UnMet Conversion - Mediums

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Oneiros
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UnMet Conversion - Mediums

#1 Postby Oneiros » Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:55 pm

Been working on a conversion of the Unhallowed Metropolis setting for ... well, too long. I'm now starting to tackle ghosts and mediums.

So, here's the assumptions I'm working with. This is a horror game, and including a Corruption mechanic. There is no magic; the supernatural is explained through application of the natural sciences as known in the Victorian Age. It's pretty low powered in that sense - more Penny Dreadful than Rippers. Even Penny Dreadful had a bit more of the mystical, with witches and demons, than the setting in UnMet.

I allowed one player who wanted to play a gadgeteer the Weird Science AB, but even that was stretching things. "Psionics" also exist - telepaths, telekinetic, precogs - but using such powers usually leads to mental instability. People with these abilities are called psychics. Mediums are not psychic, but are sensitive to disturbances and presences in the ether.

Ghosts and other spirits are assumed to be psychic impressions left on the "ether" by people who experience deaths by violence or while in the grip of a powerful emotion. They're incorporeal and not all ghosts possess the ability to make themselves seen (manifest). In fact, their abilities vary widely between individual ghosts. Spirit is the defining trait of them, die size corresponding to in-game measurements of power. Entities with smaller Spirit die are much harder to detect by most people. Lacking physical form, spirits have to be dealt with either by mediums, psychics or using special gear and weapons capable of affecting them (think steampunk ghostbusters). Spirits can be either active or dormant. They can fade away with time.

Spirits come in three flavors:

• Apparitions - really just ethereal "photos" or echoes, these spirits have no intelligence and usually repeat on a loop. Other than performing their pre-programmed actions, Apparitions do not respond or interact with physical beings in any way. Spirit is their only trait.

• Ghosts - an ether impression which has been imbued with some or all of the original person's intelligence. They still tend to be rather single-minded and obsessive. They aren't always dangerous, but such abilities can include throwing objects, possession, or simply scaring the bejeezus out of people. Some psychics retain their abilities if they become ghosts as well. Ghosts have no Strength or Vigor, and ignore effects targeting either of those Attributes. In all other cases, substitute Spirit (such as for damage from thrown objects.)

• Poltergeists - similar to ghosts, but less intelligent and non-communicative. Interactions almost always escalate to the poltergeist becoming a destructive whirl of rage. The most powerful are able to level buildings.

Mediums generally deal with ghosts, since they are able to communicate. They can encounter them "in the wild" or by summoning them during a seance (see the Horror Companion Rituals rules.) Knowledge [Parapsychology] = Knowledge [Occult] for rituals.

I'm going to post a few Edges related to mediums, and looking for feedback. More will be posted as I get specifics worked out.
Last edited by Oneiros on Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:29 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: UnMet Conversion - Mediums

#2 Postby Oneiros » Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:58 pm

Here's the base edge for mediums:

Second Sight (Background)
Requirements: Novice, Spirit d6

Individuals gifted with Second Sight are usually referred to as mediums. The medium is sensitive to spirits inhabiting the aether around them, able to visibly and audibly perceive manifesting ghosts and apparitions regardless of their Spirit die. Even those not manifesting can still be detected as shadowy forms or muffled sounds. This ability is automatic.

By making a Spirit roll and concentrating (see below), the medium can focus their senses to achieve one of the following effects:

• The medium can clearly hear and converse with a spirit. While other characters may not be able to hear the words spoken by a spirit, the spirit can hear anything said by those around it. Those with Second Sight are often put into the position of acting as communicators between the living and the dead. Note this ability does not overcome any existing language barriers between the character and the spirit.

• By focusing their vision, the medium can peer into the spirit world. When concentrating, they can distinctly see any spirit within line of sight as if they were manifesting. They are also able to see the aura of any individual currently possessed by a spirit. However, the physical world becomes a shadowy overlay, including wispy impressions of structures long gone or merely dreamed of; this imposes an additional -2 to Notice rolls pertaining to the physical world, and makes navigating across an area somewhat risky.

• The medium can sense spirits around them whether they can be seen or not, including dormant ones, in a Large Burst Template area. Their general location, emotional state and potential power (max Spirit of entity) can be determined. Entities which make an opposed Spirit roll against the initial roll to activate this power remain undetectable, if they choose, for 1d6 hours.

