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croiduire:game_mechanics:psionics

Psionics

This is a composite of different rule-sets that I have adapted. The Complete Psionics Handbook was used as a reference, but I've gotten rid of the more cumbersome elements that make playing a psionic character so tiresome.

First, a psion is born, not made. At the time of character creation (or the start of the campaign) the GM rolls a 1d100. If the roll is between 1-5 inclusive, that character has a strong latent psionic talent that, sooner or later, will manifest; between 6-10 inclusive, the character has a weak latent psionic talent that may still manifest in some fashion under extraordinary circumstances; between 96-100, characters, for good or ill, are immune to psionics. Their minds are closed to extrasensory influences, be they psionic, arcane, or divine, so they can not be mages or priests, but they are completely unaffected by spells such as Sending, Telepathy, Charm, Suggestion, Fear, or any other spell or spell effect that targets the mind. Psionic attacks are wholly ineffective, even those made by illithids and their powerful kin (no saving throw required).

If the initial roll was between 1-10, a 1d5 is rolled. This determines the type of psionic power the character has: clairsentience (expanded senses), psychokinesis (moving, altering, or manipulating matter), psychometabolism (altering the body), psychoportation (psionic travel), and telepathy (mind-to-mind contact). Finally, a d8 (for initial rolls 1-5) or a d4 (for initial rolls 6-10) is rolled to determine the specific initial psionic talent.

The GM makes the initial psionic rolls so that a latent psion can discover their talent in game. For example, Brad the Thief has his back to the wall. He has nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and a berserker in full battle rage is bearing down on him, axe ready to cleave him asunder. His life flashes before his eyes as he sees the axe coming down…and he is suddenly standing behind the berserker who has buried his axe in the wall and is struggling to free it. Brad quickly uses backstab to dispatch his opponent, catches his breath…and then realisation hits him, "Wait a minute! What the fork just happened?!" Brad the Thief is a psychoport, and he may well spend some time trying to figure out and learn to use this new talent on command.

Realisation may also come more slowly. Janet the Fighter has her back to the wall. She has nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and a berserker in full battle rage is bearing down on her, axe ready to cleave her asunder. Her life flashes before her eyes as she sees the axe coming down…but it seems to glance off her body. This gives her an opening; she returns the attack, her sword stabbing deep into the berserker's vitals, and melee is joined. The berserker's tremendous blows continue to do little or no damage whilst hers are telling. At last she dispatches her opponent, catches her breath, and thinks, "Whoa! For a minute there I thought I was a goner!" Janet does not realise that she is a psychometabolian able to manifest Flesh Armour. It might take her a few more encounters before she starts wondering if there's a reason why she's so "lucky".

Of course, some talents manifest without a traumatic trigger and are just part of who the character is. Little Frankie, who will grow up and become a Bard, makes an off-hand comment to their playmates one day, is met with blank incomprehension, and thinks, "Huh. That's weird! It's like they can't See Sound." It might take them quite a while to understand that they have an unusual ability, but by the time they're an adult, they have probably accepted it and may have learned at least a little about how to use it.

Using Psionics

Except at the highest levels, psionic ability is less powerful than either arcane or clerical magic. It is more a very specialised NWP than a true separate character class. Characters continue to use the tables of their original classes to determine their levels, hit points, NWPs, WPs, and THAC0s, and have all the abilities and limitations of those classes. They use their original class saving throws with these exceptions: they get a +2 to their save vs. any mind-affecting spell (such as any spell from the school of Illusion) or the fear generated by some undead, and a +4 to their save vs. any spell or innate magical ability that either mimics a psionic power or directly attempts to control their minds in any way (Telepathy, Charm, Emotion Read, Emotion Control, Eyebite, Suggestion, and so forth).

However, once their power manifests, characters also separately accrue psionic XP and advance as psionicists using the table shown below. XP is given every time a psion successfully exercises their talent, whether in combat, in safe, quotidian situations, or in practise to gain mastery over their power(s). To successfully manifest a talent requires at least one power point (PP) and an ability check. Each psionic talent uses a different ability: clairsentience (perception); psychokinesis (dexterity); psychometabolism (constitution); psychoportation (wisdom); and telepathy (intelligence). A failed check means the power points (PPs) are expended with no effect. All checks and saves, whether made by the psion or the target, are simple 1d20 rolls vs a specified attribute; modifications to these rolls are discussed under the relevant section.

Talents are divided into four levels. Minor talents need 1 PP to manifest, Intermediate talents need 3, and Major need 5; Metapsionic talents, available to high-level psions, need varying amounts of power, as discussed in each specific talent description. A 0-level psion (one whose talent has just manifested) has 10 PPs, and psions gain more with each advancement in level. To regain PPs, psions must get a full night's sleep (no less than 6 hours) and spend 1d20+20 minutes in meditation. Less rest means fewer PPs restored, and meditation is required to clear and centre the mind before any intentional psionic action can be attempted. (To differentiate, the instinctive use of, for example, Flesh Armour or Teleport Self in the event of a surprise attack may still happen, but it's not under the psion's conscious control.) Fortunately, psionic mages and clerics will be pleased to discover that the sharpened focus meditation provides means that the time required for study or prayer and meditation does not exceed the two hours required for study or prayer alone. Finally, no psion, no matter how experienced, can use their power for longer than 12 hours/day; the necessary focus just isn't there due to the cumulative fatigue.

