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[Æon] Narrative behind Psi powers granting skill dots

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  • [Æon] Narrative behind Psi powers granting skill dots

    Hi all,

    I've been looking through the TC:Aeon book, just trying to get a handle on the actual capabilities of Psions in this edition.

    There's a couple of different Modes that grant the Psion or someone else additional skill dots, and I'm trying to work out what this actually looks like, in setting. It's complicated by not actually playing any Trinity Continuum yet (2020 was, surprisingly enough, not great for my gaming) and potential mental contamination from all the other Story* system games I've played (Which does include Scion, second ed, but also includes first ed Aeon and Aberrant, and a collection of various World of Darkness lines).

    When a Vitakinetic uses Precision, or a Telepath uses Rewrite to turn someone's Medicine from 1 to 5, what's happening?

    I've got two potential interpretations.

    The first is that it's a purely internal process. You're changing how someone's brain (Vita) or mind (Tele) works. If you're improving Aim, you're emphasising spatial awareness and hand-eye co-ordination. If you're improving Science, or Medicine, you're boosting recall, and emphasising a particular way of thinking.

    But while that works for minor increases, I'm not sure it holds up to serious improvements. A proxy using these powers can comfortably take someone who's done a basic first-aid course and turn them into the best surgeon in the world. Giving a 1-dot Science undergraduate an additional 4 dots and you're doing more than just improving how their mind works. At a certain point, you've got to be granting knowledge. And more specifically, knowledge that the psion doesn't know.

    So my other interpretation is that it works more like some of the more mystical stuff. You're not just changing how their mind works, you're doing it by tapping into something external. Maybe it's the collective human knowledge as a whole, or maybe it's the platonic ideal of science. In that case, you're not just making their brain/mind better, you're downloading the relevant knowledge into them.

    Does anyone have any alternative interpretations? Is there anything in the setting material that I've just not absorbed properly that answers this?

  • #2
    My interpretation for Telepathy is simple, they are interacting with other people minds and reading them to get what is needed to be done, it’s like transplantation of memories from a kind of collective mind (reading many minds at the same time) to the target mind. Maybe that many times you see videos in the internet about random subjects and just forget about them latter, but they are there, you just need to reach into the person memories and reinforce them.p until they are usable knowledge.

    Vita would work much as you described, reinforcing positive aspects of the mind that point to better results in the skill intended, it’s not that you know more, but that your body and mind are giving you better chances to succeed the task. Maybe the idea of remembering specific themes easier can also help, as VK deals with mental health too.

    The thing with skills is that they are general knowledge and concepts in the area, while Specialities, Edges and Skill tricks are the real specific knowledge, very specific ones. So adding skill is more about remembering general stuff, and adding Edges is a very specific set of knowledge. To make a master you need to add some skill dots and a good variety and a large amount related of edges, what is out of reach of any Psi user alone, at least one working alone.


    House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
    Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
    Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux

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    • #3
      I figure a mystical platonic ideal explanation probably works best. If Vitakinesis lets you raise someone's Might to 7 - and only 7 - whether they're Andre the Giant or Peter Dinklage, you're obviously not drawing upon THEIR physical potential. Since the rules already indicate everything in the universe is connected on a noetic level, it is easy to presume that you're imposing part of the noetic concept of the 'perfect' human onto the target.

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      • #4
        I think Attributes are more straightforward when explaining what does the extra dots mean. Skill is a bit different as it’s about things you know and not your natural capacities.


        House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
        Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
        Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux

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        • #5
          And yet there is no mechanic preventing a Vitakinetic from granting a time traveler from ancient Rome the "That's My Favorite, Too!" Skill Trick to fit in with Bubblegum Pop concert-goers.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Shepherdboi View Post
            And yet there is no mechanic preventing a Vitakinetic from granting a time traveler from ancient Rome the "That's My Favorite, Too!" Skill Trick to fit in with Bubblegum Pop concert-goers.
            That was a great example of craziness we can make with the system... but you can prevent it with some case by case restrictions.

            Personally I would suggest to grant it as a very situational advantage, like some extra good lucky or use Psi to straight forward grant some statistical advantage.


