Psionic system idea


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Post Monday, 5th May 2014, 23:23

Psionic system idea

Psionic abilities act somewhat like spells and somewhat like mutations. They scale in power with experience level(linearly) and intelligence(diminishing returns). They do not cost MP to use; instead, they cost INT drain(sustab only partially effective) and/or give exhaustion(varying in length and essentially acting as a shared "cooldown" on all abilities). Effects that would be represented in this weird class of abilities:

Status infliction: The psion approach is more brute-force than the enchanter approach, so all hex-like effects check HD instead of MR. Whenever one of these abilities succeeds, the user must make two additional checks against the monster's HD to avoid "feedback". Failing the easier check causes the status to also get applied to yourself, and failing the harder check causes addition INT drain. Cases where mirroring the status isn't applicable instead have two saves against INT drain.

Defense piercing: Pure kinetic force guided by a precise mind can circumvent armor, evasion, and meat shields. Comes in the form of smiting, sonic weapons, sonic waves, and LoS damaging screams.

Constructs: A psion can temporarily call physical objects into being to ensnare(webs), block(walls), or hinder(water) enemies.

Chaos: Unbound by the structure of spells, a psion can utilize dangerous and unstable powers. Conjuration-like abilities with distortion and chaos flavor, create seething chaos, summon spatial vortices, chimeras made of shadow creatures, stuff like that.

Corruption: Harnessing this subset of chaos, a psion can permanently cripple enemies either through polymorphing, malmutating, or brain feeding. Brain feed makes an HD-based check to lower a monster's int class. If it succeeds, you get an amount of nutrition based on their int class with a positive or negative modifier depending on how carnivorous or herbivorous you are, then you have a chance to restore lost int based on the nutrition gained. Reducing a monster to int: plant will make it permanently slow and unable to cast spells or use items.

Now for how psionic abilities are gained. You find uncharged psi crystals, which contain one or more abilities, and the crystal diverts some percent of experience from your skills while in your inventory to charge itself(so it's like you're training another skill). Once charged, you can choose one of its abilities and merge it into yourself to permanently gain that ability.

All of this was thought up to justify the existence of player brain feed. I'm sure lots of people would like to see "Here: A giant orange brain (brainless, moving slowly)" in-game.

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Post Monday, 5th May 2014, 23:50

Re: Psionic system idea

I like the gets-better-without-skills aspect and the hurts-to-use aspect, but I think I'd rather see it as a god than an item.
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Post Tuesday, 6th May 2014, 00:13

Re: Psionic system idea

RedBucket wrote:All of this was thought up to justify the existence of player brain feed


does having player brain feed justify that massive system
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Post Tuesday, 6th May 2014, 01:11

Re: Psionic system idea

I agree that it might be kinda cool as a god
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Post Tuesday, 6th May 2014, 01:25

Re: Psionic system idea

I think it would be better as a God yeah. Systems that have magic and psionics both as first class citizens either seriously limit the scope of both or get really muddled as they stomp all over each others' feet (looking at you D&D).
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Post Tuesday, 6th May 2014, 03:11

Re: Psionic system idea

That's a really awesome god idea bro, let's see it happen.

Also, is this by chance inspired by bio shock?
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Barkeep

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Post Tuesday, 6th May 2014, 03:29

Re: Psionic system idea

A stab at the psionic god:

Imariuen the Psychic

The strength of all abilities is tied to invocations skill.

Upon joining:

You can begin training invocations.
Psychic Network. Passive. All non-mindless enemies that spawn have a chance to be psychically linked to you. You get perfect knowledge of the identity and approximate knowledge of the location of these enemies—but no knowledge of the terrain around them.
Mental Overload. Active ability. No piety cost. Instantly kill target ally.
* Mind Control. Active ability. Very small piety and hunger cost. Checks HD to resist. Control the mind of target enemy. They become an ally. Can only target an enemy that is psychically linked to you. You can only control one enemy at a time in this manner. These minions are permanently your ally, even if you attack them or perform other hostile actions.
Mind over Magic. Passive ability. All of your mind-controlled allies are immune to hostile enchantments. (This includes polymorphs from you.)
** No new abilities.
*** You may control up to two targets at a time via mind control.
Empathy. Active ability. Moderate piety and hunger cost. For a period of time, a portion of the damage you suffer is redirected to all of your mind-controlled allies.
**** Psionic Blast. Active ability. Considerable piety and hunger cost. Exhausts you, but deals damage to all non-allied, psychically linked enemies in LOS, and may inflict short-term paralysis, slow, confuse, or frenzy. Cannot be used while exhausted.
***** You may control up to three targets at a time via mind control.
Mind over Matter. Active ability. Very large piety and hunger cost. Target mind-controlled minion undergoes polymorph without becoming hostile.
****** No new abilities.

