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I have one player with the sense ability. I have no issues with it but it's beginning to reveal too much. Has anyone thought of ways to counter it?

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Sense can only reveal surface thoughts of what the character is immediately thinking of. Thus unless the player is able to analyse a character while they are in the act of doing, or being questioned on something of importance to the narrative; sense shouldn't really reveal anything. The character might be musing on his dinner, or that puzzle, or how much he hates that director guy who makes his job too difficult and so fourth. Sure the character might also know the secret weak point of the death star, but that fact is buried deep into the mind that can only be conjured up to the surface with some prompting.

Likewise while sense has a range of extreme; the character might not have direct line of sight on the person they need information from; thus they sense a building, discovers it has 40+ life signs and that none of the 1 or 4 people they sensed or so has the information close to mind. Plus people move around; so by just sensing a build a character might have to spend hours actively reading every thought in that building for that one magical moment that the McGuffin turned up. In short, unless that character has a way of zeroing in on that particular character with particular information in the mind at the precise moment they are musing about it? Yeah. Sense is pretty **** limited as far as abilities goes. Heck, if there are too many life signs in the building, too many idle thoughts, the task might just simply be impossible even for an expert without some way of zeroing it down.

Plus I am a huge fan of the "a force power can only be attempted once per scene, unless something within that scene changes." You attempt to sense, you fail to find the right target, move on to another character.

I am a guy who maxed out sense as a thematic character development and he is subject to those weaknesses all the time; he isn't a face who can draw out the information from people, he needs someone or something to prompt that thought to come to mind.

Is this character gaining information in this way? Then it is working how the power is attempted to work. Is the charcter gaining shed loads of information about all the secret projects the character has going on, all the characters associated and his various fetishes that he engages for a hobby, along with what he ate every day for the last month? No. Sense only grants information based on what the character is currently thinking; it isn't a "mine the information bank" type of power. That is more influences favour, where you either cox the information out or otherwise draw it out aggressively by subverting their free will.

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48 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

Shoot the character. In the head. Repeat as necessary.

That's... certainly one option.

There are a few others. Remember that droids can't be detected by Force Sense, so hit them with some of those. Heavily cyberized individuals might also be harder to detect, so you might consider having them make a Hard or Daunting Discipline check to sense them, or maybe make it opposed.

Also, the whole "detecting life" thing tends to be non-specific, so you could also put them in an environment where there's a ton of life around. The middle of an ecumenopolis, for example, or a verdant rainforest. If the place is a Force vergence, one of the effects might be an overwhelming presence that means the PC can suddenly sense all life in an entire sector—they have to make a Daunting or Formidable check not to be overwhelmed.

If the problem is reading minds or emotions, remember that suitably disciplined individuals can resist the attempt. And again, don't forget about droids.

Finally, don't be afraid of your players' creative problem solving. Give them those victories when they earn them: if they've upgraded Force Sense enough to pinpoint all life in a building to make infiltration easier, that's awesome! Unfortunately, they still can't sense the laser tripwires and pressure pads, so the group still needs to contend with the mechanical traps and security droids.

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2 hours ago, MrTInce said:

I have one player with the sense ability. I have no issues with it but it's beginning to reveal too much. Has anyone thought of ways to counter it?

What's the problem exactly?

For the most part I agree with what others have posted (well, except Happy... that's kinda an extreme solution). If the issue is he's using Sense to "read their mind" then all you need to do is follow the rules and think more realistically. The base power gives you their emotional state, and then the upgrade their surface thoughts. But that's it... surface thoughts. The power doesn't allow you to bore into their skull and extract specific information. 

I mean think about it. What are you thinking about at any given moment? That's what this reveals. So if the player needs to get a secret passcode, he can't just walk up to an Imperial Officer, use Sense and know the passcode. He's got to also get the Officer to actively think of the passcode while he's using Sense. How often do you think of your locker combination? When you're opening your locker and.... pretty much never any other time.

So using Sense might get you the results you want, but more likely it'll give you something far less specific. You go up, get the officer talking, and say something you think will make him think of his passcode. You caste sense and.... "Man will this guy hurry up and get to the point... I swear I'm absolutely going to DESTROY the toilet as it is, if I hold it any longer we'll just need to condemn the whole building when I'm done...."

 

 

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Lot of good responses, but I want to reinforce a couple things @CaptainRaspberry touched on.

