Navigator RPG and Psionics

I am nowhere near writing the chapter on psionics yet but they are implications to the skill system. Skills are definitely part of Character Generation and that is where I am.

White Star has about 40 ‘meditations’ which are direct one to one equivalents of OSR/OGL D&D spells. You have your Charm Person, Locate Object and so on.

Spacemaster has our familiar lists. I personally found the lists in Spacemaster to be rather bland, uninspiring and limited.

HARP SF has what it calls Fields which group similar psionic abilities together. Each has six to ten fully scalable abilities exactly like HARP Fantasy’s scalable spells.

So a HARP SF field is equivalent to a Spacemaster list but the psionic abilities are learned more like talents with an increasing DP cost as you go up the tiers.

Most Rolemaster folk who also know something about HARP have some admiration of the scalable spell system. You lose the Light I, Light II,… Light True progression that we see in most lists but you gain the ability to scale a basic Light spell in whatever way you need depending on your ability and the amount of power points you want to put into the spell.

The most Spacemaster thing to do is to copy the lists, change the names and some parameters to they are no longer the ICE spell lists, which I know ICE are very protective of. That gives maximum Spacemaster compatibility.

I could turn White Star’s meditations into Spacemaster style lists but that is more difficult as there are too few meditations to populate the lists.

As White Star has so much OGL D&D behind it I could go down the road of doing a direct one to one conversion of White Star meditations to HARP style scalable spells.

This would mean that psionics/spells would be learned by developing them as skills and we would need a power point development skill.

So that is the impact of psionics on skills.

Spacemaster broke the ‘anyone can do anything if you are prepared to spend the DP on it’ philosophy when it came to psions. I think they were right. You were either born psionic or you weren’t. It was not something that you decided to develop when you got to high level as the diminishing returns made buying your core skills pointless.

HARP has psionic potential as a talent that can be bought at creation but can also be bought with GM approval later on. Maybe you get some experimental brain surgery that enables your latent potential. I like that and I can go back and add the Psionic Potential talent to the available talents.

I am not entirely convinced this is actually a big deal. Spacemaster telepaths could do the stuff you expected telepaths to do. White Star mystics and Star Knights have exactly the same psychic abilities as to HARP characters.

It is more a question of presentation, they are all trying to model the same thing.

Does anyone have any strong opinions on this one way or another? I am leaning towards one to one conversion of the White Star discrete mediations using HARP style scalable spells but that is the least Spacemaster-ish solution.

4 Replies to “Navigator RPG and Psionics”

  1. Walking the Way: A Mysticism Sourcebook apparently has more Meditations and Gifts fro White Star (it doesn’t mention Chitterings though). I don’t have this, as yet, and no numbers are given in the description.

    1. As with everything else I am expecting other people to fill in the blanks. I just want to get something coherent, playable and recognisably Spacemaster-ish.

      When I say other people I actually include myself in that. Once there is a game that works and is available anyone can write the supplements that add in what they feel is missing. One of my favourite PCs was an Alterant Replicant Criminologist. Neither that race or that profession will exist at release. If someone is a huge fan of Talent Law then they can convert all the talents to Navigator RPG and that will make thousands of new species possible. The point of the game being based on open standards is to make it extensible.

      I haven’t bought the White Star encyclopedia, despite it having more of everything for that very reason. I want people to convert it to any Sci Fi genre they want to play in and share those conversions.

  2. hmm … i always considered pp development something unnatural.

    why not go the dangerous journeys/mythus way ?

    each rank in a psychic/spell skill gives you a certain amount of psion/spell points.

    also the meditation skill could double as a skill from which points are gained.

    1. PP development as a skill is both the HARP and RMu way. PP based upon stat and level is the Spacemaster/RM2 way. The first gives greater forward compatibility should this game ever take off. The latter gives greater backward compatibility and lightens the DP burden.

      I am not too concerned about DPs as I am using fixed 50DPs per level. Your culture comes with 50DPs of predefined skills. Your profession comes with 50DPs of predefined core skills and the player gets to spend 50DPs on any skills they like. This gives you a 150DPs worth of skills compared to original Spacemaster characters who would probably have had 70DPs split over 0th and 1st level.

      I am not including background options but I am going to encourage the creation of 3rd party talents. These will soak up some of those excess DPs. I am including rapid skill development where you can by more than two ranks per level of a skill. So for example a skill listed as 2/4 should be treated as 2/4*. One rank costs 2DP, two ranks will be 6DP and the third rank would be 10DP (2+4+4). Rapid skill development allows a character to come up to speed with a new skill in a few levels rather than skills learned after 1st level forever lagging behind.

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