Mystic Disciplines


Designer's Notes: Just as things like FTL travel, lasers, and some degree of psychic or psionic skills, are almost intrinsic to adventure Science Fiction, so are magic, monsters (intelligent or gifted fauna), and mystic disciplines, a part of [medieval] "fantasy".

Which is not to say that the ForeSight psionic skills have no place in a HindSight campaign (my personal opinion is that they have more place in HindSight than in ForeSight, but John Campbell would probably disagreeÉ), or that a "fantasy" campaign should be "low-tech" (magicians in FTL spacecraft? Why not?) and/or "medieval" (for a start, "authentic" medieval campaigns are not much fun for poor people or women). Similarly, there is no reason why some of the ideas in HindSight shouldn't be incorporated into ForeSight (eg. rules for use of horses, or even these rules).

The important thing is that you put such things into your campaign for a reason, not simply for the sake of incorporating more "detail" (read complexity), or to add interest (read appropriate literature, watch some movies, etc.; large books of rules are no substitute for better scenario ideas, and a consistent and interesting campaign) to a flagging campaign.

Eg. A campaign set on Darkover (the series written by Marion Zimmer Bradley) could quite likely include [1] ForeSight in its entirety (including psionics, of course, but remember the compact preventing the use of ranged weaponry on the planetÉ); [2] the Magic rules (with some modifications, probably treating them as a form of psionics); [3] some new PC and NPC races/species (expressed either in the ForeSight format for aliens, or the HindSight format for PC races; Chieri might come out to be similar to elves attribute-wise, and so forth); and, perhaps, [4] down-toned religious rules, perhaps using psionics and/or magic in place of interventions. On the other hand, there is no evidence in the Darkover series for disciplines of the type described hereunder.

A PC in a HindSight campaign may acquire any of the following disciplines as any normal skill, assuming that the GM is allowing the use of given disciplines (ie. GMs should feel free to [1] disallow the use of any or all of the following disciplines; [2] restrict the acquisition of given disciplines to particular races, or cultural groups (making it more difficult for outsiders to learn); and [3] alter the Exp, and BEF, values of any or all of the disciplines below. A character lacking a discipline may not, however, attempt tasks relevant to it.

Designer's Note: the descriptions which follow also occur in section [1.2] Age of Reason for convenience.

Discipline

Formula

Exp

BEF

Limit

Adrenal Control

WP/2

4

4

1.5

A character with this discipline may perform a special action point action, costing one action point, and one point of fatigue. He/she makes an Adrenal Control roll; if he/she achieves QR1-2, then his/her Net Speed is considered to be two higher the next pulse [only] (ie. he/she acts sooner, and recieves up to two more APs); if he/she achieves QR3-4 then his/her Net Speed is considered to be one higher the next pulse [only]; and if he/she achieves a QR10 then his/her Net Speed is considered to be two lower, the next pulse [only]. (QR7's have no effect - although the time and fatigue is, of course, wasted.) A character may only perform one such action per action pulse.

Arrow Turning

(DX+PC)/4

4

see below

1.5

A character with arrow turning can "Parry" thrown weapons, and projectiles from mechanical ranged weapons (slings, bows, and crossbows) the same way he/she would parry a [normal] melee attack (the projectile parried must come from one of his/her legitimate target hexes). If using his/her hands he/she must also possess the Defensive unarmed combat field. If he/she is using a weapon to parry the projectiles, then he/she incurs a -1 modifier (in addition to the weapon's normal range PM). In any case, the PCS used when parrying is the lower of the character's Arrow Turning PCS and his/her appropriate weapon skill PCS, and the EF is equal to the QR of the attack, +1 if a thrown weapon is being parried. If the resulting parry is QR4, then the defender may elect to take the damage in his/her arm, while a QR3 or better result entirely negates the attack. A QR1 allows the parrying character to catch a thrown missile.

Berserker

WP/2

3

4

1.5

A character with this discipline may, at the beginning of one of his/her action pulses, attempt either to enter a berserk frenzy, or leave it. He/she does so by making a Berserker roll - entering on a QR4 or better, but requiring QR3 or better to leave it. In the berserk state a character pays double costs (APs and fatigue) for dodge and parry actions, performs any attack actions, and any Pain Resistance rolls at +2; he/she ignores the effects of fatigue loss until he/she leaves the berserk state. He/she must, if unstunned, try to attack at least one other "person" each pulse.

