Friday, 4 May 2012

Fading Suns 3, Psychism

Last time I spoke about Theurgy, this time I want to reflect upon the new look of the Psychism chapter. In many ways the development of the Psi part of Fading Suns Third Edition (FS3) flowed in the opposite direction to that of Theurgy. Where Theurgy became more stable and dependable, Psi has become more fickle and unpredictable. Many of the Psi paths have been narrowed down, back to the core of what that ability is about.

The way in which characters purchase Psi abilities has completely changed; no longer do characters have to purchase individual 'levels' within a psychic path. Instead, each path has become a psychic skill, with a number of effects described for it. In fact, skills are graduated into Latent, Operant, and Prime categories, and some even feature the potential for Zodiac level training. Each of these graduations opens up specific abilities to the psychic when he obtains the necessary level of skill.

A latent level effect is one that is always operating and usually provides a small goal bonus to a particular skill. For example, psychics with latent level abilities in Omen gain a goal bonus when gambling to represent their intuitive insight. A latent psychic with Bedlam gains a bonus when fighting unarmed as a natural extension of their talent.

Operant levels are the bread and butter of psi abilities, while prime abilities are much rarer and more powerful again. Zodiac abilities are limited to those few psychics who have trained to use a focus ring aboard a starship, and as such are very rare. They are presented here more out of a measure of completeness than any indication that player characters should strive to obtain them.

The Urge pool represents the dark side of the psyche and should be familiar to those with experience of previous editions of the game, though this now utilizes the 'attribute pool' mechanic.