1. If the NPC knows something that's going to ruin that much of your plans, then you should treat them as a Nemesis or Adversary. ie Make it an opposed check, I could see Cool or Discipline being appropriate depending on the circumstance. Maybe even Deception if they're actively trying to give false thoughts. The system gives you the flexibility to have different types of NPCs resist the Force in different ways.

2. I know the bar is pretty low for sensing thoughts (assuming that's what you're having problems with) but allowing the Force to achieve great things for the PCs is a necessary part of a healthy Morality mechanic. If activatinf a Power isn't worth the Conflict, they won't seek that power.

Lastly, savvy NPCs know the tricks of the Jedi. They will not let the Jedi near (forcing your PC to use more pips/risk Conflict), they will clear their minds (Discipline?), or "spam" useless thoughts when interrogated (Cool?), or fill their mind with false thoughts (Deception?), they will split truly critical bits of information among multiple parties so that no one person could reveal everything, they will use technology to store knowledge, so on.

Moral of the story: The important information is always behind countermeasures. If it's not hugely important plot info, then just let it happen to encourage them seeking power thru the Force.

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6 hours ago, MrTInce said:

I have one player with the sense ability. I have no issues with it but it's beginning to reveal too much. Has anyone thought of ways to counter it?

In so far as the Control upgrade for reading surface thoughts, I would treat that ability in much the way that Professor Snape describes Leglimancy in Order of the Phoenix, in that it's not so much directly reading minds and more it's being able to glance at images, and from there using a mix of intuition and logic to put the pieces together.  Granted, Harry thinks otherwise but to someone like Snape, a teenager's mind is probably very easy to read and assess.

As Ghostofman noted, just skimming someone's surface thoughts doesn't always mean the character is going to get the information they want.  In those circumstances, the GM isn't out of bounds to require the PC to make a Deception skill check along with the Force power check to lead the conversation in such a way as to bring the info the player wants up to the surface of the target's mind without rousing too much suspicion, with the difficulty determined the same as a regular Deception check.  If the PC fails the check, then they weren't able to get the target to think the specific thing they wanted to learn, while a Despair results in the target catching on to the PC asking leading questions and becoming instantly distrustful.

I know we see Kylo Ren and Snoke pretty much rip information out of folks' minds in TFA and TLJ respectively, but I'd say that's more an aspect of them using Influence to "force" the target to spill their guts as per the affect emotions/belief Control upgrade, or the Control upgrade to enhance certain social skills and the two of them using a Coercion check with their Force dice added, and the movie handling the conveying of information as being telepathic rather than exposition on the target's part.

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Another element to bear in mind is are the PCs overusing this ability, even when it's not necessary?

If they're constantly scanning folks' minds for their emotions and/or surface thoughts, consider assigning them Conflict for intruding on another person's private thoughts for their own personal amusement.  Maybe not a lot of Conflict at the start (one or two points, about the same as what a PC would get for telling a self-serving lie), but if they become more and more inclined to simply pull information out of folks' heads "just because," then increase the Conflict generated per instance.

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Just now, Donovan Morningfire said:

If they're constantly scanning folks' minds for their emotions and/or surface thoughts, consider assigning them Conflict for intruding on another person's private thoughts for their own personal amusement.  Maybe not a lot of Conflict at the start (one or two points, about the same as what a PC would get for telling a self-serving lie), but if they become more and more inclined to simply pull information out of folks' heads "just because," then increase the Conflict generated per instance.

I think this is key. I've made this assertion before, but one factor in dishing out Conflict is intent. A PC trying to figure out the passcode to break innocents out of jail probably shouldn't earn any Conflict, or at least earn just a token amount. A PC who decides it's just faster to drag the knowledge out of someone's mind than ask could rate the amount of Conflict similar to coercion and torture.

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2 hours ago, CaptainRaspberry said:

I think this is key. I've made this assertion before, but one factor in dishing out Conflict is intent. A PC trying to figure out the passcode to break innocents out of jail probably shouldn't earn any Conflict, or at least earn just a token amount. A PC who decides it's just faster to drag the knowledge out of someone's mind than ask could rate the amount of Conflict similar to coercion and torture.

Quite unlike torture (or even coercion, which can be psychologically harmful), scanning surface thoughts inflicts no harm. I'd say assign the same Conflict for it that you would for eavesdropping on a conversation at the next table of a restaurant or looking over someone's shoulder to read the screen of their smartphone--which is to say generally none. It's rude behavior, but not harmful.

