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Messages - CarlD.

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I've seen Telepaths reviled for a number of reasons. The catagorization of telepathy as an innately a violation analogous to rape does go pretty far back. Its been treated as invading the most sacred and private thing a person has: their mind and an element of horror or sometime. Mind rape has old term. Its not a hard comparison to understand: the horror and helplessness it could engender would be akin to a brutal physical violation.

Rape is a visceral term. It strikes a innate revulsion in most people. I don't think that particular way to vilify has any direct connection to "rape culture" aside from being a way of articulating intense repugnance and innate wrong similar to Right to Privacy and sanctity in the mind for those that feel those are powerful and intrinsic aspect of humanity. People that are repulsed by the idea are going to associate and compare it to horrible things. Rape is one of them.

Basically, if some thing squicks you its going to be associated with something else that squicks you.

Personally, I think that it is an over generalization. Any ability can be abused, any can be beneficial but it the ideas can make for interesting fiction in any numnber of ways.

Quote from: Krimson;1022815
Remember that Batman movie with Heath Ledger as the Joker, and how he robbed the bank at the beginning of the movie? All of his minions were fed just enough information to play out their part of the plan with no idea what anyone else was doing. A good bad villain can use this to their advantage, using expendable pawns to forward a plan without any of them even knowing what the plan is. In fact, no one even knew who the Joker was until he introduced himself. He could have kept doing what he was doing, and a telepath would be really hard pressed to figure out why all this chaos was happening. Even if a telepath reads psychic impressions, that might still not give any useful information away. I'd go even a step further and have most of the hired help not even know who they are really working for. Use expendable proxies as go betweens who let their guard down because the boss just have them a promotion, and make sure their bodies are cold by the time the mind reader gets near them. :D

Oh yeah, there are work arounds for it. Telepathy might be a spoiler like insanely high Detectice abilities or social skills but they can be handled. I'm not unsympathetic to gms that find it more work than they want to do. Just creating a good mystery or plot can be take a boat load of effoct.

But then its probably incumbent on those indivduals to restrict or ban powers in their games they don't want to and can't deal with, IMO.

I do like your point about people having different recollections of the same event. That totally happens all the time. Their mental state determines the details they fixate on, which get reinforced while other information gets fuzzy.

I read a really interesting article on how fragile memory can be that included accounts from people about their high school experience where, for example, bullies remebered those years and the event so differently that the truly thought there targets where among their best friends.

In the Star Wars Clone Wars series, Mandalorians were trained to resist Jedi mind tricks, in addition to cool shields that could block lightsabers. Monks in D&D have had ways of resisting mind control and charm like abilities, and Rogues in 3.Xe could learn Slippery Mind with the right Prestige Class, Shadowdancer I think. The point is, fiction has good examples of normal people being able to learn how to resist psychic powers, or at the very least hide their surface thoughts from passive scans. Now any GM that uses that regularly is a dick unless they have good reason, like an antagonist group which deliberately trains their people because their plans have been screwed up by telepaths one too many times. Which means at least once. So in that case whomever is in charge may have a history with telepaths, if they are not one themselves.

Good point, the longer and more well known telepaths are they more structures and procedures will be in place to trip them up. From the opposite end, if they're largely unknown and/or distrusted just reading someone's mind may not be enough. You'd have something tangible to verify your findings.

Quote from: jhkim;1022894
Actually, there wasn't any inter-player personal conflict between me and Allesandra - the player of the telepath. I was angry at the GM, in that I felt like he set these things up without giving my PC Blackout his due, but I was fine with her PC trying to kill my PC.

I wasn't there so I'm not going to argue with you. Experiences with similar situations has shown me there is usually some degree of resentment involved i these situations though, even when the participants don't realize or acknowledge it. In in any case, it seems to have left an impression.

I mostly agree. I think the GM should have consulted more with me before setting up that sort of plot line. I intended Blackout to be a wrench in the works, but he mostly had murderous intent towards the admittedly totalitarian government, not against other PCs. The plan against the other PC was a contingency, not something he really wanted. By having her specifically see the plan against her, he jumped up the conflict.

It seems like there were three responsible parties: both players and the gm. I would agree the gm takes the lions share of it as he seems to have stirred the pot in a very provactive way without consultation or much consideration.

As far as the in setting fiction goes, I'd be more sympathetic to the telepath in this guess. Knowing nothing else about her aside from she has telepathy (something you appear from earlier statements to have misgiving about as a rule) or "Blackout" aside from he's a frequent killer who seems those to share those views I can understand her being horrified and infuriated that he'd made plans to kill her even it was supposedly only just in case particularly if he didn't have such contingencies for everyone else just her because of what she was. Going immediately to homicide strikes me as classic PC reaction on her part but isn't completely out of bounds from what I know of ths situation at the moment.

