The World of Psionics
- 1 A Guide To Using And Understanding Psionic Power
A Guide To Using And Understanding Psionic Power
Part One: The Basics
With the exception of mages, no other power type in the world of Alternate DBZ has the same boundless potential than Psionics offers. While each of the four power types have their advantages and disadvantages, none match the thrill and complexity of a Psion, even at lower, undeveloped levels. While this power type is not recommended for a new player or a player that is unfamiliar with the rules (I, like just about anyone else in the room, will recommend a human Ki wielder for a new player) it offers an engaging challenge for a player ready to step beyond the solid simplicity of Ki and Physical fighters. That being said, if you are ready to take the plunge this guide will help you down the first few steps of your path, offering advice and guidance from a player experienced with this power type.
The Nature of a Psion
Psionic power is readily associated with two things; brainpower and willpower. While the former is more of a misconception (an idiot can be a powerful, effective Psion while a genius could make a poor one) the latter is very accurate in describing both the source and the nature of Psionics.
A Psion has an evolved brain, wherein a lobe that is typically inactive in most sentient races becomes active in one of two ways. The first and most common way is for the person to simply have been born a Psion as a product of evolution. A person born a Psion typically has a definite understanding of all of his or her abilities, and is proficient with the very basics of Psionic expression (telepathy, combat-level telekinesis, etc, but more on that later). The second way for a person to become a Psion is for the lobe to be activated by external stimulus or surgery. This typically isnâ€™t as safe, and someone who gains the use of Psionic power through this method will usually require mentorship of some sort to become effective with their powers.
While Psions can do a few minor things that other power-types cannot outside of battle, the focus of this guide will be to acquaint the reader with the role of a Psion during a power-level caliber confrontation, so the aforementioned abilities will be discussed only briefly later on.
When it comes time to fight, there are two immediate impressions a Ki wielder may get of a basic Psion; slow and weak. Psions are not fast, and their basic attack is not as powerful as a Ki wielderâ€™s, but with timing and patience the advantages of a Psion will soon begin to stand out. Before we get too in-depth, letâ€™s take a moment to review the mechanics of a basic Psionâ€™s abilities.
A Psionâ€™s Natural Abilities
The Psionic Sphere of Influence
The Sphere of Influence, hereafter referred to as the SOI, is the Psionâ€™s domain. It extends from every part of the Psion for two feet, so the term â€œsphereâ€ is used loosely. Within the SOI, a Psion has an intensely intimate knowledge of his surroundings, and anything that enters it as well. This actually has implications relevant to combat; inside of his or her SOI a Psion is able to sense movement at up to 200% of his or her PL. Even outside of it a Psion can sense beyond his PL; up to 150%.
When a Psion uses an ability, it typically must begin somewhere within the SOI. This has advantages and disadvantages as well. While a Psion has the ability to generate an event from any part of his or her body, an opponent can make trouble for the Psion if he is actually within the sphere. Any manner of Psionic expression that occurs within the SOI is still directly connected to the Psion, meaning that if an opponent is cunning enough and strong enough, the event can be overpowered and the Psion will be put at a disadvantage. Summarily, a Psion should use caution when fighting an opponent close enough to willingly enter the SOI.
As a final note, the SOI is considered as much of a part of the Psion as his or her skin and bone, and does not require any special preparation to use. The aforementioned qualities are always active, or, in room terms, â€œpassive abilities.â€
The Slot System
Psions have a large array of natural abilities to call upon during a combative situation, but none of those abilities are worth anything to a Psion without his slots. Now we will discuss the â€œslot system.â€
Unlike mages, who receive a single action per post (i.e., casting a spell) or Ki fighters, who have a limited percentage of their power-level with which to act during a post, Psions have the ability to perform multiple, completely separate actions in a single post. Without any kind of upgrade, a Psion is given three â€œslots.â€ Each slot represents the potential to do something, and a like action (so long as it is not a technique) can be repeated as many times as a Psion has slots to accommodate. Excluding techniques, there are five things that a Psion can do with his or her slots, and each will be discussed as it applies to the topic at hand.
