Mind over Matter - Chapter 7

Copyright Phillip A. Ellis © 2013

Edited by Terence Wynne for The Guild Companion

"The massive overload in your head knocks you down (take five hits)."

Chapter Seven: The Basic Rules

In many ways, casting a psionic power follows the same basic rules and procedures as casting a spell, especially a Mentalism spell. The same basic process of rolling a power casting static maneuver (if applicable), followed by a basic attack roll if an attack power (see chapter six), must be followed.

As with spells, in order to cast a psionic power, the character must have a skill rank for the power's list that is either equal to or greater than the level of the power. For example, should the caster desire to cast Deafness, which is level four on the Illusion list, that caster should have either four ranks or more in that list. In addition, the character must have enough Power Points to cast the power.

7.1: Automatic Power Casting

Unless a power is cast automatically, a static maneuver is required to cast it. In order to cast a psionic power automatically, the following requirements need to be met:

  1. the power is not of a higher level than the caster;
  2. the power is not cast as a snap action;
  3. the caster has not used more than 25% of his overall Power Points;
  4. the power is prepared for at least a certain number of rounds:
    • 2 rounds if: (caster's level – power's level) is less than or equal to two;
    • 1 round if: (caster's level – power's level) is greater than two, but less than or equal than five; &
    • 0 rounds if: (caster's level – power's level) is greater than five.

Such a power may still fail:

  • All attack powers fail on an unmodified attack roll of 01-02 (see chapter six).
  • Attack powers can also fail on certain modified attack roll results (see chapter six).
  • All other powers fail on an unmodified roll of 01-02 on 1d100 (this is not an open-ended roll).

Unless a power may automatically be cast, it may only be cast if a power casting static maneuver is made.

7.2: Power Casting Static Maneuvers

If a power cannot be cast automatically, the caster must make a static maneuver roll in order to be able to cast the power. If this maneuver is successful, the power may be cast. To do so, an open-ended (1d100) static maneuver roll is modified by the caster's skill bonus for the power's list, and all other appropriate modifications from the Power Casting Modifications Table T-7.2.1. This result is then correlated with the Power Casting Static Maneuver Table T-7.2.2.

Power Casting Static Maneuver Roll =
1d100 (open-ended)
+ caster's skill bonus for the power's list
+ mods from Power Casting Modifications Table T-7.1.1

Note: This static maneuver is part of the power casting action and is not a separate action.

T-7.2.1: Power Casting Modifications Table

Caster's Lvl – Power Lvl # of Preparation Rounds Taken
0 1 2 3-4 5-6 7-8 9+
9+ +5 +10 +15 +20 +25 +30 +35
6 to 8 +0 +5 +10 +15 +20 +25 +30
5 -10 +0 +5 +10 +15 +20 +25
4 -20 +0 +5 +10 +15 +20 +25
3 -30 +0 +5 +10 +15 +20 +25
2 -35 -10 +0 +5 +10 +15 +20
1 -45 -20 +0 +5 +10 +15 +20
0 -55 -30 +0 +5 +10 +15 +20
-1 -85 -60 -30 -25 -20 -15 -10
-2 -90 -65 -35 -30 -25 -20 -15
-3 -95 -70 -40 -35 -30 -25 -20
-4 -100 -75 -45 -40 -35 -30 -25
-5 -105 -80 -50 -45 -40 -35 -30
-6 to -7 -125 -100 -70 -65 -60 -55 -50
-8 to -10 -150 -125 -95 -90 -85 -80 -75
-11 to -15 -175 -150 -120 -115 -110 -105 -100
-16 to -20 -225 -200 -170 -165 -160 -155 -150
-21 or more -275 -250 -220 -215 -210 -205 -200

Power as a Snap Action: -20
Overall Power Points Used
26% to 50%: -10
51% to 75%: -20
76% to 100%: -30

T-7.2.2: Power Casting Static Maneuver Table

-76 or down Spectacular Failure Your power fails; roll on the Power Failure Table T-7.3.1 and subtract triple the total of all applicable modifications from the Power Casting Modifications Table T-7.2.1.
-75 – 01 Absolute Failure Your power fails; roll on the Power Failure Table T-7.3.1 and subtract twice the total of all applicable modifications from the Power Casting Modifications Table T-7.2.1.
02 – 25 Failure Your power fails; roll on the Power Failure Table T-7.3.1 and subtract the total of all applicable modifications from the Power Casting Modifications Table T-7.2.1.
UM 66 Unusual Event You become confused and somehow cast the wrong power. The GM should randomly select one of your other powers. Any results are applied to the target of your original power (a GM may choose to ignore normal range limitations).
26 – 40 Partial Success You complete part of the power casting. You may cast the power normally next round as a 50% activity action (i.e., no static maneuver is required).
41 – 60 Near Success You cast your power normally at the end of the deliberate action phase of the current round.
UM 100 Unusual Success Your power is cast and you get a +30 bonus (non-cumulative) to your next power casting static maneuver (if it occurs in the next 10 minutes).
61 – 125 Success Your power is cast normally.
126 or more Absolute Success Your power is cast and you get a +10 bonus (non-cumulative) to your next power casting static maneuver (if it occurs in the next 10 minutes).