Psionic Advancement

Level XP # of Powers Power Points Talents Attacks* Defences* Proficiencies*
0 0-500 1 10 1 Contact 0 Open Mind
1 501-1500 1 20 3 N/A Close Mind Channel Talent
2 1501-3000 1 30 6 N/A N/A N/A
3 3001-4500 2 40 9 Add 1 N/A Redirect Energy
4 4501-6000 2 50 12 N/A Mind Shield N/A
5 6001-7500 2 60 15 N/A N/A Amplify I
6 7501-9000 3 70 18 Add 1 N/A N/A
7 9001-12000 3 80 21 N/A N/A N/A
8 12001-15000 3 90 24 N/A N/A Amplify II
9 15001-18000 4 100 27 Add 1 N/A N/A
10 18001-21000 4 105 30 N/A Mind Blank N/A
11 21001-24000 4 110 33 N/A N/A Amplify III
12 24001-27000 5 115 36 Add 1 N/A N/A
13 27001-30000 5 120 39 N/A N/A Amplify IV
14 30001-35000 5 125 42 N/A N/A N/A
15 35001-40000 6 130 45 Add 1 N/A Expand Consciousness
16 40001-45000 6 135 48 N/A N/A N/A
17 45001-50000 6 140 51 N/A N/A N/A
18 50001-60000 6 145 54 N/A N/A N/A
19 60001-70000 6 150 57 N/A N/A N/A
20 70001-80000 6 155 60 N/A N/A Metapsionic Amplification
20+ 15000+/lvl 6 3+/lvl 60+1/lvl N/A N/A N/A

*Attacks, Defences, and Proficiencies are cumulative by level. N/A indicates no additional benefit at that level.

Psionic Proficiencies

Open Mind
(0 level)
This is the most basic proficiency, the fundamental difference between the psionic and the non-psionic. Before a psion's talent can manifest for the first time, they must learn (or intuit) how to open their mind to the heretofore untapped powers that lie intrinsically within the individual psyches of those with the potential to become accomplished adepts.
Channel Talent
(1st level)
It is not enough that a psion can feel the power within them, or that it sometimes unpredictably bursts forth from some level beyond their conscious control. To be truly useful, a talent must be activated, targeted, and stopped by their conscious volition; they must learn to channel their talent.
Redirect Energy
(3rd level)
As a psion begins to gain mastery over their initial power, they come to realise that the psionic power they possess in small measure is not the only psionic power within them. Rather, their inner awareness improves sufficiently to perceive the presence and potential of a second power, substantially different in scope and capability from the one they have heretofore practised. This new, second power draws its capabilities from a different physical or mental ability or quality, and manifests in new and uniquely different ways than the previous power, yet both are nonetheless interconnected through the psion. The budding psion discovers that, with sufficient effort and diligence, all powers will eventually become available to them.
Amplify I
(5th level)
This proficiency enables a psion to maintain a talent or defence once it has been activated.
Amplify II
(8th level)
This proficiency enables a psion to increase the PPs used to activate a talent or mount an attack.
Amplify III
(11th level)
This proficiency enables a psion to activate a second talent whilst still maintaining the first talent.
Amplify IV
(13th level)
This proficiency enables a psion to simultaneously maintain two talents once they have been activated.
Expand Consciousness
(15th level)
Everything seems possible when this proficiency is attained. The psion can visualize, experience, and benefit from the synergistic action of all psionic powers, and in so doing, direct a worthy flow of energies in each. There is a sense of unleashed power commensurate with the most potent of magic, and of being one with the Universe.
Metapsionic Amplification
(20th level)
This proficiency enables a metapsion to significantly increase the range and power of their talents, and to use PPs more selectively and efficiently.

Psionic Talents

A psion must have learned two minor and two intermediate talents from the same power before they will be able to master a major talent from that power.

Clairsentience
(Perception)
Psychokinesis
(Dexterity)
Psychometabolism
(Constitution)
Psychoportation
(Wisdom)
Telepathy
(Intelligence)
Minor
Danger Sense
(Detect Evil Intent)
Inertial Barrier Biofeedback Teleport Creature I Empathy
Hear Light Pyrokinesis (PK) I Body Equilibrium I Teleport Object I ESP
Know Direction Telekinesis (TK) I Catfall Teleport Self I Life Detection I
See Sound Stereokinesis (SK) I Flesh Armour I Teleportation Anchor Truthear
Intermediate
All-Round Vision Aerokinesis (AK) I Body Equilibrium II Teleport Creature II Life Detection II
Clairaudience Hydrokinesis (HK) I Camouflage Teleport Object II Send Thoughts
Clairvoyance Levitation Flesh Armour II Teleport Other I Suggestion
Radial Navigation TK, PK, & SK II Heightened Senses Teleport Self II Telempathy 1)
Major
Aura Sight AK & HK II Body Equilibrium III Teleport Creature III Charm
Clairsentience 2) Atmokinesis Flesh Armour III Teleport Object III Interrupt
Precognition Technokinesis Reduction/Expansion Teleport Other II Life Detection III
Retrocognition TK, PK, & SK III Suspend Animation Teleport Self III Probe 3)

