Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ancient Tech: Psi Sled (Part 2)

This is the final part in a 2-part series on the Psi-Sled

How does it work?

A single pilot controls the psi-sled through brainwaves transmitted through the plasmatic energy field inside the cockpit. The field doesn’t appear to harm the pilot—at first—but can become charged and violent if the vehicle doesn’t seem to “want” her or him to perform a certain maneuver or defensive function.

Amulet of Aminora

The craft can be piloted with ease and without side effects if the pilot is wearing the Amulet of Aminora, a medallion made of the same burnished metal as the Psi-sled. A pilot need only think a command and the vehicle will respond. The amulet is circular with a pair of wings folded down over a turquoise “eye” and is covered with intricate alien glyphs on the back.

The amulet is the key to piloting the psi-sled without harm to the driver and also grants the user all of the following additional abilities and effects while in possession of the amulet.
  • Pilot encounters no mishaps or side effects when commanding craft
  • Pilot enjoys +2 bonus on psyche (or similar) rolls while wearing amulet
  • Pilot wearing amulet while inside craft becomes coated in a thin, slippery coat of metallic residue that superconducts mental commands, coating disappears completely when not occupying craft if wearer desires (see #1 below for properties of this residue when in present)
  • When occupied with pilot wearing amulet, the shifting iridescent colors of the craft’s outer skin coalesces into “tattoos” resembling ancient symbols and glyphs. The colors deepen as if to “solidify” on the skin of the sled and provides +2 protection as armor against all attacks (physical, psionic, etc.); residue becomes silvery if worn outside of craft and wearer retains +2 protection bonus
Following abilities are granted per class-level gained, selection is at GM's discretion or 1d6:
  1. If pilot and craft are separated, the wearer may call the sled to her/his present location
  2. With effort, wearer can remotely control sled when unoccupied
  3. True sight: wearer is less susceptible to illusions with +2 bonus
  4. Booming voice: wearer’s voice is amplified as a public address system when occupying craft when she/he intends to be heard, those hearing voice roll save on morale to keep from fleeing
  5. Force field: wearer can create a personal plasmatic force field up to 5 meters in diameter, sustained for 1d6 rounds, protection provides AC 14 + any intelligence bonuses the pilot may already have
  6. Sleeping sentinel: wearer can slip into suspended animation indefinitely, during this time HP is frozen at current number, all stats drop to zero, and PC is rendered both unplayable and uncommunicative (this includes astrally) until revived. Sleep protects wearer from harm and also from having amulet removed. Back compartment of the sled acts as a sarcophagus for sleeper. Can only be awoken with the blessing of a deity of Benu which must be gained by the pilot’s companions (assuming she/he still had any) or an outside benefactor

GM Notes:

This is a powerful item, but I’m hoping it will be fun for PCs to play with/incur wanton destruction.


  • Only one pilot may wear the amulet at a time
  • Amulet must be given, attempts to take it by force will result in a plasmatic blast (3d6 damage and save vs. stun/paralysis)
  • Amulet must be given tribute with a burnt offering before it will accept a new host
  • After 3 days of use, it's energy level will be depleted. To recharge the vehicle, it must be parked over a ley line or over a water aquifer overnight and it will absorb the necessary psionic energy to run at full power. The fact that the psi-sled runs on pure psionic energies is not well known. If starved, it may begin to sap psionic (Presence/PRE or Intelligence/INT) energy at -1 per day from anyone not its master.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ancient Tech: Psi Sled (Part 1)


Ancient technology is unpredictable and therefore, dangerous. Experienced explorers should use caution when handling. Following are all known facts about the artifact in question, GMs should feel free to feed information to players on a need to know basis.

What is it?

An ancient curiosity discovered in the tombs of the great desert kings beneath the sandy blue salt flats of Benu.

What does it look like?

The sled features an elongated, sculpted trapezoidal shape, topped with a transparent canopy, appearing similar to clear glass to those outside craft. The craft appears to have fluted fins (“wings”) on the opposite end. The front slopes of the fuselage curve out and terminate into a long, flat base with flared edges, similar to skis.

The exterior skin appears to be a burnished brass-like metal, which can include blotches of color depending on lighting conditions giving a Mother of Pearl effect or similar to shifting iridescent hues in a pool of petroleum fuel. Coloring seems to shift through all parts of the spectrum—from sparkling golds and oranges, to shimmering pinks and violets, and even sometimes turquoises ringed with deep blues.

The one-person cockpit is a transparent sphere perched directly atop the front of the craft. From the outside, a single blocky seat can be seen and while piloted the sphere glows and crackles with pink/blue plasmatic energy. The streams of plasma don’t seem to directly injure the pilot while operating normally. There are no apparent controls visible.

