May 29 - Psi - Feedback Thread

18 posts / 0 new
Last post
AdamJury AdamJury's picture
May 29 - Psi - Feedback Thread

This is the feedback thread for the Psi chapter, updated on May 29th.

It can be downloaded as part of the EP2 Open Playtest at: http://bit.ly/ep2playtest

We are getting down to the wire for this playtest. This is likely to be the final update to the Eclipse Phase Second Edition playtest. At this point, core mechanics and major features are locked down. Things to look for:

• Numbers and terms that are inconsistent or seem off-base with each other
(IE: a number/rule/term was updated in one chapter but not in another, or a number in text that contradicts a table).
• Unclear wording or explanations, typographical mistakes.
• Rules that are easily exploitable that lead to un-fun game situations, characters mechanically hogging the spotlight, etc.
• Places that should have cross-references (“p. XX” references) to other sections but do not OR vice-versa — places that seem to have excessive cross-refs.

Please exercise restraint in back-and-forth posting in this thread.

Dr. Maxwell Dr. Maxwell's picture
Great Stuff on the chapter!

Great Stuff on the chapter! Notes, mostly on wording clarity, incoming, but I do want to say this looks really good and really dodges the 'stop playing my character' aspect of Psi and is really clever about encouraging you to lean into behaviors the infection causes to boot! Psi usage seems really menacing and potentially problematic without being thematically overwhelming, asyncs now can forgo unarmed if they need to but still are encouraged to try to touch folks for maximum effect, and the power level seems more evened out with no Gamma abilities feeling 'dead.' Good job!

Psi Game Mechanics

* Psi Sleights has excessive cross-references, referring to the summary of sleights twice and a detailed description of what they are starting on the same or next page. Unless there is a significant fiction insert between the types of sleights this will likely result in referencing the same block of information 3 times within 3 sentences.

Infection rolls and Influence effects

* It may be wise to make it explicit you are not required to replace influence effects with other effects of the same type, as that seems to be the intent of customized substrains but it is unclear if you can, for example, trade out 'unique' effects. I am still not sure if this is intended however, especially as the infection test superior success rolls seem to imply that the effect should get worse for high rolls, even though this seems to be inconsistent.

* Frenzy removing all fray and mental skills in combat makes the beast strain ultimately a 'kill you character if a fight starts' strain. While this isn't as bad in EP as it is in other games, ultimately it makes the beast strain extremely unattractive to actually play in games that feature combat due to you spending a lot of time in combat out of control and post combat awaiting reinstatement, and has thematic dissonance where a beast async is the most likely one to gravitate towards combat but also is arguably the worst at it. This isn't terrible because it seems like you can just trade it out, if I understand correctly, but it is still an extremely harsh downside and as close to 'playing your character to self destruction' as the Influence effects get, dancing on the line of 'just not fun.'

* Wording of Self Sabotage unclear and overly broad, and could stand to be narrowed down what sort of self sabotage you would engage in. Is it just 'mundane' self sabotage, the kind where you fall off a wagon as a recovering addict or spend all your cash on cheap mesh games, or is it over the top to the point you will take self harmful actions purely because they are the most efficient way to cause long term damage to your own life, such as going out of your way to tank your own rep and ensure your own arrest?

Psi-Chi Sleights

* Control Behavior seems to just represent you paying a cost to obtain a disadvantage that you can't ever remove, rather than serving any function, as neither quality offers any inherent benefit, and this doesn't have any utility the qualities don't as written. Is it intended to allow you to resist mental influences towards or away from certain behaviors? Can you change the nature of the behaviors, or remove them at will? Or is the Async essentially just giving themselves a disadvantage and paying for it? It is extremely unclear what the intended use of this ability is and why you would ever want it.

* The differences between Eco-Empathy and Xeno-Empathy are unclear, as both only work on non-earth life to inform you about its place in its environment, with Xeno-Empathy also giving you information on its emotions and using SAV instead of COG. It seems like its intended for Eco-Empathy to grant more technical information than Xeno-Empathy, which grants more intuitive information, but a lot of the wording choices are so similar its hard to tell if they really are meant to be different. Are either of these rolls penalized for targeting less complex life forms?

Psi-Gamma Sleights

* Do you use the piloting skill to attack when 'jammed' in an animal using Animal Control? I assume the animal's own mental stats are treated as its 'AI' when running autonomously, for the purposes of it understanding commands. There is enough ambiguity in how much this is really like jamming to warrant a sentence or two of clarification.

