Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Control Thoughts and Influence
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun

I've recently started running a game of 4th edition*, I used to play 3rd a few years ago but haven't even played 4th before now.

I'm slowly learning the rules and need some help understanding Mental Manipulations. Could someone knowledgeable run through Control Thoughts or Influence for me to help me get it?

Or to be honest point out any other obscure/hidden/important stuff that I'm likely to miss smile.gif

* We're playing 4th as someone in the group I now game with has all the books for it.
Give us an example of where your quandary lies and I'm sure you'll get several opinions. smile.gif
Good point 😃 it was a bit of a broad question!

OK taking Control Thoughts as the example (with a lot of referring to the rule book).

Mental Manipulations: For Mental Manipulation spells, the caster makes an Opposed Magic + Spellcasting Test against the target’s Willpower (+ Counterspelling, if available).

And there's a general rule earlier in the section that says that hits on the Magic+Spellcasting test are capped at Force.

So to put numbers to it:

Cast at FORCE 5 as it's good trade off between oomph and drain.

SPELLCASTING 6 Specialisation in Manipulation for an 8
FOCUS 2 (Level 2 Manipulation spellcasting focus)

Gets you 5 hits on average (conveniently equal to Force)

Target can be a Ganger with Willpower 3. So can expect 1 hit on his resistance test.

If the caster scores more hits, she controls the target as noted in the spell description.

4 net hits so the spell goes off. So we refer to the spell description.

Control Thoughts (Mental) Type: M • Range: LOS • Duration: S • DV: (F ÷ 2) + 2
The caster seizes control of the target’s mind, directing everything the target does. The caster mentally gives commands with a Simple Action and the target is compelled to obey. Control Thoughts affects a single target.

And there's a final bit in the general manipulation spell guidelines that says:

Every (Force) Combat Turns, the victim may spend a Complex Action to shake off the mental control. The victim rolls a Willpower (+ Counterspelling) Test; each hit reduces the net hits on the caster’s original Spellcasting Test. If the spellcaster’s net hits are reduced to 0, the spell no longer affects the target.

So you've got a slave for at least 5 combat turns which is longer than most fights are likely to take 😃 which you can make do anything by spending a Simple action. Any limit on the orders e.g., kill yourself, kill your team, kill your family, open the safe, run away....

Oh and you roll your 10 dice ( 5 Willpower + 5 Logic ) likely to get you 3 successes so you take 1 stun.

Did I miss anything?
Nope. That is pretty much how they work. Influence is more subtle, acting like a post hypnotic suggestion that they carry out thinking it is their own idea. Otherwise, yeah mental manipulations suck if you are the target.
I like to think of Control Thoughts as the Jedi Mind Trick.
Influence is Inception.
It's been a while since I've looked at those SR4 rules, but don't forget that generally those spells have to be "plausible" to the affected mind. You could convince a wageslave that he needs to go to the bathroom and leave his post (even if his boss will give him a serve for it), but try to convince him to leap into traffic and his mind will rebel and break the spell.
That's only for Influence, and that's the one time they get a chance to throw off the effects.
So if I get 4 net hits on an influence spell, and say, "kill the governor the next time you're close to him" the target get's one extra save at the last second to not do it, as aside from being wrong, it's probably suicidal.
There's nothing similar in control thoughts. If it was stuff they'd normally want to do, you wouldn't need control thoughts, you'd just ask nice.
If you want to reduce the power level, here is a house rule for Control Action/Emotion/Thoughts:

The caster may use a Simple Action to control the target as described in the spell. Each Simple Action reduces the net hits by 1. After (Force) Combat Turns, if the caster has not used all net hits, the target may spend a Complex Action ...

(Bonus Evil Rule) Attempting to manipulate a person's mind opens the caster's own mind to attack. If the caster scores negative net hits, the mental link is established, but the caster is instead under the control of the target.
Thanks everyone. I thought I was getting it right but it's unfamiliar enough that checking is useful!
You'll have to realize though, that Influence is a spell with the "Permanent" duration, so you'll need to sustain it for a number of turns, before it fully works. The effects are instant, though.
Ah! OK that was something I missed. That goes for all permanent spells?

Take effect immediately but need to be sustained for a number of rounds equal to double their Drain Value. Thanks!
Basically, yes. However, it can lead to weird effects, for example with the Heal spell.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012