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White Wolf » New World of Darkness » WOD General Discussion » Psychic: The Gifted
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Psychic: The Gifted
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TheKingsRaven
Thursday, February 17, 2011 4:04:14 PM
#151

Looks good.

I think if I were to summeries what I really want to see from Gestalts it's the following simple traits:

1) A Circle always has a Gestalt, even if only a tiny one.
2) A risk of being subsumed.
3) Gestalt growth is not entirely under the players control. A good balance might be that they can't stop it growing but they can spend its points where they wish.
4) The risk of a Gesalt overpowering you is based on the strength of the Gesalt and your ego
5) Some possibility of "critical mass"

A psychic derangement dosn't really match these criteria but I think I can see a way to do it with a shared merit:

When you join a Circle everyone gets free Merit dots to spend on Gestalt related Merits like long distance communication. (One dot per member, one per Kenning, playtesting required). Psychics also get a second exp pool (out of the existing gamelines Kwere exp would be the closest) for certain things: Increasing Kenning, recruting more members, loosing Ego, forging emotional bonds with the other members. The drawback is that you have to spend this exp, you can't just sit on it forever.

A Gesalt has a rating based on it's total merit dots, if that raiting ever gets above a Psychic's Ego they start having to roll for Ego every week or so. zero Ego is an Embodied Gesalt

That hits all five:
1) The free Merit Dots.
2) The weekly Ego roll if it gets too strong.
3) You forge an emotional bond, or drop ego. You get exp that has to be spent.
4) Using dots to work out the Geatslts danger rating works.
5) If it gets too strong you start dropping Ego, that might make it strong enough to threaten the next member. And so on.

Evo_Shandor wrote:
He becomes an "Embodied Gestalt" (a unique form of the Cursed)
I wouldn't say an Embodied Gestalt is always Cursed. I actually quite like the idea they might even get a bit of Ego before anyone starts loosing their mind. Maybe once they're strong enough to be a threat to Ego 3 or less they get some basic Ego.

Think of them as a Geist, no real effects but they might make advice or commentry. If the Circle likes eachother the Gestalt would reflect that and be harmless (but it can't not subsume anyone, it might be able to help with advice though).

Evo_Shandor wrote:
Perhaps "Embodied Gestalts" seek their independence and need to eliminate the Circle to survive.
I'd call that rare but definitely possible. If the Circle members want out it will reflect that. But to escape it probably only needs to make the circle split up. Some might do so violently though.

Evo_Shandor wrote:
Arguments for/against?

Argument against: I think it's a psychic power that you use just isn't as interesting as forging some sort of permanent link.

If you play up the use of Commune on people outside the Circle it shouldn't feel to weakened.
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Evo_Shandor
Thursday, February 17, 2011 5:51:10 PM
#152

But here are my current thoughts on Gestalts in the order they came to mind:

1) I'll have to think on Gestalts a bit more. Not a decision to be made lightly.
2) Automatic for every Circle seems powerful, but can easily be scalable based on Circle member's Kenning rating and cost for Gestalt abilities. Normally a beginning Circle is going to be fairly weak and so would its Gestalt, perhaps not even giving any bonuses or penalties.
3) A Circle shouldn't gain a Gestalt the moment they form. Weeks of constant telepathic communication and communal bathroom usage emotion-1.gif is required. Mechanically, no real rules but not the same game the character's meet. I'll need some good examples and fluff about the Psychic's living together or constantly practicing mind reading on each other and stuff to show how intimate it actually is to be in a Circle.
4) I'm not convinced on the idea of a sentient separate being. I still like the Hive Mind idea. However, see below.
5) Toning down of the taking over part. However, I think if a Gestalt get's "corrupted" somehow. Perhaps through members gaining Derangements or something worse, the Gestalt might form its own personality and could begin to affect members (lowest Ego first). How a Gestalt would do this or what it would to if it could, I have no idea. Changing Vices?
6) If a Gestalt has stats, they should be as simple as possible. The more stats, the more complicated. More stats also means more dice rolling for the effects of the Gestalt (no reason to have a stat if it isn't going to be used in game).
7) I'll have to think on Gestalts a bit more. Not a decision to be made lightly.
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TheKingsRaven
Thursday, February 17, 2011 6:38:57 PM
#153

Evo_Shandor wrote:
2) Automatic for every Circle seems powerful, but can easily be scalable based on Circle member's Kenning rating and cost for Gestalt abilities.
Yeah, I was imagining not much more powerful than one free dot in Totem per member. Not powerful at all.

