Hey guys, today we’ll be taking a look at one of the bigger elements of the Mindjammer setting, and one that I feel makes it unique: The Mindscape.
In a nutshell, the Mindscape is essentially a cyber-psionic Internet. It is a massive interstellar network of minds, information and media that makes it possible for The Commonality of Humankind to exist with a measure of cultural unity. As a big fan of Cultures in RPGs, I found this to be a remarkably novel idea, and one that addresses the issue of cultural unity even when people are separated by immense distances. Kind of like how I’m here sitting in the Philippines and yet I’m able to reach readers from across the globe with this post.
That said, the Mindscape is an interesting concept because unlike the computers we use now, the interfaces that connect minds to the network takes the form of implants. This establishes a true mind-machine connection that is both a blessing and a curse.
Before we go further, let’s talk about the Halo. The Halo is the aggregate of all Mindscape-related programs, skill chips, etc. on a person. This is essentially the part of the person that is exposed to the Mindscape and is therefore the way by which they interact with it. The Halo is also what comes under attack when someone tries to mess with you through the Mindscape. Given that this is an RPG, sooner or later someone is going to want to mess with your Halo, and Mindjammer gives the rules for that up front, something that I really appreciated.
So what else can you do in the Mindscape? Apparently, a whole lot. There’s the more mundane aspects, such as communication through Thoughtcasting, to creating Exomemories, which are essentially backups of memories you’ve experienced first hand.
A notable example of the use of Thoughcasting is creating a Memoplex, a shared pool of Exomemories containing key skills, experiences and emotions that alter the users in a specific way. Memoplexes are often used to imbue a recruit of an organization to embody key virtues and beliefs as required by the organization.
Another is a Thanogram, a “backup” of a personality and memories of a dying person. Essentially, it’s a technopsionic ghost, which can then also be used as a basis for eidolons. It’s a very funky idea, and one that’s ripe for the picking for all sorts of good stories, including the classic haunted spaceship kind.
A Whole New Virtual World
The Mindscape also opens up entire adventures taking place in this virtual realm. Much like in cyberpunk games, the Mindscape can serve as a battleground of it’s own, with hacking, counter-hacking, infiltration and even virtual worlds built from the imaginations of its creators are all possibilities. This is a great way to expand an already huge universe. If the countless discovered, and re-discovered worlds aren’t enough, try diving around the various virtual mindscapes of all sorts of different organizations and entities.
Mindscapes present a refreshing twist to the standard cyberpunk future internet, taking the next logical step of putting machines inside us so that they are now an extension of our thoughts, our senses and our beings. This of course, opens us up to all sorts of intrusion, as various unscrupulous types might use these for their own gain, victimizing people at a level of intimacy that was otherwise unthinkable before. Now people can come along who can actually assault not just our credit information, but our very identities and even our memories and personalities. It’s a creepy, yet awesome concept for a future that’s ripe with adventuring possibilities.