Mind control. Tricky subject in any RPG, let alone Fate, but I've got supers on my mind, and when you get to someone like Emma Frost, these things come up. How to handle it?

* Use Will to set a Mind-controlled aspect on someone, then pay a Fate Point to compel it? Seems a bit harsh.

* Stunt, or stunts?

* What about that image I linked? How to get a herd of npc innocents to toe the line or (in another example) all simultaneously bliss out in some kind of hedonistic hallucination. (Touches on illusions and how to get people to buy into them.)

If this has been gone over a hundred times, please don't hesitate to point me that direction. 


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  1. My game handles it as mental combat, where only an actual Taken Out result gives you true mind control. Consequences however allow you to have a bit of that mind control feeling, and reward the player for going along with it by offering Fate Points through Compels. In play it's been fairly nice, and the one area I have seen players offer Concession routinely. No one wants to take the chance of actual mind control, but if I concede to the defeat temporarily and keep a bit of who I am and a chance to break free…

  2. NPC innocents are way less likely to resist something than individual PCs are. So let's set that one aside right from the get-go. It's an overcome obstacle. Rate it appropriately to the size of the crowd.

    Now to the main meat of things: the Dresden Files RPG advanced a notion that I'm fond of. When looking to rip away autonomy from a character, you're essentially Taking them Out. So it's an attack. Consequences inflicted reflect progressive amounts of control. You take them out, you get to completely define what they are afterwards, so that includes "they're under my control and do X".

    I'd probably lay things out like: Mild Suggestion – Situation aspect. Strong short term compulsion – minor consequence. Etc.

    Now that said Fate Core does give you the option to establish "true" aspects on a target, and use the aspect as justification to oppose (actively or passively) an action or actions the target might undertake. This, then, is "combat mind control" after a fashion. You lay down the aspect and (backed by your stunt-given powers, perhaps) you oppose the target's attempt to do things which aren't in line with what you've controlled them to do. Keeping your grip on the target would, I imagine, be an effort of continued application of create advantage, as you're very likely to find yourself using up your free invokes while maintaining your grip on the target.

    It's all tricky territory tho, because while the power is cool in a story, it's a dick move in a game. Tread lightly.

  3. I see four ways to arrive at that picture
    1. The scene has the aspect "crowd of civilians" and Mentalist succeeded in an overcome action to remove that aspect.
    2. Mentalist just succeeded in creating an advantage of "swift and orderly evacuation of civilians" on the scene.
    3. Mentalist has the ability to attack multiple minds and has succeeded in taking out those nameless NPCs, probably only need one shift per, and they are being removed from the scene.
    4. Mentalist has succeeded with style in a defense against Evil Mentalist's attempt to create a "Panicked crowd of civilians" aspect on the scene.

  4. 5. Evil alien creature has taken out all of those civilians to get them to walk outside into its claws/tentacles/maw/pods/ship/bad thing.

    Oh, and second everything Fred said. I particularly like the idea of placing an aspect on a character which needs to be overcome to specifically act against it. That's an angle I hadn't explored before.

  5. +Fred Hicks – so, if I'm reading you right, having an aspect of "mental influence" on someone would let you roll to actively oppose certain actions by the target, in the same way that (using that blog post of yours) a Wall of Fire aspect lets you actively roll to oppose someone moving into the same zone as you… but with the flip side of that being that once that aspect is overcome, it's no longer a factor for later actions.  I'm comfortable with that.

    Also comfortable with the various ways in which the crowd of civilians can be removed as a factor in the scene. Very cool and very simple.  Also easy to take an "Aggressive Crowd of Journalists" and change it to "Blissed-out Group of Journalists, drooling on the ground."

    I also like total Mental Domination as mental combat, requiring a Taken Out to gain total control. This makes all kinds of sense to me — mind-control stuff in other games that go right from "you're fine" to "you missed one save so the bad guy owns your ass" have always felt a bit like an instant-kill cheat to me anyway.

  6. Yeah, you're looking at a bunch of different cases here. Nudges and momentary "mind-holds" or "attack your friend" or whatever in a fight, and "hi, you're now my puppet for the long haul". Those are distinct and different cases calling for different uses of the system.

    I'm not sure I'd necessarily grant the breadth of opposition-justification in my example for simply achieving a "mental influence" aspect on a target, without a stunt or some other mojo making that aspect unusually empowered to do so. It's sort of an "uber-block" as I described it ("I am stopping you from doing anything but doing what I want you to do") — supportable, but for my tastes & my table I'd likely see it as a stunt-given power. But however you price it, I think it'll give you the kind of effect you want to see.

  7. First instinct: Complete control is the result of being taken out (or possibly a concession). Lesser influence is represented by consequences that the mind controller could compel.

    Second instinct, maybe a little sketchier: any fate points you pay to refuse the complication must be justified by an Aspect.

    There ought to be some mechanism to reflect the trope of the mind controller reaching too far and butting up against something that gives the controlled the will to oppose them.

  8. The "mind control over the crowd" thing is very cool, but is it interesting how rarely the White Queen wins a fight by simply taking over a hostile opponent.

  9. Yeah, actually, you make a good point. Mental Blasts, sure. And she gets in these weird scenes with people where they're both inside each other's heads, but that's really just color (or a zone with a REALLY high barrier for entry :).  She tends to "poke around" and read people's minds to glean information, but really that's just some social skill check used at range.

    I get the impression she could dominate, but that it's no easier/faster than any other option in most cases, and in the meantime there's nothing really stopping someone from putting a bullet in her head — except switching to diamond-form, which negates the mental combat as an option anyway.

    Good point – in FATE, I'd say she doesn't bother with mental domination in most cases because beating another PC-grade person down to Taken Out is too much of a hassle.

    For NPC threats like Cassandra Nova, that's really just the GM laying down a bunch of compels via situational aspects, I suppose.

  10. Explanation please for the slow witted. What game are you talking about and should we play it?

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