Evo_Shandor wrote:
4) I'm not convinced on the idea of a sentient separate being. I still like the Hive Mind idea. However, see below.
I imagined the separate being as growing from the hive mind. A sort of "Greater than the sum of it's parts".

Evo_Shandor wrote:
5) Toning down of the taking over part.
I think you're misreading what I'm thinking about take overs. It's not a hostile action from a separate being. It's a very specific form of how you become one of the Cursed. Only instead of not being able to tell the difference between your thoughts and everyone around you, it's just not being able to tell the difference between your thoughts and your circle buddies.

Because psyhcics are so much more mentally powerful than norms when in a long term link they're more of a danger to your Ego than the usual background noise. Hence why a too powerful Gestalt can actively destroy Ego.

If the entire Circle becomes like this they are a true hive mind, no individuals just one mind and several bodies. (I like the idea of a separate entity, but if you're really set on the hive mind I'd take something like this means more to me than the separate entity)

Evo_Shandor wrote:
6) If a Gestalt has stats, they should be as simple as possible.
Well I've been trying to simplify things. So my current proposal just has two stats: Number of Merit dots & it's "level" which is derived from the number of Merit dots. Everything else is just the effects of individual merits that like all merits apply to the individual characters rather than the Gesalt itself. For example:

Moral Support (OOO): By spending a point of Nomina a Circle member assist a fellow with a Resolve roll using the Teamwork rules.

For the players a normal merit. For the Gesalt, just add 3 to it's total merit dots, nothing more.
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Vree
Thursday, February 17, 2011 10:17:02 PM
#154

TheKingsRaven wrote:

1) A Circle always has a Gestalt, even if only a tiny one.
2) A risk of being subsumed.
3) Gestalt growth is not entirely under the players control. A good balance might be that they can't stop it growing but they can spend its points where they wish.
4) The risk of a Gesalt overpowering you is based on the strength of the Gesalt and your ego
5) Some possibility of "critical mass".

I'm not sure what you're building here: potential enemy material, or something that encourages the players to take part, instead of just spending their exp on themselves.

I don't think that a Gestalt should ever be in any way a requirement, not just for a Circle but anything else: it is a pretty big step, and it will take sufficient benefits to make it look advantageous to players.

A Circle is more like a club, or a group of fellow outcasts that a person can go to. Considering the lonely and isolated nature of the Gifted I think just finding some people who are like you and who are willing to take you in is probably seen as a social breakthrough. It's probably not a good idea to add even more dangers to something story-wise this fragile.

Quote:

Because psyhcics are so much more mentally powerful than norms when in a long term link they're more of a danger to your Ego than the usual background noise. Hence why a too powerful Gestalt can actively destroy Ego.

I'd cut this completely. It looks logical on paper, but tilts the favor completely against forming Gestalts. It's not like it actually has to be true. The Mindspace is vast and invasive, but the Gestalt is forged voluntarily and with caution, quite slowly, and is relatively little in size. If nothing else, the pooling of the members' Egos should give enough strenght to counterbalance anything like this.

Actually, I'll cut the argument short and suggest this simple rule (I've scribbled it down as a drawback with the rest on Gestalt, it was just in a piece of text that I finished for sending):

When a member of the Gestalt violates his Ego, every member with an Ego that is equal or higher makes the same roll for himself. This means that even though people may have entered the Gestalt with different Ego scores, eventually they are all brought to a similar level; this could be considered the Gestalt's "own" Ego.

If the Gestalt is not yet fully fomed, then this Drawback only applies if a character sees or becomes aware of what the other character has done.

