-16. You never have to roll Navigation (Hyperspace) for travel not directly related to adventure: Milk runs and bringing the characters to their homeworld is safe; travelling through a hyperstorm to a lost world or escaping from battle is not.
Smuggler Lane: Requires Area Knowledge (Region of space)-16. Choose one route between two systems in the region of space that you're familiar with. Ignore the standard Navigation (Hyperspace) difficulty for that route: for you, it's always -0.  Other navigational modifiers (Hyperstorms, time taken) still apply.
Standard Operating Procedure: Calibrations: You always maintain your ship.  The GM never needs to ask if you did, or see you do so in game, nor can he penalize you for lack of maintenance unless you have been unable to access your ship for a long time (such as being in prison), and even then should be lenient ("Hey, those back-up power-convertors are still working!")
Standard Operating Procedure: Primed to Go: You always keep your ship primed and ready to move at an instant's notice.  Unless the GM has a very explicit reason for doing so (your ship has been heavily damaged, or the port authorities impounded it due to unpaid docking fees), you can always start your ship at an instant's notice.  This specifically includes in space combat: Your ship may depart the hangar bay on the first turn you're allowed to act.
Wing Commander: You may ignore the multi-task penalties for command tasks using Leadership and Tactics, provided you are using the Cockpit multitask rules.


Animal Handling (Alien type): Many of the weird critters of Psi Wars have their own animal handling skill; typically had by farmers.
Area Knowledge (Region of Space): Complementary Roll for Hyperspace Navigation
Artillery (Guided Missile): 

  • Allows use of IML
  • Plasma-Lance Missiles
  • Fusion Torpedoes

Armoury (Small Arms, Force Screen, Heavy Weapons)
Force Screens: Repairs damaged Force Wards, Bucklers and Force Screens
Beam Weapons (Pistol): Allows use of blaster pistols
Beam Weapon (Projector): 

  • Plasma torches
  • Grav Ram
  • Flamer

Beam Weapons (Rifle): Allows use of blaster rifles, sniper x-ray lasers, plasma shotguns, and plasma guns
Broadsword: Allows use of vibro-sword.
Cartography: To create starcharts
Chemistry: Lets you improvise HEX-6.
Climbing: To use Gecko Gear or the Tow cable

  • Blasters
  • Force Swords
  • Starships

Cryptography: To break codes.
Computer Hacking:

  • Breaking past a computer security system.
  • For breaking into a robot brain and leaving precise programming

Computer Operation: For using a computer in a complex or unexpected way, or repairing computer software.
Computer Programming:

  • Understanding robot psychology

Disguise: To use a disguise kit

  • Improvise Plasma Charges
  • Notice hyperspace tracer

Electronics Operation

  • Comms
    • Succeed with comms when being jammed or when dealing with extreme range or interference
  • Electronic Warfare
    • Intercept communications
    • Area Jammer
    • Jam signals (Spaceships)
    • Spoof signals (stealth in space)
    • ECCM
    • Redirect Missiles
  • Media
    • Take Pictures
  • Medical
    • For using medscanners, neural inhibitors and nanostasis, especially under unusual circumstances.
  • Security
    • Pick Locks with Electronic Lockpick
  • Sensors
    • Detecting ships
    • Using starship ultrascanners to find details
    • For operating an ultrascanner or ultra-scan portals under taxing circumstances (for example, attempting to penetrate some kind of interference). Ultra-scan portals normally just benefit Search rolls
    • Defeat Distortion Chip
  • Surveillance
    • For operating surveillance cameras under taxing circumstances(for example, spotting someone trying to sneak past one)
    • Plant Hyperspace Tracer
    • Operate Bug Detector

Electronics Repair:

  • Comms
    • Repair or improvise communication devices
  • Computer
    • Repair, improvise or sabotage a neural net
    • Repair, improvise or sabotage a computer (hardware)
  • Electronic Warfare
    • Repair or improvise an area jammer
  • Medical
    • For repairing, improvising or sabotaging any medical equipment.
  • Media
    • Repair or improvise a camera
  • Security
    • Repair or improvise a lock
    • Force a door to unlock (with tools)
    • Repair or improvise electronic cuffs,
    • Repair or improvise Neuronic cuffs or neuronic fields
  • Sensors
    • Repair or improvise Ultrascanner or Ultrascanner Portal
    • Repair or improvise IR Binoculars
  • Surveillance
    • Repair or improvise cameras
    • Repair or improvise bug detector
    • Repair or improvise tracers
    • Plant tracers