            House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
            Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
            Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mateus Luz View Post
              That was a great example of craziness we can make with the system... but you can prevent it with some case by case restrictions.
              So giving Peter Dinklage and Andre the Giant the same max stat cap on Might boosts isn't crazy, but saying a psi power can grant you temporary abilities completely beyond your experience by aligning your noetic aura with the platonic ideal of human perfection is?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Shepherdboi View Post
                So giving Peter Dinklage and Andre the Giant the same max stat cap on Might boosts isn't crazy, but saying a psi power can grant you temporary abilities completely beyond your experience by aligning your noetic aura with the platonic ideal of human perfection is?
                This is a kinda awkward and arguably distasteful discussion, but this difference is probably better represented by Dinklage being Scale 0, so there would be increased difficulty on some actions even if they have the same amount of dice.


                Raksha are my fae-vorite.

                Reincarnation of magnificentmomo.

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                • #9
                  Or, you know, it's vitakinetics, and if you really need to justify it in your mind beyond, "It's a psychic power, some of which can move things around without touching them or teleport people to other star systems," you can always say it packs on a bunch of muscle mass and supporting tissue or makes their muscle, bone, and connective tissue more dense, or whatever. You can also say their noetic pattern has been enhanced, which gives them extra strength without visual changes.

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                  • #10
                    That is exactly my point. Attributes are about natural capacities, not what the character know or learned.

                    When you change the character attributes you are changing natural capacities, the character’s noetic pattern, body and mind, but not the character’s experiences. It’s much like a surgery, give some muscle, or refine the control over the muscle, or add some brain mass to gain some brain power, or what ever.

                    Skills and Edges are things the character learned over time, so increasing skills and edges is weird because it’s like making the character have learned stuff, even worse, it can be temporary, so they unlearn latter.

                    Telepathy would justify because you can work the target memories, access other people minds to get some of their experience and give to people.

                    Vitakinesis is a bit more complicated, VK can handle memories, as it’s part of the noetic pattern, you can even “save” the target pattern to use it latter to recover mind and body. So it could be used to handle things you learned (skills and edges), but you can’t create memories, you must copy it from someone, to that you can use other people, like Telepathy does, but you need to touch the other person to grab some of their pattern, because that’s how VK works.


                    House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
                    Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
                    Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux

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                    • #11
                      Everyone and everything has a noetic signature and is presumably part of a large noetic field like the Force in Star Wars. Granting skills could be as simple as creating a flow of knowledge through the noetic field to the target and entangling their signature with it for a period of time.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tarion View Post
                        There's a couple of different Modes that grant the Psion or someone else additional skill dots, and I'm trying to work out what this actually looks like, in setting
                        With respect, it looks like space magic. The psi power works like it says, humans can’t necessarily explain precisely how. Nor can they precisely explain how PK can move objects or teleportation can take things from one end of the galaxy to the other. It’s ‘subquantum realm’, ‘psi’, ‘noetic potentiality’, but it all boils down to space magic. Humans have been seriously looking at this stuff for less than 20 years (looking past the Aeon Trinity’s dabbling here), and while they can use it, predict its effects, and build technological foundations upon it, they don’t really understand psi.


                        Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bunyip View Post

                          With respect, it looks like space magic. The psi power works like it says, humans can’t necessarily explain precisely how. Nor can they precisely explain how PK can move objects or teleportation can take things from one end of the galaxy to the other. It’s ‘subquantum realm’, ‘psi’, ‘noetic potentiality’, but it all boils down to space magic. Humans have been seriously looking at this stuff for less than 20 years (looking past the Aeon Trinity’s dabbling here), and while they can use it, predict its effects, and build technological foundations upon it, they don’t really understand psi.
                          I'm not sure that is pertinent to the question I'm asking, honestly.

                          I don't really care about the underlying physics/biology/noetic science of it. I'm trying to understand what the characters are experiencing when that power is used. There's a big difference, from an in character perspective, from "My brain is working better" and "I have had new knowledge downloaded into my brain", and it doesn't seem plausible that they wouldn't notice new knowledge in their brain. This feels like something that matters if you're going to play a roleplaying game with these effects.

                          At it's most basic, if I use that power on someone to give them 5 dots in Medicine, are they suddenly acting like an experienced doctor?
                          Last edited by Tarion; 01-28-2021, 01:02 PM.

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                          • #14
                            It's up to your table to decide what they want it to look like. It might always look like that, or each psion might have their own quirk to using it. There's nothing in the written works, so far, which say what it looks like.

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                            • #15
                              If you don't want them to literally have knowledge pop into their heads that disappears later, you could frame it as super intense intuition. They may not magically recall technical medical terms that they may never have learned in the first place, but they just know exactly what the problem is and precisely what they have to do to fix things. It just seems so obvious.

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