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timerover51 March 13th, 2019 06:06 AM

Psi and Magic in the Piper-Norton Sector
 
The following is my first draft of psi rules for the sector rules. I need to do some more die rolling but I think that they will work. I would greatly appreciate some feed back regarding the psi rules. I am still working on the magic ability.

PSI & MAGIC DRAFT 1

The Psi ability is a rare and wild talent in the Piper-Norton Sector. The greater the social standing and the higher the education, the lower the likelihood of the ability appearing. A higher social standing makes one less desirous of standing out from the peer group with something strange. The higher education level makes one less likely to be open to an ability which cannot be readily explained. It is not impossible, but it is more difficult. [The referee is encouraged to allow the use of both psi and magic in the game, as the writings of Andre Norton are full of such talents, but it is the referee’s decision.]

To determine if one has the psi ability, roll two D6. If you education is 9 or higher, subtract one from the roll. If your education is 5 or lower, add one to the roll. If your social standing is 9 or higher, subtract one from the roll. If your social standing is 5 or lower, add one to the roll. Then compare the roll to either your education level or social standing, whatever is higher. If the modified roll is less than the level used, then one does not have any psi ability. If one rolls equal to or higher than the target level, one has some psi ability.

For example, Shane Fox wishes to try for the psi ability. He has an education level of 7 and a social standing of 4. The education level of 7 gives him no modifier for the roll, but the social standing of 4 gives him a plus one on the roll. His target level is 7, the higher of his education and social standing. Shane rolls an 8, to which he adds one for his low social standing, resulting in 9. This is greater than his education level, so he has some psi ability.

Steena Ashe also wishes to try for the psi ability. Her education level is 10, which means that one is subtracted from the attempt roll. Her social standing is 9, which also means that she subtracts one from the attempt roll. She rolls a 12, from which 2 is subtracted, resulting in 10. This is equal to her education level, which is the higher of her education and social standing levels, so she has the psi ability. If she had rolled an 11, the modified result would have been 9, which is less than 10, leaving her without any psi ability.

Gordon Murdock has an education level of 13. He cannot have any psi ability as it is not possible to roll 13 with two D6 die. In addition, he would have to subtract at least one for his high education level, meaning that the highest modified die roll would be 11, lower than his education. Even with a low social standing, he could still not reach 13 on the die roll.

There is one other time when one can roll for the psi ability, and that is if the player chooses the Rim Scout career. The Rim Scouts are much more open to someone with a wild talent, given what they may encounter. If one chooses the Rim Scout career, they may roll again for the psi ability with a modifier to the roll of a plus one. Gordon Murdock would really like to have some psi ability, so he selects the Rim Scouts as his career, and is successful with his enlistment roll. His social standing of 5 gives him another plus one modifier on the roll (he has fallen on hard times), and makes it possible to reach 13 with a roll of two D6. He rolls a 12 and adding one makes the final roll 13. This matches his education level and he is successful in his pursuit of the psi ability.

coliver988 March 13th, 2019 08:35 AM

I can also see a much higher education lending itself to accepting that we don't know nearly as much as we think we do (something we also learn as we grow older: I realize I don't know nearly as much as I thought I did at 18 [having an 18 year old son is reminding me of this, and damn, my parents were right after all]). So a really high education may open you up to even more possibilities.

Same for social: rich people are not crazy, they are eccentric....(quote from Smallville but I am sure from other places as well). At some point, you are rich enough that you want to stick out.

Just throwing that out there as an alternative for some limits. I know that with my 2nd degree I realized the universe was so much larger than it was with the 1st degree (and I suppose it is a good thing I dropped out from getting the 3rd one....I would have realized I know nothing at that point!)

And this would possibly veer into political: maybe factor in social media and its echo chambers....the character could "believe" because all their social contacts/trolls promote the idea....(and now backing away from that landmine)

AnotherDilbert March 13th, 2019 08:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timerover51 (Post 600068)
To determine if one has the psi ability, roll two D6. If you education is 9 or higher, subtract one from the roll. If your education is 5 or lower, add one to the roll. If your social standing is 9 or higher, subtract one from the roll. If your social standing is 5 or lower, add one to the roll. Then compare the roll to either your education level or social standing, whatever is higher. If the modified roll is less than the level used, then one does not have any psi ability. If one rolls equal to or higher than the target level, one has some psi ability.

This leads to something like half the characters having PSI. A bit much?

timerover51 March 13th, 2019 03:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by coliver988 (Post 600071)
I can also see a much higher education lending itself to accepting that we don't know nearly as much as we think we do (something we also learn as we grow older: I realize I don't know nearly as much as I thought I did at 18 [having an 18 year old son is reminding me of this, and damn, my parents were right after all]). So a really high education may open you up to even more possibilities.

Same for social: rich people are not crazy, they are eccentric....(quote from Smallville but I am sure from other places as well). At some point, you are rich enough that you want to stick out.

Just throwing that out there as an alternative for some limits. I know that with my 2nd degree I realized the universe was so much larger than it was with the 1st degree (and I suppose it is a good thing I dropped out from getting the 3rd one....I would have realized I know nothing at that point!)

And this would possibly veer into political: maybe factor in social media and its echo chambers....the character could "believe" because all their social contacts/trolls promote the idea....(and now backing away from that landmine)

The sector is based to a degree on the writings of Andre Norton, especially with respect to the psi ability and magic ability. With respect to the psi ability, in Norton's books, the persons with that ability are not the educated or wealthy or one of high social standing, but much more of the dispossessed, living by their wits in what Norton called "the Dipple", a ghetto for displaced persons, orphans, and those without family. Then you have Travis Fox, an Apache, and Hosteen Storm, a Navajo, both American Indians with a closer tie to nature than the common person.

