New Focus: Projects from a Floating Holoprojector

edited August 2015 in Fan Creations
This focus is inspired by and fits the theme of the Celestial Wisdom unofficial supplementary source book. 

I created this focus as a means to introduce a holographic AI character who is (at least initially) bound to a projection artifact. While an AI character could be done a variety of ways, including with the new descriptors or foci in Celestial Wisdom, or with the Exists Out of Phase or Talks with Machines foci, among others, I wanted to create something unique, with interesting opportunities.

I have since separated out the AI aspect into the Infoplasmic descriptor. This focus is now available for normal characters who wish to use a helmet or circlet artifact to shift their consciousness into a holographic projection.

While this uses more contemporary language, as presented in Celestial Wisdom, you can of course play the character in a much more obfuscated and magic/technology blurred way, perhaps as some kind of spirit or genie-like entity, especially given the binding to the projector artifact.

PDF attached. Thank you for your courteous constructive feedback.

- Andrew
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Comments

  • Looking over the foci again, I'm wondering if some of the energy immunities are too much. Maybe heat or cold should at least cause some damage, as the projector itself may be sensitive? That may allow a bit of room to allow limited cypher usage as well. 

    Another idea brought up is that heat or cold could have different effects instead of damage. Some kind of slowdown, maybe impacting initiative or inducing some other effect.

    And just to note, electrical damage works as normal.
  • Made some quick additions, listed here.

    Someone projecting in this way emits dim light at all times from their holographic "body", though they don't gain the standard dim light defensive advantage as a light source. They also look very different, being made of shifting data, so their nature is hard to disguise without heavy cloaks and hoods and such.

    The disguise and stealth skills (or alternate skills covering similar characteristics) have additional effects for characters with this foci.

    Disguise or skills related to disguise make your holographic nature less apparent, so you can appear more solid and less like neon glyphs of data. When trained, you may be able to pass as flesh-and-blood if clad in a layer or two of clothing and maybe a hood. When specialized, you can appear solid and may even pass as you are without concealing clothing. You still glow dimly, however.

    Stealth and skills related to hiding and sneaking dim the light of your projection. When trained, you can choose to only project with very dim light (but gain only dim light advantage for yourself, as a light source). When specialized, you can choose to project no illumination at all, but your projection remains oddly visible, like well tinted glass, given an alternate lightsource.

    When specialized in both disguise, and stealth, you can choose to appear as a normal flesh and blood being. Note that these allow a range of appearances. You can always appear in your full holographic nature if you choose.
  • Just to prime the pump, any thoughts on Tier 2 abilities for glitchportation and glitch projection? Should they be swapped with the Tier 3 ability glitched attack, or rearranged or altered in some other way?
  • My initial reaction is that for a specific game, this could be fine, but a focus for general use, it's a bit much.

    First, taking away Cyphers is a BIG deal. So to do so you need to compensate a bit. Many of the abilities you give are powerful, but Cyphers aren't always power, they're utility too.

    The abilities you give for some of the tiers are extremely powerful. Having the Tier one benefits be two nano abilities doesn't jive with me, but that's just preference really. And since you've named one "Force Ward" it stacks with Ward. So a Tough Nano who ..., has 3 Armour starting out. Tier 2 is a bag of goodies.

    I think you could refine this into something more balanced if you want, but Numenera handles Race as a descriptor, not a focus. I would make this a list of static bonuses and inabilities that don't change and make it into the "Projected" descriptor.
  • Thanks for the review :)

    I'm currently working on some tweaks even at this time, so I've already made some changes related to your feedback. I'll be updating it soon, but here's a few of the changes:

    I'm scaling back the immunities somewhat. Fire and cold will turn into resistances, gaining +2 or +3 armor against them, but they damage speed instead of might. Electrical damage is now a vulnerability, taking +2 from it, and it also damages speed. I added some explanation on how the stats work with a holographic character to explain this change.

    I changed the cypher restriction to 2 instead of 0. I agree that having 0 cyphers available takes a big chunk out of playing this game.

    I made projector shutdown mandatory and uninterruptible when resting. The character can still communicate with their "bonded" PC via implant during this time.

    I made organic forms of healing (medicine, medical care, potions, herbs) have no effect, with only rest and repair and similar available for healing might and speed damage (rest only for healing intellect).

