PROPOSAL: Allow Non-Kalashtar to "initiate" the conversation...

Kalidrev

Visitor
There is a rather fervent (though surprisingly civilized) discussion/argument over the Telepathy Racial Ability of the Kalashtar Race that started HERE (staring at #17).

Here's my proposal:

When a Kalashtar is in a party, any of his allies may initiate the two-way communication part of the Telepathy ability without the Kalashtar having to mentally communicate with the ally first.

Any thoughts? (Pun intended)
 

stonegod

Spawn of Khyber/LEB Judge
By proposing this, Kalidrev cannot vote on it. So its Evo, r1, THB, and myself.

I'll wait for further discussion as always before voting.
 

renau1g

Visitor
& Ata if he comes back ;)

I'll also await discussion if people have things to add besides that has been posted in the general discussion area.
 

Kalidrev

Visitor
LOL, yeah, I know I can't vote on this proposal, but if it were proposed by someone else, it may have been proposed for the flip-side, and then I would only be voting no so that it WASN'T that way, instead of the proposal being worded my way ;) Of course, someone can easily counter-proposal my proposal, and we'll have to vote on both versions. If that IS the case (and someone counter-proposals an opposition to my proposal), am I allowed to vote on that proposal?
 

CaBaNa

Visitor
In my experience Kalidrev's proposal will increase fun. Pok has been playing along with two Kalashtar and the telepathy has been a positive RP element. The ability has been balanced and non-disruptive.
 

KarinsDad

Visitor
In my experience Kalidrev's proposal will increase fun. Pok has been playing along with two Kalashtar and the telepathy has been a positive RP element. The ability has been balanced and non-disruptive.
In my experience Kalidrev's proposal will decrease fun. Pok has been playing along with two Kalashtar and the telepathy has been a negative RP element. The ability has been unbalanced and disruptive.

From my perspective, Pok has been making minor telepathic digs about Sheeva since she joined the group and since she is not privy to the conversations, I cannot roleplay a proper response.

Since PBP is using the Internet, this hidden conversation capability encourages "nah nah boo boo" type behavior behind people's backs. JME.
 

KarinsDad

Visitor
With regard to balance, I consider non-Kalashtar initiated conversation to be unbalanced in combat.

Some people like posting a bunch of suggestions OOC for combat tactics and such and then deciding on their PC's actions. I prefer people posting a bunch of suggestions IC for combat tactics and such. Doing it the other way feels like kibitzing in Chess. There is no roleplaying of PC tactics if OOC tactics are allowed. An entire roleplaying portion of gaming is discarded for the sake of tactically efficiencies.

To me, IC is preferable to OOC. Removing an aspect of tactical roleplaying from combat is inferior to encouraging it.

I also feel that the DM should roleplay NPC IC tactical commands and discussions as well, but that's a different topic in the same vein.


Back to balance, when a non-Kalashtar can initiate a combat tactical conversation behind the backs of the NPCs, it gives the PCs a significant tactical advantage over combats where only the Kalashtar can do so.

The player of the Kalashtar earned the right to do this by taking that race. The players of other PC races did not. They gained other advantages by picking the races they did. They should not gain the advantages that the Kalashtar has, nor should he gain theirs (i.e. a Kalashtar should not be able to use Second Wind as a minor action, just because a Dwarf is in the party). And even the Kalashtar should be limited to telepathically talking to only one or two PCs in a combat round to discuss tactics, not everyone in the group from a balance perspective (without the Group Mind feat).


In regard to Kalidrev's question in the other thread "If a Kalashtar were NOT always listening, then how in the world would the Telepathic Sensitivity feat work?", it seems non-sequitor to the discussion.

The Telepathic Sensitivity feat does not give the Kalashtar surface thoughts (even though people want to roleplay that it does). It's like listening to Mosquitoes. I know they are there cause I can hear them, but I have no clue what they are saying.


So from my perspective, the "Telepathy: You can communicate" vs. the "Group Mind: Any ally can communicate" rules infer (but do not explicitly state) that the Kalashtar initiates, and giving Group Mind capability to non-Kalastar PCs gives a tactical advantage to them in combat that they should not have (without the Group Mind feat being taken). Telepathy is too useful as is, let alone making it more useful.


