Machinations Companion: Psion Expansions

d21612e2242709c33d7a3b9c075da835The Machinations Companion will include some new and additional psychic powers, a different version of Psion advancement and a whole alternative scheme for less ‘magic-like’ psychic powers, more akin to those found in harder forms of science fiction.

Example New Powers

Level 3

Arc: You transmute psionic energy into electrical energy. It arcs from your hand doing d4/level damage if it strikes the target (who gets a Reflex Save to avoid the damage. If they take damage the power can arc to another target in range (5m) and it continues to bounce between targets, even returning to the same victims, until you terminate the effect or a target makes a successful Save.

Manna Meal: You can solidify psychic energy into a slightly glowing, doughy, tasteless substance that can be eaten. The manna contains enough nutrition and water to sustain a person equivalent to a normal meal. Each use of this ability produces enough food for 1 person/level. Manna lasts 24 hours +1 hour/level before disintegrating back into the astral plane.

Phantasm: You can create a psychic illusion that seems real to every sense, but which cannot do any real harm. You can create such an illusion or series of illusions up to 1m squared per level. EG: A level 10 psion could fill a 10m x 10m area with an illusory party, filled with exotic aliens and still have some illusory capacity left. An illusory person requires 1m x 2m.

Example New Power Path

Psi-Paths are fairly broad, general psychic ‘paths’ with basic powers and numerous sub-powers and additions that you can purchase. Each power starts with a Base Power, which is the first effect that you have to buy with your first point (base cost). Each power also comes with a set of ‘boosts’. You can spend Psi Points to add these boosts when you ‘cast’ the effect, or spend Power Points to permanently make the effect more powerful in the future (though you can still spend Psi Points to boost it further when you use it).

Path of Telepathy

Base Power: Read Minds

With the Read Minds base power you can reach into the mind of a person and pluck out a particular thought or memory. Should the power succeed you could, for example, ask the Games Master what they are currently thinking, how they feel about a particular person, what the password is and so on.

Base Range: Line of Sight
Base Effect: Read a single thought from a single sentient creature against their will. The target gets a Will Save to resist the power. You can also use this power to passively sense sophont minds within range.
Base Cost: 1

Boosts
Range: 1/25m (no need for line of sight, just awareness).
Reduce Save: 1/1
Read Multiple Thoughts: 1/1
Scan Multiple Minds: 1 per person, use highest Save.
Read Animal Minds: +3 cost.
Read Repressed/Lost Memory: +3 cost.

How Psi-Paths Work

Girtha the Unbound is a new, level one Psion.

At Level One she has 5 Psi Points and 5 Power Points after her statistical boosts.

She wants to play a powerful psychokinetic and chooses to start with the Path of Psychokinesis. As such her first power has to be Telekinesis. This has a base cost of 1, leaving 4 points remaining, and gives barebones access to the Telekinesis power. Girtha wants a different power really, and so spends the remaining points getting Pyrokinesis (X-Kinesis, 2 points) and buying a base damage of 1d4 for it.

(When using a power you use the base cost – 2 to use Pyrokinesis – and can boost the effects temporarily using your points. Githa could boost the damage to D12 by investing their power into a single attack).

At Level Two she has another two Power Points, which she sinks into her Pyrokinesis to raise the base damage to 1d8.

At Level Three she has another three Power Points, which she sinks into her Pyrokinesis power again to make it roll two dice as a base.

#RPG – Machinations of the Space Princess Companion – Skills

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Image from Battle Angel Alita

The Machinations of the Space Princess skill system is deceptively simple and much of it compensates for the -5 penalty rule, encouraging character builds with signature moves and capabilities beyond ‘I hit it with my axe’. Other Skills provide pools, bonuses or extra capabilities unavailable elsewhere.

The existing Skills are fairly comprehensive, but there is room for some additions and new ideas, as well as a new category of skill, a specialised skill that can represent the particular capabilities of specialist training or cultural capabilities.

Example Psi Skill

Bio Control

You have honed your body to sustain itself on psionic energy more than anything else. For each level in this skill you use 20% less food, air and water each day. At level 5 you no longer need to eat, drink or breathe if you do not wish to. At level 6 you not only need no sustenance, but can sustain another person without food, air or water for a day with a touch and the expenditure of a psi point. You can also pass for dead by slowing your metabolism, a Skill Roll will make you appear deceased to examination, or even a scanner.

Example Combat Skill

Body Weapon

You have honed your body as a weapon, increasing your capacity for unarmed violence to extreme levels. This is usually the result of some very harsh training and effort by doing things like punching bags of hot sand and so on. Each level in the skill increases your unarmed damage amount.

1. 1D3
2. 1D4
3. 1D5
4. 1D6
5. 1D8
6. 1D8 & +1 Close Attack when unarmed.

