Apr 21, 2015

Managing the Necrocarcerus Campaign

The current Necrocarcerus campaign is run online, which created some initial challenges for me. I needed a collaborative digital whiteboard, as well as a collaborative digital archive for the information the PCs collected. The archive was especially important because Necrocarcerus is a drop-in game - new people show up, familiar players sometimes skip or miss - and it would waste time having to constantly reintroduce leads, characters and locations for the players who weren't at the last session. It also helps having somewhere I can upload the Necrocarcerus rules document to minimise the number of links new players need to follow and the windows they have open. I played around with a few different options, and eventually settled on Realtimeboard (RTB) which I strongly recommend you check out. It has a free version available with about 100MB of storage, though I use the Premium version for the 3GB so I can use it as a dumping ground for pictures.
The Necrocarcerus Campaign
In the picture above, you can see almost the entire Necrocarcerus campaign. There are a few overland maps the PCs drew that haven't been uploaded, and the comment function doesn't show when you export images (each location on the hand-drawn map in the centre-right has comments detailing what the PCs did and when they did it), but this is the majority of it. Everything on this is player-facing (there's some information about the train journey that they're going to gather at the start of next session).

I maintain 6-8 handwritten pages of other notes, one deck of index cards detailing treasure items, and a folder of maps. The 6-8 pages are: 1) A list of adventure locations 2) A list of major NPCs and short descriptions of them 3) A timeline 4) A list of quest ideas and rewards 5) The relevant random encounter tables for the area they're in 6) A list of errata and possible rules updates for Necrocarcerus 7) A list of notes on whatever dungeon or area they're exploring 8) A relationship map of major NPCs.

Of these, the random encounter tables, the errata list, the list of notes and the timeline are updated most often. The timeline and errata list mainly undergo minor modifications - most of my work is creating & changing the random encounter tables and creating new dungeons / adventure locations. There is some overlap between the two, since I populate most of my dungeons outside of a few set-pieces using the random encounter tables. When I introduce a NPC or an adventure location or quest, I simply check it off on the list so I know the PCs have encountered it already and add information to the RTB about it. I numbered the entries so I could roll a d20 for each to see who / what comes up randomly when I didn't have a preference.

In hindsight, I think I could have been more aggressive with the commenting function to add and track treasure & XP from each session, or specifically, I should have requested the players do this on the RTB. I also should have added a calendar to it, especially since the passage of time is so important in Necrocarcerus (I interrupted writing this blog post to add the calendar). If I could find good pictures for some of the weirder monsters of Necrocarcerus, I think it might also be fun to maintain a living bestiary.

End-of-the-World and Surrounds

This map details the overland area around End-of-the-World, as well as the major NPCs, a treasure map (top) of the High Asmarch's palace, and the larger Necrocarcerus campaign map. Purple stickies detail NPCs, orange stickies are quests they have on offer, while pink stickies are leads for PCs to follow up on their own. Green stickies cover information or facts the PCs have discovered, some of which are relevant to quests. Yellow stickies are locations and pathways. Using the linking system RTB makes available, I can draw connections between the various stickies, points on the map, pictures, and any other information I upload to it, allowing the PCs to identify which quests come from which NPCs, where they go, and what they know about them. Once again, comments don't show in these pictures, but the map is speckled with little comment bubbles that are colour coded. Yellow means there might be a reason to go back to a place, green means it's all cleared out or the quest that took them there is completed. I haven't decided what to use the red comment bubbles for yet.

Dungeon Maps
These are dungeon maps. RTB has three levels of nested grid that are fully zoomable (the grid does not show up in the pictures when you image-cap them). The PCs preferred to upload PDFs of graph paper and draw on them. At the top are maps connected to the Half-Buried Megagolem and the Rocket Fields of the Transhegiromantics, while below on the graph paper is Taddlecreek Mine, where they encountered the Cult of the White Worm and recovered several thousand pounds of dragonbone. These maps can be edited by any of the PCs, as well as myself, in real-time, which allows me to leave them to map most of it, but sketch out sections that are difficult to describe clearly. I'm using Gridmapper to create most of my dungeon maps, screencapping them off of it, and then dumping them into a folder on my computer. The rest I get by downloading dungeon maps I find on G+. I tend to prefer gridded maps over ungridded ones because they're easier to translate onto the grid on RTB.