7.3: Power Failures

When attempting to cast a power, if the power fails (such as when rolling an unmodified 01-02 on the static maneuver casting roll) then the caster must roll on the Power Failure Table T-7.3.1, applying all relevant modifiers from the Power Casting Modifications Table T-7.2.1.

T-7.3.1: Power Failure Table

Attack Powers Non-Attack Powers: Informational Non-Attack Powers: Other
01-20 Your target's grace distracts you. You lose the power (and one power point). Momentary lapse in concentration delays the casting of the power for one round. You stumble across the incantation and delay the casting of the power for one round.
21-30 You remember a childhood incident that was traumatizing. You lose the power (but not the power points). Operate at -10 for five rounds. You only gain one small bit of information. Unfortunately, that information is outdated (or incorrect). You cannot remember the final words for the power. Lose the power (but not the power points).
31-40 The magic blurs your vision. You lose the power (and half the number of power points rounded down). Stunned for 1 round. You gain half of the desired information; but it is incorrect. Your head pounds. You have to stop casting (lose the power, but not the power points).
41-60 The planets are not aligned correctly! Your power has absolutely no effect (and you lose the power points). The information you gain is correct, but you have no idea what the topic was! A momentary mental lapse cause you to forget your place in the power (lose the power, but not the power points).
61-75 Your target must be blessed! Your power has no effect and you lose double the normal number of power points. You gain correct information about a similar topic to that which you were seeking. You are so surprised, you are stunned 1 round. While casting, you notice that shadows are beginning to move. You immediately stop casting (lose the power and 1 power point).
76-90 Power backlash! The power fails entirely. You are stunned for 8 rounds. You cannot make out the information due to extraneous feedback. A muscle cramp in your jaw causes your power to fail. Lose the power, and half the normal points (rounded down). You are stunned for two rounds.
91-95 The target's will is stronger than yours! You collapse on the ground (taking d10 hits) and are stunned for 9 rounds. You gain a bit of ominous information about your own death! You are stunned for one round. You are seeing stars. You must cancel the power. Lose the power, and half the normal power points (rounded down). You are stunned for one round.
96-100 The power internalizes. You take 4d10 hits and knocked unconscious for 12 hours. You gain one piece of very specific, incorrect information. However, you experience power feedback (take d10 hits). You internalize the power. You take 2d10 hits and are stunned for 2d10 rounds.
101-125 The power affects a random target to the right of the intended target. You are stunned for one round and take d10 hits (from the mental strain). Power feedback causes the information to be garbled. You are stunned for two rounds. The power strays to points unknown. You are stunned for three rounds.
126-150 You lose control and the power hits a target to the left of the intended target. Make another attack against a random target within range. You are stunned for one round and take d10 hits from the wild attack. You gain useless information about an unknown target. In addition, there is so much information, that you are stunned for three rounds. For some reason, the power does not work! You are stunned for four rounds while you try and figure it out.
151-175 The power targets a random victim that can be anywhere with 500'. The power backlash short circuits your brain. Take 25 hits and are unable to function for d10 hours. You strain too hard to get the information. Your power fails utterly and you take 3 hits (and you are stunned for 5 rounds). You have been working too hard. The power misfires badly. You take d10 hits and are stunned for d10 rounds.
176-185 The power lodges in your head. You suffer brain damage; you operate at a -75 modification for d10 months (or until brain is repaired). You lose all power casting ability for 1 week). Something just is not right here. The massive overload in your head knocks you down (take five hits). Spend 5d10 minutes recovering (no other actions allowed). The power misfires in your head. Take 2d10 hits while you are knocked down. You are unable to function for one hour.
186-191 The power misfires and internalizes inside your head. Take 35 hits. You lose power casting ability for d10 weeks. There is a 40% chance of falling into a d10 day coma. The utter nothingness that you discern takes you close to death. Take 2d10 hits and an 'A' Impact critical as you recover. You must spend one hour doing nothing. Severe power feedback knocks you down. Take 1d10 hits and an 'A' Impact critical. You are unable to function for d10 hours.
192-195 You suffer a massive stroke! Take 10d10 hits and fall into a month-long coma. At the end of the coma, you will seem fine; but will die d10 hours later. You have seen your own death! You collapse to the ground (take 3d10 hits and you are unconscious for d10 hours). You now suffer from Paranoia. You have just acquired a nervous disorder GM's discretion). You lose all power casting ability for d10 weeks. You slam yourself into the nearest solid object (take 5d10 hits) and knock yourself out (for 12 hours).
196-200 The power completely short circuits your nervous system. You are paralyzed from the waist down. You are the victim of a mild stroke. Take 4d10 hits and lose all power casting ability for one week. In addition, you will have a -40 penalty for d10 days. You suffer a mild stroke. Take 20 hits and lose all power casting ability for two weeks. In addition, you will have a -50 penalty for d10 days.
201-250 The power completely internalizes. You lose all power casting ability for d10 weeks and will be in a coma for d10 weeks. Take 8d10 hits. The power short circuits. Take 20 hits and knock yourself out for 9 hours. You lose all power casting ability for 4 weeks. You internalize the power. Take 4d10 hits and you are knocked out for 2d10 hours. You have lost all power casting ability for d10 weeks.
251-300 Severe nervous disorder causes you to lose all your power casting ability for d10 months. You now have a nervous tick. You are stunned for d10 rounds. Anytime you attempt to cast this power in the future will result in deterioration of the nervous tick (eventually, you will become a quivering blob). You now suffer from a nervous disorder (GM's discretion). You are stunned for 2d10 rounds and can no longer cast this power.
301+ Massive internalization of power. Instant brain death. You have seen Armageddon. This results in brain shut-down. You are in a coma for 3 months. You suffer a severe stroke. You drop into a coma for d10 months.

