Balancing Psionics

Introduction

There are several Kanohi that rely on elemental Psionics to some degree. Some of these masks seem to make each other redundant, but I hope to show that this isn’t the case.

Rahi

In order to discuss the differences of some of these masks, first the distinction has to be made between Rahi and non-Rahi.

What Matoran consider to be Rahi or not does not completely align with the “true” definition. They think that anything that is significantly different from them physically is a Rahi[1] and level of intelligence is not taken into account.[2][3][4][5] However, the “true” definition is based on intelligence.[6] This is how a Toa of Psionics would be able to tell the difference between Rahi and non-Rahi,[7] presumably from the fact that most Rahi don’t have much of a mind at all.[8][9] Rahi are not intelligent enough to make moral decisions,[10][11] which is why Shadow Leeches cannot affect them.[12][13][14]

While the two definitions of Rahi are largely similar, below is a short list of species and beings that differ between them.

Artakha Bull - Due to their high intellect, Artakha Bulls are only considered Rahi in the view of Matoran.[15]

Keetongu - Keetongu can speak Matoran[16] and cannot be affected by the Mask of Rahi Control,[17][18][19][20][21] therefore he is not actually a Rahi. He is only considered a Rahi in the view of Matoran.[22][23] Keetongu does have a sense of morality, enough to distinguish good and evil.[24][25]

Krahka - Krahka can speak Matoran[26] and cannot be affected by the Mask of Rahi Control,[18][19][20][21] therefore she is not actually a Rahi. Krahka has morals as well.[27][28]

Krana - Matoran would consider Krana to be Rahi,[29] but since they can be affected by the Komau,[30] they are not Rahi.[31]

Nui-Kopen - Lewa used his Komau on a Nui-Kopen, implying that it is not actually a Rahi.

Rahi Nui - Onewa used his Komau to inflict a Psionic attack on Rahi Nui’s mind, insinuating that Rahi Nui is not an actual Rahi.

Tahtorak - Tahtorak can speak Matoran, implying that it has a high enough intelligence to not technically be a Rahi.

Toa Hordika - Toa Hordika are Toa mutated by Hordika venom and not considered Rahi by Matoran. However, because Rahi are actually determined by intelligence, they are (at least partially) Rahi mentally[32] and can be influenced by a Makuta’s power of Rahi Control.[33]

Visorak - Visorak are called Rahi by Matoran, although they do not consider themselves to be.[34][35] They are quite intelligent,[36][37] suggesting that they might not actually be Rahi, although they can be affected by Rahi Control.[17][38] Visorak are probably right on the border of what is and isn’t Rahi.

Zyglak - Zyglak have Matoran level intelligence[39] and the ability to speak Matoran (although choosing not to),[40] so they are not actually Rahi.[41][42]

Mind Control

This section discusses the Mask of Psionics’ mind control, the Komau, Mask of Rahi Control, and Mask of Insect Control.

Toa of Psionics are described as having “limited mind control (cannot make someone do something that is against their pre-existing moral code).”[43] The wording suggests that the reason Psionics’ mind control is limited is because it cannot make someone go against their morals. Although speculative, the Komau could have this advantage over an elemental Mask of Psionics. This wouldn’t make the Komau overpowered, even when worn by a Makuta, because it can only work on one target at a time[44] and willpower is a factor.[45][46] This also wouldn’t make it immoral, as it still has the capability of being used for good.

The Komau is said to not be able to work on most Rahi,[8] but considering that the Matoran usage of the term is probably intended here, it should be understood as not working on any actual Rahi. The only noted exceptions for the Komau are Krahka and Keetongu, which, as established prior, are not actual Rahi. Whatever the Komau and Mask of Psionics can control, the Mask of Rahi Control and Mask of Insect Control cannot, and vice versa. This makes even more sense if the Komau can in fact make someone go against their morals since Rahi don’t have any morals, but Krahka and Keetongu do.

