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  • Biokinetics vs. Vitakinetics

    I want to explore the difference between these two psionic aptitudes.

    The current explanation is that a biokinetic affects themselves, and a vitakinetic affects others. That's okay, up to a point, but it's also a bit too metagame for my taste. It reveals the inner workings of the system too much within the setting. What we need is a better in setting explanation for what is happening. In-setting explanations are good, because they make making rulings about fantastic things easier.

    So, what I'm assuming is that a biokinetic and a vitakinetic are both working with living stuff, but are basically working with entirely different processes. A biokinetic mostly seems to work with DNA, or protein creation, or the "psionic template". It's not so much that they can only affect themselves, it's that their subconscious sense of self preservation allows them to make physical changes without devolving into an unstable mutation...the same way a teleporter's innate survival sense means they never wind up embedded in an object. Used on someone else, that innate sense of self goes away, which leads workable changes being very hard to make, and it's easier to give someone cancer or cause wide-spread cellular destruction than to provide a positive, functioning mutation. Note previous biokinetic powers supported this ability in theory.

    Conversely, a vitakinetic doesn't really touch on DNA or the "psionic template" or any such thing. Mostly, she just amps up or slows down other biological processes: my best guess based on powers available is that the process is largely hormonal. That's why a vitakinetic can affect both a person's physical and mental health. Ormikinetic might even be a good name for them. So that lets you heal, enhance, and do some cosmetic things such as improve skin or promote weight loss for Iatrosis, it lets you calm someone down, put a patient to sleep, block out or re-up certain neurochemicals or in a possibly unethical "off-label" use make a patient sexually excited for Mentasis, and hormonal conditions can be incredibly life threatening for Algesis, causing bleeding, seizures, heart attacks, neuropathy and all kinds of horrible things.

    It's even possible that a Quantakinetic could perform some of these same feats, but even slower than a biokinetic, and only with great effort. If you likened the body to a house, the vitakinetic is like a repairman: he can fix and even tweak the existing processes but only has limited ability to make major modifications. The biokinetic is the contractor who has a lot of ability to make changes, but does have to build the whole thing by hand. The Quantikinetic is the same, but has to build each brick, plank of wood and bit of plaster molecule by molecule.

  • #2
    I strongly agree with your drive to better define the aptitudes in terms of relatable notions, i don't mind some Noetic hand-wavery here and there, but the line between biokinesis and vitakinesis has always been a bit finer than the other dividers. The in-game prohibitions placed by the Doyen artificially into the Prometheus tanks seem especially petty between these two Aptitudes.
    Your suggestions are clever and show some good thought has gone into them, i like the caveat of Biokinetic 'self-permission' and the hormonal twist on Vitakinesis. I could see myself using those suggestions with the minor alterations they would entail (if any). It can be hard to tell exactly how versatile QK was meant to be, a kind of telekinesis at the quantum scale could have mimicked any physical Mode - but tying clairsentience and telepathy to the quantum level could require some vigorous hand-waving.
    I would love for the developers of this new edition to develop some tidy pseudo-scientific Noetics with the appropriate flavour to help fill in the jargon required to tie it back down to sci-fi when Teleportation and other normally unnatural feats come into play. But for the most part, hard science fills in the details nicely with a bit of attention and i do insist on at least some science in my sci-fi.
    I could see a telepathic connection being used to obtain the 'self-permission' of party members or NPCs to work outside of your template, or thick-skinned, pain-numbed Ormikinetic chemical configurations serving as minions.
    Thanks for posting this.
    Last edited by Nihilist; 07-05-2015, 06:08 PM. Reason: order of vowels in pseudo

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    • #3
      Terra Verde touches on this subject, with Norca researchers asking why there's a line between Biokinesis and Vitakinesis (and for that matter noting the blurry boundaries between other aptitudes), and noting that the two aptitudes control the living body in different ways.

      One theory suggested is that Vitakinesis is about restoration of the noetic template while Biokinesis is about modification of the template, with researchers speculating that further mastery of Biokinesis may enable modification of other noetic templates.


      Scion 2E: What We Know - A wiki compiling info on second edition Scion.

