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Trinity RPG - Freeform Psi ala Nikolaj

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Freeform Psi ala Nikolaj



By Nikolaj Lemche


The Freeform psi system in the TPG is cool. The idea that a psion can create his own effects, and the huge amounts of ideas and creativity invested in the power descriptions is wonderful. But there's one problem with the freeform system: It no longer feels to me like Trinity psi because of the way psi effects are handled in the system.

In the core book system your ability as a psion is based on your psi power (the psiattribute) and how well you have mastered your powers (your modes). And the effectiveness of most of your powers increases when you increase your learning.

When you perform a psi action then the basic ability is determined by the mode you use and the power of your action is determined by the successes you achieve on the psi roll. It is a simple and clear system.

In the TPG your psi roll is almost always eaten away by the successes required to activate a psi effect and it is the power you invest in the psi effect that is the factor that determines the effect of your psi action. At the same time your learned abilities does not get better when your mode learning increases, and you can even get around the need to learn modes if you have psi points enough to spare. So the only thing you need in the TPG system is psi point. The system works, but it is simply not Trinity psi.

What I try to achieve with this variant of the freeform system is a way of preserving the values of the core book system as much as possible, while still being able to use the great parts of the TPG system.

What you can and can't do

In my freeform system you can combine the modes you have learned freely (except for the auxiliary modes). It is always the highest mode used that determines the mode level of the effect. But you can never perform an effect that requires a mode level that you have not learned. So the entire table on p.163 of the TPG becomes irrelevant.

Activating a psi effect

If you have the modes required to perform a psi effect, then you only need one success to activate the psi effect and if you roll more than one success then the rest goes to boost the parameters of the effect.

You must pay an initial psi cost to activate the effect. This initial psi cost is based on the highest mode level used in the effect.
 

Mode level

Initial psi cost

1

0

2, 3

1

4

2

5

3

You can also boost the psi effect by powering it with additional psi points, but this must be done before you roll your psi dice. They give you one additional success on the effect per psi point spent if your psi roll were successful, if the psi roll were a failure then you have lost the psi points used to boost the effect!

If the target can resist the effect then he, she or it rolls the resistance roll. This can either reduce the number of successes to zero and the effect is a failure. Or it can reduce the effectiveness of the psi effect so that it don't work quite as well as the psion had wanted it to.

Defining a psi effect

The parameter table system is still used (but some of the tables are changed to makethem more like the core book psi). Each psi effect needs a target, duration,range and result.

All the parameters in a psi effect has an initial rating based on the numbers of dots apsion has in the mode he's best at, among those there's used in the effect.

Mode dots

Initial parameter rating

1, 2

1

3, 4

2

5

3

If a psion tries an effect where he has learned the mode to level 3 then all theparameters in the effect start at level 2.

Handling a psi effect

When the player announces his intended psi effect and tell the storyteller how many successes he achieves, then it is up to the storyteller to see if it works. First he has to adjust the first three parameters (target, duration and range) until they all are good enough to allow the effect to take place. In most cases the initial parameter ratings already cover one or more of them. For those that aren't good enough the storyteller assigns successes until they have the parameter rating needed.

The rest of the successes can be used to boost the result parameter to get as much bang for the buck as possible. If there are too many successes for a desired result then the storyteller can use them to make the result more spectacular or give additional results, as long as it serves the story. If there aren't enough successes to make the psi effect work, then it is too bad. An effect takes place but it is not quite what the psion wanted it to be.

This way of creating the technical side of the psi effect ensures that the player doesn't need to worry about the technical stuff. The storyteller can make it fit his story. And best of all, none of the partners need to communicate a lot of technical stuff across the playing table.

Example:

A psychokinetic has psi 5 and pyrokinesis 3. The storyteller tells him that 30-40 meters away there are some people shooting in his general direction from a garage. He tells the storyteller that he wants to heat the air inside the garage so the people in there can't breathe or stand the heat (meaning that they have to make a resistance roll to stay inside in cover).
This is a mode 2 effect, so he has to pay 1 initial psi point to activate it. He also decides to boost the effect with an additional psi point. He then rolls his psi and ends up with an average 2 success. He tells his storyteller that he has 3 successes (or more important 2 extra successes).

Because he affects the air inside and not the people then they cannot resist the effect.

The psych has mode 3 in pyrokinesis so he starts at with a rating 2 on all the parameter tables. This is good enough for the target (area), but not the range and the storyteller uses 1 success to make the effect reach the garage. The duration is also covered by the initial parameters so the last success is used to boost the result. This means that the psych ends up with an result parameter rating of 3 on the modifier result.

The result is that, for the duration of the effect, the people inside need to make a resistance roll at +3 difficulty to stay inside.

