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Limited Range of Psychic Powers


Old Man Henerson

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Hi guys, the game I am setting up will eventually rely heavily on th PCs using psychic powers, but the list of psychic powers seems fairly limited. I think I can overcome this if I add a few power ideas from the Earthbound series, but I am not sure if that would take away from the mental nature of psychic powers and turn them into superpowers instead.

What do you guys think?

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I think it depends of just what you want to add, and to what degree. You will also  need to consider the vulnerabilities that come with so much psychic ability, both in terms  of plotlines and in terms of PC survivability. 

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We're discussing the list from the BRP Big Gold Book?  if so, you're on the money about some psychic abilities seeming more like superpowers...and you'll find them in either the magic or superpowers sections of the book.  I've used all three sections a la carte, picking the powers that suit the setting.

Now, the setting is what's really going to determine the appropriateness of any given power, with, say, The Ipcress File at one extreme and perhaps X-Men or even Lensmen on the other.  What's the genre backdrop against which the players will be using their psychic abilities?  How obvious are the powers in use?  How understood/believed/accepted are they by society at large?  How much is too much?

!i!

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speaking of which, I wanted to share a little investigation on what was once my favourite spells to argue about, all the elemental damage spell power. They cost 3MP per D6 of elemental damage. That seemed excessive...

After much investigation I clarified it's because of the 2 options that BRP offers for HP: localised or general.
3MP/D6 of elemental damage is fine for localised HP but is excessive for general HP and should be come 1MP/D6 for general HP! ;) 

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3 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

After much investigation I clarified it's because of the 2 options that BRP offers for HP: localised or general.
3MP/D6 of elemental damage is fine for localised HP but is excessive for general HP and should be come 1MP/D6 for general HP! ;) 

I have 2 questions. For localized hit points, are you talking about hit points by location?  And wouldn't 1MP/D6 ratio be extremely easy to abuse? 

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3 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

We're discussing the list from the BRP Big Gold Book?  if so, you're on the money about some psychic abilities seeming more like superpowers...and you'll find them in either the magic or superpowers sections of the book.  I've used all three sections a la carte, picking the powers that suit the setting.

I have actually thought a little about doing that. I saw in the quick start edition of BRP that they had a psychic character with a healing power, so that got me thinking about just ripping the healing magic power from the magic section and turning it into a psychic power.  I also think that combining the power sections is a great idea. the other powers I wanted to make up was a psychic ability to control lightning or electricity and another one called Mind over matter that was sort of like the resistance super power where your body could keep moving and fighting despite how damaged it was, at least until you hit 0 HP or run out of power points.

3 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

Now, the setting is what's really going to determine the appropriateness of any given power, with, say, The Ipcress File at one extreme and perhaps X-Men or even Lensmen on the other.  What's the genre backdrop against which the players will be using their psychic abilities?  How obvious are the powers in use?  How understood/believed/accepted are they by society at large?  How much is too much?

!i!

Yeah, this is where my setting gets complicated. Humanity in the game as been divided in two, one half surviving on an Earth where most of society has regressed into feudalism and tribalism while being ruled by four cosmic children of a planet eater who are feeding of pieces of the Earth's psychic field, and the other surviving on Mars where they are technologically advanced and are terraforming the planet.  On Earth, Psychic powers are fairly common and are earth shattering, with storms of psychic energy warping the people and animals of the world and with at least one psychically charged human killing one of the god children  after steeling his Earth piece and forming a haven on the moon. On Mars however, psychic powers are all but unknown, or are hidden by the higher ups in the colonial government.

The PCs will be people who come to earth on a recolonizing mission, completely unaware of the state of the Earth and the existence of psychic powers, though they themselves will soon come to posses them.

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Domination cost 3MP, polymorphing your ennemy into a rat will also cost 3MP, meanwhile burning your ennemy to cinder (say 4D6 of damage) would cost 12MP.

