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Telepathy and Mind Contol vs. Power Armor


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I have a character in my game who has telepathy and mind control that only works against machine class minds.  How would that work if he wanted to interfere with the operating system of a villain's suit of powered armor?  Would this only work if the villain's suit of powered armor had a built in AI? If not, what would the DMCV of the suit's operating system be?  What would it's EGO be?

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I know it's been debated a *lot* but I've always felt that the powers work on machine class *minds*.  No mind (ego), no telepathy or mind control - turning a car on maximum overdrive style is better done with telekinesis, transform, summon or something.

 

It's not what most players sign on for with that power, though: They want to read the hard drive of the villains PC or turn the bases defense mechanisms against the bad guy.

 

Personally if I were to make a technopath I'd put a few creative drains, telekinetic tricks,  or transforms in a pool to represent 'messing' with a non-sentient machine and save the full on mind control for AI/Computer.

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I think this sort of thing needs to be hashed out before the game begins.  Personally, I'd have no problem with letting someone with telemechanics-style mind control affect a guy in power armor.  That's kind of what you paid for, after all.  But it's gonna depend on the value of the limitation you received for that.  Telemechanics is one of those powers that should be discussed with the GM before you make your character, because there are a lot of different ways to do it.

 

And GMs are known to be whiny and throw hissy fits.  ;)

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I know it's been debated a *lot* but I've always felt that the powers work on machine class *minds*.  No mind (ego), no telepathy or mind control - turning a car on maximum overdrive style is better done with telekinesis, transform, summon or something.

 

It's not what most players sign on for with that power, though: They want to read the hard drive of the villains PC or turn the bases defense mechanisms against the bad guy.

 

Personally if I were to make a technopath I'd put a few creative drains, telekinetic tricks,  or transforms in a pool to represent 'messing' with a non-sentient machine and save the full on mind control for AI/Computer.

So, umm, how would you model all the things the T-X does to control non-sentient machines in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines?  Or do you simply not let that kind of ability exist in your world(s) due to GM Fiat?

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Never had the issue come up.  If it did, I would allow the telepathy and mind control to work only on electronic controlled complex systems.  If the system is controlled by a human, I'd allow it and it would be a standard mind control using the target's EGO.  If the machine has its own EGO, then it would be the machine's ego.  Effectively if Machine Control Man tried to take over Tony Stark's Iron Man suit, Tony would effectively fight for control of the suit's functions representing his EGO and INT.

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Never had the issue come up.  If it did, I would allow the telepathy and mind control to work only on electronic controlled complex systems.  If the system is controlled by a human, I'd allow it and it would be a standard mind control using the target's EGO.  If the machine has its own EGO, then it would be the machine's ego.  Effectively if Machine Control Man tried to take over Tony Stark's Iron Man suit, Tony would effectively fight for control of the suit's functions representing his EGO and INT.

I like this idea, but what would you use for the DMCV of the suit?

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Hmmm.... my take on it would be to not casually allow it for things without EGO, though I do like the idea of using a power suit operator's one.

 

Mind Control won't do anything against plants, or Automatons for that matter, which is what robots and programmed devices fall into. What you're really looking for is a way to change the orders given to those. Not sure on how that would best work... I'll think about it over breakfast.

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You could use Transform to change the programming on a robot. It might be similar to Psychic rewiring...

 

That's exactly what I was thinking after browsing CC. Transform of Function (5 pts per) vs BODY, Requires a Roll (Computer Programming), only vs Machine Automata, which would be an opposed roll against the owner in most cases, to change the Orders it was given.

 

AIs would need Mind Control proper, though I guess you could still alter their Orders - but they'd be able to work around that with an EGO roll.

 

Dumb or manually operated machinery would probably be some version of Telekinesis to take control.

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I think if you have classes of minds and machine class costs as much as human, you need to allow mental powers with the machine class minds descriptor to affect any reasonably complex electronic device within dramatic and genre sense. The APG has some good starting points, but I think it could use a bit more fleshing out with respect to a focus that has a user interface.