Clairsentient Talents

All-Round Vision
(Intermediate)
This talent gives the psionicist the ability to see in all directions simultaneously--not just front, back, and to both sides, but overhead and underfoot as well. It prevents anyone from sneaking up on the character without some sort of concealment. If a character could see a threat whilst staring straight at it, a psion using All-Round Vision will be able to see it; it fails only on a roll of 20. Once activated All-Round Vision can be maintained by paying the maintenance cost of 3 PPs/round without rolling again.
Aura Sight
(Major)
An aura is a glowing, multicoloured halo of energy which surrounds all living things. It is invisible to the naked eye, but it can reveal much about a person or other living creature to the psion practising Aura Sight, including the target's class, experience level (or HD), health (total HP and current HP), alignment, and general emotional state. It can also sometimes detect polymorphed creatures (if that tempting treasure chest in the corner has an aura…it's not a treasure chest). The range of this talent is line-of-sight, but the target must be clearly seen, close enough to distinguish features, hair colour, and what they're wearing (a barely discernable figure on the horizon produces a soft blur of colour that doesn't reveal any information), and the whole aura must be visible (if, for example, the target is a tapster half hidden behind a bar, then only half the information that would otherwise be available will be readable). Moreover, it takes time to interpret the shifting prismatic colours (1d2 data points/round, randomly determined). Since this information is out there for those with the talent to see it (just as someone with normal vision can see a person's physical body), the target does not get a saving throw. Contact must have been established before Aura Sight can be initiated to differentiate (or select) the target. Once activated, this talent can be maintained at a cost of 5 PPs/round.
Clairaudience
(Intermediate)
Clairaudience allows the psion to hear sounds from anywhere within a 100 mile range as clearly as they would if they were standing in that spot. However, using Clairaudience does not screen out background noise; too much extraneous racket around the psionicist or at the target site can drown out conversation or whatever else they are trying to hear. Clairaudience also does not give the psionicist the ability to understand a foreign language, nor does it help them interpret sounds; this is remote audio only. Once activated Clairaudience can be maintained by paying the maintenance cost of 3 PPs/round without rolling again.
Clairsentience
(Major)
Clairsentience is the gestalt between Clairaudience and Clairvoyance, allowing the psion to hear sounds and see images from anywhere within a 100 mile range as clearly as they would if they were standing in that spot. Using Clairsentience does not screen out background noise, give the psionicist the ability to understand a foreign language, help them interpret sounds, enhance their vision, or enable them to see objects that are invisible, hidden in shadow or darkness, or behind other objects if they can't do so normally. Clairaudience and Clairvoyance are prerequisites. Once activated Clairsentience can be maintained by paying the maintenance cost of 5 PPs/round without rolling again.
Clairvoyance
(Intermediate)
Clairvoyance allows the psion to see images from anywhere within a 100 mile range as clearly as they would if they were standing in that spot. However, clairvoyance does nothing to enhance the psion's vision; if they can't normally see objects that are invisible, hidden in shadow or darkness, or behind other objects, they won't be able to see them by using Clairvoyance. This power also provides no sound; this is remote video only. Once activated Clairvoyance can be maintained by paying the maintenance cost of 3 PPs/round without rolling again.
Danger Sense/
(Detect Evil Intent)
(Minor)
This talent is similar to, but broader than, a paladin's ability to Detect Evil Intent, but it works much the same way. Like a paladin, a psion may target an individual or group up to 60 feet distant, in an area about 10 feet wide, or a location where an individual or group might be hiding, such as a clump of bushes or a concealed alcove; they must face the indicated individual, group, or location, but need not see the target. In a shadowed corridor, this talent can determine if anyone--or anything--with strong evil intent lurks in the darkness, but, unlike a paladin, a psion will also detect the pit trap floored with lethal impaling spikes, the ochre jelly lurking overhead, and the stone golem guarding the treasure chest. However, even a psion would do well not to become overly reliant on Danger Sense; it does not reveal potential dangers, either natural (quicksand, loose or crumbling rock, undertows in seemingly placid rivers, etc.) or situational (such as a footbridge that was designed to support a single pedestrian but will collapse under the weight of a mounted knight). It also will not detect potentially dangerous animals unless they are actively stalking or so close to the psion that they are within attack range; a rattlesnake basking on a sunny rock 10 yards away will not trigger Danger Sense, one on the trail 3 feet away will. Moreover, this talent doesn't give the psion any specific information about the type of danger, nor how it will strike. It does reveal the general direction of the threat (right, left, ahead, behind, above, or below) and how strong it is. The circumstances dictate how much time the psion has to react; obviously the pit trap won't attack, the ochre jelly will the instant someone walks under it. Danger Sense is manifested as a physical sensation--a tingle, a twitch, a tic, an ache in a specific body part--that increases in intensity depending on the threat level and varies psion to psion; for example, one psion may feel their hackles rise on the back of their neck in the presence of faint danger all the way up to shuddering, teeth-chattering chills when overwhelming threat is imminent, another might experience a slight tic of one eyelid that progresses to spasm so intense that half their face contorts. Once activated Danger Sense can be maintained by paying the maintenance cost of 1 PP/round without rolling again, but any action more focussed than walking and simple hand signals (including shouting a warning, drawing a weapon, running, or dodging) will end the concentration necessary to utilise this talent.