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      • #4
        I've always thought Biokinesis and Vitakinesis were artificially split myself. I totally agree that they need some further justification that they are something different and not just two jobs contributing to the same building (using the architectural example). Clarisentience is distinct, Psychokinesis limits itself to "movement of molecules", Teleportation is distinct, but the rest are either improperly defined or all-encompassing (quantakinesis). I think I've mentioned that you could simulate half the current power roster of Electrokinesis by creating electric eel organs through Biokinesis, whihc makes little sinse since Electrokinesis is supposed to be manipulation of the EM Spectrum.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by marin View Post
          One theory suggested is that Vitakinesis is about restoration of the noetic template while Biokinesis is about modification of the template, with researchers speculating that further mastery of Biokinesis may enable modification of other noetic templates.
          Noetic template theory is interesting because it suggests some sort of "platonic form" that goes above and beyond the dictates of DNA, and that unlike DNA is normally immutable except by psionic means. Assuming biokinesis is a function of DNA manipulation above, and vitakinesis is not, that would limit certain things that vitakinesis could do...for instance, if vitakinesis cannot alter DNA, it means certain genetic conditions are no longer strictly curable, although it's possible that there effects may be blocked or temporarily halted. It might mean certain epigenetic effects, (genetic traits that turn on or off depending on physical circumstances) are still curable by vitakinesis though. Likewise while a vitakinetic could partially restore some of the damage caused by aging and support accelerated healing in the elderly, they could not entirely stop or reverse aging, which is caused by the breakdown of DNA, although they might still be able to cause it through Algesis through destroying the DNA indirectly.

          Going either on DNA theory or pure noetic template theory, a powerful enough biokinetic could functionally become immortal so long as they avoided certain amounts of massive trauma, assuming immortality doesn't lead to psychological breakdown from excess sensory input and limits of human memory storage.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Darksol-aeternium View Post
            I've always thought Biokinesis and Vitakinesis were artificially split myself. I totally agree that they need some further justification that they are something different and not just two jobs contributing to the same building (using the architectural example). Clairsentience is distinct, Psychokinesis limits itself to "movement of molecules", Teleportation is distinct, but the rest are either improperly defined or all-encompassing (Quantakinesis). I think I've mentioned that you could simulate half the current power roster of Electrokinesis by creating electric eel organs through Biokinesis, which makes little sense since Electrokinesis is supposed to be manipulation of the EM Spectrum.
            Even Clairsentience has a certain amount of overlap as many powers include a sensory component at the low levels, such as the Vitakinetic Kirlian Eye or Biokinetic life sense. Likewise with Psychokinesis and Electrokinesis the main difference is the size of the particle manipulated, with Quantakinesis simply taking things down to the smallest level.

            Telepathy even falls into an interesting category, because while Vitakinesis can affect the mind on a purely chemical level, and Electrokinesis can affect the mind on a purely electrical level (mostly through muscle stimulation), I believe Telepathy affects the mind chemically, electrically, and noetically all at once; that is, using the noetic channel that is an inherent emergent property of living things to create feedback. Vitakinetics and electrokinetics lack this third aspect; even if they were to learn the other ability as secondary aptitude, they would always lack true fine control.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Wolfgar View Post

              Noetic template theory is interesting because it suggests some sort of "platonic form" that goes above and beyond the dictates of DNA, and that unlike DNA is normally immutable except by psionic means.
              Assuming biokinesis is a function of DNA manipulation above, and vitakinesis is not, that would limit certain things that vitakinesis could do...for instance, if vitakinesis cannot alter DNA, it means certain genetic conditions are no longer strictly curable, although it's possible that there effects may be blocked or temporarily halted. It might mean certain epigenetic effects, (genetic traits that turn on or off depending on physical circumstances) are still curable by vitakinesis though. Likewise while a vitakinetic could partially restore some of the damage caused by aging and support accelerated healing in the elderly, they could not entirely stop or reverse aging, which is caused by the breakdown of DNA, although they might still be able to cause it through Algesis through destroying the DNA indirectly.

              Going either on DNA theory or pure noetic template theory, a powerful enough biokinetic could functionally become immortal so long as they avoided certain amounts of massive trauma, assuming immortality doesn't lead to psychological breakdown from excess sensory input and limits of human memory storage.

              The quantifiable, individual 'soul' alluded to in Noetics is a handy smudge factor for disciplines like psychology and even as incomplete as it is, can be handy in stringing reasonable logic out into sci-fi jargon principles for fantastic powers (teleportation, clairsentience, etc) which can be used to suspend disbelief.
              Physically affecting the Doyen Bio-tech templates (animal, floral, bacterial, plasmoid) might be more accessible for Biokinetic effects - as a type of simple reptilian kind of noetic attunement, while Vitakinetic attunements may be more complex and closer to the higher forms of Telepathy/Clairsentience/whatever - granting the limited empathic connectivity hinted at by mentatis.
              Although i'm no expert, it might be simple to think of the Vitakinetics you describe as akin to a one-man hospital lacking only in DNA treatment options. Giving DNA wholesale to Biokinesis is a bold move, perhaps an equal gift for the Vitakinetics to further divide the two could assay their loss; i want to extend Mentatis, but that could start running into Telepathy and Biokinetics can do some tricks with pheremones that take them in the same direction...
              -shrug-
              I seem to remember one of the books saying there really is no way to tell how old Bio- and Vita-kinetics might live to be, as none have died of old age yet. I kind of liked that evidence based approach.
              I have to ask where "platonic form" came from, that's a good way of putting it, i don't remember it immediately from any of the books.

