The Missing Powers – Savaged

Posted: 3 March 2011 in Rules
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“Doomed spies are those of our own spies who are deliberately given false information and told to report it to the enemy.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

If you’re new to Savage Worlds, as I was not so long ago, probably one of your first thoughts on reading the powers is that there are some stock RPG tropes missing: Telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, illusions, and so on. (Telepathy not being present is a deliberate design choice, intended to avoid PCs learning too much from NPCs too easily.)

At first, I hunted for these in supplements, internet fora and worldbooks. I found the Mind Reading power, and numerous fan conversions, and I still sometimes use Mind Reading – Coriander has it, for example.

However, there is another approach which is more in keeping with Savage Worlds: Consider these “missing” powers as trappings for existing ones.

You might cast Fear, for example, by gazing into the victim’s subconscious mind to learn his worst nightmare, and then showing him an illusion of it. Boosting your Notice skill might mean you read the target’s surface emotions, or “see” what’s going on behind the door. You might cast Invisibility by creating the illusion that you are not there. Boosting your Persuasion might mean you have read the NPC’s surface thoughts and presented the argument most in line with them. And so on.

Be creative; but don’t expect to solve the mystery by reading the suspect’s mind. In any setting where minds can be read, the powers that be will quickly learn how to lie to a telepath – namely, don’t; lie to someone else, and let the telepath read his mind. This is not really so different from normal practice; one has to assume that any captive will eventually talk – even if he doesn’t, you have no real way to know whether he has or not.

Expendable patsies required to be betrayed into the hands of the Dark Lord, you say? Forced to reveal information we actually want him to have, because it will lead him into a trap? Sounds like a job for the PCs to me…

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