Telepaths and Telepathy
There are many ways to play telepaths, both canon and non-canon. In Theta Fleet, we tend to err towards
canon, with an eye to plausibility.
In general, telepaths can read surface thoughts without much effort. Anything deeper takes time and
concentration and is not something every telepath is capable of.
Levels of Telepathy
As in real life, not all telepaths have the same level of telepathy. All can communicate mentally with other telepaths, but beyond that, there are a wide range of abilities.
Empaths can feel emotions coming from others.
Limited Telepaths can read surface thoughts, but are incapable of delving deeper into someoneâ€™s mind.
Telepaths who can read surface thoughts and, with training, effort and concentration, read deeper.
Full Telepaths are both empaths and telepaths.
Most telepaths will not force themselves on others, nor will they â€œpryâ€ on othersâ€™ inner thoughts. Not without a very good reason.
Reading surface thoughts is like being in a large room full of people. You hear the noise of many people, but unless someone shouts, nothing jumps out at you without concentration.
Training can help you block those thoughts and make them more white noise or background noise, but they are ever-present.
If someone is thinking hard, or repeating something over and over in concentration, it is the same as a mental shout and will be picked up by telepaths in the near vicinity.
Telepaths do not have a long range for their telepathy. Empaths and telepaths cannot feel emotion or read thoughts over long distances. Thoughts and feelings donâ€™t transmit that way. Nor can you sense thoughts and feelings from another ship.
If a lot of people on the ship have the same emotion or thoughts, then they combine to make it possible to be picked up from a distance. As in Classic Trek where Spock knew that a ship full of Vulcans had been destroyed. It was the combined minds crying out together that reached the Vulcan.
If you are bonded to someone, you can feel their mind from a greater range, as from a ship orbiting the planet and the planet below.
On rare occasions, someone on the other end of a comm link will be experiencing or feeling strong emotions. Those may, on occasion, be felt by an empath.
In one episode of Classic Trek, Spock was able to "suggest" to another person that she should untie his hands. This took a great deal of effort. He did not do this often. And the person he "persuaded" was not of a high intelligence. Simple things like "unlock the door" and ""set down the keys" can be done. "Kill the guard" cannot. These must be simple suggestions given to someone who is used to taking orders. They require great, uninterrupted, concentration and are rarely used.
Vulcans have a different form of telepathy. They are â€œtouch telepaths.â€ They do not communicate mentally â€” unless it is with their bond mate.
A mind meld is a physical link between the Vulcan and another person/entity. This requires physical touch. It allows a limited, yet deep, probe of another mind. The Vulcan will be able to get a great deal of input in a short time, but will not know everything about that person in an instant. There is simply too much data in the mind for that sort of transferral. However, a Vulcan can implant suggestions and can force their mind onto another person. This, too, is only used in extreme circumstances, and for most Vulcans would be anathema.
Forcing ones mind/will on another is frowned upon. It can be considered mental rape and is not authorized without special permission â€” and under extreme circumstances.
Vulcans and some Remans are the only touch telepaths. As their form of telepathy is more limited than a general telepaths, it is also more powerful â€” and more carefully controlled. Vulcans go through intensive training on how to control their emotions and how to use a mind-meld.
Likewise, telepaths can go through training to learn to control their thoughts, to not project them to others and to basically put up a â€œmental shield.â€ This makes it more difficult for other telepaths to read their thoughts. It also makes it harder for the telepaths to pick up anything deeper than surface thoughts.
Just like every other species, a telepath can learn to read body language and facial expressions. You donâ€™t always need to be a telepath to tell how someone feels or, at times, what they are thinking.
Telepaths and telepathy should be played with care. Things frowned upon in Theta Fleet:
Reading minds from a distance
Being able to tell exactly who is on a ship that is just within sensor range
Sending out oneâ€™s mind/thoughts to find or locate others
Knowing what everyone in the room is thinking just by walking into the room. (It would be a jumble of surface thoughts and be therefore too chaotic to really differentiate, just like conversation in a room full of people)
Godmodding (using your abilities to control others, to manipulate the situation or to keep others from participating)
Other species may have telepathic abilities as well. Telepaths are not limited to Vulcans, Betazoids and Remans. As with all species, these characters should be written and played plausibly. They should have both strengths and weaknesses.
Like all other characters, telepaths can be fun, if used in moderation. Sometimes it is the limitations that can be more fun to play.
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