    In Tier 1, I changed Force Ward's description so it acts in place of the nano/jack ability, so you cannot purchase both and stack. I'm still deciding what to do with scan. Either reduce its scope, up its cost, or remove it.

    Tier 2 is a bit much. I'm considering removing the glitched attack from Tier 3 and moving one of the Tier 2 abilities into its place.

    Tier 4, stealth mode, still feels okay to me.

    Tier 5 seems okay, but I'm adding a bit more detail to what it means to be unbound from the projector, as it allows switching to the projector (effectively a one-way teleport), and it has some consequences when tracking your might and speed pools. I'm heavily considering moving all of this to Tier 6, however.

    Tier 6, multitask, isn't really working for me. That's a cool ability, but I think it adds way too much on top of an already powerful focus. I'm considering removing this completely, and since I'd be moving Data Ghost up to 6, I need something new at 5. I'm considering some kind of networking/synergy ability modeled after telepathic network, but scaled down.



    As for the usage of this focus, this is of course a very rare thing. In the game I'm getting ready to run, this is going to be an NPC that I'll run as a PC. The character this is for showed up in a previous incarnation of the game I ran with the same group, so he will be a strong link back to the feel of the previous game, and provides some interesting opportunities to figure out what happened in the span of time after our previous game ended.


    Corrin Mana said:
    My initial reaction is that for a specific game, this could be fine, but a focus for general use, it's a bit much.

    First, taking away Cyphers is a BIG deal. So to do so you need to compensate a bit. Many of the abilities you give are powerful, but Cyphers aren't always power, they're utility too.

    The abilities you give for some of the tiers are extremely powerful. Having the Tier one benefits be two nano abilities doesn't jive with me, but that's just preference really. And since you've named one "Force Ward" it stacks with Ward. So a Tough Nano who ..., has 3 Armour starting out. Tier 2 is a bag of goodies.

    I think you could refine this into something more balanced if you want, but Numenera handles Race as a descriptor, not a focus. I would make this a list of static bonuses and inabilities that don't change and make it into the "Projected" descriptor.



  • I've uploaded the latest version with the above changes. 

    I decided to remove Scan, leaving Ward as the sole Tier 1 ability, with the restriction (and renaming) so it cannot combine with the Ward esostery or trick of the trade.

    I removed Glitched Attack from Tier 3 and moved Glitch Projection (renamed to Glitch Defenses) into its place.

    I moved Data Ghost from Tier 5 to Tier 6, and added details on splitting the might pool. While this is a complex power, I think it's the only way it can work given how the might stat works with the projector.

    I created Network Senses as a new Tier 5 power. That one is rough right now, looking for feedback or alternate suggestions. It's unique in that you cannot be projecting in order to use it, but it also is the odd one out compared to all the other powers, as it doesn't directly have anything to do with force or light projection. Perhaps I should do something with some kind of blinding flash? Or some AOE force push centered from the character?
  • So I'm typing this again *grumble grumble* cause my phone has that refresh runtime.
    So where I left off.
    I feel like there's more importance to the projector than that's made apparent. Especial with the glitching abilities, which kids confused me with the reliance on the projector.

    Resistances. Armor vs elements is good (cold-reduce max pool spending per round, perhaps instead add a speed cost 1 to all actions that round ) (fire-perhaps same as cold but with might cost) (electricity: +2 damage, reduce sensor range, daze)

    Glitching: as mentioned earlier, confusing due to the reliance of the projector

    Object compression: I'd probably limit the number of objects and/or size of objects

    Stealth: seems a little contradictory since you created special notes about this being and having issues with stealth. I would probably make it withdraw projection/ or tactile stealth , granting invisibility or the move of the projector without form, perhaps lays x rounds, costs x speed per round to maintain.

    Networked: confusing, sound like it adds an extra asset if working together
  • Thanks for the feedback :)

    The projector is quite important, mostly because until tier 6 it's the only means the character has to be present physically and interact with the world. I kind of wanted the projector and projection abilities to be the reason for this focus, and play around with the limitations, flavor, and opportunities that emerge. The glitching abilities exploit the projection algorithm. Like a quick shift to the coordinates of where you're actually supposed to be. While that applies similarly whether you're using the projector or projecting through invisible datasphere technologies, the projector itself is physical, so there are some physical limitations, as it has to project to where you NOW are, and quickly shift over to your new location. As the projector is mentioned nearly everywhere, I think the importance is fairly clear. Perhaps changing the title of this focus to something like Projects from a Holoprojector or similar would better highlight the importance?