Second Sight is not dependent on the character's normal senses. Even if they are blind or deaf, they can still use this ability to see and hear spirits.

Second Sight, Activation and Concentration

Most Second Sight Edges require a Spirit roll (normal or opposed) to activate. Failure leaves the medium Shaken and all their currently active powers end. If the medium rolls a 1 on their Spirit die, they suffer a level of Fatigue, regardless if the ability succeeded or failed. This Fatigue is regained at a rate of one level per hour of rest. Incapacitation from Fatigue caused by using Second Sight powers renders the medium unconscious for d6 hours.

Second Sight Edges that can be maintained require concentration to do so. While concentrating, the medium suffers a -2 to any other Trait rolls made to interact with the physical world. Rolls made for interactions with spirits are generally not affected. If the medium is Shaken or suffers one or more wounds, they must make a Spirit roll (at –2) to continue concentrating. Dropping concentration is a free action.

Some Second Sight Edges include a penalty to the activation roll. The medium may ignore 2 points of penalty for each round spent doing nothing but concentrating before rolling to activate the Edge.
Last edited by Oneiros on Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:27 pm, edited 8 times in total.

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Re: UnMet Conversion - Mediums

#3 Postby Oneiros » Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:00 pm

Spiritualist (Professional)
Requirements: Novice, Second Sight, Knowledge [Parapsychology] d6+

While often still referred to as a "medium", a Spiritualist has taken their gift of Second Sight and refined it, gaining a deeper understanding of its nature and practical application. A Spiritualist gains a +2 on Spirit rolls for activating and maintaining Second Sight powers, as well as any contested Spirit rolls against ghosts and poltergeists. This includes Fear checks. They also gain a +2 on all Knowledge [Parapsychology] rolls, including those to conduct a seance.
Last edited by Oneiros on Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: UnMet Conversion - Mediums

#4 Postby Oneiros » Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:05 pm

This Edge is based off of the Deflect power in SWDX. The ability to make it an LBT and situational skill bonuses bumped it to Seasoned. The penalty to Vigor rolls is a standard part of the Ectoplasmic trapping in this setting.

Modified version appears in post further below based on feedback

Ectoplasmic Mist (Weird)
Requirements: Seasoned, Second Sight

The medium can use this power to create a thick ectoplasmic fog around themselves. This fog may be as light or heavy as the medium wishes, limited to their own personal space or extended anywhere up to a Large Burst Template. It requires concentration to summon and maintain this fog. Ending concentration will cause it to dissipate almost immediately.

A light mist will either give the medium a +2 on Intimidation rolls, or a +2 Charisma when used as part of a performance. A thick fog will inflict a -2 to any Fighting, Shooting, or other attack rolls against targets within the area. A raise increases the penalty to –4. This also acts as Armor against area effect weapons. Anyone within the ectoplasmic mist suffers half the penalty when directing attacks at targets outside the area.

Living creatures other than the medium who are touched by or breathe in the mist will suffer a -2 penalty on Vigor rolls against disease and poison for twenty-four hours.
Last edited by Oneiros on Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: UnMet Conversion - Mediums

#5 Postby Deskepticon » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:40 am

Some remarks on the Edges:

Second Sight. Looks good. Nothing jumps out at me as being unbalanced.

Spiritualist. Also looks good, though I would remove the bit about receiving a free parlor. Move the parlor to the Gear section instead; the medium simply buys the necessary items/space.

Ectoplasmic Mist. Erm, not really sure where to begin. This sort of emulates deflection, approaches obscure, bestows some social benefits on the caster, and imposes an almost useless ability upon those that breathe the mist (penalty to Vigor rolls, but never actually triggering a Vigor roll).

First off, the bonus to Intimidation and other social skills is immediately lost since the character would incur a MAP on the action (they must concentrate to maintain the mist). Essentially, it's a non-benefit.

The Vigor roll penalty also seems to be a non-benefit, but since I'm not familiar with the source material (disease and poison might be a frequent concern) I'm going to reserve judgement. But at face value it holds very little value.