[The idea that the Gestalt members have to take collective responsibility for their actions goes back to its nature. Even people who are only part of a human group of friends may feel partially responsible when a member of that group commits a bad act. But a Gestalt member cannot distance himself from the actions of her peers even if she wants to, because their minds are literally connected as one. If the Gestalt stabbed someone, it was you who made the decision, an it was your hand that moved the knife; at least hat's how it feels. And, even if a person manages to justify it for him afterwards (it wasn't me, it was the group mind) the Gestalt contributes a little of everybody to every action of its members, so he will always feel that at least a part of him has made that decision. And it is, in a way, true: Gestalt members are not helpless watchers: they can transfer their thoughts of disapproval towards that member who is acting out of line too. A Gestalt can express his disapproval the moment he is thinking it. If a Gestalt makes a decision, it is a decision made by every person in it. It is unlikely that a Gestalt could act if one its members REALLY didn't want something.

A poisonous member (even if it's not reflected by his starting Ego score) can potentially bring down an entire Gestalt with him like this. (Note that a hive-mind whose members disagree from the start effectively cannot work, and likely cannot raise its own level either. So this risk only really threatens Gestalts where there is a sudden breakdown, or mind control etc. with a previously normal member.)]

TheKingsRaven wrote:
I think you're misreading what I'm thinking about take overs. It's not a hostile action from a separate being. It's a very specific form of how you become one of the Cursed. Only instead of not being able to tell the difference between your thoughts and everyone around you, it's just not being able to tell the difference between your thoughts and your circle buddies.

That's what I thought would happen if a person was reduced to 0 Ego. I don't think the part about the Gestalt being the one that ate all their Ego is neccessarily for that.

However, here's a suggestion: apply the penalties so that they become active instantly if one member hits 0 Ego, instead. A Gestalt with a single 0-Ego member quickly transforming into a full-0 one is not a problem, it just puts a bit more stress on people to take care of each other, and allows for most of the suff you wanted for hive minds.

I think it's better if we make a separation that some sci fi does here, and call group mind the voluntarily version, and hive mind where the the members are drones with literally no independence.) A hive mind with a queen is literally one thinker and several zombies who break down if they aren't connected to her. A queen-less hive mind stores itself in the mind of everyone, but does not bother with allowing them attributes to allow them work well individually as well.

You should come up with a funky name for full-0 Ego Gestalts. The thing is, a Gestalt with no concern for its people parts has a lot more options than a benevolent one. For example, it can start permanently re-distribute Attributes and Skills within itself to free up space. Since only one person knowing something is the Gestalt means everyone knowing it, a hive mind really needs to have one person kno it, or one or two additional ones knowing it on the same level for strategical reasons (if it loses someone it still loses their contributions after all).

^Moral Support merit looks really nice.

TheKingsRaven wrote:
I imagined the separate being as growing from the hive mind. A sort of "Greater than the sum of it's parts".

This really moves it back to the original spirit friend idea, and incorrect about what greater than the sum of the parts means (it should be the person and the overmind at the same time, neither separate from the other), but maybe you can salvage this for Gestalts that form with the inclusion of a disembodied mind (supposing that such a thing is possible).

Psychics who have survived their death by taking over someone's mind, or survived by distributing themselves inside the minds in the Mindspace and are looking for a new body (we really need a name for disembodied minds, "unfettered" or whatever it was dosn't ring true to me) are really a whole other topic. But, for example, a party member who died in the Gestalt and mnaged to do the same would probably put himself inside the Gestalt members instead, and could have a similar function.

However, my opinion is that storytellers may allow things such as demons growing out from everyone's subconscious bad thoughts in Gestalt, but the main book shouldn't give them too much focus, or make them non-completely optional.

I have a proposal of sorts, actually. Another little (yeah, right) supplement I've been contributing to is Adam Thaxton's "Pathogen", viral transformations in the WoD. That game's themes of loss of control and identity may work better with the kind of mechanics that you have imagined. For example, a human forcibly assimilated into a colony may go through just the sort of loss of Morality degradation that you have described.