7.4: Miscellaneous Notes

7.4.1: Combining Effects

More than one power with the same name may not be in effect upon the same target at the same time. For this purpose, powers that have the same name with a numerical progression (e.g., Displacement I, Displacement II, etc.) are considered to have the same name.

A Gamemaster may not want to allow certain powers and/or spells to be combined. If appropriate in his world system, we strongly suggest that the Gamemaster make more restrictions than indicated in this supplement. This may be particularly appropriate for powers on the same list (e.g., Mind in the Past).

7.4.2: Repeated Power Attempts

Unless stated otherwise, when a caster attempts certain psionic effects (e.g., Item Purpose, etc.), that caster may attempt only one such an action on a specific item or situation per experience level. If the attempt fails, another attempt may not be made until after the caster increases his skill rank for the list that the power is on. Alternately, the Gamemaster may determine that another attempt may only be made after the caster has developed another skill rank for the list on which the power is located.

7.4.3: Permanent Durations

A number of spells have a permanent duration. Typically, these spells deal with the effects such as healing or shapeshifting. These durations are intended to indicate that a real, tangible effect has been produced. These results (unless otherwise noted) are subject to the normal effects of time and the environment. The same is true of healing spells; a wound might be healed, but the target is still subject to such wounds in the future.

7.4.4: Cancelling a Power

The caster of a non-permanent power can cancel that power at any time. The caster must either be within the power's original range limit, or within "sensing" range of the power's current effects. The caster cannot cancel the actual physical or mental results of a power (e.g., wounds, etc.). The cancellation takes 1 round of concentration.

7.4.5: Multiple Targets

When casting a power that can affect multiple targets, the caster can concentrate in order to "hold" the power until it can be applied to the allowed number of targets. For instance, a being casting Deflections II may "hold" the power until two missiles have been fired at them and deflected.

7.4.6: Conflicting Effects

When a power conflicts with another power or a spell, and both are directed at the same area, the spell or power with the lower level (or either one if of equal level) must make a RR. The attack level is the higher of the two levels, and the target level is the lower of the two. If the RR fails, the lower level spell or power is canceled; if it succeeds, the higher level spell or power is canceled.

Where more than two conflicting spells or powers are involved, start with the lowest level spell or power, and roll a RR versus the highest level spell or power. Repeat this process until only one spell or power is left.

7.4.7: Information Powers

The basic power casting rolls for powers that impart information to a character should be rolled by the GM. Because a failure may impart false information, the player should not know whether or not the roll was a success. As a rule of thumb, the severity of the failure should mirror the severity of the information given, so that a mild failure results in vaguely misleading information, while more severe results should even be potentially dangerous.

7.4.8: Metamorphosing Powers

Powers which transform the caster or target into other beings must be handled with caution. The lower level powers only give the physical form, without any abilities or powers. It is simply as if the target of the spell had altered his body to appear like the desired being. Combat abilities, flying abilities, or any other special aspect are not received.

If such a power indicates that physical abilities are received, then purely physical abilities may be utilized, such as armor type, flight, and the use of natural weaponry (no skill with such is received, but the caster may develop such skills). No magical or special abilities are received (e.g., breath weapons, magical immunities, spell capabilities, etc.). These abilities are only received if the spell explicitly states that such abilities are possible.

7.4.9: Rule of Thumb

In any situation not covered by these rules or guidelines, treat the psionic power as akin in nature to a Mentalism spell, and consult the relevant section or sections of the relevant book or books.