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Trinity RPG - Another freeform Psi system


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Another freeform Psi system

By Reg Stuart

Adapted from the Trinity freeform Psi system by R. Sean Borgstrom
with inspiration and help from Nikolaj Lemche and Rich Menzi

The Basic Idea

I wanted a freeform system that was fast, stuck to the core Trinity book where it was possible, and still allowed one to do cool things from the Trinity Players Guide like covering modes you didn't have and so on.I wanted mode learning (rather than just psi points) to be important.I also wanted the lines between what you knew how to do, and what you could almost do, to be grey.I wanted psions to be thinking, "I can feel how close I am from being able to do that properly!"I wanted a system in which easy things could be done with little or no effort, while hard things could be done albeit with a lot of effort.Along with all this I wanted a system that adhered more or less to the psi costs of the core book.

I wanted a lot -- Did I succeed?Decide for yourself.Feel free to drop me a line if you have suggestions, but remember that ultimately you must use the system that feels most right to you -- even if you have to do some plumbing to get it right.

Oh -- and if this system seems overly complex -- perhaps you should skip to the examples at the end and work your way back up.It might help.

Please note: Although this is an alternate freeform system to the one presented in the Trinity player's guide, it is expected that you have said guide available to you in order to use this system.Besides -- if you play Trinity and haven't got that book -- what's your problem?!?

Another note: if you're using this system I expect you to be using the double psi point pool option.That will bring the percentage of psi spent more in line with the core book.

What follows is the series of steps one would follow when creating a Psi effect.

System Interface:

Decide what you want to do.Figure out the power rating by taking the highest level effect used.(LVL) = highest effect level used.

For example:A TK 3 PK 5 plasma sword effect would be rated as (LVL) = 5.

If you don't have the mode levels necessary (but presuming that you have the that level in another mode) then the levels that you're short becomes a difficulty.(DIFF)

For example:You try to create a PK 5 effect, but only have PK 3.You gain a difficulty of 2.(DIFF) = 2.

Decide how much extra psi you want to pump into the effect (EXT) = extra psi + a maximum of 1 willpower point.

Note: The maximum extra psi that you can add to a power is equal to the lowest mode score that you have learned that is relevant.

For example:If you are trying to create a TK 4 PK 3 effect and you havelearned PK5 and TK 4, the maximum extra psi that you can invest is 4 -- your TK score.If your scores were TK 5, PK 3 then you could only invest 3 -- your PK score.

Roll your Psi against a difficulty of (DIFF) the levels that you're short of the effect level.

If this roll fails then STOP HERE but cross off 1 psi and any extra psi and willpower that you planned to spend (EXT) less 1.In other words a minimum of 1 psi point.

If this roll succeeds then continue.Remember the number of extra successes that you achieve.Extra successes from psi roll = (SUX).

For example:Bob is trying to pull off a level 3 effect.He only has level 1 in the relevant mode -- so he has a difficulty (DIFF) of 2.He rolls his 6 dice and gets 4 successes.This means that he succeeds and gets one extra success.(SUX) = 1.

Now build the power :

You have a base number of dots in each table that you need as follows:

Your Mode ScoreBase Dots
1 or 21
3 or 42
You can then distribute any extra successes from your roll (SUX) and any extra psi that you spent (EXT) as you wish.In other words you add these discretionary points to the base dots in the specific tables you need to build the power.If this is a mastered power then you have an additional 2 points to allocate as you wish.If you choose not to allocate some or all of your rolled successes then you may decrease the psi cost of the power by this amount (handled in step 7 below).

Note: You may only decrease the cost of the effect if you have chosen not to spend any extra psi or willpower.This means that (EXT) = 0.In other words -- if you're planning on spending any extra psi then you have to spend all your parameter points.

Have the target Roll Resistance if any.Remember the target only gets to resist if you're directly interfering with it's noetic field ( and it's alive of course ). Effects that use some other medium to do damage (or whatever) can't be resisted.Subtract this resistance from your result parameter.

Pay the Piper.Cross off the number of psi points equal to the effect level (LVL) -- 1 plus the number of extra psi points and willpower you spent (EXT).If you didn't spend any extra points then you may decrease the number of psi points that you need to spend by the number of rolled successes (SUX) that you didn't spend.

For example:Bob the clear uses a level 5 Psychometry power to determine if his own gun will ever be used on him.He has a psi of 6 and a psychometry score of 5.He decides not to pump any extra power into the effect.He rolls 6 successes (or 5 extra successes (SUX) = 5) of which he expends 4 to increase the number of days that he can look into the weapon's future.The final 1 success he uses to decrease the psi cost from 4 to 3.If the ST is handling the cost and he decides that the gun will be used on Bob tomorrow -- then the ST could decide to reduce the cost by 4 (or 3 or 2..) since the remaining points are sufficient to provide the answer.

