Thursday, February 13, 2020

A Trio of Special Psionic Talents

A Trio of Special Psionic Talents

Here's what the CT Book says about Special talents:

Although psionic activity generally lends itself to classification, some individuals defy this very classification. Individuals with special talent are capable of some activity which is not described here; this talent is dispensed by the referee after deliberation. The special talent may include abilities not covered by this section, or may be a random assignment of otherwise unreceived abilities. Special talents should be made psychologically dependent on a focus, in the form of some artifact or charm, which must remain in the possession of the character. (TTB, p. 120)

When a character finishes his initial training, he is unable to function with his full psionic strength. In all talents except teleportation, a character is initially capable only of level 1 abilities . . .
As the character becomes more familiar with his talents (in game terms the mere passage of time is sufficient), his skill gradually increases up to the level of his psionic strength.
Each month, roll 2D for each talent possessed; on 10 + for awareness, 12 for teleportation, and 8 + for all other talents [including Special], the character's ability increases by one level.
. . .
The procedures above may or may not apply to the special talent at the referee's discretion. (ST, p. 60)

With these in mind, here are three Special talents to incorporate into your Traveller game.

Absorb/Dissipate Energy
A Psi with this talent can reduce the amount of damage they suffer from dangerous phenomena. Perhaps you remember this scene from a popular sci-fi film:

Radiation, punches, laser bolts or bullets (kinetic energy!) can be absorbed and the energy harmlessly expelled by this talent.

Description Time Point Cost
1 Absorb 1 dp Instant 1
2 Absorb 2 dp Instant 2
3 Absorb 1D damage Instant 1 per point
5 Absorb 2D damage Instant 1 per point
9 Absorb 3D damage Instant 1 per point

When the psi applies this power, the player rolls the appropriate number of dice to determine how much damage is absorbed. Physical attacks (melee & bullets) will always do at least 1 dp from the tissue trauma.
Throw 8+ per month to improve the talent, up to the character's PSR.

Awaken Another
This talent contains three specific abilities: to awaken and unconscious character, to revive a character from Low Berth or other suspended animation, and to awaken a severely wounded character.

At level 1, this talent works only on characters with one stat reduced to zero. A character who is rendered unconscious by one stat being reduced to zero in normally out for 10 minutes (TTB, p. 36)). By applying this talent, the psionic can get the unconscious character on their feet again in one round. The revived character has a score of 1 in the zeroed stat; this is therefore a very limited form of healing. The revived character must, within the hour, rest for 10 minutes or receive medical attention; or the character passes out again. From there recovery is as per normal rules.

At level 4, the psionic can safely revive characters who are in Low Berth or other suspended animation. There is no throw to avoid death with the use of this talent.

At level 7 the psionic can revive a character who has two stats reduced to zero. Normally such characters cannot revive without medical attention. The reviving talent gives each zeroed stat a temporary score of 1. Medical attention must be administered within the hour or both stats revert to zero and the character passes out again. From there recovery is as per normal rules.

Description Time Cost
1 Revive unconscious 1 round 2
4 Revive suspended animation 1 round 4
7 Revive severely wounded 1 round 7
Throw 8+ per month to improve the talent, up to the character's PSR.

Magnify Senses
This talent increases the sensitivity of the character's five senses to an exceptional degree. The questions the player asks and what the player is sensing for determines what extra information the player can learn. The Referee generally determines if the information is attainable by the character's senses.

Magnified Sight will give a shooting character the benefit of Telescopic sights at Long & Very Long range. Magnified Smell or Taste can detect chemicals & poisons. Magnified Touch can detect differences in temperature. Magnified Hearing can provide a DM against Surprise.

Level Description Time Cost
1 Magnify Sight 60 seconds 1+ Range
2 Magnify Hearing 60 seconds 2+ Range
3 Magnify Smell 60 seconds 3
4 Magnify Taste 60 seconds 4
5 Magnify Touch 60 seconds 5
Throw 8+ per month to improve the talent, up to the character's PSR.

These talents should be in balance with the standard psionic powers. Traveller was never about super-beings. A psionic character gains certain advantages in limited circumstances. The point system keeps this from getting out of control. A psionic who absorbs a rifle bullet might escape the fight. Then again, he might get shot again the next round, without enough PS points to escape a second injury. (Darth Vader had a large pool of PS points!)

How often have Special Psionic talents appeared in your games? What were they? Share your story in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. That Awaken talent is inspired. Coming up with a unique psychological focus for it would be interesting. Having the practitioner unaware that they have the talent could be interesting too. ISTR a NPC for TNE profiled in Challenge who was an inventor or tinkerer of some sort. His fantastic gizmos only worked when he was around thanks to a special psionic talent he was unaware of possessing.

    As for other special talents, I've occasionally mulled over the one mentioned in the first DGP "Four Knights" adventure; an ability to manipulate computer data. I've never come up with any numbers or details for it which I liked.