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Author Topic: Telekinesis  (Read 3193 times)
Marco
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« on: February 17, 2006, 06:55:43 AM »

So I've got this character with a brain tumor named Amanda Averice (that's the tumor's name, not my character's name) and it talks to me and gives me TK.

The GM and I worked out TK--but I'm wondering how other people have done it.

I don't have the sheet with me but this is what I recall:
1. Lethal damage.
2. Non-lethal.
3. Transport (levitate). I wanted very-slow flight and assisted jumps. The GM said it was faster than that (no problems there--but is there any distinguishing between barely functional flight and really fast flight?).

Now, I also wanted to be able to deflect incoming attacks and hold people still. There's also manipulating objects at range (opening doors, etc.)

Finally, there's the question as to whether I can, in the narrative, pick up a car ... a building? Can I rip a vault door off its hinges? How's that work?

Any ideas on how to represent this ability--and, how to set expectations about how it'd work in SIS?

-Marco
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2006, 08:43:55 AM »

Thank God, a rules question. I could use a few of those for a while.

I think the first issue is to think about what the demon cannot do with the ability. It's kind of tricky with comics-ish powers, because sometimes people start thinking in terms of a Champions Variable Power Pool, "move anything in any way."  So I'm assuming that what you haven't described isn't there at all.

With that, what you've listed is by itself not too terribly huge. Travel for the levitation, and defining it as sort of wuxia-like assisted jumps and similar works fine. Hold, obviously, and Armor (good idea). I'm not sure whether both sorts of Damage are necessary; with a hefty Power score, non-lethal Special Damage tends to bely its name. Maybe figure on just one of them for the moment, if that's OK. Manipulating objects at a distance is easy, it works out to Warp plus Ranged. Warp also serves nicely for crushing things with the TK if you want, but if you want to limit its application to moving things which are moveable (i.e. hinges, wheels), that's cool.

Fine work doesn't seem to be part of the picture, so no Perception. You didn't mention carrying around a roomful of other people with the Travel, so no Transport.

Total = Travel, Hold, Armor, Special Damage, Warp, Ranged = 6, so a minimum Power and Will of 7. That's not excessive - a handful, yes, but about where most Sorcerer players settle, unless they are a little timid and get a serviceable imp type, or are gonzo and go for some freaking Power 10 or 11 monstrosity.

Even if you rounded it up to Power 9 with a couple more abilities, that's within the range of perfectly reasonable and fun starting demons I've seen.

The limits for picking up cars and similar are handled by looking at the Power score. It's not as hard-and-fast as, say, the Hero System for this purpose, but think in strictly human terms rather than scaling up in the Hero System sense. Therefore 7 would outmatch any normal human, probably in the "heft car over head" range. Power 9 is where the scary stuff might start - punching through solid walls, beating people up with lampposts you rip out of the ground. Rather than scale it up mechanically by pounds and meters, I tend to think of 5 or 6 as the powerful-human range, 7 or 8 as the "whoa - tougher than any human" range, and 9 and above as flat-out fantastic, in the sense of "fantasy."

Then again, don't forget bonus and roll-over dice. Underpowering a character from the above pseudo-scale and simply utilizing the system to have more than the score, much of the time, is actually more sensible. That's why I horrify Conan fans when I say he works just fine with a Stamina of 4 (welllll, 5 makes me happier, but he could work at 4).

As for rolling the dice, rather than just looking at the score in limit-terms, rolls in Sorcerer should really be considered in conflict situations only. So we're not talking about what the demon "needs to roll" when simply picking up a car for no reason.

Finally, since it's a demonic ability, there's a whole 'nother nuance at work, which is not only what can it do, but what kind of demon are we talking about? Specifically its Desire and Need, but also in general ... in other words, what are demons and sorcery like, for this game? You've got a talking tumor, but how is it a demon rather than just a startling physiological phenomenon?

With that in mind, you might find yourself tuning one or another aspect of the TK up or down, or adding another ability. So everything I wrote about the abilities ought to be tempered in that context.

Best,
Ron

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Marco
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2006, 09:00:55 AM »

Okay, that's a good answer. It's, I think, 8 dice so I can lift a lot but not tear a building off its foundation. There *is* a perception ability that goes with it (sense malice)--but that's not TK related. The demon's a parasite (obviously).

The character, Dr. Timothy Ware, (who is on the madness spectrum from Sex and Sorcery--I loved the diagram) is a young brilliant psycho-surgeon who gained extreme prominence with the counter-culture for his work in therapeutic virtual reality, an illegal web-cast neural-surgery experiment done in Brazil, and the creation of innovative psychedelics. His book, Storming Hell: An Adventure in to the Jungian Dark Continent ended with a description of a hard-to-replicate experiment involving drugs, SQUID brain scanners, and periodic use of sensory deprivation tanks.

When he tried it, just before publication of the book, he "made contact." He believes the demons are incarnations of elemental appetites that humans share on a subconscious level--but he isn't sure (and as a player, that was my contribution--there was no firm discussion of the underlying nature of Sorcery in the game). Now, discredited to a large extent by critics (he recalled coppies of the book--although it still exists ... in several subtly different versions on the Internet) and his assistant was killed in a fire during the experiment (the demon's visual image, which only he can see appears as the girl who died for him) he has abandoned the movement ... or, at least, is trying to.

I'm mixing up Desire and Need--one of them is that it requires that he re-take command of the enlightenment movement he abandoned after the catastrophic results of his experiment (it demands he play to his fans). The other is that it ... I think that it requires affection (I'll have to check).

Any idea how that background would play into the abilities?

-Marco
-Marco
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2006, 09:13:02 AM »

I love the Madness end of that diagram too. Lots of Pi and Doctor Rat and Valis, with the "human cost" dial turned way up.

I like the point that he has an explanation for the demon, but no one really, you know, knows. That's a good general way to establish look & feel without implanting the demons solidly as an explained feature of the fictional situation. I've employed it and seen it employed many times to good effect in the game, especially when no one tries to nail it down further later, either.

All right, let me think. The Desire needs to be something quite general, choosing from the terms like Corruption or Sensation I listed in the core book (a very useful set) rather than being stated as a concrete goal. It might be Power, although really, any of them could lead to an interest in Ware rejoining/leading the movement. That's a fine immediate, concrete expression of a Desire, but it's good to remember that such expressions/goals are highly situational. If something else seems better to the demon for fulfilling its Desire, it'll switch.

I'm pretty sure that the affection thing is the demon's Need. How does one express affection for one's brain tumor? Ewwww, unfortunately I mentally answered that question.

Best, Ron
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