Dungeon Dilettante

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Post Tuesday, 6th May 2014, 03:31

Re: Psionic system idea

Patashu wrote:I think it would be better as a God yeah. Systems that have magic and psionics both as first class citizens either seriously limit the scope of both or get really muddled as they stomp all over each others' feet (looking at you D&D).


What I was aiming for in some cases was "divine-like effects from a non-divine source", with stat drain hopefully working as an equivalent to piety cost. I also tried to keep it distinct from magic, does it really still seem too similar?

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Post Tuesday, 6th May 2014, 03:40

Re: Psionic system idea

RedBucket wrote:
Patashu wrote:I think it would be better as a God yeah. Systems that have magic and psionics both as first class citizens either seriously limit the scope of both or get really muddled as they stomp all over each others' feet (looking at you D&D).


What I was aiming for in some cases was "divine-like effects from a non-divine source", with stat drain hopefully working as an equivalent to piety cost. I also tried to keep it distinct from magic, does it really still seem too similar?


The problem is, why wouldn't every character want some of these abilities? They aren't affected by the usual penalties that apply to magic, and only have the one-time cost of some experience (which is overabundant in Crawl anyway in most cases), and do not take up your god slot. Your proposed abilities have tactical costs, but not (meaningful) strategic ones.

The religion system in Crawl exists precisely to handle the sort of mechanics you are thinking about. Gods are allowed to be strong, and so long as a proposed god isn't overly powerful compared to other gods (and it would have to be really ridiculous with the likes of Trog, Fedhas, and Nemelex around), you don't have to worry about power creep or upsetting balance.

Adding in a system of psionic crystals would be power creep and would upset balance. (Of course some sort of demonspawn mutation, or maybe a new species, could also be a way of introducing some of these psychic abilities without upsetting balance. But via a god is probably the best way, as you have more leeway to introduce more powerful effects. And it seems like you wanted the effects to be pretty strong/significant.)

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Post Tuesday, 6th May 2014, 04:16

Re: Psionic system idea

and into wrote:Mental Overload. Active ability. No piety cost. Instantly kill target ally.
...
* Mind Control. Active ability. Very small piety and hunger cost. Checks HD to resist.


Are you sure this is balanced?

e: I just also realized those two things are basically Elyvilion's first power, huh.
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Post Tuesday, 6th May 2014, 05:05

Re: Psionic system idea

Yes, and you can only target enemies that are "psychically linked" in the first place, which is some % of non-mindless enemies that spawn.

For the most part you'd just want to keep the strongest as your allies, but I added in that insta-kill ability so you didn't have to do annoying stuff like intentionally kill your pet via grindy stuff, but could just off it whenever.

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Post Tuesday, 6th May 2014, 05:06

Re: Psionic system idea

Arrhythmia wrote:
and into wrote:Mental Overload. Active ability. No piety cost. Instantly kill target ally.
...
* Mind Control. Active ability. Very small piety and hunger cost. Checks HD to resist.


Are you sure this is balanced?
if its an ally, you can already instantly kill it without having to use a god ability at all

Snake Sneak

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Post Tuesday, 6th May 2014, 12:05

Re: Psionic system idea

This is a great idea, I thought that adding psionics to this game is vary hard/impossibe, but this (no skill, hard to resist) sounds to be a unique niche for it.

I would suggest the following mechanisms:

Psionics causes (skill) draining (instead of int drain or exhaustion). I think it would be interesting and unique that overusing psionics penalizes everything else (most other abilities disable themselves (Breath, Exh)/use up a resource like MP). Note that this is a bit similar to having a skill with builtin transfer knowledge: if you want to use psionics, you use it and your other skills become weaker, and if you don't use it, eventually the skill levels are "transferred back". Intelligence drain is like this, but limited to weakening spellcasting (and psionics itself, making stopping psionics an easier decision); exhaustion could work, but doesn't add a unique mechanism.

