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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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_large_numbers
No offense, but I've never really liked the write-up for the "Mega-Scale" Advantage -- to me, it never really meshed well with the Hero System's method of binary rounding. Therefore, I came up with my own (campaign-specific) replacement: http://fcain.tripod.com/hero5/increased_scale.html Basically, for every +1/4 in "Increased Scale", you multiply _ALL_ distance-related aspects of the Power by 32 (i.e.: 2^5). And since the Hero System rounds binary, my house rule allows for a dramatic increase in range (plus are effect, etc.) that still allows for cosmic-scale distances relatively fast. This also allowed me to "fix" the "Increased Range" Advantage similarly (at least, for my own use). I didn't like how using this Advantage more than once did not mesh into the binary sequence. So, being the math nerd that I am, when I played around with some numbers, I noticed that the square root of 32 (i.e.: 2^2.5) was 5.6, which is very close to the "x5" factor given to the first level of "Increased Range". So, I modified "Inc. Range" to fit into my own sequence (as documented in my web page, above). Just wanted to share this, in case anyone else might want to use this. Also, I welcome your feedback on this idea. Thanks, Franklin increased scale.html