Defense Mechanics; Active and Passive Defenses
The first and most important thing to bear in mind when playing a Psion combatively is that defense is imperative. Psions are dissimilar to Ki fighters and Physical fighters in that they have no bodily durability. If an attack that deals even a small amount of damage is allowed to deal direct damage to the body of the Psion, he or she is instantly removed from combat. So how does a Psion protect his or her body?
In two ways. The first way that a Psion can prevent an attack from damaging his or her body is by the use of Active Defense. Active Defense is a room term, and essentially is how a Psion â€œblocks.â€ By using active defense, a Psion can prevent damage by expending stamina. Like all other basic abilities, Active Defense must be generated within the SOI, and can be imagined as a pushing, blocking, hampering force used to intercept an attack.
The biggest advantage of active defense is plain to see; it prevents the user from being damaged. There are a number of disadvantages to keep in mind too, however. The most glaring disadvantage of active defense is that it consumes stamina, stamina that could otherwise be used to attack an opponent. Fighting to a stalemate by consistently defending with Active Defense is entirely possible, and never really gratifying. The second disadvantage is that it is limited by speed. Active defense only manifests at half of the userâ€™s Psionic power-level, meaning that if an attack is moving significantly faster than half of your PL, you wonâ€™t be able to defend against it with this ability. Additionally, a single slotâ€™s worth of usage only provides 20% of the userâ€™s PL in strength to work against the offending presence. At base level a Ki fighter can expend 30% of their energy into an attack, meaning that if your opponent is of a comparable PL, you will likely have to use more than one slot to soak up all of the damage. This leaves fewer slots for other actions, and can force you into a corner if you overuse it. Lastly, Active Defense does not take a specific shape other than a blunt, dome-like expansion. This limits it the simple pushing/resisting force mentioned above. Because of these disadvantages, it is not wise to rely solely on Active Defense, but rather to combine it with the Psionâ€™s other abilities for a balanced effect.
Now letâ€™s take a look at the other defensive option, and how it can be used in conjunction with Active Defense to form a more stable, effective defense. A Psion also has Passive Defense at his disposal. Imagine Passive Defense as being a thin layer of protective energy that coats the entire body of the Psion, sealing it away from any offending energies it encounters. Passive Defense differs drastically with Active Defense in that it can withstand five times as much punishment per slot invested (100% PL) and does not require the use of stamina. Instead, it is drawn from a pool that, for a typical Psion, begins each fight at three times the Psionâ€™s PL, or 300% PL in room terms. Also, Passive Defense is reflexive. One does not need to be able to see or even detect an attack for Passive Defense to circumvent it. Even if a Psion is unconscious, his Passive Defense is available so long as the pool has not been depleted.
The differences between the two kinds of defense are evident, but to think that one kind of defense is â€œbetterâ€ than the other is a misconception. They work best when they are used together to compliment one anotherâ€™s weaknesses. Take the following example in mind.
Jack is a Psion with a PL of 1000, and Jill is a Ki wielder with a PL of 1000. Using a simple, uncharged attack, Jill strikes Jack for 300 PL damage (30% of her PL). Because the attack will be moving at 500 speed (a Ki wielderâ€™s natural speed) Jack will have the option of responding with either of his defenses.
Jack chooses to respond with only his active defense. Because Jackâ€™s maximum output per slot with Active Defense is only 200 (20% PL) he will have to use two slots. A typical exchange in the room may look something like this:
- Jillâ€™s post
- â€œHaha!â€ Jill laughed, â€œEat this blast of Ki in the face!â€
- [Ki blast; 300 damage @ 500 speed]
- Jackâ€™s post
- â€œOh my God no!â€ Jack exclaimed, eyeing the incoming blast of Ki warily. â€œIâ€™d better use my active defense to avoid this attack!â€
- [Slot one; Active Defense (200 damage)][S2; Active Defense (100 damage)][S3; Unused.]