Handing out most of Group Mind to the non-Kalashtar PCs for free is like giving a +2 to Perception rolls vs. Stealth to all Kalashtars and giving part of Telepathic Sensitivity to them for free. I don't see the difference. To me, the counter argument appears to be "We have been playing it this way and want to keep playing it this way". That doesn't mean it is balanced or the original intent of the rules.
 

stonegod

Spawn of Khyber/LEB Judge
I am chiefly concerned with balance issues. Other issues (such as whether tactics discussions should be IC/OCC/etc.) are meta-issues to be decided in individual groups, preferably guided by DMs (who set the tone for their adventure). Everyone should be able to come to a consensus on these issues.

As for KD's argument of "You can..." vs "Ally can...", it misses the rest of the context of both, chiefly that such communication is two way. Two way indicates both can talk and generally initiate/terminate conversation; have the kalasthar is just necessary for the communication to be feasible. The "one initiator" version of telepathy KD advocates is more like a permanent, repeatable Sending ritual which has very specific language about "receiving" a message and "respond"ing a reply. So, from a rule view point, there is a (small) precedence for open two-way communication between a kalasthar and one PC.

Note, this is not open PC-to-PC coordination. If that is happening, without some time/penalty/etc for doing so without the appropriate feat, that is a balance issue. Free actions such as that should not be abused, and this should be watched by DMs and judges. "Free" does not mean "no time", it just means it is not one of your major actions. This should be similar to the rejecting having paragraphs of dialog in a combat round.

Telepathy is powerful: It is silent and cannot generally be intercepted or interrupted. It is not instantaneous and is only between two parties at a time.
 
Two way indicates both can talk and generally initiate/terminate conversation; have the kalasthar is just necessary for the communication to be feasible.
This is where I disagree. I see telepathy as a drawbridge. When the telepath puts it down, travel goes both ways. If it's not down, there isn't a path and there isn't anything someone outside can do.

From a balance issue I don't see a problem either way.
 

KarinsDad

Visitor
As for KD's argument of "You can..." vs "Ally can...", it misses the rest of the context of both, chiefly that such communication is two way. Two way indicates both can talk and generally initiate/terminate conversation;
Actually, it does not indicate anything of the sort, nor am I ignoring the rest of the text. I agree 100% that it is two way communication.

I just find that the only words in the descriptions that indicate initiation at all are: "You can" and "Any ally can".

As for termination, there is nothing here to indicate that the non-Kalashtar can terminate the conversation either as long as the other conditions are met. As far as I can tell, the Kalashtar can say "la la la" forever into the mind of another creature and that creature has no say in the matter. Can the Kalashtar communicate? Yes. Then, the other creature cannot terminate it (shy of moving out of the 5 square range or knocking the Kalashtar out or some other way to invalidate the conditions of the ability).

You seem to be adding features to this ability that are not there.


Telepathy 5: You can communicate with any other creature that has a language and is within line of sight and within 5 squares of you; this allows for two-way communication.


Group Mind: You can facilitate conversation between all your allies. Any ally within the range of your telepathy can communicate with you and any other ally or allies within the range of your telepathy.


The second one here implicitly gives the power of initiating communication to allies in the case of Group Mind. I would think that if the intent of the designers was to allow anyone to do this with just Telepathy, they would have worded Telepathy similar to how they worded Group Mind.


I do want to ask you a question though stonegod. Why would a player of a Kalashtar PC ever take the Group Mind feat if the judges allow non-Kalashtar PCs to initiate telepathy? Merely to save a few free actions in combat in a game where the DM is stingy with free actions?
 
I'm strongly inclined to vote "no". I think KarinsDad raises some good points, and I don't see a terribly compelling reason to change how it works.
 
I'm strongly inclined to vote "no". I think KarinsDad raises some good points, and I don't see a terribly compelling reason to change how it works.
Well part of the issue is that there is some disagreement on what is the standard way it should work, so it's not so much on this 'changing' how it works. The telepathy rules are... lets say light to be kind.
 
Oh. Well, in that case, the argument based off how Kalashtar can't just read thoughts is a good one in my mind. Also, regarding the "communication by definition can be initiated by either party" argument, I don't buy it. If I have my friend's cell number and he doesn't have mine, I can still call him whenever I like. How is that not communication? It's hardly ideal, sure, but it seems that ideal telepathy would make things like words unnecessary. It would be instant, because the two parties are sharing thoughts, not just talking in a special secret language, which seems to be more what Kalashtar telepathy is.