As I see it, the characters with high education, or high social standing either from wealth or family ties, are going to have to do it the old-fashioned way, and earn it, rather than having added benefits on top of what they have.

As for Medic Tau, of the "Solar Queen", I am not sure exactly how to characterize what he does in Voodoo Planet. He is one of the Free Traders, temperamentally not suited to working for a large mega-corporation. Whatever he used was quite effective and lethal.

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnotherDilbert (Post 600072)
This leads to something like half the characters having PSI. A bit much?

As I indicated in the post, this is a draft of a work-in-progress. The idea is to get comments and evaluate them. If this system gives too high a proportion of psi-talented characters, then I figure out another way to do it. My dice rolling is not the greatest, so the more rolling dice to check my ideas, the better.

Also, the psi talents are going to be a bit different than the standard rules.

I am still working on how to limit the magic talent.

AnotherDilbert March 13th, 2019 03:58 PM

How much PSI/Magic do you want, 25%, 10%, 5%, 1%?

timerover51 March 14th, 2019 10:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnotherDilbert (Post 600081)
How much PSI/Magic do you want, 25%, 10%, 5%, 1%?

After giving the matter a bit of thought, I would think that no more than 16% for psi of characters meeting the basic requirements, which I probably will be changing. For magic, no more than 10% of possible characters. Remember that not all characters that might have the abilities will have them.

For 16%, that would convert to a success roll of 10, unmodified. I need to think about making that either 11 or 12.

For the magic ability, I am still working on the requirements for that. I am debating posting some ideas and getting some feedback from the forum on those.

AnotherDilbert March 14th, 2019 12:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timerover51 (Post 600100)
After giving the matter a bit of thought, I would think that no more than 16% for psi of characters meeting the basic requirements, which I probably will be changing.

It's difficult to have any granularity with 2D rolls and small chances.


Something like a D100 roll with a (25 - EDU - SOC)% chance might work, if you can stand D100.


Rolling 3D might work: 14+ is 16% chance and 15+ is 9% chance, leaving room for a few DMs.

3D _ Chance
12+ _ 37.5%
13+ _ 25.9%
14+ _ 16.2%
15+ _ _9.3%
16+ _ _4.6%
17+ _ _1.9%
18+ _ _0.5%

mike wightman March 14th, 2019 02:34 PM

The probability for PCs may be higher than the probability for the general population.

Character generation is typically intended to generate those brave souls that become Travellers - adventures filled with daring do - rather than the general population at large.

timerover51 March 14th, 2019 06:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mike wightman (Post 600110)
The probability for PCs may be higher than the probability for the general population.

Character generation is typically intended to generate those brave souls that become Travellers - adventures filled with daring do - rather than the general population at large.

I am allowing for that, which is why I am thinking about 16% and 10% for psi and magic. I figure that by having a player character accept being someone that does not have the education or social standing but has something probably far more valuable, you broaden the character base.

As for percentile die, I have no problems with them at all. I use them in the Victorian-era Naval Game that I worked up from the Jane's 1898 Naval Game, along with Middle Earth Roleplaying and Don Featherstone's Skirmish Wargaming. I like the much greater range of results that you can get, including some very odd ones.

I was running the naval game at Historicon one year, and the Italian player had a 90 per cent hit probability on the H.M.S. Inflexible from the Italian battleship Lepanto. He fired four shots, and rolled a 93. a 95. a 97. and a 92, missing with all four shots. I thought that the players and observers were going to die in hysterics. The two turns later, the Italian player's ship Lepanto took a controls hit, went out of control, and rammed the Inflexible on the starboard propeller shaft. After adjudicating the ram, the Inflexible was declared sunk. Absolutely insane, but it happened.

The morale of that story is, just because something has a high probability of happening does not mean that it will, especially if you are rolling dice.

timerover51 March 24th, 2019 12:56 AM

So far, I have come up with three new Psi abilities from both the works of Andre Norton and also the Real World.

1. Age Sense: The individual has the ability to sense a difference in age between two objects that he either touches or hold, being able to determine which is older. At Level One, he is able to determine which is older, but not by how much or how old the objects are. The objects must have a difference in age of at least a century. As his levels improve, the character is able to more clearly determine the age difference and has some idea as to the age of the objects. At Level 6, the character can determine the ages of the objects to within a hundred years if not too old. If more than 100,000 years old, the accuracy is within a 1000 years.

2. Animal Sense: The individual has the ability to sense the emotions of animals in his vicinity and at higher levels communicate with them. At Level One, he can sense the emotional state of the animal and project soothing and quieting thoughts to it. At Level 6, he is able to fully communicate with the animal and for brief periods of time, see, hear, and smell with the animal does. This sense may not work with all animals, with mammals having the highest likelihood of being sensed.

3. Danger Sense: This is derived from Col. Jim Corbett'a ability to sense when he was being stalked by a tiger that he was pursuing. At Level One, this character is able to determine that something in the area represents danger, but is not able to determine exactly what. At Level 6, the character can sense where the danger is located and what is likely the source of the danger. The sense works best with animate creatures, and is less effective with inanimate objects. At Level 6, the character is able to pinpoint the animal stalking him, but can only sense that he is approaching a mine field. He cannot precisely determine where the mines are.


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