Extra rules

There are a few additional rules that need to be covered.

Psi enhancers are very powerful. In the core book the give you +2 dice to your psi roll and they affect the range, duration and area of effect of your psi effects as if you has +2 mode level. So in my freeform system, they add +2 to your psi roll and +1 parameter level to duration, range and target.

Mastered effects cost 3 experience or 2 bonus points. They give you +2 successes on a psi effect if your psi roll is successful.

Impressive feats cost you 1 willpower point but are otherwise handled just like any other psi effect.

Reduced psi cost is a way to conserve your psi points if you are running low. You can reduce the initial psi cost at +1 difficulty per –1 pts. Psi points cannot boost such an effect (and that would be stupid anyway because a psi point used to boost an effect is effectively the same as reducing the difficulty by one).

Invested psi is still possible, but only for certain effects. 1 psi point invested in an effect ensures that it continues, but that psi point cannot be regained until the psi effect stops. This must be declared when the psi effect is created, and this psi point must be paid in addition to the usual psi cost of an effect.

Max psi: If the extra psi pool option from p.152 of the TPG is used, then I suggest that the max number of psi points a psion can invest in a single effect is equal to his psi score.

The parameter tables

All these parameter tables can be downloaded as a single page in PDF format.

Target

This table is used to find out how high a rating is needed to be able to affect thetarget(s) of an effect.

Mass is used for effects that needs to define how much mass it can affect. Thistable is not used by telekinesis; a TK generates a telekinetic strength instead, that isthen used just like normal strength.

Subject this table is used if you need to affect more than one person with aneffect.

Area this table is used when you want to affect anything within an area. Therange of a psi effect is always to the center of the area and the area number in thistable is the radius not the diameter as in the TPG.
 

Rating

Mass

Subject

Area

1

Psi x 1 kg

1

1 meter

2

Psi x 10 kg

2

Psi x ‡ meters

3

Psi x 25 kg

3

Psi x 1 meters

4

Psi x 50 kg

5

Psi x 3 meters

5

Psi x 150 kg

7

Psi x 5 meters

+1

+Psi x 50 kg

+2

+Psi x 5 meters

Duration

This parameter table has been changed. The normal duration has been modified and therehas been added a long time duration table.

Psi effects can have 4 kinds of duration: Instant effects last for 1 turn, normal duration follows the normal table, reactive follows the normal table but only takes effect if a condition is fulfilled within the duration, and then there's the long duration, which is used to determine how long it takes for a precision effect to work.

The long duration works in reverse. The better the rating the shorter time it takes to make the psi survey, locate a person with telepathy or to transfer through subspace during a teleport.

Rating

Normal

Long

1

3 turns

1 month

2

1 min

1 week

3

5 min

1 day

4

30 min

1 hour

5

1 scene

10 min

+1

+1 scene

X0.5 time

Range

There's still short and long range. It works exactly like in the TPG. Remember that telepathy, clairsentience and teleportation effects that uses this range table instead of the precision table does not need to worry about long time duration.
 

Rating

Short range

Long range

1

1 meter

Psi x 1 meters

2

2 meters

Psi x 5 meters

3

3 meters

Psi x 10 meters

4

5 meters

Psi x 20 meters

5

7 meters

Psi x 30 meters

+1

+2 meters

+Psi x 10 meters

Result tables

Most effects only need one result table to work out its effectiveness, but some needs 2 or 3. It is more or less up to the storyteller to determine which one there's used, if more than one is used and how to distribute the extra successes (if any).

Damage result
Damage has been changed a lot. In the core book all psi damage (except for a few mode 5 effects) are damage dice and not damage levels as in the TPG. But I prefer the core books way of doing it, so the damage table shows how many dice of damage, an effect causes.

Rating

Bashing

Lethal

1

Psi – 1 d10B

Psi – 4 d10L

2

Psi d10B

Psi – 3 d10L

3

Psi + 1 d10B

Psi – 2 d10L

4

Psi + 2 d10B

Psi – 1 d10L

5

Psi + 3 d10B

Psi d10L

+1

+1 d10B

+1 d10L

Telekinesis uses the bashing damage table to determine its telekinetic strength. Might is still added to find a might total.

Some mode 5 effects does lethal damage levels instead of dice. In that case use the lethal damage effect, but count the damage as wounds, not dice.

Modifier result

This table is used in any situation where the psi effect changes the situation in away that needs a game effect. Or in other words: If in doubt use the modifier resultparameter. The rule of successes on a single ability or extra dice on broader traits iskept.
 

Rating

Bonus

Difficulty

1

+1 dice or success

+1

2

+2 dice or successes

+2

3

+3 dice or successes

+3

4

+4 dice or successes

+4

5

+5 dice or successes

+5

+1

+1 dice or success

+1

Communication result

Nothing has been changed with this result parameter.
 