Hear Light
(Minor)
This extrasensory talent allows a psion who has been blinded, either artificially (magically, psionically, or even physically, with a blindfold) or naturally (by an injury or illness) to "see" with their ears. Any light waves which reach them are converted to sound, and they "hear" the image, which their mind perceives identically to an image offered by normal sight. The psion suffers no penalties for anything requiring vision. Once activated Hear Light can be maintained by paying the maintenance cost of 1 PP/round without rolling again. No other psionic power can be activated whilst Hear Light is being used.
Know Direction
(Minor)
The psionicist using Know Direction becomes a perfect compass, able to detect true north even under conditions that would distort a magnetic compass (underground, in the presence of ferrous metals, natural magnets or magnetic fields, etc.). This talent doesn't help if the psion doesn't know where north is relative to where they want to go (for example, trying to follow directions given as turn left, turn right, distances, and landmarks); it is not GPS. Unlike many other clairsentient talents, Know Direction can not be maintained. The focus necessary to maintain this talent precludes the awareness necessary to effectively use the information it provides.
Precognition
(Major)
The future is mutable, a deterministic nonlinear system where very small changes in initial conditions can result in large differences in a later state. Nonetheless, Precognition enables a psion to ask the cosmos "what happens next". They may thereby be able to foresee the most probable outcome of a course of action that affects them directly, but a cosmically greater (more energetic) event (such as a destructive earthquake, a volcanic eruption, a dam break that produces a flash flood, a major fire, etc.) can potentially take precedence, even when the event is more distant and has no direct effect on the psion. Even when Precognition does reveal information that personally and directly affects the psion, the glimpse of the future thus afforded is limited to no more than several hours from the time the talent is activated. Furthermore, the very act of using Precognition can be enough to alter the sensitive initial events, resulting in a different outcome. Precognition can not be maintained, and activation can be attempted only once every 1d4+4 hours.
Radial Navigation
(Intermediate)
As long as this power is in use, the psion knows where they are in relation to a fixed starting point (both direction and distance), no matter how or where they move. They may not necessarily be able to tell someone else how to get back to that starting point, but they can retrace their steps, even through a maze or dungeon. However, they only know one way back, the exact way they came, including any detours, dead ends where they had to backtrack, and so forth; if they deviate from that known route they establish a new start point from the point of divergence and the previous information is lost. Radial navigation can also allow a psychoport to lock on to a specific location, even if they're blindfolded, even if they were brought to that location magically, psionically, or physically whilst unconscious or incapacitated. If all a psion is doing is maintaining a fix on one specific location, they do not have to pay a maintenance cost. It is fixed in their mind, and they can return there when they want to. However, only one location at a time can be recalled; locking onto a new location erases the previous one. Once activated, if using Radial Navigation to recall a route (that is, a line, not a single point) the talent can be maintained by paying the maintenance cost of 3 PPs/round without rolling again.
Retrocognition
(Major)
The past is fixed. Retrocognition allows a clairsentient to gain a sense of history by perceiving the residue of powerful emotions that were experienced in a given area, or that are associated with a specific object. These impressions offer a picture, sometimes quite vivid and detailed, of the past. Battles and betrayals, marriages and murders, birth and death, great happiness and great sorrow, hope and despair all leave their mark. Sometimes, especially with objects, even everyday occurrences, if repeated often enough, can be detected. However, the psion is usually afforded only a glimpse, a moment frozen in time--the crackle of flames, the slash of a blade, a nuptial kiss, a newborn's cry. The dominant emotions involved--anger, hate, fear, love, etc.--come through very clearly, but the details are often circumscribed. Repeated activations can sometimes reveal more, but not always. With objects how much information can be gained depends greatly on how long one person owned the object and how often they used it. An example of a deeply imprinted item might be a cook-pot, part of a bride's household dowery and used almost every day for fifty years, until the owner grew too old and frail to cook any more. The psion would probably learn the owner's name, what they looked like (an age progression over the years of use) their gender, race, overall health, alignment, and usual emotional state (was the pot filled with love and nurturing and contentment as well as soups and stews, or was it a symbol of drudgery, bitterness, and broken dreams). They might learn how it came into and passed out of the owner's possession, and perhaps even more. A murder weapon, bought to commit the fell deed then thrown away, will likely reveal the homicide, but may provide very little information about the killer. Once activated Retrocognition can be maintained by paying the maintenance cost of 5 PPs/round without rolling again, but, except for deeply imprinted objects, gathering more information almost always requires repeated activations.
See Sound
(Minor)
This talent enables a psion to perceive sound waves visually as coloured light. As long as direct line-of-sight is maintained, sound can be seen under conditions where it can not be heard by auditory means (for example, a conversation "heard" across a loud, crowded tavern where ambient noise would drown it out, or one spoken in the middle of an open field, out of range of ordinary hearing). Only a psion who can see normally can use this talent. Once activated See Sound can be maintained by paying the maintenance cost of 1 PP/round without rolling again. No other psionic power can be activated whilst See Sound is being used.