I have to say, I also don't really care. This really seems like a "take it up with the DM" sort of thing.
 

CaBaNa

Visitor
This has moved pretty quickly.

At the top of this post is a short synopsis of my position for the RAW. I've multi-quoted and will respond to each post as well.

In the definition of Telepathy from MM2 (as read from the compendium) it explicitly states that "A creature that has telepathy can communicate telepathically with any other creature that has a language. The other creature must be within line of effect and within a specified range. Telepathy allows for two-way communication."


[sblock=Bolded version]

"A creature that has telepathy can communicate telepathically with any other creature that has a language. The other creature must be within line of effect and within a specified range. Telepathy allows for two-way communication."

[/sblock]

It couldn't be anymore explicit, Telepathy allows for two-way communication. There is no caveat that the telepathic individual must "initiate" conversation.



The argument against this, is that Group Mindlink somehow contradicts the explicit statement. Group Mindlink reads, "You can facilitate conversation between all your allies. Any ally within the range of your telepathy can communicate with you and any other ally or allies within the range of your telepathy."

[sblock=Bolded version]
"You can facilitate conversation between all your allies. Any ally within the range of your telepathy can communicate with you and any other ally or allies within the range of your telepathy."

[/sblock]

The added benefit from this feat is that allies may telepathically speak directly to each other. Also the Kalashtar and allies may address a group instead of one person at a time.

It doesn't negate the explicit direction of the Telepathy ability.

Telepathic Sensitivity doesn't confirm or negate the above.




In my experience Kalidrev's proposal will decrease fun. Pok has been playing along with two Kalashtar and the telepathy has been a negative RP element. The ability has been unbalanced and disruptive.

From my perspective, Pok has been making minor telepathic digs about Sheeva since she joined the group and since she is not privy to the conversations, I cannot roleplay a proper response.

Since PBP is using the Internet, this hidden conversation capability encourages "nah nah boo boo" type behavior behind people's backs. JME.
There is no "proper response" to role-play, as Pok would go behind Sheeva's back to communicate to those he trusts, regardless of telepathic ability. He would be whispering, if he couldn't telepath, and Sheeva wouldn't hear either way. Obviously if a character is unaware of something, they shouldn't have a response.

I'm tempted to be offended by the "nah nah boo boo" comment, but I'll let you expand on what you meant, before I assume it was derogatory flaming.

Pok will go behind people's backs, he has trust issues, and the telepathic ability of Kalashtar have nothing to do with that.



With regard to balance, I consider non-Kalashtar initiated conversation to be unbalanced in combat.

Some people like posting a bunch of suggestions OOC for combat tactics and such and then deciding on their PC's actions. I prefer people posting a bunch of suggestions IC for combat tactics and such. Doing it the other way feels like kibitzing in Chess. There is no roleplaying of PC tactics if OOC tactics are allowed. An entire roleplaying portion of gaming is discarded for the sake of tactically efficiencies.

To me, IC is preferable to OOC. Removing an aspect of tactical roleplaying from combat is inferior to encouraging it.

I also feel that the DM should roleplay NPC IC tactical commands and discussions as well, but that's a different topic in the same vein.


Back to balance, when a non-Kalashtar can initiate a combat tactical conversation behind the backs of the NPCs, it gives the PCs a significant tactical advantage over combats where only the Kalashtar can do so.

The player of the Kalashtar earned the right to do this by taking that race. The players of other PC races did not. They gained other advantages by picking the races they did. They should not gain the advantages that the Kalashtar has, nor should he gain theirs (i.e. a Kalashtar should not be able to use Second Wind as a minor action, just because a Dwarf is in the party). And even the Kalashtar should be limited to telepathically talking to only one or two PCs in a combat round to discuss tactics, not everyone in the group from a balance perspective (without the Group Mind feat).


In regard to Kalidrev's question in the other thread "If a Kalashtar were NOT always listening, then how in the world would the Telepathic Sensitivity feat work?", it seems non-sequitor to the discussion.