I hope you can see that all the elemental spell are very poor value for your MP....

with general HP you have, 12HP whereas with localised you got at most bout 5HP on one location. Localised HP is better against multiple small stroke (you can take more overall damage) but you will lose your limbs (including the head) much easier (more than 5 or maybe even 4 and it's.. in a bad state).. 
So you can argue either way.. But since Fire damage is such poor value for MP I think it worth to lower the price with general HP

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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10 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Domination cost 3MP, polymorphing your ennemy into a rat will also cost 3MP, meanwhile burning your ennemy to cinder (say 4D6 of damage) would cost 12MP.

I hope you can see that all the elemental spell are very poor value for your MP....

Ah, I see now. so perhaps we need to reverse the cost of attack spells and manipulation spells?  Although, unless you have the extra energy super power, using MP will be rather exhausting.

Edited by Old Man Henerson
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5 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Increasing the other spell cost would be just as fair I guess ^^

On a vaguely related topic if you can get your hand on classic fantasy for BRP they have a very long list, a well thought out and constistent spell cost and some interesting ideas on how to reduce it....

I have looked at it before, it sounds so much like the old AD&D game I have LOL.  Perhaps I will have to look into it at a later date.

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14 minutes ago, Old Man Henerson said:

it sounds so much like the old AD&D game

It does indeed! ^_^

Which, as far as magic is concerned, is a good thing! ^^

But the only 2 things I wanted to put forward with that is the spell cost reduction with arcane knowledge over 100% and the better thought out magic cost of the various powers! ;) 

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56 minutes ago, Old Man Henerson said:

What kind of vulnerabilities do you mean exactly?

Basically the fact that many physic abilities can't really be defended against (other than by already having a high POW), tend to bypass things like armor, and there is very little someone can do about them.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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32 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Domination cost 3MP, polymorphing your ennemy into a rat will also cost 3MP, meanwhile burning your ennemy to cinder (say 4D6 of damage) would cost 12MP.

I hope you can see that all the elemental spell are very poor value for your MP....

I disagree. Domination or being turned into a rat will both wear off, while that enemy who  got burn't to a cinder is still dead a couple of days later. So if killing your opponent was your goal, direct damage or any sort is usually the best value for the cost.

32 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

with general HP you have, 12HP whereas with localised you got at most bout 5HP on one location. Localised HP is better against multiple small stroke (you can take more overall damage) but you will lose your limbs (including the head) much easier (more than 5 or maybe even 4 and it's.. in a bad state).. 

Uh, no.

First off damage to hit locations (What you  call localized hit points) is also subtracted form total hit points in every BRP game, so you can't take any more damage. For example a character with 10 HP who takes 3 points of three different locations is reduced to 1 hit point and rendered unconscious.

The only real differences between using hit locations or not are with what it takes to disable a location, vs. infcliting a major wound. and the differences in what it takes to armor a character.

 

32 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

So you can argue either way.. But since Fire damage is such poor value for MP I think it worth to lower the price with general HP

Fire will give you a quick kill while the other two spells you chose won't.

 

8 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

It does indeed! ^_^Which, as far as magic is concerned, is a good thing! ^^

Hardly. D&D is one of the worse magic systems is any RPG, and the main reason why every version of D&D breaks down at higher level. The magic outclasses everything else. A 20th level fight is not on par with a 20th level magic user.

If anybody tries to make magic work like it does in D&D in BRP, then no one is going to want to play anything other that a mage because magic will overpower everything else.A low level D&D spell like fireball can completely wipe out an experienced group of adventurers in BRP very easily, with one action. That is precisely why a fireball with a 20 foot diameter isn't a low level spell in BRP. 

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20 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Hardly. D&D is one of the worse magic systems is any RPG, and the main reason why every version of D&D breaks down at higher level. The magic outclasses everything else. A 20th level fight is not on par with a 20th level magic user.

