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D&D 3E
Lesser Mindlink 
28th-Oct-2004 10:38 am
bitch
According to Lesser Mindlink in the Psionics Handbook, "You forge a telepathic bond with another creature...Once the bond is formed, it works over any distance (althougn ot from one plane to another)." I have a player who is using the bond to establish a link with his mentor and ask him questions. He sets up links with all sorts of people across the world and uses this to retrieve information, often asking people of extremely high status/level who would have this info, even though he's not supposed to. It's a Psion 1 power, and in all its low-levelness, I feel like he's getting an awful lot out of it, though the player is not "abusing" the power, persay--he's using it just as the book allows.

How, as a DM, would you work around a player who Lesser Minklinks with everybody, save for the obvious "I don't know" cheesy answers I could give from the NPCs he links with that would be willing to help him and would know?

This is my first campaign with psionics, and I must say, they can be a pain sometimes. >.
Comments 
28th-Oct-2004 10:56 am (UTC)
the problem isn't the ability; the problem is the agreement to use the ability and then have the reaction thereafter.

Were someone IMC to decide to try the same thing*, I'd allow them to form the link with their master, but the master would hold out on some information as a way of teaching the student. Other characters--especially high level ones--would view lesser mindlink (or other forms of telepathy) as a relationship as intimate as sexual contact: not for the casual hero who's likely to die in a week.

Assuming that your player did get permission to form the links (and thus the NPC is cooprerative), I'd give the +2 Aid Another check to Knowledge skills the NPC possesses.


------------------
*: My home campaign doesn't use D&D Psionics. It uses Mindcraft, which will be avaliable for sale from Alea Publishing in a matter of weeks. Mindcraft is a "less-like-magic" cap system to replace or supplement Psionics, written by yours truly.
28th-Oct-2004 10:34 pm (UTC)
you really wrote mindcraft yourself?
29th-Oct-2004 06:00 am (UTC)
Yep. No other actual writers helped out--I had some folk who playtested, a few that edited, and of course the folk at Alea did a lot to turn the manuscript I handed them into a salable product.

30th-Oct-2004 11:26 am (UTC)
very cool! is it the first thing you've had published? did you approach them with the idea or were they looking for something to replace psionics?

how does it differ from psionics - if you feel like explaining.

you'll have to tell us when it's available! i think it's exciting!!
28th-Oct-2004 10:58 am (UTC)
can he use it to read the mind of an unwilling participant? do they know he's in there? i wouldn't want some random first level dweeb picking my brain because he want's to know my mom's shoe size, or whatever. not that i know my mom's shoe size... i think it's 8 1/2... anyway. i'd start giving will saves to everyone he tries it on without permission, and i'd start having them get pissed off about it.
28th-Oct-2004 11:07 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'd definately add on a will save/plus to difficulty if he doesn't ask permission of the user first. I also think that the automatic his-master-agreed-to-it (as well as any other npc's he has) is a bit bogus.

What IS this guy's Charisma after all? If he has a low Charisma, I doubt he would really have a wide assortment of people to choose from, not to mention a wide assortment that would trust him. Any new links this guy wants should be role-played out or at least get some dice rolls just so that it isn't so dead-set yes. A high Charisma might make it a little more likely/lenient, but not much.
28th-Oct-2004 11:25 am (UTC)
Unwilling people have yet to have their minds probed, but he uses NPCs that have been willing in the past to help him (as explained above.) Also, he has a very high charisma score, as Telepathy is his psionics of choice.

I just didn't know if there was a way for this power to be impeded other than the person being on another plane. :-/
28th-Oct-2004 11:28 am (UTC)
When it comes to something like that, even if the description makes no mention of it, put a cap on how many mindlinks are available at any given time.

Furthermore, a will save for the one using the Mindlink itself should be brought about, for one reason: think of all the mental feedback that being mindlinked with so many people would cause.

Most people have trouble organizing and filtering through their own thought processes. Psion's being much more organized mentally, it would be logical to assume that it would be easy to accomplish at least a number of mindlinks and still continue about their normal, everyday lives. After a certain time though, it gets to be strenuous, as your brain only has room for -so- much information, and can only process so much at any given time. Even if the bonds are dormant, it's like a computer: the program takes up memory and even in sleep mode, it uses at least some RAM (it's a comparrison here, go with it).

