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Message no. 1
From: Doctor Doom <JCH8169@***.TAMU.EDU>
Subject: PSI: Doom Proffers Psionic Proposal for Popular Pontification
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 1994 18:32:47 -0500
Von Herrn Hayden:

>I've deleted much of Doom's ramblings since they are so long (not that I
>don't ramble a lot too).

That is an estimation -- both, actually -- with which I would agree.


I. Munchkinism & Psionicist-Magicians ==================================

>> What of what of
>> Rigger/Decker/Mages?

>What of them? It's a Role-Playing game. People shoudl be able to run
>with a viable concept.

You are correct, of course; although, 'tis due to own poor selection of an
example. A more suitable referent would have been Shamanic/Physical Adepts.
Or the proposed Wicca system which would permit both Elementals and Spirits
to one magical individual.

That IS annoying, unprecedented, and revolting.

>Munchkinism will exist whether we allow it to or not. The trick is to
>give the munchkins somethign so they are happy and not want more.

>"If you don't build it, they'll abuse it even more."

Ah, but if one forges the rules eruditely, then there shall be a far more
apparent gulf which marks the demarcation between "inside" and
the rules.

I grant you that is is unreasonable to expect that in the act of scripting
role-playing conventions that one may prevent individuals from wholesale
ignoring of them, that is the Game Master's purview. It is his responsibility
to hold the player's feet to the fire as to acceptable Player Character

However, one may craft the regulations in such a fashion as to provide to Game
Masters suitable precedents by which they may PREVENT such combinations,
should they so desire, and there's the rub: Tho' individuals pervert, ignore,
and twist the rules, if the original regulations are emphatic, they shall
always be rules violations, and hence easily recognized when encountered.

Should we adopt a path by which the distinction is vague, therein lies the most
potentially fruitful avenue of Munchkining, as there is little save simple Game
Master arbitrariness or the capricious invocation of House Rules which may avert

However, give them the inch, they shall insist the mile.

I maintain that my system -- should the denizens of the list truly wish to
proceed with their designs on Psionicists -- is the most acceptable procedure.
It integrates perfectly, it requires no new priorities.

II. Darth Vader =========================================================

>"The circle is now complete. When I left you I was but a learner. Now
>_I_ _am_ the master."

Dankeshoen! I found myself unable to call to mind the /exact/ quotation.

Still, my favorite quotation by the Dark Lord of the Sith remains:

"I find your lack of faith ... disturbing."

III. Psionicists and the Matrix ==========================================

>well . . . I still like the role-playing potential.

Role-Playing potential at the high price of the terrifying possibility of such
rampant Munchkinism as well as peace of mind is altogether exorbitant, in my

>A THWAP, magic and tech cannot mix. PSI is not magic. PSI is the mind.

Really? Then why do you suggest that they are a different class of mage?

>Because, by nature, PSI is not precluded from melding with synthetics.

By nature? Hayden, you have just finished an argument attempting to give
credence to the perception of similarity Psionics and Magic by enumerating on
the parallels and similarities, and yet you desire me to accept these
Mages-By-Another-Name in the Matrix?

The only reason that Psionics are not precluded from Matrix-interaction on a
preternatural level is as they do not, as of yet, exist in the rules. This
extra-regulatory status is the only reason for any veracity to be assigned to
such claims.

These arguments of "remote mind-screwing", or even Psionicists running naked
in the Matrix would have been already VIOLENTLY dispatched were we speaking of

Another wrinkle, if I may: Should a Psionicist's aura be granted leave to
"run the 'Net" without need of a cyberdeck, i.e. "naked" what form of
could stay their hand? IC constructs cannot affect something etherial, the
very definition of Aura. The author of this statement suggested that perhaps
they, too, could manipulate Matrix constructs.

This manner of thought fills me with revulsion, meine Kameraden.

Even if the information could not be copied, all the world's datanets
would be lain bare to the powers of the Psionicist Technomancer! True
'netrunners would be relegated to the more mundane tasks of computer
management while these Psionicists "take over the sandbox" of electronic

>I put forth the possibility that strange things are afoot at the Circle
>K. Weird things are always possible. 'It's a cinematic game'. There is
>fictional precedent. You can ignore it if you don't want it. A munchkin
>will do worse if we don't define the terms. It's kool. It's only a game.

If we define the terms CLEARLY, forbidding this interaction, as FASA has with
Magicians, then all players who forsake this admonition and dare stray without
the accepted conventions shall be decried as the Munchkins they are!

Furthermore, merely by merit of ShadowRun's cinematic attributes it is not
necessitated that we open the floodgates of possibility, and hence give rise
to all manner of Munchkinous notions!

>> And previous to anyone inquiring, "Well, what of technomancing?" The
>> fiber-optic cable brings the Matrix to YOU, not vice versa. The sensation

>And if PSI powers can be injected into the matrix, those effect can come
>to you too.

Systems which possess the capacity to affect elements in the Matrix, that
which may acceptably utilize the Matrix as a medium of transmittence, are
/exclusively/ technologically-based.

