Mortal+/Psychic And Thaumaturge House Rules

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Psychic/Thaumaturge House Rules

Psychic House Rules

Anti-Psi

Clarification: The presence of an Anti-Psi means that all Psychic Powers are reduced to a chance die for activation/power pool. This applies even to psychic powers that are at a level where they would not normally require a roll to activate.

Believers

Believers are basically Retainers whose purpose is to help out with a Psychic's powers by being totally convinced of them.

To reflect this in a MUSH environment, Believers use the following rules:

  • They are considered Retainers with the additional effect of assisting with Psychic power rolls if they are in proximity.This means they need to be noted and named the same as other Retainers.
  • Even though Believers are enamored of their psychic they are not to the extent that they will sacrifice themselves. They are not mindless. They are everyday people with the same fears, responses and actions of a normal human.
  • They must be present to enable their modification to apply. And to be considered present in a scene they must be posed as being there. No having them suddenly show up just to modify the roll.

Cryokinesis/Thermokinesis

  1. . Rate of Dissipation: After a psychic successfully applies cryokinesis or thermokinesis to a target and then stops maintaining the temperature differential, the rate at which temperature equalizes is 10 degrees Fahrenheit *per round*, not 10 degrees Fahrenheit per minute.
  2. . Cryokinesis and Composure vs Resolve: Any PC apping in with or acquiring Cryokinesis will be able to buy it up to the level of the lesser of their Stamina or *Composure*, not, as the book says, Stamina or Resolve.

Electrokinesis

The following are Custom merits to allow players who wish the source of their kinetics to be electrical rather than pyro/cryo.


Charging Station (**)

Prerequisites: Electrokinesis

Effect: An electrokinetic need not be destructive, and with training their powers become quite useful in the modern age. A battery showing at 1% may terrify the average person, but in the hands of an electrokinetic with this merit, it's just a normal day at the office as a gentle trickle of charge repowers the device at hand.

The effects of this merit affect only one object at a time per activation.

Cost: 1 Willpower

Dice Pool: Stamina + Crafts

Action: Reflexive

Roll Results

Dramatic Failure: The psychic overcharges the device causing the battery to fail and the device to smoke out.

Failure: Nothing, thankfully, happens, aside from the device running out of power like normal.

Success: Success allows for the device to receive a full charge and be ready to run like normal.

Exceptional Success: The device will be fully charged and not even drop a percentage for the rest of the scene. Even Doubting Thomases will not curb your desire for a functioning phone.


Electrokinesis (*****)

Effect: Electrokinesis represents the ability to manipulate electrons as they move through conductive and nonconductive matter. Psychics with this power are usually referred to as electrokinetics.

An electrokinetic is fully attuned to the motion of electrons through materials from static electricity to devastating amounts of direct current. An electrokinetic can also drain a battery or ground a circuit just as easily, causing anything relying on that power to cease its function.

A character with Electrokinesis must overcome three difficulties in putting current into motion: the amount of current, the relative conductivity of the material to be jolted, and how much area the electrical effect is being applied to. The modifiers applied to an attack roll for each of these criteria are listed below.


INTENSITY

Dice Modifier Current

0 Small Shock

-2 Damaging Shock (+1 damage)

-4 Full Blast (+2 damage)


CONDUCTIVITY+

Dice Modifier Conductivity*

+2 Conductive metal (copper wire, metal pipe, etc).

+1 Conductive Liquid (Regular old water)

0 Air/Living Bodies

-1 Cloth

-2 Ceramics, Glass

-4 Rubber

  • A properly grounded substance will subtract 2 more dice

+The Conductivity represents the material of the target, the materials a target is touching, or materials embedded in the target. If multiple people are touching a material that provides a positive dice modifier, all are subject to the same attack. However, the electrokinetic needs to make a targeted attack to gain this benefit. If the target is in a fully enclosed vehicle, such as a car or tank, only the vehicle can be targeted in this way.