The statue in the bottom left is of a nude woman; beware before enlarging this picture
Here I'm using RTB to plan the PCs upcoming train journey. A map of the first section of the train (the part they've explored) is at the top, along with some NPCs and a seating plan. The colours of the stickies are a bit wonky (I've corrected them since taking this image) but this shows the pathway the PCs will take (since it's a regular route run by the train company). Along the way, there are numerous quests and locations to explore, and the pictures communicate rumours about each area that they can discover from their fellow passengers with minimal effort. This is the first major journey out of End-of-the-World the PCs are taking. This also helps me plan - I know I need Old Hua Danth, the Pinion of the Flame Tyrant, the Spider Tombs and the Autarchy of Mfele Outpost all written up.

My general experience so far has been that the more I dump on RTB, the easier the rest of my note-taking becomes. Like many referees, my experience of note-taking has been that it is both tedious and crucial, and I have struggled in the past to discover ways to simplify it (avoiding long-form writing is one critical discovery I made and have never gone back on). 

Apr 20, 2015

This is the Way the World Ends

Charlie of Imaginary Hallways is running a campaign that'll be moving through Necrocarcerus at one point and he very kindly asked me some questions about the setting as a result. One of the ones he asked me was a pretty common one, which is what the end of the Necrocarcerus Program looks like? Rather than provide a definitive answer, this is what I wrote:

"What I actually do is keep on making up new ways for the Program to end, and new goals for it, and then I insert each new idea in as another faction of Guardians or rogues. Here are some of the current ones:

1) Necrocarcerus has a giant space-dragon living on the top of the dome, and the dragon eats souls. The end of the Program is when Necrocarcerus is finally so full of incarnated souls that the dragon rips off the dome and consumes everyone inside of it, then flies off through the infinite void to find another island of reality to brood over and consume.

2) The disc of Necrocarcerus flips, plunging almost everyone on it into the infinite void. A new cycle begins on what was once the underside of the disc, with new living worlds feeding into it. The Program is supposed to have a purpose, but because the transmission was incomplete it was never finished correctly and so the whole thing is a colossal malfunctioning machine that just cycles endlessly.

3) Necrocarcerus was meant as a vast factory for the production of gods, allowing a rare few Citizens within it to attain the personal power required to transcend material existence completely and become divine beings. The end of the Program is when one or more of these individuals reaches that level of power. The whole factory shuts down for a single eternal moment, all the souls that haven't transcended are absorbed back into it, and the whole cycle starts over again, less one soul. The process repeats until everyone who will everyone who will ever come to Necrocarcerus is a god.

4) The same, but the Guardians are the beings who become gods, not the Citizens.

5) The same, but everyone in Necrocarcerus merges into a single divine being, instead of just one or a handful of individuals. That divine being is the Creator, who then uses its omnipotence to reach back in time and create the conditions of its own creation.

6) Portals open up everywhere, and all the inhabitants and objects in Necrocarcerus are thrown back into the living worlds. The Program was intended to prevent the merger of the living worlds and the afterlife, but due to its incompleteness, it broke down and now there is no more life and death, but merely existence and nullity, with the entire multiverse becoming a badly-built hellscape.

7) The same, but the Program was always intended to do this, and is a plot by the Creator to this end against the gods and the multiverse. The Creator was long dead, but now that that state is meaningless, it reconstitutes and becomes the sovereign of all reality (and either its dark plan, or Paradise results, no one can agree which).

8) Nothing happens. It was all propaganda to keep the system running. The Guardians and AUC start trying to delete people's memories of this and institute a new 10,000 year count. They destroy the material remnants of the previous aeon and pretend to have to create the world anew."

I will, undoubtedly come up with more in time. I know what the end is going to be in the current Necrocarcerus game unless the PCs interfere (and I'm keeping it a secret until it happens), but feel free to mix, match, and create new options as you please. The actual end of the world is the least interesting part for me, it's the fact that it's ending and the reactions to that fact that I find interesting.

