Blog Archives

Technomancer Mind-Affecting Spells VI

Today we wrap up (for now, at least) exploring the design space of technomancer mind-affecting spells.

If we want a mind-affecting spells to feel like a viable concept for a technomancer (which is the only time at which it would make sense to select the robot influence magic hack), we’re going to need at least two different mind-affecting spells at each spell level for 1st and higher, and at least one 0-level spell.

So far we’ve done a 0-level spelltwo first, a 2nd-level (to go with their existing 2nd-level mind-affecting spell, daze monster), two 3rd-level, 4th-level, and 5th-level spells. So, let’s do two technomancer-flavored 6th-level mind-affecting spells.

For balance on these we looked at a lot of 6th-level spells, but since there don;t seem to be any 6th-level mind-affecting spells in Starfinder, there aren’t any specific 1-to-1 comparisons.

mysterious woman in futuristic cloak with hood walking with blue light particles, digital art style, illustration painting

Algorithm [Technomancer 6]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. +10 ft./level)
Targets one creature/level, no two of which can be more than 30 feet apart
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You impose an algorithm on the decision-making processes and efforts undertaken by of the spell’s targets. Each round, you can designate one creature to be protected by the algorithm. Any affected target takes a -5 penalty to all skill checks regarding the target, attack rolls against the target, and to the save DC of any ability they use that affects the target. You can change the protected creature each round, ending the protection against any previous creature. Targets that fail their saving throw are unaware their actions are being influenced by a spell.

Targets that succeed at their Will save only take a -2 penalty to skills, attacks, and DCs, and are aware they are under the effects of a spell.

Target Lock [Technomancer 6]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. +10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration 1 minute/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You lock the target’s attention onto one foe, and prompt it to attack that foe. The target must attack the foe with the attack most likely to be effective against it with at least one action per round. If the target succeeds at a Will save it can ignore this command, but the mental effort to do so causes it to be fatigued for the duration of the spell. The fatigue ends when the spell ends, or if the creature decided to attack the designated foe.

PATREON
Enjoy this Starfinder content? Want to see more? Want to see something else? You can back my Patreon to encourage me to do more of the kind of work you want to see, and you can subscribe to the 52-in-52 program to get entire game supplements, one a week for every week of 20020, that are done in four versions for four game systems, including Starfinder!

Technomancer Mind-Affecting Spells V

We’re still exploring the design space of technomancer mind-affecting spells.

If we want a mind-affecting spells to feel like a viable concept for a technomancer (which is the only time at which it would make sense to select the robot influence magic hack), we’re going to need at least two different mind-affecting spells at each spell level for 1st and higher, and at least one 0-level spell.

So far we’ve done a 0-level spell, two first, a 2nd-level (to go with their existing 2nd-level mind-affecting spell, daze monster), two 3rd-level spells, and two-fourth-level spells. So, let’s do two technomancer-flavored 5th-level mind-affecting spells.

Blockchain looks at the scaling fear spell for determining it’s total power level–it’s not as debilitating, but has a much larger area, targets nonliving creatures, only targets enemies, and at this level lasts long, and has some effect even on targets who make their save, with off-target a pretty good guaranteed effect (and even dazzled causes you to be -1 on all attack rolls, which may not seem like much but isn’t bad if you hit a bunch of foes as the minimum effect they take on top of off-target).

Greater check the comments looks to greater command for how to upgrade 1st-level spells at 5th level.

Technomancer Eye

Blockchain [Technomancer 5]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range 60 feet
Targets all foes in a cone-shaped emanation
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You flood the minds of of every foe in the area to a series of interconnected mental checklists they must fulfill while taking any action. Targets are entangled as they constantly start and stop each thing they do, trying to fulfill the checklists demanded for each decision they make. Targets that succeed at their Will save still find their minds filled with checklists, but know they are artificial and can be ignored, though the distraction causes them to still be off-target. Targets already off-target are instead dazzled.

Check the Comments, Greater [Technomancer 5]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Targets up to one creature/level, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
Save Will negates

This spell functions like check the comments, except you can affect up to one creature per level and creatures make their announcements in one language you know of your choice, even if they do not speak that language (or, indeed, even if they speak no language).

PATREON
Enjoy this Starfinder content? Want to see more? Want to see something else? You can back my Patreon to encourage me to do more of the kind of work you want to see, and you can subscribe to the 52-in-52 program to get entire game supplements, one a week for every week of 20020, that are done in four versions for four game systems, including Starfinder!

 

 

Technomancer Mind-Affecting Spells IV

We’re exploring the design space of technomancer mind-affecting spells.

If we want a mind-affecting spells to feel like a viable concept for a technomancer (which is the only time at which it would make sense to select the robot influence magic hack), we’re going to need at least two different mind-affecting spells at each spell level for 1st and higher, and at least one 0-level spell.

So far we’ve done a 0, two first, a 2nd (to go with their existing 2nd-level mind-affecting spell, daze monster), and two 3rd-level spells. So, let’s do two technomancer-flavored 4th-level mind-affecting spells.