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Rhino

 

I would say that fiirst you have to determine how easy it is ro communicate with the device in question.   A typical Luxory car with blue tooth, lojack and On star is pretty much open as far as a connection being available however there will be encryption and a unique OS as well as a firewall.  The mind control may have to be telepathic or the teleopath won't understand the code,  The encryption would act as a mental defense and the firewall may be a separate entity in cyberspace attempting to cutoff the connection (dispel).  So a new device with a computer is easy to attack but has defenses.

 

The Apollo 12 lander for the moon has a simple OS built on basic with no encryption but no ability for outside programs to affect much as it was driven by manual flipping of switches.  Easy to overcome but not to connect with.

y

So if it is 2010 smart armor yes you can try but you have to overcome intruder alert systems.  If it is 1960's style armor you are in but can only take over say the CB radio if that.

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I have a character in my game who has telepathy and mind control that only works against machine class minds.  How would that work if he wanted to interfere with the operating system of a villain's suit of powered armor?

 

 

What I would rule is that you either have to build it differently (like I've allowed a mind control against Body to control inanimate objects, sort of technokinesis) or that the target has to have AI; anything without an ego score cannot be targeted with mental powers: there's nothing there to target.

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The trick is that Automata are specifically exempted from Mental Powers. You shouldn't really be able to use Mind Control on simple robots, just as you can't use it on that kind of zombies. 

 

There's already a mechanism for reprogramming (opposed Computer Programming rolls), so maybe all that's needed is the connection? Mind Link handles AIs and willing targets.

 

What about something like Radio Perception (receive and transmit) with the Discriminatory and Analyze adders? That could allow for attempts at remote hijacking against machines that can communicate by radio.

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The trick is that Automata are specifically exempted from Mental Powers. You shouldn't really be able to use Mind Control on simple robots, just as you can't use it on that kind of zombies. 

 

There's already a mechanism for reprogramming (opposed Computer Programming rolls), so maybe all that's needed is the connection? Mind Link handles AIs and willing targets.

 

What about something like Radio Perception (receive and transmit) with the Discriminatory and Analyze adders? That could allow for attempts at remote hijacking against machines that can communicate by radio.

 

Mrinku

 

I guess the question is how useful is "Machine Class" of minds.  The rules treat it as the same as human minds because it is essentially a 0 limitation to trade off.  This means there must be a large enough number of AIs with ego out there to effect to make the power as useful.

 

This is not the case, most programs don't have ego.at all.  I for one see no problem allowing this power to affect soulless AIs (programs without EGO) however even the most mundane, such as your smart phone, will have commercial grade encryption, whereas the normal human does not BUT humans have an EGO score which soulless AIs do not so it works out.

 

Any competent GM should be able to answer this with common sense.  I want to use telepathy to read someone's text messages off their smart phone.  OK well it is not easy to break encryption on an iPhone so it would have a 0 Ego but maybe an 18 Mental Defense.  Use judgement, a CIA agent's might have double that 36 points.  In this way overcoming a device is not easier than a human just different in the ways it works.

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If I recall correctly, if you want to hit a character's Focus with an attack that targets DCV, the Focus has the character's DCV, plus 2 if it's Accessible. So targetting a Focus with am attack that targets DMCV, the Focus should have a minimum DMCV of the character's DMCV plus 2. For an Inaccessible Focus, probably higher.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary is in a class by itself.

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I guess the question is how useful is "Machine Class" of minds.  The rules treat it as the same as human minds because it is essentially a 0 limitation to trade off.  This means there must be a large enough number of AIs with ego out there to effect to make the power as useful.

 

 

This among other reasons was why the "class of minds" was dropped in Champions Complete, as I understand it.  It was an interesting concept but in play not really a great one.  If you can only affect mechanical items/AI, then its worth a limitation.

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Well, some characters would be classed as "machine minds", so it's not just AIs bought as equipment. My very first Champions character, Robo-bushi, would definitely count for any "mind control vs machines only" power.

 

Mechanon, too. Though good luck with that one.

 

Edit:

Okay, since it didn't make it to CC, I don't know the "class of minds" thing. Would that mean that regular Mind Control would have no effect against a robot character? It's all going to be quite campaign dependent, eh? 

