Star Log.EM: Infosphere Mystic Connection (SFRPG)
This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
After the usual, flavorful Query-entry as a brief introduction, we begin sans much ado with the new connection: Associated skills would be Computer and Engineering, and spells include dream from Starfarer’s Companion – the series assumes the shared Xa-Osoro system, after all. However, in a rather nice twist, we also get a new spell that is granted by the sphere (otherwise, tech 5): Digital profile, which lets you name a creature by name and attempt a Computer check with a DC of 30 + 1.5 times the creature’s CR. Pseudonyms and aliases, if any, can influence the DC as well. On a success, you create a blog that contains all online posts and uplinks made by the creature…but this does NOT help you sift through the information – that can take a LONG time. In short: While a help for investigations, it does not render them obsolete.
The connection lets you add +1 language per rank of Culture and allows you to substitute Culture checks when lying or changing your appearance. I am generally not a fan of skill substitution, but I’ll let that one pass for its limitations and the fact that it does make sense. It also has to be compared to the potent abilities of other connections, so some better cosmopolitan (haha) sleuthing can be considered to be okay here. At 3rd level, we get a mystic router – a free datajack that doesn’t count against the cybernetic augmentation limit, with datajack level equal to mystic level. It may also be used to interface with online networks, but still requires Computers checks. Basically, this makes you somewhat akin to Shadowrun’s Otakus.
6th level yields lightspeed searching, which lets you use your mystic router while connected to an online information network to research topics related to Culture, Life Science, Mysticism, Physical Science, or any Profession skill and research time for these is halved. 9th level provides wireless delivery, which is the later, but deservedly so, really powerful active trick you’ve been waiting for: You can cast spells with a range of touch over wireless networks at range. Upgrade to close range costs 1 Resolve Point and a spell thus cast only affects one creature. You still have to hit target’s EAC with non-harmless spells. Alternatively, you can upgrade this range to medium range for 2 Resolve Points. This obviously requires wireless coverage. I have a bit of a conundrum here. Does this require that the target is included in the area of wireless coverage? Personal jamming via e.g. a signal jammer that includes the target, but not the mystic in range could use a bit of clarification here. (And yes, this is a pretty specialized case.) If you’re btw. thinking about abusing this, remember, though, that the spells still need line of effect, as per the global rules, so the ability, while cool and potent, remains in line.
12th level yields a clairvoyance/audience-duplicate, but one that is based on a given online network; the ability can be recharged with a brief rest and a Resolve Point. 15th level yields an upgrade for the aforementioned digital profile spell, providing significantly more detailed information, including terminal location, for, bingo, 1 Resolve Point. The final ability would be diviner’s database, which makes your spells basically copy information into a mystic form of cloud server, allowing you to download and process rather impressive chunks of data. And yes, you can willingly delete data from it.
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring hiccups. Layout adheres to Everyman Gaming’s 2-column full-color standard for the series and the pdf comes with a nice piece of artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none.
The infosphere connection is really interesting, in that it expands the role of the mystic to the net-wizard, the Otaku, the coding guru…or the mega-creepy cyber-stalker. Its focus on research and sleuthing/secret agent-y skills is fresh for the class and makes sense to me. I’d enjoy playing one of these fellows, with cultural knacks, profiles etc. As a kind of shadow broker, the connection could make for a potent tool for villains as well and I’d enjoy seeing two mystics with this sphere attempting to duke it out while avoiding capture. It’s a remarkable subtle sphere, and one that can fit in rather well even in games that are closer to scifi than full-blown space opera/science-fantasy. In short, I did rather enjoy this supplement. My final verdict will be 5 stars, missing my seal by a tiny margin. Still, highly recommended if you’re looking for a more subtle mystic!
You can get this cool connection here on OBS!