Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Psychic Vampirism in Action

This power is generally associated with Dark or Broken Communion. Characters with Communion and Psychic Vampirism must have the perk "Sacred Vampire."

Recommended Powers

  • Drain ST, DX or HT: Physically weakening a target is very appropriate to Psychic Vampirism.
  • Drain Energy: The prime point of Psychic Vampirism
  • Drain Life: The other prime point of Psychic Vampirism
  • Steal Power: Terrifying, awesome, and very expensive!
  • Detect Life: See Below
  • Protected Power (Psychic Vampirism): For dealing with Anti-Psi.

Other Suggested Abilities

  • Blood Healing: Spooky and dramatically appropriate.
  • Controllable Lifebane: Spooky and dramatically appropriate
  • Invigoration: A tricky perk to administer, but appropriate to Psi-Wars.
  • Pleasant Theft: Perfect for darkly tempting vampires.
  • Poison Charm: Perfect for darkly tempting vampires.
  • Social Vampire: An interesting trick, as it will encourage the player to interact in large settings, but will potentially create story hooks as guests and friends might start to collapse after extended exposure to the character, which could eventually promote a hunt.
  • Auric Squint: Pyramid #3-69, page 6
  • The Buzz: Pyramid #3-69, page 7
Power Packages
  • Basic Weakening: 25 points, Psis 27.
  • Energy Theft: 50 points, Psis 27-28
  • Life-Force Devourer: 50 points, Psis 28
  • System Shock: 50 points, Psis 28

Discouraged Powers Powers

  • Drain IQ: The ability to reduce Will, which resists further Psychic Vampire rolls, seems cheesy.
  • Drain Emotion: Niche, and not in keeping with the themes of psionic knights struggling to maintain control of their emotions.
  • Drain Dreams: Fascinating... but niche.

Sense Life [12/27/42/57]

The psychic vampire has the ability to sense the energy that he thrives on. Level one only gives a vague sense as to whether or not life is present. Level 2 allows you to lock your powers onto that life you've detected.  Level 3 tells you in what direction that life is, and how much energy in rough terms (“Healthy” or “Weak”). Further analysis will give you more exact values, and tell you about the nature of that life (“Human male” or “Felinoid female”). Level 4 will tell you all the above, plus the distance to the target, giving you an exact location. The skill for Sense Life is Sense Life (Per/Hard).

Statistics: Level 1 is Detect (Life, Psychic Vampirism -10%, Vague -50%) [12]; level 2 adds Lock-On +50% [27]; Level three removes Vague [42], and level 4 replaces Lock-On with Precise [57].
  • Life-Map: (Default: Sense Life-2). You may disregard signatures you have already detected, allowing you to build up a map of new targets, until you have a perspective on all living beings in range.

General Psychic Vampirism Concerns

Defeating Psychic Vampires

Psychic Vampires pose an interesting challenge as they mix the physical and mental. They can attack physical traits via mental avenues, thus lowering (for example) the DX of a low-Will character, and thereafter defeating him in melee combat. On the other hand, the challenges that a psychic vampire pose aren't much different from those a telepath poses. In fact, any Mind Shield advantage will protect you from Psychic Vampirism just as it will protect you from Telepaths.
Psions arguably have more to fear from psychic vampires. The ability to steal energy could sap a psion if his vital Energy Reserves necessary to power his fancy psionic tricks, and Steal Power is a nightmare, in some ways worse than facing an anti-psi. Nonetheless, the same disciplines that will protect against a telepath work here too: Mind Shield advantages, high levels of will, psi-detection, etc.

Non-Psions have an easier time, as they have less of what a psychic vampire wants. They'll need the same sorts of tricks they use to defeat a telepath, such as Mental Strength, high Will and technological Mind Shields, or drugs like Blocker or Monobloc, but learning of the presence of a psychic vampire is easier than find a telepath, because the effect of psychic vampirism is more immediately obvious in the form of weakened victims. When party-goers inexplicably pass out, and young women seem lethargic and weary for days on end, mortals might know to be on the look out for a psychic vampire.

Improving Psychic Vampirism

Psychic Vampirism and telepathy are closely related. The same things that protect someone from telepathy will protect you from psychic vampirism, so it also stands to reason, but is not explicitly stated in the rules, that the same things that improve telepathy will improve psychic vampirism. The drugs Trance and Window (Both Psi-Tech page 35) apply to Telepathy, but one could easily imagine variations that apply to Psychic Vampirism.
  • Ennui: As Trance, except it's also available in powder or liquid form, perfect for slipping into drinks. $20 per dose.
  • Hunger: As Window, except that it inflicts the Lifebane disadvantage instead of Supersensitive. $275 per dose.

Niche Protection

The Psychic Vampire treads a little into the niche of the investigator and scout with their Sense Life power, and a little into the niche of the Anti-Psi with Steal Power or Steal Energy, but by and large they represent yet-another combat route/niche, one focused almost entirely on psychic routes of attack. By removing mental blow and mental stab from our recommended powers for Telepathy, the “psychic attacker” becomes the Vampire's niche.

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