  • Civil: Is to factories what Architecture is to buildings and Engineer (Starship) is to starships: This will inform you about the structure of a planet's industrial architecture, and insight into how best to break into, or destroy, an automated factory.  It also gives you insight into what such a factory might be used for.  Also let it stand in for Architecture when breaking into floating cities, domed cities, space colonies or other megastructures.
  • Robotics: For understanding robot design, or for designing your own robot
  • Starships: Is to Spaceships as Architecture is to buildings.  Also lets you know about weak points on a ship without being close enough to see them.

Expert Skill

  • Computer Security: Defend against computer intrusion attempts
  • Military Science: Treat at Connoisseur (All Military Weapons)

Farming: I suppose if we're going to have farmers as a central element of the setting, we'll need some kind of Farming skill.  Let's treat this like Naturalist: It acts as a complementary skill for socializing with farmers, for camouflage, stealth or traps in farmland, and for repair, improvisation or understanding of farm equipment.
Forensics: Lets you uncover taggants and trace the charge back to its original factory.
Gunner (Beams): Allows use of Blaster Gatling
Guns (Grenade Launcher): Allows use of EMGLs
Knife: Allows use of combat knife
Machinist: Using fabricators to create parts.

  • Contragravity
    • Repair Contragravity Vehicles
  • Flight pack
    • Repair flight packs
  • Robotics
    • Will let you know how to repair (or sabotage!) a fabricator or automated factory.
    • Repair robot body
  • Starship
    • Repair the ship
    • Rapidly charge the hyperdrive
  • Submarine
    • Repair submarines

Navigation (Hyperspace): Navigate Hyperspace
Navigation (Land): To use the inertial navigation compass

  • Contragravity: For contragravity vehicles
  • Flight Pack: For reactionless jetpack
  • Starship: For pilting a starship


  • Neurolash Lance
  • Vibro-Lance

Research: Trace taggants back to original factory
SCUBA: To use the swimsuit or the underwater jet pack.

  • Submarine: To use the submarine above.
  • Starship: Commanding a vessel larger than a fighter

  • (Reflective) Force Screen Bracelet
  • Riot Shield


  • Nerolash baton
  • Vibro blade


  • Damage Control
  • Rescue
  • Securing yourself during evasive maneuvers
  • General maintenance

Spear: To strike opponents with butt of rifle.
Swimming: To use the swimsuit

  • Leadership Tasks
  • Spaceship ambush


  • Detect Surveillance Sensors
  • Tamper with Nanobug

Vaccsuit: To quickly don vaccsuit


Construction 25 points

See Action 4 p 13 for the original. Construction characters generally spend their time constructing spaceships rather than buildings.
Advantages: Artificer 1 [10]
Perks: Equipment Bond (any one toolkit or construction vehicle) [1]
Skills: Either Architecture (IQ/A) [4] or Engineering (Civil or Robotics) (IQ/H) [4]; Two of Beam Weapons (Projector) (DX/E) [2], Electrician, Machinist or Mechanic (Any) all (IQ/A) [4]. Either Area Knowledge (City or Starport) (IQ/E) [4] or Urban Survival (Per/A) [4]


Advantages: Cyberneticist 2 [10]
Perks: Good with Robots [1]
Skills: Computer Hacking (IQ/H) [2], Computer Operation (IQ/E) [2], Computer Programming (IQ/H) [2], Connoisseur (Robots) (IQ/A) [2] Electronics Repair (Computers) (IQ/A) [2], Engineering (Robotics) (IQ/A) [2], Mechanics (Robotics) (IQ/A) [2]

Demolitions 25 points

See Action 4 p 14 for the original. This needs to adapt to the fact that characters will try to blow up starships, and that psi-wars demolitions is substantially different from standard demolitions.
Advantages: Fearlessness 1 [2]
Perks: Either Cheaper Gear (Explosives) [1] or Equipment Bond (any one tool kit) [1]
Skills: Either Architecture (IQ/A) [4] or Engineering (Starship) (IQ/H) [4]; Armoury (Heavy Weapons) (IQ/A) [2]; Explosives (Demolition) (IQ/A) [8]; Choose two of Electrician, Electronics Repair (Communications) both (IQ/A) [4] or Chemistry or Engineer (Combat) both (IQ/H) [4].