              Originally posted by Wolfgar View Post

              Even Clairsentience has a certain amount of overlap as many powers include a sensory component at the low levels, such as the Vitakinetic Kirlian Eye or Biokinetic life sense. Likewise with Psychokinesis and Electrokinesis the main difference is the size of the particle manipulated, with Quantakinesis simply taking things down to the smallest level.

              Telepathy even falls into an interesting category, because while Vitakinesis can affect the mind on a purely chemical level, and Electrokinesis can affect the mind on a purely electrical level (mostly through muscle stimulation), I believe Telepathy affects the mind chemically, electrically, and noetically all at once; that is, using the noetic channel that is an inherent emergent property of living things to create feedback. Vitakinetics and electrokinetics lack this third aspect; even if they were to learn the other ability as secondary aptitude, they would always lack true fine control.

              Clairsentience, Telepathy, Teleportation and Quantakinesis all step outside of our current natural understanding of things. Lending themselves to many potential overlaps with other aptitudes, because we can't neatly define them into physical processes divisible from the others. As an example; the teleportation effect can be inferred out of spooky action at a distance, but that might violate the domain of Quantakinesis if taken to its closest logical conclusion (Teleporters utilize quantum entanglement), in which case the two may be more divided by their flavour of attunement.
              If EKs can really toy with electromagnetism as well as it's suggested then they're also invading the sovereignty of Quantakinesis at times, given what little we know about that lost aptitude. Maybe QK fell outside of this pattern, since it was apparently new to the Doyen when it showed up too. But, QK aside, those aptitudes can all find themselves open to some interpretation even given the more robust sources for them.
              I like the notion that the Doyen limited each Aptitude in different ways - so that 'hacking' the restrictions off one chamber wouldn't work that way for any of the others, if that makes sense... Look, i'm getting way off topic now, but the artificial division of the aptitudes is bound to lead toward the Doyen eventually. Who are fast becoming my own personal 'Godwins Law' on these boards, lazy brain.
              You have some intriguing notions on the subject Wolfgar.

              Edit: Mind sharing how Noetics are "emergent" if you didn't mean as an emergent science of the era?
              Last edited by Nihilist; 07-08-2015, 12:11 PM. Reason: wait, emergent?

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              • #8
                The "platonic form" idea mostly comes from well, Plato's World of Forms as distilled by Mage: the Ascension; White Wolf writers tend to work on multiple projects and heavily influence each other, and I've always thought the noetic template idea sounded very similar.

                As far as Noetics goes, it's like this: psion particles affect everything in the universe. They affect particle speed, direction, spatial relationship, bonding, attraction, repulsion, literally everything. They are the ultimate binding force. Everything is affected by psions and noetic energy: me, you, that rock, my chair, a lightning strike, the Jovian Trojans, GenCon, everything. However, the ability of one phenomena to either affect noetic energy directly, or to affect another phenomena directly through noetic energy, is extremely limited. A rock can fall on my head, but it can't speed up the particles in my skull until my brain explodes. Fire can burn, but it does so as a property of itself, not through a noetic medium.

                Consciousness, that is, thought or self awareness, is an emergent property of life. Rocks don't think. Fire reacts, but doesn't really think. I'm not willing to commit on plant life. Bugs do though, a little bit, especially in hives. Octopi do. Cats and dogs and gorillas definitely do, and at the top in the most sophisticated fashion, you have people. Like consciousness, psionic ability seems to be an emergent property of life, as generally the ability to affect noetic energy directly or to affect something else noetically requires a living being whether that is a psion or a very specific piece of bioware. A big pile of carbon isn't going to develop psionic abilities, no matter how long you stick it in a proxy tank. But if you arrange those carbon atoms in certain ays, and combine them with certain other elements, then form the resulting molecules into basic protein chains, forming those chains into cells, and then arranging those cells in a specific way, you get a psion capable of sensing the turn of planets light years away, even though none of the underlying sub-levels had anything like that ability even on a micro level.Or you get one of those freaky Doyen living toasters, but the principle applies.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Wolfgar View Post
                  The "platonic form" idea mostly comes from well, Plato's World of Forms as distilled by Mage: the Ascension; White Wolf writers tend to work on multiple projects and heavily influence each other, and I've always thought the noetic template idea sounded very similar.
                  Thanks. Despite the screen name, my philosophical education is far from formal. Hopefully i'm following you here... Do let me know if my dumb is showing and apologies for the length
                  -blush-

