View Full Version : Psionics Variant: Power Specialists [PF]

2012-09-24, 12:29 AM
Variant Psionics: Power "Specialist"

I've been trying for a long time to make a more "super hero" feeling character in d20 (now Pathfinder), especially drawing on some of my favorite X-Men. Characters that are powerful AND versatile can easily be replicated with Psion or Wizard (Phoenix, Xavier, Magneto), but no class lends itself to the characters with a more narrowly defined power set or those with constantly active powers (ie, Cyclops, Colossus, Wolverine, Rogue, Shadowcat, etc.). Here's an idea I came up with recently; haven't had a chance to play test yet and don't have much experience with d20 homebrew, so wanted to get some feedback:

1. Whenever a Psionic character would gain new powers, in place of a new power he may choose to gain additional Power Points per day equal to the highest level of powers he is currently able to use. This chose is permanent, and the choice may be made for each new power gained individually.

2. Whenever a Psionic character would gain access to a new level of powers known, he may choose to instead make a power already known usable at-will or permanently active. This permanently reduces the highest level of powers the character has access to, and the power modified may not be of the highest level available. Furthermore, powers used in this manner are only usable at their lowest non-augmented level. If the character wants to also be able to cast the power normally, it must be learned a second time using a second power known slot. Any expensive material components must still be provided for eac h use of the power. Whenever a character gains a new level of powers known, he may exchange one of these modified powers for a new power. A power made permanent in this way can be suspended at will and reinstated as whatever type of action it would take to cast the power normally.

So, for example, on reaching 7th level a Psychic Warrior could delay learning 3rd level powers to make Inertial Armor permanently active, or Call Weapon at will.

Limits and Thoughts:
1. The highest possible power that can be augmented this way is two levels below that class's maximum (4 for Psychic Warrior, 7 for Psion). There are some strong powers available at level 7, but essentially you're casting Limited Wish every round and permanently giving up Wish; that seems fair at level 20.
2. The maximum a Psion could abuse the extra Power Point feature would give a 20th level Psion 177 extra points to use on a single level 1 power.
3. Still an issue that some types of powers only become available at high levels; for example, Nightcrawler or Shadowcat would have to be fairly high level to make their concepts work at all. (Fold Space is a level 4 power and is the first teleport effect, and I don't know where to find intangibility outside of the Uncarnate PrC).
4. Considering an option to drop a power level for a relevant feat instead. Again, this helps Nightcrawler get the whole teleport assault feat tree at a more reasonable level.
5. Should the at will/permanent power require the character have Psionic Focus or at least one Power Point to work?
6 the exchange feature means a character can have Biofeedback permanently on at low levels and "evolve" it to Inertial Barrier at higher levels.


At 5th level Cyke takes the level 1 power Crystal Shard, with some fluff changes, as an at-will power He also has 12 extra Power Points to help spam the power at augmented levels as needed.

Psychic Warrior
Claws of the Beast (lvl 1) at will
Biofeedback (lvl 1) permanent, fluffed as adamantium bones
Body Adjustment (lvl 2) at will
he also knows Psionic Scent as a regular power, has access to 3rd level powers, and has as many as 28 extra power points.

Psychic Warrior
expansion (lvl 1) at will
Animal Affinity (lvl 2) permanent

...anyway, that's the idea. Thoughts?

2012-09-24, 05:04 AM
Since unaugmented powers can be outclassed fairly quickly, what if they also had an option to permanently sacrifice PP to permanently augment one of their at-will powers. Maybe 5 PP sacrificed per point of permanent augment, following the magic item logic that constant effect is five times the cost of a daily use?

In either case, I don't think I'd force them to buy the power twice to use it normally. Giving up a whole level of powers is already a pretty serious cost, and I think it makes more sense that they can have a basic level that the power operates at, but if they put in effort can get a better result.

One other minor thing, but psionic powers don't use material components as a rule; some have XP costs, though, so you might want to switch that around.

Cool idea, though!

2012-09-24, 08:48 AM

A couple of the powers, including the psionic version of Limited Wish I was looking at, require a crystal of certain value that is ruined after use. You're right about the XP, though; I'll add that in.

As for the permanent augment, that's an interesting way to achieve it. I was toying with some system where a power 2 levels lower than your highest gets built-in augmentation, 3 levels lower would get more, etc. That seemed too complicated, though.

Also, is it too much to require the modified power can't be from your highest level known? It greatly slows down when most characters could get their first permanent power, and creates situations where someone has the ability to cast level 3 powers but will never learn anything above level 2.

2012-09-24, 03:10 PM
I don't think it's too much, but it does mean you can't start out as a "superhero" character. Another option might be to simply act as if your level were, say, 2/3 normal, rounding up, to determine the maximum power level you can make permanent. So a first level psion could theoretically get an at-will first level power (although maybe not, since it technically gives up its first level powers to do so...?) Yeah, not really sure how that would work. Restricting it by highest level known probably works fine.