Mar 30, 2015

Who Do You Steal Stuff From In Necrocarcerus?

The Utilities
Evil megacorporations responsible for providing essential goods and services to the citizens of Necrocarcerus.

You Steal:

Awesome permits that let you get away with doing totally illegal things, rare magical materials like soul coal or radioactive dragonbone or real sunlight, high technology, tons of cash, secret records of forbidden projects that you can sell to the highest bidder, and tanks.

From:

Electrified generator-bastions, black sites, the conclave-chambers of the Council of Ninety-Nine, office-complexes, the assassin-colleges of the Criers, cable-mazes, radioactive mines, golemic factories.

The Government (AUC)

The bureaucracy of the afterlife and its various petty-warlord employees.

You Steal:

Giant payboxes full of obols, nepenthe, illicit magic items, weapons of mass destruction, maps and plans to long lost cities, sweet crowns and robes, uniforms so you can pretend to be the government, cool guns, your criminal record, airships.

From:

The palaces of warlords, giant mobile gunships, armoured trains, the sheriff's office, secret prisons in the middle of Ocean Null, abandoned AUC laboratories behind enemy lines, airship manufacturing plants, secret mountain fortresses.

The Oozes

Intelligent oozes from the living world of Braemon who killed their creators and have come to the afterlife to destroy their last remnants.

You Steal:

Mind and body-altering ooze juice, jet packs, weird artefacts that violate space and time, laser pistols, ooze-stilts and ooze-suits, psionic ooze-tutors in jars, flying war pyramids you don't know how to pilot.

From:

The battle lines of the Ooze Salient, secret ooze cells in the sewers of Downtown, oozoliths, refugee camps, black market souks, labyrinthine complexes built in the forgotten hinterlands of the Jail

Cults of the Irrelevant Gods

All the various religions knocking around in Necrocarcerus, from the All-Church of Lupo the Wolf to the Cult of Vra-Krakorn, He Who Consumes the Works of Man, to Roman Catholicism.

You Steal:

Long lost religious relics, holy gasoline, sacred fire gems, severed heads that prophesy, instructions on how to banish some invader that's giving you grief, saints and their entourages, ghost-eating chalices, books that unfold into armies of wolves and seraphim, working portal locations to the living worlds, sacred unguents for making paladins.

From:

The intestines of Vra Krakorn, lambent pyre-chapels, cathedral-fortresses in the Kingdoms of the Saved, illegal gatherings of devotees in the major cities, the conning towers of hell-whales in Ocean Null, buried cave-libraries built into the sides of giant mountains, angel-staffed castles of ivory and bone in the Furylands

The Guardians

The jerks who built Necrocarcerus and are the reason you're here.

You Steal:

Nepenthe, parts to their secret proprietary installations so you can bring your obliterated friends back to unlife, weird mutating bits of reality, pre-Incident documents and other historical records, your tax forms, your open warrants, records of judgments that have been made against you in a court of law, mysterious dyes in colours that haven't been invented yet, prototypes of next year's animals, secret information about the location of the Codex of Cataclysm.

From:

Incarnation temples, the Ineffable Nomoplex in Downtown, abandoned hyle factories in the Abandoned Quarter, nepenthe tankers, theosophist torture pyramids, malfunctioning posi-plants, hidden AUC laboratories

The Banks

They're banks. They're all evil. They'll kill you in your sleep if you don't pay back the money they loaned you.

You Steal:

Obols, bearer bonds, complex financial records, wills, weird relics from safety deposit boxes, vampire teeth, ciphers for complex codes, bank presidents for ransoming, deeds to people's homes, box tickets to sporting events, gems, tacky but expensive corporate art, ancient grimoires hidden in ancient strong boxes.

From:

The wight-guarded vaults of the Red Sea Trading Company in Vigilant Pantagruel, the Vault of Teeth and Tears of the Bank of Necrocarcerus in the Jail, inside undead giant turtle-likes guarded by the citizen-ashigaru of the Spire

The Rail Companies

The rail companies are how most people get around. They're heavily armed to travel through the wilderness of Necrocarcerus. They're constantly on strike, with unions shooting at management and vice versa.