If anybody tries to make magic work like it does in D&D in BRP, then no one is going to want to play anything other that a mage because magic will overpower everything else.A low level D&D spell like fireball can completely wipe out an experienced group of adventurers in BRP very easily, with one action. That is precisely why a fireball with a 20 foot diameter isn't a low level spell in BRP.

I disagree... in BRP magic is way more powerful for much less cost that D&D. (unless you are wizard level 16 or more.. in which case D&D magic is indeed at ridiculous level of power)

Let's take this wizard with the not very dangerous spell of domination at 70% as starting spell, as you said. He can easily cast it 4 times in a fight (or once on 4 people) (for a total of 12MP). Granted it doesn't kill the victims. How how about the 4 victims backstabbing their friends? Way more deadly and cost effective than a single 4D6 fire spell for 12MP. Also domination has a lot more potential than merely killing the victim! (and not the other way around)

Or what about Protection. Spending 8MP I got an armour of 8. Way better than than even most rich warrior can afford (after plate + helmet is only D8+2 AP).

 

I don't know how you do it.. but when I GM Mythras/BRP/RevolutionD100 magic were all overpowering and making a mockery of any other profession....

And the only way to reign in that I was told of is to "make spells rare" but controlling power with rarity of spell is definitely not what I would call a reasonably well scaled magic power, nor the answer I was looking for.

For some reason, while it's only subtly different (mostly saving throws are quite a different procedure), and after some spell cost adjustment, I quite like how magic currently run in my Revolution D100 campaign now! 😮  :)

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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58 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Basically the fact that many physic abilities can't really be defended against (other than by already having a high POW), tend to bypass things like armor, and there is very little someone can do about them.

Ah. I see. There are a few powers like mind shield and dead calm that could help out a little, but I see your point. I guess you could tailor your enemies so their powers were weaker than the PCs like you said a while ago, so that might be a good compromise.

42 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

I disagree. Domination or being turned into a rat will both wear off, while that enemy who  got burn't to a cinder is still dead a couple of days later. So if killing your opponent was your goal, direct damage or any sort is usually the best value for the cost.

Uh, no.

First off damage to hit locations (What you  call localized hit points) is also subtracted form total hit points in every BRP game, so you can't take any more damage. For example a character with 10 HP who takes 3 points of three different locations is reduced to 1 hit point and rendered unconscious.

The only real differences between using hit locations or not are with what it takes to disable a location, vs. infcliting a major wound. and the differences in what it takes to armor a character.

 

Fire will give you a quick kill while the other two spells you chose won't.

I forgot to take into account the lethality of the game, still in the D&D mindset 3PP/1D6 for a quick kill seems a lot more reasonable now that I think about it. Though I also see Loyd's point about causing chaos with mindcontrol and transformation spells, perhaps both types of powers should cost more points for their potential lethality?

42 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Hardly. D&D is one of the worse magic systems is any RPG, and the main reason why every version of D&D breaks down at higher level. The magic outclasses everything else. A 20th level fight is not on par with a 20th level magic user.

If anybody tries to make magic work like it does in D&D in BRP, then no one is going to want to play anything other that a mage because magic will overpower everything else.A low level D&D spell like fireball can completely wipe out an experienced group of adventurers in BRP very easily, with one action. That is precisely why a fireball with a 20 foot diameter isn't a low level spell in BRP. 

While I will agree that high level magic users are not a good idea for a long running campaign, the stories I usually like to tell are more like long, drawn out one shot campaigns with beginnings, middles, and endings. Once my PCs reach endgame level of powers, it is time to face the BBEG and finish the game. So I am not too worried about the longterm effects of powerful magic on a campaign beyond their impact on the story. To each his own however.😉

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Spell costing is tricky... if you increase the cost overall... (which might be a good idea) you will start with spell caster casting only 1 spell a day.. (which might be fine, just pointing that out) and a polymorph, once a day, that last 15 minutes is kind of frustrating... but it's still an unearthly power though!

You might want to introduce MP storage (like the wizard staff and familiar) and / or way to reduce spell cost...

