Very similar to the haunting virus, the mindstealer strain is much quicker acting. Instead of slowly subverting the target’s mind over the course of months, the mindstealer virus rapidly recodes the victim’s brain in a matter of minutes. This infection is much more invasive and brute-force, often causing significant side effects to the target’s mental state as a result. This strain is only spread as a digital virus, nanoplague, or basilisk hack (not as a biological nanovirus).

Once the victim is infected, it takes the virus a number of Action Turns equal to COG + INT + SAV to completely take over their mind (20 Action Turns = 1 minute). During this time, the target is actively aware that their mind is under attack and undergoing massive changes against their will. This process is confusing, frightening, and painful, inflicting a –30 modier to all of the character’s actions for the duration. Many victims are reduced to whimpering, drooling, or convulsing for the duration.

This mental transformation inflicts 2d10 mental stress to the target. Once complete, the victim is an exsurgent NPC, under the gamemaster’s control.