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Power Discussion: Astral Projection

 
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Sijo
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:14 am    Post subject: Power Discussion: Astral Projection Reply with quote

This Power is a classic of characters like Dr. Strange or Prof. X. Yet, not only does the BASH version not really fit the role (without modifications) but it actually costs one point more than the Power it is an Alternative of (Ghost Form 3) and I just don't see why.



Typically, Astral Bodies are not just intangible but also invisible- the classic ghost. They can also fly, see other spirits, sometimes possess other people or travel to spiritual dimensions.

BASH Astral Projection apparently only has the intangibility part, as it specifically says you must link Powers for those effects (and you cannot link more than 2 powers). And let's not forget that BASH Ghost Forms cannot move up without buying Flight or a similar power, which produces the odd and almost never seen effect of a phaser who slips down a floor but then cannot slip back up!

The only difference between Astral Projection and Ghost Form 3 is that it leaves the user's body behind. If the Astral Form or the body takes *any* damage, they immediately merge again (with the damage). This sounds like a Limitation- the only benefit here is that an Astral Traveler gets yanked out of danger right away. But on the other hand, it keeps him or her from participating in long battles against foes who can strike at intangible beings. So the real cost should be three points at best.

So, how can Astral Projection be improved? To begin with, I would include Invisibility to most senses in the default form. This raises the cost to 5 points but it fits the classic definition much better.

(to avoid the "snap back" effect, buy the Second Nature enhancement)

And also lets rewrite all Ghost Form powers so that they can move (at their base speed) in three dimensions (except maybe Ghost Form 1 since it represents semi-solid forms) and we can avoid the whole silly ghosts-who-cannot-float thing.

Opinions?


Last edited by Sijo on Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MrJupiter
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's see... Ghost Form 3 vs. Astral Projection powers:

Ghost Form limitations
1) You cannot physically attack anyone without the use of another power (i.e. Telekinesis, an energy-based Special Attack or Damage Aura, etc.).
2) You can only move about, insubstantially, as you normally could; but also able to move through doors, walls, or floors (but not able to rise back up... unless using stairs -- unless you have another power to help you with this).
3) You need to use your Stealth score in order to sneak around and avoid detection.

Astral Projection limitations
1) You cannot physically attack anyone without the use of another power (i.e. Telekinesis, an energy-based Special Attack or Damage Aura, etc.).
2) You can only move about, astral-like, as you normally could; but also able to move through doors, walls, or floors (but not able to rise back up... unless using stairs -- unless you have another power to help you with this).
3) You need to use your Stealth score, just like with Ghost From, in order to avoid detection.

Oh, and also this...
4) Once injured (energy, magic, psionic, etc.), you immediately return to your starting position (waking up in your body; with a lower Hit score, of course). If you were adventuring with your teammates while in astral form, you'll have to go find them again.

Advantage of Astral Projection over Ghost Form
1) If your body is safely tucked away somewhere when the villain detonates a hidden TNT bundle (x10 damage!)... Your spirit might be going on to the afterlife, but at least your body will still look nice in the casket.
Lol, I don't think that this is really worth the extra CP cost for the power.
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Sijo
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do you think of my proposed modifications Mr. Jupiter?
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MrJupiter
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Using the Second Nature enhancement to keep the hero at the scene is a great idea.

I also like the idea of having an astral character able to be invisible. Since astral projection is very much like being a ghost, though still moored to the earthly realm, thanks to their still-living, physical body, I'd say there is a case for this. As the Astral Projection power is already somewhat over-priced, this could handled for that power with a two-stage enhancement, so that the base rules are not changed too much.

Quote:
Imperceptible (1 or 3pts): While using the Astral Projection power, you can choose to make your character unseen to those around you. Even though you are effectively invisible, anyone crossing your insubstantial form will feel a slight chill by your presence. Also, those individuals or devices which can see into the infra-red spectrum, can perceive your presence. Unless you take Imperceptible at level 3, you cannot attack or engage in other disruptive activities and remain invisible.


I'd prefer to have used the term "Unseen" (already taken), as "Imperceptible" might also imply that the astral character is also not able to be heard. Still, it is close enough and still sounds cool. Having one level of Imperceptible to add on the equivalent of Invisibility 3 isn't unduly under pricing the ability as Linking any power only costs 2pts, and it has already been established that Astral Projection is steeply priced compared to the Ghost Form power. Since the difference between Invisibility 3 and 5 is two CP, it seems fair that combat invisibility should be equally costly for the same benefit.

At the very least, being able to climb up to a higher surface when using Ghost Form should be an enhancement. After all, if a Ghost Form character can stand on wooden floorboards without falling through, then they can sure climb back up to a surface area (maybe needing an Athletics/Climbing skill check). I have created such an enhancement, Ghost Touch, for INCREDIBLE CHARACTERS (my A.D.E.L. FILE successor), which is in the cue for BASHMAN'S examination.
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Sijo
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But that's just it- spirits, energy beings and gaseous ones don't climb- they float, which in BASH could be considered Level 0 Flight, so it should be treated as an innate feature.

Oh and thanks for the tip on Incredible Characters, I will check it out!
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Saker
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like to build Astral Projection as 1 point of Clairvoyance (present).

Provides line of sight for mental powers that have no range limits, right?