Note: If your psi pool becomes negative then take the difference (the amount that your pool is negative) as bashing damage and roll for backlash without soak. If you are still conscious, after taking the backlash -- then the effect works.If this takes you past unconsciousness then you can choose to have the effect succeed by expending a permanent psi point.Otherwise the effect fails.

Effect has been created.

Mastered Effects

Mastered effects cost the mode's level in xp to learn.Effectively they give you +2 parameter points to place as you wish.Also -- a mastered effect will still succeed on a failed psi roll.A single 1 on a botched mastered effect just fails.

PSI Enhancers

These add their rating to your extra successes -- but like mastered effects -- cannot be used to decrease the cost of the power.However, you might choose not to expend extra psi points on a power knowing that you're wearing an enhancer gauntlet.

Impressive Feats

These cost an additional willpower point.There is no other change.

System Tweaks

Teleportation:Short (visual) range teleportation always uses the "instant" duration.Durations for long range teleportation must always be bought down separately with parameter points.

The Tables:

These don't quite match the core book.

Range, Duration, and Target tables and most of the others are fine in the TPG are fine.However, the following tables needed to be tweaked a bit.

7Psi + extra SuxPsi
8Psi + extra SuxPsi
9Psi + extra Sux + 1/2 ppsPsi + extra Sux
+1As abovePsi + extra Sux + 1/2 pps
NB: On this table -- if you buy a result of Psi + extra Sux -- then the target takes damage equal to your psi + the extra successes that you rolled -- regardless of whatever else you bought with those extra successes.

DotsDifficulty/Dice/Level Add
+1+1/2, round down

1Minor (sneeze, dislike spiders)
2Moderate (go home, plan your next vacation on Luna)
3Major (protect me, I'll see you at my place at 8!)
4Huge (kill your friends, see if you can get that marble out of the fusion drive while you fix it)
5Epic (blow your own brains out, memorize that library)
+1 per 2 pp spentOne additional level of control


Alex Cassel (PSI 10, 35 psi points.All Electrokinetic modes at 5) throws a laser beam at an irritating psion.This is a Photokinesis 3 effect.He decides to spend an extra 5 psi (his maximum) and a willpower point.He rolls 10 dice and gets 5 extra successes.The irritating psion is 2 meters from him.It's instant duration and there's only 1 guy.So as storyteller I can put all the extra successes into effect.The laser beam does a base 3 + 5 extra sux + 5 psi + 1 willpower = 14 damage effect -- which translates to PSI 10 + 5 successes + 2 (from the extra 5 points) = 17 lethal damage.Have a nice day Mr Irritating.That effect costs Mr Cassel 9 psi and 1 willpower.

Another Orgotek employee, Simon King (Psi 8, 16 psi points Technokinesis 5), tries to microwave burst some git standing in front of him.He doesn't spend any extra psi or willpower.He rolls 2 extra successes and adds them to the damage effect.The damage effect becomes base 3 + 2 extra = 5 damage effect, which translates into 3 lethal levels.Fortunately the git is wearing bioweave and soaks those -- but takes the minimum of 1 lethal level.This costs Mr King 4 psi.

Charles York (Norça agent, Psi 7, psychmorphing 4) loses his cool and uses catabolysis (Psychmorphing 5) on a neutral.He decides to spend 2 extra psi.This effect is 1 level higher than his mode rating so he rolls at +1 difficulty.He rolls 4 successes (2 extra successes) so he succeeds.His base score is 2 dots in all relevant tables and he adds 2 (SUX) and 2 (EXT) to the effect -- giving him an effect level of 6.The neutral rolls his 3 willpower as resistance and gets 1 success -- and screams horribly as charles does him a Level 5 lethal damage effect (3 lethal damage).This costs Charles 4 base + 2 = 6 psi points.

Later, Charles (see above) is under pressure in a bar fight and needs to grow some armor.No problem.He decides not to add any psi (after all, he doesn't want so much chitin that it becomes obvious).It's a level 1 Transmogrify power.He has transmogrify 4.He rolls 5 successes -- magic.He decides to make it last for the rest of the scene (duration 5) of which he already has 2 (for knowing the mode at level 4).He thus adds 3 of his 4 extra successes to duration.His remaining success he adds to effect along with the 2 free points he gets from having it as a mastered power.This gives him an added soak ofbase 2 + 1 extra + 2 for mastered = 5 -- or at least it would do if it didn't state explicitly that the level one power can add no more than 3 soak.Bummer. On the up side, the power costs nothing.

