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Olifant

Can mind control take over servitors?

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A player asked me this as he was pondering what routes to take. I told him, I would assume no. As they are lobotomized people who are more like circuit boards than brains, but I am unsure. What do you think interwebs?

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This is really tricky, but should make for an interesting discussion. :)

 

I think it comes down to just how we believe servitors operate, or in other words, how much of their action is still influenced by the fleshy bits in their heads. As we know, this is a topic where even established 40k novel authors disagree (see servitors in the Abnettverse), but I think we can broadly classify them into two schools:

 

The Hi-Tech class, where almost(?) the entire brain is cyberised, essentially a computer issueing commands almost directly to a servitor's muscles and limbs. In this case, mind control would be impossible, as the attacker cannot properly interface with the machine and there is no "thought-presence" in the Warp to manipulate.

 

The Crude class, where the Mechanicus has just stuck a bunch of mechanical probes and circuits into some poor sod's lobotomised brain, with the machinery capable of utilising miniscule electrical discharges to stimulate certain areas of the brain and thus provide indirect guidance for the victim. Essentially, the servitor's own sense of identity is surgically reduced, and implants "take over" as the source of thoughts and urges guiding the remains without having any direct control over the limbs, still using the human brain as a sort of biological cogitator transforming mechanical commands into muscular motion.

If a psyker were to read a servior's thoughts, they would probably receive a wild cacophony a la ".. must weld ... move bar ... weld ... sector 7-G ... close the gap ... no hurt ... must weld ... feel good ... " - disturbing, to say the least.

 


 

Personally, I'm leaning towards the latter, as it sounds more fitting to a setting as dark as 40k, for such a pseudo-existence would undoubtedly be a lot more cruel, and feels more in line with the technological decline. However, any attempt at mind control would still not replace the mechanical parts, but instead cause a conflict: the lobotomised brain is now subject to commands issued from the implant, as well as the Warp-induced presence in their mind.

 

As such, perhaps the best solution for the effects of mind control on servitors would be to "stun" and confuse them? You could also make it depend on the Degrees of Success, with the results of attempted mind control being either that: (a) nothing happens, (b) the servitor is subject to various penalties as they cannot focus on their task, (c ) the servitor is outright stunned, (d) the servitor "shorts out" and needs maintenance, or (e) the mind control does succeed and the player can have the servitor perform one single task - and then it shorts out.

 

At least that's my take on the subject!

Edited by Lynata

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p. 236, Machine Trait:

"Machines do not breathe, are immune to vacuum, extremes of cold, and mind-influencing psychic effects."

 

So, barring something in Mind Control that says it isn't a mind-influencing psychic effect (which if it does is broken as hell and ought to be changed, as Mind Control is pretty much the epitome of mind-influencing pyshic powers), it would seem that Servitors (which have the Machine trait) are indeed immune to Mind Controlling psychic powers.

Edited by KommissarK

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 As per RAW, anything with the machine trait cannot be mind-influenced. I personally substitute that part for Resistance: Psychic but that's just flavour.

 

That sounds like an elegant solution, too - the subtle difference between "100% robot" and "cyborg", if you will.

 

Not something that has to be represented by the rules, but from a background PoV I still think my theories have some merit. Look at Dreadnoughts, who have the Machine Trait in RAW as well - they can go insane, but are not influenced by mind control? Does not compute. ;)

Edited by Lynata

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 As per RAW, anything with the machine trait cannot be mind-influenced. I personally substitute that part for Resistance: Psychic but that's just flavour.

 

That sounds like an elegant solution, too - the subtle difference between "100% robot" and "cyborg", if you will.

 

Not something that has to be represented by the rules, but from a background PoV I still think my theories have some merit. Look at Dreadnoughts, who have the Machine Trait in RAW as well - they can go insane, but are not influenced by mind control? Does not compute. ;)

 

Samet thing with Magos that take machine trait

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p. 236, Machine Trait:

"Machines do not breathe, are immune to vacuum, extremes of cold, and mind-influencing psychic effects."

 

So, barring something in Mind Control that says it isn't a mind-influencing psychic effect (which if it does is broken as hell and ought to be changed, as Mind Control is pretty much the epitome of mind-influencing pyshic powers), it would seem that Servitors (which have the Machine trait) are indeed immune to Mind Controlling psychic powers.

 

Oh thank god it's in the rules. Otherwise this would have ended up as a phylosphical debate about what constitutes the soul, and where true intelligence begins. :)

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see servitors in the Abnettverse

 

This is an over generalisation. Except that only examples you gave me in two other topics, majority of servitors of said "abnettverse" are servitors as shown in many other books and texts of the 40k universe. Unless you enlighten me with other cases.

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Unless you enlighten me with other cases.

 

Salvation's Reach. A servitor feeling dismay.

 

[edit: added quote]

 

At the helm of the Caestus, pilot-servitor Terek-8-10 maintained a steady course. His biomechanical hands rested on the helm controls, though he was operating the heavy machine through the neural impulse linkage of his augmetic plugs. Manual control was for emergencies.
 
[...]
 
Terek-8-10 was dismayed. "Auspex does not read human bio-traces in opposition", he declared.
"It does not have to be human to want us dead", replied Eadwine.
 
[...]
 
Terek-8-10 adjusted the parameters of his auspex scan to include the xenobiological element. "Holy Throne of Terra", he breathed.
Edited by Lynata

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It's the only two I recall being described in detail -- that is, who actually played a role stretched out across several pages rather than just being a background element mentioned in passing.

 

That being said, upon checking Salvation's Reach to dig up the quotes above, I noticed that whenever he mentions servitors as a background element, he does fall back to a more conservative description in line with the studio material.

 

That actually only makes it weirder, for as you pointed out, the author apparently has a problem with consistency in his own writing here. A simple solution would have been to not describe these two examples (maybe there are more, but if you really insist and this still isn't enough, it's going to take some more time to dig them up  :P) as servitors but rather as normal humans with bionics/MIU/etc.

Edited by Lynata

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