Example Scholastic Skill

Better Living Through Chemistry

You have good knowledge of chemical cocktails, drugs, psychedelics and other chemicals and their effects on your own body and that of others. By careful, constant tailoring you’re able to put together (relatively) harmless cocktails of chemicals that can enhance people’s abilities. Maintaining the precise balance takes a lot of work and devotion, so you can only apply these bonuses up to your Skill Level and this must be decided at the start of each game session – continuing until there’s a reasonable in-game amount of time passed for you to tweak (pun intended) the dosages.

Skill Points can be spent in the following ways…

  • 1/+1 Initiative.
  • 1/+1 Social Reaction (pheromones and chill)
  • 1/+1 to a Saving Throw
  • 1/+4 Hit Points.
  • 2/+1 to a Statistic
  • 3/+1 to an Attack or Defence score.

Example General Skill

Schmoozer

You’re good with people. You know what to say, how to carry yourself and how to make a good impression and look your best. You add your level in Schmoozer to your Social Reaction score.

New – Specialist Skills

Specialist Skills are skills that originate within very particular cultures, training regimens and secret orders. As such there’s usually a price to training in these skills and they’re not normally available at character creation. If you’re designing your own campaign you need to decide how powerful you want these to be, where they originate and what the cost of entry to learning these skills is.

Compensating for this is the fact that specialist skills are generally twice as powerful as regular skills, making them much sought after. The first level in such a skill is gained when it is trained – in game – and doesn’t cost a Skill Point, after that it must be increased with Skill Points as normal.

Example Specialist Skill – Ki-Tian

Ki-Tian is a form of ‘gun fu’, the application of zen-like principles to firearms combat as an integrated martial art. Ki-Tian claims to have been developed during the mythical time of the human diaspora when the human species was butting up against galactic society and the need for defence with cheap and handy weapons was particularly pressing. The kata involved somehow tap into the background psi-field. At levels 1-5 Ki-Tian provides +1 per level to Ranged Attack and Ranged Defence so long as the practitioner is using a pistol. At level 6 the Ki-Tian kata channel latent psychic energy to power the pistols, meaning they no longer require ammunition.

 

#RPG – Machinations of the Space Princess Companion: The Face

A little preview of some things coming in the MotSP Companion

The classes in the main book cover all your bases, but you might like some alternatives. Besides making up your own, more specialist classes another option is to model a character around one of their strongest statistics. Here’s a handful of classes, one based around each statistic.

Charisma: Face
The Face is a wheeler, dealer, ducker, diver and charmer. They can make deals with anyone and everyone to buy and sell anything, to get anything. They can scrounge up all kinds of things with little more than a wink and a smile to their name.

Skills: The Face can spend their Skill Points in any category except Psion or Scholar.
Saves: At character creation the Face raises their Charm save by +3.
Fixer: Each level of Fixer counts as a level of Web of Contacts and a level of Savings, separate to any points invested in those skills. This counts as a reserve of those skills that you can roll after a skill roll fails – or if you don’t have the skill. It grants the same bonuses and capabilities as those skills.

Level Experience Points Hit Points Attack Bonus Skill Points
1 0 1d6 +0 4**
2 1,500 +1d6 +1 +3
3 3,000 +1d4 +1 +1 – Fixer I
4 6,000 +1d6 +1 +2
5 12,000 +1d6 +1 +2
6 24,000 +1d4 +1 +1 – Fixer II
7 48,000 +1d6 +1 +2
8 96,000 +1d6 +1 +2
9 192,000 +1d4 +1 +2 – Fixer III
10 288,000 +1d6 +1 +2
11 384,000 +2* +1 +2
12 480,000 +1* +1 +2 – Fixer IV
13 576,000 +2* +1 +2
14 672,000 +2* +1 +2
15 768,000 +1* +1 +2 – Fixer V
16 864,000 +2* +1 +2
17 +96,000/lvl +2* +1 +2
18 +96,000/lvl +1* +1 +2 – Fixer VI
19 +96,000/lvl +2* +1 +2
20+ +96,000/lvl +2* +1 +2

*Con Bonus no longer applies from the level onwards.
**Plus Int & Wis bonuses (minimum 1 after all modifiers) only at first level.

NB: Attack bonus is not cumulative. Skill Points are.

#RPG – Space Princess Featured on Game School Podcast

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My RPG  – Machinations of the Space Princess – was featured on Game School. Listen to me take Satine Phoenix through the game, and talk about the design philosophy and decisions behind it.

Link

MotSP: Things and Stuff VII

BasicCloneMercHellix Clone Mercenary (Basic Model) 10xp
Close Defence: 12
Ranged Defence: 12
Armour: –
Hit Dice: 1+2 (6hp)
Initiative: +0
Movement: 10m
Attacks: 1/+1
Damage: 1d6
Armour: 1d3
Saves: 5 (Toughness 8, Power 6, Logic 4, Will 4
Traits: Soldier, Fighter, Painless
Skills: Juggernaut 1
GeneriTech Carbine Blaster: D6 damage, Medium Range, Ammo Save 16
GeneriTech Light Body Armour: d3 protection
200gp per soldier

Hellix manufacture human – and other clones – for use in warzones in large numbers. They have a lifespan from activation of six months, are infertile and are bonded to follow the orders of the first person they see and anyone that person designates. They come packaged in a suspension pod of simple and fragile design with a ‘pull tab to open’ activation cycle.

