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Old 10-24-2016, 08:45 AM   #1
JMason
 
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Default Mind Control Questions

A Bard has joined my on-going DF party... with the Mind Control ability. So, I'm trying to get my head wrapped around what this character and and can't do. I've read the Advantage's description, and then looked through the forums here and the FAQ (but didn't find much.) So, here are my questions:

1) Can everything w/o Immunity(Mind Control) be controlled (like wild animals)?

2) What if the target doesn't understand the language the Bard is using? Do the commands work on intent or understanding?

3) What about trying to control something that is being possessed by another "mind"?

4) If the ability is resisted, the target knows that an attempt to dominate their mind was made. What happens when they fail, then the effect ends? I assume that they remember everything and know that they were controlled (unless maybe the caster told them to forget?)

I'm sure I'll have other questions, but that should cover what I need for planning the next session.
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Old 10-24-2016, 09:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: Mind Control Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMason View Post
2) What if the target doesn't understand the language the Bard is using? Do the commands work on intent or understanding?
Base-model Mind Control normally doesn't require a shared language or even for the controller to verbalize - there is no Universal enhancement for Mind Control that I can find, unlike Telesend and Telerecieve.

The Bard Song power modifier adds specific limitations that lead me to suspect it works on understanding:
"Anything that affects others only works on targets who
can hear the music, while any messages or instructions the
bard sends have to be hidden in song."
But that's not an explicit statement one way or the other.

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Originally Posted by JMason View Post
3) What about trying to control something that is being possessed by another "mind"?
Quick contest between the two controllers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMason View Post
4) If the ability is resisted, the target knows that an attempt to dominate their mind was made. What happens when they fail, then the effect ends? I assume that they remember everything and know that they were controlled (unless maybe the caster told them to forget?)
"No Memory" is an enhancement (Basic Set page 69). Without this enhancement, they will remember everything and know they were controlled. If you wish them to remember everything but think they did it all of their own volition, that's Rationalization, +20% (Psionic Powers, p15).

The user cannot "tell them to forget" any more effectively than you could tell me to forget: Even were I terribly co-operative, I simply can't forget things on demand. Beings with the ability to forget things on demand obviously work differently.
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Old 10-24-2016, 09:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: Mind Control Questions

Have a look at GURPS Powers page 195, it has some useful discussion about Mind Reading, Mind Probe, and Mind Control. There's some more notes on p157

Page 149 has a Linguistic Programming ability that is Hearing-Based but has no special limitations restricting comprehension. The description states "By speaking for
two seconds in a master language
understood by all sapient minds, the
user can “program” anyone within
earshot."

I think Bard Song doesn't actually add a linguistic restriction, and it looks like it should work on animals. However, in DF animals are the exclusive domain of Druids, so perhaps not.
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Old 10-24-2016, 10:14 AM   #4
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Default Re: Mind Control Questions

Given that Bard Song also has Speak with Animals, I don't think it was intended to be restricted.
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Old 10-24-2016, 04:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: Mind Control Questions

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...
The user cannot "tell them to forget" any more effectively than you could tell me to forget: Even were I terribly co-operative, I simply can't forget things on demand. Beings with the ability to forget things on demand obviously work differently.
I vaguely remember a study of those with traumatic memories who naturally tried to forget. It showed that such constant attempts caused noticeable damage to the brain sections most important to memory, both forming and recalling long term.
But bringing attention to experiences good, bad, or indifferent, certainly is the worst way to induce the forgetting of them.
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Old 10-24-2016, 04:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: Mind Control Questions

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I vaguely remember a study of those with traumatic memories who naturally tried to forget. It showed that such constant attempts caused noticeable damage to the brain sections most important to memory, both forming and recalling long term.
But bringing attention to experiences good, bad, or indifferent, certainly is the worst way to induce the forgetting of them.
Yes, that's a different thing. Chronic stress impedes episodic memory formation - particularly in children. You learn the lessons you need to learn from things, but you don't remember what happened, or that it happened. It's an adaptive strategy for living a horrible life - never write it down in your brain in the first place, or you'll keep being haunted by horrible memories even after you escape.

