Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Psionic Styles

Psionic Styles focus primarily on exploring a few specific or interrelated concepts within the world of psionic powers.  Most should offer some kind of secret power or technique, or at least a few interesting perks, but their most important aspect is adding in cultural context.  Psionic styles say something about a setting.

For building a psionic style, follow the guidelines in Thaumatological Styles:

  • Styles have Required Skills to learn, and might have Required Psionic Skills to learn.  Don't bother to list a power as a prerequisite: it's assumed when you include the skill.
  • Styles may have Additional Skills and Techniques which represent psionic skills and techniques that the character can learn as they wish.
  • Styles may have Perks.  A character may learn 1 perk for every 20 points invested into style-related skills and techniques but not powers.
  • Styles may have Secret Skills and Secret Techniques which represent lore available only to that school. Each has a perk associated with them, and must be learned at the feat of one of the style's masters.
  • Styles may have Optional Traits, which represent advantages, skills or techniques that a specific school of a style may or may not teach.

The Visionary Path: 5 points

Precognition represents a potent source of power, especially for an interstellar leader, and it also serves as a great source of narrative.  Destiny ultimately comes from precognition, and rather than fade it into the background, as Star Wars has, I'd rather bring it up front and center, as Push did.

So, Psi-Wars needs Bene Gesserit-style oracles, characters who wear blindfolds about their eyes and lose themselves in visions of the deep future, and use those visions to reshape the world.  The Visionary Path represents a temple tradition that searches out potential seers, brings them to their temple, and teaches them everything they can about using Precognition.

Precognition only goes so far, however: A single week.  Visions can potentially go much further if the GM wishes.  So, the followers of the Visionary Path have learned to push the limits of their visions, looking into the deep, deep future with a Secret Technique, and to look for Omens using the Secret ESP Power of Oracle.

The preferred approach of the Visionary Path involves sensory deprivation, drug-induced hallucination, and meditation to gain maximum ability to see into the future.  The gathered prophecies and destinies are recorded in their libraries.  All practitioners have access to these libraries and are expected to memorize their contents, and they can use this knowledge to understand where the world is going, or could be going.  Practitioners may roll History (Future) to see if they know anything or profound about future events that might be impacted by current events (This knowledge is enough to know the general shape of history, not specific enough to know what will happen on a specific, given day).

The Philosophy of the Visionary Way is a version of Utilitarianism.  They seek to create the "greatest good" by helping as many people (defined by Communion-normal sapients) as possible. They seek  an eventual state of galactic enlightenment and oneness with Communion, and anything is acceptable in the pursuit of that final goodness.  They also believe that certain key symbols and Communion images are sacred, and that certain "fixed points" in the future must not be changed, even if it delays that eventual state of enlightenment, because the future itself must have "a sacred shape."

Required Skills: Expert Skill (Psionics), History (Future), Meditation, Philosophy (The Visionary Way)
Required Psionic Skills: Prognostication
Additional Skills: Danger Sense, Psychic Hunches, Retrocognition
Techniques: Competitive Precognition, Deep Trance (Meditation), Directed (Prognostication), Event Search (Retrocognition)
Secret Skill: Oracle
Secret Techniques: Deep Time (Prognostication)
Perks: 20/20 Hindsight, Ecstatic Psi, Exposition Sense, Inner Mastery, Know-It-All, Psycho-Babble, Secret Power (Oracle), Secret Technique (Deep Time), Special Exercise (ESP Talent may go to up to 6).

Optional Traits: Destiny
Optional Skills: History (Any), Religious Ritual, Research.

New Techniques - Oracle

Deep Time: Hard. Defaults to Prognostication-5. May not exceed Prognostication.
Precognition is limited to a single week. This technique violates that rule, allowing the character to search farther into the future (subject to the limitations noted in ESP in Action). Apply the “success by” rules from retrocognition as additional penalties for looking farther into the future: Looking 10 days ahead is -1, 100 days is -2, 3 years is -3, 30 years is -4, 300 years is -5, and so on. Thus, looking 300 years into the future is a -10. Note that the further into the future one looks, the less certain the future becomes!


yoga by wyv1
Masters of psychic healing understand that the mind can master the body, and that psionic energy is as important to healing the body as physical medicine.  Those who follow the way of Prana-Bindu (shamelessly stolen from Dune) have learned to master their own body rather than the bodies of others, turning their Psychic Healing inwards.  This manifests mostly as the powers of Regeneration and Metabolism Control.  Prana-Bindu refines Metabolism control from base improvements of health into a total control of their body.  With it, they can manifest astonishing speed, strength and the ability to ignore terrifying wounds.

