Trinity standard vs, freeform psi system + nWoD conversion


Social Justice Dragon
Validated User
I've been playing with converting Trinity to nWoD, since that's (IMHO at least) a far superior rules system, and I am again stuck with the highly problematic question of freeform vs. standard psi.

There's no getting around the fact that the standard psi system is too rigid. It's OK for some powers, like Translocation or Telesthesia, but others (especially all of the Biokinesis and Psychokinesis powers) are very restrictive and limited.

However, the general descriptions in the Freeform system are often too powerful. For example, while I highly approve of Psychomorphing 2 allowing Biokinetics to heal themselves, Adaptation 5 providing complete invulnerability is rather too much.

Also (and far more importantly), the Freefrom psi system is a monster to use. No one I play with (myself included) would be willing to take the time to actually sit down and work out new effects using that vast and rather hideous mass of charts and tables, and none of the other fan-created freeform variants I've see are much better.

One obvious compromise when using nWoD (I'd make all rolls using Mode + Psi), is to use the standard powers and then to borrow the Spell Factors tables from Mage:tAw (pp. 117-119), to allow the standard powers to be varied in target number, radius/volume, and duration (while also adding in a similar table for range). That's an easy fix, as is allowing characters to know both the normal and the alternative techniques for each level of Mode that they know, for free.

The best solution I can think of is to work out (based on the power level and general scope of the existing Mode powers) several other alternative powers for each Mode level (for example, self-healing using the same rules as 3 dot Iatrosis (Metamitosis) would make an excellent 3 dot Psychomorphing power. I'd then allow characters to know all of the powers for every Mode level upon purchasing that level in a Mode.

Does anyone have any better suggestions, or has anyone actually done this already?

Thomas T

Thomas, please. Not Tom.
Validated User
To be honest I think you'd be best off making something from semi-scratch. I'd base it on Mage personally, with the various modes being handled like spheres (except that you choice of order limits what "spheres" you have access to). Benchmark what you can and can't do at each level and leave the rest freeform.

To be clear - I'm not talking about (say) "electrokinesis=forces" - just rebuilding all the modes to have the same structure as M:tAw's spheres and then using the magic system pretty much as-is for the mechanics.

(Yes, yes, easier said than done I know. But it's what springs to mind.)

Gentleman Highwayman

Registered User
Validated User
Hmm ...

If you want to do Trinity using Storytelling then keep the whole template and standard psi system. Tweak to taste with changes for mechanical differences between systems and how you feel powers should be.

I'm really thinking of doing the same of moving to Storyteller and more emphasis on "cyberware" and VARGs. Not sure if I should do some converting of Abberant for baddies or play a more internal conspiracy game.

The other alternative is to do to Trinity, what Hollow Earth Expedition seems to do to Adventure!. Cut the system down even more than Storytelling, remove the templates and Background/Merits and replace with a feat-like mechanic analog.



Social Justice Dragon
Validated User
Upon further thought, I've come up with the following ideas:

  • Use the nWoD system, except change Computer to Engineering (reflecting both the skills in Trinity and the fact that in the 22nd century, computers have ceased to be as arcane and mysterious as they are considered today.
  • All rolls for Modes are Psi + Mode
  • All Psi costs are reduced by 1 (to a minimum cost of 0 for 1 & 2 dot abilities, and 1 for 3+ dot abilities).
  • Learning a Mode gives the character both the standard and the alternative techniques (from the Order book), and all characters learning a particular Aptitude learn both basic techniques.
  • Apply all powers quite broadly, so (for example) Metabolic Efficiency (Adaptation 1) allows the character to both cure minor diseases like colds or the flu and to clean herself with her power both more rapidly and more effectively than with a hot shower. Similarly, both Psychomorphing 4 and Transmogrify 4 allow healing lethal damage in the same manner as Iatrosis 3 (Metamitosis)
  • Use the Spell Factors charts in Mage: The Awakening pp. 117-119 for Target, Area, and Duration. Also, add a table for range (see below).
  • Spending 1 additional point of Psi reduces the "spell factor" penalties by 2.
  • Use the rules from this post that do not contradict any of the above points.
  • Additional points of Psi are purchased as Gnosis in Mage (3 dot Merit in chargen, Current Rating x 8 with XP, Modes are purchased as New dots x 5, Auxilary Modes cost 8 XP.
  • Drop Virtue, Vice, and Morality. All Willpower is recovered upon waking from at least 4 hours of sleep (as well as recovering all Willpower at the end of a Story or 1 point of Willpower after achieving a significant goal).
Range Table (short range)
Range........Dice Penalty
1 meter........-2
2 meters......-4
5 meters......-6
10 meters....-8

