Furthering talks about various powers and ways to look at them this time around i am talking about Astral Projection: this power is primarily considered to be one where in the character takes his soul/mind/spirit/senses out of his body and perceives other realms and places at his mental choice but not physical direction. There is an assumption that the character while doing so is physically resting (like sleep) or at least not exerting his primary physical form while the character traverses to where they wish to investigate whether in the real or another world. Usually the character needs to have guards or other ways to protect the body in order to safely/fearlessly use the power. If the body usually occupied is left un-maintained and unoccupied for long enough all sorts of problems may arise from greater recuperative needs to another being may take the original characters place and begins to fulfill its own priorities with the new body it has.
A: Usually by leaving the body behind a character rarely takes enough along to attack with. Other abilities like Mental and Emotional Control could easily be effective as does other nonphysical or non-contact abilities. Because the projected form nearly always fails to have enough substance to reflect all light at best the appearance itself can rarely cause shock in opponents; in some cases the character can possess targets as a way of gaining an offensive power but this should be reserved for those characters without other offensive capacity.
B: Defensively this ability can be considered almost like not being there, making it a truly marvelous defense in that case. However no defense is perfect so a GM may have to come up with situations wherein either some forms of energy or matter prevent the easy passage of such a character or abilities that can seek to harm the Projecting creature. In addition to projecting into different parts of the real world from their own body, Astral powers do well for duplicating projection into other ‘worlds’ like dream lands, computer realities or as a variant of self only dimensional travel (early Sci-Fi Stories sometimes handled interplanetary travel this way).
C: This power could be viewed as one of the safer forms of movement by simply being able to pass through many of the more classical hindrances to travel. Yet the character, though passing through the area (and likely discovering much in their travels) the character does have a certain level of leaving the obstacles to be still overcome even if their secrets have been revealed. Defended castle walls must still be breeched by some sort of attack or subterfuge, caverns though mapped still need to be traversed, after finding the kidnapped NPCs in the Intergalactic HQ they must still be returned, etc.
D: In some scenarios, the safety of the travel form can result in a decision by the Gm and players to shortcut the travel parts of this powers use (making it a speed of plot power) and make the power a variant of a safe far sensory ability. In these cases, the GM and player should take short periods wherein the astrally scouting character investigates something then re teams up with the other characters in order to share the spotlight properly with others.
Examples of Astral Projection Powers: (1d10)
-Astral Scout: the character can with little difficulty send forth his body as a sort of clairvoyance, seeing (or more) of the likely obstacles to be faced. Depending upon certain factors the character may only be able to see or hear the likely obstacles, though some variants may allow other opportunities for a showcasing of the other senses. Unlike certain forms of this power the character is not allowed to actively encounter individuals (i.e. fight, speak, alter physical objects etc.) but in most cases, can still be cut off from access by certain powers (force fields are the most notable power) whether magics or technologies are used to hedge the character out. The Character also most likely must leave their body somewhere during these scouting missions, perhaps their fellows must deal with a challenge of keeping their scout alive.
-Be still my soul: Rather than traveling the character can determine their location in the multi-verse and communicate this to the characters’ allies or possibly someone they have a generally supernatural connection with, this is still subject to other limitations of the standard astral projection suite of abilities. Other versions of the power may have the character appearing to be dead to the senses of others resulting in the characters body being treated as other dead bodies are and perhaps left unguarded allowing ample escape opportunities, though used recklessly this may result in more dangers.
-Constant Companion: The character has a spirit self that is constantly around unless blocked. Perhaps the characters’ soul has been separated from their body, the soul was split, was twinned, a deceased acquaintance (a friend or relative for example) or it is an unrelated spirit (whether dead or a native of the spirit place/realm) with a purpose sometimes benign to the character. Sometimes the spirit has its own motivations and goals for the character to discover and deal with as a part of the characters’ or NPCs’ story. The stranger the story for the why the character has a companion most likely the stranger the spirit will be. The character can use Charisma vs. Charisma Challenges in order to get help of some sort from the Companion (and the more powerful the spirit the greater the Spirits Charisma should be), the better the player rolls (though better roleplaying is preferred) the more helpful the Companion can be while failure reduces the willingness of the companion to aid, or as an alternate requiring more sacrifices, presenting more complex riddles/less useful answers.
