Jump to content

Recommended Posts

6 hours ago, Stan Fresh said:

As for privacy: that I can hear your stomach rumbling even though you don't want me to know you're hungry doesn't mean I'm rude for having ears. I doubt every species in the galaxy has hearing. Should those that do take steps to suppress it?

Using the Force is natural. It may require training, but so do going to the toilet, chewing food, and walking.

 

I feel like we are losing the initial subject here. You are not being rude because you just happen to hear it. And a specie  that would just happen to hear the toughts other wouldn't be at fault for doing so. Actually one of these species is described in the books, but I can't remember its name.

It is when you actively use this ability to spy someone that it becomes an issue, when you put your ear on a door, or read someone's toughts. I'm not saying "this is wrong" ; I'm saying that it is not something that can be made without a good reason.

Note that what I was criticizing at the begenning was not the use of the power itself, it was the attitude of the user.

Edit : Garran nailed the two issues perfectly in his post, I think

Edited by AbsatSolo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Garran said:

As for reading someone's thoughts and whether this is conflict worthy, I'd say that it isn't inherently so. Why you're doing it matters (intent), and so does what you do with that information.

Precisely the point that a couple folks in this thread seem to be missing.

While the scanning of someone's emotions or surface thoughts aren't inherently 'evil' or malicious, it's the why the character is scanning that's one of the main drivers as to whether or not Conflict should be assigned, along with what the character intends to do with that information.

If my character is using Sense to pick out the access code from a slaver's mind so that we can liberate a bunch of kidnapped sentients bound for the Kessel spice mines, I wouldn't call that Conflict-worthy as my objective isn't self-serving, and in fact is actually quite noble since I'm liberating people taken against their will.

Now, if this same character were to use Sense to figure out what cards an opponent in a high-stakes sabacc game was holding simply so that I could increase my winnings for my own benefit, that's probably worth a couple points of Conflict because it equate to lying for my own personal benefit.  If my intent was to instead give the winnings to a local charity that helped the poor, that might drop the Conflict by a point, since I'm using shady methods (cheating at cards) for a noble purpose, but that's up to the GM.

Lastly, if this character were to use Sense to pluck out sensitive information that I intend to use to blackmail or otherwise terrorize the person, then that's definitely Conflict-worthy, and probably equates to causing undue physical harm.  If my character is doing the blackmail/terrorizing just for their own personal amusement, then that's approaching Conflict on the scale of torturing someone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Garran said:

Once you start talking to the person to try to get them to think about the things you want to know, you've entered into the realm of social skill checks. It could be Deception, Charm, or Coercion - Negotiation is unlikely, since even if you're framing it as a haggling session, that's not what you're actually trying to achieve - but it isn't just the use of Sense anymore. The upside here is that the check difficulty probably won't be anywhere near as high as if you were trying to get that information by purely social means.

 

As for reading someone's thoughts and whether this is conflict worthy, I'd say that it isn't inherently so. Why you're doing it matters (intent), and so does what you do with that information. Scanning surface thoughts isn't necessarily conflict worthy, but whether you have the professionalism* to keep anything you learn appropriately confidential might be - and that's where the actual temptation (and potential conflict) comes in, since you *could* easily abuse that sort of knowledge.

 

* I don't know offhand if there are other sources of telepathy in the SW setting (there probably are, considering how expansive Legends got), but they'd be dealing with the same ethical issues even without morality/conflict at work. Really, it's one of those things that most sci fi settings with telepaths don't bother to think about too much except to make the bad guys obviously abuse it.

 

In Legends, it was suggested that Iktotchi were naturally telepathic (in addition to being precognitive), but I don't think this was retained.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Garran said:

Once you start talking to the person to try to get them to think about the things you want to know, you've entered into the realm of social skill checks. It could be Deception, Charm, or Coercion - Negotiation is unlikely, since even if you're framing it as a haggling session, that's not what you're actually trying to achieve - but it isn't just the use of Sense anymore. The upside here is that the check difficulty probably won't be anywhere near as high as if you were trying to get that information by purely social means.

 

As for reading someone's thoughts and whether this is conflict worthy, I'd say that it isn't inherently so. Why you're doing it matters (intent), and so does what you do with that information. Scanning surface thoughts isn't necessarily conflict worthy, but whether you have the professionalism* to keep anything you learn appropriately confidential might be - and that's where the actual temptation (and potential conflict) comes in, since you *could* easily abuse that sort of knowledge.