The obscurement penalty makes a bit more sense. The obscure power works in a LBT, imposing a -6 vision penalty on a standard success... and it's a Novice power. Ecto Mist is less effective (-2 penalty, -4 on a raise) yet you place it as Seasoned. Sure, it doesn't require PP, but that is better balanced by giving the Spirit roll a -2 penalty. It's also pretty restrictive since it needs to be maintained constantly to have any effect. This limits what the caster can do while summoning the mist.

I would recommend dropping the Rank down to Novice but adding in some other Requirements (i.e., Spirit d8, Knowledge: parapsych d8) and placing a basic 3 round duration on the mist.

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Re: UnMet Conversion - Mediums

#6 Postby Zadmar » Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:22 am

You might want to check out the "It’s a paranormal world after all" article in Sharkbytes for additional ideas, it includes a whole load of psychic Edges.
My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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Re: UnMet Conversion - Mediums

#7 Postby Oneiros » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:00 pm

Deskepticon wrote:Ectoplasmic Mist. Erm, not really sure where to begin. This sort of emulates deflection, approaches obscure, bestows some social benefits on the caster, and imposes an almost useless ability upon those that breathe the mist (penalty to Vigor rolls, but never actually triggering a Vigor roll).

First off, the bonus to Intimidation and other social skills is immediately lost since the character would incur a MAP on the action (they must concentrate to maintain the mist). Essentially, it's a non-benefit.

The Vigor roll penalty also seems to be a non-benefit, but since I'm not familiar with the source material (disease and poison might be a frequent concern) I'm going to reserve judgement. But at face value it holds very little value.

The obscurement penalty makes a bit more sense. The obscure power works in a LBT, imposing a -6 vision penalty on a standard success... and it's a Novice power. Ecto Mist is less effective (-2 penalty, -4 on a raise) yet you place it as Seasoned. Sure, it doesn't require PP, but that is better balanced by giving the Spirit roll a -2 penalty. It's also pretty restrictive since it needs to be maintained constantly to have any effect. This limits what the caster can do while summoning the mist.

I would recommend dropping the Rank down to Novice but adding in some other Requirements (i.e., Spirit d8, Knowledge: parapsych d8) and placing a basic 3 round duration on the mist.

Hmmm... well, I started with Deflection and added the LBT, which warranted the Rank bump based on Savage Abilities. This particular phrase in the description - "Some actually deflect incoming attacks, others blur the target’s form" served as inspiration. However, I guess the "fog" concept kinda made me blur the line (no pun intended) with obscure .

Deflection and Obscure are both Novice powers. Both cost the same PP, have the same duration and maintenance cost. However Obscure imposes a much bigger penalty applying to all vision based rolls, not just attack rolls against the caster. It has the LBT and better Range, and has increased utility because it can also be cast as Light (or do people treat that as a separate power?) I guess the drawbacks of Obscure might be what keep it on par with Deflection - it penalizes everyone, friend or foe, even the caster. It's also immobile, so targets affected by it will often have the option to simply move out of the area. Deflection moves with the target it is cast on.

For the main effect of Ectoplasmic Mists, if I made it based on Obscure, would the following be enough to bump it up to Seasoned?

• Characters with Second Sight can see through the mists without penalty (meaning the caster always can; pretty powerful ability when enemies are at -6 to target you.)
• The medium can control whether the mists fill a Small, Medium or Large Burst Template (thereby avoiding contact with allies, if desired. This was already in the initial description, though not as clearly phrased)
• The medium can make a light fog (theatrics) or heavy (obscurement)
• The affected area moves with the medium (or at least while they concentrate)
• The mists dissipate 3 rounds after concentration ends (meaning the "theatrics" bonuses become "full" bonuses for those rounds).

Or, if I don't want to have to add an ability for the medium to see out of their own mists, and also not totally screw any allies within it, start again with Deflection, then add the following:

• Range: Self
• The medium can control whether the mists fill a Small, Medium or Large Burst Template
• The medium can make a light fog (theatrics) or heavy (deflection)
• All allies in the area of effect receive the same Deflection benefits
• The mists dissipate 3 rounds after concentration ends

As for the skill bonuses, they are meant to offset the MAP for concentration, which I wouldn't exactly consider a non-benefit. Small, but not non-existent. Guess it's a matter of perspective - is the bonus "lost", or do you get to ignore the MAP? But the bonuses aren't meant to be the "meat" of the ability, more just window dressing. And if I give the Edge more duration without concentration, that resolves that.

