Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Psychokinesis in Action

Recommended Powers

  • Belaying: Pyramid #3-29, page 4. As appropriate as Super-Jump. Plus looks really cool.
  • PK Shield: An unusual ability, but with God-Like Extra Effort, it might even be worth it. Appropriate for specialists.
  • Protected Power (Psychokinesis): To deal with Anti-Psi
  • Super-Jump: The more genre-appropriate version of Levitate.  Don't allow more than 4 levels.
  • Telekinetic Control: An excellent way for treating a large variety of TK powers. See below.
  • TK-Crush: A classic Star Wars power. Use the Throat Squeeze version.
  • TK-Grab: See below.
  • TK-Push: See below.

Other Suggested Abilities

Perks
  • Aerokinesis: For dramatic wind-gusts.
  • Psi Strike (TK): Pyramid #3-69, page 16
  • Psionic Feints (TK-Grab): Pyramid #3-69, page 16.
  • Small-Scale TK: For the gambler.
  • TK Knuckles: Pyramid #3-69, page 17.
  • TK Projection: Pyramid #3-69, page 17.
  • TK Tether: The cheapest way to handle the Jedi light-saber grab.
  • Warrior Psi: Pyramid #3-69, page 17.
Power Packages
  • Basic Telekinesis: 25 points, Psis 29, but improve to 4, and choose a single skill.
  • Utility Lifting: 25 points, Psis 30
  • Advanced Telekinesis: 50 points, Psis 30, but improve to 8 and choose up to two skills.
  • Organ Grindger: 50 points, Psis 30, but switch Brain Squeeze for Throat Squeeze.

Discouraged Powers Powers

  • Cryokinesis: Thematically inappropriate, not very flexible, and easily defeated by climate-controlled armor.
  • Extra-ST: Very cool... but too expensive for what it does. With some God-like Extra Effort, might be appropriate for a specialist, though.
  • Levitation: Flying psis doesn't really fit a setting inspired by Star Wars for the most part.
  • Psi-Sword: Pyramid #3-69, page 18. Occupies the same niche as the Force Sword.
  • Psi-Shield: Pyramid #3-69, page 17. Similar to the “Shields” seen in Push, and generally more useful than the PK-Shield, but occurpies the same niche as the Force Buckler.
  • Pyrokinesis: As with Cryokinesis
  • Sonokinesis: Thematically inappropriate.
  • TK-Bullet: Almost any blaster will be superior to even a extra-effort version of this power.
  • TK-Burst: Thematically inappropriate.
  • Walk on Air: Thematically inappropriate.
  • Walk on Liquid: Thematically inappropriate, and situational.

TK Grab in Action

TK Grab is probably the most flexible of the Psychokinetic Powers. See the great tips in Fun With TK Grab on page 55 of Psionic Powers. If characters wish to have “Contact TK,” instead of using Extra-ST, consider allowing the character to use his own TK to assist him. Per Pulling Your Weight on page 5, add 1/5 of the lower ST to the higher ST. So, a character with ST 11 and TK-Grab of 10 would have ST 13 if he combined both.
  • Subtlety (page 9): TK-Grab allows you to move things without being attached to them, and a great deal of stealth involves moving something in place without being seen. Moving something small (like a pistol) without physically being present provides a huge boon to stealth. Namely, apply the size modifier to attempts to notice the item (alternatively, apply the size modifier as a bonus to your Stealth roll). Some Size Modifier estimates:
    • Armor or suits are generally at least the size of the occupant unless folded down, in which case they vary from -2 to -5.
    • Guns are about -9 + bulk.
    • Rope depends on how much is visible: Treat as -5 in most cases
    • A heavy charge or an area jammer: -5
    • A grenade, expendable jammer, cuffs or power damper collar: -7
    • An electronic lockpick, small communicator, small camera, pneumohypo: -9
  • Making them Talk (page 16): People not expecting a psychokinetic may find them frightening. Increase Intimidation attempts using Psychokinetic shows of force by +1 (to a maximum of +4) if the GM deems that the target would be frightened by a psychokinetic display.
  • Locks (page 20): TK Grab adds +4 to attempts to pick mechanical locks. Electronic Locks don't have as many fiddly parts, but at the GM's discretion, it might apply a +2 to those too.
  • Grabbing the Goods (page 23): Hotwiring a car gains +2 from TK Grab under the same circumstances as Electronic Locks. Lifts, Pulls and Switcharoos are all at +4, as being able to move something unseen is an absolute boon, or you can replace any of those skills with a straight TK-Grab roll (no +4, as you do have to be careful not to alert your target, and knowing those skills represents knowledge of distractions and other tricks necessary to keep your target unaware that stuff is moving on his person or nearby)