Range Table (long range)*
Range................Dice Penalty
Listed Range........None
2 x Range.............-2
5 x Range.............-4
10 x Range...........-6
20 x Range...........-8

* In all cases, Attunement Range is the maximum possible range for any Mode that lacks a Familiarity-based range. Ranges based on Familiarity (like those for Translocation or Transmassion) cannot be increased.

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Social Justice Dragon
Validated User
As part of my on-going nWoD conversion, I'm attempting to modify the standard Psi system so that it has more of the advantages of the freeform system, w/o the hellish level of complexity involved. As I stated above, in this system learning a Mode gives the character both the standard and the alternative techniques (from the Order books), and all characters learning a particular Aptitude learn both basic techniques.

Also, I'm trying to make the various Modes more balanced and interesting. Here are my revisions (with rules altered for the nWoD rules):

• Metabolic Efficiency

This power also works on all diseases, from viruses to fungi. For both poison and disease, reduce the level of the agent by the character's level in Adaptation. For nWoD, subtract dots +1 from the Toxicity rating. Also, this allows the Psion to shed dirt, toxins, and sweat from her body and hair by making a Psi roll – effectively taking a psionic shower in 1 turn.

••• Self-Healing

The Psion can also heal herself, but not as effectively as a Vitakinetic. With this ability, the Psion is able to accelerate the rate at which he heals, healing wounds that would usually talk months to a year in days or even hours.

System: Spend 1 Psi and roll Psi, for each success, halve the healing time for all wounds the character is currently suffering. If 5 or more successes are scored one health level of the worst type of damage is healed instantly in addition to the accelerated healing effects.


• Combine Psionic Echo and Insight
•• Static Memory becomes the two dot Mode
••• Flashback becomes the three dot Mode
•••• Envision becomes the four dot Mode

Other changes:
• Psionic Echo

This Mode can conclusively prove that a knife was a murder weapon, that a murderer used a specific gun, or if a bullet came from a specific gun, but not if a laser had been used to kill someone, since there is no physical connection between the laser and the target.

••• Flashback
In addition to the other uses of this Mode, it also allows the Psion to determine the typical configuration of any object (including living and once living beings). In addition to allowing the character use open combination and keypad locks and reassemble jigsaw puzzles with ease, she can also use each success on this roll to gain one additional die on any Engineering, Medicine, or Science roll involving repairing devices, setting bones, reassembling ancient potshards, or similar endeavors.

Some especially complex devices may require two or more successes to activate. Also, additional successes will reveal alternate methods of activation and roughly how common each was. However, the Psion does not know what a device will do when activated. At Psychometry ••••, if rolling one or more successes than needed, the Psion also has visions of what occurs when the device is operated or activated in a specific manner.

•••• Dream Sight
This works like Oak in the Acorn, but only reveals information about the past. The character must either state a question or open himself up for general information about the site or person who is the target. The duration ranges from a minute to an hour, depending upon the complexity of the question and the number of successes rolled.

••••• Oak in the Acorn
This power covers likely futures as well as the past. It can be used to gain a general sense of the future of a plan, a person, or object, or it can be used to gain a general picture of the entire past of the target, revealing information that might not be uncovered with any question the Psion knows to ask.

• Orientation

Maintaining Orientation does not increase the difficulty of other actions. Even with one success, the location is relatively precise.