Psionics is granted by a set of mutations. Mutations are ideal for granting psionics: they are semi-permanent and already have interesting interactions with gods/items/etc. but don't occupy the god or species slot completely. I would suggest a "root" mutation, Psionic Talent and one mutation representing each psionic power (most of them would grant an 'a'bility). Psionic Talent would be an ordinary good mutation and it would grant psionic powers on XP gain (like evolution, but it doesn't remove itself). If neccessary, Psionic Talent could get a drawback like -Wiz or -spellpower. Gaining psionic powers from other sources than Psionic Talent would probably be rare/impossible. The powers could scale by mutation level (or they could be arranged in 'chains', stronger powers are granted by level 2-3 of the mutations), the mutation level of Psionic Talent could either increase the number of powers gained, or the maximum mutation level of the granted powers.

Acquiring psionics: Psionic Talent is gainable as an ordinary good mutation, but some alternative sources could be added (probably some of them shouldn't be initially implemented, but could be added later):
  • Potion of psionic talent: on quaffing, grants Psionic Talent and a random psionic power. Probability to find one should be approximately the same as finding the main spellbook (like book of Ice, Fire, the Warp etc.) for one specific magical school.
  • Psicrown: +0 AC headgear, curses itself on wear, grants one psionic power
  • A naturally psionic race: Starts with a racial mutation equivalent to Psionic Talent, but granting the powers as racial mutations.
  • Psion: A background giving Psionic Talent 1 and a fixed, simple psionic power (probably one dealing damage telekinetically).
  • A medium-level Transmutation spell "Mental Pinnacle" could grant some fixed powers as temporary mutations (like Beastly Appendage), but also -wizardry/-spellpower.
  • Demonspawn could get a psionic facet containing 1..3 selected psionic powers as demonspawn mutations.
  • Some chaotic psionic powers are granted individually by Xom, but Psionic Talent itself isn't (willpower and intelligence isn't required/supported by Xom)

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Post Wednesday, 7th May 2014, 06:27

Re: Psionic system idea

and into wrote:A stab at the psionic god:

Imariuen the Psychic

The strength of all abilities is tied to invocations skill.

Upon joining:

You can begin training invocations.
Psychic Network. Passive. All non-mindless enemies that spawn have a chance to be psychically linked to you. You get perfect knowledge of the identity and approximate knowledge of the location of these enemies—but no knowledge of the terrain around them.
Mental Overload. Active ability. No piety cost. Instantly kill target ally.
* Mind Control. Active ability. Very small piety and hunger cost. Checks HD to resist. Control the mind of target enemy. They become an ally. Can only target an enemy that is psychically linked to you. You can only control one enemy at a time in this manner. These minions are permanently your ally, even if you attack them or perform other hostile actions.
Mind over Magic. Passive ability. All of your mind-controlled allies are immune to hostile enchantments. (This includes polymorphs from you.)
** No new abilities.
*** You may control up to two targets at a time via mind control.
Empathy. Active ability. Moderate piety and hunger cost. For a period of time, a portion of the damage you suffer is redirected to all of your mind-controlled allies.
**** Psionic Blast. Active ability. Considerable piety and hunger cost. Exhausts you, but deals damage to all non-allied, psychically linked enemies in LOS, and may inflict short-term paralysis, slow, confuse, or frenzy. Cannot be used while exhausted.
***** You may control up to three targets at a time via mind control.
Mind over Matter. Active ability. Very large piety and hunger cost. Target mind-controlled minion undergoes polymorph without becoming hostile.
****** No new abilities.

Most of this god's abilities revolve around gaining and managing minions. This looks an awful lot like Beogh...or being a summoner. Granted, your abilities will stay relevant a lot longer than Beogh's because you can always get new minions and they scale with dlvl.

I like the psychic network idea and the psionic blast, and there's nothing wrong with minions, but there should be more. I'll try to incorporate as many of the ideas in this thread as possible into my own proposal.

I've been tinkering with the idea of a god that gives somewhat random abilities, so I'll incorporate that too.

