Battle for the Mind

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by Tom Verreault

In the Star Frontiers game setting there are two primary organizations concerned with telepaths: The Clear Thinkers and the Free Thinkers. These cadres were introduced by Kim Eastland in “Patriots, Terrorist and Spies” (Dragon #109).  The Clear Thinker’s mission is to eliminate or control telepaths (or mentalist as they were called in the game). The Free Thinkers is a response to the Clear Thinkers and is a nonprofit that supports and aids telepaths. It is portrayed as opening brick and mortar type offices on most planets for telepaths to seek out.

Fan offerings in the area of telepathically concerned organizations have taken two paths: The Family of One and Star Law. The Family of One, as an oppressive religious government, is ideal for employing thought police and if there were telepaths and mentalist in the setting Star Law would naturally desire to use them as well.

The leader of the Clear Thinkers is a politician called Hased Kor from the planet Yast. This creates an interesting intersection between fan cannon and official cannon in that Yast has sometimes been represented to be in opposition to the rulers of the planet Hentz. Hased Kor and the Clear Thinkers may have gotten their start as a reaction against Family of One Inquisitors demonstrating telepathic powers in their oppressive Orwellian manner.

The simplest method to set up a “battle for the mind” within the Frontier setting would be to allow the players to create a mentalist character.  While the campaign progresses, agents of the Clear Thinkers could then be used to harass the player characters. Possibly even a Star Law investigator could come around asking questions. In this scenario the campaign is the main adventure following a custom outline or published adventure modules and the Clear Thinker agents represent a side story that usually pops up in between modules or occasionally during an adventure module.  The pace of the side story should build over time to a climatic showdown. This showdown should relieve the pressure that has been building but will not likely resolve all the issues surrounding telepaths in the setting. For example, it might be that a particular cell of the Clear Thinkers led by a virulent anti-telepath has been the on-going foil for the player characters and the showdown would be a final battle with this cell and its leader. Ultimately, the problems that mentalist face in the setting may not be resolved but could linger as an on-going problem simmering on a back burner.

Another track would be to develop a home brew campaign to explore the issues around thought police and mentalist in the setting. The conflict created by the Inquisitors of the Family of One, the Clear Thinkers, and the Free Thinkers would be ideal for this. This option requires more work as published adventure modules become side story and the issues surrounding telepaths become the main story.

In a campaign where the sathar play a main element, the game master could develop the mind control elements of the Sathar – perhaps giving the mentalist characters greater insight into what is happening with sathar hypnotism.  A Star Law telepathic investigator would become an important feature of this campaign especially if the player characters have secrets to keep in the form of prior direct contact with the sathar.

In any campaign where mentalism is used it will be up to the players to decide if they are keeping their psychic power secret or using it openly for all to see. Let the players know that there could be ramifications for open use of unusual powers. Reinforce the idea that the use of unusual powers can have consequences with rumors and news broadcasts at the beginning of a game session, latter use non-player character reactions and ultimately encounters with agents of the above discussed agencies. It’s only logical that elements of the setting would have strong reactions to unusual psychic powers. Do not overlook the potential for the mega corps to want to exploit the player character for his or her power.

Thought police and psychic powers could be a fertile plot in the sandbox for your next Star Frontiers campaign. Unleash the power of your player’s character’s minds and let the battle begin.