 

* I don't know offhand if there are other sources of telepathy in the SW setting (there probably are, considering how expansive Legends got), but they'd be dealing with the same ethical issues even without morality/conflict at work. Really, it's one of those things that most sci fi settings with telepaths don't bother to think about too much except to make the bad guys obviously abuse it.

 

In Legends, it was suggested that Iktotchi were naturally telepathic (in addition to being precognitive), but I don't think this was retained.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/29/2018 at 8:02 AM, 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?

Sorry about coming late to the discussion as there's been some interesting conversation so far on it but I came up with a good counter the casual use of it.

When the PC made the Sense check to read surface thoughts, I played an audio sound of "Never gonna give you up, Never gonna let you down,  Never gonna....."  followed by the surface thought "why can't I get this song out of my head"

I don't use it all the time but every once in a while I have a list of random songs that have nothing to do with Star Wars universe but will stick in their heads.  

You can also give them really disturbing thoughts.  "You see the image of [whoever they are sensing] walking down a hallway. As they turn the corner and look into an open door you see their 90-something year old grand mother naked before they close their eyes and shakes his head; and the image keeps playing over and over with the guy shuddering each time." 

 

As mentioned previously in this post, surface thoughts aren't always going to be relevant to the issues at hand.  Now as a GM, don't make the force talent completely irrelevant and give them decent information regularly but every once in a while make them cringe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Varlie said:

"Never gonna give you up, Never gonna let you down,  Never gonna....."

Shame on you 😠

You could also be reciting some verses, or fucusing on a memory or an object in your environnement. Many of these techniques are explored in the Inheritance cycle, from Christopher Paolini (Eragon, read it, it is a wonderful book really) there is a whole part of the story in the last book narrating how Nasuada resists Galbatorix's interrogation, by "dividing her mind", and forging herself a new indentity.

But again, this requires intenses training and great willpower to be maintened, as you never know when someone could be reading your toughts

22 minutes ago, Varlie said:

  You can also give them really disturbing thoughts.  "You see the image of [whoever they are sensing] walking down a hallway. As they turn the corner and look into an open door you see their 90-something year old grand mother naked before they close their eyes and shakes his head; and the image keeps playing over and over with the guy shuddering each time." 

The problem with this technique is that it disturbs you as well ^_^ 

26 minutes ago, Varlie said:

As mentioned previously in this post, surface thoughts aren't always going to be relevant to the issues at hand.  Now as a GM, don't make the force talent completely irrelevant and give them decent information regularly but every once in a while make them cringe.

Actually, the very fact that the target knows about telepathic powers and is able to conceal its toughts is already a valuable information

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, AbsatSolo said:

But again, this requires intenses training and great willpower to be maintened, as you never know when someone could be reading your toughts

The game shows us that the mind passively resists this at all times, either with Willpower alone for the untrained or Willpower + Discipline for the trained. This resistance doesn't have to be declared or maintained, it's the natural state for intelligent beings. Minions can be treated as an exception (or not, at the GM's discretion).

Edited by HappyDaze

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

The game shows us that the minds passively resist this all the time

Is that written somewhere ? Here we are dealing with different applications of the rules. To me, an opposed check would be needed only when facing someone who is trained, or as a social check to orient toughts when searching for something specific, as Garran said.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If some street thug, security guard, or doorman was trained to counter Sense, Jedi-me would switch to using high-level Influence without a second thought. Because its odd, and its not like there were tons of Jedi about to make it worth the effort (10,000 vs 10 trillion). Besides that, there are varies alien species that use pheromones, heat vision, etc., etc. that could do the same. Besides, the greater threat would be the normal cops hooking the criminal you up to a high tech lie detector or voice stress analyzer.  Then we have the normal skills any character has that could possible pick-up on what the target is thinking without using any Force Power. Then the other side of the coin, Sense is relative passive and harmless (its what you do with the knowledge or why one used the power that causes conflict) and once the GM makes that more trouble that it's worth... normal torture, force lightning, force choke, or Influence could be it's replacement. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, starpup101 said:

If some street thug, security guard, or doorman was trained to counter Sense, Jedi-me would switch to using high-level Influence without a second thought. Because its odd, and its not like there were tons of Jedi about to make it worth the effort (10,000 vs 10 trillion). Besides that, there are varies alien species that use pheromones, heat vision, etc., etc. that could do the same. Besides, the greater threat would be the normal cops hooking the criminal you up to a high tech lie detector or voice stress analyzer.  Then we have the normal skills any character has that could possible pick-up on what the target is thinking without using any Force Power. Then the other side of the coin, Sense is relative passive and harmless (its what you do with the knowledge or why one used the power that causes conflict) and once the GM makes that more trouble that it's worth... normal torture, force lightning, force choke, or Influence could be it's replacement. 