God proposal: Ideron

Ideron isn't a god so much as it is a concept that opens your mind up to the universe. As long as you "Worship" Ideron, a portion of your experience gain goes into piety instead. Piety decays over time. As you grow in XL, it takes more experience to gain piety. When you begin the game, a list of abilities will be chosen from a set that determines what abilities Ideron gives. All of Ideron's abilities scale on invocations and cost mp, food and piety. Many pieces of this god are shamelessly stolen from posts in this thread.

...... - Psychic Network. Passive. All non-mindless enemies that spawn have a chance to be psychically linked to you. You get perfect knowledge of the identity and approximate knowledge of the location of these enemies—but no knowledge of the terrain around them.

*..... - Gain a random activated psionic ability from the following list:

1. Ensnare: generates a psionic equivalent of a throwing net around a target. Can be resisted by an HD check.
2. Disorient: confuses a target that is psychically linked to you. Checks HD to resist.
3. Mind Blast: irresistible damage to a target that is psychically linked to you.
4. Pierce Defense: for a period of time, your attacks are augmented with psionic force and ignore a certain percentage of enemy armor, HD and MR.

**.... - Gain a random passive ability from the following list:

1. Add 1/3 of your intelligence score to strength.
2. Add 1/3 of your intelligence score to dexterity.
3. Add your intelligence score to MR.
4. Add 1/5 of your intelligence score to AC.

***... - Gain a random activated psionic ability from the following list:

1. Psionic Construct: creates an orb of psionic energy that moves randomly and occasionally blasts enemies, like battlesphere but completely independent.
2. Domination: target creature that is psychically linked to you becomes a permanent ally. Checks HD to resist.
3. Sympathetic network: while active, a certain percentage of damage dealt to you is also dealt to psychically linked creatures in LoS.
4. Psionic Beam: fires a piercing blast of psychic energy that has a chance of slowing targets.

****.. - Gain active ability - Nirvana: when this ability is activated, you go into a temporary state of higher awareness. In this state, your abilities receive a power boost but cost additional piety.

*****. - Gain a random activated ability from the following list:

1. Astral Projection: creates a short-lived psionic copy of yourself. While this ability is active, you control the copy and your own body is encased in a psychic cocoon that increases defenses. The copy has your equipped items and spells, but cannot use items. Has half your current mp and hp.
2. Mental Overload: every psychically linked enemy in LoS takes irresistible damage and must make an HD check or lose the ability to use special attacks.
3. Psionic Storm: creates a storm of chaotic psychic energy around you. All enemies in LoS are damaged. Creates chaos vortices that move randomly and damage enemies they touch.
4. Corruption: warps reality around a target, causing irresistible damage and a possibility of: brain drain, permanent confusion, permanent blindness, and, rarely, polymorph. Checks HD to resist.

****** - Gain activated ability - Psychic Shift: you reroll all of your granted abilities. Costs half of your piety.

Because Ideron isn't an actual god, it should be non-ecumenical. Perhaps there could be a portal vault containing psionic enemies and an altar.
Last edited by File200 on Friday, 9th May 2014, 03:37, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Wednesday, 7th May 2014, 08:03

Re: Psionic system idea

Tiktacy wrote:Also, is this by chance inspired by bio shock?


I may have actually been subconsciously inspired by Tales of Maj'Eyal.

Going the alternate route and tying the abilities to a god has a couple small issues:
1. The amount of choice in and number of abilities is limited(though having an unbounded amount is bad too, maybe psi capacity based on XL level?).
2. Corruption, chaos, and divination are already in the domains of Lugonu, Xom, and Ashenzari.
3. You can't get brain feed while following Elyvilon(though this is arguably a good thing).

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Post Thursday, 8th May 2014, 20:20

Re: Psionic system idea

@ File200:

I like where you took the god idea. In particular I like abilities being semi-randomized, a neat concept that I (and others I'm sure) have toyed with in god proposals, since it is a hitherto unexplored niche for a god. Anyway, some comments:

