On Read Minds

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TiaMaster
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On Read Minds

Postby TiaMaster » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:12 pm

SO I just started to pay attention to this power, and it seems kind of ...game ruining to me. Like as in, the players could just bypass the entire first act of my adventure from just one use of it.

"Success Levels:
• Good: Important memories are detected and
the target doesn’t know he’s being scanned.
• Outstanding: The target’s mind is an open
book."

How to avoid this? Have adventures where there are no secrets? A friend suggested that just because you have access to an open book, you still hafta FIND what you are looking for. Maybe use that somehow? A DSR to find that particular thought?

Spatula
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Re: On Read Minds

Postby Spatula » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:27 pm

Eh, Outstanding is the only result that can guarantee the telepath can find what he/she is looking for. Standard success gives just surface thoughts/feelings, Good gives memories that are important... to the target. In any case, it seems like it all comes down to what the target remembers. And our memories are not anywhere near as accurate, nor as static, as we think them to be. There's also the taboo of using the power among other, more ethical, psionics.

Savioronedge
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Re: On Read Minds

Postby Savioronedge » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:33 pm

This shouldn't be able to ruin a first act. Unless the end boss somehow meets the Knights and lets them know how important they are during said Act 1, the PC with this power won't have the opportunity to get ruining information, though they can get usefull tidbits for later.

Also remember, not everything "Known" by the target has to be correct or complete.

Ange Gardien
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Re: On Read Minds

Postby Ange Gardien » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:51 pm

I'm not the kind of GM wondering about this.
Who cares ?
They find with an outstanding success (not an easy task) all the intel they need...
Sure.
But it can bring you so many more opportunities.
All spells or weapons could be game breakers. Why bothering about the way of the clever ?
When a PC discover something, it's never an issue :)

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jhosmer1
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Re: On Read Minds

Postby jhosmer1 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:54 pm

If the player picks read mind, it's a flag for the GM that he wants his mind reading to beimportant. Work it into your game design. Give him minions to read that either lead him to the right path or who were fed misinformation.

Really, it's no worse than someone maximizing their intimidate skill for interrogations, or their computers skill to hack.

Wotan
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Re: On Read Minds

Postby Wotan » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:56 pm

jhosmer1 wrote:If the player picks read mind, it's a flag for the GM that he wants his mind reading to beimportant. Work it into your game design. Give him minions to read that either lead him to the right path or who were fed misinformation.

Really, it's no worse than someone maximizing their intimidate skill for interrogations, or their computers skill to hack.

This. Plus, talk to your players, I see this as a "social contract" issue as much as it is a game balance issue.
Mature players, who are viewing the game as a co-operative storytelling experience that's meant to be fun for all involved, are almost always receptive when a GM expresses concerns about some power, or other aspect of the rules, being potentially game breaking.

Discussing potentially problematic powers, before any XP, is spent is best if possible.
What are the player's expectation of how the power will work & how their character is likely to use it? What are the GMs concerns for how it might be abused in a game breaking way? What do the other players think?

Hopefully it'll be possible to find a middle ground where the player feels like the power is still a worthwhile purchase, which is going to be useful for their PC to have, without it wrecking plots or overshadowing other players' characters.
Sometimes this requires the player to adjust their expectations, sometimes it requires the GM to reflect on how they can work with the power; ideally working it into their plots, or, if/when they have to work around it doing so in a way which doesn't nerf it to the point where the player feels like a chump for having wasted XP on it.

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TiaMaster
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Re: On Read Minds

Postby TiaMaster » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:38 am

Savioronedge wrote:This shouldn't be able to ruin a first act. Unless the end boss somehow meets the Knights and lets them know how important they are during said Act 1, the PC with this power won't have the opportunity to get ruining information, though they can get usefull tidbits for later.


Uh, thanks but you don't know about my first act.

Ange Gardien wrote:I'm not the kind of GM wondering about this.
Who cares ?

All spells or weapons could be game breakers. Why bothering about the way of the clever ?
When a PC discover something, it's never an issue :)


I obviously care...

How can all spells or weapons be game breakers? HOW a PC discovers something is THE issue.

jhosmer1 wrote:If the player picks read mind, it's a flag for the GM that he wants his mind reading to beimportant. Work it into your game design. Give him minions to read that either lead him to the right path or who were fed misinformation.

Really, it's no worse than someone maximizing their intimidate skill for interrogations, or their computers skill to hack.


I agree with this mostly, but I don't want to wonder whether my adventure is going to be bypassed by certain Perks, and therefor have to go back and alter it after I see what the players have chosen.

Wotan wrote:This. Plus, talk to your players, I see this as a "social contract" issue as much as it is a game balance issue.
Mature players, who are viewing the game as a co-operative storytelling experience that's meant to be fun for all involved, are almost always receptive when a GM expresses concerns about some power, or other aspect of the rules, being potentially game breaking.

Discussing potentially problematic powers, before any XP, is spent is best if possible.
What are the player's expectation of how the power will work & how their character is likely to use it? What are the GMs concerns for how it might be abused in a game breaking way? What do the other players think?