Rating

Communication possibilities

1

A handful of words (yes, no simple signals)

2

Basic concepts

3

General speech or specific-subject technicallanguage

4

Workable language

5

Surpassing normal speech; intuitive understanding

+1

Increasing nuances and efficiency of communication

Control result

It might look like that the control result has been changed Because the target rollshis resistance roll at the beginning of an effect, but considering that extra successes isadded to the result parameter last, then the effect is exactly the same.
 

Rating

Degree of control

1

Subconscious (you forget the name of someoneyou just met; sneeze)

2

Minor (you remember seeing someone other thanwho was actually there; face the other direction)

3

Major (you now consider a sworn enemy a closefriend; put away your pistol)

4

Severe/Complex (you forget your nativelanguage; climb up that ladder and put on a vac suit)

5

Epic (you assume an entirely new personality;reprogram that computer and attack anyone who enters the room)

+1

An additional degree of complexity

Disability result

This result parameter works exactly like it does in the TPG. But vitakinesis healing also use this table now instead of the damage table, where it uses the minor table for bashing damage and the severe table for lethal damage.
 

Rating

Minor

Severe

1

2 levels

n / a

2

3 levels

n / a

3

4 levels

1 level

4

5 levels

2 levels

5

6 levels

3 levels

+1

+1 level

+1 level

Movement result

This table also includes modification to existing movement now. Moving on verticalsurfaces gives –1 rating, flying or moving through water –2 ratings andburrowing –3 ratings. This doesn't apply to cases where the psion changes thevelocity of an object there's already moving using one of these modes.

Rating

Velocity

1

+/- psi x 0.5 km /h

2

+/- psi x 3 km /h

3

+/- psi x 5 km /h

4

+/- psi x 10 km /h

5

+/- psi x 15 km /h

+1

Adds +/- psi x 5 km /h


Precision result

High level telepathy, clairsentience and teleportation effects use this type of result, when the familiarity with the subject is the issue instead of range. These kinds of psi can connect to a subject through identification through the noetic medium where distance is meaningless.

But this takes time. A clair can use weeks to locate psi coordinates, a teleporter can be out of real space for days before reemerging into normal space and a telepath can meditate for hours or days before recognizing the noetic signature of a mind. Precision results uses the long duration table to find out how long it takes to complete the psi effect.

The precision result table has two uses. First is show how many precision ranks you need to have to be able to make contact with a subject based on how well you know it. If the psion don't generate enough successes to make a connection then the precision rank he does have show the chance to make contact anyway. A dice roll is given to show how to handle the percentage where you need 1 success to make contact.

Rating

Accuracy

Familiarity

1

15% (2d10 +1 diff.)"Known" (one year constant contact)

2

40% (1d10)"Familiar" (6 months constantcontact, good friend)

3

60% (2d10)"Acquaintance" (3 months contact,psi print, current associate)

4

80% (3d10)"Remembered" (1 week contact,long-ago mentor)

5

95% (6d10)"Named" (evocative memory, itemthere's one of a kind)

+1

+1d10 on rollNot possible


The noetic medium is full of currents and disturbances that can make it difficult to make contact with a place using this method. Look in Luna Rising to get ideas about how to handle this, but the result is that the storyteller can always make these powers' usefulness fit the plot by changing the difficulty.

Most of the psi effects that use this method can also be done by using the simple long-range parameter table. This means that a teleporter don't have to use a precision (and long time duration) result if he can se where he's going and it is within a normal long-range distance.

Sensory result

This result parameter works just like it does in the TPG.

Rating

Sense detail

1

General data ("four blobs here and anopening there")

2

Basic information ("those two are humansand those two rocks")

3

Standard detail (distinguish between detail,sense distances)

4

Subjective or abstract information (danger,"the way to Tokyo")

5

Highly accurate information (detaileddescriptions of individuals, determine spatial dimensions to the centimeter)

+1

Unique or highly specific details


Survival result

This result parameter works a little differently than the others. Instead of a table then the result rating is compared to the dangers. If it is equal to or greater than the dangers toxic or damage level, then it allows the psion to ignore the danger. If the result rating is less than the dangers rating or damage, then it acts as extra soak against the danger.

Utility result

This result parameter is used for purely subjective interpretation of the usefulness of a psi effect. When it is used as a tool then use the tool table, otherwise use the application table.

Rating

Tool

Application

1

Semi-functional

Pitiful

2

Working approximation

Sub-standard

3

Quality substitute

Fitting for the mode used

4

Exceptional equivalent

Exceptional

5

Superior

Superb

+1

Increasedfinesse

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