It is very much in the pre-planning stages, but I did ponder about hopefully being able to pit an infected hive mind against a psychic Gestalt one day. So if you don't your leftovers being nused for a different game…
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Vree
Thursday, February 17, 2011 11:16:51 PM
#155

An important note in Kinesis, maybe you'll want to make a note of it somewhere:

The Kinesis ability is free from Newton's Third Law (action and reaction). Or rather, any recoil effect from physical pressure affects the psychic's -brain- (his metaphysical brain, not the physical one) rather than the physical body.

What does this mean for you?

A psychic cannot be physically damaged from knock-back when he does things via telekinesis, or be pulled or pushed along with something he is telekinetically holding onto.

For example, a character who tries hitting hard stone or armor with his bare fist will likely suffer a nasty bruise. Kinetic blows do not have such a side effect. A cmortal haracter who attemptsnto catch an incoming projectile would either take damage from the hit or the object would push or drag them with it through its own momentum. These hazards are not present when catching things through applying kinetic force.

Now for the bad news. A character can pull things to himself using telekinesis but he can't cannot pull himself to that thing or grab onto amoving object and have himself pulled. These forces only affect the target, but never the psychic.

For example, a psychic cannot grab onto a car and allow himself to get dragged along. He cannot use telekinesis to Climb, or even grab onto the edge of a cliff if he falls.

Nevertheless, the extra knock-back force from these cases is not completely lost: it presents itself as additional strain on the brain during these events. If the power would be exceptionally great and the has to concentrate too strongly, the storyteller can rule that it costs her a Noema point, or even a point of Willpower or Bashing damage, to deal with the additional force being required to absorb the knockback.
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TheKingsRaven
Friday, February 18, 2011 3:38:07 AM
#156

Vree wrote:
I'm not sure what you're building here: potential enemy material, or something that encourages the players to take part, instead of just spending their exp on themselves.
Making Linked Circles a double edged sword. If the big threat to psychics is forgetting you are a Circle should be the biggest risk to and greatest shield for your identity. (Some of the merits should help prevent with Ego loss)

Maybe something like: Heat Sink (OO) Whenever a member of a Linked Circle suffers a Trigger they may distribute the dice around.

E.G. Simon has one too many espressos. The ST rules that the espressos are worth 2 dice, and Simon has an extra 3 dice because he is of the Alchemy Genesis for a total of 5 dice.

Simon's Linked circle has 3 other Psychics so everyone takes a one Die trigger to oppose with their Resolve + Composure - Simon's Kenning, John has the highest Resolve + Composure so he takes the extra die.

Vree wrote:
I don't think that a Gestalt should ever be in any way a requirement, not just for a Circle but anything else: it is a pretty big step,
It's not. It's perfectly possible to have a Circle who don't have any permanent psychic link to each other. Just like you can have a Motley without a pledge, a Throng without an alchemical pact, or a Kewre who don't use the Kewre binding ceremony.

I'm going to start using Circle vs Linked Circle to illustrate the difference.

Vree wrote:
I'd cut this completely. It looks logical on paper, but tilts the favor completely against forming Gestalts.
Not really. The risks vs rewards are completely controllable during game design.

For the Gestalt to be a threat it's level must be greater than your Ego. It's level could increase at 2/6/12 merit dots, or 3/9/15, or whatever is decided. It's easy enough to make the favour in favour of forming a Gestalt if the merits are powerful and it's unlikely being a danger to anyone without an incredibly low ego.

Vree wrote:
[i]When a member of the Gestalt violates his Ego, every member with an Ego that is equal or higher makes the same roll for himself. This means that even though people may have entered the Gestalt with different Ego scores, eventually they are all brought to a similar level; this could be considered the Gestalt's "own" Ego.
Worst of both worlds. It reduces your Ego but it dosn't support the themes.

The theme for Ego is being overwhelmed by psychic noise, not collective responsibility.

Vree wrote:
However, here's a suggestion: apply the penalties so that they become active instantly if one member hits 0 Ego, instead.
A Gestalt should be a double edged sword even without any 0 Ego members, but muting the dangers until someone loses it could work.

Vree wrote:
I think it's better if we make a separation that some sci fi does here, and call group mind the voluntarily version,
If we make that definition than all Gestalts qualify as group minds not hive minds. But it would make sense for Psychics to inaccurately call them different things so the ones who want it don't need to feel associated with the accidents.