It could have made for interestng rp but it was handled poorly, IMO.

analogy for my opinion is that its like a society of blind where occasionally though some fluke some are born with sight. They have a large advantage over most in many ways (includong the ability to spy and conspire in ways the bulk of society can't and possibly can't concieve of).

I complelely understand why some of majority would feel disturbed by their existence and even suspicious of the Sighed and their extra sense, and jealous which rarely leads anywhere good. I probably would too if I was in there situation. But I wouldn't feel it was right if that society either exiled, impriseoned or exiled the Sighted or require their eyes be gouged out before they've done anything.

Quote from: The Black Ferret;1022807
Telepathy/Mind-Reading has always given me migraines in games. Depending on the system, it can be too easy for a PC to basically get you to give them the write up for the adventure. Justifying every major villain having some form of mind shield can get just as difficult. Mental powers can work in comics because the writer has full control over them and what they can and can't do, as well as when they get used. Putting them in the hands of a player, however, opens up a whole new can of worms. I would generally allow for surface thoughts and emotions to be sensed relatively easily, but reading a hostile, resisting target would be harder, and the difficulty would ramp up the deeper you try and go.

Moving away from the mind field of personal ethics regarding imaginary abilities, Mental powers can make handling mysteries a chore. Its important to keep track of relatively minor details in some cases like who was actually there for exactly what and what imoressions (real or otherwise) they might have gotten (people don't always remember things accurately. Memory is very volitale and fragile particularly over time and with emotion. Two people can have entirely different recollections of the same event. Which makes it a bit less of a pain than many forms of Retrocognition.

Quote from: jhkim;1022680
I haven't read the X-Men / Micronauts, but in X-Men and New Mutants I have seen many cases where Professor X reads the inner thoughts of his students and even changes their thoughts - ostensibly for their own good. I also found his character thoroughly despicable.

I haven't always agreed with his calls but I've found does think about the ethics and repercussions of what he does and doesn't do so casually or for his own reward or amusement. That is under most writers. I think every character in comics sometimes seems to have MPD when their writer changes or they have lengthy runs. Look at how different Superman and Batmam even the Joker has changed over the years, for example. But I've generally found Xavier positive despite having some of the most tempting to abuse power sets in the genre.


I do think there are a ton of inherent issues in telepathy, and a number of RPG sources have interesting looks at these. The Zhodani from Traveller are an interesting example. They literally have thought police - but they are seen as largely benevolent, like the friendly beat cop who discourages crime and such.

I don't think the issues are inherent as in this power or having this ability or even using it are automatically bad things. Like any enhanced ability or superhuman being it can be abused, put to immoral , neutral beneficial or criminal use. Psionics is not different to my mind except being high on  potentially corrupting scale. With great power etc etc...


In games, ethical issues has rarely been a major problem for me. Usually game telepathy requires some sort of attack roll - making it expressly an offensive power, and players generally use it only against active opponents (i.e. villains who are attacking them). Plus, my feelings on the subject may spill over into games.

Still, a long time ago in a futuristic superhero campaign, I had a character who was waging a secret campaign of assassination against the evil world government they were opposing. Many of his top targets were telepaths and mind controllers - as important steps in any secret campaign. He even had a contingency plan to kill a fellow PC telepath. Late in the campaign, the GM gave her a note that she accidentally read his mind and saw his plans to kill her - so she tried to kill him. I felt like this justified his having the plan in the first place. She tried to kill him for thinking of something he might do in the future. The other PCs were on her side, though, so I retired him and he went off to become an NPC.

But  wan't your character has come up with plans to kill her not just because of what she might do, but because of what she was.  I would be highly antagonistic towards someone that went so far as to make plans to murder me not because of what I did but for what I was. Making thought out plans to kill someone in case isn't a great thing to do. Imagine finding out a colleagues had made plans to kill you in cold blood if you do something they feel  is wrong  or becomes necessary in their opinion because of your ethnicity or some other innate factor of what you are. That would horrify or piss almost anyone off.

Immediately trying to kill him right back was an off  reaction but it is in line with PCs (where deadly violence is often way to casually and immediately resorted too) And This case sounds like GM just did it stir the pot since he passed her note that said she accidentally read his mind unless that's somehow possible in the game system. Otoh  how does the Telepathic PC present their side without it getting meta on all sides.