                  As far as Noetics goes, it's like this: psion particles affect everything in the universe. They affect particle speed, direction, spatial relationship, bonding, attraction, repulsion, literally everything. They are the ultimate binding force. Everything is affected by psions and noetic energy: me, you, that rock, my chair, a lightning strike, the Jovian Trojans, GenCon, everything. However, the ability of one phenomena to either affect noetic energy directly, or to affect another phenomena directly through noetic energy, is extremely limited. A rock can fall on my head, but it can't speed up the particles in my skull until my brain explodes. Fire can burn, but it does so as a property of itself, not through a noetic medium.
                  The Psion is a sub-quantum particle and has been very similar to aether in descriptions, the sub-quantum Psionic foam acts only between quantum objects/phenomena and rarely (if ever) directly upon them. But I do feel Noetics shouldn't underlie all other Science, just fill in the blanks where needed - otherwise the implications are too numerous to keep track of, the jargon vocabulary required could be staggering.
                  The "Quantum" of Aberrant was unfortunately chosen in this regard, because Psionic effects are also quantum (proper) effects in the physical and scientific sense. Very few Aptitude Modes require a lot of Noetic hand-waving beyond the human initiation part - what would the difference be between a Pyrokinetic's flame and a Fire-Nova's flame on the quantum/sub-quantum scales anyway? Does a Nova's flame lack form/identity somehow? Does a Pyrokinetic's flame lack quanta somehow? I would suggest they are the same phenomena stemming from different causes in the case of known physical stuff like fire or rocks, chairs, etc...
                  Clearly, we need the Noetic forms for the futuristic, psionic telepathy and clairsentience (among others) with supporting technology - however derived from alien 'bio-templates' (deus ex machina makes for poor science). But the sub-quantum jargon for inanimate objects may still need some colour, because some of the things we see in the powers of Aberrant could use the medium for their own - depending on how you want science to feel from the 2120 setting.
                  The Noetic form of GenCon, while successfully amusing is also rather intriguing - can a process or collective have an independent Noetic form? Are temporally unstable Noetic 'presences' associated with events related to Psionic backlash? If a social event has an umbrella noetic identity comprised of all its parts, what's it like to attempt contacting it with telepathy? Can a concept gain some type of Noetic existence independant of its creator and components? I'm obtusely off topic by now, but you started it.
                  -smile-


                  Consciousness, that is, thought or self awareness, is an emergent property of life. Rocks don't think. Fire reacts, but doesn't really think. I'm not willing to commit on plant life. Bugs do though, a little bit, especially in hives. Octopi do. Cats and dogs and gorillas definitely do, and at the top in the most sophisticated fashion, you have people. Like consciousness, psionic ability seems to be an emergent property of life, as generally the ability to affect noetic energy directly or to affect something else noetically requires a living being whether that is a psion or a very specific piece of bioware.


                  Right, self-awareness is emergent. But, is self-awareness required before there are these Noetic forms? That would suggest that the Psionic force wasn't a fundamental one, but rather a by-product of consciousness. Something relatively new, like heavier elements. Otherwise, we could be getting uncomfortably close to religion for my sci-fi tastes - with the original undivided sub-quantum form of the universe (exist-god, simple uncaring existence) being divided into recognized portions by the emergence of minds capable of comprehending (creation, because exist-god isn't diminished). Although, this is something that the books detail a few times and i seem to remember something about the new ISRA leaning more heavily on the religion aspect of that order in the new OPP books.
                  Meh, as long as this "exist-god" remains silent, i guess i could deal with that. It's a bit animistic - but it could be a fun detail in some story genres, just not something i would ever want too strongly confirmed in my hard-science approach. But it can't be both fundamental and emergent in the same way as consciousness - fundamental forces emerged during the big bang - some theories suggest gravity may have even predated it in some ways. I was personally leaning toward a similar approach for the sub-quantum medium - but again, the implications could have been too great to grasp.

                  A big pile of carbon isn't going to develop psionic abilities, no matter how long you stick it in a proxy tank. But if you arrange those carbon atoms in certain ays, and combine them with certain other elements, then form the resulting molecules into basic protein chains, forming those chains into cells, and then arranging those cells in a specific way, you get a psion capable of sensing the turn of planets light years away, even though none of the underlying sub-levels had anything like that ability even on a micro level.
                  Sounds about right, but the detail of not having 'anything like that even on a micro level' bothers me a little, Clairsentience is a logical extension of natural sense, Telepathy relates in the same way to human communication - which is a type of messy magic already. I could go on; psionics, as opposed to magic, seems based solidly off already existing biological capacities. It wouldn't take too much improvement for a biological eye to pick up on a transit wobble around a local star if it was bright enough. But, i'm picking at semantic details, not practical ones.