1.) No piety cost for strong and very helpful abilities is probably bad, because then you would want to spam them all the time. However, if the god's low-level set of abilities were not too strong, and perhaps involved something like an Exhaustion timer, you could definitely get away with them costing no piety. In any case, it is important that the question "When would I *not* use this ability?" has meaningful answers. Otherwise the ability is too useful, even if it is not too powerful, per se.
2.) Also, note that having a six-star piety ability that gives a major passive boost is interesting, but introduces tougher choices if the abilities cost piety. If the only piety loss you are trying to mitigate comes from piety decay, then even if the piety decay is more rapid than usual, the tactical decisions aren't as meaningful. I would like a 6-star, non-scaling big passive boost a lot more if it were coupled with abilities that cost piety.
3.) Five or six abilities in each set might be too much. Having a semi-randomized component is good, on the other hand you don't necessarily want it to be the case that you need to play the god 50 times to see everything that it does. Just something to consider; it would be important to get the scale right.
4.) Along the lines of number 3, one fun thing to do might be to give a six star ability that is either free and with limited uses per game, or else no cap on # of uses but with a very high piety cost, which lets you "reshuffle" one of your active abilities, rerolling it for another. This would give some options to people who want to experiment/see more of the god without having to play a bunch of games worshiping it.
5.) I'd cut out abilities that overlap with existing stuff so much, for instance Flight, or with existing god abilities, such as passive stat boost (conflicts with Chei) or active stat boosts based on invocations (conflicts with Zin). However, you might be able to achieve similar effects with abilities that are sufficiently different. One idea that seems thematic: A passive, flat boost to intelligence [way less than Chei] coupled with an active ability that let you use your intelligence for all stat purposes for a period of time. (Actually, probably would have to cap that, as may species could get 30+ in each stat pretty easily. So something like "for period of time, str and dex are set equal to intelligence, but str and dex cannot be raised by more than (intelligence/3) in this manner" seems more appropriate.)
6.) I'd also cut out abilities that overlap too much with each other. As proposed above, you could get multiple abilities that boost your stats, or get one that causes confusion, and another that damages and confuses. Cutting those down would help with point number 3 and also make sure each ability is meaningful when/if you get it. Also, don't feel like there has to be the same number of abilities in each tier.
7.) One thing to keep in mind about smite-targeting: Not only is it very powerful, but it drastically alters considerations of positioning and placement. Depending on the effect that could be good or bad. In the case of ensnare, I'm not sure smite-targeting makes the tactical considerations more interesting. It may actually remove decisions if you don't need LOF.

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Post Friday, 9th May 2014, 03:41

Re: Psionic system idea

I've edited the god post. Abilities now cost piety, lists have been reduced to 4 each, name has been changed, and a reshuffle ability has been added. I wouldn't mind this god being a little stronger than others on account of it being non-ecumenical and possibly very rare.

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Post Saturday, 10th May 2014, 05:02

Re: Psionic system idea

Thought of a few things:
Living Nightmare: Create a chimeric copy of an enemy(use them as the base and add two animal heads) to fight against them. Short duration.
Brain Feed: Antimagic in addition to everything else.
Mind Control: Should keep up the theme of mind affecting powers being a two-way road. Any damage inflicted to the enslaved creature will also be inflicted on you, with a reduction based on your ability power measured against their HD.
Wretched Pulse: The wretched star ability. You get (temporarily) mutated by your own ability(monsters are permanently deformed though).

I also like the idea of drain being a cost on strong abilities, if we're still going down that route. The original idea was for psionic powers to be stronger on magic users(high intelligence), but to have a certain tension about using them because you get crippled more. Whereas on characters with no magic, you only have to worry about stat death, but your abilities aren't as strong.

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Post Saturday, 10th May 2014, 20:42

Re: Psionic system idea

I have to say I really like File200's proposal and <and into>'s comments. I might somewhat obsessively reroll my abilities until I get int/5 in AC on a deep elf, but I'm just a min-maxer who can't help himself. It'd only be around 5-8 ac anyways. Getting +10 dex would probably be worth more ev, but you probably already have decent ev since you'd be in pretty light armor.

Anyways, like the god idea, would love to try it out sometime. I might even play a caster :)

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Post Sunday, 11th May 2014, 04:32

Re: Psionic system idea

tasonir wrote:I have to say I really like File200's proposal and <and into>'s comments. I might somewhat obsessively reroll my abilities until I get int/5 in AC on a deep elf, but I'm just a min-maxer who can't help himself. It'd only be around 5-8 ac anyways. Getting +10 dex would probably be worth more ev, but you probably already have decent ev since you'd be in pretty light armor.

Anyways, like the god idea, would love to try it out sometime. I might even play a caster :)


I'll start working on it ASAP.

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