Running too many programs, having too many start-up icons and disc-tray icons is bad for your computer, and I imagine bad for your brain as well. Perhaps, after reaching the cap, the PC would need a Concentration check for certain strenuous mental/psionic activity. Maybe even throw a stat point loss towards Wisdom.

Always throw at least some sort of deterrant, even if it's not in the normal rules. There are plenty of loop-holes in the system that PC's are constantly exploiting, and it's your job as a DM not to completely shut them down, but at least rein them in. :]
28th-Oct-2004 11:38 am (UTC)
Thank you for the advice. That helped a lot. :-)
28th-Oct-2004 02:28 pm (UTC)
Glad to be of help. :]
28th-Oct-2004 12:18 pm (UTC)
Another part of this is that powerful people are vulnerable through their lower-level friends and acquaintances. If a villain got wind of what the character was doing and used it to his advantage the NPCs in question could go down hard. They would know this and be hesitant to answer every single call. "Only contact me if it's an emergency."

Another part of it is that no matter how friendly these guys are no one likes being pestered like that unless it's important. People tend to go one of two ways when addressed with constant "calls". They either are annoyed after all the intrusions (I'll bet he's interrupted a few meditations, conversations, projects, private time, and so on) or they are vapid and only want to talk about themselves and aren't useful. "Oh you called me again! You're so sweet! No I don't know what your asking. What's an Aboleth?" *connection reset due to tentacle attack*

You get the idea. There are so many ways of solving this little problem, including some of the ones above. If I were a powerful and knowledgeable person I would be sorely pressed to be interrupted every five minutes for some snot-nosed newbie asking me all kinds of inane questions.
28th-Oct-2004 12:27 pm (UTC)
Edit: That's not to say that you shouldn't allow him to contact them. Psions are cool that way and it's one of the things that makes them so darned groovy.

But honestly he has to give a little to get a little. To open themselves to danger he has to be useful. If someone were beggaring MY time constantly I would want something out of it, every now and then. "That spare rare magical item you have? Send it on up. Some monetary compensation wouldn't be unwelcome. A quest every now and then couldn't hurt. My friend needs a rare herb from the Forest of Hurt!"

"I like you and all, but you are cramping my style. I might need to start asking for compensation."

Having them "return the favor" might be in order, as well. Right in the middle of combat or at some other critical juncture he's interrupted by someone who needs to know if he has some critical tidbit of information. "Hey, could you call so-and-so and tell him I won't be there for the party?"

Does he want to strain his relationsips with these people? How's his skill in diplomacy? There's a chance they might lose their "Friendly" status.

But yeah. Don't overdo it. He is still entitled to his friends and contacts. But it cannot be a game-breaker.
28th-Oct-2004 12:19 pm (UTC)
I can't find it in the Expanded Psionics Handbook, so they must have nerfed it in 3.5, but...

Next time he does that, let him "hear" the following:

"Not... now... OH NO! Aaaaargh!!!!"

[static psychic noise follows]


All further psionic contact with that person fails. Let the PC later learn that he interrupted the NPC during some sort of activity where it was really important that said NPC wasn't interrupted (such as banishing/summoning an outsider, climbing a cliff face, or something similar), and subsequently died.

Not only have you shown the PC why it is important to use that power only during emergencies, you also have an instant adventure seed - by figuring out just what the NPC was doing and how the PC is going to clean up the resulting mess...
28th-Oct-2004 12:23 pm (UTC)
That. Is. PERFECT.

Thank you. That's wonderful.

And I really, truly should be getting Expanded Psionics Handbook soon.
28th-Oct-2004 12:41 pm (UTC)
That. Is. PERFECT.

Thank you. That's wonderful.


Thank you. In all modesty I must say that when it comes to sheer deviousness, I learned from the best gamers out there.

And I really, truly should be getting Expanded Psionics Handbook soon.

It's pretty good, but you might simply read the 3.5 SRD instead if you want to get a feel for the rules...
28th-Oct-2004 12:51 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the closest think in the expand psionics handbook is "Minklink", telepath 1, durection 10min/level, close range. Additionally you have spend an additional power point person if you do it for multiple people.
28th-Oct-2004 01:01 pm (UTC)
PENGUIN!