Psychometabolic Talents

Biofeedback
(Minor)
Biofeedback is the process of gaining greater awareness and control over many autonomic physiological functions of the body. A psion who has mastered this talent is able to manipulate the body's systems to promote health and well-being. They can control the flow of blood through their body, enabling them to easily staunch or prevent bleeding, even when cut by a Sword of Wounding. As a result, they suffer two fewer points of damage from every attack against them with a slashing or piercing weapon. They can heal more quickly; for every hour spent using Biofeedback (possible at 5th level) they regain 1 hp. Finally, once a psion has acquired the proficiency Amplify III they can maintain Biofeedback and activate another psionic talent (so, for one example, a psychometabolian could enter combat protected by both Biofeedback and Flesh Armour). Once activated Biofeedback can be maintained by paying the maintenance cost of 1 PP/round without rolling again.
Body Equilibrium
I, II, III
(All)
When dropped, a flat, smooth sheet of paper floats slowly to the ground; that same piece of paper, when crumpled into a tight ball, drops straight down. Body Equilibrium works by that same principle; it allows the psion to distribute the weight of their body to correspond with the surface they're standing on. At level I they can easily walk on granular materials (snow, sand dunes, etc.) without sinking in or checking their normal movement rate, at level II, they are not hampered by colloids (quicksand, quaking bogs), and at level III they can even walk on still water. Also at level III, if they activate this talent when falling, their descent slows to only 120 ft/round, slow enough to avoid injury. Once activated Body Equilibrium can be maintained by paying the appropriate maintenance cost (1, 3, or 5 PPs/round) without rolling again.
Camouflage
(Intermediate)
The psion using this talent actually changes the colouration of their skin and hair, and frequently the shape of their appendages, to blend into their background. The alteration is automatic for the best possible match; they do not choose their appearance. The process takes several seconds to fully manifest; thereafter, as the psion moves, their colouration shifts to reflect any modifications in their surroundings. This talent makes a psionicist very difficult to spot; if they remain motionless they can avoid detection 99% of the time in natural woodland settings. In less concealing terrain, or when moving, their chance of escaping detection decreases, sometimes substantially, but it is never less than 50%. However there is a significant liability when using this talent: the psion's clothing, and equipment do not change. To realise the benefits of this talent, the psion must be naked or wearing camouflage clothing, such as a darksuit, woodland suit, or similar obscuring garments. Once activated Camouflage can be maintained by paying the maintenance cost of 3 PPs/round without rolling again.
Catfall
(Minor)
A psion using this power can spring like a cat in the same round (up to four times their height horizontally, three times their height vertically) and always land gracefully on their feet. They still suffer damage from falling, but, like cats, for distances up to 100 feet, the damage is halved, for greater distances the damage is thirded. They also can choose to jump down up to 30 feet without risking any injury at all. Catfall can only be maintained for the duration of the action for which the talent was activated (for example, it might take an extra minute for the psion to line up their trajectory and make sure they have a clear place to land before jumping; that is still a single action).
Flesh Armour
I, II, III
(All)
The psion transforms their own skin into nonmagical armour. No one can see the change, but in combat at level I it acts as if they were wearing leather or padded armour (AC 8), at level 2 it acts as if they were wearing chain mail (AC 5), and at level 3 it acts as if they were wearing full plate (AC 1). Moreover Flesh Armour has no weight or encumbrance, thief skills or any action that requires dexterity is not affected, and it stacks with physical and magical protection, so that a psion using Flesh Armour at level II whilst wearing physical chain mail and a Ring of Protection +2 has an AC of -2. Once activated Flesh Armour can be maintained by paying the appropriate maintenance cost (1, 3, or 5 PPs/round) without rolling again.
Heightened Senses
(Intermediate)
By means of this talent, the psion sharpens all five of their physical senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. Heightened Senses improve a psion's Observation proficiency and Perception ability, but there's a significant difference between seeing (hearing, smelling) and actually noticing subtle alterations or anomalies, and understanding what they mean. Nonetheless, Heightened Senses does help; a psion using this talent gains a +2 modifier to any Observation and Perception checks they must make, and if the psion has Tracking or Trailing proficiency, they gain a +4 modifier.
The psion's ranges for seeing are tripled. If they normally have 20/20 vision, this talent enhances it to 60/20, but all of the usual modifiers to sight (darkness, fog and other weather conditions, obstructions, etc.) still apply. (Of course, if the psion normally has 20/100 vision, it only improves to 20/33.) Alternatively, the psion might choose to improve their near, rather than distance, vision. This gives them a +2 modifier to their Appraising, Forgery (to detect, not create, a forgery), Gaming (to spot marked cards or other visible evidence of cheating), Gem Cutting (to determine the best cleavage points and notice even minor flaws), and other proficiency rolls where the ability to examine something in minute detail conveys a substantial advantage.