                  Or you get one of those freaky Doyen living toasters, but the principle applies.
                  ...aaand back to the Doyen. Is it wrong that the first thing i thought of when you said that was Order-triggered 2120 Psions? Is it not likely that the species that taught us Telepathy and artificially limited our individual perception of the Noetic Universe also put some safe-guards and controls on the dunked? The order Psions are cocked and loaded for a repeat performance of the Aberrant war in some regards, but this time the 'once human' faction will entirely under the command of - you guessed it - hostile aliens. Hostile, advanced aliens with no desire for your planetary resources are problematic enough - add in the Doyen propensity to un-manifest/teleport/disappear - and we may actually need co-operation from some old, space-mad, taint-spewing Aberrants.

                  Great stuff on your part, Wolfgar. Apologies it's taking me a while to respond, but this is some tasty, heady stuff and thinking about it is half the fun. We're getting away from the thread topic, however. I think you've kind of answered yourself in that regard, chemical/hormonal VK is less powerful than DNA enriched Bio - but there has always been elements of asymmetry in Psion balance, Bio was always more versatile than Vita. Some win for VK to replace DNA could help, but Noetics are just a little too flimsy to provide parity there.
                  Last edited by Nihilist; 07-10-2015, 06:59 AM. Reason: The longer i look at this post the more mistakes i find... So, ignorance == bliss.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nihilist View Post

                    Thanks. Despite the screen name, my philosophical education is far from formal. Hopefully I'm following you here... Do let me know if my dumb is showing and apologies for the length
                    -blush-
                    Nah, you're doing great.

                    You can get a decent working knowledge of philosophy off YouTube...or at very least enough to make yourself sound smart, so it's not an impressive thing. 90% of my philosophy exposure is from RPGs.

                    The "Quantum" of Aberrant was unfortunately chosen in this regard, because Psionic effects are also quantum (proper) effects in the physical and scientific sense. Very few Aptitude Modes require a lot of Noetic hand-waving beyond the human initiation part - what would the difference be between a Pyrokinetic's flame and a Fire-Nova's flame on the quantum/sub-quantum scales anyway? Does a Nova's flame lack form/identity somehow? Does a Pyrokinetic's flame lack quanta somehow? I would suggest they are the same phenomena stemming from different causes in the case of known physical stuff like fire or rocks, chairs, etc...
                    Generally I see Aberrants as using a form of "unreality" for their abilities. The Quantum powers of Aberrants works not by adjusting the quantum forces, but by briefly eliminating and substituting them. This is why Aberrants can routinely do things that break physical laws - within a quantum scale, they are effectively recreating those physical laws from scratch. Eventually this bleeds out to a large enough area You get powers like Create Universe and it's ignored sister Plank Scaling. This same "unreality" going off in an uncontrolled manner is what gives us Taint in Aberrants terms, and the reason why Aberrants seem like Noetic black holes to psionic senses.

                    A Psion creates fire by exciting the molecules of a crystalline structure. An Aberrant creates fire by making H2O + CO2 = Heat + C.

                    The Noetic form of GenCon, while successfully amusing is also rather intriguing - can a process or collective have an independent Noetic form? Are temporally unstable Noetic 'presences' associated with events related to Psionic backlash? If a social event has an umbrella noetic identity comprised of all its parts, what's it like to attempt contacting it with telepathy? Can a concept gain some type of Noetic existence independant of its creator and components? I'm obtusely off topic by now, but you started it.
                    -smile-
                    I'm happy to talk for the sake of talking. I believe events can absolutely have Noetic/Quantum forms...it's how Max Mercer achieves time travel, although only a rare few events have a genuine noetic presence...GenCon is probably a bit lacking for that.

                    Right, self-awareness is emergent. But, is self-awareness required before there are these Noetic forms? That would suggest that the Psionic force wasn't a fundamental one, but rather a by-product of consciousness. Something relatively new, like heavier elements. Otherwise, we could be getting uncomfortably close to religion for my sci-fi tastes - with the original undivided sub-quantum form of the universe (exist-god, simple uncaring existence) being divided into recognized portions by the emergence of minds capable of comprehending (creation, because exist-god isn't diminished). Although, this is something that the books detail a few times and i seem to remember something about the new ISRA leaning more heavily on the religion aspect of that order in the new OPP books.
                    Meh, as long as this "exist-god" remains silent, i guess i could deal with that. It's a bit animistic - but it could be a fun detail in some story genres, just not something i would ever want too strongly confirmed in my hard-science approach. But it can't be both fundamental and emergent in the same way as consciousness - fundamental forces emerged during the big bang - some theories suggest gravity may have even predated it in some ways. I was personally leaning toward a similar approach for the sub-quantum medium - but again, the implications could have been too great to grasp.
                    I wouldn't worry too much about psuedo-religious implications. It's a big step from "something has always existed and we are a part of it" to "Evil is caused by talking snakes".

