Biata Mental Abilities Clarification


Just a few things I'd like to get a better idea of before doing all the XP math on my character.

1. Does a trap trigger off of mind reading or mind meld? Or solely affects that tamper such as cause pain or alteration.

2. For cause pain.. is it only for torture? Per general mental rules does the target need to initially also be concentrating for it to take effect? Can they take actions during this time, such as swings or spells? I don't really understand the application of the ability

3. Can you apply both a block and a trap, or can you make a trap visible/with a symbol or message similar to a block?

4. Wipe vs Freeze, is the main thing only that the recipient of wipe would not know it happened/who did it?
Not a Biata, but just from reading the ARB, here's my interpretation.

1. It says it works like a Block, so my best guess is that it would trigger off of any attempt to access the mind; Mind Meld, which is the willing exchange of thoughts, probably shouldn't trigger it, but Mind Reading probably should.

2. It certainly reads as though it's designed specifically for torture, but if I had some time I'm sure I could think of some way to use it for some other purpose. It also says they "writhe around and scream in agony, but will not be able to break the connection", so it sounds as though swinging a weapon or casting a spell (or, really, doing much at all) is out of the question, and that while the target has to initially allow the mental intrusion, you could "surprise" them with this ability and they wouldn't be able to resist it.

3. I would say yes to both, although a Trap is just a Block that has consequences if you can't get rid of it, so I don't see much point in having both unless they're made by characters with different Racial Skill Levels.

4. I think, and I may be mistaken, the main difference is that Freeze can replace memories with different ones, while Wipe is basically a variable-length Amnesia that leaves a blank space on no memory. Whether or not you remember who did them will, I think, come down to whether or not the Wipe or Freeze is erased from your memory (by either a new application of either of those abilities or an Amnesia), since neither of those Abilities specifies that the recipient doesn't remember them happening.


0. Mental roleplay is a fuzzy, 100% consent-based system, and there aren't a lot of hard and fast rules about it. Where there's ambiguity, it's pretty much up to the other person. In game I tend to treat discrepencies between one person's mental roleplay and another's as "no two minds are the same."

1. Out in the Northwest we have played Blocks and Traps as being able to affect specific memories or the entire mind. I've seen some people treat Blocks/Traps as "read-only" such that you could still access the memories with Mind Reading, while others have treated those areas as inaccessible until the Block or Trap is removed. I've never considered whether Mind Meld could be Blocked, but at the very least you would have to be able to get into the mind and have the option to detect Traps before trying to continue.

2. One of the hard and fast rules is that game abilities cannot be used by either party during mental roleplay. It is also not supposed to be a way to pull someone out of combat, as a character may always choose to resist an initiation of mental roleplay unless they are unconscious or otherwise incapacitated. Particularly because the physical contact requirement of mental roleplay is unsafe per the combat rules for active participants.

So yes, Cause Pain is pretty much just a jerk move. ;)

3. I've made Traps with visible warnings. Considering that a Trap is a Block+, this seems reasonable to me. And if not, I certainly don't see any reason why you couldn't do both to get that effect.

4. The primary difference between Wipe and Freeze is that Wipe removes memories completely and leaves only blank space, while Freeze completely replaces up to a year of memories with fabricated memories.

The rulebook explicitly states that even if the player chooses to end the effects of mental roleplay, the character cannot suddenly learn who did something to them if they did not already know who was responsible, which naturally implies that characters do not automatically know who altered them. It does not state specifically whether the character will be aware of what was done to them, but I personally find that less compelling if your memories are altered but you know something changed right off the bat, rather than discovering that through regularly roleplay. However it's ultimately up to the two players involved, so I would work it out upfront with the other person if you're doing something their character wouldn't approve of.
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