You Steal:

Money trains going to pay AUC forces, boxes of people who have been frozen, their secret and much loved proprietary coffee blend, free rides, cool motorbikes being transported to some rich dude, evidence that management is stiffing the workers, traveling circus monsters, train engines.

From:

The illegal #111 from End-of-the-World across the border of the Lythmarch to Freedom, the dangerous and irregular #454 from the Halls of Redemption to Metrippus across the Ooze Salient, on a broken down caboose in the Wastes, on a blazing escape train from the Hive Towers of Grolanth to anywhere else, aboard armoured war-trains destined for the Furylands, aboard the mysterious #999 which travels to the living worlds on official AUC business

Evil Wizards

There's a bunch. The big ones are Thazul, who's busy conquering the living worlds, and Lyth, who's busy trying to conquer Necrocarcerus.

You Steal:

Imprisoned dream-smiths, the souls of long-dead heroes who came to slay them, ancient artefacts of ghastly effect, bizarre monster hybrids, sweet magical weapons and armour, crazy new spells no one else has, pure Prime Hyle, airships, the secrets of making coal wights and subnothings, imprisoned dream-smiths, incomprehensible machines that are required for evil rituals, their favourite intelligent centipede mounts, cool books no one else has a copy of.

From:

Thazul's Tree of Torment, a magically shielded chamber in a dangling tower slung over the side of Necrocarcerus, the horror-factories of Freedom, the gullet of a giant undead centipede, from a stone circle with wraith chained to the eidolons, a portal to a hell-dimension, a vault inside the shell of a giant flying crab, a vast orb of magical darkness with undead writhing around inside of it, Lyth's Palace of the Unchained, a blasted wasteland that was once a living world, a reconstruction of a lich's tomb on this side of the afterlife, inside a drunken behemoth

Mar 13, 2015

Necrocarcerus 1.2 Finished (Finally)

Download link here.

Finally! This is a huge revision from version 1.1 based on playtesting with the Necrocarcerus crew. There had been tweaks and changes in almost every section, plus there have been multiple new sections added. As always, Necrocarcerus is meant to be a set of house rules for running Swords and Wizardry Complete.

Here are some previews of the content inside.

Summoning and binding rules:


Grappling rules:


Plus rules for loans from the feared Bank of Necrocarcerus:

Mar 6, 2015

A Possible Variation on D&D Group Initiative

I use a d6-based group initiative roll resolved using some simple principles from Courtney Campbell. The basic principles are that one wants to roll high, with odd ties going to enemies, and even ties going to PCs (So a roll of 6 always favours the PCs), and initiative is rerolled each round. I also use a phase system within a round, so a high roll lets your side act first within each phase, though both sides act within each phase before moving on to the next phase.

As of Necrocarcerus version 1.2, I will also be using a skill system that includes the Tactics skill. Increasing the tactics skill allows one to roll a larger die type for one's initiative roll (d6 to d8 to d10 to a d12 maximum).

I've been debating a slight variation in the initiative rules. I haven't playtested this before, but I am proposing it to solicit feedback. The rule is that the roll on your die not only determines whether you go first or last, but how many actions your side can take during their turn. So a roll of 1 means no matter the number of PCs, your side must choose only one PC to act. A 6 means up to six actions may be taken, split amongst the PCs as they please (or amongst the monsters as you please). If there are more actions than PCs, the PCs may choose who acts a second time. The actions would not be split per phase, but could be distributed across each phase as each side pleased. Alternately, one might drop the phase system entirely and use simply this action distribution to push the PCs to make tactical choices.

Here are some outcomes I can foresee from adopting this system:

Single enemies become much tougher, especially single "boss" type monsters, since they will almost always be acting multiple times in a round.

Mobs become somewhat less overwhelming, though also easier to run, since only a portion of the mob will be acting in any given round.

This makes the Tactics skill much more valuable. Rolling a d12 to determine how many times you act per round is a huge advantage over opponents only rolling d6s (Monsters can have the Tactics skill).

Combats may take longer to resolve, since the median die result of a d6 (3.5) is less than the usual # of characters on each side who could act if they each got one action (I'm usually running games with 4+ PCs). On the other hand, the fewer number of actions per round might make rounds progress more quickly.