    Still tinkering with resistances. Good suggestions, I'll see what I can do.

    Can you let me know the parts of the glitching you found confusing? I'd like to make that as clear as I can.

    For object compression, I feel the limits should include armor, weapons, and items, but not gear that overburdens a character. Creatures and organic things like food shouldn't be included.

    For stealth I wanted something that wasn't quite invisibility, but was still fun. If this is more confusing than fun, then there's a problem here. I may remove the trained in stealth part and let the player's skill cover that, and keep the ability to shut down the projection. That may require renaming the ability. Your suggestions would work too, just not sure what I want to ultimately do here.

    For networked senses, having it provide an asset would be a simpler way for this to work as far as mechanics go. I'm still unsure if this power really belongs in this focus, though. I'm really thinking I should stick with the themes of light and force projection.
  • Andrew... Stellar work! I've a player who is super excited about the Datasphere and dreams of transcending her need for a physical body. However, she highly enjoys cobbling cyphers together, so I'd still need to have those as a strong mechanic. 
  • I would change the Resistance and Vulnerability to Being trained in might Defence and treating defence one higher rather than an armour bonus.

    I would give the Device which projects you a level (I would make it 7 so you need a little Numenera knowledge to do it.) for purposes of repairing. Days are 28 hours in the ninth world, btw.

    I like Glitch defences, but not choosing where you end up seems a little to heavy handed. I would simply say it in a hinting fashion (sometimes you don't end up where you planned.) to leave the door open for GM intrusion, but not a willy-nilly random teleport. I would also set a range limit.

    I am not a fan of Stealth mode and I'm having a hard time saying why. I think it's just that I don't see much of a use for it. But I'm sure that comment will bait arguments from others.

    Love Network Senses. Would change "The round after and for the rest of the duration, any activity or task benefiting from coordination in which two or more networked individuals are participating is modified one step positively. When all 4 individuals are participating in the same task, the benefit is two steps." to "While active all task in which two or more link individuals participate has it's difficulty reduced by 1. If all four individuals cooperate, it is decreased by 2." I feel this is less ambiguous wording.

    I feel Tier 6 is too much. Not too powerful, but too much of a mechanics change. I really dislike the separate pools idea. I think it would be good to say that the projection is just tied to the data sphere, but still requires the projector to exist. Mechanically, everything works the same, except the player finds a safe place to leave the projector and leaves it there until he wants it somewhere else.

    Overall I think this is a really cool concept and is shaping up nicely. Keep up the good work.
  • Thanks again for the feedback :)

    For simplicity's sake, I think your suggestion on changing resistance and vulnerability from armor/extra-damage to trained/weakness in terms of difficulty is a good one. Cleaner. I'm wondering a bit about the trained in might defense suggestion, though. Does fire/cold generally hit against might rather than speed?

    Makes sense to give the projector a level, that sounds about right. Missed the 28-hour cycle, I'll make the change.

    Your comment on Glitch defenses is spot on in terms of what I was really going for. In D&D terms, it's more like a combat blink when being attacked, so you appear a little off to the side of where you were, so it's really not as random as I wrote. The reason for my wording was for GM intrusion, as that glitch can backfire. Range is immediate.

    Stealth mode was written up before I added the extra effects for stealth and disguise skills. Rereading it, you're right, it doesn't really have a strong place anymore. I did like the idea of being able to power down your projector for interesting infiltration purposes (jump into a vehicle, cut the projection, and unless they spot the projector, the guards are none the wiser), but I can do without it I think.

    The clarity on the Network Senses effect definitely needed work, I think I'll go with your suggestion here.

    Argh, I see where you're coming from on Data Ghost, but I also feel the need to somehow do something with the might pool on switching, since I still see the might pool as being more associated with the projection system being used. Perhaps if this became a might pool heal on switching the system once per day? Either full or half the pool, maybe? What do you think?
  • Thanks :)

    This focus is a little heavy, so if she's thinking of keeping a current focus (the one for crafting objects?) a descriptor may be a better option. I think you'll definitely want to pick up Celestial Wisdom for her, there are some good options. The Ghostly descriptor is close, but that's semi-holographic, and maybe there's more to develop there.

