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Spy on the Zhodani

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:46 pm
by Varulv
My players are planning to setup a small trading company in either Jewell Subsector or Regina Subsector with the official purpose of performing trade with Zhodani and Vargr. This is of course only a cover for their real business: smuggling and intelligence gathering in the Zhodani Consulate (one of the characters has a background from the Imperial Naval Intelligence).

Since the Zhodani uses psionics I presume it will be difficult to travel in their territory and visiting their planets with a hidden (and sinister) agenda. Especially since the use of anti-psionic helmets are, iirc, not permitted (or would at least draw unwanted attention to the characters).

So, what possible approaches can you think of for spying on the Zhodani?

Re: Spy on the Zhodani

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:45 pm
by RogerMc
Impossible unless you don't know that you are spies.

Which will presumably require some sort of memory implantation and erasure.

Re: Spy on the Zhodani

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:24 pm
by Sigtrygg
Personality overlay technology, temporary personality wafer tech, memory/personality editing.

Before heading into Zho space they have their personalities and memories backed up and then all traces of spookdom is removed from their brain.

They then go off and have their adventures and when they return their memories are scanned, useful intel downloaded, the old personality memories reinstalled.

When they are ready for another trip just repeat the process.

Check out Expedition to Zhodane and the short adventure Memory Alpha, T5 and Agent of the Imperium.

Re: Spy on the Zhodani

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:41 pm
by Condottiere
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Why not? Looks like technological level nine.


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Inconspicuous psionic helm.


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Or just keep thinking about sex; they'll eventually get bored.

Re: Spy on the Zhodani

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:27 pm
by paltrysum
I've considered running a campaign in the region myself as a prelude to Mongoose's once proposed Fifth Frontier War campaign. Looking at the region, I figured Quar (hex 0808) might make an excellent "West Berlin" where the cold war powers of the Zhodani and Imperium might meet, spy on each other, and conduct other shenanigans.

Re: Spy on the Zhodani

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:50 pm
by phavoc
What about Arden? It's already balancing between Zho and Imperial interests. And Vargr space isn't too terribly far away. In the 1120era history it's expanded into a multi-system entity.

Re: Spy on the Zhodani

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:32 pm
by DickTurpin
I am surprised Sigtrygg hasn't mentioned this; in T5 anyone who rolls an natural 2 when determining PSI strength is PsiNull. Not only do they have no potential for psionics but they are mentally invisible to psions and psionic powers like mind reading or manipulation have no effect on them. Finding a PsiNull individual to be your spy would be an ideal solution. I am sure that the 3I has several such agents already spying on the Zhodani.

If a psi shield could be implanted, or another method found to completely shield the mind they would be regarded as PsiNull by the Zhos and pitied, but not generally be considered suspicious.

Re: Spy on the Zhodani

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:02 pm
by Sigtrygg
Such people would be under greater surveillance by the Zho police than anyone else.

The first time a Zhod official tried to read the thoughts of a psi null or an artificially shielded person that woud flag the 'thoughtless' person as someone of interest...

Re: Spy on the Zhodani

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:34 pm
by Condottiere
Might depend on policy.

If the ability is regarded as a threat to the state, the bearer may become accident prone.

Re: Spy on the Zhodani

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:21 am
by Linwood
Or simply barred from entry as an undesirable personality?

Re: Spy on the Zhodani

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:42 am
by DickTurpin
Sigtrygg wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:02 pm
Such people would be under greater surveillance by the Zho police than anyone else.

The first time a Zhod official tried to read the thoughts of a psi null or an artificially shielded person that woud flag the 'thoughtless' person as someone of interest...
One in 36 Zhodani citizens is a PsiNull, a decent sized city would have tens of thousands of them. There are not enough thought police to keep track of them all.

Re: Spy on the Zhodani

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:11 am
by Sigtrygg
It's yet another example of poorly thought out and un-playtested T5 rules. No previous canon has mentioned psi-null individuals within Imperial,Zhodani or Droyne society.

Alternatively MWM will have to come up with an explanation of where all the psi-null Zhodani and Droyne disappeared to in the OTU canon to date.
The other possible explanation is the prs-null result doesn't count for Zho or Droyne - the OTU has set great precedent in not using the rules as written...

Re: Spy on the Zhodani

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:53 am
by Condottiere
Sometimes, I think, for non player characters, you add another dice, and get fisheyes.

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Re: Spy on the Zhodani

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:26 pm
by Varulv
DickTurpin wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:42 am
Sigtrygg wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:02 pm
Such people would be under greater surveillance by the Zho police than anyone else.

The first time a Zhod official tried to read the thoughts of a psi null or an artificially shielded person that woud flag the 'thoughtless' person as someone of interest...
One in 36 Zhodani citizens is a PsiNull, a decent sized city would have tens of thousands of them. There are not enough thought police to keep track of them all.
If 1 in 36 sophont is PsiNull it should have a significant impact on the OTU. But, the same thing can be said about SOC: If 1 in 36 sophont is born with SOC 12, it would make the OTU extremely overpopulated with Barons (or equally famous/important persons)…

Another approach is to let 1 in 36 apply to player characters only and drastically reduce the probability for the general population.

Re: Spy on the Zhodani

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:59 pm
by Varulv
Sigtrygg wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:24 pm
Personality overlay technology, temporary personality wafer tech, memory/personality editing.

Before heading into Zho space they have their personalities and memories backed up and then all traces of spookdom is removed from their brain.

They then go off and have their adventures and when they return their memories are scanned, useful intel downloaded, the old personality memories reinstalled.

When they are ready for another trip just repeat the process.

Check out Expedition to Zhodane and the short adventure Memory Alpha, T5 and Agent of the Imperium.
I didn’t know about Memory Alpha but I found it on my FFE CD, this could be a useful tool for my players operation. Expedition to Zhodane might also be a good starting adventure.

Using the memory overlay technique and sending an NPC on a covert mission is possible if the players are satisfied by pulling the strings in the background, but harder if they would like to play the operatives themselves. I could let them use the memory overlay technique on their characters but warn them that any out of character behaviour means that the technique have failed them and that they risk immediate exposure. This could lead to some interesting situations.

Re: Spy on the Zhodani

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:40 pm
by Sigtrygg
The players' characters are the personalities that are sent into Zho space - they only find out they are spooks between missions, and only if you let them find out :)

Or have each player generate three characters, let them play each one in a few prequels, and then reveal each character is actually a personality simulation waiting to be used as the cover for their 'true' character...

Re: Spy on the Zhodani

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 3:48 am
by DickTurpin
Sigtrygg wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:40 pm
The players' characters are the personalities that are sent into Zho space - they only find out they are spooks between missions, and only if you let them find out :)

Or have each player generate three characters, let them play each one in a few prequels, and then reveal each character is actually a personality simulation waiting to be used as the cover for their 'true' character...
These ideas are genius.