And now we walk, jog, or run into the dark side. If I can't harmlessly scan him for whatever reason, that's enough for me to force him to tell me what I want to know. That's like saying that while viewing anything in plain sight is great for watching my neighbor, when goes inside and pulls the blinds, I then have the right to knock his walls down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

And now we walk, jog, or run into the dark side. If I can't harmlessly scan him for whatever reason, that's enough for me to force him to tell me what I want to know. That's like saying that while viewing anything in plain sight is great for watching my neighbor, when goes inside and pulls the blinds, I then have the right to knock his walls down.

As a Jedi, yes I believe I could do so since I would be under oversight by the Jedi Council. In many ways, its no different from 'stop and frisk' New York City had in place for ten years before the courts finally found it unconstitutional (due to it's racist elements). And if just reading your thoughts is terrible, Force Influence must be instant dark side. For being able to take one's freewill away with Influence, can only be a thousand times worst then merely able to take advantage of what one learns from surface thoughts. If one want to be truthful, don't find Sense any more of a intrusion that looking through someone's diary or email. A single snap shot of my thoughts isn't going to gain one understanding of the inner workings of my mind even if it does give one my computer password. Heck, if you really want to hear what I was thinking... just use some skill to get me talking.

But lets say I want to do a little crossover and make-up the Auor Alastor Moody from Harry Potter, making him a Jedi Shadow. For his "Constant vigilance!" quote, I tell the GM that often I will just Force Sense the people nearby. Paranoid maybe, but as a veteran of many battles and knowledgeable in Sith lore, and kinda understandable with his history. Would such gain the character Conflict, yes but its not like Conflict isn't manageable both as a character and by me the person playing that character. It could also lead to good side benefits when I read my next door neighbor is worried about food or rent this month (so I loan them a few credits), my co-worker having some major depression issues and I go about getting them some help. This guy walking down the street is looking to rob someone, that woman over there is lost... etc. 

Or it my Mad-Eye Moody used Force Sense twenty times a day and never used that information gained for anything besides personal safe... would they become dark side?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, starpup101 said:

As a Jedi, yes I believe I could do so since I would be under oversight by the Jedi Council. In many ways, its no different from 'stop and frisk' New York City had in place for ten years before the courts finally found it unconstitutional (due to it's racist elements). And if just reading your thoughts is terrible, Force Influence must be instant dark side. For being able to take one's freewill away with Influence, can only be a thousand times worst then merely able to take advantage of what one learns from surface thoughts. If one want to be truthful, don't find Sense any more of a intrusion that looking through someone's diary or email. A single snap shot of my thoughts isn't going to gain one understanding of the inner workings of my mind even if it does give one my computer password. Heck, if you really want to hear what I was thinking... just use some skill to get me talking.

But lets say I want to do a little crossover and make-up the Auor Alastor Moody from Harry Potter, making him a Jedi Shadow. For his "Constant vigilance!" quote, I tell the GM that often I will just Force Sense the people nearby. Paranoid maybe, but as a veteran of many battles and knowledgeable in Sith lore, and kinda understandable with his history. Would such gain the character Conflict, yes but its not like Conflict isn't manageable both as a character and by me the person playing that character. It could also lead to good side benefits when I read my next door neighbor is worried about food or rent this month (so I loan them a few credits), my co-worker having some major depression issues and I go about getting them some help. This guy walking down the street is looking to rob someone, that woman over there is lost... etc. 

Or it my Mad-Eye Moody used Force Sense twenty times a day and never used that information gained for anything besides personal safe... would they become dark side?

Sorry, but I don't follow Harry Potter closely enough for your references to mean anything to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, starpup101 said:

But lets say I want to do a little crossover and make-up the Auor Alastor Moody from Harry Potter, making him a Jedi Shadow. For his "Constant vigilance!" quote, I tell the GM that often I will just Force Sense the people nearby. Paranoid maybe, but as a veteran of many battles and knowledgeable in Sith lore, and kinda understandable with his history. Would such gain the character Conflict, yes but its not like Conflict isn't manageable both as a character and by me the person playing that character. It could also lead to good side benefits when I read my next door neighbor is worried about food or rent this month (so I loan them a few credits), my co-worker having some major depression issues and I go about getting them some help. This guy walking down the street is looking to rob someone, that woman over there is lost... etc. 