Rahi Control and Insect Control (which is a possible mask power[47]), are forms of mind control.[48] When compared to Insect Control, the details on Rahi Control are contradictive and unclear. Insect Control can work on multiple targets at once so that the user can control entire swarms.[49] One quote says that Rahi Control can work on multiple targets as well,[44] while another implies that it can’t.[49] Some say Rahi Control can work on insects, only not as well as Insect Control,[50][51][52] and one says it can’t work on insects at all.[53]

Possible explanations include:

  • Rahi Control can work on all Rahi, even insects, but only one at a time, while Insect Control can work on only insects, but more than one at a time.

  • Both Rahi Control and Insect Control can work on multiple targets at a time, but Rahi Control cannot work on any insectoid Rahi, while Insect Control works only on insects.

Telepathy

This section discusses the Mask of Psionics’ telepathy, the Suletu, and Kraata of Mind Reading.

Most if not all Kraata powers can be Kanohi,[47] meaning that Mind Reading could be a possible mask. However, the Suletu, Mask of Telepathy, already exists, which isn’t just mind reading, but actual two way communication.[54] Makuta have the power of Telepathy, which was said to not be a Kraata power,[55] but I would suggest that it is. The reason that Kraata and Rahkshi of “Telepathy” are effectively only capable of mind reading is because two way telepathy requires a level of intelligence greater than or equal to that of Matoran, which can be partially determined by the ability to speak the Matoran language. This also means that Rahi are not capable of Telepathy. Krana Za and Krana-Kal know Matoran, but cannot physically speak, and so require Telepathy to communicate.[56][57][58] Even the Morbuzakh can speak Matoran,[59] and Oohnorak gained this ability through its telepathic power.[60] Kraata, on the other hand, are not intelligent enough to speak,[61][62][63] with the exception of the seventh stage.[64][65] Because we have never seen a seventh stage Mind Reading Kraata in story, it’s impossible to say whether it would be capable of actual telepathy. This way, this gives reason as to why Makuta have Telepathy and does not create a redundant Mask of Mind Reading when the Suletu already exists.

The Mask of Psionics’ telepathy is just as powerful as that of the Suletu,[66] meaning both can deliver mental noise to their targets[67] to prevent them from concentrating,[68] have a limited range (presumably in range of eyesight),[69][70] can project one being’s thoughts onto another,[71] but cannot affect memories.[72][73][74] However, this doesn’t mean they are the exact same, making it open to some interpretation. While they would be equally powerful when applied to one target, it is unclear whether Psionics can work on more than one target at a time, but the Suletu can allow its user to hear multiple beings’ thoughts at once (BIONICLE Legends #5: Inferno, Chapter 3, pp. 40-41; BIONICLE: Makuta’s Guide to the Universe, “Toa Inika Kongu,” p. 41). While Kongu was not able to telepathically talk with multiple beings at one time, it might be possible when given enough experience with the mask.[75]

Telekinesis

This section discusses the Mask of Psionics’ telekinesis and the Matatu.

The situation with Psionics and the Matatu is near identical to that of Psionics and the Suletu. While there are conflicting quotes on whether the Matatu can move multiple objects at once,[76][77][78][79] this is the only obvious advantage it could have over Psionics.

Illusion

This section discusses the Mask of Psionics' illusions, the Matatu, and Kraata of Illusion.

The Mask of Psionics is capable creating mental illusions that can fool all five senses, but not technological systems (which would include robots like Vahki and Maxilos).[43]

Illusion, being a Kraata power, is also a possible mask power[47] (although it would have to have a different name because the Mahiki is already called Illusion). A Kraata’s and Psionic’s illusions differ from the Mahiki’s in the fact they are mental, while the Mahiki’s are physical.[80] This means that a Mahiki should be able to fool technological systems.

Similar to Telepathy and Telekinesis, the only obvious advantages that Kraata Illusion could have over Psionics is being able to affect multiple beings at once and/or multiple illusions at one time.

Invisibility

This section discusses the Mask of Psionics' 'invisibility', the Huna, and the Volitak.

The Mask of Psionics is capable of masking the user’s presence from beings, but not technological systems.[43] The Huna and Volitak, on the other hand, should be able to hide from technological systems (unless the system uses sonar, since the Arthron can see through them).

Conclusion

Overall, the Mask of Psionics gives the user a Toa level control over a range psionic abilities,[81][82][83] but (presumably) can only use one at a time and only on one target at a time, while more specific masks can affect multiple targets at a time or have some other advantage.