The pilot enters the cockpit by tapping on the glass three or more times (basically tapping in rapid succession). The front of the craft develops “ridges” like stairs leading up to the piloting deck, while the transparent canopy becomes vaporous to allow the pilot entry. The sphere re-solidifies upon the pilot taking her/his seat.

What can it do?

The sled is a one-person vehicle that can travel at incredible speeds as it hovers up to a meter off of flat ground. Over rougher terrain, the vehicle can fly as any other hover-car or similar vehicle. It’s been known to disappear—that is to blink in and out of sight, which suggests some dimensional travel capabilities. It also appears to exhibit extremely high durability. Some might say nearly indestructible, but it’s rarely around long enough to test this hypothesis.


The vehicle has no obvious, external weaponry, but it does exhibit defensive capabilities:


A loud, throbbing hum that forces all living creatures in a 50 meter diameter to flee, unless they make a save or become incapacitated. All creatures are immediately forced outside this perimeter and make a second save roll to determine whether they put an additional 50 meters between them and the 50 foot perimeter. During this time all actions other than fleeing are prohibited.

Mind Milking

All targets within a 50 meter cone are sapped of brain waves for 2d6 rounds, resulting in a penalty of -4 on any type of Intelligence, Wisdom, or Psyche checks (or any other “mind” related checks) for that period. Any target suffering three or more of these attacks in a single day suffers a permanent -1 deduction from one of those scores (PC’s choice).

Plasmatic Blast

Once per day a powerful, plasmatic energy blast can be fired from the cockpit sphere. Damage is mainly concussive and electrical (3d6) with a range of 70 meters. Unknowing to pilot, she/he is immediately rendered unconscious for 1d6 rounds upon firing.

Speed and Movement

Psi-sled can accelerate to incredible speeds which haven’t been measured. For in-game purposes it travels anywhere from 0 up to 1,200 kilometers per hour, but can easily reach speeds around Mach 5 through Earth-like, high-altitude atmosphere.


The craft can rotate, pitch, yaw, and roll in all directions—basically behave like a UFO. The sled can maneuver with little effort and no inertial effects on the pilot are felt. How it’s able to accomplish this feat without serious injury falling to the pilot is unknown.


It’s undetermined if the sled possesses sentience—and thereby intelligence—of any kind. It does not speak, but it behaves erratically with most pilots, which suggests an “unwillingness” to be piloted.

What can it do to YOU?

The Psi-sled can prove as dangerous to its user as it does to anyone unlucky enough to square off against it. All pilots who enter the canopy suffer the following effects:

Side Effects

(1d8 for every turn pilot occupies cockpit):
  1. Pilot develops strong metallic taste in mouth, 1d4 rounds later hands up to elbows become coated in patchy metallic coating, become magnetized, neither the condition nor the effects subside
  2. Pilot suffers migraines outside of craft after more than 4 rounds piloting, prompting her/him to want to re-board immediately to alleviate pain
  3. Nervousness and -1 on Will checks (or similar) outside of craft after 4 or more rounds piloting
  4. Lack of appetite (no food consumed after piloting)
  5. Insomnia (no HP healed overnight after piloting)
  6. Pilot becomes delusional: roll save vs. Will or similar save; failure results in pilot believing he/she is godlike and forsakes all allies and goals in order to continue flying craft
  7. Blurry vision -2 to sight checks, outside of craft after 4 or more rounds piloting
  8. Slurred speech (negate all bluff, negotiation, or similar skills for 1d6 rounds)

Piloting Mishap

(1d8 on turns executing a piloting maneuver other than straight ahead):
  1. Loud, deep siren sounds, roll save vs. paralysis
  2. Erratic behavior: craft will either move in unintended direction (randomly rolled on 1d12/hands on a clock), makes wild turns, or shakes and shimmies uncontrollably
  3. Cockpit goes dark: a cloudy tint coats the glass, nothing can be seen or sensed outside cockpit
  4. Will not respond to commands during current round
  5. Powerful and intrusive psionic connection causes pilot to soil self
  6. Control sphere (where pilot sits) experiences a sudden backbuild in electro-magnetic energy, essentially shocking pilot with 2d6 damage
  7. Unintended acceleration/no brakes (pick one, they’re both bad and they both end with the craft stopping abruptly, turning cockpit glass to vapor, and letting occupant fly forward to his/her death
  8. Pilot suffers stroke; Failing constitution (or similar) check, pilot takes 3d6 damage

How does it work?

Stay tuned for Part 2 and the secret to mastering the psi-sled!