    I like one of the above suggestions for creating a Holoprojected descriptor and treating it as a race. That might be a good fit. I'm considering trying my hand at that for a much lighter alternative to this focus.


    Joseph Gardner said:
    Andrew... Stellar work! I've a player who is super excited about the Datasphere and dreams of transcending her need for a physical body. However, she highly enjoys cobbling cyphers together, so I'd still need to have those as a strong mechanic. 



  • Does fire/cold generally hit against might rather than speed?

    Depends, fire itself does not, but being burned would. It really depends on the GM. The reason I say that is because damage in Numenera is static and if you toss around armour bonuses it can make someone nigh invincible.

    Perhaps if this became a might pool heal on switching the system once per day?

    When I read the way you want it to work I feel like your trying to hard to simulate. Numenera tends to be slightly abstract. Also, I feel like it's perfectly reasonable to say that damage to the projection feeds back to the projector even though it's not in close proximity. If you tie repairs to the box, it will make them at least carry it with them. and not just leave in the Vault of Samlesha with the priests for safekeeping.
  • Okay, so if I'm reading you correctly, then fire, cold, and electricity/anti-numenera effects would all hit might defense rather than speed, with training in might defense vs fire/cold and weakness in might defense vs electricity/anti-numenera. That should work. I still have an urge to have electricity/anti-numenera damage apply to the speed pool, since the holographic nature prevents many of the standard speed-damaging effects, like poison. Basically I want to make sure that there is opportunity for intellect and speed damage through some means rather than blocking off all avenues.

    As for the simulation observation, I think you caught me. I do tend to fall into this more often than I'd like. I may just drop this part of Data Ghost. If necessary, if I really want to keep a self-heal, I might introduce it as a new ability to take the place of Stealth Mode. Still at the very start of figuring out what I want here, so any ideas are welcome.

    I absolutely want the projector to remain important and not just something to lock away. I'm considering having the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th recovery cycles (so everything BUT the single-action recovery) reset location back to the projector, so ensuring the projector remains safe and with the PC group is still of vital importance. That means I'll likely lower the cost for the projection switch, we'll see.
  • The pool it hit and the defense aren't always the same thing. Speed defense is the "basic" defense but Might is the basic damage pool.

    The Rest=reset seems like a good idea to me.

    For the Tier 4, maybe something less overt that hints at the growing connection to the Datasphere. Maybe every time the player enters a new area, he can make a difficulty 6 Intellect roll to see what bits of code are flying through the air. Giving him insight to the area others might not grasp.
  • Definitely thinking of splitting this up into a separate descriptor (race) and focus.

    The descriptor will probably be something like Infoplasmic or similar, and will cover the more soft-hologram-ish aspects, including the resistances/weaknesses.

    This focus will probably be renamed to something like Is Bound to a Holoprojector or similar, to better concentrate the theme on being bound to this projection device. I figure that if the character does not take Infoplasmic in conjuction with this focus, then they will be more of a hard-light hologram (except when glitching), and appear as a normal flesh and blood being. The projection system in this case will replicate normal damage and healing as if they were flesh and blood, so no special rules for weaknesses or strengths.

    I'll see if I can start work on that tonight. Any thoughts on this?
  • edited August 2015
    Okay, I've renamed this focus to better concentrate on the importance of the holoprojector artifact to which the character is bound. 

    Also, I've extracted most hologram mechanics changes into the Infoplasmic Descriptor, as it will act like a new race. If a character with this focus is not using Infoplasmic, Ghostly, or a similar descriptor, it is assumed their projection is a hard-light projection that is perfectly mimicking a flesh and blood being.

    I've added in a limited scan at T1, which I feel is necessary for an AI character. I've removed the ability to tell the level of a creature or object, so the actual scan esotery will be required for that.

    I've replaced the T4 Stealth Mode ability with Overclocked, which is a combination of a heal and a temporary increase to a stat edge, usable once per day. Not fully committed to this one, alternate suggestions are welcome.

