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View Full Version : [Palladium/Rifts] Acquire Language



Mark Hall
2019-10-10, 01:28 PM
Acquire Language (Sensitive)
Range: 60 feet/20m
Duration: Special
ISP: 10
Saving Throw: Special

This power scans the language centers of the brain, granting the psychic skill in the target's most proficient language. If the saving throw is failed (or forgone), then the psychic gains the language at 2/3s the skill of the target (round up). If the saving throw is successful, the psychic gains the language at 1/3 the skill of the target (round down). If the target is protected by a Mind Block, then no success is possible.
The psychic's grasp on this skill is tenuous, however. First of all, the psychic can only acquire one language at a time in this manner; acquiring a new language, or reacquiring the old, wipes the first from memory. Secondly, however, for every hour that the psychic does not make use of the language, their proficiency reduces by 3%. This time includes sleep, meditation, or any time spent away from a speaker of the language, but GMs should not count every individual minute the character is not engaging in conversation, just blocks of time.

Note: This is, conceptually, a mix of Telepathy and Mind Bond... gaining a very specific skill, for a limited duration, sometimes even around their natural, non-psychic, defenses (i.e. surface thoughts).

jjordan
2019-10-11, 07:23 AM
It's the kind of non-combat, ability enhancing spell I like so I'm predisposed to approve of this. But the mechanism of the spell sparks so many interesting question in my mind.

What if you established an ongoing mental link so the caster doesn't acquire the language but is just using the 'donor's' brain as a translation 'service'?
What if there was a mechanism to make the language acquisition permanent? Would this cause problems for the 'donor'?
Can you 'reverse' the spell and implant language in a target?
Can you acquire other skills? Implant other skills? ("I know kung-fu.")

The spell really pulls me into your setting. Nice.

Mark Hall
2019-10-11, 09:41 AM
It's the kind of non-combat, ability enhancing spell I like so I'm predisposed to approve of this. But the mechanism of the spell sparks so many interesting question in my mind.

What if you established an ongoing mental link so the caster doesn't acquire the language but is just using the 'donor's' brain as a translation 'service'?
What if there was a mechanism to make the language acquisition permanent? Would this cause problems for the 'donor'?
Can you 'reverse' the spell and implant language in a target?
Can you acquire other skills? Implant other skills? ("I know kung-fu.")

The spell really pulls me into your setting. Nice.

Those would be different concepts, to be sure.

Palladium has a psychic power, Mind Bond, which basically (in computer terms) takes an image of someone else's "hard drive", and puts it as a drive you can temporarily access. However, it does the same with your mind. What this actually means, in practice, is a little unclear, but we've always assumed it included language skills... Mind Bond with someone and you can talk with each other.

Separately, there's the minor power of Telepathy. You can scan surface thoughts and speak to their mind, but you can't really go deeper.

This power is a more specialized compromise of those two... specifically allowing you to learn the language they speak in, and having degredation if you don't use it, so people don't become instant polyglots (though instant polyglots aren't necessarily bad). Learning other skills this way would be a bit beyond the scope of what Palladium generally allows, except to a specific breed of alien psychics, and implanting language or skills might be possible, but also feels like more of an attack... this is a "handshake", as opposed to shoving something into someone's mind.

jjordan
2019-10-11, 11:41 AM
That makes sense. I haven't played Palladium since the late 80's so I've forgotten pretty much everything about the system.

You variation makes perfect sense to me and would be the sort of utility spell I encourage players to use and would want to use as a player.