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This is completely untrue. Every single source you provided to support this is related to the Matoran definition of the word, not the true meaning.

The scientific definition of “Rahi” has never been officially revealed, so all we have to go on is the individual classifications of each species. If the canon says a certain species is a Rahi, then it is, regardless of what the Matoran think. The closest we get to a solid definition is that Rahi are made with viruses.

All this says is that the non-intelligent creatures on Mata Nui are “called” Rahi. It makes no reference to non-intelligent creatures elsewhere, or intelligent creatures at all.

“Most” is not “all”. Neither of these quotes contradict the idea of intelligent Rahi.

Neither of these have anything to do with intelligence. You can have intelligence without morality.

This just says that the Matoran consider the Artakha Bull a Rahi. In fact, Greg specifically avoids stating whether or not it is “truly” a Rahi.

All three of these specifically state that the Mask would have an effect on Keetongu, just not as much since he is more intelligent than most Rahi. Source 18 even specifically states that Keetongu is a Rahi.

Source 22 is the same one as above, where, Greg specifically avoids stating whether or not Keetongu is a “true” Rahi. And Source 23 explicitly states that Keetongu is a Rahi.

Did you even read these? They both state that Keetongu doesn’t have morals like everyone else because he is a Rahi.

… which she absorbed from other beings. A “base” Krahka does not have morals.

Based on what?

I think I proved above why the Komau has nothing to do with determining whether or not something is a Rahi. The sources you provide say that “most” Rahi do not have “much” of a mind to work with. There’s still something there though.

No, this one only says that Insect Control can be used on “more” targets at once than Rahi Control. It makes no implication that Rahi Control can only be used on one Rahi at a time.

This seems like a forgetcon.

I’d go for a hybrid between these two:

Rahi Control forms a more “direct”, one-on-one conenction with each Rahi, but can still control more than one at a time since Rahi generally have simpler minds. Note that because the connection is one-on-one, the controller still has to give separate commands to each Rahi, which gets pretty confusing pretty fast, no matter how simple the minds are.

Insect Control, on the other hand, forms more of a “swarm” connection. The simplicity of insect minds allows for control of multiple at once, while the “swarm” connection (rather than direct) allows the controller to direct the entire swarm at once.

In conclusion, while a Mask of Rahi Control might have the raw power to dominate an entire swarm of insect minds at once, the bearer wouldn’t have the mental capacity to give every single insect individual commands.

In this way, both masks are better than the Mask of Psionics, since the power of Psioncis seems to only be able to work on a single mind at once, no matter how simple.

I’ve never understood why this is a Psionics power. Yes, you use your mind to activate it, but it doesn’t really have anything to do with mental/psionic energy.

This just seems like a specific illusion.

Another advantage of the other masks is that the materials to make them are way more common. Toa Disks are rare as it is, and I’d imagine Psionics are even rarer.

Even if the Mask of Psionics somehow makes every single mask discussed above redundant, it’s rare enough that the use of other masks is still completely justified.

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Incorrect. Greg has stated several times that he considers some creatures (Krana, Zyglak, Bahrag, Kraata) to not be (actual) Rahi, while Matoran would consider them to be. Not every reference Greg has made to Rahi automatically means he is using the Matoran usage of the term.

Not all Rahi are made with viruses, as Artakha made the Crystal Serpents without using viruses. Presumably, only Makuta work with viruses, so the Great Beings, Mata Nui, OoMN, and anyone else who is not Makuta that made Rahi did so without using viruses.

And if I posted that quote only, you would have a point, but Greg also said that Toa of Psionics would be able to distinguish Rahi and non-Rahi, meaning there is a definite universal standard, and it’s based on mental capacity.

Right, most is not all, which is why I concluded that the few Rahi that cannot be controlled by Rahi Control (and thus can inversely be controlled by the Komau) are only called Rahi by Matoran, and not actually Rahi.

Potentially, but can you think of an instance where that is the case? Usually, the two coexist.

