One thing that 5150: New Beginnings doesn’t have rules for is psionics. Coriander being psionic is an important part of her character concept, so she went through three stages of conversion.
Stage 1: Sacked!
The idea here was: I can’t convert her because there are no rules for psionics. So she’ll have to go home.
That stage lasted less than five minutes, and led into stage 2…
Stage 2: You Can Do Anything With Challenges…
Of course, I thought, I can always create a new career and some appropriate challenges. I started doodling and came up with these guidelines, presented here to stimulate discussion and in case anyone wants to use them.
En – Psion. Uses LWC reaction tables. Primary skill: Savvy. Each psion may select three powers, whose use is usually resolved in play by Savvy challenges. Powers are treated as Fields of Expertise.
Coriander’s powers in this stage were based on those she had in Savage Worlds, and looked like this; essentially I assumed success is a minor success, a raise is a major success, and a major failure is brainburn.
This allows the psion to increase or decrease a target’s skill dice. The target and the skill must be specified before any dice are rolled. The challenge difficulty is 2 if trying to boost a skill, or the target’s Rep if trying to lower it.
- Major Success: Adjust target’s skill in psion’s favour by 2d6.
- Minor Success: Adjust target’s skill in psion’s favour by 1d6.
- Minor Failure: No effect.
- Major Failure: Psion is Stunned.
A psion with this power counts as medically trained and equipped with a First Aid kit (whether he actually has one or not) for purposes of applying First Aid. When rolling Recovery Tests after the battle, a wounded character attended by a psionic healer rolls one additional die – this works the same way as a Leader Die on reaction tests.
This allows the psion to extract information from NPCs. The main advantage this has over normal Pep challenges to gather information is that the target may not realise he has been interrogated. The question must be stated before any dice are rolled. The challenge difficulty is the target’s Rep.
- Major Success: Psion gains answer to one question, target is unaware that he has been probed.
- Minor Success: Psion gains answer to one question, target is aware that he has been probed.
- Minor Failure: No effect.
- Major Failure: Psion is Stunned, target is aware that he has been probed.
So, Coriander looked like this: Rep 4 Psion (LWC), Fit 3 Pep 3 Sav 4 Sci 0. Charismatic. Powers: Boost/Lower Trait, Healing, Mind Reading.
That took a couple of hours’ thought, and led to stage 3…
Stage 3: Just Play The Game!
The key with any game conversion is to convert the outcomes, not the mechanics. I asked myself: What are the in-game consequences of Coriander’s powers? Well, she heals people, gets information from NPCs (usually by reading their minds) and boosts traits (usually her own Persuasion or one of Arion’s traits).
I then asked myself: What is the simplest way to get those outcomes in 5150 using the existing rules? Answer, give her medical training and let her count as always having a First Aid kit (to represent the laying on of hands for healing); give her a reasonable Pep score and the Charismatic attribute for persuading people (mind reading); and say that Arion’s bonus dice are actually the result of her boosting his traits (boost/lower trait).
And that’s why Cori is a Doctor in 5150 NB. Sometimes I have to go through this kind of process to get back to an end position I feel comfortable with.