As you can see from the above exchange, Jack now has only one slot left with which to perform an action. This limits him severely. If Jack wanted to attack, he would have to do so without moving, and if he wanted to move he would have to sacrifice a reprisal attack on this post, leaving him open for another attack on the next post with Jillâ€™s advance unchallenged. Consider if the post had gone this way instead;
- Jackâ€™s alternative post
- â€œOh my God no!â€ Jack exclaimed, eyeing the incoming blast of Ki warily. â€œIâ€™d better use my passive defense to avoid this attack!â€
- [S1; Passive Defense (300 damage)][S2; Unused][S3; Unused]
Jack has used his Passive Defense to absorb the attack, which leaves him with two open slots. He now has twice as many options, and can now effectively bring the fight back under control. In relative terms, 300 damage is not too terribly much, and to circumvent it all by expending stamina instead of Passive Defense would be wasteful. However, letâ€™s see how Jack reacts when Jill turns the tables.
- Jillâ€™s next post
- â€œI can see that your passive defenses are quite formidable,â€ Jill bellowed, focusing her Ki energy, â€œBut letâ€™s see how they stand up against this, my ultimate attack. SUPER MARIO KAMEHAMEHARMONICA TIMES TEN!â€
- [Super Mario Kamehameharmonica Times Ten; 600 damage @ 500 speed]
Uh oh! Now Jack has to contend with an attack that is twice as powerful as before. If Jack were to use Active Defense exclusively at this point, it would require all of his slots. For a Psion to use all of his slots is dangerous, and in this case it would be very impractical. The 600 stamina it would cost is sizable; thatâ€™s six hundred stamina he could use for attacks, or any original techniques he may know. However, 600 damage is also enough to take a significant chunk out of the Passive Defense pool. If Jack relies exclusively on his Passive Defense, he will likely be very disappointed to learn that he has none left when he needs it the most. In this instance, Jack would be best off combining his two options into one.
- Jackâ€™s post
- "Mother of God!â€ Jack cried, â€œAn attack that powerful will require the use of both my active and passive defenses!â€
- [S1; Passive Defense; (400 damage)][S2; Active Defense; (200 damage)][S3; Unused]
As you can see, Jack has used both of his defenses to prevent either his stamina or his Passive Defense pool form being taxed too heavily. On top of all of this, he has an available slot should he choose to use it.
While other charactersâ€™ original techniques will make defending your Psion much more difficult when the real deal comes around, these basic principles can help you make heads and tails of the simpler moments in a combative role-play.
Offense Mechanics; Waves and Rushes
Now that weâ€™ve established the basics of how a Psion can defend his or herself from an attack, itâ€™s time to get around to throwing a few back at the opponent. In its most basic form, a Psionic attack is actually telekinetic in nature. Essentially, a basic Psionic attack is a wave of compressed air that is accelerated telekinetically, and will deal a certain amount of damage upon striking its target. An attack may also be continuous, mimicking the effects of a Ki stream attack, but before we get too far ahead letâ€™s look at some basics.
An attack in the form of a wave or a rush (both â€œwaveâ€ and â€œrushâ€ are room terms) must be generated within the SOI. Once inside of the SOI, the attack is accelerated and released. Whether it is a wave or a rush, it travels in a straight line toward the target at half of the Psionâ€™s power-level in speed. Typically it will deal 20% of his PL in damage, but that can be changed as well.
Since a Psion isnâ€™t a physical fighter, it becomes evident that they can play a comfortable ranged game, and usually play it better than Ki and Physical fighters, who do their best work when theyâ€™re up close and personal. However, this isnâ€™t to suggest that a Psion canâ€™t hold his or her own during close-quarters combat as well. For the most part a Psion can function well in either capacity, though it is important to note that keeping away from pointy swords is always a good thing, regardless of your PL type.
