Psychic Pilots

   Most giant-robot-anime series, and most novels and tales, focus on a relatively small group of mecha pilots who have incredible skills and gifts compared to all the NPC’s – which they need desperately, since they’re invariably outnumbered at least a hundred to one. Here are some of the most common augmentations and how to buy them in Eclipse: The Codex Persona (also available as Shareware HERE. Some of the specialized spells used can be found in The Practical Enchanter (also available as Shareware HERE).

   It’s worth noting that most “psychic pilot” abilities are relatively cheap. This is because – in d20 terms – most of them are pretty trivial. After all, with a first level spell a d20 character can create a personal force field, call up a minor extra-dimensional creature and bind it to obey, move items around telekinetically, heal wounds, read any language or code, strike far more accurately than any expert who’s ever lived, instantly compel loyalty, hypnotize a group, kill a normal person, change forms or sex, make things grow or shrink, negate gravity, ignore bonfires, speak with animals, evade almost any attack, create matter, and store things in private pocket dimensions, among many other powers. Most Sci-Fi abilities are a lot more limited or subtle.

 

Basic Augmentations

   These are common to characters in virtually every giant-robot setting.

  • High attributes. This is pretty standard for player characters anyway.

  • Accelerated healing. This is standard for all d20 characters.

  • Enhanced pain tolerance. Well – d20 characters take no penalties from pain unless some special power is used on them in any case.

  • Augmented spatial awareness. Most starring pilots can keep track of many targets at once. In general, this is automatic for d20 characters since the players get to look at the combat map. If the GM opts to call for Intelligence checks to keep track of this kind of thing buying a bonus might be appropriate for any character.

  • Since d20 Mecha are treated as augmenting their users, anything which enhances the user’s movement, attributes, or other abilities enhances the performance of the Mecha without any need for special abilities. Still, armor-enhancing abilities can be purchased: these stack with technological systems if there’s any overlap.

  • Any character of L3 or above is unusual, and is likely to have abilities outside the normal human range. Characters of L5 or above are effectively superhuman even if they don’t buy any obvious supernatural abilities.

  • The ranges and scales on most spells and powers are increased considerably. Given that this is a general feature of the setting, and applies to all the weapons and equipment as well, it doesn’t cost anything.

 

Near-Universal Augmentations (6 CP):

  • Being a “Natural” Pilot/Mechanic/Etc: Buy Adept for 6 CP and thus become a “natural” in four skills. Of course, most characters – whether or not they consider themselves “Psychics” – will buy this anyway.

 

Common Continuous or Use-Activated Enhancements: (6 to 12 CP)

   Buy Innate Enchantment (valued at 5000 GP for 6 CP, +1000 GP per additional point up to a maximum of 12 CP) and select abilities to the relevant total from the following list:

  • Enhanced (+2) Attribute (1400* GP). This is commonly taken on Dexterity, but Strength and Constitution also appear. It can only be taken once per attribute.
  • Piloting Link (Psychic Link, +2 levels of Neural Interface with Vehicles or Mecha, 1400* GP).
  • Personal Haste (+30′ Move, +1 Attack at full BAB when taking a full attack action, 2000 GP)

  • True Strike (3/Day, 840* GP, 1/day/level 1400* GP).

  • Arcane Dodge (+20 AC for a moment within the next round, 3/day for 840* GP, 1/Day/Level for 1400 GP)

  • Moment of Fortification (Negates extra effects of one critical hit, 3/Day for 840* GP, 1/Day/Level for 1400 GP)

  • Shield (a personal force field granting a +4 shield bonus to AC, 2000 GP)

  • Gain a +2 Competence Bonus to all skills, +3 to a limited group of skills, or +5 to any single skill (1400* GP)

  • Gain a +2 Deflection bonus to AC (1400*)

  • Gain 12 + (2 x Con Mod) HP (1400* GP)

  • Give yourself and/or your Mecha a +1 (700 GP) or +2 (1400* GP) Enhancement Bonus to AC

  • Give yourself and/or your Mecha +1 level of Fortification (700* GP)

  • Gain a +1 Luck bonus to Attacks and Damage (+1d6 damage when using Mech weapons, 1400* GP)

  • Gain a +1 (700 GP) or +2 (1400* GP) Luck bonus to Skill and Attribute checks

  • Gain a +1 Luck bonus to your AC and Saving Throws (1400* GP)

  • Gain a +1 Resistance bonus to saving throws (700* GP)

  • Automatic self-healing of 1d8+1 HP 3/day (840* GP) or 1/day/level (1400* GP)

  • Telekinesis (Unseen Servant, at will, 2000 GP)

   *These normally use the “personal only” (cost x.7) modifier. This can be removed if you want to use them on other people. Those which don’t use this modifier are already using personal-effect only spells.

 

Empathy and Telepathy: (6+ CP)

  • Basic Empathy should probably be taken as a disadvantage rather than as a “power”. Who’d want it in a war zone?

  • Basic Telepathy can be covered by Mindspeech (6 CP).

  • If you want advanced telepathic abilities, take Advanced Occult Talent/Corrupted: Telepathy Only (8 CP) and an appropriate selection of effects.

