Mental Conditioning (3.5e Variant Rule)
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The Psychic Surgery skill allows a telepath with the time and opportunity to completely rewrite a subject’s psyche, including personality, alignment, beliefs, and so forth. While extensive mental conditioning can be undone and may even wear off on its own, psychics can create entirely new people while it lasts. This loss of identity is one of the things that people fear most about psychics, and the potential for mental tampering makes telepathic abilities particularly feared.
A drone is a creature (usually a humanoid creature) that has been altered via Psychic Surgery to become an obedient servant of a psychic or group of psychics. In particular, a drone has been conditioned to accept the mental “touch” of certain psychics and therefore does not resist their powers. The drone foregoes any saving throw against its psychic masters, allowing them to use their abilities on the drone freely. Among other things, this means psychics can easily establish Mental Contact with their drones, read their minds, and control their actions through Dominate, Suggestion, or simple telepathic commands, depending on whether the drone has been programmed for obedience as well as psychic susceptibility.
Some psychics also remove the majority of a drone’s personality, leaving their servants largely devoid of identity, living automatons obedient to their master’s will. Others prefer drones with most of their original personalities intact, allowing them to continue to function in normal society. Some psychics even create alternate personalities for their drones. The original personality is left untouched, and may even be unaware of the existence of the drone personality, but at a code phrase or mental command, the drone personality takes over and the individual becomes an obedient servant. The original personality suffers from blackouts, with no awareness of the drone’s actions or even existence.
Turning any thinking creature into a drone is a evil act, something good and even neutral-aligned psychics shy away from. Heroes may find drones in the service of evil psychics, however, and drones make effective “sleeper” agents for psychic conspiracies.