Back in September, I posted about my dissatisfaction at the asymmetry of the my Psychic Combat Modes. In play-testing the other day, a thought hit me: most of the physical combat rules assume that you are using deadly force, but all of the psychic combat rules are based on that assumption. The one really big difference is that there is an option for non-deadly physical fighting i.e. grappling. So, perhaps a psychic grappling might serve as the solution to my aesthetic dilemma? Instead of doing direct Ability-damage, like the other Attack Modes, a successful psychic grapple would freeze you into inaction.
What I particularly like about that option is that as normal grappling is STR-based, I can make psychic grappling CHA-based and fill that one missing slot. Kallos, baby! The grappled guy has to make a CHA Throw to escape, just as the wrestled guy has to make a STR Throw.
Of course, there are still some details to work out. In physical grappling, the attacker has the option of squeezing the victim on subsequent rounds to do damage or to throw the victim. Should mental grappling have the same options? Although it sounds dangerously asymmetrical, my instinct is to say "no", but I'm not quite sure why.
Another thought is the applicability of the mental grapple. This touches on a subject that has been bothering me for some while: should there be some kind of Attack Mode that works against the non-psychics? YAG provided for that possibility (through some ridiculously complicated rules). I decided against it fairly early on and was working from the idea that having psychic sorcery was, potentially, as much burden as benefit, because it opened you up to the possibility of psychic combat. And I still like that idea.
But, something else that came out of play-testing brought this up again. You will doubtless recall my struggles over Scorpion Man benefits and drawbacks. One of the ways that I have addressed that is that I have removed psychic potential from the Akrab. They are now the only playable species that can't have sorcery. That was a suggestion from Drew and make so much sense I kind of had to wonder why the hell I hadn't thought of it. The alien bug-men have different brains that the humans? Shocker. But, going back to the past paragraph, that isn't as much of a drawback as it might seem because it makes them invulnerable to psychic combat.
So, I'm considering making psychic grappling the one Mode that can affect anybody. That then brings up another consideration. The Psionics of YAG had it that every psionic would get the Empty Mind Mode. So should Mental Grapple be the automatic first Attack Mode that all sorcerer's get? Or do you just take your chances?