Mass Effect 2164
Biotic Powers and Techniques
Every biotic who obtains level-0 proficiency in a discipline gains access to its core technique. This technique varies depending on the discipline. The strength of the ability varies with the practitioner’s skill level. Core techniques improve naturally as the biotic improves their skill level. They do not need to be purchased with skill points or otherwise specially trained.
As a biotic improves their skill level in a discipline, they may also learn other techniques, special tricks and abilities they’ve refined through practice. Each time they improve a skill level, they can pick a new technique from that discipline. Most techniques have a minimum skill level associated with them, and the PC can’t pick a technique which requires a higher skill level than they’ve mastered. They also cannot “save” technique picks for later, either. They must be chosen immediately after improving the skill.
The techniques listed under the disciplines here are commonly-known arts that are part of the basic curriculum of most competent biotic academies. No special training is required to choose them when a PC is able to pick a new technique, as the principles were taught as part of their basic education. Other techniques exist that are more esoteric in nature, and may require a trainer to educate the PC in their principles before they can be learned.
PCs who want to learn additional techniques beyond those acquired by improving their skills may buy them separately with skill points, paying one point per level of the technique. PCs who want to retrain techniques may do so at the GM’s discretion, usually only when they encounter some new esoteric technique they’d like to learn in place of an existing art. Techniques can only be retrained into others of equal or lower required skill level.
It may be possible for a biotic to create entirely new techniques to reflect their personal aptitudes and special inclinations. Any such novelty is strictly at the GM’s discretion, and unlikely to be done more than once or twice over the lifetime of even the most skilled biotic experimenter.
Effort and Biotic Abilities
Biotic powers are fueled by Effort, a measure of the psychic’s mental focus, energy, and neural responsiveness. A biotic’s maximum Effort total is equal to one plus the higher of their Wisdom or Constitution attribute modifiers, plus their highest biotic skill score. Thus, a biotic with a Wisdom modifier of -1, a Constitution modifier of +2, and biotic skills of Savant-0 and Meldng-0 would have a maximum Effort score of 3. If he were to then improve his Melding skill to level-1, his Effort would become 4.
Effort is “Committed” to fuel a biotic power. Some Commitment is relatively short-term, lasting only as long as the power is in effect. Other powers require that the Effort be Committed for the full scene, while the most powerful might require it be Committed for the rest of the day. Once the Commitment period is over, the Effort returns to the biotic. All Effort is refreshed after a good night’s rest.
There are a handful of blackmarket drugs and devices that can boost a biotic’s Effort, but such tech is either vanishingly rare or has severe side-effects to the user.
Biotics can push past their limits by “torching”, intentionally ignoring safety protocols and neural refractory periods to channel Mass Effect Fields beyond their normal capacity. For untrained biotic subjects, all their power use qualifies as torching, as they lack the training necessary to develop safe reserves of Effort.
Torching is an Instant action that can be performed once per round. It provides a free point of Effort that lasts for the rest of the scene, even if this point puts a biotic over the maximum allowed. Every time the biotic torches, however, they have to roll on the torching result table below.
|1-2||Lose 1 point from your Wisdom score|
|3-4||Lose 1 point from your Constitution score|
|5||Lose 1 point from an attribute you choose|
|6||No harm is done by the torching|
Biotics reduced below a Wisdom score of 3 go violently insane and become “feral biotics”; those reduced below scores of 3 in other attributes likewise become dead or nonviable as player characters. There is no available cure for brain damage caused by torching, and even advanced Prothean technology has no generally-known remedy.
Feral biotics are exceptionally dangerous, as their form of brain damage invariably results in violent, psychotic behavior and terrifying hallucinations. Worse still, they can torch with impunity thereafter, as the eezo energies have already burnt a clear path through what remains of their nervous system. Feral biotics have effectively unlimited Effort with what powers they have obtained. There is no known cure for a feral biotic.