Many Starfield players are unaware of the game’s mind-control capabilities. However, it is indeed possible to manipulate random NPCs, particularly the hostile ones, and compel them to follow commands. This can be achieved by acquiring a specific skill and advancing its level. However, fortunate players may also obtain this skill for free.

To help fans understand mind control in Starfield, this guide provides explanations on getting the Manipulation skill, utilizing it effectively, and maximizing its potential.

RELATED: How to Bribe NPCs

Manipulation in Starfield Explained

image showing how manipulation works in starfield.

Manipulation is a Social skill that grants players the ability to control the minds of NPCs. This skill enhances the Scanner by adding a “Social” feature, which, when activated, allows players to influence individuals in their vicinity, one person at a time.

How to Unlock Manipulation Skill

image showing the manipulation skill in starfield.

Players can unlock the Manipulation skill by investing 10 Points in the Social section of the skill tree. Alternatively, there is a chance to obtain Manipulation for free by completing the Ryujin faction questline. Finishing this questline will reward players with the Internal Neuromap device, which inherently includes the Manipulation skill.

How to Use Manipulation

image showing how to use manipulation social skill in starfield.

To use the Manipulation skill, players will need to aim their Scanner at an NPC and press A. This action will reveal the Social tab, which contains various mind-control options at their disposal. From there, players can select “Manipulation” to exert control over the targeted character.

  • Activate the Scanner by pressing LB.
  • Choose an NPC as the target.
  • Press A to access the Social tab.
  • To initiate manipulation, aim at an object or another NPC and press A.

Manipulation only affects specific NPCs, and its effectiveness depends on the levels of both the player and the enemy. The higher the enemy’s level, the more advanced the skill required from the player.

Other Types of Mind Control Skills (Social)

Manipulation is not the only mind-control skill in Starfield. The other options for players to try are Intimidation, Xenosociology, and Instigation.


the intimidation skill

Using this skill, players can intimidate NPCs, forcing them to flee the scene temporarily. Intimidation is particularly useful for causing shop owners or guards to run away, enabling players to steal their valuables without being apprehended.


the xenosociology skill

In contrast to Manipulation, Xenosociology works on animals. Players who equip this Social skill gain the ability to temporarily domesticate alien creatures, deterring them from launching attacks. Xenosociology proves most effective against high-level creatures, as it stuns them for a sufficient duration, allowing players to defeat them with ease.


image showing instigation skill in starfield.

With Instigation, players can manipulate NPCs into attacking their allies. The duration of the battle grows longer as the skill rank increases, reaching its peak at Rank 4, where NPCs are compelled to fight until the very end.

Starfield is available now for PC and Xbox Series X/S.

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