The Telepathic Sensitivity feat does not give the Kalashtar surface thoughts (even though people want to roleplay that it does). It's like listening to Mosquitoes. I know they are there cause I can hear them, but I have no clue what they are saying.


So from my perspective, the "Telepathy: You can communicate" vs. the "Group Mind: Any ally can communicate" rules infer (but do not explicitly state) that the Kalashtar initiates, and giving Group Mind capability to non-Kalastar PCs gives a tactical advantage to them in combat that they should not have (without the Group Mind feat being taken). Telepathy is too useful as is, let alone making it more useful.


Handing out most of Group Mind to the non-Kalashtar PCs for free is like giving a +2 to Perception rolls vs. Stealth to all Kalashtars and giving part of Telepathic Sensitivity to them for free. I don't see the difference. To me, the counter argument appears to be "We have been playing it this way and want to keep playing it this way". That doesn't mean it is balanced or the original intent of the rules.
During Trouble in Moonwatch, there is little evidence of telepathic communication "unbalancing" an encounter.

The Kalashtar, without the Group Mindlink feat, is the only person non-kalashtar may telepathically speak with. KD is building a straw man here, the allies in no way gain Telepathy. No one is "handing out" Group Mindlink for free, or a +2 perception vs stealth, or Telepathic Sensitivity.

Telepathic Sensitivity does not affirm or negate any ruling on Telepathy itself.



I am chiefly concerned with balance issues. Other issues (such as whether tactics discussions should be IC/OCC/etc.) are meta-issues to be decided in individual groups, preferably guided by DMs (who set the tone for their adventure). Everyone should be able to come to a consensus on these issues.

As for KD's argument of "You can..." vs "Ally can...", it misses the rest of the context of both, chiefly that such communication is two way. Two way indicates both can talk and generally initiate/terminate conversation; have the kalasthar is just necessary for the communication to be feasible. The "one initiator" version of telepathy KD advocates is more like a permanent, repeatable Sending ritual which has very specific language about "receiving" a message and "respond"ing a reply. So, from a rule view point, there is a (small) precedence for open two-way communication between a kalasthar and one PC.

Note, this is not open PC-to-PC coordination. If that is happening, without some time/penalty/etc for doing so without the appropriate feat, that is a balance issue. Free actions such as that should not be abused, and this should be watched by DMs and judges. "Free" does not mean "no time", it just means it is not one of your major actions. This should be similar to the rejecting having paragraphs of dialog in a combat round.

Telepathy is powerful: It is silent and cannot generally be intercepted or interrupted. It is not instantaneous and is only between two parties at a time.
Agreed to most of the above... Well said stonegod.

This is where I disagree. I see telepathy as a drawbridge. When the telepath puts it down, travel goes both ways. If it's not down, there isn't a path and there isn't anything someone outside can do.

From a balance issue I don't see a problem either way.
If the telepath is within range, and has line of effect, the drawbridge is down. Two way communication is explicitly allowed by RAW.

Actually, it does not indicate anything of the sort, nor am I ignoring the rest of the text. I agree 100% that it is two way communication.

I just find that the only words in the descriptions that indicate initiation at all are: "You can" and "Any ally can".

As for termination, there is nothing here to indicate that the non-Kalashtar can terminate the conversation either as long as the other conditions are met. As far as I can tell, the Kalashtar can say "la la la" forever into the mind of another creature and that creature has no say in the matter. Can the Kalashtar communicate? Yes. Then, the other creature cannot terminate it (shy of moving out of the 5 square range or knocking the Kalashtar out or some other way to invalidate the conditions of the ability).

You seem to be adding features to this ability that are not there.


Telepathy 5: You can communicate with any other creature that has a language and is within line of sight and within 5 squares of you; this allows for two-way communication.


Group Mind: You can facilitate conversation between all your allies. Any ally within the range of your telepathy can communicate with you and any other ally or allies within the range of your telepathy.


The second one here implicitly gives the power of initiating communication to allies in the case of Group Mind. I would think that if the intent of the designers was to allow anyone to do this with just Telepathy, they would have worded Telepathy similar to how they worded Group Mind.