                    Sounds about right, but the detail of not having 'anything like that even on a micro level' bothers me a little, Clairsentience is a logical extension of natural sense, Telepathy relates in the same way to human communication - which is a type of messy magic already. I could go on; psionics, as opposed to magic, seems based solidly off already existing biological capacities. It wouldn't take too much improvement for a biological eye to pick up on a transit wobble around a local star if it was bright enough. But, I'm picking at semantic details, not practical ones.
                    As a game conceit and fantasy trope psionics is just another word for magic; how scientific either are is really up to the setting in which they are applied.

                    ...aaand back to the Doyen. Is it wrong that the first thing i thought of when you said that was Order-triggered 2120 Psions? Is it not likely that the species that taught us Telepathy and artificially limited our individual perception of the Noetic Universe also put some safe-guards and controls on the dunked? The order Psions are cocked and loaded for a repeat performance of the Aberrant war in some regards, but this time the 'once human' faction will entirely under the command of - you guessed it - hostile aliens. Hostile, advanced aliens with no desire for your planetary resources are problematic enough - add in the Doyen propensity to un-manifest/teleport/disappear - and we may actually need co-operation from some old, space-mad, taint-spewing Aberrants.
                    Hard to say about the Doyen...I in fact never heard of them until after the line ended, so my experience with our benevolent alien mind lords is basically null.

                    Great stuff on your part, Wolfgar. Apologies it's taking me a while to respond, but this is some tasty, heady stuff and thinking about it is half the fun. We're getting away from the thread topic, however. I think you've kind of answered yourself in that regard, chemical/hormonal VK is less powerful than DNA enriched Bio - but there has always been elements of asymmetry in Psion balance, Bio was always more versatile than Vita. Some win for VK to replace DNA could help, but Noetics are just a little too flimsy to provide parity there.
                    Well, there is game balance versus setting balance. We can achieve game balance between DNA and hormonal control quite easily just adjusting dot levels, while there is no need to enforce a setting based balance - real life and most fiction do not present a balanced world, so trying to artificially create one is silly.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Wolfgar View Post

                      Nah, you're doing great.

                      You can get a decent working knowledge of philosophy off YouTube...or at very least enough to make yourself sound smart, so it's not an impressive thing. 90% of my philosophy exposure is from RPGs.

                      -awkward celebratory dance-
                      Any corrections are still welcome, if you see the opportunity. You've caught me out on a few things before.
                      Again, apologies for the delay.

                      Generally I see Aberrants as using a form of "unreality" for their abilities. The Quantum powers of Aberrants works not by adjusting the quantum forces, but by briefly eliminating and substituting them. This is why Aberrants can routinely do things that break physical laws - within a quantum scale, they are effectively recreating those physical laws from scratch. Eventually this bleeds out to a large enough area You get powers like Create Universe and it's ignored sister Plank Scaling. This same "unreality" going off in an uncontrolled manner is what gives us Taint in Aberrants terms, and the reason why Aberrants seem like Noetic black holes to psionic senses.
                      Yeah, that's how i read it too. Taint is the by-product of something either outside of natural physics or otherwise unrelated to the scientific definition of "quantum". The name given to Aberrant juice; Quantum, is one of the ways the setting has aged worst in relation to Hard-science, well that and pseudo-gravity. The name is just clumsy to handle when the standard model comes up, E.G. Planck Scaling. While the Quantum stat on the sheet is iconic enough to stay, we need some better jargon for that side of 'noetics' - because it seems like whatever Nova 'Quantum/taint' is, it's hard-wired into the sub-quantum jargon of the setting.


                      A Psion creates fire by exciting the molecules of a crystalline structure. An Aberrant creates fire by making H2O + CO2 = Heat + C.
                      Damn, Wolfgar. That's tidy - while i might argue that different novas might have a number of different exact mechanisms, this is pretty much how i always saw it. But, i would have difficulty putting it so succinctly.

                      I'm happy to talk for the sake of talking. I believe events can absolutely have Noetic/Quantum forms...it's how Max Mercer achieves time travel, although only a rare few events have a genuine noetic presence...GenCon is probably a bit lacking for that.
                      Wow. That could have some pretty cosmic ramifications. Like, get out your WW umbral source books kind of range. How might these noetically substantiative events relate to the telluric places of Adventure? The space that psionic teleporters navigate through between locations? The physical universe/multiverse?
                      That idea is so big, i have no idea on how i would even start to process it. I may just have to de- and reconstruct as i go, because i've never read the source with that in mind. What if the Noetic Doyen ecology was the result of these events? That would make the Doyen a younger species, is there anywhere that confirms the Doyen are an older race? I could be conflating them and the Vorlons from Babylon 5 again...
                      A lot could be made of the holocaust as a Noetic event-presense, or the fall of the Berlin wall, or the moon landing. The more i think about it the more possibilities and questions present themselves - leading right back to philosophy. Damn you, Wolfgar! I don't even know what to do with all of that!
                      -smile-
                      Is this something you've always beleived? if so, how does it affect your presentation/grasp of the setting?