At any rate I can't advise too much.. I did a quick stop in BRP on my way from Mythras to Revolution D100... and I kept messing around with Revolution D100 magic for like 3 months... I am starting to get the hang of it now! :)  But it does many things differently (regarding saving throws, duration, range and, for once, magic item creation rules are more clear than those in BRP! 😮 )

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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13 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

I disagree... in BRP magic is way more powerful for much less cost that D&D. (unless you are wizard level 16 or more.. in which case D&D magic is indeed at ridiculous level of power)

Well, your wrong. Fireball, a third level spell in D&D  that does a 5D6  (or more if the caster is higher level) in a 20 foot daimeter ball. And can littlery kill dozens of characters. Nothing in BRP touches that.

13 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Let's take this wizard with the not very dangerous spell of domination at 70% as starting spell, as you said. He can easily cast it 4 times in a fight (or once on 4 people) (for a total of 12MP). Granted it doesn't kill the victims. How how about the 4 victims backstabbing their friends? Way more deadly and cost effective than a single 4D6 fire spell for 12MP. Also domination has a lot more potential than merely killing the victim! (and not the other way around)

First off where are you getting your domination spell from? Magic World's Advanced Sorcery supplement? It is a very powerful spell at a very low magic cost, because it is designed to be. It is far from a "not very dangerous spell" It is quite dangerous, especially under the right circumstances. But is is not the sort of spell to use as a benchmark. That would be like comparing Burning hands to wish.

 

13 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Or what about Protection. Spending 8MP I got an armour of 8. Way better than than even most rich warrior can afford (after plate + helmet is only D8+2 AP).

That depends on which armor system you use. If you used fixed armor you can get 8 points  of armor. Also protection can be blown down, and wears off farily quickly compaired to armor.

I don't know what sort of BRP game you've been playing but I've never seen a character who has enough MP to keep Protection 8 going all day.

 

13 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

I don't know how you do it.. but when I GM Mythras/BRP/RevolutionD100 magic were all overpowering and making a mockery of any other profession....

Well sounding from your examples, I can see why. You seem to think Domination, a rare and every powerful spell is "no very dangerous" spell and use it as a benchmark to rate other spells, seems to give the characters alot of extra magic points if they can keep Protection 8 up all day, and probably don't factor in the level dealy for casting. Spoeaking of which, how often do characters in your games get interrupted while trying to cast a spell? 

 

13 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

And the only way to reign in that I was told of is to "make spells rare" but controlling power with rarity of spell is definitely not what I would call a reasonably well scaled magic power, nor the answer I was looking for.

D*&D does the same thing. Spell Levels do the same thing. The big differences are that D&D has increasing hit points, let's characters survive below 0 hit points, and makes coming back from death much easier. The only reason why fireball isn't a TPK in D&D is becuase D&D deliberate esnures that the average damage from a fireball (or pretty much any other spell) is less that the average hit points of a typical character. A wizard gets a 5d6 fireball when the fighters are up to 5d10 hp, cleric 4d10 hp, etc. Plus CON bonuses, factor in for saving thows and "Save or none") and you really just end up nerfing the damage.

 

To get a similar effect in BRP you'd have to drop Fireball to do less damage that what it would nornall take to incapacitate a character in BRP. So maybe 1d4?

 

13 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

For some reason, while it's only subtly different (mostly saving throws are quite a different procedure), and after some spell cost adjustment, I quite like how magic currently run in my Revolution D100 campaign now! 😮  :)

Well congrats. Consiering how much you want to upscale the power of magic, I don't see how you r players can survive it.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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7 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

First off where are you getting your domination spell from? Magic World's Advanced Sorcery supplement? It is a very powerful spell at a very low magic cost, because it is designed to be. It is far from a "not very dangerous spell" It is quite dangerous, especially under the right circumstances. But is is not the sort of spell to use as a benchmark. That would be like comparing Burning hands to wish.

BRP page 95. List of magic spells.