 

Detecting other psychics: (variable, 6, 3, or 0 CP)

   Bought as Occult Sense: Detect other Psychics (6 CP base). The GM may opt to reduce this cost since – while this has an extremely long range compared to most occult senses – it’s also very specific and relatively useless. In a RPG it may not even be worth charging for. Psychic Pilots in RPG’s are both less overwhelming – after all, players come in groups, not as solo stars of the show, and even those who don’t opt to play a psychic rightfully expect to play an equal role in the game – and a lot more common.

 

Having precognitive visions: (3 CP)

   Bought as Occult Sense: Precognitive Visions (Specialized: GM decides when you have a vision, 3 CP). This is a relatively rare ability in most giant robot series, and should be in the game – if only because the GM, unlike a script writer, only has a limited ability to make predictions. Most will probably be of the “if you don’t do something then this will happen” form.

 

Being really difficult to hit: (Varies)

  • Buy Defender (6 CP/Level)

  • Buy Rider (For use with Pilot or Drive) (6 CP) and enhancements to the relevant roll (variable cost).

  • Buy additional Dexterity (Self-Development, 12 CP/Level, 6 CP per level if restricted to vehicle and mecha combat, 3 CP/Level if specialized in getting AC bonuses only: otherwise it will also provide initiative and ranged combat bonuses).

   Note that none of these abilities are necessarily restricted to psychics, although precognitive justifications are – as are the various Innate Enchantments listed above.

 

Advanced psionic abilities: (18 CP total)

  • Buy Reflex Action (may activate Occult Talent once per round as needed, 6 CP) plus Advanced Occult Talent (5 per day from among Message, Psychic Bolt [Daze], Intuitive Navigation [Know Direction], Guidance, and Resistance and 3 per day from among Dodge Arcane [Moment of Insight/+20 to AC], True Strike, and Psychic Blast [a.k.a. Magic Missile, attacks pilot’s HP directly] OR Moment of Fortification [negates the extra effects of a critical hit and the effects of the Crushing modifier], 12 CP).

  • Occult Talent (with or without the Reflex Action modifier) can also be taken to represent a wide variety of other talents, including the ability to shut down machinery and other systems (Remote Cutoff, a save applies to attended systems and they can be restarted quickly even if they do shut down, L1), healing abilities, religious magic, and various telekinetic functions.

 

Immunity to surprise:

  • Buy abilities from the Awareness sequence (cost varies)

  • Buy Immunity to Surprise (Common/Major/Minor, 6 CP)

  • Buy Reflex Action and simply take one when surprise would normally keep you from acting (6 CP).

   While the precognitive or telepathic special effect is restricted to Psychics, immunity to surprise is not. Quite a few normal combatants start to react reflexively after they’ve been in combat for a bit.

 

Enhanced. Extra, or Accelerated Attacks:

  • Buy a high BAB (6 CP per +1). In general, mecha pilots should have fairly high BABs anyway.

  • Buy Reflex Action for an appropriate situation or in the general form (6 CP)

  • Buy Augmented Bonus (Add another attribute modifier to your Dex Mod for combat purposes, 6 CP).

  • Buy Improved Initiative (3 CP per +2, +8 maximum)

   Note that none of these abilities are necessarily restricted to Psychics.

 

Deflecting Attacks:

  • Buy Block (Melee and/or Ranged at 6 CP Each). To block specific types of attacks Corrupt or Specialize it (only versus beam weapons, only versus missiles, etc) and either take the price break or increase the effect.

  • Force Field systems can be purchased at PL7 as two or three Assist slots – Combat Reflexes and Block (Ranged and/or Melee) with “Force Field” as a special effect. This creates a field which can be temporarily overloaded by excessive attacks or penetrated by lucky shots, but which otherwise reduces all attacks by 30 points or specific attack types by 60 points. If you want to get the most out of this, you’ll want a high reflex save.

   These abilities are not restricted to Psychics, but they’re certainly more common amongst them.

 

Remote Operation of Drones:

  • In practice, these systems usually produce one or more of the following effects: 1) giving the user extra attacks, 2) allowing the user to flank targets by him- or her-self, 3) allowing the user to attack at greater-than-normal ranges, or 4) providing the ability to block attacks. Characters may either simply purchase the desired combination of these abilities or buy Mystic Link to remotely operate whatever drones are available.

  • Artificially-intelligent remote drones are beyond the current technology of the campaign. If they become available, they may be purchased as Companions (currently on the banned ability list) and enhanced normally.

 

Automatic Criticals:

  • Buy Luck and Bonus Uses (12 CP) and combine it with True Strike. This will automatically threaten, and almost certainly confirm, a critical hit. This will not necessarily result in a video-game or anime-series “automatic kill”, but it will do a lot of damage.

 

Enhanced beam sabres (and other weapons):

  • The easiest way to improve a weapon is to customize it under the usual rules for customizing weapons and equipment (no cost).

  • Expertise (6 CP) and Improved Expertise (12 CP) allow the user to trade accuracy for extra damage. Remember that, for mecha-scale weaponry, each +1 to damage translates into +1d6.

  • Augment Attack (variable cost) can add damage or special effects directly.

  • Enhanced Strike (6 CP per function) and Improved Critical (6+ CP) also work nicely on mecha weapons.

 

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