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Skrell Psionics

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In this thread I'm going to suggest changes to Skrell psionics. I'm going to use the terms "utility spells" and "offensive spells" alongside "abilities". I know there's a harsh codemnation of fantasy elements; I want to still call things what they are. And I imagine we all understand what "utility spell" means if we are a D&D or TTRPG player. I'm going to go over the basic overview of how psionics are currently and then suggest some changes to what abilities are available to Skrell and what makes these changes beneficial to the species and wider playerbase. Then I'll suggest a reevaluation of why and how psionics are present onstatation, including talking about what I've noticed over eight years of Aurora's life that impact the implementation of psionics.

With that said, we have twelve utility spells and eight offensive spells. I define "offensive" as anything directly causing harm. Utility is something that isn't immediately harmful. My overview is below.


Most of the abilities are locked behind power levels, of which the majority of these are not available during standard play. Because the spells revolve around zapping people with electricity, we don't see them used during standard play. I am using standard play to mean "extended" -- or just encounters with people that aren't combat-oriented.

The utility spells that do have potential use on standard play are not generally accessible. It's easy to forget, at least for me, that Skrell are the species who's main racial feature is their psionic ability. The wiki itself describes the higher level spells as rare, or even near impossible, to see during a round. In Psychokinesis, the spell "Psiblade" which summons a sword in your hand is accessible before "Tinker" which summons engineering tools into your hand. My suggestion is to make "Tinker" available to skrell from the get-go.

This would mean that whenever you look at Skrell engineers, if they're doing something they have psionic tools in their hand. This creates utility for the spell. The ability it provides Skrell are tools already present during standard play. Redaction spells should be available from the get-go. Its abilities are aimed towards healing damage. The only exception is the "revive" spell -- that one should stay locked behind some red tape, lol. Unless....

Every crew member eventually gets hurt and has to go to medbay. Having these abilities from the get-go means that every crewmember has a big chance of running into a Skrell doctor that, upon touching them, heals some of their ailments. This would again reinforce the Skrell's alien nature and put their abilities at the front-and-center. I have personally seen the interactions that this dynamic can provide.

As a unathi vampire, I can often lure other Unathi into isolated rooms and use the spell that vampires have that heals damage -- blatantly telling them about the spell can have them become even more eager to interact with me. This "traditional unathi medicine" also freaks some other unathi out, and others can be hesitant but swayed into experiencing it, etc. It's a great way to lean into that species' (non-mechanical) focus on magic.

To summarize, Redaction spells will be accessible from the get-go for spawned skrell for medical jobs.

The Tinker spell will be accessible from the get-go for spawned skrell for engineering jobs.

The Focus spell should be available from the get-go for medical jobs.

For eight years the refrain used against accesible species' abilities or magic systems has been "it's powergaming", and that it dilutes the unique-ness of whatever the mechanic is. In the replies to this thread we will see arguments that if Skrell can use these spells more typically, that it will unbalance the game. These powers exist to let Skrell do things everyone else an do, but through special mechanics.

In D&D terms, both methods are "using resources" for an encounter. A person with bad burn damage uses resources from a human player through medkits. A skrell player would be using up their psionic potential -- you can only cast so much before your brain metaphorically explodes. These spells are also not offensive based. We will see psionics used for utility. The consequences of their powers should just be leaned in on.

Aurora has historically shied away from some features, and they suffer under hostile design. This can be seen with Aut'akh -- who's implants can snap your pelvis and otherwise have horrible drawbacks for tenious benefits -- as well as AI, which is not so easy to gain as a whitelist and it's involvement is very throttled, and here with skrell Psionics. These features are "in the game" but they're locked away or implicitly discouraged.

In summary, I've gone over reasons and observations for why we should make the utility abilities accessible to more people. I've touched on what makes these kinds of features downplayed on-station. 

Edited by Marlon P.
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Changes to psionic availability for the two spells can be implemented immediately. Your response is familiar to me -- i always say don't let perfect be the enemy of progress!  It was already added like you said -- inherited as imperfect

Edited by Marlon P.
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