Monday, October 20, 2014

Basic Psionics Handbook Update

Thanks particularly to Matthew Skail and Eric Potter for their input so far on Basic Psionics Handbook. Eric is running a BX game where the average player age is 12, and Matthew is coming at this as someone who seems to know early edition psionics top-to-bottom. The dichotomy of those two POVs has proven to be incredibly insightful in making a complete and cohesive psionic ruleset that is also coherent (especially in BX terms). Following are just a couple of what I see to be key updates to the most current version...

Updates to Attack/Defense Mode Interaction
If you've looked at pages 76-77 of the DMG at any length, you know that the Attack/Defense Mode charts can be a little daunting. But I didn't want to do away with the concept. I really do like that each attack and defense mode has a methodology behind it, and how they interact is based on how those methodologies interact. If you recall, I'm using psionic “to hit” rolls (psionic level vs. Mental Class = target on 1d20). If successful, each attack mode does a number of dice of PSP (psionic strength point) "damage" equal to the psionic level of the attacker. However, the type of dice to be used is based on the combination of attack and defense modes (see chart below). The number to the left of the slash = the dice type. The number to the right of the slash = the adjustment to the saving throw which avoids additional effects (beyond the PSP loss).

Addition of a Monk Class
This is a class based on an "enhanced" shaolin-type monk, with psychometabolic psionics (plus some other relevant disciplines). This is no monk/mystic/Europe/Asia identity crisis thing. And there's none of this "speaks with animals" bullshit. This is a bare-handed fighting machine (and easily a fighter replacement).

Streamlining of the Disciplines
Some of the other updates include: 1) streamlining the PSP costs for the different disciplines (to the point where they're pretty easy to memorize the PSP cost for each based on whether it's a devotion or science, and which chakra they belong), and 2) streamlined the layout of the disciplines (using a top-of-page index strip to help quickly identify which of the 6 chakras you're viewing).=

Wild Psionics "Tweaks"
Wild psionics have been a struggle for me. I'm theoretically opposed to them, but almost everyone I've talked to want them included. Here's my reasoning... in BX, there's no such thing as "wild magic spells," nor are there "wild thieving abilities." In that context, what sense does "wild psionics" make? What I have to realize is that many folks are using BX/LL rules, but playing 1e classes (e.g., LL AEC). So I've made wild psionics one of the appendices, rather than having it appear between the discipline descriptions and the psionic combat sections. I've also make attack/defense modes available via wild psionics.

Okay. I think that's it for now, but I'm sure I'll have more updates soon.

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