AREA SIZE OF ELECTRICAL EFFECT

+1 Less than six inches (not a targeted shot but rather a narrow blast. Any targetted attack sufferes targetting modifiers but does not gain this benefit)

0 Size 1-3

-1 Size 4-5 (Human)

-3 Size 6-9

-5 Size 10 (Maximum)

The roll to start a current involves Wits + Resolve. When the electrokinetic seeks to zap a person or some other target capable of movement, the attempt is treated as a ranged attack. Defense does not apply, but the electrokinetic suffers a -2 penalty when attempting to strike a moving target.

Short range for an electrokinetic attack is equal to a psychic's Intelligence + Wits + Electrokinesis dots in yards. Medium range is twice that distance and imposes a -2 penalty on an attack dice pool. Long range is up to twice medium range and imposes a -4 penalty on an attack dice pool.

The damage inflicted with a successful electrokinetic attack is equal to to one point of lethal damage for each success + damage bonuses from Intensity. This damage pool (minus the benefits of any electro-resistant armor) is inflicted every turn that the electrokinetic maintains concentration (and spends a Willpower point). The psychic can perform no other action while they are doing this - if they are attacked then their concentration is broken. They also have no defense while maintaining this concentration.

Note that unlike pyrokinesis or cryokinesis there is no physical effect - eg flames or ice - that continues once a electrokinetic turns off their power. This is why they must spend a point of willpower to maintain the flow. Alternatively they can roll again to create a new attack which replaces the damage of the other if it is successful.

Just as with normal Electrocution (see page 177-178 of World of Darkness), a target's muscles will lock up if exposed to voltage for multiple turns (ie the Psychic expends willpower to maintain the flow of electricity). If the target is subjected to continuous attack then they suffer from muscle immobility from the second round of attack which can be broken by either a reflexive successful Strength roll (representing getting away from the arc) or by being knocked out of the way by the successful grapple of another PC. The successful grappler suffers 1L from the contact unless properly insulated.

If a target breaks the contact then the psychic must attempt to hit as before.

If a target breaks the contact then its only other action that round is to move. They may resume actions as normal the next round if they are not hit again.

Draining a battery or grounding out an existing electrical line requires an extended Stamina + Resolve roll. Draining a cell phone battery will only require two successes, but for a normal electrical line, each success is a turn where the electricity is shut off in that circuit. This effect has the same range as an electrokinetic attack.


Cost: 1 Willpower

Dice Pool: Wits + Resolve to start an electrical flow. Stamina +Resolve to ground it

Action: Instant to cause an electrical arc. Extended to ground it, with each roll representing one turn.

Roll Results

Dramatic Failure: The psychic suffers one point of lethal damage due to painful psychic feedback. Alternately, the psychic might produce an electrical arc of the desired intensity but not where he wants it to strike (or short out electronics on his person). An electrokinetic attempting to ground a circuit might increase the current through the line instead

Failure: The attempt to start or terminate an electrical surge is unsuccessful.

Success: The electrokinetic zaps his target and does damage/effect. If attempting to ground a circuit, the electrokinetic accumulates a number of successes with each success indicating one turn it is shut off.

Exceptional Success: Additional successes are their own reward.


Electrokinetic Immunity (** or ****)

Prerequisites: Electrokinesis

Effect: Your Electrokinetic is highly resistant if not completely immune to electricity. With the two-dot version, make a reflexive Stamina + Resolve roll when your character is exposed to mundane electricity, with each success providing one point of armor that protects against only electricity damage. With the four-dot version, you need only spend one Willpower point to render your character totally immune to electricity damage. If any Doubting Thomas (see p. 65 of Secondary Sight) is present when the four-dot version of this Trait is invoked, a successful Stamina + Resolve roll subject to normal penalties is required for unilateral protection to activate.

The effects of either version last for one scene, although clothes and possessions are not protected. No protection is provided against supernaturally induced electricity.

Cost: 1 Willpower

Dice Pool: Stamina + Resolve for the two-dot version.

None for the four-dot version, unless a Doubting Thomas is present.

Action: Reflexive

Roll Results

Dramatic Failure: The psychic is not protected from the shock, and electricity damage is increased by one.

Failure: The psychic is not protected from the shock, but she can try again in the next turn as a subsequent attempt.