* Burst of Confidence/Clarity/Insight should note what happens to the points in the pool when the ability ends. If you are under your maximum pool when the ability was used, and don't use a point, do you keep the point, effectively 'healing' a point from the power? Is the temporary point used "first" or do you lose a point if you have one when this power is over no matter what?

* Deep scan does not definite a 'piece of information' sufficiently to make this sleight easy for a GM to adjudicate. Is the target aware that the async is actively looking through their mind even if they don't know or understand what an Async is, or even that they are there? If the target isn't aware of the async at all and is unable to see or detect them in any way to they recognize the Async later, or do they just understand something entered their mind? How specific is the information about the Async the target recieives, and can it grant them a recognition of the async even in a new context, such as if they are resleeved?

* Can Ego Sense be pushed to increase its range? Can Asyncs be detected at a longer range? Do you get a bonus to the psi test if you are closer than close range?

* Is the implanted memory 'fresh' in the target's mind, will it be remembered as happening at the 'appropriate' time based on the memory, or can the async choose? If a fake memory is implanted, will the target suddenly realize they have a new memory, or not notice what is happening?

* Does Mimic allow you to gain any useful information about the target's personality from the "ping," or is the information only available to the async to mimic the target, perhaps on an instinctual level?

* Is the target of Pain fleeing the async, or just the area in general. If the former, if the target is not aware of the async, or furthermore not even able to detect them, what happens?

* Sense Infection could have the GM note removed and instead provide that information from a player perspective as "Under no circumstances do you learn the name of the strain, only its nature."

Spoiler: Highlight to view
A minor, rather nit-picky, unsolicited note

* Qualia, Self Control, and Somatic Control, and to a lesser extent Armor and Scramble, lack flavor text that describes how the Async is mentally different, with some of those entries literally just echoing the reminder text. An extremely minor issue, but a big part of why chi sleights are interesting is not just that they make you think "better," but also think fundamentally differently than other people. Not every ability needs a paragraph, but most of the effects are rather good about giving a one or two line excuse about why what is happening is happening, and while there is some of that there, its really thin on the ground here.

Don't forget to check out my open source biomorph and medtech files!

o11o1 o11o1's picture
Pushing Psi-Chi

Under pushing slights:

Pushing Slights wrote:
You may also push already active psi-chi sleights. In this case,
increase your Infection Rating by 5 and make an Infection Test.
Psi-chi pushes are temporary, lasting only WIL ÷ 5 minutes.
Moxie pool may be used when pushing to negate the physical
damage, but you must still make an Infection Test as normal. If 2
points of Moxie pool are spent, however, the test is negated entirely.

A. how much physical damage is that? I don't see where it's stated. (Edit: found it, it's 1d6 DV)
B. The "increase by 5" doesn't seem to square with the Psi-Chi slights having Infection Mods. Does it always go up by 5, or by the mod? or by the mod plus five? (( Found it, was looking at the wrong table
si-Chi doesn't have an infection mod)).

For Psi-CHi that cannot be pushed, (like Charisma) it might be useful to state in the section on pushing that only *some* Psi Chi powers can be pushed. And probably again at the top of the Psi-Chi listing, that only some of them are pushable.

A slight smell of ions....

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
I didn't understand the rules

I didn't understand the rules on my first reading. My second reading was still a bit fuzzy. Third time and fourth, I think I'm getting it.

It might be a good idea for me to sleep on this and worry about it later.

I wonder if anyone else is having difficulty making sense of the rules?

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
Nope. They are actually

Nope. They are actually simpler in some aspects than previous versions. Though a cheatsheet will be a good thing to have.

It would probably go something like this:

1. Your infection granting you PSI powers is somewhat sentient. Its degree of control over you is called Infection Rating.
2. You have PSI powers called sleights, when you use or push your sleights, infection makes Infection Test.
3. Successful Infection Test means you are measurably influenced by infection. Roll on the substrain table to see what happens.

And thats all. I have no idea how to explain only Sleight Mechanics better.

Exurgents wanna eat your ass and you are low on ammo? Register to mobile gear catalogue at eldrich.host.mesh! ORDER NOW! FOR FREE PLASMA MINIMISSILE PACK! *explosive delivery options included

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
I think I have the gist of

I think I have the gist of how things work now. Some of my troubles might have been trying to unlearn earlier play tests. I'm going to take some time to think things over, to see if there is some way to improve things.