Vree wrote:
You should come up with a funky name for full-0 Ego Gestalts.
Unions? Uniminds?

Vree wrote:
The thing is, a Gestalt with no concern for its people parts has a lot more options than a benevolent one.
A gestalts people parts are like your or my legs. They'd automatically have concern for them, but could probably survive even if they lost them as an untethered.

New Derangement

New Identity (Inferiority Complex)

I'm not sure about Inferiority Complex but it's the best I can think of and I definitely don't like the place holder name.

It's not that common but not everyone's identity matches their body. With the “powers first” attitude in Gifted culture it's not surprising that a lot of ingenious methods have been developed by the few but dedicated. Persona is the most direct method but Scape illusions, using Commune to change the way you are perceived by others or even intricate and advanced kenesis to create a visible and tactile shell have been used.

Depending on the skill and prudence of the practitioner this can be a healthy and effective way of dealing with a problem, the issues start when a Psychic looses the ability to tell what's real and what is created with their powers.

The direct drawbacks of this derangement is that it requires a successful Resolve roll to try and drop the disguise, or rather to layer a second disguise over the first, in a way that violates the new identity, such as a Psychic with an eating disorder appearing as anything except thin.

Indirect drawbacks can be far more sever, depending on the degree of change and if they made preparations before gaining the Derangement the psychic may be unable to use their legal identity and has no official identity for their new form. Even justifying things as the result of a mundane yet permanent method, such as gender reassignment surgery, can be difficult as this derangement impairs the Psychic's ability to realise he or she is currently using his or her powers, or even that there ever was a different physical from to disguise.
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Evo_Shandor
Friday, February 18, 2011 10:29:19 AM
#157

Side Topics:

I'm looking for more movies and TV shows to use for inspiration.
I've got a few so far:
Babylon 5, Carrie, The Dead Zone, Firestarter, Next, Push, Scanners, The Sixth Sense, Suspect Zero, Unbreakable

I know of Carrie 2 and Firestarter 2 as movie sequels, but I'm having a hard time thinking of more.
Ever few nights, I go through my movie collection and find a movie that has the right feel and/or content for Psychic: The Gifted. I then watch said movie in about half an hour (skipping through the "boring parts"emotion-5.gif. This usually puts me in the mood for writing. However, I'm getting burned out on my options.

As I've said before, I would prefer the Concentrations to be a Base power with many optional Advantages (any one available at start).
I am currently adapting Concentrations into a 5 dot tiered advancing system similar to Vampire Disciplines with a few general Advancements, because it may be the only way.
I have an idea on how to do Concentrations the way I'd like, but there are complications.
If each dot in a Concentration gave a free Advancement chosen from the pool of Advancements, I would need at least 5 Advancements that work for each Concentration. I don't think that is hard to do, but it leaves out the possibility of buying "extra" Advancements directly unless I have about 10 workable Advancements for each Concentration. Otherwise, if a character has 1 or more "extra" Advancements to a Concentration, he may run out of them before he gets his 5th dot in the Concentration. Not every Advancement will work for every Concentration (no matter how hard I tried), so what I have only accounts for a fraction of what I think I need.
Even if I had the 10 workable Advancements for each Concentration, nothing but the limited possibility of the player not buying up too many "extra" Advancements for a Concentration would prevent him from running out before reaching 5 Dots.
I like the idea of a character being able to have 1 or 2 dots in a Concentration and 6 Advancements for it. Showing that he has a wide variety of options when using the Concentration, he just isn't that powerful when using them.

One option, that I just now thought of, is to allow players to purchase an Advancement more than once for a particular Concentration. Multiple "levels" could add to the effects or lower the Noema costs to use them. I didn't really want to add complexity to Advancements. This might be my best option, but I'll have to look over all the Advancements and see what can be done to "advance the Advancements". Maybe by doubling or tripling the available Advancements, I'll fix my problems.

Even with my recent (possible) epiphany, maybe you guys can see something I missed or convince me of a better way.
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