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26 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

Quite unlike torture (or even coercion, which can be psychologically harmful), scanning surface thoughts inflicts no harm. I'd say assign the same Conflict for it that you would for eavesdropping on a conversation at the next table of a restaurant or looking over someone's shoulder to read the screen of their smartphone--which is to say generally none. It's rude behavior, but not harmful.

Like theft, the devil is in the details. 

Scanning my surface thoughts and discovering I can't get "Baby Got Back" outta my head is no big deal.

Scanning my surface thoughts, finding out that I'm concerned that my wife suspects I have a mistress, which I do, and then using that information to coerce me into doing something that you could probably have gotten me to do through simpler means probably falls somewhere between lying for personal gain and inflicting emotional abuse on the conflict scale...

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53 minutes ago, Ghostofman said:

Like theft, the devil is in the details. 

Scanning my surface thoughts and discovering I can't get "Baby Got Back" outta my head is no big deal.

Scanning my surface thoughts, finding out that I'm concerned that my wife suspects I have a mistress, which I do, and then using that information to coerce me into doing something that you could probably have gotten me to do through simpler means probably falls somewhere between lying for personal gain and inflicting emotional abuse on the conflict scale...

The Conflict is in the coercion, not in skimming the thoughts. Acquiring knowledge--even secrets--is not worthy of Conflict if no harm is committed. What you use that knowledge for certainly can be Conflict-worthy. I learned all of this from Facebook's handbook...

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6 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

The Conflict is in the coercion, not in skimming the thoughts. Acquiring knowledge--even secrets--is not worthy of Conflict if no harm is committed. What you use that knowledge for certainly can be Conflict-worthy. I learned all of this from Facebook's handbook...

Fair point.

But at what pint do you cross the line? When are you spying on me because I have information valuable to your mission, and when are you spying on me because you have the ability to do so? 

If you want to steal valuable information you know I have I get it, but there's a point at which you're just watching video of me in my underwear, eating spagettios and watching Resistance because you have the ability to do so.

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1 hour ago, Ghostofman said:

Fair point.

But at what pint do you cross the line? When are you spying on me because I have information valuable to your mission, and when are you spying on me because you have the ability to do so? 

If you want to steal valuable information you know I have I get it, but there's a point at which you're just watching video of me in my underwear, eating spagettios and watching Resistance because you have the ability to do so.

Using Sense to skim surface thoughts is no different from overhearing someone muttering their vocalized thoughts or reading their body language except that most beings do not have Sense. This makes it more akin to the heat sense of the Arcona or the kinesics aptitude of the Quermians. Are the Arcona or Quermians gaining Conflict for using their particular manner of gathering information? I would think not. They don't need consent, nor are they under any obligation to notify others of their abilities. They might gain Conflict for what they do with the information they garner, but that's the case no matter how the information is obtained.

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Thanks guys. A lot of good things to work from. One use of the power is that when the player is suspecting a fight he turns on the upgrade difficulty ability. Should I be allowing this before combat? Also should this part of the ability work on droids?

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1 hour ago, MrTInce said:

Thanks guys. A lot of good things to work from. One use of the power is that when the player is suspecting a fight he turns on the upgrade difficulty ability. Should I be allowing this before combat? Also should this part of the ability work on droids?

The Force can Sense rocks and starfighters and droids just fine.

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4 hours ago, MrTInce said:

Thanks guys. A lot of good things to work from. One use of the power is that when the player is suspecting a fight he turns on the upgrade difficulty ability. Should I be allowing this before combat? Also should this part of the ability work on droids?

As for allowing it before combat, that's up to you, but if it seems pretty clear to the group that things are about to go south in a hurry, I'd allow them to commit the Force die before the fight properly begins.  Of course, it's again up to you to decide whether they're rolling Vigilance or Cool for their initiative, given the former is for when you're caught off-guard by violence erupting, and the later for when you know in advance that violence is going to be happening.  There's no set-in-stone rule so as I said, up to you to decide, though I would recommend talking with the group and trying to come to some manner of consensus you're all happy with.

As for working against droids or any other non-living method of attack, yes it should work.  In a narrative sense, the power is alerting the character to incoming danger, and is allow them to react to that danger, in a manner not unlike Spider-Man's spider-sense, which itself isn't perfect but generally gives him roughly a second or two's worth of advance notice that something is about to hurt him.

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4 hours ago, MrTInce said:

Thanks guys. A lot of good things to work from. One use of the power is that when the player is suspecting a fight he turns on the upgrade difficulty ability. Should I be allowing this before combat? Also should this part of the ability work on droids?

