Friday, June 19, 2009

Fading Suns and d6 Metaphysics Pt.3

Every human being, be he psychically-gifted or not, has a dark side buried somewhere deep inside his subconscious. For most people, this darkness inside us is kept under control. We rarely even recognize its presence. For the psychic, however, this alter-ego can feed on every evil deed and traumatic experience, growing more powerful and more dominant. In the most extreme cases, it can even create a doppelganger, a dark twin with physical form. This omnipresent corruption which the psychic must guard against constantly is called Urge.

Urge can be gained or lost by a variety of means, either through actions performed by the psychic, by exposure to certain technologies or by traumatic events. In each case, the psychic must make a willpower roll. Success means either the psychic has resisted his dark twin in its effort to gain strength or he has succeeded in wresting some strength away from his dark twin. Below are listed the various means of gaining or losing Urge and the willpower roll difficulties for each.

Gaining Urge:
committing theft - E
missing confessional - E
refusing sacrament - M
declaring a vendetta - M
rebelling against your liege or the Church - M
committing assault - D
suffering torture - D
exposure to an evil creature or artifact - D
committing murder (justifiable) - D
being excommunicated - VD
exposure to another psychic's awakened Urge - VD
exposure to a demonic presence - VD
committing rape - H
committing murder (cold-blooded) - H

Losing Urge:
performing a pilgrimage - VD
performing a Church mission - VD
performing dangerous mission for others - D
selfless sacrifice - D
becoming penitent - M
exposure to a Second Republic psi clinic - M
exposure to a soul shard - M
exposure to a philosopher's stone - E
exposure to a celestial presence - E

There are nine levels of Urge. Every time a psychic fails a willpower roll to resist gaining Urge, he gets an additional level. Most of the time, having one or more levels of Urge does not interfere with the routine activities of a psychic. However, anytime a psychic rolls a 1 on his wild die while performing a psychic manifestation, his dark twin awakens and remains so for 10 minutes per level of Urge.

In the first three levels of Urge, the dark twin has limited power and can only attempt to trick the psychic. In each case, the psychic can make an Easy perception check to notice the deception and avoid the pitfall. The actions the dark twin may trick the psychic into taking grow more dangerous with each level and, of course, a dark twin has access to all actions of lower levels.

Level 1: Speaking in Tongues - The dark twin can trick the psychic into saying a wrong word or two at an inopportune time, such as when addressing a superior or while engaged in delicate negotiations.

Level 2: Misdirection - The dark twin can trick the psychic into directing a manifestation at a target other than the one intended. Difficulty modifiers still apply, so if changing the target increases the difficulty and the psychic fails his roll against the higher difficulty, the manifestation still fails.

Level 3: Voices - The dark twin can create voices in the psychic's mind or change what the psychic hears when others speak. A successful perception check informs the psychic that what he heard was wrong, but does not tell him what was actually said, unless the result was 10 or more higher than the difficulty.

The next three levels of Urge can result in direct harm to the psychic, although the harm is unlikely to be lethal. At these levels, the dark twin begins preparations for what it sees as an inevitable and terminal conflict with the psychic.

Level 4: Wyrd Drain - The dark twin will make one attempt during its awake period to drain a Wyrd point from the psychic. If the psychic fails a Moderate willpower check, the dark twin gets 1 Wyrd point to add to its Wyrd pool. The maximum Wyrd pool of the psychic is reduced by one. If the psychic fails critically, the dark twin drains 2 Wyrd points. This drain is permanent, unless the psychic can lose Urge such that his Urge level drops below 4.

Level 5: Visions - The dark twin causes the psychic to suffer hallucinations unless a successful Moderate willpower check is made. If the willpower check is failed, the dark twin can then cause the psychic to suffer a -5 penalty to any one skill or attribute check (except a willpower check) of its choosing during its awakened period as the psychic is distracted by the hallucinations. If the willpower check was a critical failure, the dark twin can create a hallucination so realistic, it will cause the psychic to take one action which is potentially destructive to himself or others.

Level 6: Urges - The dark twin gains the ability to manipulate the emotions of the psychic if a moderate willpower save is failed. Like the hallucinations of level 5, this causes a -5 penalty to skill and attribute checks, but lasts throughout the entire awakened period and does effect willpower checks as well. The dark twin will often use this opportunity to attempt a Wyrd Drain. The added effect of a critical failure on the initial willpower check is the same as for level 5.

At the highest levels of Urge, the dark twin can cause permanent effects in the mind of the psychic and eventually create an evil and material duplicate of the psychic with murderous intent. The psychic is truly in trouble at this point.

Level 7: Dementia - The psychic develops a permanent mental disorder (the nature to be decided by the GM) which the dark twin can employ during its awakened periods to cause mischief. The psychic must make a Difficult willpower check to control his pathology or suffer a debilitating psychotic break during the awakened period. A normal failure means the psychic is disruptive and uncooperative, while a critical failure makes him violent and possibly self-destructive. The mental disorder can only be cured be reducing the level of Urge below 7.

Level 8: Outer Child - The dark twin can project a psychic image of itself which requires a Difficult search check to distinguish from the psychic (unless physically interacted with). The image has both visual and auditory components. The dark twin will use this psychic projection to cause as much trouble as it can for the psychic. A successful Difficult willpower check will prevent the projection from manifesting.

Level 9: Doppelganger - The dark twin breaks free at least, creating a permanent, material duplicate of the psychic. Only a Heroic willpower check can prevent this. The doppelganger has all the same attribute and skill dice as the psychic, although its Wyrd pool is limited to whatever it successfully drained in the past. The psychic loses all of his Urge, but can only retrieve his drained Wyrd pool upon the destruction of the doppelganger. The doppelganger will attempt to destroy and replace the psychic, but it will wait for the best opportunity for success. It will often engage in criminal and depraved acts before this final confrontation, which may cause long-term problems for the psychic even if he prevails.


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