Hearing does not reliably increase in distance, but in frequency. A young adult human with good ears can hear frequencies between 31 Hz and 17.4 kHz; by using Heightened Senses a psion can hear sounds as low as 16 Hz (the frequency of baleen whale sounds can range from 10 Hz to 31 kHz, elephant calls from 15 Hz to 35 Hz) and as high as 35 kHz (quite a bit lower than the top end of a dog's hearing range of about 45 kHz, or a cat's at 64 kHz, but sufficient to hear at least some of the high-frequency sounds made by small rodents and other animals).
Heightened Senses also allows a psion to smell and/or taste poisons, toxins, or other impurities in quantities too small to cause any harm, and gives a +1 bonus to Cooking proficiency rolls.
However, this talent has an inherent downside. Although when using Heightened Senses a psion's sense of touch is so sensitive that they can tell two coins of the same denomination apart just by handling them, they also perceive pain much more acutely. Even an injury that only results in subdual damage or a 1-2 hp loss is excruciating, slowing Initiative and worsening THAC0 by 1 for a full turn, even if the psion immediately discontinues using the talent. Moreover, each separate injury suffered whilst Heightened Senses is active causes the same reduction in functionality; it is cumulative, so two hits cause a penalty of 2, and so forth. Pleasure sensitivity is also affected; erotic stimulation that is normally considered highly pleasurable can be experienced as painful or overly intense (50% chance) or result in explosive and immediate physical release without emotional satisfaction (49% chance). There is a 1% chance that a sexual encounter will result in an overwhelming, astounding, incredibly enjoyable event. If two psions, both using Heightened Senses, attempt to couple, they both must roll 1 on a 1d100 to experience this. On the very rare occasions when this does happen, it is usually considered an unforgettable peak-lifetime event.
Once activated, Heightened Senses can be maintained by paying the maintenance cost of 3 PPs/round without rolling again.
Reduction/Expansion
(Major)
The psion can expand or reduce their own body proportions in any one or all of these dimension(s): height, length, width, or thickness. They can increase or decrease their choice of these proportions by as much as 50% of their original size per round. Maximum expansion is twice original size; maximum reduction is one-quarter original size. A psion's hit points, Armour Class, and attack rolls do not change, but damage rolls increase or decrease proportionately with size. For example, a psion 6' tall uses Expansion and grows to 9' tall, then engages in melee combat and hits with their long sword. They roll a 6 for damage, but the adjusted damage roll is 9 (that is, 6 x 1.5 = 9). If they had used Reduction, shrinking to 4' tall, that 6 would have become 4 (that is, 6 x .66 = 3.96, rounded up). Bonuses due to Strength, class, and magic are not altered.
A psion using this talent can also alter a specific body part. For illustrative purposes, let us say that a psion has been captured by the Arch-villain (who has apparently never read that indispensable reference, The Overlord's Handbook), and imprisoned in a secure cell of thick hardened steel bars spaced 2" apart, mortared and bolted into solid stone, there to await their inevitable, bloody-and-agonising demise. Let us further stipulate that, to milk the final drops of anguish from the psion's soul, the Arch-villain has hung the key on a hook directly across the ADA-compliant 4' hallway from the cell (thereby violating Rule 131: I will never place the key to a cell just out of a prisoner's reach). Now the circumference of the psion's arm at the thickest part is 12", so the diameter is 3.8", rounded up to 4" (d = 12 / 3.14) and the length from armpit to palm is 25". By activating Reduction, the psion can reduce the diameter of their arm to only 1" (or less, since 4" was the thickest part) in only 2 rounds. Their arm now fits easily between the bars, but it's still too short to reach the key. However, if the psion has acquired the proficiency Amplify III, they can maintain Reduction at the cost of 5 PPs/round without rolling again, and activate Expansion. Two more rounds extend the length of the psion's arm to 50", and they are easily able to reach the key and attempt to unlock their cell (whereupon they discover that the actual lock is magical, and they have just revealed their psionic abilities to their watching gaolers, but that is the risk one takes when attempting to defeat an Arch-villain). This talent has no effect on clothing or equipment.
Suspend Animation
(Major)
This talent allows a psion to "play dead"; they can slow all life functions (breathing, heartbeat, and other vital processes) to such an extent that only the most careful examination (magical, psionic, or physical when performed by a healer of at least 10th level who makes a successful Diagnostics roll) will show that they are still alive. Psionic talents such as Life Detection and ESP will not reveal any evidence of life, nor will the Divination spell, Detect Life. Probe will immediately reveal that Suspend Animation is being used, as will Speak With Dead (the spell will fail, in the process revealing that the subject is still alive), True Seeing, and similar divinatory magics.
The psion can remain in suspended animation for a number of weeks equal to their psionic level or less. If a psion chooses to activate this talent, they must first decide how long they wish to remain suspended and prepay the maintenance cost of 5PPs/week at the time of activation (so, if the psion wanted to remain in suspended animation for 4 weeks, he would need to pay 5 PPs for activation plus 20 PPs in maintenance costs). If the activation roll fails, all the PPs--initial and maintenance--are lost.

