View Full Version : Psychonaught [WiP]

2012-07-23, 12:46 PM
Bear with me, I've just begun touching on this and would love some input.

If you haven't played the game, there's a PC port and if you're skeptical about this game being worth your money, check out this review: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/2-Psychonauts

This would be a psionic class with the ability to astal-project into other creature's subconscious minds as if they were a dungeon unto themselves, the class would need to have a way to generate the dungeon built into the ability.

There's a few concepts that need to happen within the minds:

-Full Concentration
To exist as a projection inside a mind you need to use a full-round-action to maintain concentration to maintain the effect. If for any reason you break concentration or your projection dies you are ejected out of the mind immediately and your place in the initiation list switches to last.

These are thoughtforms made of inactive psychic energy, they are any neutral non-fixed non-manifested objects or creatures within the mind.
Entering a figment's square dismisses it from the subconscious whether by absorption, by dissipation or by shunting it either deeper into the subconscious or moving it to the conscious.

These are thoughtforms made of active psychic energy, these often have the alignment of the host but do not retain any attitude disposition changed in the conscious mind. Manifested objects contain more psychic energy than figments and the projector can sunder these to release either PP or temporary HP in the form of animated energy. Manifested creatures have half the intelligence score of the host (minimum 3 for humanoid) and 1/3 the wisdom (minimum 3).

These are generated in most minds, they represent the lack of re-visitation of memories and usually trap old ones. Treat this as a permanent web spell until destroyed.

Censors are hostile manifestations generated from detection of the projector either passive resistance, guarding sensitive information, or in response to sensed intrusiveness or hostility. Censors release temporary HP and PP like other manifestations. Censors have the mindless trait and function implicitly.

-Planar Traits
Minds have Planar Traits (as noted in guide to the planes), the stronger and more disciplined the mind the more control can be exerted over the traits. A chaotic mind might have more extreme traits than a controlled mind that wishes to have extreme traits, yet the controlled has more choice over what those are. By default the time flow inside the mind is 10x the outside, but the projection can in no way use this to directly effect outside the mind. Minds almost always have either finite or self-contained shapes that are relatively small. By default planes have no magic nor elemental traits unless their home plane does. By default the gravity trait of the creatures mind is the same as the creature's home plane.

I'll work on this more if I get some support. :]

2012-07-23, 03:53 PM
What system are you using to make a Psychonaut?

2012-07-29, 08:26 PM
3.P would be the most interesting, I would like it to be usable in both.

2012-07-30, 01:37 PM
Okay, well the idea your trying to go for is interesting but kinda difficult to recreate. You want a manifester who creates a game within a game, a mini dungeon to delve into the subconscious. Do you have any knowledge of psychology? I'd suggest reading about Jungs idea of the subconscious and the things that manifest within.

My idea would try something similar to the vitalist and dread, your network is your dreamscape. Possibly have abilities that bring members of your network into a dreamscape that manifest as a dungeon you delve into. You wouldn't be good in a combat situation unless you are slinging out powers to demoralize the enemy or calling astral constructs in the form of horrors. So possibly blend the abilities of the vitalist and dread but add abilities to create a temporary dreamscape that depending on level and amount of Delvers will manifest like so, possibly include dreamstained items, items that are touched by the dreamscape and are influenced by it. You dream of a warrior fallen in the swamp and return as a plant elemental? You discover how to imbue a item with the ability to touch others and burn all those that know fear. Dream of reality falling before you releasing the Burrowers? Imbue a item with the ability to lull the greatest of beast to sleep.

2012-07-31, 04:59 AM
I was wondering what is the time frame within someones mind and how that affects what is happening on the outside.

Does the time flow at the same speed as for everyone else not in the dreamscape? You mention planar traits but are there any universal traits that apply to all dreamscapes?

Are you aware what is happening outside of the delved mind? If so do you get additional actions or are you just simply flat footed or in coup-de-grace position?

Can you affect the character/mind while inside to make them do something outside?

I can't remember my other questions but I like this class. This class should be the Telepath class to end all Telepath classes.

I think this class should be able to able rewrite memories. This class essentially allows for time travel into to one person's life.

You say that it is like a dungeon but what do you think about being able to shift through levels if the psychonauts mind is strong enough. (Instead of traveling down a corridor[symbol of time within the mind]. Maybe you can skip areas if you pass a certain check.(incase you need to get information quickly[could be a higher level ability])

What are your thoughts if the psychotonauts abilities revolve around all three mental stats. And each stat refers to specific types of abilities and can then point towards specializations. Personally I don't like specializing because I am a habitual power gamer, but just in case the a large part of the game is within the mind or multiple players want to be psychonauts then diversity would be good.

I'm not sure how much I can help but I like this idea and wish to contribute if possible.

2012-07-31, 05:49 AM
First off, it is spelled "Psychonaut"... as in "sailor" not "zero".

Secondly, this class is an intrinsically problematic idea in that it does not play well with others.

