Mental tech

He made up the person he wanted to be
And changed into a new personality
At first the water is just cold. Then a bit inconvenient. Then the pain gradually begins to seep into my flesh, icy tendrils of blue pain creeping up along the arm. Slowly it gets sharper and harder to ignore. I get a nasty vision of people freezing to death in the cold waters of the Atlantic, but I deliberately let the vision pass and begin to concentrate on visualizing the pain gates in my spinal cord. I visualize how they close, locking the pain outside while I leaving the rest of my nervous system comfortable and warm. I see how the commands from my cortex make my periaqueductal grey matter send inhibiting endorphines into the spinal cord, closing and locking my substantia gelatinosa to the signals from the outside. I am in control, pain doesn't exist.

"Nice work, Yoichi, a new personal record. You can pull out your arm now. But the next time, don't wait with the visualization, I could see on the sensors that you didn't start until after more than a minute. That will make it harder for you to concentrate and you might have to switch to an associative blockade instead."

All tech isn't physical, there is software both for computers and people. The Concordat has found that mental techniques and skills are very useful in the InfoWar - they are personal, they are impossible to detect and they give an edge over many of the other groups. Concordat psychologists have combined the latest results from cognitive psychology with ancient exercises to develop several mental tools that can be quite useful.

Mental techniques are not very common, and finding good teaching is hard. There is nothing mystical about them, just applied psychology and neuroscience, but since they require the users to learn a lot about themselves and spend significant time doing practical exercises (reading a book simply won't help when it comes to actually using the techniques) few people bother to learn them, and the few who do are regarded as unusual or mystic by others.

Memory techniques

Many people think we don't need to hone our memory as much now as before, since we have plenty of pen and paper, ubicomps, remembrance agents and wearables. But technology can fail or be stolen, while the mind is always there. Using memory techniques the user can memorize information efficiently, requiring no incriminating devices.

Training consists of learning how memory works, learning various memory systems and exercising them by learning various data. Some also supplement this with study techniques, learning how to assimilate information better.

Memory techniques can be used to encode information well. Roll a Memory technique roll with a difficulty depending on how much information it is: Poor for a single fact such as a name, Fair for a page of information, Great for an entire book verbatim. If the roll is successful the character can now recite the information whenever needed.

Memory techniques can also be used to recall information that would otherwise not have been accessible. Roll Memory techniques against a difficulty depending on how obscure, brief or remote the information is. Remembering the exact details of one's own office is Poor (useful for noticing if it has been searched), the details of a room only visited once Fair, the exact titles of the books on the bookshelf Great.

Memory Techniques and Mnemonics


The ability to twist and control one's thinking. While there may be no way of reading thoughts yet, some knowledge is best hidden from the conscious mind. Doublethink is the ability of controlling ones thinking, in order to avoid revealing one's reactions, resisting interrogation and modeling oneself on others in order to blend in.

Training involves tricky exercises in directing concentration into new directions, various forms of meditation, testing with polygraphs and experimenting with different ways of thinking.

Some possible tasks could be deliberately forget something, so that any questioner would believe your sincerity, or making yourself believe something with apparently total sincerity. Forgetting or believing small things, like having seen a certain paper, is usually Poor. Larger things, like having been part of a meeting is Fair, and completely fabricating (or forgetting) one's beliefs and life can be Great or even Superb. Critical failures can make you believe your own doublethink.

Body control

The mind and body form a single system, and through mental and physical discipline both can be controlled. This can be used to resist pain, summoning extra energy, withstanding extremes of cold or heat. Body control works best in augmenting other physical disciplines, it is seldom very useful on its own.

Body control involves both learning how the body works and how it interacts with the mind, various katas, biofeedback experiments, pain control exercises and physical training.

See the Combat chapter for some examples of what can be done with body control.

Attention Training

In the hectic pace of the InfoWar the ability to deal with constant information overload is a survival skill. Many modern people are practically paralyzed by stress and confusion. Attention training aims at increasing the attention ability and stress resistance of the users, giving them the ability to withstand torrents of information and high demands. Well trained people can handle many things at once, doesn't get confused and doesn't let anybody but themselves run their lives.

The training involves exercises to demonstrate and train concentration abilities and coping with stress, demonstrations of how information input can be handled and controlled, and meditation exercises to learn how to withstand extreme surroundings. Often the training is combined with time management and project management, teaching how to organize one's life efficiently.

Emotion control

Closely related to doublethink, the ability to control one's emotions in an useful way. Using emotion control the users can both keep their emotions under control, redirect them or make themselves experience emotions of their own choosing. This makes them resistant to depression, panic and many forms of manipulation. The overall mood can be controlled without the need of any drugs (in fact, some users succumb to the temptation to make themselves just as happy as if they were on drugs) and tailored to suit the situation. Motivation becomes controllable, and habits can be rewired.

Training consists of learning how emotions work, what induces certain feelings, breathing exercises, how to notice one's own emotional state, recreating past emotional states through various forms of acting supported by biofeedback devices, exercises controlling or fueling a certain emotion, taking mood-altering drugs and learning from their effects and many forms of meditation.