Elaine Winters (Psi 6, Psychbending 4, Mindshare 5) is a powerful 1st Legion Intelligence telepath.She is cornered by two men in an alley in Downside.They've got flechette guns. She uses "Demand" Psychbending 2 on the meaner looking one, saying "Shoot him!" and pointing to the less nasty looking one.She has Psychbending 4 and doesn't add any psi.She rolls 2 extra successes with her 6 psi dice.That means that (since target is 1 person and range is 3m and duration is instant) that I, as ST, add the remaining points to control.So control is base 2 + 2 sux = effect level 4.The guy rolls resistance.2 successes.The thug spends a willpower point and manages to fire into the wall.Elaine is in trouble.She is also 1 psi point down.

The next round Elaine loses her cool seriously and decides to do some mental surgery on these two.She uses the network (Mindshare 5) power to cross-wire these two's brains.It's an impressive feat given that mindlink is normally voluntary.She decides to spend an additional 5 psi (her max -- since she has mindshare on 5).She rolls -- only 1 extra success.Again, number of targets (2) and Range (2m) is covered by the basic 2 parameter.Duration is 5 minutes at base 2.Elaine ups this to 3 (for 10 minutes duration). Finally she adds her 5 points (from spending extra psi) into the control effect, giving her a controlresult of 6 (2 base +5 psi = 6 result on my table) which these two resist).I allow them to combine their resistance -- since if one manages to break the contact the other will as well. Unfortunately only 1 of them manages to roll 2 successes, the other none.This brings the power down to Level 4.This is enough to turn them into a mess for the next 10 minutes-- or until each learns to control the other's actions-- This costs Elaine (4-1) +5 extra= 8 psi and 1 Willpower point for the impressive feat.

Michael Wilkinson (TK 4, Psi 6) is training a Phoenix Squadron recruit (TK 2, Psi 4).He gets the recruit to throw a TK punch at him. The recruit adds 2 psi (he's trying to make an impression).The recruit then rolls 4 successes (3 extra) -- meaning he (the recruit) has base parameters of 1 and throws the rest into effect 1 + 2 psi + 3 six = 6 damage effect which means Michael must soak 4 bashing levels of damage.The recruit spent 3 psi for that effect.However -- Michael had beforehand created a sheath of force (TK 4).He had added 4 psi and rolled 3 extra sux.He wanted it to last for the entire training session -- so he pumped 3 extra points into duration (making it duration 5).The rest went into the Modifier Effect -- giving him a modified soak of base 2 + 3 psi = 5.5 more soak levels.The ruling is that the TK punch didn't touch Michael so he doesn't even take the normal minimum 1 level of damage.Michael spent 3+4 = 7 psi for the shield.

Finally Charles York (the bio from above) needs more Soak.He goes for ultimate survivor effect (Adaptation 5) and pumps in 5 Psi points.Lets assume has Adaptation 5 and Psi 7.He rolls 3 extra successes.He's more concerned about soak than duration.He gets a base 3 + 5 psi + 3 extra successes = 11 result parameter.This gives him a +8 soak.It also costs him 9psi.If he had mastered the effect he could have made it to +9 soak-- maybe even +10 with bioware enhancement --be afraid.

Michael Wilkinson (Psi 6, TK 4, PK 3) tries to save his friends from lethal atmosphere burn by slowing their decent after they plummeted from their falling space craft.He creates a telekinetic net of slowed movement (TK 3) over the 20m area in which his friends are scattered.They are already 30m from him in his locust as it is.This looks like a tough one --He decides to spend an additional 4 Psi and a WP point.He rolls 1 success (fairly typical for him) -- so no extra successes -- oh well -- he passed.He has a base of 2 in the relevant tables (for having PK 3) and needs Area 4, and Range 2.Fine that means 3 points left ( he spent 2 on area).He whacks one of those into duration to make it last for 10 minutes and spends the final 2 on Movement to slow their decent by a level 4 effect (Psi * 10 km/h or 60m per turn).This costs him 2 + 4 = 6 psi and 1 wp.As long as he's flying within 30m they should be fine.

Alex (Psi 7, Transmassion 1) is a Clear with an auxiliary dot in Teleportation. He tries to zip a thug's gun out of his hand. He has mastered this effect. He decides not to spend any extra psi. Range is no problem since all Teleporter ranges are *10 and he is well within 70m of his target. Duration is instant. Target weighs less than 7kgs so a 1 on the weight table is also fine. He rolls 2 extra successes which he adds to Utility. Unfortunately since this is within his opponent's noetic field, the opponent resists -- rolling 4 successes -- which buys it down to 1 success -- insufficient for a teleport. Light flickers around the gun and the opponent almost drops it -- but catches it again. If Alex had spent a psi point he could be holding the thing right now instead of being shot at.
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