You have entire dungeon-crawls that only psychonauts can go on. Same problem as deckers (the hackers) in Shadowrun have. This means that either EVERYBODY has to have levels of this class or you have one player playing while the rest sit around bored for a long time... I guess it could work for PbP.

The solution, I think (based on a similar class I once was working on for Warhammer), is that you get the mind-entering ability at level 1, but get to bring along... oh, say 2+your relevant mental ability modifier others, who get to be almost as effective as you... or maybe they are every bit as effective, but if you go down they are in serious trouble. This makes you the most vulnerable member of the team.

You will need EXTENSIVE guidelines for taking hit-dice, alignment, mental ability scores, mental skill modifiers (knowledge skills, concentration, diplomacy, bluff, etc), and probably a bunch of other things into the motif and encounter types of the psychoplane.

2012-07-31, 07:00 AM
I see one way of keeping others involved with the mind delving. Just have an additional class feature that makes a mental link with key modifier other people. That way if there is a puzzle or some kind of knowledge problem then the linked allies can give advice and answer questions that the psychonaut might have when he/she encounters something. Maybe give the psychonaut small bonuses to beat a 'dream lock' with the help from the party rogue.

As for the encounter types it would be based on two things. The targets experience and the target's ranks in knowledges.

The mind can not manifest something that they can't imagine. Hearing about vampires doesn't make you an expert on all their weaknesses. Have the target and psychonaut make knowledge checks determining certain bonuses that the target and the psychonaut get.

I think the psychoscape can change as well. Imagine the target gets hit by some spell that invokes fear. The whole psychoscape changes to a horror scene with undead and aberrations(for example)

2012-07-31, 08:54 AM
I think specific Psychonauts rules could be cool for a campaign where everyone is a psionic character and they all enter minds together, and the minds are full dungeons with deep insights into the individual and personal truths about them... But for a single psychonaut who's supposed to be the only party-member invading brain-worlds, it sounds like it would take too much work and time to give anyone their own mental realm each time it comes up.

For a normal game, anything Raz does in Psychonauts is achievable by a 9th-level psion with the telepathy discipline. Entering minds (Mind Probe), psionic fists (Hammer), contacting Agent Cruller (Correspond), pyrokinesis (Matter Agitation, Energy Burst), telekinesis (Far Hand, Telekinetic Force, Telekinetic Thrust), invisibility (Cloud Mind), psi-blasts (Crystal Shard, Concussion Blast), moving like you're rolling on a bouncy-ball (Skate, Catfall, Body Equilibrium), protective shields (Force Screen, Inertial Armor, Mental Barrier), seeing through others' eyes (Sense Link, Forced Sense Link), and confounding enemies (Id Insinuation). Maybe you could convert Fox's Cunning (Int bonus from clearing mental cobwebs) and Eagle's Splendor/Owl's Wisdom (Cha/Wis bonus from removing emotional baggage) into powers, too, for extra flavor.

2012-07-31, 01:31 PM
Maybe the psychoplane dungeons could be built by template.

The location could be based on the base class of character or the current location based on the monster type. they are in (something familiar). You could simply use the current map that they are in and add some twists too it. That would be the easiest but the least fun.

Or you can map the brain into certain types of areas of thought and they each have their own kind of setup.

2012-08-01, 05:33 AM
Good points all.

Psychoplane is the perfect word for it and should be the center of this concept.

I think based on HD and alignment is the best way to do it, the plane would be built out of, or randomized from, a point system built by the player's mental stats.

First off I want to lay some groundwork for expanding this idea outwards:

Size, shape and filled area means nothing to the mind, so this shouldn't have a pre-req.

Complexity should have a solid cap, and the cap should be modular, so I propose this:

-Base Int/Wis/Cha effect one's psychoplane, making it more complex with higher stats.
-Loss to Int/Wis/Cha/memories create holes in one's plane (think Bastion calamity).
-Int generates more "layers", layers are modular traits of the psychoplane and range from a vast empty city to a bloodsoaked battlefield or could generate townsfolk.
-Wis generates the complexity of a layer, giving it subtleties such as shadows, smoke from smokestacks, houses may have insides instead of "painted-on" doors. Additionally, wis generates the level of interaction available from layers in the psychoplane.
-Cha generates emotional context of the psychoplane, clarity of sound, vividness and range of color, manifestations can hold conversations and speak clearly, and influences the decoration of the plane.
-Int/Wis/Cha all influence the host's ability to influence her plane, she can only truly do this once her conscious mind enters "lucidity", and in this state she can seize control over her subconscious, and can then begin to make intentional changes rather than reactionary moods or thoughtforms.
-The psychoplane can be entered by multiple beings I agree, this is similar to astral caravan and looks solid.

More to come with support =]

2012-08-02, 05:00 AM
How is the target supposed to gain lucidity?

I was thinking along the lines of detecting the psychonauts presence. That is when things start turning against the psychonaut. I can't help but think of Inception which brings the thought giving the psychonaut bonuses to stay hidden from the manifestations and bonuses to interact within the mind.

