Poll Position: I think I see you think

This week's Poll Position puts asks:


Discussion of the choices after the jump.

I find traditional role-playing game alignments to be too stifling. Lawful and Chaotic, Good and Evil, are too ambiguous and hard to define for me, so I like to think about what I would do in the real world given a fantastic situation. I think it reveals a lot about how self- or other-centered you are, how much trust you have in institutions, and where your values really lie.

  1. Reveal your powers to and join a government as a secret agent, investigating foreign powers bent on your nation's overthrow. I can see how serving your nation via official channels would be very satisfying. You wouldn't have to worry about revealing your secret identity, you could exercise your powers more or less openly among your comrades, and you wouldn't have to worry about having a regular job. However, you have to trust the government to follow this path, and believe that they wouldn't instead lock you in a room somewhere and slowly dissect you to get your secrets.
  2. Reveal your powers to and join a domestic police agency (national, state, or local) investigating home-grown criminals. The decision between this one and the first is largely along the lines of if you feel comfortable possibly spying on your friends, and whether you think the government would use your powers for unsavory ends like Nixon and Watergate.
  3. Keep the power secret and use it to amass a vast fortune through legal gambling where your mind-reading abilities give you an edge, and use that fortune to promote your own agenda. Independence is the allure of this path. Beholden to no one, setting your own course, and using your powers as a leverage to get money, which has universal and flexible power all of its own. On the other hand, you'd have to live a secret life, never able to openly show your abilities to anyone for fear of being found out.
  4. Keep the power secret and use it to amass political power to advance your own agenda. Rather than reading the minds of poker players, you'd be harvesting dirty secrets for blackmail, ferreting out skeletons in the closet, and acquiring inside info on how to best your opponents. Money can buy power and independence, but politics IS power. On the other hand, you're sure to make a lot of very powerful enemies, and it's very difficult to be sure you're going to get the result you want when you manipulate the levers of power.
  5. Keep the power secret and don a costume to fight crime as a masked adventurer. The classic super-hero solution. Operate more or less in the open, steer your own course, and make a difference in your immediate community, all at the expense of having both a very public and a very secret life.

Which would you choose, and why?

15 Responses to Poll Position: I think I see you think

  1. John says:

    Hm. I am unsatisfied with the options. I’d add: “Keep my powers secret and use my abilities to read the minds of all the hot chicks I wanted to date but felt were way out my league, enabling me to know what to say and when to say it, guaranteeing me a shot at getting a date.”

    Of course, this option is entirely dependent upon my social skills and my ability to use my secretly procured insider knowledge with a deft charmer’s skill. Otherwise, I come off as a clumsy geek who knows an uncomfortable amount of information about a chick. Quickly earning the label “Way Creepy Stalker Dude” and am shunned with all due haste by all said hot chicks. Can’t win for losin’, man!

  2. Jeff Hebert says:

    I think it’s funny that you don’t think you’re already “Way Creepy Stalker Dude” …


  3. DJ says:

    Hahaha @ jeffs comment.

    I chose the vast fortune though I was really thinking of the political one but I thought that even WITH the power it would take quite a while to get high enough to truely make a large diffrent. I was also leaning heavily towards helping the government but I thought of the possibility that they would want to study my brain.

    So when in doubt I chose MONEY!

  4. haz says:

    I’m not sure whether I should go with political power or masked vigilante here. I would be a political vigilante, but in the background. No one will try to kill you if no one knows you’re manipulating things. So it’s not really a matter of having public political power, but of having secret political power–so secret even the people you’re manipulating don’t know they’re being manipulated.

    Also, considering I already live the sedentary lifestyle most often associated with vast mental powers, I really don’t want to go the spandex route.

  5. Epochfox says:

    I wouldn’t let anyone know about my powers. Mans gotta sleep, 8 hours is a long time for someone with a lot of money or power to kill you for whatever reason.

  6. the creator says:

    I would go for the money bit, then put on a mask an fight crime. Let’s face it, it’s practically impossible for a superhero to keep a regular job and a (wo)man needs to live.

  7. Moonshade says:

    I’m poor right now, so I’m going the selfish route. Gimme money!

  8. EnderX says:

    You defined it as ‘Professor X level’ telepathy. Would that be active (can mess around with other people’s minds) as well as passive (can read other people’s minds) effects? You defined it in terms of power, not necessarily focus or ability.

  9. Jeff Hebert says:

    I think I was thinking read-only, but you’re right EnderX, the Prof could dominate and control minds too. I was thinking more passive, though.

  10. EnderX says:

    Yeah, and that’s part of the point. With only the passive abilities, I’m not sure what I’d do. But with the active, I’m afraid I’d constantly be tempted to make people think they were getting turned into toads or something like that if they irritated me. It’s no doubt a very good thing I can’t do that.

  11. kryptkal says:

    I’m not a big fan of any of these options. I’d have to choose, keep the powers a secret and use them to secretly be a hero, save people, etc. With Prof. X powers I wouldn’t even need to leave the house, just reach out with my mind from my bedroom and make all the muggers and such think they were melting or something.

  12. Jester says:

    Well… If I were granted Professor X powers, I would assert complete global dominance: I would use my abilities to overshadow everyone who came within range, injecting dark thoughts into thier minds, rapidly breaking down their rational thought processes and driving them completely insane, allowing me to mantain complete dominance over their melted minds… With my newly erected army, I would overthrow the goverments of every country, destroying their militaries with my zombified sucicidal juggernauts and ERODING the minds of the most influenctial political leaders! The people would BOW AT MY FEET, or SUFFER MY WRATH! THEY WOULD OBEY ME, OBEY ME OR SUCCUM TO THE REALM OF MADDNESS AND INSANITY THAT I WOULD THRUST THEIR PATHETICALLY WEAK MINDS INTO IF ANY DARED OPPOSED MY SUPREME-NESS!!! I WOULD HAVE NO ENEMIES, FOR THE WOULD BE REDUCED TO GIBBERING LUNATICS, SPEAKING IN TONGUES AND HALLUCINATE THAT THEY WERE BEING CHASED BY FIRE-BREATHING CHICKENS!!I WOULD BE THE ALMIGHTY RULER AND GRAND POOBAH OF EARTHLY EXISTENCE, AND NO ONE WOULD BE STRONG ENOUGH TO OVERTHROW ME!!! MUAHAHAHAHA!!! …I would also get a really cool costume with a cape and stuff… …But that wasn’t in the options, so I’d probably go the other way and choose option 5. If Jeff doesn’t give you the option to be a psychotic psychic super villian: go super hero!

  13. Jester says:

    …I would also utilize my mental powers to proofread my posts before hitting the “submit” button… Or at least overshadow Jeff and make him add an “edit comment” button.

  14. Bael says:

    First, money. Can’t hang out in D. C. and baby sit the government without an income. No sharing the secret. I don’t wanna be a lab rat for the rest of my life. Definately no spandex. Telepathy is good for the team, but it doesn’t help dodge a bullet.

  15. Xstacy says:

    I’d go the money route, because, yeah, poor. But also because I can’t trust the govt (federal, state, or local) to use my power any more wisely than me, and I have no interest in either politics or spandex.

    If the power was more in the way of dominating people/rewriting the way they think, though, I probably couldn’t resist doing some tinkering with politics and religion around the globe…