-Dream travel: When this style of power is accessed the character has typically two choices in the base operation of projection power; the power only works while dreaming or the power only operates to allow entrance to other characters currently dreaming. These other realms of existence may have some modified rules for their behavior but should follow the conventions dreaming have. Other versions have even greater restrictions requiring, for example, that the power must be used within the nightmare realm, which can be far more horrific and possibly deadlier to the characters. Some offensive versions of this power can be used to force a target into sleep for 20 pr, but because of the link between the characters both parties take the damage inflicted on each other as well as effects of combat up to and including death.
-Ghost Forest: In this case, the character instead of projecting himself into the astral plane chooses to partially project others into the plane perhaps as a form of punishment or maybe as a way to grant unusual powers (such as a lifespan long enough as to grant immortality, but typically not enough to make a target into a superhero level of power), as a good rule of thumb any major transformation of a character should cost 20 PR or more typically with at least one save opportunity if not two. Most times the power should be less ‘powerful’ than the Death Touch base ability.
-I am living still: Unlike true resurrection powers the character with this power can to a certain extent survive death whether like a ghost or by becoming a motive concept with the forces of the universe. Essentially the character upon death joins those who have this power permanently ‘on’. Becoming limited yet more powerful upon ‘death’ by not passing on/re merging with the flow of the universe this also means that the character has goals or unfinished business in some cases.
-Light Speed Search: the character can search a reasonably sized area via this power concept. Up to 75% of Small outdoor maps +5%/ Stat over 15, up to 35% of Medium outdoor maps +5%/ Stat over 15 is searchable this quickly with up to 10% of Large scale outdoor maps +5%/ Stat over 15 is easily searchable at this speed for only 15 Power and a minimum of 1 turn action. Alternately up to 10% Globally +5%/ 2 points of power spent on this effect alone. The Character can as an action pay the power expenses & make another to hit roll per additional area to be searched. How long this takes and its effectiveness may be determined by the plot needs as well as noting that there are ways to stop this power from effectively working in certain cases.
-Mystic Memoriam: The Character has access a superior form of a base located in the Astral plane (or wherever the character considers a relatively stable locus for his activities) from which they may recover from combat better, access stores of knowledge, strange allies, training techniques or other items appropriate to the concept for the power. In some cases, this place is only accessible when the character is ‘dead’ hosting the eternal version of the character in between reincarnations or only some of the advantages are available during short visits with longer stays needed to gain the full abilities in the location.
-Spirit Guide: The character is always partially projected into the astral universe whether from a near death experience, mutation or miscast spell. Having such an anchor can serve several purposes depending upon how the character uses this connection but typically this ability is information gathering based. The Character may be able to see the unseen or do the impossible because of the guidance from the spirit world whether passive, active overt or subversive. Unfortunately, this power does mean that the character may not be able to cross certain barriers or wards even if the effect does not typically pass into the physical realm or influence others without this ability.
-Web Master: the character is projected into the World Wide Web /Internet /The Net /Appland /Cyberspace /whatever the appropriate name is for the medium of information exchange. Since this is a power it most likely makes the character very powerful if not godlike in this information realm depending upon how ubiquitous the power is the characters’ relative power levels are highly variable. In some cases there may be defenses in a very real and dangerous sense in others the character may end up treating even the highest and most top secret of defenses available as little more than speed bumps in the quest for impact upon this realm.
The photograph is mine modified by Paint.net and taken in the Crown Hill Cemetery near 32nd and Wadsworth, while the art features (from left to right) Enigma, Envisioner & Wraith.