Basically, Phantasm(2010) and Psionics: The Next Stage In Human Evolution use the same core game rules as each other – the DicePunk System, as presented here – and are basically crossover-compatible. However, Psionics was written a few years after Phantasm(2010), when I was a few years older and a few years wiser, so some minor design improvements on the original DicePunk System as presented in Phantasm(2010) were snuck in to Psionics without much comment. Most of these changes are very minor, but if you have an eye for small details, then this section’s for you.
In this section, I’m going to try and give commentary and guidance on anywhere that the Psionics and Phantasm(2010)rules disagree with each other. As a general guideline for anything I may have missed, use the following Golden Rule: the basic DicePunk rules as presented in Psionics supersede the basic DicePunk rules as presented in Phantasm(2010)wherever they disagree, and the basic DicePunk rules as presented here in the DicePunk SRD supersede both Psionicsand Phantasm(2010) should they contradict each other.
Please also note the Golden Exceptions, which are as follows:
- Rules in Phantasm(2010) that are genre-specific to chainsawing zombies to death like a boss and whatnot take precedence over all other DicePunk rules when playing Phantasm(2010).
- Rules in Psionics that are Psychopunk genre-specific take precedence over all other DicePunk rules when playingPsionics.
With all that said, here goes:
Special Attributes: In Phantasm(2010), Special Attributes are calculated differently based on Badass Tier, whereas inPsionics and here, there is a set formula for each Special Attribute. This is as it should be. Use the formulae on p. 21 ofPhantasm(2010) when building Phantasm(2010) characters, and use the standard formulae when building characters for any other DicePunk game.
Initiative: In Psionics, Initiative is correctly presented as (Speed × 2) + 2d6. This change was made to ensure that character Speed mattered more to Initiative order than random chance. To apply this to Phantasm(2010) PCs if desired, leave the variable (d6) portion of the Initiative as-is, but change Speed to (Speed × 2) for each Badass Tier. Monster Initiative for Phantasm(2010) does not need to change and should be left as-is.
Skill Picks: In Psionics and here, starting Skill Picks are equal to double the starting character’s Wits. InPhantasm(2010), starting Skill Picks are still based on the character’s Wits, but the formula for calculating them depends on the character’s Badass Tier. This is as it should be.
Untrained Penalty: In both Phantasm(2010) and Psionics, it erroneously states that Combat Skills that are Untrained suffer a -4 Penalty to the roll. This is incorrect. In every DicePunk game, the Penalty for using an Untrained Skill is only a -2 (a -2 DM for non-combat Skills or a -2 Attack Penalty for Combat Skills), even if the Skill is a Combat Skill.
Technique Picks: If you compare p. 27 of Phantasm(2010) to the Campaign Power Level table, you’ll notice thatPhantasm(2010) PCs at all Badass Tiers get significantly more Techniques than vanilla DicePunk PCs and way more Techniques than Espers in Psionics. This is correct, and should not be changed.
Techniques: There are many Techniques that are unique to Phantasm(2010), and do not appear in Psionics or in this SRD. This is intentional.
- Prerequisites. Some of the more extreme physical Techniques in Psionics require the Somakinesis Talent as a prerequisite to purchase them. Since other Dicepunk PCs aren’t Espers and can’t have the Somakinesis Talent, they can just do this stuff cuz they’re cool like that.
- Activation costs. In general, Techniques with activation costs in Phantasm(2010) cost either Faith or Health to activate. Techniques with activation costs in Psionics cost Power Points. Techniques with activation costs presented here in the SRD cost Health. Leave this as-is.
- Ambidexterity costs 2 Technique Picks in Phantasm(2010) but only 1 Technique Pick in later DicePunk rules. You can either leave it as is (Phantasm PCs get more Technique Picks to spend anyway), or houserule it in your Phantasm(2010) game to only cost one Pick, at the GM’s discretion.
- Dodge costs 2 Technique Picks in Phantasm(2010) but only 1 Technique Pick in later DicePunk rules. You can either leave it as is (Phantasm PCs get more Technique Picks to spend anyway), or houserule it in your Phantasm(2010) game to only cost one Pick, at the GM’s discretion.
- Dodge is also improved in this SRD and in Psionics, compared to how it is in Phantasm2010. Rather than adding a Defense Modifier with a successful Speed Check, it now makes the current/next Attack automatically miss you with a successful Speed Check. The Dodge text presented here should be applied to all DicePunk System games.
- Dodge has one last modification to consider. The rule that using the Dodge Technique automatically foils grapple attempts was introduced in Psionics and should be considered in play for all DicePunk games.
- Dual Wield is now called Dual Strike. NBD.
- John Wu Special costs 2 Technique Picks in Phantasm(2010) but only 1 Technique Pick in later DicePunk rules. You can either leave it as is (Phantasm PCs get more Technique Picks to spend anyway), or houserule it in your Phantasm(2010) game to only cost one Pick, at the GM’s discretion.
- Reposition costs 2 Technique Picks in Phantasm(2010) but only 1 Technique Pick in later DicePunk rules. It should only cost 1 Technique Pick, even in Phantasm(2010).
- Stealth Kill saw a slight nerf between Phantasm(2010) and Psionics, going from an auto-kill to automatic double damage. The GM should decide which version is better suited to his or her campaign and stick to it.
Aiming: Aiming in combat improved from Phantasm(2010) to Psionics. The rule presented in Psionics, that each Action spent aiming at a target applies a Defense Modifier of -2, up to a maximum -DM of twice the aiming character’s weapon Skill Bonus, should be considered correct for all DicePunk games.
Grappling: The rules for Grappling presented here and in Psionics should be used, rather than the older and slightly less detailed Grappling rules that originally appeared in Phantasm(2010). This includes the new Defense Modifier for grappling/being grappled.
Burst Fire: Using the “Hose” option with Burst Fire should add +2d6 damage. Using the “Spray” option with Burst Fire should inflict a -3 DM.
Covering Fire: The Speed Check to avoid taking damage when moving through an area being “covered” (with bullets!) should be Hard.
Damage and Healing: Phantasm(2010) characters heal a variable amount of Health every eight hours of rest based on their Badass Tier, as indicated in Phantasm(2010) on p. 55. Other DicePunk characters heal a fixed amount of 2d6 + Strength Health for every eight hours of rest. This is as it should be.
Wound Shock: You can use the optional Wound Shock rules presented here and in Psionics for your Phantasm(2010)campaign, if you want to.
First Aid: Somewhat more detailed rules for using First Aid are presented here and in Psionics, compared to those inPhantasm(2010). The former should be considered to take precedence.