The fact that it wouldn’t have much of an affect on Keetongu is what I was focusing on. While you are correct that even some effect would imply he is actually a Rahi, this is why I decided to lean towards the two LMB quotes that say he wouldn’t be affected at all. I understand they are later answers, and thus shouldn’t take precedence, but they make more sense overall.

Not entirely. The focus initially was on what Matoran classify as Rahi. Then, the focus did switch to the “scientific” classification of Rahi, but this person started with the assumption: “if the scientific definition of a Rahi is a being made using viruses and protodermis,” which I’ve already explained is not an adequate standard for Rahi, so either Greg’s answer is to be completely ignored because it is based on false information, or he is simply affirming that Matoran call him a Rahi. Either way, it doesn’t defeat my point.

Apparently you didn’t read them because Greg specifically said that he has the ability to sense the difference between good and evil. Not as strong a sense of morality as, say, a Toa, but one nonetheless. That’s hardly having no morals at all.

You don’t know if a base Krahka would or wouldn’t have morals at all, just that it have less than the Krahka we saw in the story, but it ultimately does not matter. Even if Krahka initially had Rahi level intelligence with no morals, and thus would be a Rahi, she was able to ascend that Rahi-hood and become sapient. This is also why Hordika, who mentally devolve into Rahi, would actually become Rahi and be affected by Rahi Control.

Based on the fact it’s most likely from the Matoran perspective.

Greg’s word choice of “much of a mind” doesn’t matter. They have low enough intelligence to not be effected by the Komau.

I’m not suggesting that the Rahi discussion is clear cut and straightforward. If it were, the community would’ve figured it out years ago. There are definitely problematic quotes as you’ve pointed out, but ultimately this seems to be the simplest explanation of what a Rahi is, which matches with how Psionics, the Komau, and Rahi Control operate.

Even then, there would still have to be an upper limit so that it doesn’t control as many as Insect Control does. Rather than guessing how many that would be, it seems simpler to just say it can only control one, which would also mirror the Komau, but that’s more speculative than anything.

Maybe, maybe not, but it’s there nonetheless.

Right, rarity certainly is a factor in universe, but I am only discussing functionality at this point. Take a scenario where someone has access to all these masks. I’m trying to answer the question of which mask they would go with in a given situation and whether there be any that are made completely redundant by another.

Huh.

I actually never knew the Crystal Serpents were explicitly stated to not be made with viruses.

I agree that there’s a standard, but I don’t think it’s based on mental capacity. I still think the better answer is morality. Or, for a more objective qualification, the presence of inner Light and/or Shadow.

The Golden Skinned Being.

Being able to tell the difference between good and evil doesn’t necessarily mean Keetongu can truly experience morals. This makes even more sense when you consider that “morals” in Bionicle are the result of inner Light and Shadow, which is a quantitative thing that Keetongu could sense and measure.

But it doesn’t match with the statements that Keetongu and Krahka are Rahi.

And if it’s simplicity we’re after, having an objective check for the presence of internal Light and Shadow seems a lot simpler than determining if a Rahi is “too smart”.

To apply this to the mask powers, we would say that the Komau and Mask of Psionics control minds, while the Masks of Insect and Rahi Control control morals (or the lack thereof). This would explain why Psionics and the Komau cannot force anyone to do anything against their morals, and why Masks of Rahi and Insect Control cannot control non-Rahi beings.

The limit would be that be wearer would have to individually control every movement of every Rahi at once, rather than controlling the swarm as a whole as they would with a Mask of Insect Control.

Then you have to provide an answer as to how Psionics is able to distinguish Rahi from non-Rahi.

I think there’s confusion in how I worded my explanation, and I apologize, so let me rephrase. When I said the definition of what makes something a Rahi is based on intelligence, I didn’t mean that was the main or only indicator, just that it’s the easiest and most obvious one to measure. I completely agree with your explanation that what separates the two is the presence (or lack) of inner Light and Shadow, and I should have mentioned that. However, what I’m saying is that intelligence and morality are usually if not always intertwined. The reason I was focused more on intelligence as an indicator is because the point of my post wasn’t about Rahi, that was just an addendum. It was about Psionics.

So the question has to be asked: is the GSB amoral because of an absence of inner Light and Shadow, or are its inner Light and Shadow equal, making it morally neutral?