And yes, when this happens a lot in children, the ability to form episodic memories is degraded long term - pre-emptively not-remembering in case it's stressful, if you will.
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Old 10-25-2016, 07:54 AM   #7
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Default Re: Mind Control Questions

Ok, so animals are controllable and commands must be spoken but not understood?

If intent drives the command, then there is no room for the subject to interpenetrate or misunderstand the command? I always thought that was one of the drawbacks of mind control, you had to be clear on what you wanted.

Also, I'm looking over the monsters in DF2 and DFM1 and noticed that there isn't a lot of creatures with Mind Control immunity. I thought that constructs and undead had a blanket immunity, but this isn't even remotely true. Creatures with IQ 0 don't list immunity to mind control, but I assume that is part of IQ 0 (no mind to control).

Another question, Mind Control states that it lingers for awhile (1d6 min. IIRC), but the Bardic Powers state that all effects end immediately if the Bard stops singing. Which takes precedence?

And does that also mean that spells end before their duration if the bard ends the song? (That'd cause all sorts of issues with spells like possession which leaves the caster's body limp).
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Last edited by JMason; 10-25-2016 at 10:43 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-25-2016, 09:18 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by JMason View Post
I always thought that was one of the drawbacks of mind control, you had to be clear on what you wanted.
That depends entirely on the flavor of mind control in the setting. On one end of the spectrum, we have something like binding demons, where they traditionally resent the constraint (on top of being Just Plain Evil), and so will actively seek to pervert their instructions and undermine their controller's intent. On the other, we have the sort of telepathic mind control that makes another person just like a limb of your own body. It just does what you want.

In fictional sources, the conditions vary a lot, as different authors invent different restrictions to try to make the power and their stories interesting. In games, those restrictions are generally invented partly by the setting design, and partly at character design time.

The basic GURPS Advantage, Mind Control, is in the middle of that spectrum. The "you just control them" would be Possession. The text of MC cites Reprogrammable, which says

Quote:
Originally Posted by B150
If you have Slave Mentality (p. 154), you must obey slavishly, and remain strictly within the letter of your masterís commands. If you lack Slave Mentality, you may interpret his orders creatively, as long as you remain within either their letter or spirit (your choice). If you are nonsentient (IQ 0), you have no interest in doing anything but following your programming!
I take "your choice" here to mean a choice at character design time. The text normally refers to when you choose this Disadvantage during character creation. When inflicted upon you by MC, that's a dynamic event. But to me, the Mind Control concept should specify at design time whether it causes victims to follow the letter or spirit of the orders (where the victim even has that choice, thanks to IQ > 0 and no Slave Mentality). The seductive fairy "charm" might cause its victims to be much more willingly compliant than the domineering evil priest "command". "Your choice" probably doesn't mean selection by the victim, or at will by the controller, possibly changing every time the ability is used (though someone can probably come up with a concept where that makes sense).

So, in your games, you can choose to have the MC require the victims to obey only the letter of their instructions, if that's what you want. That's not necessarily a requirement of any ability built on top of Mind Control, though.

It's also worth keeping in mind that there are other ways to get mind-controlling effects. Possession and Afflicting a Duty or Sense of Duty come to mind. So when designing, it's also worth pausing to ask whether Mind Control is really where you want to start.
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Old 10-25-2016, 03:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: Mind Control Questions

More questions:

DF1 states:
Quote:
Bard-Song abilities require the bard to sing or play a musical instrument at skill 14+
Does this mean a roll vs singing or musical instrument is required or just that the skill is a prerequisite?

Also, is singing a free action on this case or is a concentrate maneuver required?


Quote:
all effects end immediately if he stops.
Even lingering effects like Mind Control's 1 min per margin of success? The Bard Songs from DF Power Ups have lingering effects, so I'm thinking that these don't just end.
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Old 10-25-2016, 03:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: Mind Control Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
Yes, that's a different thing. Chronic stress impedes episodic memory formation - particularly in children. You learn the lessons you need to learn from things, but you don't remember what happened, or that it happened. It's an adaptive strategy for living a horrible life - never write it down in your brain in the first place, or you'll keep being haunted by horrible memories even after you escape.

And yes, when this happens a lot in children, the ability to form episodic memories is degraded long term - pre-emptively not-remembering in case it's stressful, if you will.
That's almost the opposite of what I meant and wrote. I'm talking of continuing damage AFTER the trauma not during.
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