Psychoportive Talents

Teleport Creature
I, II, III
(All)
By using Teleport Creature a psion can either summon a creature to them, provided they know exactly where the creature is, or send a creature away from them. At level I they can either summon or send a creature up to 10 lbs up to 10 yards, at level II they can either summon or send a creature up to 50 lbs up to 1,000 yards, and at level III they can either summon or send a creature up to 250 lbs up to 100,000 yards (56.8 miles). Teleportation, along with many other psionic talents, which operates--literally--quick as thought, always comes first in initiative order. That means the striking snake at a psychoport's feet can be 10 yards away before it completes its attack, or a psionic mage's familiar caught in a dangerous situation can be safe beside the mage before it can come to harm. This talent can not be maintained.
Teleport Object
I, II, III
(All)
By using Teleport Object a psion can either summon an object to them, provided they know exactly where the object is, or send an object away from them. At level I they can either summon or send an object up to 30 lbs up to 10 yards, at level II they can either summon or send an object up to 150 lbs up to 1,000 yards, and at level III they can either summon or send an object up to 750 lbs up to 100,000 yards (56.8 miles). Teleportation, along with many other psionic talents, which operates--literally--quick as thought, always comes first in initiative order. This talent can not be maintained.
Teleport Other
I, II
(Intermediate, Major)
Teleport Other allows a psion to either summon another person to them, provided they know exactly where the person is, or send a person away from them. At level I they can either summon or send a person and whatever clothing and equipment they are wearing or carrying up to a maximum of 250 lbs (the person plus their equipment) up to 1,000 yards; at level II they can either summon or send a person and whatever clothing and equipment they are wearing or carrying up to a maximum of 500 lbs (the person plus their equipment) up to 100,000 yards (56.8 miles). An unwilling target is allowed a saving throw vs wisdom, but every 5 additional PPs used to activate the talent reduces the target's wisdom score by 1. Contact must have been established before Teleport Other can be activated, and if the target is protected by Teleportation Anchor, the attempt at teleportation will automatically fail. This talent can not be maintained.
Teleport Self
I, II, III
(All)
Psychoportation is simultaneously the most limited yet one of the most powerful psionic powers, and Teleport is its essential talent. Teleport Self allows the psion to teleport to a familiar spot. At level I they can teleport up to 10 yards, and a "familiar spot" is basically line-of-sight. They are able to carry with them the clothing and equipment they are wearing or have on their person (such as armour, beltpouches, held or scabbarded weapons, quivers, and so forth, up to 50 lbs (if carrying more weight than that, the randomly-determined excess will be dropped at the point of departure). At level II they can teleport up to 1,000 yards (just over half a mile) and need to be able to visualise where they are going, whether through personal experience, Clairvoyance, ESP (scanning someone else's mind for the information), or magical divination such as by using a crystal ball or spell. They are able to bring up to 250 lbs with them, including another person or other living thing, provided the weight limit is not exceeded. At level III they can teleport up to 100,000 yards (56.8 miles), bringing with them up to 1,250 lbs. As with level II, they must be able to clearly visualise their destination. The ability to teleport greater distances and weights in a single activation is a metapsionic talent. This talent can not be maintained.
Teleportation Anchor
(Minor
This power protects psions against unwanted teleportation. When a time/space anchor is in effect, the psion cannot be teleported against their will. Anyone and anything else inside a 1-yard radius (within a circle 6 feet in diameter around the psion) is also protected at the psion's discretion. One activation lasts for 1 turn, and, unlike other psychoportive talents, can be maintained by paying the activation cost without rolling again.

Telepathic Talents

Charm
(Major)
Charm is a talent of great power and subtlety. Any sentient creature can be targeted--person, animal, monster, even intelligent plants and fungi. The lack of a common language is no barrier, and because the idea seems to come from within the target's own mind, a saving throw vs wisdom is made at a -3 penalty. Moreover, every 7 additional PPs used to activate the talent further reduces the target's wisdom score by 1. The charmed individual regards the psion as a friend, an ally, or a companion to be treated well and protected from harm, and if communication is possible, they gladly and faithfully follow reasonable requests, instructions, or orders. As with the spell, any overtly hostile act by the psion entitles the target to an immediate new saving throw against the charm with no penalties. There is no maintenance cost, but the effect will eventually wear off4). However, for every week the charm lasts, provided the psion has treated, and continues to treat, the charmed person/monster/animal with the genuine caring, concern, appreciation, and friendliness that one would ordinarily show to a comrade or animal companion, there is a cumulative 10% chance that the association will endure without any psionic manipulation. Even after as few as two weeks, the person/monster/animal will be inclined to merely leave with no hard feelings toward the psion. Telempathy is a prerequisite. Contact must have been established before Charm can be activated.

