Monday, May 18, 2015

Coalition Psychics

The Coalition States of Rifts Earth has in place a program by which they register and monitor psychics within their territory. While the CS is a Nazi-themed, human supremacist nation with ambitions towards genocide, this fairly reasonable step hasn't been explicitly taken by other nations. But something occurred to me in considering this... while it will let the CS adequately track "mutants" who have psychic powers, it can also serve as a registry of those who may give useful psychic information... be it those who can be conscripted for specific tasks, or hints of what is to come.

By the rules, about 25% of the human race in Rifts is some sort of psychic; this may be for PCs only, but it's never called out as such. Now, some psychics are incredibly powerful; mind melters, bursters, and the like. However, those 1 in 4 psychics still have something to offer. Assuming a relatively equal distribution of psychic powers among the three categories (Healing, Physical, and Sensitive), about 1 in 12 people will have some sort of psychic sensitive power. Breakdowns of specific powers are a bit more difficult to guess at, but one of the more useful powers, from the Coalition's point of view, is Clairvoyance, a minor sensitive power.

Why Clairvoyance? The gamer's darling power is Sixth Sense, which warns of impending danger, but it also warns of it immediately... you have under two minutes to act on a Sixth Sense warning, and it only concerns your immediate area. Incredibly useful, but not something that can be used for force direction. Clairvoyance, however, can happen days in advance, and can trigger without warning.

This becomes a useful power to the Coalition States because, with their population, even if only 1 in 20 psychic sensitives have Clairvoyance (and thus about 1 in 240 people), then a huge number of people can provide psychic warnings with enough time for the Coalition to respond to them. Some of these individuals will be employed directly by the military.. my numbers put 60-80% of the Coalition population as having at least some military experience. But not all will be military, and even those with experience may have left the service. But they're still registered psychics.

Why am I talking about population density? Because Clairvoyant visions are most likely to occur about people close to you. You're more likely to have a clairvoyant vision about your lover than you are Fred from accounting... but Fred's husband, another Clairvoyant, is likely going to have a vision about anything that threatens Fred. This web of people, all of whom may be able to accurately predict catastrophic events, can serve as valuable informants. A resource the CS is not going to pass up.

The Coalition provides bounties for information, no matter the source. However, registered psychics can receive daily bounties for useful tips; 25 credits for each accurate prediction, whether it allowed the Coalition to act or not, and 100 credits (or more) for crucial information that allows a dangerous event to be prevented. Registered psychics can place a call to a tip line, give their psychic registration number, and leave a message detailing their vision. If CS intelligence determines that it's important enough, an Intelligence service psychic (frequently a Technical Officer who has specialized in their psychic powers) can come by and telepathically review the vision, then share it with other Intelligence operatives.

This organization is crucial to the Coalition's success; it provides a massive amount of useful data, and many terrorist attacks are stopped, not because of the actions of a single psychic, but because any large-scale event will resonate to many psychics. One psychic calling in to report a bombing in the Zocolo may be a crackpot, or having an individualized vision that they don't completely understand... when 30 psychics do that? When 300? While other nations take similar measures and use similar tips, the Coalition's registration system means that they know who is a crackpot, and who is an actual psychic talent.

New Skill: Psychic Specialization
Psychic Specialization is a special skill, only available to those with psychic powers that improve somewhat like skills; examples include Object Read and Clairvoyance. Telemechanics, which has a flat percentage chance, does not qualify. While many powers improve with experience, these specific skills gain benefits from a psychic actively working to understand the visions they receive, and learning to interpret them more fully.
When a character spends a skill on Psychic Specialization, they must choose a percentage within a power to specialize in. Each percentage may only be specialized in once, but a psychic who wishes to specialize in all the percentages associated with a given power may do so by spending the requisite number of skills. If a secondary skill is spent, the percentage chose gains 5%, and an additional +1% per level thereafter. If an OCC related skill, or an OCC Discretionary skill (such as the CS Technical Officer's MOS skills) is spent, then the bonus is 15%, and 2% more per level.