 

And getting back to the OP question... if the powered suit doesn't have an AI, it's effectively a piloted vehicle. I'd not assume its control systems would even be able to be accessed, unless it was built with a remote control feature (i.e. MCU Iron Man armour). Certainly if the "mind control" relies on a radio hack it's not likely. 

 

But if your power does allow taking control of, say, a normal dumb car by electromagnetic induction of its electronics or magnetically manipulating its metal components - that could carry over to a power suit or robot. Special effects are important.

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So, umm, how would you model all the things the T-X does to control non-sentient machines in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines?  Or do you simply not let that kind of ability exist in your world(s) due to GM Fiat?

 

Powers with Manifest and Limited power from a Control Machinery VPP?

 

That sentry turret you took over off screen?  Manifest of a triggered blast power. Uncontrolled so you can use the slot for something else once you set it.  Taking over the security cameras? Clairvoyance (limited power: existing security infrastructure).  Remotely commanding the toaster to make you breakfast? Transform Bread to Cooked Bread (LP: existing toaster).

 

(Or an energy HKA no strength since we know toasters love to burn the bread)

 

And most importantly just a Power roll with the pool for anything that doesn't really affect anything (like the toaster, really - it was just there as an example for something more useful than a toaster :) ) .  Go ahead and remotely turn the wipers on - as long as it doesn't obscure vision (flash attack).

 

Reprogramming an AI with an EGO (the T-800) is flat out mind control, though, complete with break out roll.

 

edit: Also, if someone wanted to make a true technopath I'd work with them and make sure more enemy robots than not were AI controlled automatons instead of dumb ones and give the enemy power suit an AI every so often.  It's the other half of the equation - let players be cool so long as it doesn't ruin the experience for the table at large.

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Dropping Classes of Minds as a mechanical concept was the biggest (and in my opinion one of the best) changes in CC/FHC. Mental Powers now work on all game elements built as Character's (including Mechanon) unless otherwise limited. I was never very fond of the idea that mentalist had to pay a premium on already expensive powers just to prevent a character from declaring themselves immune to the effect for free (by playing an Alien or Machine Class Mind in a typical Champions Game for example. I think it is more fair now that the Mentalist gets a discount if they can only affect certain targets (as opposed to not paying a premium).

 

Mechanon, too. Though good luck with that one.

According to CV1 103 Mechanon counts as both a Human and Machine Class Mind for the purposes of mental powers.

 

 

Okay, since it didn't make it to CC, I don't know the "class of minds" thing. Would that mean that regular Mind Control would have no effect against a robot character? It's all going to be quite campaign dependent, eh? 

In CC/FHC if the robots are built as Characters (or AI Computers), they can be affected by unmodified Mental Powers, but might be declared Machine Class Minds for the purpose of unusual mental powers which target or exclude specific classes of minds. Other forms of robot (such as Bases, Vehicles, Automatons, and Objects/Foci) are unaffected by Mental Powers unless they are controlled by an AI Computer that is​ affected by Mental Powers. Basically, your origin/special effects don't give you any particular advantage against Mental Powers anymore.

 

Personally, I generally against using Mental Powers (such as Mind Control) to affect things without an EGO or DMCV (such as a Vehicle or Object/Foci). Anything sophisticated enough to control with mentalism should also be sophisticated enough to have a Computer built-in so that it legally can be. The common campy cinematic version of Technopathy is just Telekinesis, Only Versus Machines anyway.

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So, back to 4e and earlier rules, eh? :)

 

This was also a feature of 6E.  See 6E1 pg. 149:

 

The class of minds rules are intended to

provide flavor and intriguing options for Mental

Powers — not as a cheap way for abusive players

to try to make their characters immune to most

mental attacks. Unless the GM indicates otherwise,

assume all Player Characters in the campaign

are affected as if they belong to the Human class

of minds, regardless of their nature, where they

come from, or the like. For example, a PC who’s an

android is a machine, but if he’s smart enough and

self-willed enough to function like a human being,

he should probably be affected as both the Human

and Machine classes of minds (for which he may

be allowed to take a Physical Complication; see

6E1 425).

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