The character is not really there, so there's no rolls to be perceived or attacked.

If the character wants to travel to the Astral world and fight, I would treat it as teleport to another dimension.

my two cents

cheers
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MrJupiter
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saker wrote:
I like to build Astral Projection as 1 point of Clairvoyance (present).

Provides line of sight for mental powers that have no range limits, right?

The character is not really there, so there's no rolls to be perceived or attacked.

If the character wants to travel to the Astral world and fight, I would treat it as teleport to another dimension.

my two cents

cheers

Great point, Saker. Clairvoyance (present) does make a great equivalent to the Astral Projection ability. In this way it is like an Astral Perception, giving you the ability to stealthily observe an area (provided you make the difficulty roll to find it) and keeping your physical body completely safe from harm; instantly reawakening from meditation once your surveillance is complete. This application of the Clairvoyance power does feel a little off from the traditional notion of the Astral Projection power, which usually presumes that more than your mere awareness is present in the scene... your full, spiritual body is there as well.

Still, its simplicity and effectiveness cannot be overlooked. This form of sensing, should be viewed as a viable, and cheaper, variation on the art of astral travel. In fact, it is technically superior to the Astral Projection power, using rules as written, as it is far less expensive, offers nearly all the same benefits, and does not put your character at risk of psychic/magical injury (not to mention the hampering aspect of being booted from the scene when you are damaged).

Still, the all-encompassing, Astral Projection power does fit better with the genre. You aren't just perceiving the environment, your spirit is actually present there, and the gravity of this fact needs to be addressed.

Quick Recap of the Power's Aspects
    - Astral Projection is Ghost From, but you leave your body behind.
    - Like Ghost Form, you can pass through walls and move about at your normal movement rate (but can't rise back up through floors from which you have dropped down through).
    - Also, like Ghost Form, you are visible and and immune to physical damage attacks.
    - Astral Projection costs more than Ghost From, but adds only an additional hindrance (damage received boots you from the scene).
    - Via Awesome Powers #5, you can stay in a scene after taking damage, by buying levels of the Reusable enhancement.

My Thoughts
I'm in agreement with Sijo, in that some form of flight should be added to the Astral Projection power, even if it is in some limited form (like, say, just 1" movement per Page, or double that for an aerial 'sprint'). It fits perfectly with the genre and solves the 'getting stuck down below' aspect of the power. Maybe buying levels of an Astral Flight enhancement could be bought, giving you faster, flying movement via the Flight power but without having to Link it to Astral Projection, or clumsily buying the actual Flight power and adding some Situational limitation, restricting it to just your astral form.

Does not having your physical body at the scene balance the scene-vacating constraint of taking damage? This aspect of Astral Projection doesn't feel right to me. What benefit of Astral Projection is this rule trying to compensate for... being able to quickly flee an overwhelming scene, perhaps? What, Galactus is here? I'm outta here! [Cancels Astral Projection, instantly returns to body and calls travel agent to book an off-world flight with Space-X.] That 'quick escape' aspect is something that the Ghost Form character cannot do, so I guess that's something. Still, I don't think that that cool trick is worth the penalty of dropping from a scene each time you encounter any damage (in body, or in spirit). Also, the Reusable enhancement seems like a heavy-handed way of dealing with this hindrance.

I like the ability of an astral character being able to become invisible. This could be done, temporarily, by a Power Stunt or Power Trick, or by applying an enhancement like Unseen (Awesome Powers #1) or Imperceptible (see my previous post, above) to the power when it is bought. In a way, I feel like these ideas are better ways of handling this common, astral trope.
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Sijo
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with both of the above ideas. You can reskin Clairvoyance as a form of Astral Projection, and in fact I think this fits the "only usable until you get hurt" idea. But again, as Mr. Jupiter points out, the vast majority of Astral Forms examples are more than this, and if its going to be its own Power instead of a modification of an existing one, it needs some adjustments in its mechanics.
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MrJupiter
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Too bad that this conversation hadn't happened before Awesome Powers #5 (Mental Powers) had come out. Maybe it could be addressed in Awesome #17 (Magic and Artifacts).
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Sijo
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of AP #17, it would be great if it could be used to "import" certain material from BASH Fantasy (like Schools of Magic)
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MrJupiter
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sijo wrote:
Speaking of AP #17, it would be great if it could be used to "import" certain material from BASH Fantasy (like Schools of Magic)

As an option, schools of magic would be great. Different 'flavours' of magic add an interesting touch. It makes sense that voodoo magic would operate differently from witchcraft, alchemy and sorcery (though different people have unique interpretations of what those methods might be). Mages that specialize in one facet of magic over others (elemental vs. glamours vs. conjuration, etc.) should have greater proficiency in their particular field versus others - maybe even to the point of exclusion - though consistent, basic mechanics underlie it all, unifying the magic system as a whole. I'm not a big fan of magic being arranged under a purely elementalist structure (water magic has these properties, earth magic those), but this should be offered as an option for those who do.
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BASHMAN
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AP 17 will have different types of magic. Just as you cannot be "Immune" to all mental powers, but you can buy Immunity to certain ones, Magic Resistance and Immunity will work the same way.

So you could have Immunity to Elemental Magic, but if someone used Divine Magic against you, this wouldn't impact it. But this is still on the drawing board.
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