Here a few good ones

CHANGE: polymorph into anything for 1MP / 3 SIZ
TELEPORT: 1MP/ 3SIZ
CONTROL: 3MP per ennemy 
LIFT (aka fly): 1MP / 3SIZ
SHARPEN: +1 damage / MP
PROTECTION: 1AP / MP

all pretty good and cheap I'd say...
it would help the discussion if you had read the rules! :P 

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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4 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

. I did a quick stop in BRP on my way from Mythras to Revolution D100... and I kept messing around with Revolution D100 magic for like 3 months... I am starting to get the hang of it now! :)  But it does many things differently (regarding saving throws, duration, range and, for once, magic item creation rules are more clear than those in BRP! 😮 )

Yes. BRP is unclear in many ways regarding magic becuase the magic systems included were from separate games, and cobbled together to form a sorucebook. They were not designed to work together, and all underwent some changes from their original sources and so work a little differently than their originals. That does affect their checks and balances.

 

But in general, no version of BRP has magic quick as casual or wide reaching as D&D. RujneQuest has the most magic, but it balances out quite a bit because everybody has it, but they also don't have a lot of MPs to spend, or need to wait to get them back. In most of the games with FRPG style magic, those who can cast really devastating or area effecting spells becomes a target of missile users. It's an occupational hazard. 

 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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You also compare apple to orange. Yup Wizard can kill lots of low level mob and one is more hard pressed to do it in BRP. indeed... But D&D wants you to kill lots of mob, it's not a real challenge... I don't want BRP wizard to kill lost of mob. Doesn't mean they are not powerful in their own way

Also how is it any better than a Warrior Level 5? It is not!

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23 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

BRP page 95. List of magic spells.

Here a few good ones

CHANGE: polymorph into anything for 1MP / 3 SIZ
TELEPORT: 1MP/ 3SIZ
CONTROL: 3MP per ennemy 
LIFT (aka fly): 1MP / 3SIZ

all pretty good and cheap I'd say...
it would help the discussion if you had read the rules! :P 

It would help if you had more experience with the game system than just " a quick stop in BRP on my way from Mythras to Revolution D100..."

 

First off let's look at those costs a little more closely. 

First off 1MP per 3 SIZ means that it is probably going to cost a minimum of 5 MP, and 5 DEX ranks to change the target into something else, during which time he might just, oh, shewer the mage. Notew that I said something else, not anything like you did. He change has to be into something the same relative type. So a human, would be turned into any animal, but it would still be the same SIZ. Now a SIZ 13 housecat might be a bit of a problem do deal with. Other man sized animals also also dangerous, especially when controlled by a intelligent human's brain.

Teleport and LIft spells are similarly going to cost around 5 MP to be effective against an average character, and are ineffective is not cast at a high enough power level.

CONTROL (your big baddies) is cheaper at 3 MP, but requires the full concentration of the cast to get the target to do anything other than fall down, and thus ties up the caster.

 

It additional they all have to overcome the opponent's POW. to work at all. 

 

On the other hand, Fire does 1D6 damage everything in a 1 meter circle, no roll to overcome, and could disable or kill an opponent for about 6MPs.  

 

 

 

 

Edited by Atgxtg

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23 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

You also compare apple to orange. Yup Wizard can kill lots of low level mob and one is more hard pressed to do it in BRP. indeed... But D&D wants you to kill lots of mob, it's not a real challenge... I don't want BRP wizard to kill lost of mob. Doesn't mean they are not powerful in their own way

Yes, but not more powerful than in D&D. The thing you got to keep in mind is that in D&D everything scales up at the characters level up. In BRP is doesn't and isn't supposed to. And that is also good in it's own way. Wizards can't really wipe out hordes of weak monsters with powerful area attack spells, but stuff that works continues to work even as the characters advance.

 

And as for apples and oramnges-that is what you've been doing since the start when you comapred a direct damage spell to spells like dominate, control, change, or lift. They are all doing different things. 

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