It would be important to track and differentiate abilities that can be used "once per round" from abilities that could be used "any number of times per round".

PCs would spend time each round resolving who gets to act in a given round. This might favour preferring certain characters acting, especially if they're somewhat mechanically superior to others, doubly rewarding players with powerful characters. As a positive side of this, it imposes scarcity limitations on PCs to help shape their decisions within a round.

If phases are retained, then PCs must make a separate decision each phase about how many actions they want to pursue in that phase. I would allow unused actions to cascade through the phases instead of requiring PCs to determine at the start of the round, after the initiative roll, which phase they wanted to dedicate the actions to. I think the order of phases will assist in this (movement is the second last phase, coming only before resolving spells), but I can foresee that there will probably be some weird edge case somewhere down the line where the PCs are like "We dump the remaining actions".

It could be difficult to plan between rounds, since one doesn't know how many actions will be coming up.

One side might be entirely ganked simply through a series of singular bad rolls each round - repeatedly rolling 1s while the other side rolls higher.

I'm not sure what my ruling would be if the PCs split into two independent groups fighting a single monster, or group of monsters. My inclination is to require them to still make a single initiative roll, but I can see a legitimate argument that the two groups, because they are acting independently, should make separate rolls (but then, of course, the lack of a boundary condition here allows one to drill the scope of the roll down to a single PC, which I would prefer not to do).

If anyone has tried this previously, I'd be interested in hearing your experiences.

Feb 23, 2015

Lore Garbage: Necrocarcerus

Alex Chalk tagged me into Lore Garbage, so here are ten things about Necrocarcerus that are purely self-indulgent setting pieces about it that rarely come up during adventuring:

1) The four utilities (Water, Power, Gas and Phone) are all elementally-aligned mega-corporations engaged in a bitterly cold war with one another. Water (HydroNec) is functionally destroyed, and now basically just an order of assassins obsessed with purity. Gas (PetroNec) makes most of the golems (out of plastic) and war machines. Power (Necrogen) is a bunch of ineffectual kleptocrats sitting atop a vast pool of elemental slaves. Phone (Necrotel) used to be Post (Necromail) until an internal coup by the partisans of an intelligent crystal re-oriented their business. They still deliver the mail.

2) Despite being very precisely 9998 years old, most of Necrocarcerus' history is lost due to an event just referred to as the Incident that happened about 3,000 years ago. Anyone who predates that isn't talking about it, and the only thing that's certain is that there was a higher baseline of technology and magic pre-Incident, as well as a different standard language than Regular. Most of Necrocarcerus used to be one giant urban megalopolis, and the wilderness only really came back after the Incident. That's why the capital of Necrocarcerus is referred to as "Downtown".

3) People from our earth go to Necrocarcerus when they die. There are Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, atheists and everything else; cavemen and people from the 34th century. People who die on other planets in our future don't go there, only people who die on Earth. You can play yourself if you really want to, it doesn't matter to me.

4) Necrocarcerus has no "nature", and things like dogs, horses, deer, trees, rocks, etc. are crude copies created by the Guardians, who have never seen the originals, based on verbal descriptions and hand-drawn pictures by amnesiacs. It's not uncommon to find things like ancient artifacts with thick black outlines copied over from the original sketches. In general, the more like a children's scribble something looks, the older it is. A handful of later citizens who were formerly artists are responsible for most of Necrocarcerus looking "realistic", and you can tell who did what if you know its art history.

5) Necrocarcerus' sun is a giant light bulb screwed into the dome of the sky, and it has to be changed every thousand-odd years (by elementals employed by Power). The light doesn't kill vampires, though it does hurt them. Similarly, the "stars" are actually giant collections of giant glowing spiders who live on the dome and lay IOUN stone eggs. They move around a lot and are unfriendly.

