Friday, September 27, 2013

270: Group Psi

ENTRY 270: Group Psi

Psi is a solitary activity in Eclipse Phase. There are no mechanics for group psi use. It doesn’t follow the cultural paradigms for magic, there are no rules for two asyncs cooperating to achieve an effect greater than the sum of their parts, no group minds, or distributed strain. There are a couple good reasons for this. The exsurgent virus affects people, and their perception of their situation and abilities, differently—one async’s understanding of their abilities may simply not be compatible with another’s. Too, there is no real async culture; each victim of the virus is unique, often alienated because of their ability. If there was a Mesh stream just for asyncs to sit down, talk sleights and maybe try to get laid, every other member would be a Firewall agent trying to reel in a new fish. Maybe the exsurgents can get it together enough to do something like that, but the exsurgent already have weird powers beyond the ken and normal ability of transhumanity.

That’s not to say that you cannot have two or more asyncs cooperatively use their powers toward some joint purpose in your Eclipse Phase game, but treat it as what it is: an unusual and maybe unique set of circumstances, deserving of a bit of attention. Two (or more) asyncs in the same place, trying to use their sleights to achieve a given effect, should be a cinematic scene—let the players sweat a little, see if it works. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, but here are some guidelines to consider if you allow group psi in our game:

  • Rule of One: Psi sleights with a range of self are too personal and centered on the individual async—though there may be a two-headed exsurgent morph or twins that can get away with it.
  • Rule of Two: Complementary Sleights Can Assist the use of other sleights. It is up to the player to come up with a good justification for why, for example, one async using Cloud Memory on an ego will make the use of Implant Memory by another async at the same time easier, but if the players can provide a good justification, and it seems logical, maybe it should work. As a guideline, use the Complementary Skill Bonus Table (Eclipse Phase 137), with the assisting async’s skill acting as the complementary skill to the primary async’s skill.
  • Rule of Pi: Two (or more) asyncs working together against a single target tends to present considerable strain on the target ego; the conflicting signals causes an amount of mental strain to the target equal to the number of asyncs + 1 every Action Turn for sleights with a duration of Temp (Action Turns) and every minute for sleights with a duration of Temp (Minutes) or Sustained.
  • Rule of 2^2: The Mindlink (Eclipse Phase 227) sleight allows all asyncs in the link to target another member with their sleights, facilitating group psi activities—but keep in mind, if one the target of the mindlink is an unwilling participant and an async, they can also target any member of the group through the mindlink with their own sleights.

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