Ruins of Adventure
More than a character of any other class, the psionicist is self-contained. Unlike the fighter and thief, he needs no weapons or tools to practice his art. Unlike the priest, he needs no deity. Unlike the wizard, he relies on no outside energies. His power comes from within, and he alone gives it shape.
The psionicist strives to unite every aspect of his self into a single, powerful whole. He looks inward to the essence of his own being, and gains control of his subconscious. Through extraordinary discipline, contemplation, and self-awareness, he unlocks the full potential of his mind.
See also: Compiled List of Psionic Powers
Base Class Statistics:
- Ability Requirements: Con 11, Int 12, Wis 15
- Alignments: Non-Chaotic (LG, LN, LE, NG, TN, NE)
- Experience Chart: Psionicist
- Hit Dice: d6
- Maximum Hit Dice: 9d6
- Additional Hit Points: +2 per level beyond 9th
- Attack: Rogue
- Paralyzation/Poison/Death: as Psionicist
- Rods/Staves/Wands: as Psionicist
- Petrification/Polymorph: as Psionicist
- Breath Weapon: as Psionicist
- Spell: as Psionicist
- Weapons, Initial: 2
- Weapons, Advancement: +1 per 5 levels
- Non-Weapon, Initial: 3
- Weapons, Advancement: +1 per 3 levels
- Allowed Weapons: Small or Medium weapons of 6 lbs. or less
- Allowed Armor: Non-metal Armor, Small Shields
Psionicists use psionic powers much like proficiencies, with a few significant differences. Every time a psionicist uses a psionic devotion or science, he must pay its ”cost.” This cost is deducted from the character’s total psionic strength points, or PSPs. PSPs are similar to hit points, except that the psionicist spends them willingly, and he can recover them much faster than lost hit points.
The total number of psionic strength points that a character has depends on four factors: his Willpower, Reason, and Health scores, and his experience level. Wisdom, Intelligence, and Constitution determine the psionicist’s inherent potential. Experience determines how well the character has developed that potential. At each level, the psionicist gains a number of PSPs equal to 1d6 plus any bonus PSPs for having high scores in the three associated attributes. In addition, a 1st level psionicist starts with an extra 15 PSPs.
A character who has expended psionic strength points can recover these points by “taking it easy” (which means engaging in no hard physical activity and refraining from using psionic powers). After each hour in which the psionicist expends no PSPs, he recovers an amount of PSPs equal to 1/8 his maximum total (round up). A psionicist with the Rejuvenation proficiency can recover expended PSPs at double this rate.
Like a proficiency, every psionic power that a character knows has a score. In other words, a psionic power score represents the character’s aptitude in using that particular power. Power scores are devised exactly like proficiency scores. Every psionic power is associated with one of the character’s basic attributes (Strength, Wisdom, etc.). The psionic power score equals the character’s score for that attribute, plus or minus a specific amount. For example, a psionic power with a score of “Intelligence -3” has a score three less than the character’s Intelligence.
When a character wants to use a psionic power, the player makes a psionic power check by rolling ld20. If the number rolled is equal to or less than the power score, the character succeeds. (In other words, he does what he intended.) The player subtracts the cost of the power from his character’s total pool of psionic strength points. If the roll exceeds the psionic power score, it means the character tried to use his power, but failed. Failure has a price. The player must subtract half the cost of the power, rounded up, from the character’s psionic strength points. In most cases, the psionicist can try to use the same power again immediately (in the next round). For exceptions, see the individual power descriptions in The Complete Psionics Handbook.
Like a proficiency check, a psionic power check yields specific results on a die roll of 20 or 1. A “20” always indicates failure. A “1” always indicates a minimum level of success, regardless of the character’s power score. In other words, even if a character’s score has been reduced to a negative number by penalties, a roll of “1” still succeeds. That doesn’t mean a “1” (or any low number) is the best result. A “1” means the power works-but often with a quirk or drawback. See the individual power descriptions for specifics. If the die roll for the power check equals the character’s power score, special results occur.
Every psionic power belongs to one of six disciplines. Before a character can learn a psionic power, he must have access to the appropriate discipline. Psionic characters begin play with access to only one discipline. As they progress to new experience levels, they gain access to additional disciplines. The Table below shows how many disciplines a character has access to at each experience level. The six disciplines are:
- Clairsentient powers allow characters to gain knowledge that is beyond the normal capacity of human senses. For example, some clairsentients can see and hear events that are miles distant, while others can sense poison.
- Psychokinetic powers move objects-from molecules to missiles-across space. A psychokineticist can throw a rock without touching it, or agitate molecules in a piece of paper until it bursts into flame.
- Psychometabolic powers affect the body. Biofeedback, healing, and shape-changing are just a few of the powers known.
- Psychoportive powers move characters or creatures from one location to another without crossing space. The traveler simply ceases to exist in one location, and begins to exist somewhere else. He may even travel to another plane of existence or to another time.
