Archives of Nethys

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Mindscape

Mindscape Traits

Source Starfinder #23: Hive of Minds pg. 42
Much like other planes of existence, mindscapes have specific traits that dictate their appearance and behavior, though their traits can vary based on their creator’s whim. These traits supersede the Astral Plane’s normal traits. As most mindscapes come from the minds of those on the Material Plane, they most often imitate the traits of that plane, but this is by no means a rule. For example, some mindscapes exist to support specific alignments, with creatures whose alignment matches the mindscape’s dominant alignment axis or axes gaining additional bonuses to saves or spellcasting. In others, the laws of physics are mutated. These elements can fluctuate within a given mindscape, with gravity changing in controlled or randomized ways or based on location within the mindscape. Similarly, some visionary mindscape creators even manage to control the flow of relative time within their domain. Accelerated time allows one to live lifetimes in the mindscape while only hours or days pass in the real world, while delayed time may mean spending only a few hours in a mindscape results in a mental avatar’s real body dying of starvation in the real world.

Every mindscape is the construct of a living mind and changes according to the will of that mind. Though a mindscape’s creator holds the greatest degree of control over it, other creatures within the mindscape who recognize that they’re within a mindscape can alter it to suit their whims, effectively imposing their will onto the mindscape. Often times, these adjustments come in the form of psychic duels or certain spells or abilities that alter terrain. A mindscape also reacts to beings inside it who don’t exist as part of the creator’s desire, be they friendly visitors or hostile intruders.

Transparency

Source Starfinder #23: Hive of Minds pg. 42
The transparency of a mindscape describes whether other creatures know that they’ve entered a mindscape.

Overt: Overt mindscapes actively let entrants know they’re entering into a mindscape. This can occur when an individual invites someone to enter their mindscape through use of an item, ritual, or spell. Other times, a mindscape might be considered overt because it’s the result of an identified psychic attack or the start of a psychic duel accepted by both sides. Knowing that one is inside a mindscape can help a creature escape or better understand the mindscape’s traits, and some spells and items may even require that a creature know they’re within a mindscape in order to function. Binary mindscapes are always overt.

Veiled: A veiled mindscape is a sinister creation intended to obfuscate its true nature from those who enter it. A being usually enters such a mindscape in a manner that doesn’t make it apparent they are leaving their body. The creature may not realize the doorway they’re stepping through is actually a magical portal or the newly learned spell they’re casting is actually a trap. The canniest and most powerful psychic spellcasters can disguise their spells this way, forcibly shunting targets into their mindscapes without the targets realizing what has happened. Veiled mindscapes can be insidiously dangerous, as a creature unknowingly trapped within could suddenly drop dead within the mindscape without any warning as their real‑world body perishes from physical trauma or even lack of food or water.

Shape and Size

Source Starfinder #23: Hive of Minds pg. 43
Upon its creation, each mindscape has a shape and size based on the whims of its creator.

Finite: A finite mindscape has clearly discernible boundaries and limits within its space on the Astral Plane. Such mindscapes may have misty borders that lead off into pure nothingness or insurmountable barriers. These mindscapes can be as small as one can imagine, though generally they vary from the size of a single homestead to the size of an entire world. All binary mindscapes are finite.

Infinite: As the name suggests, an infinite mindscape goes on forever. Though the notion of an endless mindscape may be difficult for some to grasp, the dimensions of these mindscapes exist thanks to a strong connection with the mindscape’s creator. Creators of infinite mindscapes subconsciously generate more content through mental procedural generation, similar to the software that many vidgame creators employ in level design.

Self‑Contained Shape: The most unnerving of mindscapes, a self‑contained mindscape essentially folds back on itself. This could be a foggy exterior that always reorients a traveler inward, or the entrance to a corporate office that, once exited from, unerringly causes the departing beings to find themselves walking right back in. Such mindscapes often manifest when the creator wishes to emphasize a specific location they have in mind, either due to an emotional connection or as punishment to themselves or visitors.

Feedback

Source Starfinder #23: Hive of Minds pg. 43
Though purely mental in nature, a mindscape can cause physiological effects through mental feedback. In some cases, these mindscapes are more or less harmless, but in other cases, the mindscape can be as deadly as the real world.

Harmful: Injuries and conditions inflicted upon those visiting a harmful mindscape are real. The psychic feedback convinces the real‑world body that any damage incurred is real, and the body reacts accordingly. In rare cases, a mindscape’s creator is so powerful they can relay even afflictions and diseases to the host body. Binary mindscapes are always harmful, though they don’t convey afflictions or diseases unless otherwise noted.

Harmless: A harmless mindscape’s occupant feels the sensations of their environment and other mindscape occupants, and their real‑world body may be affected in minor ways (such as a mild headache or persistent feeling of euphoria), but any injuries and conditions they experience aren’t real. Such damage causes no physical harm or effect to the host’s real‑world body. A creature that dies in a harmless mindscape wakes up in their real body without taking any damage or ill effects from the mindscape.

Magic

Source Starfinder #23: Hive of Minds pg. 43
As a force that breaks all preconceptions, a mindscape can cause magic to operate in wildly different ways within its confines. Mindscape creators can attempt to place rules on the effects of magic within their mindscape, but even those often break apart if the willpower of the creator falters.

Normal: Magic, including spells and spell‑like abilities, function normally within such mindscapes. These mindscapes operate similarly to what one would expect to find on the Material Plane, though their creator may still apply minor caveats that occupants have to discover on their own. Spellcasters who leave a normal magic mindscape find that any spells they’ve expended in the mindscape have also been expended in the real world.

Dead: The creators of these mindscapes deaden the use of magic within. Creatures within a dead‑magic mindscape can attempt to use their magical abilities to cast spells and use spell‑like abilities, but every creature counts as having spell resistance (usually equal to 11 + the level or CR of the mindscape’s creator). Spells that don’t allow spell resistance have a 50% chance to fail when cast, though the spell is expended regardless of success. Magic items simply don’t work, nor do serums or any other magical equipment; fusion seals don’t apply their bonuses. Hybrid items have a 50% chance of working if they’re activated, while hybrid items that do not require activation to function are too erratic to function properly. Spellcasters who leave a dead magic mindscape don’t lose any spells they cast while within the mindscape.

Altered Magic: Some mindscapes include unique traits relating to magic that greatly affect magic used within. These mindscapes may enhance, impede, limit, or even randomize all magic or certain schools of magic cast within.