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Old 06-28-2020, 09:31 AM   #1
Prince Charon
 
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Default [Psi-Tech] Strategic Psychotronic Devices

Trying to recreate a thread I started just before the forum went down.

When humans encounter new technology, we far too often think of how to weaponize it, and when modern humans encounter new tech, we frequently contemplate how it might be used as a strategic weapon, or as a means of defending against the enemy's strategic weapons.

So, what would a Strategic Psychotronic Device do (apart from 'a lot more damage, but in a strange way')? Psi-Bombs (Psi-Tech pp28-29) with longer ranges are probably only the start (the 250 lb version is a pretty good start, a radius of 128 feet, while not huge on a strategic scale, is still quite disruptive in the right place). Lots of possible variety, there. As a defence, using Probability Alteration or Ergokinesis to disrupt incoming missiles or vehicles is a possibility, as well as theatre-scale Mind Shields. In both cases, there are certainly other options. What are your ideas, and how might they be used?

For an ATE scenario, what might a world devastated by both sides using Strategic Psychotronic Devices look like?

What about an interstellar war that includes strategic-level psi-tech?
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Psi-Tech] Strategic Psychotronic Devices

A while back, I read a short story in which the researcher trying to create something like sensie tech (basically, a device that records everything you experience while you wear it, and allows someone to relive this with another device) suffered a stroke and died while testing it. Having someone relive that basically turned them into a sort of sociopath (IIRC, there was some debate in the setting on if this was evidence of a soul, and that the experience tricked the soul into thinking the body was dead and leaving it).

If you could induce something like this at range and, ideally, in an area, you could detonate such a "soul eater" in a large city, then watch as it basically tears itself apart (some people might resist it - probably with a penalized Will roll, although HT or even IQ might not be inappropriate - but they'd never know who they could trust). Unless you had a good way to detect the detonation, you probably wouldn't notice what happened in time to do anything about it, as you'd likely just initially see a sudden spike in violent crime. Use one of these in most major cities - and large military bases - and I'd imagine you'd see total societal collapse in fairly short order.
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Old 06-28-2020, 01:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Psi-Tech] Strategic Psychotronic Devices

Wasn't the McGuffin starship in The Hitchhiker's Guide powered by an improbability engine or something?
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Old 06-28-2020, 03:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Psi-Tech] Strategic Psychotronic Devices

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
A while back, I read a short story in which the researcher trying to create something like sensie tech (basically, a device that records everything you experience while you wear it, and allows someone to relive this with another device) suffered a stroke and died while testing it. Having someone relive that basically turned them into a sort of sociopath (IIRC, there was some debate in the setting on if this was evidence of a soul, and that the experience tricked the soul into thinking the body was dead and leaving it).
I think I might have read that, but I'm blanking on the author, title, or other information that would let me look it up.

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
If you could induce something like this at range and, ideally, in an area, you could detonate such a "soul eater" in a large city, then watch as it basically tears itself apart (some people might resist it - probably with a penalized Will roll, although HT or even IQ might not be inappropriate - but they'd never know who they could trust). Unless you had a good way to detect the detonation, you probably wouldn't notice what happened in time to do anything about it, as you'd likely just initially see a sudden spike in violent crime. Use one of these in most major cities - and large military bases - and I'd imagine you'd see total societal collapse in fairly short order.
Very scary.

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Wasn't the McGuffin starship in The Hitchhiker's Guide powered by an improbability engine or something?
Infinite Improbability Drive, yes. In one of the novels, it told space to get knotted.
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Old 06-28-2020, 03:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Psi-Tech] Strategic Psychotronic Devices

Prediction of the future is very useful in war.



though its a bit more complicated when both sides can do it. Perhaps ships have some way of acting randomly as a defense... or maybe a few ships are shielded, and the battle is decided by the fate of those "prophesy-proof" ships.
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Old 06-28-2020, 03:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Psi-Tech] Strategic Psychotronic Devices

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
I think I might have read that, but I'm blanking on the author, title, or other information that would let me look it up.
I'm pretty certain it was on the website 365 Tomorrows, but seeing as that's been going since 2005 with the idea of having a new short story every day, finding it is like finding a specific needle in a stack of other needles. Even trying to use Google's site: option, I wasn't able to refind it, but perhaps you'll have better luck.