TK Thrust [1.35/level]

A typical Jedi was more likely to put out his hand and shove someone over than he was to do delicate TK adjustments, and it makes for a very cheap power. Use the following rules to relfect a TK Thrust
TK-Thrust: The Psychokinetic blasts his opponent with raw psychokinetic force. Each level applies two points of no-wounding knockback. This has a maximum, and 1/2D range, of 20 yards.

Statistics: Innate Attack (Crushing, 1 point of cr dbk nw) (double knockback +20%, No Signature +20%, No Wounding -50%, Reduced Range 5 (max only) -10%, Increased Range (1/2D only) +10%) [1.35/level].
TK-Burst (Hard; TK-Thrust-3): You apply your thrust to everyone immediately around you, blasting them away from yourself. Modifier: Emanation -20%, Area 1 +50%
TK-Pull (Hard; TK-Thrust-3): You may apply your thrust from a different direction: pushing the target towards you, rather than away from you. Modifier: Overhead +30%
TK-Wave (Hard; TK-Thrust-7): You may apply your TK thrust to an entire group up to 10 yards away fro your attack point (typically your hand) up to three yards across. Modifier: Cone 3 +80%, Reduced Range (Max Only) 10 -15%

Telekinetic Control [5/level]

Psionic Powers has an excellent suggestion on page 54 in the form of Unified TK. Most Jedi didn't learn to draw a light-saber to them and then study how to push people around. It was part and parcel of the same ability! We can imitate that too with Telekinetic Control. However, the default version in the book uses TK-Bullet, which we will not use, and we have additional tricks that we can add in.

In our case, we'll use TK-Grab (Short-Ranged, to keep combat personal), plus one level of TK-Crush for every 3 levels, plus one level of TK-Thrust per level, and one level of Super-Jump every 5 levels. The result is a 5 point power.

There remain quite some advantages to purchasing the powers separately, as you can then use them at the same time: Super-jumping while maintaining your TK-Grab of an artifact and then TK-Thrusting someone while mid-flight. But as beginning ability, Telekinetic Control is excellent.

General Psychokinesis Concerns

Defeating Psychokinesis

Psychokinetics is not terribly difficult to defeat, as it rarely has the range or invisibility of other powers. The psychokinetic needs to be present, unlike ESP, and that something is going on might not be obvious, but it's far easier to see than the effects of Telepathy.


Fellow psychokinetics can duel one another with their powers as readily as two people can wrestle. A TK-Thrust will disrupt the concentration necessary for a TK-Crush. TK-Grab can wrestle with TK-Grab for possession of some macguffin, and so on. Anti-Psi offers no particular benefits. In fact, Psychokinesis has less direct countermeasures than most Psionic powers, as it does not infiltrate the mind, nor does it require super-human senses.

Psychokinetics can pose a problem if they are stealthy. Someone can TK-Strangle someone in a locked room through a window, leaving no fingerprints or DNA evidence to ever implicate himself. ESPers, of course, can use Signature Sniffer to detect who was involved, and similar technology might be available to police investigators to figure out whodunit. Of course, in Psi Wars, psionics are common knowledge, and heroes have far more powerful abilities with which to kill opponents, making this a rather minor concern.

Improving Psychokinesis

PK-Sensitive Materials (Psi-Tech 25) offer some interesting possibilities. In particular, the psiberweave armor could potentially turn PK-Shield from a waste of points to something practical. For it to be useful in Psi Wars, it does not double the DR of PK-Shield, but instead boosts it 5-fold. This makes it comparable to other forms of armor and armor penetration avaiable in Psi-Wars.

Niche Protection


Psychokinesis doesn't really step on any toes so much as offer new ways to be physically dramatic. Combat characters with guns won't be overshadowed by a character with psychokinesis, nor will Assassins with sniper X-rays or an array of poisons. The problem with psychokinesis is not that it's too powerful, but that it's often gimmicky and nearly as game-changing as ESP or Telepathy.
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