Or it my Mad-Eye Moody used Force Sense twenty times a day and never used that information gained for anything besides personal safe... would they become dark side?

If I had a character that opted for that type of always monitoring mentality, I would probably treat it as they do with the Dark Side talents where you start each session with 1 conflict just for having purchased the talent.  As you said, there's plenty of ways to counter that 1 conflict but it indicates the complete lack of respect of privacy the character shows to everyone he meets.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Varlie said:

If I had a character that opted for that type of always monitoring mentality, I would probably treat it as they do with the Dark Side talents where you start each session with 1 conflict just for having purchased the talent.  As you said, there's plenty of ways to counter that 1 conflict but it indicates the complete lack of respect of privacy the character shows to everyone he meets.

 

Which would be acceptable for me as a player, since there are some talents that gain it's possessor a conflict just for having them. And I would expect the same for a droid specialist PC that always has droids about spying on people. But then what if the subject has no expectations of privacy, be it their culture, government, or perhaps just being a Jedi? Because I doubt any Jedi at their HQ expects the normal level of privacy any others citizens of the planet enjoy (and that's not even talking about the surveillance state Coruscant seemed to be).

And above-table, a single conflict or two for using Sense in such a way would be cheaper then what likely my Force-using PC would have to do to get the information otherwise. Of the half-dozen different ways I can think of to get a door code, Force-Sense is near the cleanest with leaving hardly a trace behind. The force power Influence would be the next choice, but that takes a measure of free-will away so maybe more conflict? On the skill front, Perception would be the next cleanest because that's just watching. Next maybe Computer to hack the door or get the code. Then we get into Deception, to con one's way pass the door and it's sentry. Next comes Coercion or Skullduggery, which I doubt would end well for those that have the code. Not saying you would need a murder room wrapped in plastic, but I would likely have one ready just in case.  

Or one could just go full Dark and force lightning the fool for denying one as great (and powerful) as you enter. The whole Sense and privacy would become a joke to amuse your fellow Dark-Siders over drinks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this scene from KOTOR 2 is useful both for thinking about what kind of information you might be able to get from Sense, and what a highly disciplined character passively resisting Sense might look like. Unlike the other characters, who are each in a room by themselves ruminating and thus vulnerable to giving up sensitive thoughts when unwittingly eavesdropped upon, Atton always keeps his mind focused on mundane matters, revealing nothing important. And a person using Sense on him cannot be sure if that is because he has something to hide, or if he is just a boring person.

It also touches briefly on the ethical concerns, as Atton notes that both light and dark force users eavesdrop on people's thoughts more than one would expect, but the PC is the only one who has ever apologized for the breach of privacy. The game doesn't give you DSP for sensing thoughts like this, and I wouldn't necessarily give out Conflict for it at my table, but that doesn't mean there won't be consequences if other characters find out that a PC has been walking into their house and rifling through their things without their knowledge, so to speak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Kaigen

Good point, and good reference regarding "casual" mind reading.

I think it ultimately boils down to intent, both why the Force user is reading the person's mind and what they do with the information.

To pull from another sci-fi series, in Babylon 5 we see that Human telepaths are constantly being hit with random "stray thoughts" from people in spite of the many precautions they take to avoid such a thing, and have learned to screen out as much of the "background chatter" as they can.  Doesn't mean they don't sometimes pick up on things they'd have rather not 'heard' (probably a common case for Talia Winters and Lyta Alexander given they were both attractive females).  But for the most part, they ignore it, apart from Talia giving Mr. Garibaldi a well-deserved elbow to the gut during one shared elevator ride.

In the case of the Star Wars setting, whether or not Conflict is generated comes down to a combination of "why are you skimming this person's thoughts?" and "what are you going to do with the information you find?"

For instance, Obi-Wan doing a brief read of Anakin's emotions and then gently teasing him about it during their lift ride in AotC when they're heading up to Padme's apartments isn't worth Conflict.  Yes, it's an invasion of privacy, but Obi-Wan's doing it out of concern for his apprentice who is clearly nervous, and doesn't do anything with the information beyond trying to get Anakin to relax and not be stressed out, given their assignment to protect the Senator.

