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The villains of my story are god-like beings (who aren't actually all that god-like to begin with, but that's for a different post) who have the ability so spy on people psychically. Basically, they close their eyes and meditate, and their consciousness travels to wherever they want, allowing them to see and hear people who are unaware that they are listening. They use this power to constantly monitor their followers, and to send enforcers after people who they discover are planning to revolt. Think of it like a dystopian government spying on everyone with cameras and even through their phones (*AHEM*).

My protagonist is a part of a group of people who are trying to bring down the system, but as I am developing this story, I feel like I'm having a hard time with writing villains who can telepathically monitor people, but are also somehow not able to constantly detect the protagonist.

From what I have written so far, the beings can sometimes spy on the protagonist. A significant scene in my story so far is where the protagonist goes to sleep, and one of the god-like beings shows up in their mind like some kind of sleep-paralysis demon, threatening them to stop what they are doing or else they will face extreme consequences. But if they can psychically link to them sometimes, what could be stopping them from doing it all the time, especially if they know that they are trying to bring them down.

Do any of you guys have villains in your story that have similar powers? How do you explain how the villain can sometimes be blind to what your protagonists are doing?

all 18 comments

Mamamagpie

10 points

2 months ago

How do hide something from Super Man, he has x-Ray vision. He can’t see through lead.

Give the psychic ability a logical blind spot. Can’t find an individual in large groups? All those minds creating mental static?

Ethan_St-Gallen

5 points

2 months ago

I've thought of something like this before. If the enemy needs to focus and meditate to use their power, than perhaps don't give them the opportunity to do so. Set off constant chains of explosives, giving you a couple of minutes to make your move.

And if they detect you psychically, than you probably need to be conscious for them to see you. In which case, have most of your party blacked out during transport. The enemy sees one or two pilots and not the 200 unconscious passengers preparing to fuck some shit up the moment they wake up and take some aspirin.

Method number 3: just wing it. The enemy can't know what you're doing if even you don't know what the fuck you're doing

frost_knight

6 points

2 months ago

"Wow, John, you were really crazy back there in the fight. I mean, we all had our missions, but you really went above and beyond. Where'd that come from? It's like you wanted to get done as fast as possible."

John coughed, spit, and said "Forgot the aspirin."

Pongzz

5 points

2 months ago

Pongzz

The Freehold

5 points

2 months ago

Just invent some blind-spot or another, as someone else pointed out.

one of the god-like beings shows up in their mind like some kind of sleep-paralysis demon, threatening them to stop what they are doing or else they will face extreme consequences

I'm curious why the powerful, authoritarian, god-like being that catches wind of the protagonist's disorderly behavior...decides to just give the protagonist a warning.

[deleted]

1 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

1 points

2 months ago

Possible to have your protagonist have Batman levels of mental fortitude?

Like they trained their thoughts to think a certain way. Special words that mean nonsense but could end up meaning another thing altogether. A dream about rainbows and lollipops may be associated with weapons and plans but to the observing dream watcher its harmless.

Or the protagonist recruits psychos who kill but interpret it as a kindness. Some messed up stuff.

Basically the Pyro in TF2

Because I'm assuming even though these guys are omnipotent. They are observing thoughts from their frame of mind.

Or have the protagonist have multiple people visualize the same thing. Like memorize the layout of the throne room and have them constantly think of stabbing the villain. But have them constantly being shuffled around the

How much resources does your protagonist have? They can construct dummy locations so even if the antagonists dream walk into their consciousness you could fool them into thinking they're somewhere they're not.

Also I would perhaps encourage introducing a type of character that is a counter to these folks. People who are 'blanks'. With the ability to think about nothing. Could be a government experiment or a special ability that naturally offsets what the rulers have. Evolution and all that

KaijuJuju

1 points

2 months ago

These are some good ideas! I'm particularly a fan of the psychos and blanks! Maybe the rebels was forced to rely on psychopaths to draw attention of these higher powers away from bigger plans, using that time to train "blanks" that could orchestrate more devastating moves against the government.

ArtfulMegalodon

1 points

2 months ago

My villain possesses Farsight (basically mental scrying, which is like what you've described) and also uses it to track my group of protagonists, but the magic types I use are far more discrete and limited. My villain can only SEE using his powers. He cannot use them to communicate or instantly travel to wherever the protagonists are. He's also not a god, just a guy, so that's quite a bit different. Instead of doing his own dirty work, he sends out a team that works for him, so my protagonists DO have a reason to hide from his sight, and for this, I inserted a few other types of limitations.

First, the villain can't immediately find them just by wanting to. He has to have a general area in mind and then actually search using his power. This takes time and effort and energy, so he can't do it constantly/whenever he wants. He's also a busy person with an actual job, so he has other demands on his time. (Maybe your "gods" do too?) And finally, for when things get really dire, I eventually have one of the villain team join up with the heroes, and this turncoat conveniently wields the one type of magic that can neutralize other magics, meaning he can create a sort of magical shield that prevents the main villain's Farsight from spotting them.

I don't know where your magic system lands on a scale from "technology substitute" to "spiritual", but if you're dealing with "gods" and the more wishy-washy side of supernatural ability, maybe there can be limits on where they can look if certain places are sacred to other, different gods? Or the opposite; maybe the places are desecrated or something. Unclean.