Success: Each success provides one dot of armor with the two-dot version. With the four-dot version, total immunity is conferred despite the presence of a Doubting Thomas.

Exceptional Success: With the two-dot version, additional successes are their own reward. With the four-dot version, any Doubting Thomases present are treated as ordinary people for the duration of the scene and do not inflict any further dice penalties on the psychic during that time.



Energy Conversion (*****)

Prerequisites: Electrokinetic Immunity (4pt version), Charging Station

Effect: As an electrokinetic is highly attuned to converting his own strength of will into Electrical energy, and one with immunity can safely experience it without harm, one may wonder the relationship between force of will and electrical currents.

A powerful electrokinetic is able to reverse the process, restoring his own mental energies and force of will by acting as an electrical transformer and shifting the current hitting his body into pure will.

Cost: -

Dice Pool: Stamina + Resolve

Action: Reflexive

Roll Results

Dramatic Failure: The psychic takes damage from the electricity, even if they would normally be immune through electrokinetic immunity.

Failure: Nothing happens to the psychic.

Success: Every two successes allows the electrokinetic to convert 1 damage from the electrical source into 1 willpower point. Willpower total cannot go higher than the maximum amount of Willpower for the character. Any excess successes are lost.

Exceptional Success: More successes are their own reward.


Toggle Switch (***)

Prerequisites: Electrokinesis

Effect: With a fine enough understanding of electrical signals and electronics in general, an electrokinetic is capable of changing the state of an electronic device. For simple devices this can be a general on off toggle (such as a light switch, or detonator), or sending a change state signal (such as making a traffic light change from Red to Green, or changing the channel on a tv). More complex activities such as running computer programs are beyond this level of control.

The effects of this merit affect only one object at a time per activation.

Cost: 1 Willpower

Dice Pool: Wits + Crafts

Action: Reflexive

Roll Results

Dramatic Failure: The psychic overtaxes the device causing the device to smoke out and be damaged.

Failure: Nothing thankfully happens.

Success: Success allows for the device to change its state, toggling it on or off as desired.

Exceptional Success: The device remains under the electrokinetic's control for the rest of the scene, allowing them to continue messing with traffic lights, or annoy your friends by turning the light off and on when they sit down.

Postcognition - Uncontrolled

Postcognition now has an "Uncontrolled" Option that operates exactly like Uncontrolled Precogntion. Please be aware that this eliminates a PC's ability to use or target it at will.


Telepathic Rapport

We have HouseRuled this merit and associated costs as follows: the three-dot merit 'Telepathic Rapport' need only be bought once. Once it's on a psychic's sheet, that psychic is capable of establishing a telepathic rapport.


In order to actually establish a telepathic rapport with someone, the psychic must effectively lose and replace a permanent willpower dot - thus, the cost to establish a rapport with someone is 8xp, the cost of a permanent willpower dot. There is no cost to the psychic (or the other party) when the rapport is broken either by the psychic's choice or by the other party's death, because the cost has been paid up front.


The psychic may purchase any number of telepathic rapports at the additional cost of one willpower dot/8 xp per rapport. However, as in the canon, the psychic cannot maintain more rapports than they have dots in Intelligence. If the psychic is maintaining a number of rapports equal to their intelligence and wishes to create a new rapport, they will have to break one of their existing rapports. They do not get any of the spent xp back, and if they later want to reestablish a rapport with that person, they will have to purchase the rapport again.


For a detailed example of how to set the +notes for this merit, please see Boilerplate for Telepathic Rapport Notes

Psychic Vampirism vs Supers

Psychic Vampirism in Second Sight, pp. 49-50, is written in the book as ineffective against Mages, Werewolves, and Vampires. For consistency and adherence to theme, this has been clarified/HR'd on TR to applies to all supers, not just those three. Psychic Vampirism automatically fails when used against anyone with a powerstat.

Telekinetic Shield

This is a custom merit that goes along with Telekinesis and provides a new aspect of the power.