Sounds like neither PC handled it or was handled particularly well and like most Intra PC conflict it got at least a little metagame personal OOC. At the very least in rpg logic as wonky as it was it seems like both PCs had ample reason to want to do each other in. And that it might have been the gms intent which was a dick move by the gm. Was that kind of relationship between the PC s part of the game?

A more realistic or at least rational reaction might have been to call out the assassin out. OTOH, there's no easy way to prove his plans even exist unless her accidental discovery revealed material means as well. It almost sounds like the plot of a thriller. Similar scenarios have come up in comics "Oh I came up with ways, plans, means to kill you because you're a psi, mutant, alien, really power, etc... you never know. Why are you so mad?" It can be dramatic but I think those sort of things are better either worked out with players before hand or to come up 'naturally' over the course of the game not egineered by the gm. It feels heavy handed. But then again, a secret that never comes to light is wasted in fiction and rpgs. On the gripping hand, IME Murderous intra PC conflict rarely ends well unless that's what everyone signed on for. Its important to discuss that sort of thing before the game begins.

Quote from: Darrin Kelley;1022269
I had a player in one of the early Champions campaigns I played in who liked using the other characters in the group as puppets. And who liked actually countering the decisions other players made with their mind control powers. From a player's point of view, it destroyed the experience of playing one's own character. And eventually the player got thrown out of the group due to that and other social problems.

Sounds like a messed up player more than any innate issue with the abilities. I've seen similar issues arise from abilities ranging from social skills (a tendency which IMO, lead to the animosity many players feel towards them and that allot game avoid by outlawing them, to working on other PCs) to just being the physically toughest or magically powerful. Any power can be abused.

Quote from: Omega;1022478
Um... what the fuck version of that comic did you read?

Check his earlier posts. Make up your own mind about him. But I am surprised this thread stayed as grounded as did for as long as did.

Quote from: Omega;1022224
Actually it goes at least as far back as Star Trek TNG and the advent of the character of Troi's mother as she came across as invasive. And at the very least acted like the was rifling through more than surface thoughts or emotions. Some viewers didnt like that. They had a shorts arc in Voyager too where they dealt with a group that had outlawed telepaths under the banner that telepaths violate a persons privacy or somesuch.


Telepathy, especially non-consensual telepathy as rape has been a concept for sometime. I recall it coming up in the 70s at least and its likely been around earlier. The idea of something or thing being able to, often casually sort through a persons deepest memories thoughts is frightening, frightening enough that some people find it abhorrent and a violation for whatever reason. I think the morality of psi is like most things complicated and to some degree subjective but I admit I'd find the idea of someone able to read my thoughts and memories, even tamper with them, particularly without my knowledge unnerving. Everyone has things they'd rather not make public (and don't, most have a filter of some sort even just basic shame), we're totally in control of where our minds go. Even 'just' a hyper perceptive person would probably make more guarded and uncomfortable around them and I doubt I'd be alone in that.

Quote from: Omega;1022222
Thing is. People unconciously broadcast their thoughts visually too. Its alot more basic. But if someone can pick up on it it is still reading someone.

True but generally people consider it different if someone figures out things intuitively by unconsciously and consciously picking up on subtle clues or finding them them out from peeking through a person's windows, bugging their house or breaking in when they're not at home to rifle through their stuff, to use a loose analogy. Someone thick a s brick, a typical person or a Sherlock Holmes can do the former and most wouldn't consider it dodgy, but the former is stalker like to outright illegal. Some people might find both intrusive but odds are they're going to find the latter more so.

Some are going to find telepathy to fall into the former area, mainly because its 'unnatural' and almost impossible for most people to defend against. BUT like other powers its going to depend on how they're used and the motivation. Probing a kidnapper's mind to find out where their victim is might be fine, probing someone's mind to find out their credit card number not so much. You're going to have extremes and subjectivity along the entire range of reactions. Again there are allot of powers that will cause this but as it pertains to what most humans consider sacrosanct, their own thoughts and memories or in the case of Mind Control, their emotions and basic Free Will, reactions may be stronger and more extreme.
It can make for interesting setting elements and role playing. Extremely in depth, non-consensual probing of someone's mind might be considered akin to rape as mental violation equal to the physical violation. In some setting it actually feels like a similar assault. It could be considered worse particularly by a telepathic culture. A somewhat common way for victims of physical assault and rape can take some assurance from is that their attacker may violate their body but not their minds. But that is not the case with a telepath.

In the interest of clarity, Darrin Kelly, did you mean specifically Telepathy or Psionics over all as you mentioned Mind Control which is its own ability in most rpgs and some settings.

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