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Prediction of the future is very useful in war.



though its a bit more complicated when both sides can do it. Perhaps ships have some way of acting randomly as a defense... or maybe a few ships are shielded, and the battle is decided by the fate of those "prophesy-proof" ships.
If that isn't an adventure seed, I don't know what is.
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Old 06-28-2020, 08:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Psi-Tech] Strategic Psychotronic Devices

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
I'm pretty certain it was on the website 365 Tomorrows, but seeing as that's been going since 2005 with the idea of having a new short story every day, finding it is like finding a specific needle in a stack of other needles. Even trying to use Google's site: option, I wasn't able to refind it, but perhaps you'll have better luck.
Ah. I was thinking of a short story from probably between the 1930s and 1960s, since I read a fair number of old anthologies growing up.
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:12 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Psi-Tech] Strategic Psychotronic Devices

Strategic weapons that triggered Agony or Ecstasy for a couple of days in anyone who failed their Will roll could be an interesting WMD. The base effect could be Affliction (Will; Affects Insubstantial, +20%; Agony/Ecstasy, +100%; Area Effect 12, +600%; Based on Will, +20%; Cosmic, Irresistible Attack, +300%; Extended Duration, 1000x, +120%; No Signature, Mundane, +20%) [128 CP/level]. When dropped on an enemy, everyone, regardless of what physical protections they enjoyed, would need to make a Will roll or suffer the effects for 1,000 minutes per point of failure. A strategic level weapon could require everyone to make the roll at Will-10, meaning that the average person would suffer a week of agony/ecstasy, allowing troops to come and collect the population with minimal hassle.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:23 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Psi-Tech] Strategic Psychotronic Devices

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Strategic weapons that triggered Agony or Ecstasy for a couple of days in anyone who failed their Will roll could be an interesting WMD. The base effect could be Affliction (Will; Affects Insubstantial, +20%; Agony/Ecstasy, +100%; Area Effect 12, +600%; Based on Will, +20%; Cosmic, Irresistible Attack, +300%; Extended Duration, 1000x, +120%; No Signature, Mundane, +20%) [128 CP/level]. When dropped on an enemy, everyone, regardless of what physical protections they enjoyed, would need to make a Will roll or suffer the effects for 1,000 minutes per point of failure. A strategic level weapon could require everyone to make the roll at Will-10, meaning that the average person would suffer a week of agony/ecstasy, allowing troops to come and collect the population with minimal hassle.
Unless one of the victims had cosmic defenses that worked against this type of attack. But this should be extremely rare.

This would truly be a nasty weapon. I think very few would survive insane. Almost the nastiest weapon of its sort I've seen. The worst was in an old SF story and it removed the connection between the consciousness and the body, permanently. It did end the war (I think with Mars), but with a large amount of victims that they had to care for until they died.
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Old 06-30-2020, 11:12 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Psi-Tech] Strategic Psychotronic Devices

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
Trying to recreate a thread I started just before the forum went down.

When humans encounter new technology, we far too often think of how to weaponize it, and when modern humans encounter new tech, we frequently contemplate how it might be used as a strategic weapon, or as a means of defending against the enemy's strategic weapons.

So, what would a Strategic Psychotronic Device do (apart from 'a lot more damage, but in a strange way')? Psi-Bombs (Psi-Tech pp28-29) with longer ranges are probably only the start (the 250 lb version is a pretty good start, a radius of 128 feet, while not huge on a strategic scale, is still quite disruptive in the right place). Lots of possible variety, there. As a defence, using Probability Alteration or Ergokinesis to disrupt incoming missiles or vehicles is a possibility, as well as theatre-scale Mind Shields. In both cases, there are certainly other options. What are your ideas, and how might they be used?

For an ATE scenario, what might a world devastated by both sides using Strategic Psychotronic Devices look like?

What about an interstellar war that includes strategic-level psi-tech?
The really devastating psi tech is the information-based stuff.

In my world, the Germans in World War II actually had a psi research program that actually had results, but the same psychology that motivated them to keep trying things like putting naval guns on land-based tanks caused the Nazi leadership to fixate on telekinesis and the like, neglecting the really devastating possibilities of ESP and Telepathy.

A strategic psi-tech weapon could be something like an amplifier that lets you remote view your enemy's every movement, making it impossible to disguise troop movements, logistic support, etc. Imagine how terrible the effect would be if the enemy general could, in effect, sit in on every planning meeting of the high command.

Or a telepathic strategic weapon might enable one to remote-target key enemy personal with nightmares, hallucination, subtle suggestions, etc. Used carefully, this could be more devastating than tacnukes.

The truly scary applications of psi are the 'soft' ones.
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