Telekinetic Shield (***)

Prerequisites: Telekinesis 5

Effect: The telekinetic has honed their power to the point where they can form a kinetic barrier or shield around them that blocks passage both organic and inorganic matter from passing through it. The shield manifests as an invisible bubble around the telekinetic, which moves with them as they move and protects anyone else inside, though those inside the bubble can also attack the psychic without penalty. However, a psychic must focus to maintain the shield. They can take no other action other than walking and talking or the shield drops. They do, however, only get half their Defense while so focused.

Cost: 1 Willpower + 1 additional Willpower after every lesser than Stamina or Resolve rounds.

Dice Pool: Stamina + Resolve

Action: Reflexive

Roll Results

Dramatic Failure: Not only is there no shield, but the telekinetic takes a point of bashing damage due to the psychic feedback.

Failure: The shield doesn't manifest.

Success: The telekinetic is able to make a shield around them, with no larger a radius than Stamina yards. Any attempts to throw/shoot something past it are penalized by the successes on the activation.

Those trying to move through the shield are stopped unless they succeed on a roll of Stamina + Resolve - Activation Successes. The shield remains for a number of rounds equal to the lesser of his Stamina or Resolve, or until the psychic loses concentration. Spending Willpower extends the period in which the shield may be held.

Exceptional Success: The shield now remains for a number of rounds equal to the greater of Stamina or Resolve.

Psychic/Thaumaturge Defining Merit

Following the lead of Thaumaturges, who have a free 4 dot Merit according to the dictates of their Path/Tradition, Psychic characters on Fallcoast have a free 4 dot Defining Merit either from CharGen or from the time of their Becoming. (For specifics on the Thaumaturge Path/Traditions and their Defining Merits, please see the Merits List and the individual Path/Tradition pages.) Since psychic Merits can go up to 5 dots, psychics simply pick a particular power and gain four dots in it. A psychic could, however, take Biokinesis 5 with the first 4 dots set aside as their 'defining merit', and purchase the last dot with merit dots left over from CharGen or with XP.


Of all psychic merits (as with the thaumaturgic merits), the defining merit must be chosen first. That means it must be a 'base merit', one which does not have any psychic merit prerequisites. Thus, a telepathic character could choose Mind Reading at 4 for their defining merit, but could not choose Thought Projection, since that has Mind Reading as a prerequisite. The sequence of spending is very clearly defined: you must choose your defining merit first. Then you may spend your merit dots from chargen. Only when all of those are spent can you spend your starting xp.


If a power is chosen as a defining merit that requires 5 dots (e.g. Pyrokinesis), the fifth dot must be bought with two merit dots. If a power is chosen as a defining merit that can only go up to 3 dots, the fourth dot may become the first dot in another psychic merit, but again it must be spent before merit dots.

Thaumaturge House Rules

Thaumaturges and Traditions/Paths

  • All Thaumaturges must choose a Path/Tradition in Chargen or as part of their Becoming. These are as much lifestyles as spell sets and a PC is limited to the powers allowed by their chosen Path (however, see Dual Path below). Tradition/Path will be specified on +sheet.
  • Thaumaturges now have the option of purchasing Dual Path Thaumaturge (4 Dot Merit). This allows a Thaumaturge to undertake the study of an additional path/tradition and the spells contained therein. After purchasing the merit they will receive the second path's defining merit for "free". If they already have that ritual at a lower dot level, they will not receive an XP refund for the previous purchase; the actual merit being purchased is the ability to dual path, not necessarily the ritual itself.

To purchase Dual Path, the following prerequisites are required:

  • The character must have at least minimum dots in a number of core path specific merits of their current path. A Thaumaturge's Path/Tradition is a lifestyle that the PC is immersed in and to take another road should only be considered after exploring, to some degree, all that their current path has to offer. For a list of core path specific merits required, see the individual path wiki pages.
  • If you are purchasing Dual Path in Chargen then the above requirements are still enforced.
  • The character must have a teacher/mentor for the second path if it is being learned on grid. This can be an NPC if no PC is available. The learning of a new Path is a semi-Becoming and should therefore have at least one logged scene showing how the Thaumaturge adapts to and learns from this second path.


Libraries

For ease of use and MUSH compatibility, Thaumaturges use the universal Library Merit rather than that listed in Second Sight. Therefore any Path may have a Library.