Same with the Vigor penalty. Ectoplasm exists as a substance outside of powers, and coming in contact with it has the same affect on Vigor. So the mist being Ectoplasmic is a Trapping, or maybe more accurately, a side effect, that applies to both friends and foes.

Regarding frequency the Vigor penalty would come into play, the setting is post-zombie-apocalypse Victorian England, so beyond mundane illnesses, zombies, vampires, lycanthropes and various mutated beasties in the wastelands all pass their afflictions on as a disease. Much like the Walking Dead TV show, I try to include a zombie encounter at least once a session.

Also, the setting has a strong focus on the medical arts, after decades of study trying to understand the undead. It's full of drugs and alchemical substances, many of which could be considered "poison". Clever players might be able to find ways to work this to their advantage. For instance, there's a drug which can force a lycanthrope back into human form, but it's resisted by Vigor, and they have pretty darn good Vigor. Contact with ecto would help overcome that.

Ecto's effect on Vigor is definitely going to come up more for PCs than their enemies, but hey, that's the risk you take for dealing with preternatural forces. I suppose I could soften it with an initial Vigor check to resist the effect.

Zadmar wrote:You might want to check out the "It’s a paranormal world after all" article in Sharkbytes for additional ideas, it includes a whole load of psychic Edges.

Yeah, I have looked at that. Most of the material in that article was incorporated into Green's Guide to Ghosts, which I also have. Some of those overlap with "psi" powers, which I'm handling with a separate AB. Also, Imago Mortis has a few similar Edges, plus modified versions of the Horror Companion ritual rules for seances and exorcisms.

I'm modeling the Edge somewhat on the Weird Edges the Harrowed can gain in the "Stone and a Hard Place" rules update for DLR. (I don't have the main Player's Guide, but probably will get it.) Many of those Edges are basically NPP Powers, but they don't have the 1/2 PP penalty to activation rolls, or any backlash. Instead, they also have concentration with MAP, or can't be maintained and have good chance of causing Fatigue at the end of their duration. I think the Concentration restriction is a pretty good trade-off for the other penalties, and models the tropes associated with the powers of a medium better.

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Re: UnMet Conversion - Mediums

#8 Postby Oneiros » Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:25 pm

Okay, here's a (edit: second) revised take on the Ectoplasmic Mist Edge. It's more explicitly based on Deflection, with area of effect reduced from LBT to MBT, and given increased duration. I also removed the Intimidate/Charisma bonuses (leaving some wiggle room for a GM to make judgement calls). The penalty to Vigor for disease/poison remains as part of the ectoplasmic trapping. The ability has a penalty to activate, which can be negated by extra time concentrating, as the No Power Points Setting Rule in SWDX. This is spelled out in the Second Sight Edge above.

Ectoplasmic Mist (Weird)
Requirements: Novice, Second Sight

The medium can cause a misty fog of ectoplasm to appear around their person. This fog may be as light or heavy as the medium wishes.

A light mist is generally used simply for theatrical effect, such as during a seance. This requires a Spirit roll to active, and requires only mild concentration to maintain, imposing no penalty for other Trait rolls.

A thick fog will make the medium harder to target with an attack, as the per the Deflection power. This costs no power points, has a range of Self and requires a Spirit roll (at -2) to active. The mist last for three rounds, after which the medium can choose to concentrate on the mist to extend it's duration. Changing the ectoplasm's density requires a new activation roll.

Living creatures other than the medium who are touched by or breathe in the mist must make a Vigor check (-2 on a Raise), or suffer a -2 penalty on Vigor rolls against disease and poison for twenty-four hours.

Improved Ectoplasmic Mist (Weird)
Requirements: Seasoned, Second Sight, Ectoplasmic Mist

As above, but the medium can extend the mist out to a Small or Medium Burst Template. The benefits of Deflection can include any creature the medium designates within the mist's area of effect. Every two additional targets impose a -1 on the Spirit roll to activate this Edge. Changing the ectoplasm's area or creatures affected requires a new activation roll.
Last edited by Oneiros on Tue Feb 14, 2017 4:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: UnMet Conversion - Mediums

#9 Postby Oneiros » Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:29 pm

Shroud (Weird)
Requirements: Seasoned, Second Sight

The medium is able to manipulate the aetheric energy in an area, either charging it to make it more coherent or fill it with static. This can make it easier or more difficult for spirits to use their manifestations.