    The wording on the T5 ability Network Senses has been improved per previous suggestions.

    I'm looking for more input or alternate suggestions for the T6 ability Data Ghost. While I like the ability to be unbound from the projector for a period of time, and while the teleport-to-projector ability is kind of neat, this does not feel like a T6 ability, and its usefulness seems rather minimal. I was considering some kind of phasing accompanying this, like the Exists Partially Out of Phase abilities Walk Through Walls or Ghost, but I'm not committed to that either. Any other ideas are welcome.
  • Now that you have a separate descriptor for Infoplasmic, I think you should remove the bodilessness from the focus, allowing a character to have a body and project through the projector.
  • Can't say I've put much thought into having it work like this. I'm kind of curious how it would work. Would the character have to have a device on their head or something and essentially be unconscious while they project elsewhere? Or would they be able to act and project at the same time, as if controlling two characters at once?

    While at first I was a bit skeptical of this idea, I could see it being interesting if you have a disabled or otherwise incapacitated character, and required a projection in order to contribute. 


    Corrin Mana said:
    Now that you have a separate descriptor for Infoplasmic, I think you should remove the bodilessness from the focus, allowing a character to have a body and project through the projector.



  • edited August 2015
    I've made some major changes here, and I feel this is pretty much finished, unless there are any glaring errors or brilliant suggestions.

    The most major change is I've opened up this focus for all characters, not just disembodied AI. If you have a physical body, you also gain a helmet or circlet or similar artifact which allows you to switch to your projected form from the holoprojector. This of course introduces an interesting vulnerability, since you have no sensory link with your physical body while projecting.

    For those wishing to play a disembodied AI character bound to a holoprojector, use the Infoplasmic descriptor or similar.

    The other major change is the inclusion of projection routines. This makes available a chosen and limited selection of esoteries to choose as powers during character advancement, even if you're a glaive or a jack. Abilities which are not native to your tier (or that are available but at a higher tier than your current) may only be used through the holoprojector. While I feel that the powers chosen best match with the theme of force and light and the datasphere, I may reduce the choices to around 2 per tier if there's enough worry of being too much.

    Powers with costs have had their costs reduced to be equal to their tier.

    Tier 1 has been reworked completely. I am using the Fuses Flesh and Steel T1 ability as the model here. The ability is exactly the same: +1 armor, +3 speed, +3 might, but these only apply while projecting.

    The special healing part is a bit more restrictive, however, as you cannot heal your projection by normal medical means (your physical body can be healed just fine, however), and the first 3 Might damage and first 3 Speed damage must be restored through repairing the projector.

    Tier 4 has been changed completely. Instead of Overclocked, which provided a surge of healing and a temporary edge to a chosen stat, you get a Latent Projection Routine, chosen from the list of projection routines. The chosen power may be changed when you increase in tier.

    For Tier 5, Network Senses, I have removed the requirement that you had to not be projecting in order to activate the ability. 

    Tier 6, Data Ghost, has been reworked. It is now an action to enable, and lasts for 1 hour. During this time, you can project your form without the projector, and take advantage of the weaker force projection to phase through objects. This is basically a higher cost Tier 4 Ghost ability from Exists Partially Out of Phase, but it lasts longer, and halves your armor and damage dealt while in effect, and it doesn't give you a bonus to stealth. For an action and a point of Intellect, you may switch back to your projector, no matter how far it is.
  • Note that while in Data Ghost mode, you cannot use projection routines, since you're no longer using your projector. This also includes the T4 latent projection routine.
  • Looking for any feedback on this latest version, for those who can spare the time :)
  • Where can I find information on "Projects from a Floating Holoprojector" Focus. The Celestial Wisdom book on RPGDriveThru?
  • Apart from focusing (hah) on the holoprojector aspect, isn't this conceptually the same as Resides in Silicon from In Translation?
  • Are the links to get the files for the Holoprojector and Infoplasmic broken? been trying the links above without success.
  • Many links to secondary pages or files broke in the migration. There just wasn't much we could do to prevent that. That said, I can usually restore them when they are pointed out. I'll take a look at this thread and see what I can do and update once I know.
  • Okay, I was able to restore those links. Looks like all of them were pointing to the same base thread, so they should all work now.
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