Hopefully it'll be possible to find a middle ground where the player feels like the power is still a worthwhile purchase, which is going to be useful for their PC to have, without it wrecking plots or overshadowing other players' characters.
Sometimes this requires the player to adjust their expectations, sometimes it requires the GM to reflect on how they can work with the power; ideally working it into their plots, or, if/when they have to work around it doing so in a way which doesn't nerf it to the point where the player feels like a chump for having wasted XP on it.


Best answer.

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TiaMaster
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Re: On Read Minds

Postby TiaMaster » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:44 am

Think I will do some different things, such as if a player does get an Outstanding result, I could allow that to trigger a DSR to 'find' the memory. The trouble I have is with Good result. I don't want to tell the player, "Well, its a Good result, but all you get is memories of a misspent childhood. The code to the safe is nowhere in those thoughts."

Also, think I will allow the mind read to be a contest, just like Persuasion. Lessen the chances of an Outstanding.

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jhosmer1
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Re: On Read Minds

Postby jhosmer1 » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:58 pm

I wouldn't do a DSR unless the other players can participate somehow. A DSR is a lot of time for them to do nothing.

How about this for a Good Result... you get the memory you want, but the other person sees one of your memories?

Another possibility is to use some of the interrogation mechanics from intimidate but with telepathy

Blightcrawler
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Re: On Read Minds

Postby Blightcrawler » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:30 pm

TiaMaster wrote:Have adventures where there are no secrets?


If the player's will know (or be able to guess) whose mind to read and what information to seek in that mind in the first Act to ruin the game, the problem is clearly one of not enough secrets. Even if the villain must absolutely appear in the first act (it's always good to see the villain early), don't make it clear this person is an antagonist, but even more, don't make their secrets or their plans so plain that a mind reader would know what to search for.

Also, be sure to push the violation aspect of the power if you have a player who seems to read minds before asking questions. If the target is non-consenting, and the situation is not dire, then it's definitely not heroic. Maybe give them the info, making things easier than you'd like when you're caught off guard, and plan for a comeuppance for this mind-violator in the next story (or act).

The trouble I have is with Good result.


One key here is "important" memories. A safe code isn't a memory, as such, even though it might be critically important and be memorized. But "misspent youth" is hardly important - unless it is! You can even play with the players here, since it might not seem important, but one or two figures from the person's past might be important and good targets for information or leverage (particularly if that person was a positive influence).

An important meeting that's happened fairly recently (or that was significant, like recruitment), travel, the memories of building of a diabolical machine, gathering materials for a ritual, or all kinds of villainous activity can come up, be seen as immediately important, but not give away the safe.

Another key is "detected," which isn't necessarily knowing what the memories contents are. So, sure, they can detect the villain knows a saf

... if a player does get an Outstanding result, I could allow that to trigger a DSR to 'find' the memory....

Also, think I will allow the mind read to be a contest, just like Persuasion. Lessen the chances of an Outstanding.


Don't change the rules because it takes a little bit of extra planning on your part. If the player is pushing for "open book" to mean they can get any information they want, push back and remind them that they need to know what they're searching for.

Without enough context, I can't imagine how a player would get anything meaningful from a mind read. Even if they know the target has "nefarious plans," what plans are those? An ambitious person probably has dozens of plans, most of them will have very little to do with the adventure. Punishment of underlings, legal loopholes, finding a replacement corruptible accountant, repairing the lasers on the sharks, etc.

With context, any information should still require work to use. So what if they get the safe combination and location? Where's the safe? If the villain is in the same room as the safe at the same time their mind is being read, and the PCs have wherewithal to go rooting through the villain's stuff - that sounds like one defeated villain! I don't see how a mind reader can ruin the situation. On the other hand, the safe is probably in another country (or at least another building!) if it's holding anything of critical game-ending value, surrounded by guards, with many more security measures than a single combination.

Enforce the rules that are already there. If you're villain having a high willpower doesn't stop the Good and Outstanding success from happening, the effect still only lasts a minute. To get from one memory to something important is likely to take some time.

Sure, they can get the combination to the safe immediately, accessing a memory of the villain creating the combination and counting it in their head, but then what? The memory of the room, to know where the safe is - play some of this out with description because the mind reader needs to take this all in. Then the building the room is in, and maybe the player's want to be clever, and cut to the chase, it still takes time to explore all the linked memories that will tell them an address (the street and how the building looks from the outside to the city where the building is in). How much can happen in a minute? That's where you control the flow of information.

Like your friend mentions with the book analogy, it takes time. Skimming pages in a book is probably just as easy as exploring someone's memory lanes, even if you allow for jumping from memory to memory, it still takes time to take in the details of the memory. Unlike books, which are written to transmit information, memories are kept because it makes us who we are. Keep the memories coming from a personal perspective. The details the players want are minor compared to the hows and whys that the memories hold for the villain. You can give them a lot of important detail without giving away the game.


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