The Third Law - Never Invade the Thoughts of Another
The Third Law, though it might seem to be about a relatively harmless act, recognizes a single, simple principle: a violation of the mind is as much a crime as violation of the body—by some lights, it may even be worse.
To read someone else’s thoughts, you have to cross one of the most fundamental borders in all of creation—the line that divides one person from another. When you break into someone else’s mind to listen to their thoughts, you’re disrupting the natural order of things. Think of the mind as a locked house and you as someone without a key. Sure, you might need to get in there for the best of reasons, but at the end of the day once you’ve done it there’s a broken window or hinge somewhere. In short, the act is always violent no matter how “gentle” you are with it.
But even beyond breaking the sanctity of another’s thoughts, there are problems with what you find when you invade someone’s mind. Knowledge is power, after all, and when you get inside someone’s head you take a position of profound power over them. And in this case, we’re definitely talking the kind of power that corrupts. Not to mention it’s sort of the cognitive equivalent of seeing how sausage gets made—best left as something you don’t see and don’t think about too much.
Furthermore, there are plenty of secrets in the world that are meant to be kept. If there’s an “institutional” reason behind the White Council’s establishment of the Third Law, it’s all about the secrets. Plenty of wizards keep secrets they don’t want others hearing about, and discovered secrets have a way of getting out. Destroy enough secrets, and you end up destroying a lot of what keeps the world a civilized place—and civilization is one of those little innovations that helps keep most of mankind safe from the darkness lurking around the edges.
Finally, reading someone’s thoughts means you’ve got to open your mind up to “receive” the signal. The problem here is that you can’t always be sure what else you’ll pick up when you do that. Who knows what sort of nastiness could be “broadcasting”, hoping you’ll pick them up? And what will happen to you when you do? (In game terms, reading someone’s thoughts always makes you a viable target for mental attacks from both your victim and whatever supernatural nastiness might be in the area.)
The Soulgaze – In Case You’re Wondering
So, you’ve heard about this Soulgaze thing, and at first it seems a whole lot like you’re invading someone’s thoughts. You look into someone’s eyes, and you know that person, sort of from the inside out.
Keep in mind, however, that “the eyes are the windows into the soul” - not the mind. A Soulgaze is completely legit from the standpoint of the White Council and game mechanics. During a Soulgaze, you see a person’s inner being. Reading someone’s thoughts would tell you if a person is lying, but a Soulgaze would simply be able to tell you if that person is an innate liar.
A Soulgaze is powerful, affects both the gazor and gazee, and is not something to enter into lightly or without regard of consequence. You may not be prepared for what you see.