I do want to ask you a question though stonegod. Why would a player of a Kalashtar PC ever take the Group Mind feat if the judges allow non-Kalashtar PCs to initiate telepathy? Merely to save a few free actions in combat in a game where the DM is stingy with free actions?
Actually KD, it explicitly states that it Allows two way communication, and you are ignoring that.
There is no caveat that the telepathic individual must "initiate" conversation.
You are inserting it.

The added benefit from Group Mindlink is that allies may telepathically speak directly to each other. Also, the Kalashtar and allies may address a group instead of one person at a time.

It doesn't negate the explicit direction of the Telepathy ability.

The second part you have bolded in Group Mindlink implies that the ally may speak telepathically with the Kalashtar and any other allies in range. Not that the ally couldn't speak with the Kalashtar before... You're adding that.

I'm strongly inclined to vote "no". I think KarinsDad raises some good points, and I don't see a terribly compelling reason to change how it works.
If you prefer not to change how it works, vote for the proposal, as it reflects RAW. Trouble in Moonwatch has been played as per this proposal's precedent.

Well part of the issue is that there is some disagreement on what is the standard way it should work, so it's not so much on this 'changing' how it works. The telepathy rules are... lets say light to be kind.
Agreed elecgraystone, telepathy rules are light...
The standard we've used in Trouble in Moonwatch is reflected by this proposal, and seemingly the only person who has had a problem is KD. Not everyone from the adventure has chimed in yet though.
 
If the telepath is within range, and has line of effect, the drawbridge is down. Two way communication is explicitly allowed by RAW.
See the underlined doesn't prove or point to anything. As pointed out by TwoHeadsBarking, if I call someone we have two way comunication. My calling doesn't give them the ability to call me back once I hang up.

If you prefer not to change how it works, vote for the proposal, as it reflects RAW.
This I disagree with. You can say BOTH or neither are RAW. With so little to work on, it's all perspective. My perspective is that this isn't RAW.

Or look at it this way. "A creature [user] that has telepathy can communicate telepathically with any other creature [target] that has a language. The other creature [target] must be within line of effect and within a specified range. Telepathy allows for two-way communication." Nothing in the underlined part changes a target into the user of the power.

There is no caveat that the telepathic individual must "initiate" conversation.
You are inserting it.
Well others see it as not having a caveate that someone else can activate one of your powers and you are adding one. ;)

[B said:
TwoHeadsBarking[/B];5037602]I have to say, I also don't really care. This really seems like a "take it up with the DM" sort of thing.
Quite honestly, I agree. it's not a big deal either way. I'm just debating what I view is the RAW and RAI of this.
 
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CaBaNa

Visitor
Your argument about the cell phones would have more merit if Telepathy was a power, however Telepathy is not a power.

Telepathy is a keyword, and a language, it is active by default.

When you make it a power, and add users and targets, is when the misinterpretation happens.

When in the presence of a person who speaks Telepathy, an ally can speak Telepathy to that person. If the ally changes into an enemy, they cannot force the person who speaks Telepathy to continue to listen to their banter.

It's even listed under a monsters Languages. Also check out Voicecatcher Veil.

Don't confuse Telepathy with Send Thoughts. Telepathy is a keyword and a language, Send Thoughts is a Psion Power.
 
Oh I misunderstood nothing. Telepathy is listed under the same section as aura (something that can be turned on and off). And as I pointed out it's listed in the eberron book as a language but it gets changed when you look the the CB/DDI. The misinterpretation is you treating it like a language when it no longer is.

And telepathy is a keyword? You mean the thing attached to powers? and you are using this to say telepathy shouldn't be looked at like a power? And what power has the telepathy keyword? Looking at my psion sheets all I see is Psionic and Psychic. Even send thoughts is psionic not telepathy.

SO... It is in fact not a keyword (unless I'm missing something or it's changed) and not a language (at least as far as the updated kalashtar). And nothing states that it's on or off by default. I can't see where you can state it as fact.

As I don't have DDi, giving me a DDI link isn't very helpfull... Ok, it's a ritual. After reading it, I fail to see where is states that telepathy is on by default. It stops mental communication. How is that helpful?
 

hornedturtle

Visitor
It sounds like a power to me, If it were a language I could take it as one of my bonus languages, right? Or would I have to take it as a language to speak mentaly with a Kalashtar? Without quoting any rules a power seems to be something that not everyone can do, isn't that what this telepathy is?
 

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