Now, we flash forward to Vader reading Luke's thoughts during their second duel in RotJ, when Luke is hiding and refuses to fight.  Again, very much an invasion of Luke's mental privacy, but if Vader were a PC he'd be earning Conflict for both his intent (dig up information to use against his opponent) and usage of that information (taunt the guy and break his spirit).  Probably not a whole lot of Conflict, but it's certainly Conflict worthy.

Non-movie example: A Force user picks up from a security officer that he's afraid of what will happen if his superiors find out the officer spends his off-time browsing the SW-equivalent of 4chan.  Said Force user bargains with the officer, saying "hey Anon, I know your dirty little secret, but if you just let me slip by and keep my being here on the down-low, I won't tell a soul."  This one is a bit dicer in terms of "is this worth Conflict?" but looking at intent (sneaking into the guy's thoughts to find something to use as leverage) and usage (blackmail) I'd say that's probably worth at most two points of Conflict, and falls within the same general realm as using Coercion in the list of suggested actions that earn Conflict.

Now this same Force user, while skulking around in a place they're not supposed to be, finds themselves in a situation to scan the thoughts of a guard just as the guard is entering the combination to access the detention center, where an innocent friend of the Force use is being unjustly held.  Again, looking at intent (reading thoughts to learn the access code) and usage (free someone being unjustly held), I'm not sure I'd assign any Conflict to this one, since in neither case is the Force user being selfish, as the intent feeds into a goal that isn't self-serving.

Barely Related Tangent: I was in a Babylon 5 RPG mini-campaign (using the 2e rules published by Mongoose Publishing) set a few years after the primary events of the series, wherein my PC (a Human Ranger) managed to utterly confound the Human Telepath by thinking in Mimbari (something in the setting lore that all Rangers are conditioned to do as per Marcus Cole in the TV series), which she wasn't remotely fluent in and thus thought it was just a bunch of indecipherable gibberish (she bombed her Linguistics check big time).

Though relatedly, in the Fantastic Beasts film series, one of the characters is a natural mind-reader (called a Leglimens in the Potterverse) and she says she has trouble reading Newt's thoughts due to his British accent as she's American, so it's quite possible that she'd have a bear of a time deciphering the thoughts of people whose native tongue is different from hers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think something important is missing.

Just because they succeed at reading someone's surface thoughts and get the correct answer it may not be something they can understand or even make sense of.

Like the location of the base could be near those woods I caught a fish last week, to the left of that old tree and just beyond the clearing where the commander was making out with the purple alien.

He thought of exactly where the base is, but the information tells you nothing, because its only relative to what that person uses for navigation.

Aliens may not even think in a way that the player understands like a Jawa's thoughts could be based entirely on smells which contains the information, but without being a Jawa is just alien goobly **** to the player.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Decorus said:

 

Aliens may not even think in a way that the player understands like a Jawa's thoughts could be based entirely on smells which contains the information, but without being a Jawa is just alien goobly **** to the player.

I wouldn't do that. Thematically, the Force should be about overcoming barriers to understanding, about bringing different lifeforms closer together. It binds us all together, after all. We're luminous beings, not this crude matter, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Stan Fresh said:

I wouldn't do that. Thematically, the Force should be about overcoming barriers to understanding, about bringing different lifeforms closer together. It binds us all together, after all. We're luminous beings, not this crude matter, etc.

Plus, the Star Wars setting is one where most folks are fluent in a variety of different languages, or at the very least are able to understand a number of languages other than their own, so long as that person isn't from a comparatively sheltered upbringing, as was the case with Luke (who probably understood enough Jawa to get by) and Finn (who probably had no experience with any language other than Basic).

If going with the route of requiring a social check of some sort to direct the target's line of thinking to get the specific information the Force user is looking for, I'd say the target having a different native language might be worth a setback die if that species is fairly uncommon in the galaxy, and would only be am "impossible task" if it was species that nobody had ever encountered or if there's no common languages between them.

To go back to my earlier example of Queenie from the Fantastic Beasts films, she was a born and bred New Yorker, and was still able to pick up on Newt's thoughts even with his accent, much the same way a New Yorker would be able to generally understand someone speaking with a very thick Scottish or Deep South accent; they might not get every nuance, but they're going to get the jist of what's been communicated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×