AmmenderAmmender Monks of the Church of the Duo 250xp
Close Defence: 12
Ranged Defence: 18
Armour: –
Hit Dice: 1 (5hp)
Initiative: +4
Movement: 10m
Attacks: 1/+5 (+8 ranged).
Damage: 1d4
Saves: 5
Skills: Combat Reflexes x4
Traits: Adaptable x3

Ammender Vestments: 1d4 Armour, Gunner +3, Life Support +3 1100gp
Kult Ammender: Pistol, d20 damage, Medium Range, Ammo Save 14, Targeter +3, Vicious x3, Extra Capacity x6, 2050gp
Heavy Deflector Shield

The Church of the Duo and its monks, the Ammenders, are deadly, renown gunighters though they maintain a policy of indirect intervention only. They supply arms to anyone and everyone who is disarmed or whose government denies them access to weapons. If attacked or caught in a battle they will fight to the end, but they believe in defence of the self rather than anything else. They will also fight to recover their armour or weapons if lost, stolen or sold and to destroy anyone who would attempt to disarm them.

MotSP: Things & Stuff VI

Crdnl_Constructor_Unit_v2_Figure

Colonial Logistics Constructobot 50xp
Close Defence: 14
Ranged Defence: 10
Armour: D6
Hit Dice: 3 (14hp)
Initiative: +0
Movement: 10m
Attacks: 1/+0
Damage: 1d8
Saves: 5, Power 6
Skills: Structure 2,
Traits: Shell x2, Adaptable, Powerful
45gp on the open market.

Cheap and cheerful, lightweight robots that are not intended to last but are capable of doing the initial grunt-work in setting up a colony or base camp. Those that last until the end of the job are often crudely reprogrammed for security duties or used as loaders.

Crdnl_Defender_v2_FigureIrnBrute Riot Officer 25xp
Close Defence: 14/16
Ranged Defence: 12/14
Armour: 1d4/1d6
Hit Dice: 2 (9hp)
Initiative: +0
Movement: 10m
Attacks: 1/+1
Damage: 1d4 or by weapon (stun rifle)
Saves: 5
Skills: Combat Dodge 2, Tactical Command 2
Traits: Adaptable x3

Goonata Stun Rifle: Medium Calibre Carbine D6, Ammo Save 16, Volt damage, Shocking, Powerful Stun x1. 350gp
BlokTek Hand Shield: Energy Tower Shield +2 Close Defence, +2 Ranged Defence. 100gp
BlokTek Enforcer Armour: Medium Armour 1d4, 1d6 versus kinetic attacks. 200gp

New Weapon Mod: Specialist Defence – You can raise an armour’s protection against a specific kind of attack by raising the cost by x1.0. You can also make it weaker against specific kinds of attack, reducing the cost by x0.1. This increases or decreases the protection one step.

New Weapon Sub-Mod: Powerful Stun. Only usable with a shocking weapon. Penalises the Toughness save by -1 each time taken. Maximum of three times. Raise the cost by x1.0 each time.

Physical Buckler Shield: +1 Close Defence. 10gp
Physical Full Shield: +2 Close Defence. 25gp
Physical Tower Shield: +2 Close Defence, +1 Ranged Defence 50gp
Energy versions double the cost and increase the ranged defence by +1.

MotSP: Things and Stuff IV

Cannoneer_v2_FigureBlaster_v2_FigureHeavy Scrapper 25xp
Close Defence: 13
Ranged Defence: 12
Armour: 1d4/1d6-1 (depending on armour)
Hit Dice: 2+2 (11hp)
Initiative: +0
Movement: 10m
Attacks: 1/+0
Damage: 1d4 (fist), or by weapon (Pipe gun, Cobble Cannon or Scrap blade)
Saves: 5, Toughness 7
Skills: Tinker 1, Juggernaut 1, Toughness Save +2
Traits: Adaptable x3

Scrappers are typically found on post-apocalyptic worlds, prison planets or during civil disturbances. Jun

New Stuff
Light Junk Armour – Light Protection 1d4, Junk Built 50gp
Heavy Junk Armour – Heavy Protection 1d6-1, Junk Built -1 defence 150gp

Pipe Gun – Pistol, High Calibre 1d10-1, Range: Medium, Ammo Save: 0, Inaccurate -1 Junk Built, Vicious, 200 gp
Scrap Blade – Deadly 1d10-1 damage, Junk Built, Bleeding, 35gp
Cobble Cannon – Medium Calibre d12-1 damage, Range Long, Ammo Save: 10, Junk Built, Vicious, Explosive, Inaccurate -1, 2250gp

Junk Built: (Weapon modifier) Reduce damage or protection by 1 and cost by -0.25. You can only take this up to two times. Any item must have some cost.
Bleeder: (Weapon modifier) The weapon causes deep, bleeding cuts. If the target is hurt they bleed out half that rolled damage rounding down next turn. Cost x1.0