Authors: Kenneth Hite

Cover Artists: Jérôme Huguenin

Pages: 12

GUMSHOE Zoom: Mind Control

GUMSHOE Zoom: Mind Control

You are growing very interested.

This is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful GUMSHOE Zoom I’ve ever known in my life. Presenting detailed rules for brainwashing, memetics, telecontrol, and brain hacking, and for gear from the Microwave Auditory Effect gun to subliminal flashers to tinfoil hats, it brings the fight inside your head.

The GUMSHOE Zoom: Mind Control is intended to model the sorts of stories in which mind control – and especially the contest in and over human minds – takes center stage. This might be a single novel such as George du Maurier’s Trilby or Dan Simmons’ Carrion Comfort, or a film like Scanners, Push, Inception, Videodrome, or Invaders from Mars. Mind control is a powerful, core trope in science fiction, fantasy, and horror; specific aliens, wizards, or monsters might use these rules even if the player characters aren’t psionic. Individual mind-controllers might be malevolent, like Dracula or Rasputin, or heroic, like Dr. Xavier or Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Hite introduces the Mental Battlefield system, presenting a single mind as the battlespace. With this system, the host mind struggles against the invading mind (or minds) through the Superego, Ego, and the Id. Full GUMSHOE statistics included.

It’s usable in any GUMSHOE setting, and includes styles for Trail of Cthulhu, Ashen Stars, Gaean Reach, Fear Itself, Night’s Black Agents and Esoterrorists.

Praise for Ken Writes About Stuff:

The content of KWAS is top-notch, as one would expect from a RPG luminary like Kenneth Hite” – Daniel D.

 brief injection of Hite-ian awesome … they’re just about the right length to digest in a single sitting, and full of amazing ideas that will make anyone’s game into a flavourful occult gumbo” – Bill Templeton

GUMSHOE Zoom: Mind Control is the tenth installment of Ken Writes About Stuff Volume 1.

What is a GUMSHOE Zoom?

Not everything can support a game of its own, or even a big sourcebook. For those things, we present the GUMSHOE Zoom, a sort of supplement focused on a key game mechanic and its possible applications. In general, Zooms are interesting potential hacks, or intriguing adaptations of the main rules. Some apply to one specific topic or sub-sub-genre. Others cross all manner of GUMSHOE turf; you can slot them in and adapt them to tales of Cthulhuoid investigation, mean superpowered streets, or alien colonies alike.

Zooms are experimental. That does mean that they haven’t been playtested, necessarily. (If something in here is really really broken – and it’s not, as this ain’t our first rodeo – we’ll fix it in post.) But that also means we encourage you to experiment with them. Changing the cost, or prerequisites, or point effect, or other mechanical parameters of a given Zoom changes how often it shows up and how much drama it drives. The dials are in your hands.

Zooms will change the focus of your play if you use them. Putting a mechanic on the table puts it into your game. Adding a Zoom means more actions, possibly even more scenes, using those rules. Since the Zoom mechanics are intended to encourage specific actions or flavors, to force a card in your storytelling hand, they aren’t “balanced” against “normal” actions or rules. In general, if you don’t want to see more of it, don’t Zoom in on it.

Zooms are optional rules. You can and should ignore them if you don’t want them, or change them at will. After all, if a given Zoom turns out to be crucial to an upcoming GUMSHOE game, we’ll change it to fit that specific genre or form of storytelling.

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