- Telepathic powers involve direct contact between two or more minds. Examples include mind reading, personality swapping, and psychic attacks.
- Metapsionic powers amplify, augment, or enhance other psionic abilities. This is an advanced, demanding discipline
Every new, first-level psionicist knows four powers within a single discipline: one science (major power) and three devotions (minor powers). In addition, every fist-level psionicist also learns the Contact power (from the Telepathic discipline) for free. Contact does not count toward the psionicist’s maximum number of powers. Nor is it counted when characters determine the relative number of sciences and devotions they can acquire within a given discipline.
With each new experience level, a psionicist gains new powers. Sometimes he gains both sciences and devotions; at other times, only devotions. A player can select new powers for his character as soon as the psionicist reaches a new experience level. These new powers can be chosen from any discipline the character can access, including a discipline that was just gained.
The Psionicist must follow two simple rules when choosing new powers for their characters:
- Within a single discipline, the number of devotions that a character knows must be at least twice the number of sciences.
- The first discipline chosen is the character’s primary discipline. A character can never learn as many sciences or devotions in another discipline as he currently knows in his primary discipline.
A psionicist can increase a psionic power score when he reaches a new experience level by “relearning it.” (He repeats his studies, and learns something new about a familiar power.) Instead of learning a new devotion, the character can add +2 to his power score in a devotion he already knows. Similarly, he can exchange a new science for a +2 increase in a science he already knows.
Psionic defense modes are special powers which all psionicists acquire naturally in time. All defense modes belong to the telepathic discipline. Psionicists learn these powers automatically as they gain new experience levels-regardless of whether or not they have access to the telepathic discipline. Defense modes do not count toward the psionicist’s maximum number of powers. Nor are they counted when characters determine the relative number of sciences and devotions they can acquire within a given discipline. There are five psionic defense modes: mind blank, thought shield, mental barrier, tower of iron will, and intellect fortress. All psionicists automatically know one of these powers at 1st level (player’s choice). They learn another defense mode of the player’s choice every other level-at 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th.
Psionicists gain a +2 bonus on all saving throws us. enchantment/charm spells and the like. This is in addition to their magical defense adjustment for high Wisdom.
At 9th level, a psionicist becomes a contemplative master. He can build a sanctuary (usually in an isolated place), and use it as his headquarters. Most importantly, he begins to attract followers. One neophyte psionicist (1st or 2nd level) will arrive each month, coming to study at the feet of the master. These neophytes will arrive regardless of whether or not the master builds a sanctuary. If the master does have a sanctuary, however, he will attract a maximum number of followers equal to his Leadership score. If not, the maximum number is halved (rounded down). These followers want only to learn. They will serve in any capacity the master chooses. In return, the master must spend at least 10 hours per week instructing his followers, or they will leave.
Psionicists are not limited in the armor they wear, but metal armor interferes with the operation of psionic abilities. A psionicist wearing metal armor suffers a penalty to all psionic power scores equal to one-half the AC bonus granted by the armor (thus Banded Mail would impose a -3 penalty to all of the psionicist’s power scores).
A psionicist can use his powers while wearing a helmet that is psionically active, or one featuring magical enchantments that affect or simulate psionic powers. But if the psionicist is wearing a normal helmet of any sort, he cannot use his powers. Removing a normal helmet won’t affect the character’s armor class, but it does make the character vulnerable to called shots to his head (effective AC 10 for head shots).
Teetering on the Brink: When a psionicist character fails a madness check, his mind automatically erects a series of defensive mental blocks. These protect the character from the normal effects of a failed madness check but shut down all of his psionic powers for twenty-four hours.
During this time, the psionicist is teetering on the brink of madness. His mind is feverishly trying to cope with whatever it was that caused his madness check in the first place. Such characters are generally nervous and shaken, although no game effects (other than the loss of psionic powers) are associated with such trauma.
At the end of that time, the character’s mind is fully restored, and his powers return. The number of PSPs that he has is the same as it was when he failed his madness check. Apart from this one-day fugue, such a character suffers no ill effects from the failed madness check.
If the character fails a second madness check while his mind is in this state, these protective barriers collapse. Such a catastrophe subjects the character to the normal results of a failed madness check. In essence, this special ability allows the psionicist to shake off the effects of any one failed madness check in a twenty-four-hour period. A second such failure, however, is just as debilitating to the psionicist as it would be for a character of any class; plus, he still cannot use his psionic abilities.
Stepping Back from the Brink: In addition to having the best chance of surviving a madness check unharmed, psionicists are also less injured by a failed check. In all cases, the time required to treat a psionicist who has been driven mad is halved. Thus, any program of treatment that would normally allow the character a weekly check for improvement gives the psionicist a check after four days have passed and then again once the full week has passed.