BlckKnght BlckKnght's picture
Psi Level 1

I think it would be nice if the Psi rules were clearer about how a character with Psi Level 1 only is different than one with Psi level 2. Obviously, the trait itself is easy to understand, but a lot of the Psi chapter's text seems to be focused primarily on Psi Level 2 characters and their Psi Gamma slights. It would be very good to give some extra text explaining exactly what the in-universe difference between the levels is though.

The biggest thing that I think should be called out explicitly is that if you have only Psi Level 1, you don't need the Psi skill at all. Skill points spent on it are completely wasted. The rules about infection modifiers do mention that if you only use Chi slights, then you don't need to worry about infection tests (unless you push), but that could be put more up front too. A lot of the Psi rules are about dealing with the consequences of failing infection tests, so if you never need to make them, those are mostly irrelevant.

It would also be useful to know how the levels work with advancement. Can you upgrade the Level 1 trait to Level 2 with Rez, or are the kinds of infections that give the different levels unrelated (so you'd need to be re-infected to get an upgrade)?

A few other Psi related questions:

If your infection rating is over 33, do your Chi slights get pushed automatically for free? I assume not, since they're limited time, but the rules don't say that.

The rules for Easing the Infection say your rating goes down until it reaches your base rating of Psi level * 10, but I assume it should remain elevated by 5 per Chi slight you have.

How do temporary pushes to pool granting slights work when the push ends? If I push Charisma to increase my Moxie pool by an additional 1 (Increased Effect), what happens if I've spent that extra point when the push ends? What if circumstances changed and I decided I didn't need to spend it? Can I repeatedly push to keep generating more pool points without resting (at the cost of damage and infection rating increases of course)?

What kind of organisms is Xeno-empathy supposed to apply to? I'd guess it's supposed to apply to alien animal analogues (just like Eco-empathy applies to plant and fungus analogues), but the rule doesn't actually say that, it just says "non-human, non-terrestrial organisms". As written it seems like a superset of Eco-empathy (just using a different attribute). Does this slight allow any understanding of originally earth-based organisms (including transhumans) who have been taken over by an alien influence, such as the exurgent virus (or would even trying to use Psi in that situation just be an absurdly bad idea)?

ubik2 ubik2's picture
Psi skill is marginally

Psi skill is marginally useful for a Psi-Chi to identify a sleight used on them by a Psi-Gamma. I can't imagine actually buying it, though. In particular, on page 2 under Prerequisites, "To wield Psi, you also require the Psi skill" is misleading.

Dr. Maxwell Dr. Maxwell's picture
Page 32 of the making

Page 32 of the making characters chapter notes that Psi 2 requires an additional mental disorder, where as Mental Fragmentation on page 2 of the Psi chapter notes you only need to take one and has no condition for a second rank. I am assuming the Psi chapter is correct, but I am noting the error here in case it is not and you are in fact meant to take two mental disorders.

BlckKnght wrote:

The rules for Easing the Infection say your rating goes down until it reaches your base rating of Psi level * 10, but I assume it should remain elevated by 5 per Chi slight you have.

This does not seem to be an error as Chi also does not state anymore it increases infection rating.

Don't forget to check out my open source biomorph and medtech files!

icefyer icefyer's picture
Quote:This does not seem to

Quote:
This does not seem to be an error as Chi also does not state anymore it increases infection rating

Which I hope is how it's meant to be, because if you intend on focusing on psi, that +5 strain rating can stack up quickly and you very quickly run into a situation where your base infection is so high after using even just two or three powers that you're getting the infection results almost constantly, which can be incredibly frustrating with some strains. It made it so that in previous tests there was the idea going around that if you were psi you had to focus on one or the other, trying both ended up blowing up in your face within just a handful of powers of mixed types because having more than one or two Chi powers could absolutely wreck your ability to use Gamma without going crazier.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
It seems like under current

It seems like under current rules, stacking up a bunch of Chi powers is genuinely useful and fairly free of downsides.

You still want to make sure you have a biomorph, for example, and in tense situations the Chi-user may need to actually start Pushing their sleights. But the lower levels of Watts-McLeod seem like it's a useful symbiotic thing.

A slight smell of ions....

Grim G Grim G's picture
2 things I don't like

1) Using moxie to ignore the infection test feels wrong. Moxie and IR both get healed after a 10 minute smoke break, so one would have to spam slights heavily before a test is even rolled. During combat it might work, but when you have sessions or entire games that are mainly about rolling research and infosec, it becomes a non-issue.

