Sunday, July 22, 2012

Stars Without Number: Variant Psychics

While I devised variant abilities for Warriors and Experts, I was a little wary about giving Psychics any other abilities. They are, after all, the only ones in the game who have psi and can use psi-tech. Still, it didn't feel right to provide new options for the other two classes. I've had one or two players grumble about the power level of starting Psychics in the past, so maybe a little nudge isn't too preposterous.

Here's the deal: in SWN, all Psychics must choose a primary discipline at first level. This discipline levels up automatically when they gain a level, but really there is no benefit to having any given discipline as one's primary discipline. I thought that perhaps a Psychic's primary discipline would grant a small, ongoing bonus as the result of having specialized in that particular discipline. Here's what I've got written up so far:

Biopsionics: The character receives +1 bonus hit point every level. The biopsi's body is making constant subtle improvements to his physiology: improved bone density, circulation, etc.

Metapsionics: +1 bonus psi point per level. Focusing on the underlying nature of Metadimensional Energy allows the metapsi to channel it more efficiently.

Precognition: +1 permanent bonus to initiative. The precog is always slightly aware of what is about to happen, even on an instinctual level.

Telekinesis: -1 permanent bonus to Armor Class. The telekinetic's body is surrounded by a minor TK field that can sometimes stop or deflect incoming dangers.

Telepathy: +2 bonus to all Mental Saves. A telepath's mind is a tower of iron will, able to shut out negative emotions, psionic attacks, and other assaults upon the mind.

Teleportation: +2 bonus to Evasion Saves. The jumper emits a low grade spatial distortion field. In times of imminent crisis, the jumper can use this field to "slip" hazards such as falling rocks, grenade blasts, etc.

I understand that Metapsionics probably has a "better" bonus that the other disciplines, but I did this deliberately. I think that Metapsionics is a little bit underpowered, in that some of the abilities require the character to have other Psychics on the team. Until I ran this very large group, I've never seen anyone take any points in Metapsionics. I thought maybe giving it a slightly better bonus would make it a somewhat more attractive candidate for one's primary discipline.

Note: Based upon ideas given to me by KC himself on my Expert variant abilities, I am considering giving the telepaths and jumpers a bit of a boost by saying that once per game (or game day or whatever, haven't decided yet) they can simply decide to make a successful saving throw, rather than taking the +2 bonus all the time. This brings it more in line with abilities like Veterans's Luck. I think it would also make the abilities somewhat more attractive. Again, these are just things I'm considering for the moment.) 

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