How can a thought be remote? Who thought it, and how did it leave? Where is it going? This is one of the metaphysical materials you can collect in the game Control, turned into an “item” to use in your roleplaying games. Read more about the idea behind it – and the whole list – here.

How a Remote Thought is created

A Remote Thought happens when someone thinks about something off or extreme, for a split second, and the thought escapes their grasp. It is easy to think it again, following the same reasoning as before. But this fragment of a mind is still out there, taking on a path of its own. It might gravitate to other minds, or just speed away into the depths of the cosmos. It is basically mental Hawking radiation.

particle-like thoughts around a humanoid, exemplary for a remote thought

How to obtain a Remote Thought

It is prohibitively hard to have a Remote Thought on command. It happens rarely and at random, and anyone actively trying to think one up will fail by definition. So to obtain one of those elusive fragments of a mind, you need to either be lucky or crafty. There are two materials that attract Remote Thoughts. Things that hat sentience inside them – mostly skulls, but also some shells – and a specific kind of crystal that has been known to “sing”.


Eventually, every Remote Thought will slow down enough to be attracted to something in the real world. The majority of them will settle into skulls, enjoying the echoes of former sentience, as their energy dissipates ever so slowly. Old grave sites are prone to be filled with Remote Thoughts, although harvesting them is generally frowned upon in most societies, as it would involve disturbing the interred.

skulls at a burial site are prone to collect remote thoughts

Singing Crystal Traps

A remote thought attracted by a crystal of the right frequency will circle it for weeks or months, ever moving slightly closer to it before eventually falling in. When that happens, it passes on all its mental energy in a process that can be heard, which is how these crystals sing. The size of the crystal determines how strongly it attracts Remote Thoughts that pass by near it. A Remote Thought trapped by a crystal that has not yet fallen in can easily be obtained by a keen mind.

a crystal that lights up through a remote thought

For the more determined, coating such a crystal with powdered skull can prevent a thought from falling in, thus creating a trap that can collect these metaphysical units of mind over long periods of time. If left to their own devices, such an amalgamation of energy might even turn sentient itself, and become something curious. Maybe even dangerous (Adventure Hook!).

Helping Chance Along

There is also the – less convenient – way of creating Remote Thoughts by gathering a large number of people and have them think about complex, weird, or otherworldly problems. If they do not know your intention, the chance of their efforts creating Remote Thoughts go up significantly.

The most sensible way to go about this is to create a repeated event like a meeting, and place crystal traps strategically in the vicinity. Over time, there will be a decent number of Remote Thoughts created that way. If a group was to devote that much effort to the creation of these concepts, they might find that there is a lucrative black market for Remote Thoughts. They might also ignore the long-term effects this has on the community they are harvesting (Adventure Hook!).

How to transport a Remote Thought

The most natural way to carry a Remote Thought once obtained is to take it into your own mind’s orbit. It sounds tricky, and it is the first time you come into contact with this particular concept. But it gets easier every time. The trick is to acknowledge the thought without trying to think it. Thinking it would destroy it and only yield a fraction of potentially unsettling, alien thought in return. Not acknowledging its presence would cause it to move on and vanish.

Alternatively, it can be stored temporarily in the skulls of small creatures, where it will be good for a couple of weeks. This is also the way people inclined to will sell the concept to those willing to invest in its potential.

How to Use a Remote Thought

Once within the grasp of a mind that knows what it is dealing with, a Remote Thought can be used like a mental slingshot. Someone who has mastered the art of acknowledging a thought without thinking it can imbue it with an idea of their own, then release it toward another mind within about a mile.

Once it hits the target, the Remote Thought will implant that idea into the target. And unless that person has received special training, they will not be able to distinguish that idea from their own thinking, and accept it as a product of their own mind.

Let me know your Remote Thoughts!

I am aware that as it is written, the Remote Thought concept does not have any safeguards (like saving throws). If you feel that there needs to be some kind of check involved feel free to add one. This would likely be targeted at a mental stat, most obviously intelligence, to tell the foreign thought from your own.

Please let me know what you think, and whether you plan on using this concept in your game. The easiest way to do that is to join my Discord Server. I am also writing about the Control Materials on my maker-related site if you are curious about making real things.

Thanks for stopping by, and remember to Be Inspired!