                      I wouldn't worry too much about psuedo-religious implications. It's a big step from "something has always existed and we are a part of it" to "Evil is caused by talking snakes".

                      I just don't really want the diabolical religion trope forcing its way in - i get more than enough of that in fantasy games. Sci-fi and theology can make very interesting bedfellows, but divisive stupidity hiding under the flimsy guise of religion is something counter-productive in the Aeon/Trinity years after the crash. The setting has always been a bit smarter than that i felt.
                      You are correct, the Noetic uncertainty in regard to religious belief allows space for all the colours of international faith to survive into Trinity, where poly-culture is celebrated. I think my concern would be discarding that colour for some kind of emergent Psi-Faith above all others. I don't suspect that is where OPP is going - but, the train of thought left me suspicious.
                      -shrug-



                      As a game conceit and fantasy trope psionics is just another word for magic; how scientific either are is really up to the setting in which they are applied.
                      To a point i agree, but the very word 'Psionic' is a newer semantic/linguistic device and only the inherent modernity differentiates it from traditional magic. Hence my correlation, the mesmers of the 1800s had much more science to contend with and had to be much more conversant on those topics than the soothsayers and wizards of old.



                      Hard to say about the Doyen...I in fact never heard of them until after the line ended, so my experience with our benevolent alien mind lords is basically null.
                      There really isn't all that much there and most of it's from between the lines - they're mysterious, capricious and powerful/advanced. I think the writers might have been setting themselves up for failure with the Doyen. Because the Qin are alien, but the non-physical Doyen? I'd bet the new writers might need a lot of LSD to do the possibilities justice.
                      But, i have reason to suspect the LSD supply to WW in the nineties may have been sufficient to the task.
                      -smile-


                      Well, there is game balance versus setting balance. We can achieve game balance between DNA and hormonal control quite easily just adjusting dot levels, while there is no need to enforce a setting based balance - real life and most fiction do not present a balanced world, so trying to artificially create one is silly.

                      Asymmetry only ever bothers me between party members. If i see the "why can't i do that?" look on my players faces too often i start sacrificing story and pace to cater to even distribution of fun between players and that makes me have less fun and it's a vicious cycle i prefer to avoid. So balance between the Aptitudes is good for the game aspect, i'd also like to see more technology for neutrals to join in the fun too (bio/cyberware, transferrable consciousness, mecha/vehicles, etc). Plus, we have the useful in-universe lore of the Doyen tunings on the chambers, creating artificial restrictions already - aptitude balance kind of makes sense in that vein, evenly distributing their eggs into the available baskets, so to speak.
                      The world is always asymmetrical both in and out of game - we are in complete agreement there.
                      To bring in back to the topic, maybe the Doyen in charge of the respective chambers for the Norca and Aesculapians are involved in some kind of petty feud that results in the uneven, bizarre distinctions between the two. The Norca Doyen have decided that 'tough love' to put it mildly is the name of the game, only those who submit to the chamber processes may benefit from their gifts, while the Doyen maintaining the Aesculapian chamber see fit to tune their chamber to freely give of their gifts to other, un-dunked templates. This doesn't really fix the problem, just makes a story hook out of it - but that at least buys time to figure out workable systems.

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                      • #12
                        To bring in back to the topic, maybe the Doyen in charge of the respective chambers for the Norca and Aesculapians are involved in some kind of petty feud that results in the uneven, bizarre distinctions between the two. The Norca Doyen have decided that 'tough love' to put it mildly is the name of the game, only those who submit to the chamber processes may benefit from their gifts, while the Doyen maintaining the Aesculapian chamber see fit to tune their chamber to freely give of their gifts to other, un-dunked templates. This doesn't really fix the problem, just makes a story hook out of it - but that at least buys time to figure out workable systems.
                        Perhaps just a matter of of how the Doyen feel about access to bioware. Given the model above, a biokinetic with too much ability to work outside his own body might be able to alter bioware in a way that's potentially disastrous to humanity...or possibly simply a threat to the Doyen. A vitakinetic can work as a bioware "mechanic" to a degree, by healing/repairing it and making sure it doesn't suffer from cancerous or infections breakdowns, but can't reengineer it, so they can't turn a car into a nuke.

                        Is this something you've always believed? if so, how does it affect your presentation/grasp of the setting?
                        Some things come as a sort of a revelation the more I see the way things work. As far as my games go though, you see a lot more living in the moment.


