MBA - technobabble
NOTE: This section is now somewhat outdated due to Mentally Based Abilities being rolled into the point-based being generator.
...result of another brainstorming session from the two AIF-lords.
Mentalists have proliferated after the Trupepol wars and fall of the Confederation. While the two major mentalist powers still exist - the Trupepol and Giamons, mentalists in the general population are becoming more popular. A couple of reasons include increased awareness - many beings were probably able to become mentalists before, but just didn't realize it, and breeding programs - smaller governments and organizations, seeing the advantages of having mentalists working for them, actively tried to produce them.
So, in present time in AIF, (circa 5100?), it is just at the start of the mentalist proliferation. They are starting to become more common and adventurers with mba are out-competing non mba adventurers in terms of survivability. Probably over the next century, the number of mentalist adventurers will increase due to Darwinism.
So, when playing a character in this time period, having mba would be extremely advantageous. It is largely up to the referee as to allowing a character to be mba capable - meaning that they can train in mba. If you are mba capable, we've set the skill earning in mentalist as follows - every two years of a persons life in which they are actively using their mba, they gain 1 mba skill/point. Also, for each stage you go up in, you gain 1 mba skill/point. For stages in leader and diplomat, there is a 1 in 36 chance that a non mba character will gain one point and become mba capable, or an existing mentalist character will gain an extra point.
So, in terms of game play, earning mba is a slow process. Now one might be tempted to start off with a 50 year old character that starts off with 25 mba points. Well, we have added another condition that limits the amount of mba you can have. Remember stress points? If your stress points go above your will power, you will become a lunatic (not very desirable). We decided to say that every mba point counts as a stress point when determining if one becomes a lunatic. So starting off a game as a first stage mentalist is a bad idea because it is unlikely that they will have more than 10 will power.
Ok, that still means that being mba capable is a great advantage, even if you only have a few points. (Permanent telekinesis rocks!) So, we are going to say that there is another disadvantage to being a mentalist, though in terms of the AIF timeline, it won't happen for a while.
When the Confederation were battling the Trupepol, they came up with some droids called Vok droids. These droids were specifically designed to combat mentalists and they had two important weapons to use against them. One, they could detect a mentalist just by doing an active scan on them, and two, they had weapons that only affected mentalists. Currently, the remaining Vok droids are extremely rare, but the technology exists and with the rise of mentalists in general, the technology will eventually be more widespread.
Here's how the weapons work. There are two main caliber's - the 1 point per mba and the 1D per mba. When one of these weapons hits a mentalist - lets call them neural weapons, then they take damage for every point of mba that they currently have available (if they have used up all of their points and don't have any left, they wont be hurt). So, Mr. Mentalist has 20 points and someone comes along with a 1D neural weapon. OUCH! Twenty dice of damage later, they are probably toast. These weapons have a short range (say about 20 meters), and take a few minutes to become fully active, so they are usually powered up all of the time. So, if the weapon is on, mentalist will know when one is nearby by a somewhat substantial headache. The mentalist has an option if one of these weapons is nearby (and they recognize the ramifications) - they can dump their points. Either use them up in a hurry for some constructive means, or just dump them. They will have to be meditated back later. Ditto with a permanent ability, the points can be dumped, meditated back later, and converted into permanent abilities again. Also, for a mentalist, these weapons are extremely painful, and often cause nose bleeds, so when a mentalist is hit with it, it is fairly obvious what is happening. Placement doesn't matter for these weapons - no double damage or mortal wounds.
So, for the moment, these weapons are not available to the general population, but as mentalists become more numerous, these weapons will slowly come into the main stream. Eventually (say in a century or three) the weapons will be common enough that the number of mentalists will be reduced.
The weapons will probably be quite expensive and somewhat bulky, and will probably be able to incorporated into other weapons - thus be able to do normal damage, and if it is a mentalist, add on the neural damage.
By the way, the other pages on mentally based abilities (might be somewhat out of date) are the Mentalist Occupation page and the MBA page.