The way I play it is that once combat has actually started (inti has been rolled) it's too late. Sense is an action which means it takes an significant amount of time to commit to; it's not something I would allow in response to combat. (e.g. blasters start going off and the player announces they want to commit. In my head it's too late at that point)

If there is real anticipation of a fight in the air though but it hasn't started or there's this awkward standoff; then I would allow it. That is effectively taking a moment to centre yourself amidst these uncertain feelings and I feel that pre-emptively  committing is cool, provided that combat isn't underway. 

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11 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

Using Sense to skim surface thoughts is no different from overhearing someone muttering their vocalized thoughts or reading their body language except that most beings do not have Sense.

I disagree on this. Or at least to your first point. If I am discussing something of a sensitive nature, then I am making a conscious choice and understand the risk of being overheard. But my thoughts are my own and should be completely private. There's a certain measure of responsibility that should come with that power.

I don't want to start a Sequel/OT debate, but there's been some good discussion on just how pervasive Kylo's use of mind-reading was in TFA. And to that same point, Rey isn't innocent either, but by that point you could consider her counteraction as self-defense.

Edited by kaosoe

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7 hours ago, MrTInce said:

Thanks guys. A lot of good things to work from. One use of the power is that when the player is suspecting a fight he turns on the upgrade difficulty ability. Should I be allowing this before combat? Also should this part of the ability work on droids?

Yes, you should definitely allow them to commit the necessary Force Die outside of combat.

You see this all the time in the canon Star Wars media, Force Users use it like a "Spider Sense". I have told my GM, in play, "I always have my Sense Defense up unless I say I don't." If they have the die committed, even an attack they don't know is coming is defended against by it. Only difference is that if it's unstructured play, all it takes is the statement: "I turn on my sense defenses." as opposed to an action. The caveat being, if they want to use another Power outside of combat, they have a reduced Force Rating, unless they've told you they deactivated it before using the other one.

Yes, you sense attacks from droids. I can't think of any attack it wouldn't apply to.

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28 minutes ago, emsquared said:

Yes, you sense attacks from droids. I can't think of any attack it wouldn't apply to.

The only two scenarios that come to mind is if the PC is in an area where the Force has been suppressed (in the presence of a bunch of Ysalamari) or is outright absent, which are themselves incredibly rare, or that the attacker is themselves absent in the Force (as was the case with the Yuuzhan Vong), with both examples coming from Legends.

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On 11/30/2018 at 8:05 AM, kaosoe said:

But my thoughts are my own and should be completely private. .

Why "should" surface thoughts be private? Because you want them to be? What about the parents of a child that want to make sure your surface thoughts don't include lewd acts with their youngster? If those parents have Sense, they can use it just like they could use their vision or hearing to judge your intentions. Why "should" you have the rights to suppress their senses? If deaf people believe that the sounds they make shouldn't be overheard by others, are they right to force others to muffle their ears?

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Because I can have very polarising thoughts about particular people and subjects that I would rather keep to myself, and I would feel angry if someone started exposing what I really felt about something, rather then what I portray as a mild and neutral persona.

In regards to "over sensing", I think it's very hard to gain conflict over it as again surface thoughts a frozen lake; they are just below the surface and as a form of evidence is fairly limited. I find what someone does with that information is much more important; it is one thing for a force user to sense someone's thoughts to build a picture of relationships, motivations and important data, and quite another to blackmail someone over their thoughts or to spread slander about an individual on a thought they have never acted on unless it was very important. The Jedi were implied to use this ability quite frequently to get to the heart of the matter in negations and the like, by large this was fine as this information wasn't recklessly distributed but used in a calculating fashion to guide a deal to satisfactory conclusion, to solve underlying issues in a subtle manner and effectively to act as guides to bring two parties into harmony while being able to take precautions on any future developments. In contrast, acting on information to debase someone despite having never acted on those thoughts (and I personally believe that horrible creatures dwell in the consciousness in humans in general; at any point in our lives we can wish for horrible things, but that is as far as we go.) may well be conflict worthy. It creates a situation where people are being judged on crimes they have not committed, puts strain on existing relationships and so fourth. It's just generally about handling that sensitive information in a decent and delicate manner.

So reading minds, aside from being a bit of a todger in rolling dice frequently, is generally fine. How a person acts on that information however may not be fine. Just as I've mentioned before sense can be a useful tool, but often requires some collaboration and/or environmental engagement to truly get the most out of this ability.
 

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