                        That idea is so big, I have no idea on how I would even start to process it. I may just have to de- and reconstruct as I go, because I've never read the source with that in mind. What if the Noetic Doyen ecology was the result of these events? That would make the Doyen a younger species, is there anywhere that confirms the Doyen are an older race? I could be conflating them and the Vorlons from Babylon 5 again...
                        Indeed. As psions flow not just through space, but through time (which is a founding principle of Clairsentience, specifically Psychometry), the Doyen may travel through time to a certain extent as well. There help to humanity might even be a matter of ensuring their own eventual existence.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Wolfgar View Post

                          Perhaps just a matter of of how the Doyen feel about access to bioware. Given the model above, a biokinetic with too much ability to work outside his own body might be able to alter bioware in a way that's potentially disastrous to humanity...or possibly simply a threat to the Doyen. A vitakinetic can work as a bioware "mechanic" to a degree, by healing/repairing it and making sure it doesn't suffer from cancerous or infections breakdowns, but can't reengineer it, so they can't turn a car into a nuke.
                          -slaps forehead-
                          Of course, the biotech, the precious chambers ARE biotech and Aurora Australis suggests that when the Legion tried to mess with their chamber it shut itself down and didn't come back on. Perhaps the Norca have backdoors to the chambers that other aptitudes don't have, due to the nuances of Biokinesis - if not, it would certainly be in the Pai's interest to develop some. Which makes me question Cassel even more, Orgotek have much greater resources at their disposal, but i don't remember anything about the chamber coming up in America Offline.
                          I think that may very well be the Doyen motivation - the hand-wavey bio-templates are the polar opposite of the Adventure! Invention system concept. It's like a locked experience track in a video game, with a few minor branches at best in the development tree, so that regardless of the function used by human users - the Doyen function library (so to speak) is still there for them to override, modify, disrupt taint build-up or perhaps even as windows into our space-time (whatever the Doyen might be playing at with their alien bioware).
                          For the most part the Biokinetics have been smart about this, otherwise the Doyen might have taken purge avenue with them, as control over their 'gifts' seems as paramount to our benevolent mind-lords as maintaining military supremacy is to the US. But, the more i think about it the more seeds seem to line up with your suggestion. Good read of the details. The Doyen of the Norca appear to be playing a pretty dangerous game.



                          Some things come as a sort of a revelation the more I see the way things work. As far as my games go though, you see a lot more living in the moment.
                          Well, do let us know if the idea bears any fruit on your end, it's a fascinating possibility that i'd be interested to tease out. Psions/Psiads/Mesmers could use it, i feel - making Psionics seems more fundamental and important than Nova taint/quantum on a cosmic scale. But, it could be a fine line to walk without diminishing the non-psionic setting in the process.


                          Indeed. As psions flow not just through space, but through time (which is a founding principle of Clairsentience, specifically Psychometry), the Doyen may travel through time to a certain extent as well. There help to humanity might even be a matter of ensuring their own eventual existence.

                          I jumped right on that train when i found it between the lines too. If fact i even have head canon on how the Hammersmith effect (and later N-Day effect) locked them out of the local physical universe during the worst years of taint-pollution. Outside of Max and the A:PG time-travel powers, the Doyen seemed to be the next most relevant detail to physical time in the Trinity Universe/Continuum as i saw it, unlike the others, the Doyen actually show up in canon scenarios with some regularity.
                          -shrug-
                          If they are as non-corporeal as they seem, then they may even exist naturally outside of our physical universe. Their battle against Taint is very much an existential threat to them (at least in this universe), it's why we can intuit some of their motives and behaviour - every living thing desires survival, right? I tend to see the Doyen as being able to view space-time from an outside perspective - so all time is accessible to their senses, but as to whether they could move through space-time as opposed to ride noetic, temporal perceptions? I hadn't addressed that by myself - not enough LSD available.
                          -smile-
                          One of these days i'm going to start that doyen thread i keep threatening to do, but as you might see, i have no idea where to even start with all of the loose canon i've developed over the years. The two times they actually show up in the adventure books seem the least characteristic things about them to me, suddenly becoming impatient, emotional and violent as opposed to the distant, clinical approach seen in their greater strategy - as interpreted through the Proxies.
                          -sigh-
                          Behold the Doyen, perhaps the logical finish line for all discussions of trinity psionics.
                          You've had some pretty juicy ideas here, Wolfgar, do let me know if solutions concerning the Doyen occur to you - that crap has been niggling at me for over a decade.
                          Last edited by Nihilist; 07-19-2015, 04:12 AM. Reason: Eleven! Eleven mentions of the Doyen! -sesame street count laughter-

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