2) Adding other infection motivations or behaviors is something I don't mind. But they need to me fleshed out. On of my players chose Callousness as a behavior. I have no idea how that's supposed to work?

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
I think part of my trouble

I think part of my trouble understanding this chapter is it looks like it was built better for review than learning. I tried to read it all in one go. I should have stopped at different points, such as p. 3, and reviewed everything that I learned thus far.

Also, there are 2 tables for the various strains, starting on p. 3 & 6. If you didn't know that there were multiple tables, you can get really confused doing a review and not finding an answer on a given table.

On a related note, on making characters, it says that the maximum number of sleights you can purchase is 10. Is that limit just for character creation, or a hard limit forever?

Dr. Maxwell Dr. Maxwell's picture
Page 5, Pushing Sleights,

Page 5, Pushing Sleights, Enhanced effect. Does this also apply to 'damage' caused by a sleight, such as Psi Stab or Nightmare, or is it only modifiers to rolls and pools? I would assume modifier was only rolls, but the fact it can affect pool changes makes me wonder what counts as a modifier.

Don't forget to check out my open source biomorph and medtech files!

ubik2 ubik2's picture
Dr. Maxwell wrote:* Control

Dr. Maxwell wrote:
* Control Behavior seems to just represent you paying a cost to obtain a disadvantage that you can't ever remove, rather than serving any function, as neither quality offers any inherent benefit, and this doesn't have any utility the qualities don't as written. Is it intended to allow you to resist mental influences towards or away from certain behaviors? Can you change the nature of the behaviors, or remove them at will? Or is the Async essentially just giving themselves a disadvantage and paying for it? It is extremely unclear what the intended use of this ability is and why you would ever want it.

I can imagine using this to give yourself enhanced aggression when hit with a sedative or something along those lines. Essentially, it can be used to overcome external mental influence.

How that works mechanically probably ends up in GM territory, unfortunately.

Dr. Maxwell wrote:
* Do you use the piloting skill to attack when 'jammed' in an animal using Animal Control? I assume the animal's own mental stats are treated as its 'AI' when running autonomously, for the purposes of it understanding commands. There is enough ambiguity in how much this is really like jamming to warrant a sentence or two of clarification.

In 1e, the text of the Pilot skill indicated that it was used for melee. In 2e, that's no longer there, so I'd guess that you just use Melee instead. In any case, it should be clarified both for drones and for animals. The Pilot description indicate that it's used for movement that does not rely on the use of limbs. The Athletics skill indicates that it's used for humanoid or biomimicked movement, so Athletics should generally the right movement skill. I'm not certain if the Squidling would use Athletics or Pilot, but I'd probably go with Athletics.

I also found myself wondering if Drone Affinity and Drone Rig work for this. The text says "exactly like remotely operating a drone", so I guess they should by RAW, though maybe not by RAI.

Some of the abilities, like Deep Scan, indicate that the target is aware of something. I think this is supposed to only apply when the target succeeds on their portion of the opposed test (the WIL check). In the case of the async not being visible, they presumably just feel like something strange is happening in their mind. I don't think they have any special sense of who is responsible (though if you're in a room with someone looking intensely at you, you'll probably blame them).

Edit: Clarified that the Drone skills should work by RAW, but maybe not RAI.

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
It is mentioned that you can

It is mentioned that you can use Control Behaviour to counteract Infection Influence. So I could see someone with a Beast Substrain giving themselves a Enhanced Behaviour: Serenity or Restricted Behaviour: Violence.

Exurgents wanna eat your ass and you are low on ammo? Register to mobile gear catalogue at eldrich.host.mesh! ORDER NOW! FOR FREE PLASMA MINIMISSILE PACK! *explosive delivery options included

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
When "teleoperating" an

When "teleoperating" an animal you would use its skills and apttitudes only issuing it commands like a drone. When jamming an animal you would treat it as your own morph therefore using Melee and Athletics possibly with penalties for different morphology.

Exurgents wanna eat your ass and you are low on ammo? Register to mobile gear catalogue at eldrich.host.mesh! ORDER NOW! FOR FREE PLASMA MINIMISSILE PACK! *explosive delivery options included

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
I would say that Drone Rig

I would say that Drone Rig wouldn't help as it is a software so it doesn't interact with psi. Drone Affinity... Maybe?

Exurgents wanna eat your ass and you are low on ammo? Register to mobile gear catalogue at eldrich.host.mesh! ORDER NOW! FOR FREE PLASMA MINIMISSILE PACK! *explosive delivery options included