Empathy
(Minor)
Empathy allows a psionicist to sense the basic needs, drives, and/or emotions generated by any mind. Thirst, hunger, fear, fatigue, pain, rage, hatred, uncertainty, exasperation, curiosity, hostility, friendliness, love--all these and more can be sensed, but they are devoid of the thoughts that triggered those feelings. An intelligent target is allowed a saving throw vs wisdom, but every 3 additional PPs used to activate the talent reduces the target's wisdom score by 1. However, once activated, this talent can be maintained by paying 1 PP/round. Empathy is a very subtle talent; there is only a 1% chance per point of wisdom above 15 that the target will detect when someone is using Empathy on them. Contact must have been established before Empathy can be activated.
ESP
(Minor)
ESP, or extrasensory perception, allows a psionicist to read someone else's surface or active thoughts, but they can not perceive the emotions that surround those thoughts. They cannot use ESP to explore someone's memories or delve into their subconscious. Most intelligent creatures tend to think in words, so language can be a barrier to understanding. Creatures of animal intelligence usually think in images, scents, and sounds, a language that may be even less comprehensible than an intelligent creature thinking in a language foreign to the psion. Magical thought, such as a wizard uses in casting spells, is always unintelligible, but a telepath can easily recognize such thoughts as part of the spell-casting process. An intelligent target is allowed a saving throw vs wisdom, but every 3 additional PPs used to activate the talent reduces the target's wisdom score by 1. However, once activated, this talent can be maintained by paying 1 PP/round. There is a 3% chance per point of wisdom above 15 that the target will detect when someone is using ESP on them. Contact must have been established before ESP can be activated.
Interrupt
(Major)
The telepath can send a message or simply distract the target. An intelligent target is allowed a saving throw vs wisdom, but every 5 additional PPs used to activate the talent reduces the target's wisdom score by 1. If the target is a wizard or cleric casting a spell, and they fail their saving throw, their concentration is broken and the spell fails. If the target being distracted is someone involved in melee, they have a two-point penalty on all attack rolls (but not damage rolls). Interrupt is a single-round action; it can not be maintained. Each usage requires a new activation roll. Contact must have been established before Interrupt can be activated.
Life Detection
I, II, III
(All)
A telepath can detect the presence of living, sentient creatures within a limited area. At level I they can sense life to a distance of 20 yards around them, at level II, 50 yards, and at level III, 100 yards, and at all levels they can get an approximate count of the creatures. A second activation in the next round will allow them to sort the life signatures detected into sapient and non-sapient (animal), a third will let them further differentiate them by phylum, class, and sometimes even order, and a fourth will reveal an improved count of larger creatures, (for example, the psion may learn that there are twelve deer and one bobcat in range, but be unable to get a better tally than that there is a school of fish in the brook, dozens of birds, and a gracious plenty of squirrels). These activations must be made sequentially; a failed activation check or any other interruption means the psion must start over. This talent will not detect undead or non-sentient creatures such as gelatinous cubes.
Probe
(Major)
Probe is similar to Telempathy, but it allows a psion to dig much deeper into a subject's conscious and subconscious mind, even allowing access to memories the subject has suppressed. All the subject's thoughts, feelings, memories, and knowledge are accessible to the prober, from those deep below the surface to events still fresh in the subject's mind. The information gained is not necessarily factual, but the subject believes it to be true. However, the mind is complex; even with full access, it takes time to scan all the information it contains. The telepath can learn the answer to approximately one question per round (at GM discretion in determining this rate; name, age, birthplace, and other vital statistics may be revealed in a single round; deeply repressed traumas might take several rounds to discover). Telepaths can probe a subject who actively and intentionally resists, but the process takes approximately twice as long. In addition to its use in interrogation, Probe can be used as a weaker type of Psychic Surgery (a metapsionic talent)--call it Psychic Counselling--on a willing target. The telepath can assist a target (or patient) in overcoming such conditions as fugue, PTSD, or any condition that can be helped or resolved by therapy alone (psychiatric illnesses with a biochemical basis, such as bipolar and depression, will require successful Psychic Surgery to alleviate). An intelligent target is allowed a saving throw vs wisdom, but for every 7 additional PPs used to activate the talent, the target's wisdom score is reduced by 1. However, once activated, this talent can be maintained by paying 5 PPs/round. Contact must have been established before Probe can be activated.
Send Thoughts
(Intermediate)
This is one-way communication, allowing the telepath to send their own thoughts to someone else's mind. No saving throw is allowed or required; the target is under no compulsion to act on the message they receive, and can even choose to ignore it completely. Contact must have been established before Send Thoughts can be activated.
Suggestion
(Intermediate)
Much like the wizard spell, this talent can enable a psion to influence the actions of the target. Unlike the spell, no words are necessary; the desired course of action in implanted directly into the target's mind, although the creature targeted must still be able to understand the suggestion; it must be in a format (including images) that the recipient understands. However, psionic suggestion is less powerful than the spell it resembles; a suggestion must not only seem reasonable, it must be reasonable. Direct mind-to-mind connection makes it harder for the psion to deceive the target. Urging a red dragon to stop attacking the psion's party so that the dragon and party could jointly loot a rich treasure elsewhere is reasonable only if such a treasure actually exists. A very reasonable suggestion causes the saving throw to be made with a penalty to wisdom, at the discretion of the DM. Undead are not subject to suggestion. Contact must have been established before Suggestion can be activated.
Telempathy
(Intermediate)
Telempathy is the gestalt between ESP and Empathy. A empath might feel enormous exasperation over a solid foundation of love, white-hot rage and a sense of grievous injury, or chilling wrongness and compulsion; in all three cases the esper heard "I'm going to kill him!" The telempath can differentiate between the beloved husband who has well and truly screwed up (from his partner's perspective, at least), the righteous anger of the surviving relative of a murder victim toward their loved one's killer, or the terrifying obsession of a psychopath who has selected their next target. This talent only allows penetration into the most accessible levels of the subconscious, but it will discover triggers or "hot button" issues. An intelligent target is allowed a saving throw vs wisdom, but every 5 additional PPs used to activate the talent reduces the target's wisdom score by 1. However, once activated, this talent can be maintained by paying 3 PPs/round. There is a 5% chance per point of wisdom above 15 that the target will detect when someone is using Telempathy on them. Empathy and ESP are prerequisites. Contact must have been established before Telempathy can be activated.
Truthear
(Minor)
When a psionicist uses Truthear, they can tell if another person is intentionally and knowingly lying. This talent does not let a psion differentiate between absolute, objective fact and a target's sincerely held belief; both would be perceived as truth. However, the psion is able to determine the degree of confidence the target has in what they're saying (i.e. "This is probably rubbish, but it's what other people are saying, so I suppose there's a chance it's true," "This might be true, but I doubt it," "This may, or may not, be true," "I think this is true, but I'm not certain," and so forth.) An intelligent target is allowed a saving throw vs wisdom, but every 3 additional PPs used to activate the talent reduces the target's wisdom score by 1. However, once activated, this talent can be maintained by paying 1 PP/round. There is a 1% chance per point of wisdom above 15 that the target will detect when someone is using Truthear on them. Contact must have been established before Truthear can be activated.

1) Empathy and ESP are prerequisites
2) Clairaudience and Clairvoyance are prerequisites
3) Telempathy is a prerequisite
4)
Character Level
or Hit Dice
% Chance Per Week
of Charm Ending
1st or up to 2 5%
2nd or up to 3+2 10%
3rd or up to 4+4 15%
4th or up to 6 20%
5th or up to 7+2 25%
6th or up to 8+4 30%
7th or up to 10 35%
8th or up to 12 40%
9th or 12 and over 45%
10th and over 50%

croiduire/game_mechanics/psionics.txt · Last modified: 2020/05/03 15:12 by Croi Duire