The quantum zen king / 3D illustration of male android hardwired to computer core

CAPSLOCK looks at the various fear spells as a way to establish a power-level baseline, while safety on is balanced against hold monster.

CAPSLOCK isn’t nearly as debilitating as fear, but even on a failed save the target is affected briefly.

I also wrote safety on as a reminder (to myself as much as anyone) that’s there is more to technology than just computers, and thus technomancer spells should play with nondigital concepts as well. I like the concept of a technomancer being able to take the concept of a gun’s safety, and apply it to a person. It’s not as debilitating as hold monster, but the target also doesn’t get a save to end it every round, and again it has some impact even on targets that make a save.

CAPSLOCK [Technomancer 4]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets all foes, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
Duration 1 minute/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You rewire the targets’ ability to make decisions, forcing them to go all-or-nothing on everything they do. They can only take actions designated a full actions or double move actions (preventing any single attacks, standard actions, or single move actions) and cannot take reactions or swift actions. If they speak they must shout, and when moving they make heavy, deliberate steps, preventing any Bluff check to pass secret messages, and any Sleight of Hand or Stealth checks. They cannot take 10 or take 20 on skill checks, even if they have an ability that would normally allow them to do so when distracted or in danger.

If a target succeeds as a skill check, the duration of this spell is reduced to 1d4 rounds for that target.

Safety On [Technomancer 4]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration 1 round/2 levels (D)
Saving Throw Will partial, see text; Spell Resistance yes

The target cannot use a weapon for any purpose, make any attack roll, or take any action that would force creatures to make saving throws if they were targeted by or in the area of the action’s end result.

A target that succeeds at a Will save can take any actions it wishes, but suffers a -2 penalty to attack rolls, and the save DC of any effect it creates is reduced by 1.

PATREON
Enjoy this Starfinder content? Want to see more? Want to see something else? You can back my Patreon to encourage me to do more of the kind of work you want to see, and you can subscribe to the 52-in-52 program to get entire game supplements, one a week for every week of 20020, that are done in four versions for four game systems, including Starfinder!

Design Space: Technomancer mind-affecting spells I

Sometimes a game has rules or options that suggest there are things that should exist, but they don’t. Or at least, they don’t existing in the form or to the degree they should. This is often a sign of a good ‘design space,’ a place where a game seems to need more material designed for it, where the existing rules don’t feel every reasonable iteration of the concept, and where such material won’t feel extraneous or uninteresting.

As a negative example, there’s not much design space between a shortsword that does 1d6 damage, and a longsword that does 1d8 damage. There are certainly things you can do (some companies make 7-sided dice, you can add or remove other elements such as cost and weapon traits and proficiency, and so on). So yes, you could make a ‘broadsword’ that cost more than a short sword, and weighed more, and did a d8 damage, but was easier to gain proficiency in than a longsword. But it’ll feel :showhorned in,” and not be as useful an addition to the game as a weapon with a totally different damage die or some more clear differentiating feature.

A positive example is in the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, where technomancers have a magic hack (“robot influence”) that allow them to affect constructs, robots, and other creatures that have the technological subtype, even if they’re mindless or would normally be immune.

Now, think about what mind-affecting spells a technomancer would use that with. … Right. Daze monster doesn’t suck, but it’s not worth a whole magic hack. The problem, of course, is that mind-affecting spells don’t normally feel like they are closely connected to technology. But that’s a conceptual hurdle that can be overcome, and mind-affecting spells are such a broad category that we can design them to feel very different from existing spells that mystics and witchwarpers get.

So, let’s create some! Specifically some low-level, technology and computer culture-inspired mind-affecting technomaner spells!

Check the Comments [Technomancer 1]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration one minute/level
Save Will negates

The target creature announced each action it is about to take before it takes it. If it is aware of a shared language it has with you, it uses that language to make these announcements, otherwise it uses its native language. If it announces an attack or effect that requires a saving throw, any creature that understands its announcement gains a +2 circumstance bonus to their AC or save against that effect. Additionally, if someone who understands the announcements readies an action to be triggered by an action the target announced, the readied action is triggered by the announcement, and thus is resolved before the triggering action. 

Dropped Pixel [Technomancer 1]
School enchantment (mind-affecting)

Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration one minute/level
Save Will partial

The target creature cannot maintain any direct observation of you with a precise sense. They can track you with imprecise senses, but whenever they try to determine your exact  location or appearance they find themselves looking away, fixating on an item near you, or similarly not directly observing you. You gain concealment from the target. If the target succeeds at a Will save, the spell’s duration is reduced to 1 round.

PATREON
Enjoy this Starfinder content? Want to see more? Want to see something else? You can back my Patreon to encourage me to do more of the kind of work you want to see, and you can subscribe to the 52-in-52 program to get entire game supplements, one a week for every week of 20020, that are done in four versions for four game systems, including Starfinder!