••• Find the Compliment
This ability also allows the Psion to solve puzzle boxes, interactive fiction games, mazes - most especially mazes - and even crosswords with exceptional speed. (This power will not tell her what words to write in a crossword, but it will tell her which clue to tackle next.) Add dice to relevant Intelligence, Wits and Perception pools.

•••• Farsensing
In addition to spatial navigation, this Mode also allows the character to find the various ways out of the maze (including which one is fastest), to a specific known office in a large building complex, or the fastest way (including both known and unknown obstacles) to drive across town to a specific location.

• Active Defense

Use your sense to monitor the locations of up to Psi individuals near you that you can see. This gives a bonus to Awareness rolls to notice their activities and improves your Initiative if one suddenly charges. This Mode provides no warning of surprise attacks.

••• Heightened Senses (was Microvision)
At this level of mastery the Psion may enhance his senses to super human proportions seeing farther and more clearly, hearing a wider spectrum of sounds, feeling even the most subtle textures, tasting well enough to pick out the chemical composition of a substance (science roll may be required), and smelling precisely to track by sent.

System: Spend 1 Psi and roll Psi, the Psion may add a number of dice equal to successes to all sensory based checks (ST discretion) for the remainder of the scene. In addition too seeing into the infrared and ultraviolet or tracking by scent, the Psion can also focus her perceptions into a microscopic level, shrinking her field of vision to cover as little as an area 5 cm in diameter, which can be moved at will. This specifically use adds successes to appropriate Engineering, Science and Investigation rolls. NOTE: While the Psion’s senses are heightened he is more susceptible to poisons, loud sounds (Add the Psion’s number of successes to incoming Screamer damage pools), and pheromone effects.

••• Higher Consciousness

In addition to the listed affects, instead of increasing the difficulty of affecting her mind, the electrokinetic can also use each success to temporarily increase any one Mental Attribute for the same duration.

••• Static Shield
Instead of protection, the Psion can instead set up a shield that damages targets by charging himself with electricity, in a manner like an electric eel. Each success provides one die of electrical damage. The duration is the same as Static Shield. Successes from one roll can be used for either use.

•••• Image Generation
The Psion can also create precise static images, including altering retinal patterns, forging signatures, or creating patterns that can be read by optical scanners of various sorts. Images no larger than Psi x 5 cm across can be made exceptionally precise. These images can be made as large as Psi x meters across, but are less precise. These images last for one scene or until the Psion dismisses them. These images can be static or they will move with the object they are attached to, if the Psion has a Psi Print of that object. They can be used to create tattoos or similar designs on the Psion.

••••• Microwave Burst/EMP

In addition to the other capabilities of this power, the Psion can also create an EMP that destroys electrical devices and data.

System: One success is sufficient to ruin every electrical device within the power's radius (destroying the Structures of all electronic components). Certain military devices specifically made to resist EMP are immune. A simple success affects a Psi-yard radius. Excess successes spread the pulse over a larger area.
Successes Radius Affected
2 successes 2 x Psi yards
3 successes 4 x Psi yards
4 successes 6 x Psi yards
5 successes 8 x Psi yards

•• Pressure Control

A single success is all that is needed to maintain local air pressure against intrusions of vacuum or higher pressure up to 4 additional atm. 2 Successes protect against pressures between 5 and 10 atm, 3 successes protects against up to 25 atm.

••• Force Barrier
This force construct can also be used to make bridges, shelters, or other simple shapes, including supporting a building. It can also be curved in a hemisphere or half circle, the only limit is that the total area cannot exceed Psi squared x Pi square meters, and no thinner than a meter wide in either dimension. It can support a weight with a Strength of Psi + Mode + Successes. When used in this fashion it is fully solid but provides an armor of only Psi/2 (round up).

•••• Force Armor
The Psion can now create form-fitting armor that provides the same protections as a Force Barrier. This shield is more demanding to maintain and so only lasts for Psi turns. However, the character can attack normally while using it.


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