That said, letâ€™s first look at a typical situation wherein a Psion might opt to use a telekinetic wave, or TK wave as it would be seen in the room. A single TK wave requires the use of one slot, moves at 50% Psi PL in speed, and deals 20% Psi PL in damage.
- Jackâ€™s post
- â€œAlright Jill, you may have mastered the secret of the Super Mario Kamehameharmonica, but can you face the awesome power of this telekinetic wave?!â€
- [S1; TK Wave (200 damage @ 500 speed)][S2; Unused][S3; Unused]
- Jillâ€™s post
- â€œHuh?!â€ Jill asked incredulously as the rush of energy slammed into her, knocking her back a few feet. â€œâ€¦ Is that all you got?â€
- [Ki durability takes 200 damage]
Yes, from the looks of things Jill wasnâ€™t very impressed by Jackâ€™s attack. Why you may ask? Because a Psionâ€™s natural charge of 20% is considerably weaker than a Ki userâ€™s natural charge. In the big scheme of things, 20% isnâ€™t a lot of damage when two power-wielders of comparable strength are trading blows. What is poor Jack to do now? Letâ€™s watch and see.
- Jackâ€™s post
- â€œArgh! Uhgn! Such power! Iâ€™ll need to focus my energies and charge my attacks so they pack more of a punch!â€
- [S1; Charge][S2; Unused][S3; Unused]
- Jillâ€™s post
- â€œIt looks like my opponent is charging an attack! Iâ€™ll take a moment to do the same!â€
- [Charge 1]
Typically other player-characters will capitalize on your temporary inactivity when you charge an attack, but there is one key difference here, and it is very important. You will notice that Jack has one of his slots set to charge and the other two unused. Jack still has the ability to perform other actions while charging. Unlike a Ki fighter, who must focus all of his or her attention into a charge and can perform no other action while doing so, a Psion can charge and still act freely. It is also important to note that a Psionic charge adds 20%, not the Ki fighterâ€™s 10%. As a balancer, Psionic charges cap at 40% PL.
Now that Jack has charged an attack, letâ€™s see what happens.
- Jacksâ€™ post
- â€œEat the awesome power of a fully charged TK Wave in the face!â€
- [S1; TK Wave (400 damage @ 500 speed)][S2; TK Wave (200 damage@ 500 speed][S3; Unused]
- Jillâ€™s post
- â€œOh no!â€ Jill exclaimed, releasing her Ki charge into a blast and firing it hastily at the incoming TK Wave. Though the blast of Ki was enough to dispel the charged TK Wave, the weaker wave rushed through unhindered and struck Jill dead-on.
- [Ki blast; 400 damage @ 500 speed)]
- [Ki durability takes 200 damage]
At this point we see where the slot system holds advantages over the other power types. Even with a charge, Jill was only able to deal 40% of her PL in damage in this example. Jack, however, is able to deal 40% of his PL in damage from his charged TK Wave, and an additional 20% to follow up for a total of 60%. If he were so inclined, Jack could have launched a third wave for an additional 20%, bringing his grand damage total up to 80% of his PL; quite impressive for a series of very basic techniques. As has been mentioned before, however, it is very unsafe for a Psion to use all of his or her slots.
It is also important to note that a Psion is not limited to a single charge per post. If Jack had wanted, he could have charged all three slots and released a total of 120% damage, but tactics like this are reckless and incredibly taxing on your characterâ€™s stamina. Be careful.