This ability affects an area in a Large Burst Template, centered on the medium. Any spirits in or entering the area and failing an opposed Spirit against the medium's activation roll have their Spirit die affected as the Boost/Lower Trait power. This costs no power points and requires a Spirit roll (at -1) to active. The effect last for three rounds, after which the medium can choose to concentrate to extend it's duration. The same effect (boost or lower Spirit) is applied to all targets in the area. If this ability would lower a target's Spirit below d4, it becomes dormant for d6 hours.

In addition, the shroud affects the prey sense of animates and vampires ability to detect living creatures within its area of effect. Filling the area with static imposes a -2 (-4 on a Raise), while charging it gives a +2 (+4 on a Raise).
Last edited by Oneiros on Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:27 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: UnMet Conversion - Mediums

#10 Postby Oneiros » Fri Feb 10, 2017 4:52 pm

Spirit Channeling (Weird)
Requirements: Seasoned, Second Sight

The medium can channel spirits, allowing them to enter their body and communicate directly through them. This is especially useful for weaker spirits or those unable to audibly manifest. The medium concentrates to the point of entering a trance for this power to be activated. Certain sedatives can aid in entering this trance, giving a +1 on the activation roll. Upon ending the channeling, the medium is Shaken, and must make a Vigor check, or suffer one level of Fatigue.

When the medium uses this power, she selects a spirit in her presence to be channeled, often one summoned through a seance or at the site of a haunting. The medium does not have to see a spirit to channel it; she just has to be aware of its presence. Only one spirit can be channeled at a time.

If the spirit is willing to be channeled, the medium can do so without any further rolls. For an unwilling spirit, the medium and the entity must make opposed Spirit rolls. If the medium fails this roll, the channeling immediately ends, and they suffer a -2 on their Vigor check. Otherwise, they channel the spirit as normal.

While channeled, the spirit cannot use any of its manifestations, with the exception of Possession. Some spirits allowed themselves to be channeled in order to do just this. A ghost attempting to possess the medium channeling it gains a +2 on its Spirit check to do so. Possession ends the medium's trance immediately and the spirit gains full control of their body.

A channeled spirit cannot leave the medium's body until allowed to do so. They have no control over the medium's body other than what they are given. Most mediums let the spirit speak through them, in a strange mixture of their own voice and the spirit's, in a manner reflecting the spirit's intelligence and personality, recognizable to any that knew them in life. Mediums communicating in this manner are able to ask questions of the spirit and possibly draw on its memories, despite being in a trance. Other mediums have distinctive methods of allowing the spirit to communicate, such as automatic writing, Ouija boards or through artwork. Regardless of the method, the medium will have almost no recollection of events during the channeling beyond a general impression of the spirit's personality, emotional state and power.
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Re: UnMet Conversion - Mediums

#11 Postby Oneiros » Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:30 pm

Adding some functionality to some of the Second Sight edges to make them useful against more than just ghosts...

Aetheric Disruption (Weird)
Requirements: Seasoned, Second Sight

The medium is able to create a pulse of low frequency aetheric energy capable of disrupting a spirit's manifestations and potentially weakening it. These pulses can also interfere with psychic powers and weird science gadgets.

This ability works like the Dispel power, requiring no power points, with a range equal to the medium's Spirit. It uses Spirit as the medium's arcane skill. When used on a spectral entity, the entity itself is the target. On a success, all active powers of the entity end, and it cannot use any manifestations again for 1d6 rounds. On a raise, the entity also has its Spirit die reduced one step.

Against powers of psychic or weird science origin, the medium can only target a single power, and have a -2 on their opposed Spirit roll.

Use of this ability can be taxing, and after each successful use the medium must make a Vigor roll or gain one level of Fatigue.

This ability will not end a possession, but it does allow the victim another opposed Spirit roll against the possessing ghost to try and expel it.


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