Psionic manipulations -- be it magic by another name, or something entirely
unique -- still issue form an organically-based system, i.e. Homo sapiens.
And one is not even afforded the opportunity of a long-distance mental
alteration (Talk about "Reaching out and touching someone!") as the
foundations of the ASIST Virtual Construct do not serve as appropriate
transference milieu, as they are not technologically based.

IV. Conclusion & Proposals ==============================================

It is my perception that this argument has strayed considerably from the
original proposal. When this discussion was breached on the list, I considered
that individuals were seeking to create something truly unique, a legitimately
different "class" (for want of a better term) of player.

And yet there are those who seek to provide them with Astral admittance.

And yet some propose control of Nature Spirits and Elementals.

If one wants Spirit/Elemental Control, or if one desires access to Astral Space,
one is only manufacturing Mages by another handle. In the case of the latter
issue, I have already proposed an alternative which does not meld the Psionic
and Metaphysical realms.

However -- If one wishes to proceed along this argument, I see two options:

1. Make them wholly UNIQUE.

Given them mental powers, if that's your pleasure! Perhaps even facilitate
execution thereof somewhat. Give them their own version of spiritual
Projection, should that strike your fancy! But confuse it not with Astral

Much of Bryan Prices' lengthy discussion on the mechanics of Psionics I applaud;
HOWE'ER, it is my opinion that the "World Consciousness" should remain wholly
divided from the Astral Plane. I would iterate my opposition to this
projection into the Matrix had I not covered that sufficiently earlier.

However, in saying that, do not violate the conventions of ShadowRun by
bestowing upon them this bizarre ability to turn the Matrix into their
playground. That is the realm of the technomancer. Meddle not with it.

2. The Magician Path. (with some input by Jeff Freeman)

Suppose that rather than continue to challenge the notion of Psionicists as
Magicians, as Herr Hayden has asserted quite often, I embrace it?

E'en simpler than my aforementioned suggestion of the Character Generation
Chart, and follows the present sentiment of explaining them as yet another
expression of Magic: Fabricate them as though they were Magical Adepts, but a
new class of adept, a Mentalist or Psionic Adept.

In exchange for Priority B (C for Metahumans) on the Magic scale, they are
granted the ability to Astrally Project and Perceive, forbidden conjuration,
and are allotted a class of spells which emphasize mental manipulations.

I would recommend the following:

Combat Spells Health Spells
============= =============
None None

Detection Spells Manipulation Spells
================ ===================
Analyze Truth Animate
Clairaudience Animal Control
Clairvoyance Astral Static
Combat Sense Clout
Detect Enemies Control Actions
Detect (Individual) Control Animal
Detect Life Control Emotion
Detect (Life Form) Control Thoughts
Detect Object Hibernate
Mindlink Ignite
Mind Probe Influence
Levitate Item
Illusion Spells Levitate Person
=============== Magic Fingers
Confusion Mana Barrier
Entertainment Mob Mind
Invisibility (Mana) Mob Mood
Mask (Mana) Poltergeist
Overstimulation Use (Skill)

The convention I adopted for the purposes of selection were spells which
concerned themselves with direct mental influences or "classical" psionic
abilities. Physical illusions, that is, ones capable of affecting
technological systems, were eliminated.

Were it not for the possibly dicey issue of spell differentiation, this would
be -- by far -- the simplest solution, and thus successfully endures
the test of Ockham's Razor.

A few other thoughts; as Magicians . . .

1. Appropriates the already functional system of Magic Pool, spells, and
Drain, thus averting the need for the fabrication of a wholly different
or parallel system. Most notably, it deflects the difficulty of the
Psionic Pool, and upon what it shall be founded.

2. The impact of the loss of Essence owing to damage and physical augmentation
via Bioware and Cyberware as well as remains unaltered.

3. This possibility would have the happy result of effectively circumventing
the issue of Psionicist-Magicians. Hence, one would not have to be
concerned of where lies the demarcation between Psionics and Metaphysics,
as one is a sub-set of the other.

4. As the only magical remote operations that may be executed are by Ritual
Magic, they shall not be able to "target" other technomancers for mental
manipulation. Nor shall they be able to "read the Aura" of another 'Net
runner, as Magicians may not do this.

5. Shall not be permitted to Project into the Matrix, naked or otherwise.
Although they may "jack-in" as any other technomancer would, should they
possess a datajack.

6. Shall bear out the perception of Psionicists as a "school" of Magic, and
would consequently meld well with the proposed history.

7. Retains slightly better than a snowflake's chance in the pit of Acheron of
being entertained by the Dark Lord and his dark minions, which is more than
may be said of strict Psionicists as a class apart from Magicians.

8. Shall afford the "fresh" character type (Hayden's words, not my own),
sought after, replete with innovative role-playing opportunities.

* Doom slumps down, panting heavily . . . *

It is my design to go slumber -- at least recline -- for a certain duration.
I have not participated in discussion on this level in some time . . . I am

But, by the Heavens, I feel alive!

Colonel Count von Hohenzollern und von Doom, DMSc, DSc, PhD.

Doom Technologies & Weapon Systems -- Dark Thought Publications
>>> Working on solutions best left in the dark.
[ Doctor Doom : jch8169@******** ]
"A mind is a terrible thing . . . and must be stopped."

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