I'm trying to find motivation for painting my mountains of 15mm sci fi, and I'm currently experimenting with a homebrew d10 skirmish game with Infinity-style mechanics. A typical modern combat/hard sci fi game (thus using minis I already have heaps of), but with a strong flavour to add a bit of a twist on the rather tired genre.
Basically it's modern combat (focus on suppression, ranged fire) with renamed magic. Modern pulp, as you were. I'm simply going to use two magic systems on top of the base mechanics to get two different flavours of game:
A. "Demonworld" - each player is a demon (or god if you prefer) and has a global pool of "demon power" points they can allocate as they wish to soldiers, to enhance their abilities, perform "magic" and even resurrect your (or your opponents') dead troops. You can stack multiple demon points on a particular model, to further enhance their abilities, but beware - if a "possessed" soldier dies, so do the demon points assigned to him. Too many eggs and so on. So the demon points are a finite resource that can be assigned around from turn to turn. For example, if you lose a lot of troops but have cleverly retained your demon points you can resurrect your dead guys and re-use them again. I'm basing the magic system on Biblical miracles. Basically the Rapture happened and Earth was destroyed, but no one informed the people on the sci fi fringe colonies. Potentially the most interesting project (to me) due to unique (as far as I know) content.
B. "Psy-Force" - a bit more conventional. In the future, squads of soldiers are lead by psykers. Rather like Warmachine warcasters, they have a pool of "mana" which they can expend each turn. I'm anticipating a squad-level game with a few attached psychers. Maybe a master and an apprentice or two each leading a fire team of "normals."
Anyway, it's the latter more mainstream project I'm interested in help for. The terms "psychic power pool" and "mana" will be used interchangably, as will "spell" and "power." It's just magic with more scientific labelling, after all.
Watching Push on Netflix reinterested me in the "psychic-as-magic" element I previously enjoyed in videogames like STALKER and FEAR
I'm thinking casting a psychic power (spell) will fall into say 3 categories. Spells range in difficulty, but can be "improved" at the cost of a negative modifiers to cast (and extra mana cost).
You can improve the spell by
*Double the range (i.e. 12" force push, not 6")
*Double the area effected (i.e. AoE of 2" diameter instead of single base)
*Double the potency/effect (i.e. Strength 4 pyrokinetic attack not Strength 2)
*Double the duration (i.e. a force field bubble lasts 2 turns not 1)
Since you can modify the spells quite a bit, I'm wanting to limit the powers to about ~20. Even better if I can put them into "schools of magic" or "psychic aptitudes." If a power is outside your aptitude, you can do it, but at a significant penalty.
Now, I'm trying to think of power that would be useful in combat, and what they might look like. I'm trying to stay within the range of psychic powers, rather than superheroes. I'm thinking the Milkweed Trypych WWW2 books, the FEAR and STALKER PC games, the movie Push.
I've separated them into what I regard as similar abilities, then subdivided them.
MENTAL POWERS (act in spirit/mental realm)
Remote Viewing - can send a "astral self" token around the battlefield, establishing LoS to otherwise hidden models.
Clairvoyance - can sense enemies through walls/stealth and in particular precisely locate other psychics, as well as detecting the use of remote viewing
Teleportation - can travel anywhere in LoS or where a "marker" has been placed (is this a telekinetic skill?)
Bilocation - can create a double of yourself and the enemy does not know which is the real one (is this a telepathic skill? Teleportation and bilocation seem to "go" together, and bilocation even links with remote viewing...)
Precognition - see a short distance into the future. Maybe re-roll contested rolls.
Advanced: Can even re-take own (or opponents) complete moves.
Psychometry - touching a friend or foe (or a dead body?) grants you their stats and natural abilities.
Advanced: Can retain skills for longer or take on more powerful abilities
Telepathy - can read opponents minds - gains modifiers to reactions or re-rolls to specific opponents.
Advanced: Can mentally attack enemies, forcing them to skip a turn or take a morale test
Master: can possess and control enemies
Illusion - can make enemies fire on non-existent enemies, grant self "stealth" or make self terrifying (maybe simply an Advanced telepathy skill)
Psychic Link - can act simultaneously with linked ally/s (again, maybe a telepathy sub-skill)
Psychic Block - blocks all mental intrusions (maybe a telepathy sub-set AND a skill on its own i.e. some soldiers are "blanks" - an AoE that nullifies all powers within the radius)
TELEKINETIC (act on physical world)
Telekinesis - push, pull, crush. Perhaps limit it by mass i.e. you can't shove someone heavier than you... conversely it could be used to super-jump, levitate etc. Also useful for deflecting bullets with a force field bubble.
Pyro/Cyro/Electrokinesis - burn it, zap it or freeze it, baby! Works by touch but can be upgraded to AoE style fireballs, Sith lightning etc. Probably the most fantasy-esque and I might drop it if it's too unsubtle.
Biokinesis - healing powers. Self healing, healing for friends. Psychic surgery as you were.
Using it to kill by stopping an opponent's heart might be a bit "OP." Maybe banned by a psychic Geneva Convention?
Teleportation - can travel anywhere in LoS or where a "marker" has been placed- does this belong here or as a mental power - it's almost a crossover with bilocation/remote viewing?
Okay, I've ignored the ones with no direct combat potential (dowsing, scrying, retrocognition, dream reading etc) and I'm trying to avoid "superpowers" in favour of what is more accepted as "mainstream" psychic powers. There's already a decent selection - around the 15-20 I was aiming for.
Anyway, are there any widespread basic powers I have missed? Any better ways to "rearrange" the categories?
Remember, I don't want a list of every superhero power ever invented. When you hear "psychic powers" what do you think of?