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Mind Scan vs. the Cosmos


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Mind Scan vs. the Cosmos

AKA "Where in the Multiverse is Carmen Sandiego?"

AKA "Where's Waldo? The Trans-Dimensional Edition"

 

Per the 5th Edition rules-as-written (RAW), Mind Scan has an effective maximum range of an entire world, specifically, the world that the scanner is currently on. Also, the combat roll to use Mind Scan takes a penalty based on the size of the population being scanned. Since I want characters to be (theoretically) able to use Mind Scan on a more cosmic scale, I need to be able to expand these criteria accordingly. 

 

Part 1 - Max. Range

 

Since Mind Scan is a Mental Power, it doesn't have a true (i.e. quantifiable, measurable) max. range. Furthermore, because it operates indirectly (i.e. not requiring visual contact), it isn't limited to line-of-sight. Thinking about the "base" max. range of "current world" with regards to the presumed setting of superhero comics, this gives me some questions. 

 

What if the target mind is in low Earth orbit (for ex.: aboard the International Space Station)? I'd argue that low orbit is "close enough" to the world in question to be included into the default max. range. 

 

But what about on a moon? If the scanner is on Earth (Terra), and the target is actually on the Moon (Luna), would that still be considered "close enough"? If not, then this would be the most logical first step "upwards" for the max. range: from "Current World (Only)" to "Planetary System" (i.e. a planet and all of its moons). Another example where this increase to max. range would be very applicable is Jovian Space (i.e. Jupiter and its moons). If our psychic is on Ganymede and the unknown target he's looking for is actually on Europa, this would still enable him to scan for the target. 

 

Obviously, the next higher increment from "Planetary System" would be "Star System" (i.e. an entire solar system). However, from here it would be a tremendously huge step upwards to cover an entire galaxy! And from "Galaxy" you'd next have "Galactic Cluster" and then "Super-Cluster of Galaxies" and then finally "Entire Universe". 

 

Logically, there probably ought to be some sort of mid-way position between "Star System" and "galaxy", but I'm not certain what atronomical term would be appropriate. If I were using the background from GDW's Traveller game, I'd consider using "Sector" or "Domain", but those would be a more political-based designation, instead of an astronomy-based one...

 

For reference, here is the scale of max. ranges I've defined: 

 

(0) - Current World

+1  - Planetary System

+2  - Star System

??  - (add anything here?)

+3  - Galaxy

+4  - Galactic Cluster

+5  - Super-Cluster of Galaxies

+6  - Entire Universe

 

The "Trans-Dimensional" Advantage in RAW already discusses how to add the ability to include alternate universes (i.e. other dimensions) to Mind Scan. (However, please see below for how this affects the Population Size of the search...) 

 

Part 2 - Pop. Size

 

Given the premise of searching for a specific mind, somewhere within just our own galaxy, how big of a population would we be scanning? 

 

As an example, I'd like to refer to an established setting for another game. In the Third Imperium setting for GDW's Traveller, Charted Space covered a tiny fraction of the Milky Way galaxy. And yet the Third Imperium itself had 11,000 worlds, with a small percentage of those worlds having populations in the _trillions_ (and _tens_ of trillions for many of that percentage). This gave _quadrillions_ of people to just that one empire. This does not include the population of the other empires and other societies in Traveller's Charted Space. I could easily see the population of Charted Space being in the quintillions, and the (theoretical) population of the entire galaxy being in the _septillions_ (never mind the sextillions)! 

 

Now, given that our galaxy isn't one of the larger ones, and given that there are clusters of galaxies, and that these clusters form super-clusters, just imagine the size of the population to be scanned for a specific mind hidden somewhere within the vast cosmos of an entire universe! 

 

Obviously, a smart player will capitalize on Penalty Skill Levels to fight this, using the 1.5-point PSL (+2 w/ Mind Scan vs. Population penalty, cost 3 pts.) to an extreme degree. But even with this legal munchkinism, being able to search an entire cosmos will be exceedingly prohibitive. And given that a trans-dimensional scan will be searching _many_ such universes (i.e. dimensions) at once, this will be even worse! 

