Saturday, June 8, 2013

How I'd do Psionics

I'm not usually a big psionics fan, but once in a while they're fun to have around, I guess. I noticed that Telecanter is still looking for a simple psionics system and I figured I'd give it a shot. All this is probably badly in need of editing.

Developing Psionic Powers
If a character's mental ability scores (Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma) total at least 35, there is a chance that they were born with psychic abilities that set them apart. Subtract 35 from the sum of those three abilities and add it to the following values to get the percentile chance of having the relevant power.


Using psychic abilities is mentally exhausting, so you can only use your powers for a number of rounds per day equal to your level plus any Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma bonuses. Except where otherwise noted, using psychic powers requires full concentration, much like casting a spell.

There are several different forms of extrasensory perception. Roll on the following chart once, then again a number of times equal to your WIS bonus, if any.




Aura Sight








Spirit Medium

Aura Sight: By concentrating, you can see the auras of living creatures. This allows you to Detect Evil, Detect Invisible, or tell if a creature is living or dead. It can also be used to get a general measure of a person's personality, though not reveal their alignment. These abilities function out to a range of about 20 feet.

Clairvoyance/Clairaudience: These, obviously, function much like the spells of the same name. Depending on GM preferences, you can use both, one or the other at a time, or only one.

Dowsing: Dowsing functions similarly to the clerical spell Locate Object. Its range only extends out to 30 feet.

Object Reading: By holding an object in your hands, you can learn about its past and present. Concentrating for one turn allows you to determine if the object is magical. Additional turns may be used to determine one magical property the item has per turn. In addition, object reading can be used to determine the name and face of the last person, other than yourself to touch the item (additional rounds will reveal additional previous users), or an emotionally strong memory attached to the item of no more than a minute in length.

Precognition: You can see a few moments into the future and accordingly are never taken by surprise. Additionally, you receive a +1 bonus to initiative and a +2 bonus to saving throws against unexpected dangers (such as a trap unknowingly sprung). Unlike other forms of ESP, these abilities are effectively always on. Additionally, by concentrating on a course of action, you can get a sense of the results of those actions, similar to the clerical spell Augury.

Spirit Medium: By concentrating, you can see ethereal creatures, or ask a single question of a departed spirit as if using the Speak with Dead spell, however if you know the name of the soul you wish to contact, you do not need the body.

Telepathy allows a character who has it to do two things: Detect thoughts or form a mental link.

Detecting Thoughts: This functions in all respects except duration as the ESP spell. While using it you must concentrate.

Mental contact: You can form a mental link with other creatures. This requires you to touch the creature you wish to form a link with. Once contact is established with a willing creature, you no longer need to concentrate to maintain it, but can only stay in contact for as long as you could otherwise concentrate. Mindless creatures such as zombies are immune to being mentally linked.

While two creatures are mentally linked, each knows anything the other knows, feels anything the other feels, and can communicate regardless of language barrier and without being heard. All characters in mental contact act on the same initiative (if they don't normally already in the rule set you use) and if even one is not surprised, none of them are.

Multiple willing telepathic characters can enter into rapport, taking turns being in control of the link so that it may last longer. You can maintain contact with a number of other creatures at the same time equal to your Charisma bonus plus one. All creatures in contact with you are in contact with each other as well. While in mental contact with an individual creature, you can attempt to plant a Suggestion as the spell of the same name into it. Doing so requires concentration and expends effort equal to an additional turn of maintaining the link.

Mental contact with an unwilling creature: An unwilling creature is entitled to a saving throw every round to try to break the intrusion into its mind. If the save is successful, the character attempting to force the link takes 1d4 damage from mental backlash. Forming a mental link with an unwilling creature is extremely hard. Each round you remain in mental contact with an unwilling creature requires concentration and takes as much effort as a turn of maintaining contact with a willing creature.

Telekinesis always requires total concentration. You can move objects weighing no more than twice your Intelligence score in pounds ("light objects") at a rate of 20' with a normal amount of effort, or objects weighing up to ten times your Intelligence score in pounds ("heavy objects") at the same speed with enough effort that each round of movement costs as much as a turn of moving a light object. A light object can be hurled at an enemy for 1d4 points of damage (unless it is a weapon, in which case it can be hurled for whatever its damage is.) Telekinesis can even be used to levitate yourself or another creature if your telekinesis is strong enough. An unwilling creature, or a creature holding an object you intend to try to wrench away from them, is entitled to a save vs. spells to reassert control.

This is probably not entirely ready yet.

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