Saturday, March 16, 2013

Focus on Talents: Mysticism

While many of the Talents have easily slotted themselves in mechanically (Aim, Technology, Medic, Munitions, Aeronautics... these and about 2 dozen more all have a natural mechanical fit with the rules), others have been somewhat defiant. For today, let's focus on Mysticism.

Mysticism should be a flexible, Force-like trait... maybe think of it as 'the Force lite'. It's a great complement to your character, but should not dominate your abilities. Let's design from there... one way to view the Force is that you purchase the various sub-skills layered into the force (improved reflexes, telekinesis, jump, mind control, etc.) as independent abilities. Not a big fan of this one.

The other option is a hybrid of how I've used magic in Mythweaver, although streamlined even further due to the limited points available in character building. In fact, this becomes a hybrid of magic and resolve from Mythweaver, giving you a flexible trait that has some cool bells and whistles, and which becomes more powerful and flexible as you increase your investment.

So (spit-balling here) let's say that you get one 'built in' bonus with Mysticism, but you also unlock various options at the next rating tiers, as follows:

- Mysticism grants you the option to roll your Spirit alongside another attribute roll (even another Spirit roll), taking the better of the two results. You may do this a number of times per scene equal to your Mysticism rating. Let's say your soldier has: Body D6; Mind D6; Prowess D8; Spirit D10; Mysticism +3. Three times per scene, you may roll a D10 at the same time as any Body, Mind, Prowess or Spirit roll, taking the better of the two results. You can decide this at any time, even after you've already rolled the other die. For instance, you are attempting to leap across a chasm, and you roll a Prowess Feat, getting a natural 1 on the die. You can elect to use 1 of your 3 Mysticism points to roll a D10, taking this result in place of the 1 you just rolled. Your Mysticism rating remains +3 (this doesn't change your actual rating), but you now have 2 more opportunities this scene to replace a roll with Spirit. Later in the same scene, you fail a Spirit Feat to see if an enemy sneaks up on you. You elect to use another Mysticism point, rolling a second D10 to see if you can get a better result. You now have 1 point remaining in your pool for the rest of this scene, even though your Mysticism remains +3.

In addition, Mysticism grants you access to a number of other supernatural abilities. You may access any of the abilities you have unlocked at will, but you may only access a total number of these special abilities equal to your Mysticism rating each mission.  As a for instance...

At +1, you have access to the ability outlined above.
At +2, you have the ability to lay on hands, using 1 turn to restore Spirit + Mysticism hits to one living creature you touch.
At +3, you have the ability to stun a foe, rolling Spirit + Mysticism vs. the target's Body Feat resist. You stun the target for D4 rounds.
At +4, you have the ability to feign death, rolling Spirit + Mysticism vs. any other creature's Spirit Feat resist to realize that you are not truly dead. You can re-animate at will, acting on your next turn normally.
At +5, you have the ability to enter a state of astral projection, sending your spirit out for one scene.

I don't necessarily love all of these, or the way that they are organized... maybe I could break it up into two fundamental levels - a handful of sub-abilities that unlock at +3, and another handful that unlock at +5... or something like that. I'm using the +3 and +5 thresholds as benchmarks for other things (for example, you can receive decorations for exceptional achievement at +3 and +5 thresholds), so it feels consistent to use that here.

I could still go all first edition D+D monk here and pull out the quivering palm, breakfall, and unarmed combat bonuses. This isn't a bad idea... I just have to find my Best of Dragon Volume 3 (with the improved Monk class that I really liked) and go from there...