Continuing my series on the Space Knight, I’m going to delve into what they can do with their psionics, starting with Anti-Psi. For a more general overview of what you can do with Anti-Psi, see the Anti-Psi in Action post over on Mailanka’s Musings.
A Space Knight has a minimum of one level of talent and 20 points in actual abilities. What does that get you with Anti-Psi? As a general rule, this level of investment gets you abilities that only affect yourself, need skin to skin contact to work, or need a god-like extra effort to pull them off at range. Plan accordingly.
Astral Blade 1 gives you an attack against things like Force Ghosts, and against material targets you can drain Psionic Energy Reserves.. The latter ability is the more useful one, especially since it can’t be detected, can’t be taken away from, and directly attacks Energy Reserves. However, this is an extremely weak ability. Immaterial targets are rare, the psis you face may not have energy reserves, and if they have any amount of armor it’s completely negated.
Interruption 1 is the max you’re going to buy with 20 points, which means that it requires skin-to-skin contact with a subject to work. Even with skill 17 and extra effort, you’re still only going to really be able to do this at very short range at best. This isn’t all bad, though, since it gives you a way to break the influence a psi might have on someone, and it’s another avenue of resistance if a psi is trying to use them on you.
Para-Invsibility 3 gives a -3 to a psi’s attempts to detect you and anything near you with psi. This isn’t a lot, but it might make the difference between a psi getting their Danger Sense off or not, and that could make a world of difference in a fight. You’re also harder to see coming, which can be useful. With extra-effort, that goes up to -6, which still won’t guarantee protection, but it will help a lot!
Psionic Shield 10 should be read as “Immunity to Mind Tricks”, among other things. Telepaths are going to have a very hard affecting you, if they can do it at all. With extra-effort, you can extend this protection to everyone standing near you, which can be very useful if you’re going after a Telepath.
Screaming 1 may not seem impressive, but since you can buy up to skill 19, you can do more with it than you might think. On its own, it’s a potent defense against any psionics that would affect you or anything you’re carrying. You can also reliably extend this protection to anyone standing very close to you, and if you’re in melee with a psi, they’re going to have a much harder time using combat abilities. With Tiring Scream, a psi will quickly decide to leave you alone.
Resistant to Psionics +8 is another very potent defence, and is perhaps the most generally useful ability you can get with starting points. No matter what the psi is trying to use on you, it’s going to be very hard for them to make it work.
For Anti-Psi perks, Gaze into the Abyss will likely rattle psis, especially if you have one of the defensive abilities. Hostile Dampening is good for scaring psis and getting information out of them. Nonthreatening helps you get close to your targets, while Personal Awareness helps you notice when someone is trying to affect you. Simple Defense is good for making psis regret trying to affect you, whether or not they succeed, and Tolerance makes it more difficult to affect you with certain abilities.
In short, with one level of Talent, an Anti-Psi Space Knight is mostly focused on defense against psionics. There’s variations in the particular flavor you can get, but it all boils down into how you protect yourself against psi.
I’m going to preface this by noting that, no matter what abilities you choose, the active ones are almost always resisted. Since any psi worth their salt is going to have good levels of skill and Will in their abilities, figure that you’ve got a 50% chance at best of pulling these off.
Astral Blade 7 is a very minor improvement over the base version. If you’re regularly fighting immaterial threats, it would be useful, but it’s just too narrowly effective to be worth the points otherwise.
Cancellation is a very potent ability, if you can touch the psi. Even with Cancellation 3 , you still need to make some contact with the psi. With extra-effort, you can do it at range, and at significant range if you can hit level 5, but the penalty to your skill from both range and extra-effort will make it difficult to affect the psi. If you have Luck, this is a good place to use it! You can also use this as Interruption, so keep that in mind.
Interruption 3 makes you very aggravating for a psi to deal with. If you can recognize that they’re trying to do something, you can try and shut it down, and the range penalties aren’t too bad. You’re going to want to buy as much Will and Talent as you can, though, because it’s all Quick Contests and psis tend to have good skill levels.
Para-Invsibility 10 means that you and anything near you can’t be detected with psi. Period. They can’t see you coming, they can’t find you, and they can’t use anything on you until they can physically see you. The downside is that you need to roll every minute. Try and persuade your GM to let you have No Nuisance Rolls for this.
Psionic Overload 3 lets you use this at range, but arguably, you’re better off just getting Psionic Overload 2 and using the rest to buy up skill, Will, and Talent. This is cheaper than Cancellation, but it’s much less predictable in its effects. The greater likelihood of affecting your target should be weighed against the hazards of uncontrolled psionics. If you have Cancellation, then using this becomes a 5 point upgrade to that ability.
Psionic Shield 25 is ludicrous. Psis won’t be able to affect your mind, but you’re better off buying Psi Static. Still, something like Psionic Shield 10 is pretty good, especially if you put points in Talent, Will, and Skill to be able to use the techniques effectively. Expansion in particular may prove important!
Screaming 3 lets you generate a 2 yard radius around yourself where psis have a much harder time operating. With the extra points, you can even buy up more skill to make it harder still. However, the drawback is that you have to Concentrate to use this ability. You’ll need allies to effectively use this ability.
True Sight lets you see past psionic illusions, but how useful this is seems rather dubious. Psi-Wars psionics include very little in the way of illusions, and so it’s unlikely that this will come up much. Perhaps against certain types of Broken Communion?
Psi Static is the ultimate in personal protection against psionics. They can’t affect you, they can’t see you coming with psionics, and there is nothing they can do about it. This is perhaps the best ability Anti-Psi offers, because it’s guaranteed to work.
The single biggest problem with Anti-Psi abilities is that they’re almost always contested. Any competent psi is going to have good levels of skill and especially Will, and since so many of your abilities work only at close range by default, you can’t really sacrifice skill for range. Screaming is an exception, but you still need to get close and you can’t do anything else while screaming.
Really, if you want to go the Psi-Hunter route, take Resistant to Psi +8 and spend your 50 Power-Up points on something else. Your abilities are too unreliable and limited to do more as a 300 point character.