Caring too much about people's problems and you.
So you've decided to mostly give up a life of killing shit.
What's it do? Edit
Empath is basically the ultimate mutation for those who want high focus and nonviolent skills, and comes with a variety of advantages and disadvantages.
The biggest disadvantage is being unable to kill anything even moderately sentient, as it'll give you a fairly large amount of stress and put you into shock depending on your focus skill. So you're probably not going to kill anything anymore, really, unless you've got enough focus.
On the upside, you get bonuses to brains, senses, focus, and medic, as well as being better at using the medium mutation's command. And beyond that you also get the command, which can destress other players. You also get which allows you to destress as well, and also absorb any mental illnesses the target has. You may end up with their mental illnesses if your focus is too low, but if it's high enough it'll be eliminated all together. As an added bonus, your stress level fluctuates based on the highest stress level in the room, so you can see exactly how stressed someone is.
So, I can't kill shit at all? Edit
Nothing's stopping you from killing non-sentient things, although the admins sometimes have a weird idea of what constitutes "sentient", basically if it has some sort of emotion aside for "Raagh I kill you.", then killing it will probably hurt you too.
Can I help my friends out in the field? Edit
Generally you're not really kept from providing sideline assistance, although the death issue does make things rather complicated, and one of the other effects from empath makes it so other people's stress also stresses you, so if they use a lot of focus mutations you're going to get incredibly stressed.
Well, I still want it, how do I get it? Edit
There's not much that can be said about it that won't be spoilery, but it really helps to have a lot of climb, someone who can craft, either you or someone else, and the ability to tear through a bunch of zombies. Talk to Guru, and you'll get on your way.
Anything else? Edit
Well, lastly, it can't be stressed enough. Do not get empath unless you have a ton of focus, like say, in the mid 20s, or else you're going to find it incredibly fucking annoying to have. If you have a very low focus you'll be getting stressed and shock from things dying dozens of rooms away.
Notes from a griefpath Edit
It is possible to live a constructive and grief fulfilling life with this mutation. Stress can be a killer but with some care, and the help of some other mutations, it is easy to live with. Like cancer.
Griefpath 1 Edit
The simplest way to deal with the stress effects from Empath is to take the hideous freak mutation as all stress effects are reversed. One of the major downsides to this path is that you will almost certainly spend all of your time reporting people for similar exploits and bugs that you yourself employ, instantly becoming a massive faggot
This is actually a fairly bad mistake to make, hideous freak does nothing to the stress Empath dishes out, and being a freak empath basically destroys your ability to idle without stressing the fuck out of yourself, because the admins thought ahead and made it so you couldn't get rid of Empath's main downside, the ambient stress stuff, just by getting a single racial mutation commonly associated with an easy out to stress. In fact, aside from focus mutes reducing stress when used, Empaths have an even harder time in freak form as they instead get stress from NOT being around stressed people, which means basically being stressed over time since people are generally smart and don't stay stressed as hell. Be reminded that having triggers that auto-use focus commands when idle just to keep you stress-free is just as hard on the server as basically doing it to grind and is against the rules.
Griefpath 2 Edit
If you don't mind cutting yourself off from the rest of humanity then hiding in your apartment is an attractive solution to the unwanted effects of Empath. This kind of ruins the whole point of playing unless you like decorating a lot.
All the cool Empaths are vampires. The boost to focus and +10 cool from vampire, enigma and bling soaks most of the stress making it possible to murder jerks all day long, 20 cool reduces stress gains by half. Feeding will also take away your stress and the additional brains and senses are always useful for feinting and spewing your idiot fagpire cousins.