Constitution Officer's Manual/Senses

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Not every voyage is smooth sailing, and while simming there are many issues that you might encounter. Some of them are general, while others are very specific in nature. In any event, they should all be treated with caution.

Remember, we are all here to have fun, but we are also all human. Sometimes it is personalities that clash, while other times it is the actions of a character or group of characters. The Academy goes over some of these issues, especially when building a bio for your character. Here is a more in depth look at the problems that you may face along the way.

Telepathy and Special Senses

Telepathy is a very powerful sense, most commonly found in Vulcans and Betazoids (and others). As such, caution should be advised when simming telepathy.

The best way to sim telepathy is as just another passive sense. In addition to reading someone's body language, you could also sense basic emotions from them; distress, joy, sadness, pain, and anger are examples of 'passive' sensing. You might be able to sense a Romulan assassin creeping up behind you, for instance, or that the Klingon warrior standing before you is just a hologram. The range of passive sensing would be, generally speaking, line of sight. This makes it a balanced, well-reasoned sense.

It is very important that if you play a telepath you only react, describe and read things the other characters have already written. If you decide what they do, think or feel you take control of a character not your own and that is called ‘godmodding’ and not allowed. (See here for more information on that).

Telepaths such as Betazoids can "talk" privately to those who can hear them. While useful, speaking telepathically to someone while others are in the room is considered very rude- it's the equivalent of pulling out your phone to send an SMS to one person in your group so others in the group can't see what you're saying.

It should be noted that forcefully entering the mind of someone who does not consent to such action (to read their memories, to alter their thought patterns or to damage their psyche) is a very serious criminal activity and can be humiliating for the victim. Starfleet officers and civilians alike are expected to refrain from these actions, except where faced with no other choice. While there are situations where this is appropriate, such as when simming a 'bad guy', it is important to ask if you have any reservations about it at all. In this case, it is better to ask permission than forgiveness later.

There might be species that read surface thoughts like other non-telepathic species hear voices with their ears, for example, Rodulans. But that does not mean they have to act on what they hear and as such still value their privacy.

Of course, nothing comes for free. Telepathy presents its own set of problems and issues; sometimes two people just don't get along but will act nice to each other to preserve their feelings. How would you feel if you could tell the person you were talking to really didn't like you? Some people distrust telepaths. How will your character deal with this prejudice?

When the ship's in distress, perhaps your character is overwhelmed by the rush of fear and panic into their minds. How do they deal with that? Almost any "power" can be turned into a weakness with enough creative work, and weaknesses make our characters that much more realistic. It is as if they are real people and we are watching them grow. Thus, exploring the downside to any 'powers' your character has is often applauded.

The only hard and fast rule we have is that no character can have telekinetic powers. That is to say, no character may move physical objects with their mind. Years of experience in the simming world have taught us that such a powerful gift solves too many problems too easily, and makes a character far too powerful. This rule is fleet-wide, but we feel it necessary to reiterate it.

The same goes for other powers that are deemed to provide too much power to a single player. Most of these issues are ironed out while you are still in the Academy, but some main remain. Your mentor and the command staff will work with you on making your character more realistic and less powerful, but don't think that it will make your writing any less interesting! Remember, we pride ourselves on realism here, so keep this in mind when creating PNPCs and simming your main character.

Important notes: Know the limitations and powers your species has and act upon them. For example, Rodulans may read surface thoughts easily, but if they actively read someone else’s mind they cause headaches.

In general, also distances might cause distortions or make it impossible to sense or read anything. Hearing thoughts on a Starship filled with up to over a thousand people will most likely make things difficult to distinguish unless the character actually focuses on one person. Otherwise, it will be like white noise.

If you want to use telepathy or any other special sense on another PNPC or PC and have your character react/act on it it may be better to receive permission from the other player to do that. When the player agrees, the character might still be against it but that can be a good part of story-telling. It is important that the other player does not feel disregarded.