Moving along, we will now discuss the second type of basic attack available to a Psion; the TK Rush. Rushes and Waves are similar and dissimilar all the same. Whereas a TK Wave could be considered a bullet, a Rush could be imagined as a laser. It takes the form of a stream of Psionic energy and pours outward with the same blunt, pushing force that a TK Wave has. The advantage of an attack like this might be evident, but Iâ€™ll elaborate for you just in case. A TK Rush has the ability to continue striking its target post after post after post. Once it connects, it functions just as a Ki stream would in that it forces the opponent to react in a certain way, limiting their options. There are some serious drawbacks to an attack like this, however, and we will discuss them in detail. Consider the following example.
- Jackâ€™s post
- â€œHa! Now that Iâ€™ve got you on the defensive itâ€™s time to finish you off with a TK Rush!â€
- [S1; TK Rush (200 damage @ 500 speed)][S2; Charge][S3; Unused]
- Jillâ€™s post
- â€œYou think Iâ€™ll go down that easily?!â€ Jill then leapt to the side, narrowly avoiding Jackâ€™s attack.
- [Speed on the dodge is 500]
At this point, most would simply say â€œmy attack missed, no big deal.â€ However, in this particular instance, Jack missing with this kind of attack is a very big deal. You see, a TK Rush, just like a Ki stream, is a continual outpouring of energy. Once it has begun, it canâ€™t simply be shut off again. Stopping a TK Rush requires a second post, a slot, and most importantly, additional stamina. It is also important to note that a TK Rush is so focused that other telekinetic events cannot be generated anywhere near it, or they will fail. This limits the Psionâ€™s ability to react from many angles. Observe;
- Jackâ€™s post
- â€œDarn it!â€ Jack said with dismay, â€œMy TK Rush missed! Now Iâ€™ll have to expend extra energy and time to get it back under control!â€
- [S1; TK Rush (reduced from 200 to 0, ends this round)][S2; Charge held][S3; Unused]
- Jillâ€™s post
- â€œIt looks like my opponent is vulnerable! Time to move in for the kill!â€
- [Movement; 500 speed]
As you can see from the above example, a TK Rush can easily backfire, and the fact that it takes an entire second post to regain control and still expends stamina a second time if the attack misses can complicate things greatly. Use the TK Rush very carefully.
The Flight of the Psion
Now itâ€™s time to discuss the last combat-related basic ability of the Psion; autokinetic movement. Like other power-wielders, Psions have the ability to move their bodies at very high speeds, though in relative terms they are quite slow. Consider that a Ki wielder has the ability to move at 50% of their PL as a â€œgimmie,â€ and that a Psion only moves at 25% of his or her PL; half of a Ki wielderâ€™s speed at comparable power-levels.
The disadvantages here are immediately evident; a Psion cannot rely on movement at its base level. They are simply too slow.
Mechanically, a Psion is allowed to move either a part of his or her body or the entire body at 25% PL in speed with the use of one slot. Seeing as that slots cannot be combined for faster movement, it is usually wisest to use one slot to move the Psionâ€™s entire body, though if one were so inclined he could use two slots to manipulate both legs and run at powered speeds.
So what advantages do Psions have when it comes to movement? Only one; they can move at their set speed as many different times as they have slots to accommodate. Essentially, a Psion with a power-level of 1000 and three slots could move at 250 speed three times, whereas a Ki wielder of the same PL could only move at 500 speed one time. At great distances, a Psion is more mobile by far, but without the same speed that other power-wielders possess, evading attacks becomes difficult without investing in original techniques.
- Editorâ€™s Note: The mechanics of movement capacity in a post is still theoretical; it has not been properly documented into the rules yet. So, currently, other players may disregard restrictions that the author has explained, here.
It is easy to see that Psions possess great potential to do great things, even with their most basic abilities. While initially unable to move at the same blistering speeds as other power-types, this disadvantage can easily be countered by investing into original techniques that focus on enhancing the userâ€™s speed or reducing the targetâ€™s. Combine that with the freedom offered by the slot system, a charge rate that is twice that of a typical Ki fighterâ€™s, and some of the most solid defense offered by this rules revision, and itâ€™s easy to see why Psions are both effective fighters and fun to play.