A few years back at PaizoCon, my girlfriend & I played a really great game of Evil Hat's Don't Rest Your Head mashed up with the Cthulhu Mythos. The scenario was a sequel to "The Dunwich Horror" using DRYH/DLYM mechanics. It got me thinking about doing an EP/DRYH mashup, so this year, for PAX East, I wrote a scenario about some Lost Generation kids using DRYH's mechanics. I'll be sharing them here in a series of posts.
To use the rules below, you'll need a copy of DRYH (it's five bucks at DriveThru). A copy of Don't Lose Your Mind is optional. It's got some neat ideas in it (and I'm in love with the cover art), but most of them don't mesh well with EP's setting flavor.
You'll also want to skim the setting info about the Lost and the Mind Hacks chapter in EP Core if you haven't looked at them for a while.
Mechanics Here's how to adapt DRYH to the EP setting.
- Reflects the taxing effects of using psi on a sustained basis. Adding Exhaustion dice reflects the use of minor, psi-chi sleights.
- Lost Generation PCs should still have a mundane-sounding Exhaustion talent, e.g., Athletics or Infosec. When they use exhaustion, they're augmenting this talent. Whatever it is they're best at, psi makes them more so.
- If a character Crashes, they've overtaxed their psi powers to the point of breaking. They fall into an unresponsive state. It might be a catatonic state, a fugue state where they simply repeat something over and over, or a state where they're unresponsive unless physically touched, at which point they lash out, scream, or cry before lapsing again into unresponsiveness. They may or may not ever recover without extensive psychosurgery.
The fun part.
- If a character Snaps, they gain the equivalent of an EP derangement. They've gone one step closer toward the Watts-MacLeod virus taking over completely. A character who loses all Discipline -- the point where they'd become a Nightmare in DRYH -- metamorphoses into an exsurgent and is removed from play.
Everyone in this world has:
- Mesh inserts. The best smart phone ever x1000 implanted in your head. It's controlled mentally and displays info via augmented reality windows overlaid on your field of vision. It allows you to store data, run apps, and search for/connect to remote devices.
- A muse. A personal, non-sentient AI assistant who runs in your mesh inserts.
- A cortical stack. A backup unit for your brain. Implanted in your brain stem, it can be used to bring you back if your current body dies.
For routine use of the above technologies, or for any other mundane ask, PCs use their 3 Discipline dice.
Mind Hacks (Exhaustion & Madness Dice)
All Lost Generation PCs have:
- A Madness Power, representing a single very powerful psi talent.
- This power may be a psi sleight taken from EP Core, or it may be adapted from Don't Rest Your Head, or the supplement, Don't Lose Your Mind.
- If drawing from DRYH/DLYM, players are encouraged to tweak the Madness power description to the EP setting. E.g., the "A is for Ants" Madness power in DLYM, transposed into EP, might summon and control swarms of microbots.
- When PCs add Madness dice to a roll, they must explain how they're using their psi power to affect the outcome.
- Minor, subtle psychic powers.
- None are as spectacular as your Madness power.
- None have overt, flashy visible effects.
- Things they do:
- Augment whatever your PC is best at, as stated in your Exhaustion talent. If you're an awesome hacker, psi makes you even better at it by subtly augmenting your native capabilities.
- Adjust your body in small ways, making you more physically capable.
- Augment faculties of reason or intuition (e.g., to sense danger before it happens, or to pull off an insane feat of memory).
- Make the PC luckier.
- Optimize the filters of perception to enhance concentration or broaden sensory input.
- When a PC uses Exhaustion dice, it's assumed that they're calling upon these powers. The player may if they wish describe how they're tweaking their own body, their sensorium, or causality itself to favor them. This description is for flavor (i.e., it explains the game effect rather than adding to it). If a player has current Exhaustion dice, it's assumed they're sustaining whatever effect they created. If they add more Exhaustion dice, this represents either intensifying the effect already in play or calling upon a new one.
In the next few posts, I'll outline a scenario and provide some pre-generated Lost Generation PCs.
P.S. Quick Transhuman Kickstarter update: We hit $50,000 over the weekend! Everyone whose backer levels includes all PDFs gets my scenario, Doctrine. At $55k, Brian Cross writes a mini-supplement about the Argonauts! More details here...