Masters of Prana-Bindu use their mastery of this connection between the body and mind to improve more than their health.  The relationship turns the other way around to allow their bodies to fuel and power their psionic mastery.

Prana-Bindu is an in-depth understanding of a specific psionic discipline rather than a philosophy.  Even so, many schools teach a philosophy to go with the student's introspective meditations.

Required Skills: Acrobatics, Esoteric Medicine, Meditation
Required Psionic Skills: Metabolism Control
Additional Skills: Autohypnosis, Power-Blow, Regeneration
Techniques: Body Mastery
Secret Techniques: Metabolic Might, Metabolic Power, Metabolic Speed, Metabolic Tenacity.
Perks: Afflicted Concentration (Pain), Attribute Substitution (Power Blow from HT), Body Discipline (Acrobatics), Dark Healer, Life-Force, Life-Force Burn, Inner Mastery, Skill-Assisting Psi (Psychic Healing: Auto-Hypnosis), Skill-Assisting Psi (Psychic Healing: Power-Blow), Stabilizing Skill (Psychic Healing, Esoteric Medicine)

Optional Traits: HT
Optional Advantages: Flexibility, Perfect Balance, Resistant (Diseases)
Optional Skills: Philosophy
Optional Techniques: Breakfall

New Techniques - Prana-Bindu

Metabolic Might: Hard. Defaults to Metabolic Control-4. May not exceed Metabolic Control.
You may, for the next minute, gain a bonus to your Lifting ST equal to your Metabolic Control level in place of your usual HT bonus.

Metabolic Power: Hard. Defaults to Metabolic Control-8. May not exceed Metabolic Control.
You may, for the next minute, gain a bonus to your Striking ST equal to your Metabolic Control level in place of your usual HT bonus.

Metabolic Speed: Hard. Defaults to Metabolic Control-8. May not exceed Metabolic Control.
You may, for the next minute, gain a bonus to your Basic Speed (improving your reaction time, your basic move and your dodge) equal to 1/4 your Metabolic Control level in place of your usual HT bonus.

Metabolic Tenacity: Hard. Defaults to Metabolic Control-8. May not exceed Metabolic Control.
You may, for the next minute, gain extreme resistance to pain in place of your usual HT bonus. If your Metabolic Control level was 2, gain High Pain Threshold. If your Metabolic Control level was 3, gain High Pain Threshold with an additional +5 to resist knock-down rolls, stunning rolls, and afflictions related to pain or stunning and all HT rolls to recover form being stunned. If you Metabolic Control level was 6 or higher, you may ignore all the above effects.

Psionic Witchcraft

If we set aside science fiction for a moment, believe in psychic powers are real, and the most common claimant of their use are real-world witches and fortune tellers.  Little should change in a far-future featuring savage aliens and ramshackle villages.  Someone with psionic powers offers a welcome relief from various ailments and a source of answers.  Even if a character lacks all the necessary psionic abilities, or any, knowledge of the occult, of esoteric medicine and fortune telling can themselves provide a good living and even be productive for the society in which the witch lives.  What psionic powers she lacks, she can make up for with a few tricks and sleight of hand.

But truly psionic witches can benefit from deeper study of the specific things people seek.  She can arrange for love, she can sooth ills, she can curse those who affront her.  This form of Psionic Witchcraft allows Probability Alteration, representing someone who has gone beyond just Psionics, but has not yet fully developed a true relationship with Communion; in a sense, witches are "hedge communionists."  Psionic Witches embrace the tropes of their profession, enacting engrossing rituals, using crystal balls or the sci-fi equivalent to tarot cards, etc.

While this is presented as a single tradition, use it as inspiration for specific traditions.  The dark witches of Styxia would have a different school than the grunge-witches of Grist.

Required Skills: Esoteric Medicine, Fortune Telling, Occultism,
Psionic Skills: Prognostication, Seekersense, Coincidence, Curse, Weather Control, Aura Reading, Cure, Disease Shield
Techniques: Directed (Prognostication), Pinpoint (Seekersense), Remove Curse (Curse), Cure Affliction (Cure),
Perks: Dark Healer, Ecstatic Psi, Forecast (ESP or Probability Manipulation), Good Neighbor (Probability Alteration), Natural Doctor (Psychic Healing), Postmortem (Psychic Healing), Power Bond (Any), Psionic Focus (Any), Psionic Ritual, Secret Power (Probability Manipulation), Soothing Touch (Psychic Healing).

Optional Skills: Dancing, Herb Lore, Naturalist, Psychology, Sleight-of-Hand, 

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