Magical Nexus

A Magical Nexus must have a physical location on the grid. It needs to be attached to a 'room' so a +view can be set up to describe it. It doesn't have to be a literal room of course but it must be a location a +view can be attached.

Voodoo and the Loa

xxxxxOn Fallcoast, taking the Vodoun thaumaturgical path allows you to take the Path Merits of Evocation, Invocation or Sacrifice for ghosts or spirits. As per Second Sight, pg. 102:

"The simplest answer is to assume that some of Les Mysteries are ghosts and others are spirits. The loa of the ancestors, reverently remembered members of the dead, are likely to be powerful ghosts. Such beings may literally have thousands of followers as anchors, and might benefi t from the rituals of more than one powerful houngan. Petro are the most likely to be ghosts. The loa who are ancient tribal gods from Africa are probably spirits. These orisha are archetypal powers with a tradition of worship extending back thousands of years. The Rada are the most likely to be spirits."

xxxxxThe Loa that the Les Mysteres conspiracy deal with are the same Loa that Vodoun Thaumaturges deal with. As per Spirit Slayers, this makes them spirits by and large. Ultimately, it's up to you what direction you go with the Loa. They're basically both.

xxxxxTo get into the cosmology of it: if you're planning on dealing with Papa Legba, Erzulie Freda, Simbi, Kouzin Zaka, or the Marasa directly (however unlikely this is, see below), you'll want spirit merits. If you want to be a cheval for ancestors (far more common), then you'll want ghost merits. It's up to what you plan to do with it. Generally, a mambo, a bokor or houngan will be chosen by ancestors. While you can still interact with the greater lwa without having spirit merits, it's almost like having speaking through a middle-man to speak to another middle-man (considering that speaking to the orishas is the only real way to speak with Bondye). Once again, it's up to you and how you want to do it. You can even take both kinds of merits if you want. This is designed this way so that some people can specialize in certain aspects of vodoun and others can specialize differently. You can still contact the loa by being able to speak with ghosts and vice-versa. This means that if you're a Death mage, you can contact the loa just as easily as a Spirit mage. Likewise, if you happen to be a mambo werewolf for whatever reason, that's fine. You don't need to be a Bone Shadow to do it.

xxxxxOn another note, Second Sight was written before Spirit Slayers, which goes heavily into detail regarding the Loa (considering Les Mysteres). To quote Spirit Slayers, pg. 106:

"Despite the wild and varied misinformation from spirits, Les Mystères do talk to each other — they are, truly, a confederation of cults. Comparing and contrasting stories allows them to resist the wilder claims of many spirits. Their one blind spot is the truth about werewolves. Spirits the world over, whether they claim to be angels, saints, or Loa, tell a version of the same story — how the werewolves want to tear the worlds of fesh and spirit from each other. When every spirit that deals with a Mystère tells broadly the same story, it’s hard to fnd evidence against it. Some hunters do, whether by interrogating unsuspecting spirits or actually opening a dialogue with their enemies. Though they can recruit the help of their local cell, the other cells and groups that make up Les Mystères would never believe them. Whatever the source, wandering wise-folk among the Spirit Emissaries know one thing for certain. Something sparked a war between the shapeshifters and the immaterial a long time ago, and spirits hold grudges for a very long time."

xxxxxSo, what does this mean? The Les Mysteres are a werewolf-hunting conspiracy. Obviously White Wolf had forgotten that they had already explained what the Loa were in Second Sight. Without getting over-complicated and too abstract, if you are in Les Mysteres, you are always dealing with spirits. If you are a Thaumaturge or Sin-Eater or Bone Shadow with Death or a Moros, you can use death rituals/spells/rites/gifts/etc. to contact the Loa. It's very rare to attract the attention of the "big name" Loa like Papa Legba. Generally, these sorts of spirits are far too busy to deal with individual mambos, houngans or chevals. Usually, they'll send an emissary of some sort. This can be either a ghost or a spirit and serves as the greater spirit's mouthpiece. If considered by spirit rank, Papa Legba would be like a Rank 6 spirit. A spirit that possesses a person or speaks directly to a human would usually be around Rank 3 or less.