Good point, and you’re exactly correct, but you have to consider the fact that Keetongu has acted morally on what he has detected (helping the Rahaga and Hordika fight against Sidorak, Roodaka, and the Visorak). As one of the quotes said:

we don’t know that he has an actual moral sense in the same way a Toa does. His revulsion at evil beings may be instinctive and not rational.

It’s not directly confirmed Keetongu has morals himself, and Greg saying it’s more instinctual than not is just a suggestion and not a definitive statement. I’m saying there’s enough evidence to suggest that he does actually have morals of his own.

Keetongu is still debatable, but I have already addressed Krahka:

…No?

And where does it say the Komau cannot make someone go against their morals? Psionics, yes, but its not confirmed for the Komau, which was my point. Also, putting this restriction on the Komau removes the whole advantage that I proposed it had over a Mask of Psionics, so unless you can come up with another reasonable difference, I don’t find it convincing.

Wouldn’t the presence of Light and Shadow be pretty obvious to a Toa of Psionics?

This gets a bit tricky.

There are no sources, but BS01 suggests that all beings are naturally perfectly balanced:

“The balance of Light and Shadow also has an effect on a being’s other Elemental Powers. Any being unbalanced in either direction will gain the ability to use the corresponding element of Light or Shadow.”

My impression is that Light and Shadow don’t just cancel out and leave a being without morals; both are present at all times, always contributing to a being’s decisions. The only way a being could truly be without morals would be to have no Light or Shadow.

This is an interesting point. Can a being just change species classification?

If we define Rahi based on Light and Shadow, the answer would have to be yes.

I can see you already looked into this on BS01…

I admit that my statement was based off BS01, which, as you know, turned out to be uncited.

Seeing the context of its addition, I agree that the “Komau can’t make anyone act against their morals” statement is probably a faulty extrapolation from the Psionics powerset.

So if the Komau can make someone act against their morals, that’s definitely an advantage that it has over the Mask of Psionics.

That leaves us with the following power advantages:

  • Mask of Psionics can affect anyone with a mind. This includes both sapient beings and Rahi, but it cannot make sapient beings act against their morals. Plus, it only works on one at a time.

  • Komau affects both minds and morals, also only one at a time.

  • Masks of Rahi/Insect Control work on beings without Light or Shadow, and probably work on more than one at a time.

Psionics has the diversity advantage, Komau has the “overriding morals” advantage, and Rahi/Insect Control have the numbers advantage.

EDIT: I actually found a quote that suggests the Komau can make someone act against their morals:

The way he says that “masks that stop just short of full mind control cannot make someone act against morals” makes me think that full mind control can.

This is also supported by the original Psionics powerset quote:

The way it is phrased makes it sound like “cannot force someone to act against their morals” is what make it “limited” mind control.

VERY LATE EDIT:

I thought I found something related to the exact definition of a Rahi, but it ended up being the fastest contradiction I’ve ever seen:

How do we even interpret this?

Only Makuta work with viruses since they created them[1] and they don’t share them with anyone else.[2] This is why Artakha didn’t use viruses for the Crystal Serpents, nor the Hand of Artakha for the Energy Hounds (Hand of Artakha predate the Makuta, so if Makuta created viruses, the HoA couldn’t have had access to viruses by default), nor the Great Beings for the first Rahi.

As for that quote, since Greg answers the question about creating Rahi with viruses first, then the Crystal Serpents second, I would suggest that Greg made that generalization because he couldn’t think of any exceptions, until two question down when he remembered the Crystal Serpents were made by Artakha and not the Makuta.

Having the true definition of what a Rahi is be based on the manner of their creation is problematic, not only because of the exceptions listed above, but because of the fact that, again, Toa Hordika actually become Rahi since they can be influenced by Rahi Control. Whatever a Rahi is, I highly doubt it has to do with how one is created.

Yeah, pretty much.

I still think that the best definition is “a lack of inner Light and Shadow”, but that begs the question: can Hordika Venom affect inner Light and Shadow?

If so, does that mean that Hordika Venom is somehow related to the Shadow Leeches? It seems reasonable that it could be, since they were both developed by Makuta.