6) The Guardians are kind of stupid and gullible, except for the handful that are pursuing malign alien motivations. The Guardians don't rule Necrocarcerus because they don't know how, though they've tried a couple of times and screwed it up. The Guardians don't know the purpose of Necrocarcerus because that part of the transmission was cut off, and they're not sure how to end Necrocarcerus because that part of the transmission was lost (or stolen, no one's sure). The Guardians are not entirely sure who the Creator is, except that it created them and must be obeyed. Guardians get smarter the longer they're around, but are still basically semi-sentient golem-like dopes at the end of the day. The Guardians don't have magic powers beyond what's available to other people, they just know how to create a few key kinds of installations that let them do the rest (incarnation temples, hylic manufactories, dream pyramids, posi-plants, etc.). They can make these out of basically any raw materials that are laying around, and they don't know how to teach other people how to build them.

7) The Association of Useful Citizens (AUC - the government of most of Necrocarcerus) is basically an autonomous bureaucracy that legitimises a huge number of petty warlords. Nobody is really "in charge", though a ton of people think they are. AUC's main source of power is that someone convinced most of the Guardians that AUC is the legitimate and correct government for Necrocarcerus, and so they control most of the Guardians' facilities. Otherwise, AUC is mostly a brand-name various tyrants franchise themselves.

8) Every thinking thing produces brain juice which can be distilled into nepenthe. Usually the Guardians drain people's memories when they're first incarnated, but citizens continue to produce more brain juice as they continue to exist, so it would be theoretically possible to extract it and turn it into more nepenthe. The undead are basically creatures whose brain juice has been contaminated by Nega-Energy, making it crystallise and otherwise function weirdly (skeletons and the like have had theirs evaporated into a mist that follows them around). Without distillation, all drinking brain juice does is give you XP as you absorb fragments of habits, skills and memories. It's distillation that makes the actual memories available.

9) Everything in Necrocarcerus is made of one of two substances, or a mixture of the two: Hyle and Pneuma. Hyle is psychically inert matter, pneuma is psychically & magically active matter. Most non-living material objects are made of hyle - swords, tables, buildings, etc. So are most bodies, though brains are crafted from pneuma (greater or lesser amounts determines your degree of sentience). There are people called "dream smiths" who can create items entirely out of pneuma in their dreams, but they're mostly imprisoned by the government and used for nefarious purposes, with teams of artisans being psychically projected into their minds to create complex horrors that can be then extracted back into Necrocarcerus. The most common origin of non-undead, non-golemic monsters is someone dumping unused pneuma in the wilderness where animal-likes stumble across it and mutate.

10) There are portals to the living worlds all over the place. It's just most people don't know about them, or how to use them, so they're at the mercy of whichever few happen to be open at a given time. The phone company mostly prevents them from opening & closes ones that are open because they interfere with cellular reception. Most of these portals open at best intermittently, or require rare keys, etc. Also, most folks are loosely aware that if you jump through a portal without proper preparation (whatever that means), you can only stick around in the living worlds for a short while before you're sucked back into Necrocarcerus.

Feb 6, 2015

Psionic Combat Rules

From the psionics document I'm working on. A power pool is composed of dice of equal type and number to a creature's hit dice, and are expended to manifest powers, and dedicated (removed from the pool temporarily) to maintain powers. Powers can't be maintained when a creature rests.


Psionic Combat

Any psionically active creature may engage in psionic combat, even with creatures that are not themselves psionically active. Creatures must have minds, even if very rudimentary ones. Constructs, unintelligent undead, and most plants are immune to psionic combat.

To begin psionic combat, a psionically active creature must have line of sight, or must be able to perceive the creature through some other means (clairvoyance, seeing through dimensions, a psionic scan, etc.)

Creatures attacking in psionic combat are dazed during the round psionic combat occurs – they may not move or act, but are not helpless for the purposes of being easily coup-de-graced.

Psionic combat occurs in normal initiative order.

Mechanics

The psionic attacker chooses a target, and an attack mode. The defender chooses a defence mode, if they possess any. Only one attack or defense mode may be chosen by each side in a single exchange of psionic combat. If the defender is not aware of the attacker, is surprised, stunned, asleep, unconscious, etc., they may only defend themselves if they possess the Cognitive Labyrinth defense mode.

Spellcasters with memorised spells may choose to sacrifice memorised spells to add a bonus to their defense roll equal to the total level of memorised spells sacrificed.