I was thinking that there should be three separate areas of the mind as well as having a type of avatar in charge of it. If you haven't guessed already I was thinking about the Id, Ego, and Super Ego.

Not sure but I was quickly scanning about parts of the brain. One site mentioned three parts, the instinctual, the emotional, and the rational. Not sure if these are the same as the Id, Ego, and Super Ego but just more food for thought.

Or we can try to list different kinds of areas there are in the mind.
Memories, Hopes/Dreams, Fears/Worries, Ideals/Personality.

Or simply separate a targets mind by time. Past(Memories), Present (Ideals, personality, fears,etc...), and Future(Hopes/Aspirations/Plans for the future)

One could do quite a bit exploring.

Again I would give the psychonaut minor ablities to change a person's mind. Modifying memories desires or giving them certain feelings towards someone or something.

I just had a thought, what if you give the psychonaut a forgery type ability while in someone's mind. You can forge memories and hopes for the target. The forgeries slowly degrade when left alone and the memories come back. You can make someone forget a lock combination or where they left the key to the safe.

2012-08-02, 07:52 AM
What about retooling the old psionic combat rules? (3e psionic handbook and also iirc hyperconscious for a 3.5 update, or draw from 2e complete psionics)

2012-08-02, 11:28 AM
"Inception" has a feeling of a spy mission at the start and has the invader defining the terrain for the most part (thus the need for an architect).

"Psychonauts" on the other had has the terrain being revealing of the target's personality creating everything but the Psychonaut's avatar, and is pretty much straight up platforming/assault from the start.

2012-08-02, 11:30 AM
"Inception" has a feeling of a spy mission at the start and has the invader defining the terrain for the most part (thus the need for an architect).

"Psychonauts" on the other had has the terrain being revealing of the target's personality creating everything but the Psychonaut's avatar, and is pretty much straight up platforming/assault from the start.

2012-08-02, 02:10 PM
I know this is called psychonauts but which do you think would be easier. Could mesh the two together somehow? Low to mid lvl would be like psychonauts but you get some inception goodies later.

Draco and others. What do you think about the "forgery" ability.

2012-08-03, 05:59 PM
Forgery seems like a reasonable idea. The thing you have to remember is that this only works for games where killing a helpless target (which would have to be either a prerequisite or an effect of the mind-delving) is inferior to suborning them... and event then you are competing with charm and dominate. I suppose that simply having it by-pass immunity to mind-effecting and Protection from Xwould help keep it competitive. Both could and probably should make the psychoscape more intractable(for immunity) or hostile though.

Did I mention will saves should have an influence?

2012-08-03, 06:11 PM
Oh man, I'll be honest, I love this idea.

On the other hand, I really don't think it suits 3.5 to terribly well. Not as a integrated subsystem, at least. Too much is different, too many rules would have to be in place, tons of work for the DM....

I could see a variant of 3.5, where there's a variety of Oneriomancer (dream diviners, literally, from the Greek Oneiros) classes, with a focus on this sort of combat and interaction, with the real world as kinda an afterthought.

But really, trying to combine something this radically different and complex with the already-fantastical and massive world of 3.5.... we can do better.

2012-08-05, 04:31 AM
What do you say about it awakening an undead if the psychonaut enters a zombie or skeleton. I guess the brain would have to be fully intact. Do you think mindless is just a no go? I guess Draco is right with the bypassing immunities and resistances.


I'm hoping that we can all simplify it while keeping it different. To take a group with you there could be a type of ritual (everyone holds hands) or maybe a lecture to help integrate others' minds to join in the dive.

Hanuman already mentioned how each mental stat with play a part in the psychoplane. I think the size should be base on HD though. I mean the more experience one has had the larger the mindscape.. There should be an equation that tells how large the plane is and the mental stats might determine where the entrance/exits between the layers are.

I mean the psychonaut is definitely an investigator. Just by entering the target's mind he gets an idea of their mental stats and has an idea of where he has to get to the next layer.

Alignment is a tad difficult, I think the favored or actual class should play a part on the scenery inside.

Fighter/any Martial Initiator- Battlefields, Garrisons, Forts, Cities
Rogue- Most likely urban areas, filled with shadows, sewers, dungeons
Druids,rangers,barbarian,scout- forests, plains, deserts,etc...
Divine Soul,Paladin,Cleric - Holy/Unholy locations, Citadels and churches.

Each of these areas could represent a different aspect of the person's mind as well. Forts and Citadels could be where secrets are kept for example.

2012-08-07, 03:24 PM
I would say that entering the psychoplane of any creature missing a stat (or of a wildly different psychological makeup) would require a power to enter, whether that be by entering the mind of a construct or sentient item like Tron, or by creating a psychoplane where normally one would not exist, for something with the mindless trait-- granting it temporary awakened state.

To uncover memories, psychonauts allows the POI to be modularized.

Figments are flavored to the character and can be fluffed.

To reveal secrets and probe thoughts, you only need to find a vault and open it, this is similar to a locked chest or a mimic, it need not be violent.

The act of opening it will grant awareness of those thoughts.