Josh Peters
▶ Stars Without Number

Ok, some more impressions on SWNRe, after a one off last night.

Three players, two using their 7th level characters (warrior and psychic) one new character, a third level expert.

Generally, the Know skill works, though breaking it up into Know (History) and Know(Science) is fine. The characters had plenty of opportunities to Know things about hybrid jungle ecologies and the monsters located therein. Know (History) was less applicable in this instance, and depending on your table, you might want to keep Know as one broad skill. There is little harm in it.

Connect + Connected focus + Attribute modifier = The Arms Dealer and general planetary transport hook up. And it doubles as Talk for the instances where it is used in context makes Connect an amazing social skill for a Face. Wanderer and Connected are great foci for extra synergy.

If The Tactics skill is important to your players, either keep it, and have it count as a combat skill, or use Lead with Wisdom as the modifying attribute.

Heal at level 0 with Lift drugs is amazing.

Warriors are terrifyingly good at level 7: Shoot 2, burst +2, for an attack bonus of 11. Damage with an auto shotgun is scary too: with the gunslinger focus, that's 3d4 + 4 with Shoot 2 and bursting.

Flash bang grenades are easily the banana peel of RPG comedy.

Psychic Powers: this is a big change. Effort seems to work, once the player gets the drift. But it's a shallow learning curve. The PC in question has level 3 telekinesis and level 2 precognition. I'm going into detail here, so buckle up.

It's hard for players to swallow the premise that basic Telekinetic Manipulation doesn't work on living things. And you also can't lob an 800kg rock at an opponent and have it do more than basic telekinetic armoury damage. However, that's ok. The psychic techniques for telekinesis are amazingly broad and add many options that make up for the lack of direct smooshing attacks.

Telekinetic Transversal: characters can now take all sorts of weird cover, attack from strange angles, cross tightropes without worry, and generally get up to all sorts of nonsense. Amazing if only for the comedy and Matrix-style moves the psychic can now perform, if nothing else. Also, zero g maneuvers on space ship hulls....

Thermokinesis: this one might need some minor tweaking. I let the player set up burning rings of fire, because OF COURSE they will use it as an area denial power. Since the character can handle up to 800kg of matter, I allowed it. Still, might need some tweaking.

Telekinetic Armory: ok, so this power seems pretty limited, but in actuality, it can really model any sort of physical attack, as long as you skin it properly.

Invisible bolts of force: 1d10+2 damage (basic rifle damage)

Pushing someone around: just use the rules on p. 52 for Forcing Enemy Movement. And presto.

Hurling rocks and other projectiles for damage: 1d10+2 damage.

Force Choke: Roll to hit and do 1d10+2 damage.

I've been thinking about these options for a while, and saw some of them used last night. I'm more or less comfortable with them, mainly because they aren't inherently game-breaking, while still giving a telekinetic some real options that aren't just "you are holding a rifle OF THE MIND". And compared to the kind of carnage a warrior at 7th level can cause, 1d10+2 (plus attribute, not skill!) is not brutal.

The only complication arose with the character's telekinetic sling: I ruled that it doesn't do any extra damage, but that it still provides it's to-hit bonus. I'm considering adding the character's skill to the damage bonus as well, since it's a psi tech item designed to work with telekinetics.

Precognition is this character's secondary power. Level 7 Oracle is neat, and so is the fact that Alternate Outcomes can now be applied to allies.

Terminal Reflection: this power is kind of annoying. It's one thing when, in the old rules, the player character mastered this power immediately in order to not have to worry about paying for it up front every time that an ambush was impending. Now, it's Effort for the day, each time it is used, and that can, in some instances, make for a very rapid Effort dump. Are there possible alternatives for Effort expenditure that don't cripple the spidey sense for the day?l

So far, that's it.

Comments, thoughts, critique?

Edit: oh, I almost forgot! The smile on the player's face when he realized he could attack the two guard bots with level 3 telekinetic manipulation... Priceless. They didn't last a round, and no one else in the party needed to act: 3d10 damage to both robots, and he described how the character bounced them off the floor and ceiling, repeatedly. That was worth the price of admission alone.