Esoteric Weapons 25 points

Advantages: Enhanced Parry 1 (One melee weapon) [5]
Perks and Techniques: A total of 8 points from weapon perks and techniques from Furious Fists, or Neurolash Field Parry [1].
Skills: A total of 12 points from any of Fast-Draw (any weapon). Thrown Weapon (any) or Knife, all (DX/E), Broadsword, Force Sword, Parry Missile Weapon, Polearm, Shield, Shortsword, Spear, or Throwing all (DX/A).

Flight School

Civilian Pilot
Advantages: Absolute Direction [5], Acute Vision 1 [2]
Skills: Electronics Operation (Communications) (IQ/A) [2]; Mechanic (Starship) (IQ/A) [2]; Navigation (Hyperspace) (IQ/A) [2]; Piloting (Starship) (DX/A) [8]; A total of 4 points in Electronics Operation (Sensors), Freight-Handling or Smuggling all (IQ/A).

Military Pilot
Advantages: Absolute Direction [5], Acute Vision 1 [2]
Skills: Electronics Operation (Communications) (IQ/A) [1]; Navigation (Hyperspace) (IQ/A) [1]; Parachuting (DX/E) [1]; Piloting (Starship) (DX/A) [8]; Any three of Artillery (Guided Missile) or Electronics Operation (Sensors or EW) all (IQ/A) [2],  Gunner (Beams) (DX/E) [2], or Tactics (IQ/H) [2]

Repairman 25 points

Advantages: Artificer 1[10]
Perks: Equipment Bond (any one toolkit) [1]
Skills: Electrician (IQ/A) [2], Machinist (IQ/A) [2], Mechanic (Starship) (IQ/A) [4], choose two of Armoury (Any) or Mechanic (Contragravity, Flight Pack, Submarine or Robotics) all (IQ/A) [2]; Scrounging (Per/E) [2]

Space Navigator 25 points

Advantages: 3D Spatial Sense [10]
Skills: Area Knowledge (Region of Space) (E) IQ [1], Cartography (A) IQ [2], Mechanic (Starship) (A) IQ+1 [4], Navigation (Hyperspace) (A) IQ+3 [4], Pilot (Starship) (A) DX+2 [4].


Civilian Spacer
Perks: One of Corvette Switchboard, Duct-Tape Savant, Old Space Hand, Standard Operating Procedure (Calibrations or Primed to Go) all [1]
Skills: Freefall (DX/A) [2], Mechanic (Starship*) (IQ/A) [4]; Navigation (Hyperspace) (IQ/A) [4], Pilot (Starship) (DX/A) [2], Scrounging (Per/E) [2], Spacer (IQ/E) [4], Vacc-Suit (IQ/A) [2]. A total of 4 points in Freight Handling and Smuggling both (IQ/A).

Military Spacer
Perks: Free-Fall Fighter [1], Old Hand [1]
Skills: Freefall (DX/A) [2], Mechanic (Starship*) (IQ/A) [2]; Navigation (Hyperspace) (IQ/A) [4], Pilot (Starship) (DX/A) [2], Savoir-Faire (Military) (IQ/E) [1], Spacer (IQ/E) [4], Vacc-Suit (IQ/A) [2]. Three of Artillery (Guided Missile) (IQ/A) [2], Gunner (Beam Weapons) or Beam Weapons (Pistol, Rifle or Projector) all (DX/E) [2].

Underwater Operations 25 points

See Action 4 p 23-24 for the original. This removes the crossbow in favor of blue-green lasers, and removes submarine (characters will just use SCUBA and an underwater jet pack).
Secondary Characteristics: Water Move +1 [5]
Advantages: Breath-Holding 1 [2]
Skills: Aquabatics (DX/H) [2], Beam Weapons (Pistol or Rifle) (DX/E) [2]; Explosives (Underwater Demolotion (IQ/A) [4], Knife (DX/E) [2], Scuba (IQ/A) [4]; Swimming (HT/E) [4]
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