 

Part 3 - Solicitation of Feedback

 

How would you recommend I expand the "max. range" of Mind Scan, for those characters wanting a more cosmic scale? 

 

Is there any (legal) way to work around the extreme Pop.-based penalty, without having to spend over a hundred points just on PSLs? 

 

Have these issues been covered in any previously published HERO Games sourcebooks? How did they work around these issues? (I want to say there was once a "Galactic Champions" sourcebook of some sort, but I could be mistaken. Also, I can't check my own library, as all my hardcopy books are currently in storage.) 

 

Thanks, 

Franklin

 

Footnotes: 

 

1) Since I'm an American, I'm using the "short scale" of large numbers: 


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In 6th edition, it suggests using "Megascale" to increase Mind Scan range, but I admit I'm not sure how that would work.

 

As for the penalty for the astronomical quantity of minds, one thing that comes to mind is taking extra Time.

 

Are you using Class of Mind rules? Whether you are or are not, you might be able to cut the numbers down by only searching specific mind types. There could be septillions of thinking minds in the galaxy but if there are only seven trillion who are Vulcans and you're only looking among those, that would make a big difference.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

When it comes to minds the palindromedary is in a class by itself

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In 6th edition, it suggests using "Megascale" to increase Mind Scan range...

 

Same in 5th Ed.  ;-)  

 

...but I admit I'm not sure how that would work.

 

Yeah.  :-(  

Hence my need for this topic.   

 

As for the penalty for the astronomical quantity of minds, one thing that comes to mind is taking extra Time.

 

Good point.  Between that and lots of PSLs, that should help tremendously!  ;-)  

 

Are you using Class of Mind rules? Whether you are or are not, you might be able to cut the numbers down by only searching specific mind types. There could be septillions of thinking minds in the galaxy but if there are only seven trillion who are Vulcans and you're only looking among those, that would make a big difference.

 

Class of Minds would help..._if_ the scanner already knows the target's species / race. I'm looking for a more generic situation. 

 

Thank you for the feedback!  :-)  

Franklin

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Morty: You know, Rick, when I first saw all those Ricks and Mortys, I thought, "Gee, that kinda devalues our bond." But then I realized it just means that our relationship must be pretty special to span over all those different timelines.

 

Rick: Yeah, it's gotta be that way. You're a camouflage.

 

Morty: Camouflage? Wh-wh-what are you talking about, Rick?

 

Rick: Ricks have a very distinctive and traceable brainwave due to our genius. The best way to hide from an enemy's radar is to stand near someone with complementary brainwaves that make ours invisible.

 

[picks his pen]

 

See, w-w-w-when a Rick i-is with a Morty,

 

[writes diagram]

 

the genius waves get canceled out by the, uh... ahe-hem... Morty waves.

 

Morty: Um... because... our personalities are so different?

 

[Rick's portal gun beeps]

 

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Just trying to help:

 

  0  - Current World

+1  - Planetary System

+2  - Star System

Probably should add

+3  - Cluster

+4  - Sector (used in Green Lantern)

+5  - Arm

+6  - Quadrant (used in Star Trek)

+7  - Galaxy

+8  - Galactic Local Group

+9  - Super-Cluster of Galaxies

+10  - Entire Universe

 

As noted also, this would only be effective for humans or a single mind class.

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(Re: Max. Range)

Checking the rule-book on Mind Scan, I find this. Per the Rules-as-Written (RAW): 

 

"Mind Scan is automatically considered to have Mega-Scale at the +1.25 level because it can search for minds on a planet."

 

The +1.25 level of Mega-Scale corresponds to a size of "one hex equals one million kilometers." A million kilometers should adequately cover many planetary systems (not just one world), seeing as Sol (our Sun) is one million KM in diameter. For a gas giant's planetary system, however, you would need to bump up the max. range (i.e. buy more Mega-Scale); for example, Europa orbits Jupiter at around 670,000 KM, so the next higher increment of Mega-Scale (10,000,000 KM) should cover all of the Jovian moons at once. 

 

Franklin
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