...sorry, I'm an avid penguin lover. :-)
28th-Oct-2004 03:34 pm (UTC)
i agreeee tooooo!! i looooooooooove penguins!! and that one is adorable!!
28th-Oct-2004 01:18 pm (UTC)
If such is the case then the mindlink only lasts that long and when initally used the subject has to be within tyhat range. However it will continue to be active even if they go outside that range (unlike most spells, so it clarified that point). So you can establish the link, they can teleport across the world, and your still linked....until the duration wears out.
28th-Oct-2004 01:18 pm (UTC)
I must agree with spriksie; that is beautiful!

thank you.
28th-Oct-2004 01:49 pm (UTC)
You know, I usually don't agree with the "messing up the PC because he's taking advantage of a loophole." I'm more into just closing the loophole by adding a rule (like in this example, just putting a cap on how many links he can have. Based either on level or an ability stat (like per point of Int bonus)).

But jhubert, that is I think a brilliant idea that should be enforced whole-heartedly. It makes me wish I had a player doing the same thing so I could do that to them! ;)
28th-Oct-2004 11:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, I never worry much about "abusive powers" - I usually let them work as advertised. As long as that PC doesn't overshadow the others, who cares?

But if the PC does overshadow the others, and in general just gets reckless with his power, then it's time for an occasional guilt trip. Not to "screw them over", but to remind them of the old adage that "with great power comes great responsibility".

The trick is, of course, not to obviously "punish" him, but to make the situation a clear consequence of his own actions - something he could have avoided if he had just put a little bit thought into this. And I've found that arranging such a thing is never a problem with the more overconfident PCs (i.e., all of them)...

It is also a good idea to make the direct "punishment" of the PC be nothing more than his guilty conscience. Sure, NPCs might suffer because of it - but as long as he tells no one, no one will ever find out that it was his fault. If the authorities immediately know his responsibility and pursue and punish him for it, the player will resent the entire episode. But if only he knows, then the knowledge will nag on him, and perhaps drive him to better his ways...

Hmmm... I think I might get a Pyramid article out of this. Spriksie, do you mind if I use your problem as an example?
29th-Oct-2004 09:58 am (UTC)
Go right on ahead. I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants to kill my psion PC for being a pain in the butt but I still want him to use his powers and have fun. :-)
28th-Oct-2004 04:30 pm (UTC)
I wonder if you have to be able to see (touch?) the person in order to set up the mindlink in the first place, and if creating a mindlink would break any other link you had before? Then you could maintain communication with someone (but only one) until you decide to link to someone else and then the previous link is broken.

Or do what tomcat said and require them to be face-to-face, or at least nearby, to start the link and then apply the duration and break the link after duration is up.
28th-Oct-2004 05:41 pm (UTC) - From the SRD
Mindlink
Telepathy [Mind-Affecting]
Level: Telepath 1
Display: Mental
Manifesting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels); see text
Targets: You and one other willing creature within range that has an Intelligence score of 3 or higher
Duration: 10 min./level
Saving Throw: None; see text
Power Resistance: Yes (harmless)
Power Points: 1
You forge a telepathic bond with your target. You can communicate telepathically through the bond even if you do not share a common language. No special power or influence is established as a result of the bond. Once the bond is formed, it works over any distance (although not from one plane to another).
Augment: You can augment this power in one or both of the following ways.
1. If you spend 4 additional power points, you can attempt to create a telepathic bond with a creature that is not willing (Will save negates).
2. For every additional power point you spend, this power can affect an additional target. Any additional target cannot be more than 15 feet from another target of the power.
(Emphasis mine)

This person can probably form as many mindlinks as he has points for, but clearly, they will only last for ten minutes per level. Even at a high level, you're not going to get much more than three hours out of it. And for that matter, it's not listed in the "incarnate" powers list.

I think this player either does not know the rule himself (though what decent spellcaster/psion doesn't look at durations?) or is using your lack of knowledge about the subject to gain an unfair advantage.
28th-Oct-2004 11:24 pm (UTC)
I've just looked up the power in the 3.0 SRD, and I've noticed something:

"Targets: You and one other creature who is initially no more than 30 ft. away
Duration: 10 minutes/level"

To me, this implies that when you invoke the power, the target must be within 30 ft.. For the 10 minutes/level, the target may now move anywhere, and the power still works - but when it expires, you still need to get within 30 ft to reactivate the link.

So no permanent long-distance communication if you stick to the rules...
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