Participating in psionic combat does not count as manifesting a power, and does not cause dice used in it to be expended.

Each side rolls their current power pool. They may choose to only roll a portion of their available power pool if they wish. Each roll is summed, with the higher total winning the combat.

If the attacker wins, the defender comes under their psionic control. If the attack mode causes any additional effects, they take place. The effects of attack modes that endure beyond the initial attack last so long as psionic control is maintained.

If the defender wins, the attacker loses a die from their power pool and is stunned for one round. Any psionic control the attacker is exerting over other creatures ceases immediately. The defender may move and act normally (including launching their own psionic counter-attack if they wish to and are capable.

Summary

Step
Action
1
Attacker chooses target and attack mode
2
Defender chooses defense mode
3
Spellcasters defending choose whether to sacrifice memorised spells
4
Each side rolls their current power pool and sums the rolled dice
5
The attacker either establishes psionic control or is rebuffed and loses a die from the current power pool


Attack Modes


Mental Stab: Mental stab is a blast of focused psionic energy lashing out at the conscious thoughts of the opponent. The die type used by the attacker is upgraded by two using the following scale. 1d4 – 1d6 – 1d8 – 1d10 – 1d12 – 1d20

Personality Invasion: The attacker attempts to replace the defender’s personality with their own by merging their minds. Upon a successful mental attack the target is mentally possessed by the attacker, who may operate their body as if it was their own. The puppet receives a saving throw if commanded to perform actions that endanger them.

Psionic Wave: The attacker radiates a wave of willpower affecting multiple opponents. The attacker may attack multiple opponents simultaneously. The defenders count as conducting a group psionic operation. Upon a successful attack, the attacker may use a single action to maintain psionic control of all of the defenders simultaneously. When relinquishing psionic control, all defenders must be released simultaneously.

Subconscious Subversion: The target’s basest impulses are turned against itself. Upon a successful attack, the attacker may choose to frighten the opponent, as per the Fear spell. This effect persists even after the attacker ceases psionic control.

Synaptic Overload: The target’s own psionic energy is redirected against itself by the force of the attacker’s will. Upon a successful attack, the defender takes damage equal to the sum of the dice it rolled to defend itself.


Defense Modes


Barrier Mantra: The defender fills their mind with repetitive images and phrases which provide a decoy for the attack. If the defender loses the psionic combat, they are stunned for one round instead of falling under the psionic control of the attacker.

Blank Mind: The defender empties their mind to make it harder for attackers to locate. The attacker must make a saving throw. If they fail the saving throw, the attack automatically fails, and they lose a die from their current power pool.

Cognitive Labyrinth: The defender’s mind is a warren of mental traps and illusions. The defender may defend even when unconscious, surprised, resting, asleep, dazed, etc. so long as they are not already under psionic control.

Imagination Swarm: The defender creates a swarm of imaginary thoughts that seek out nearby minds. The defender may choose draw allied non-psionic creatures into the psionic combat. The defenders count as conducting a group psionic operation. The allies are dazed for one round. If the attack is still successful, then the attack affects all equally. Psionically active creatures may also use this defence mode to participate in a psionic combat that is targeting an ally they can see.

Pinnacle of Will: The defender beats back the attack through willpower. The die type used by the defender is upgraded by one using the following scale: 1d4 – 1d6 – 1d8 – 1d10 – 1d12 – 1d20

and on psionic control:


Psionic Control


Psionic control is the state a creature is in when their mind has been successfully attacked through psionic combat.

Once established, psionic control over a creature may be maintained either by dedicating a die from the controller`s current power pool to it, or by the controller using an action each round. If the controller is dedicating an action to maintain the control, they must remain able to perceive the creature each round, but if a die is dedicated to it, the link will be maintained until the controller chooses to relinquish it.

A creature under psionic control has their current power pool reduced to 0, and they are helpless unless the controller permits them to act. The controller may not dictate the creature`s actions, they may merely declare whether they are allowed to act or not.

Any psionic powers the creature is maintaining cease when psionic control is established over it, and dice used to maintain them are expended.

Psionically attacking a creature under psionic control automatically attacks the controller, even if they cannot be seen or otherwise detected.