Distant Death

WP/2

8

5

1.5

A character with Distant Death can "project" his/her physical presence across a short distance (up to 20/QR metres) for a brief period (one pulse) to perform physical attacks. He/she cannot project his/her possessions, and his/her presence cannot be harmed. Projection via Distant Death costs two action points. The character performs a Distant Death roll, and expends QR fatigue points. If successful, he/she is projected to any legitimate target hex of his/her choice within range, and may then perform one or two melee attacks (as he/she wishes) at +2 (since he/she is effectively attacking while invisible), neither of which may be parried or dodged, after which he/she returns to his/her normal body (during the projection the character's body remains in place, and may be [opportunity] attacked as though stunned).

Master [Weapon]

WP/2

4

5

1.5

A character acquiring this skill must determine the weapon mastered. When he/she uses this skill (a Pulse action), it costs QR fatigue points, and if successful, gives him/her a "weapon" of the type mastered (of quality determined by the QR, see below) for one minute (using the lower of his/her appropriate skill PCS and his/her Master [Weapon] PCS). If a QR4 is achieved, then the weapon is Cheap (GM determines the Cheap modification used), while a QR better than 3 allows one extra minute, or one fine modification per QR lower than 3 achieved. Also note that a weapon "produced" in this fashion may not be thrown, or dropped and then retrieved. A master bow could be used to fire real arrows.

Mobility

(WP+ST)/4

6

4

1.5

A character may use the lower of his/her PCS in this skill and his/her Climbing, and Stealth, skill PCSs, when performing Climbing and Stealth tasks. If he/she does so then he/she can negate negative modifiers in those tasks by doubling the time taken for the task for every -1 modifier negated (they cannot raise EFs this way, just negate negative modifiers). By this method, the character can perform Climbing and Stealth tasks which are of incredible difficulty (but not impossible), eg. sneaking through a region being directly observed, or climbing up a smooth wall by bracing against a 90°corner, and along the edges of ceilings. Furthermore, if a character with this skill is conscious when tied up, he/she can escape his/her bonds by making a Mobility roll (unmodified, unless the person who tied him/her up was especially careful).

Self Mastery

WP/2

4

4

1.5

A character with Self Mastery can improve his/her fatigue at the cost of Wound Levels, and vice versa, as follows: if he/she wants to do the former the PC increases his/her Wound Level (as opposed to status) by one, and then if he/she successfully performs a Self Mastery roll his/her fatigue increases to his/her Reserve level. If he/she wants the reverse, then he/she loses all of his/her Fatigue if currently below Reserve, and drops to Threshold if currently above or equal to Reserve. If the roll is successful, the character's Wound Level is reduced by one.

Designer's Notes: as given, Self Mastery will be a very common discipline amongst player characters. Given its low cost, it delivers remarkable recuperative capabilities. If a GM wishes to further limit it, he/she may wish to increase its Exp value to 6 or 8. I prefer a measure of recuperative capacity in a campaign.

 

Zen

WP/2

10

4

1.5

A character may use his/her Zen skill (including BEF) in place of any skill with PC only in its formula, with no modifiers for PC related conditions (eg. darkness, poor visibility, blindfolds, earmuffs, helmets, and the like).

For skills whose formulae contain PC and some other attribute, Zen can still be used, but if the character possesses the skill at a lower PCS, then he/she uses his/her PCS in that skill instead of his/her Zen PCS (if he/she doesn't have the appropriate skill at all, then he/she also suffers the -2 penalty for not having a skill); eg. a character could use Zen in place of fencing (reflecting fencing with his/her eyes closed), but since the appropriate skill includes AG, he/she would have to use his/her Fencing PCS instead of his/her Zen PCS were it lower (reflecting that knowing where something is isn't all that it takes to hit it).

Note that a character using Zen is not using any normal sense, and is hence can sometimes detect magical "illusions" for what they are (eg. an image would appear as an image with no substance, a sound as a noise without a source, and so forth - there are no explicit "illusory" things in the magic system).