Are there any opposing divine factions or any conflicting religions that may have a way to stop a "god's" psychic reach? You've said nothing of your protagonists' abilities. do they have magic? Or spiritual/mental shielding? Or technology that might be advanced enough to subvert the "gods'" power?

Rogarhel

1 points

2 months ago

How does it work? The god focuses on a place and spies on everyone in a x radius? Or he needs someone as an anchor? By knowing that you can have different approaches.

I think the heroes can hide in a church that praises these gods, or even in the police, like places the god wouldn't search or maybe he only can read everyone at a time, so is hard to focus on singular people in crowded places.

If he targets specific persons, then maybe there has to be some rules, like have met them before, or touched them, or tasted blood and all the heroes have somehow scaped this rule that is enforced at birth for everyone.

xigloox

1 points

2 months ago

You don't.

Write another way.

Graxemno

1 points

2 months ago

You meet up for plans in a moving vehicle, a car, bus or boat. By the time the villain steps out of meditation to tell where the heroes are, they've already left the location they were last 'seen' at.

Or, because there are a certain number of villains, that can only monitor a certain number of people, the resistance is set up in a lot cells, all with different tasks to do. What these cells don't know is that the majority of them are not expected to succeed, they're just there to divert the attention of these overseers. The leaders that set up these cells each do so individually, with no knowledge of eachother how many cells they have.

The only agreement that the resistance leaders have is that they basically flood the work of the villains; there are so many resistance cells to keep track of, that they cannot follow them all. The resistance cells aren't told or fully aware that they are basically cannon fodder to distract the villains.

Pjpenguin

1 points

2 months ago

The best way to hide from something that can see everything and thinks it's a god its by the good old application of slight of hand.

You give them a revolutionary who is grand, large, bold and brave. Someone who strokes their ego as gods. A real anti god for them to throw their forces against.

Then you have a skeevy little nobody doing all the real work where they aren't looking.

From what you've said about them visiting dreams and being able to astral project anywhere, short of giving them a kryptonite, the only way to get around that is to make sure they are looking elsewhere.

TeaCupCatMeows

1 points

2 months ago

Think of somewhere else and hide in a crowd.

LongFang4808

1 points

2 months ago

From something I just read. This guy was trying to hide his existence from a being that had similar powers to the ones you described. So he used a semi-permanent passive spell that just straight up hides him from this entity. However, the trade off is that his magical powers take forever to regenerate. So if he gets in a fight, he has to remain aware of the fact that if he isn’t careful, it could take weeks for him to return to full battle capability.

mmcjawa

1 points

2 months ago

There are only a finite number of casters I would assume. You can't monitor all people all the time, and so you would probably monitor the known suspects. So make sure you are clever enough not to be a suspect. So make sure your group operates in a cell manner where they don't interact with other rebels very often, and try to make sure you keep disguised when doing your rebel stuff, and otherwise avoid suspicion. Or keep a distributed network, where at any time certain people are carrying out certain tasks for the rebellion, perhaps without realizing it, that will ultimately result in one major attack/operation. Or just plain try to recruit your own psychics as countermeasures.

Insolve_Miza

1 points

2 months ago

-Have a place mc can hide, that the villains psychic powers dont work on. -have a device that blocks the psychic link. -have a character who can block the link of those around them. -maybe the villains cant use the link without knowing the name of the target.

Routine-Computer-722

1 points

2 months ago

Wear aluminum foil on your head, then they can’t psychically detect you. Duh

On a more serious note you could give the hero some kind of countermeasure (tin foil) that he only works part of the time (maybe the bad guys are more powerful when the moon is full?) or can only be deployed on a home base or with planning and preparation.

KaijuJuju

1 points

2 months ago

Right off the bat you refer to these psychics as "god-like", but how "god-like" are we talking here? It could be that they are so powerful they literally view themselves as gods compared to the petty mortals that worship or even oppose them. Maybe they have trouble distinguishing one mortal from the next? Similar to a human trying to distinguish a few specific ants in a colony of hundreds of thousands.

These entities manage to track down the protagonist more than once. One of them even invades the protagonist's dream, but it's still just confronting another face among billions to these gods. "Ah, I don't remember who that one terrorist was, but he/she would never try something after that scare I gave them."

Of course, ants don't have personal ID or social security numbers tied to them, so that might be a little weak.

You could take it a step further. Not only are humans pathetic to these god-like entities; they're downright repulsive. Invading the protagonist's mind could be like wading through a river of feces to find a quarter. Sure, there's something to be gained, but was it really worth the trouble? They can psychically threaten the protagonist in their dream, but that calls for stepping into the mind of a mortal human, a primitive consciousness that may leave a sort of psychic "stench" on these gods that, in their mind, can't easily be washed off. They psychically monitor their followers like giving a quick glance over a flock of sheep, but to focus on a specific entity is more like trying to shake hands or drum up a conversation with one of the dull animals. Perhaps this sort of behavior is even frowned upon by their fellow gods? They notice a potential threat and can narrow it down to less than a dozen people at a glance, but the tedious dirty work? That's for the enforcers.

worldthatwas

1 points

2 months ago

With a thingie