View Full Version : Between a Rock and a Hard Place

2008-05-27, 02:23 PM
So, as a DM, I kinda backed mysef into a corner. I've planned out a campaign in which the players are thrown to the other end of the world where, unknown to them so far, a few Yuan-ti are grabbing the intelligent (lizardfolk) natives and selling them though the slave-trade to Tieflings.
Anyways, the continent I threw them onto only has one port city (or "civilized" city, at all), and there are attacks beng made in the city against anybody who is trying to stop the trade or just knows to much about it. Even though what is going on is fairly common knowledge, the Yuan-ti are all powerful psionics and are wiping memories, mentally controlling, or just bribing people that they can't afford to wipe out.

Here's my problem: I have NO idea how to build psionics, play psionic NPCs/BBEGs, or even how pick the powers I need to wipe minds, control minds, and all the other stuff.
Here's my suggested solution: Please, Playground. Help me! Teach me! The powers needn't be all on one villian, as I plan it to be a trio of brothers, each specializing in a different form of psionicism(?). So...please, help?

2008-05-27, 02:32 PM
Most of the info you need is here (http://www.d20srd.org/).

There are a few basic psionic classes, two of which are melee or gishes rather than full casters. You'll probably want psions, which are kind of like wizards. (You could also go with wilders, which are more like sorcerers, but there's no hugely compelling reason to do so.)

Psions are like wizards with limited spells known. Like wizards, they have specialties, but unlike wizards they have to specialize. The way it works is that you choose a discipline, and then choose your powers known from the universal psion/wilder list and from your discipline's list. You have to use feats to get powers from other disciplines.

The discipline that'll achieve the effects you mention is Telepathy. The others are Psychometabolism (transmutation), Metacreativity (conjuration), Clairsentience (divination), Psychokinesis (evocation), and Psychoportation (doesn't really have a corresponding school - powers dealing with travel and movement). Don't worry, they have cooler names for the psion types (Egoist, Shaper, Seer, Kineticist, Nomad).

So, the easiest option is to have a few different brothers, each specializing in a different discipline, maybe more than one a Telepath or all dabbling in Telepathy via feats. You might throw in a Psychic Warrior or two for melee oomph (a wisdom-based gish, very limited powers known but able to whip out handy buffs and boosts). A Telepath, Shaper, and Kineticist could do well - twisting minds, making minions, and blastin' foo's.

edit: Now that that's said...

What kind of help are you looking for? Pointers, or an introduction to psionics? Do you own or have access to the XPH? Yuan-ti have modifications in there to make them psionic, replacing their spell-like and other abilities with powers. Unfortunately neither the vanilla nor psionic versions are OGL, so you won't find them in the SRD. By default I don't believe levels of psion would stack with their natural abilities, so you may want to use less powerful Yuan-ti and advance them by class levels rather than more powerful base monsters with less actual psionic power (when advanced to the same CR). Alternatively, you could simply say that their racial HD and class levels stack for powers known, manifester level, and the like. Psionic mind flayers work like that, I think.

2008-05-27, 03:02 PM
I should have given more information. The campaign setting is Dawnforge, in which Yuan-ti are set up as a playable race (without LA or anything). So, in an effort to keep things fair to my players (and easier on me with the numbers), I'm gonna build them as up as though they were PCs. I don't know the racial modifiers, but they don't get any powers that would over-ride anything.
Basically, if I could get help building a Psion (or three :smallbiggrin:) as though they were Half-Elf, I could just do the racial conversion later. I say half-elf because they get...no...bonuses from race, or, at least, nothing that would mess with the build.
So, I'm asking for specifics, I guess. If not an actual build, then just what stats are important for which class, and what powers (names and descriptions would help) would do what I need.
I have access to both the Expanded Psionics handbook, and the regular Psionics handbook. (If there is no regular, it could me the Complete Psionic... I can't remember. Too confusing.)

2008-05-27, 03:55 PM
I have access to both the Expanded Psionics handbook, and the regular Psionics handbook. (If there is no regular, it could me the Complete Psionic... I can't remember. Too confusing.)

You may have the Psionics Handbook, which is 3.0, and the Expanded Psionics Handbook, which is 3.5. They're not compatible, and my impression from listening to long-time psionics players is that the 3.0 version is made of fail.

Okay, well let's say you're making a trio of psions, that's the simplest option. The important stat is intelligence, just like wizards. I'll talk about a first-level telepath, then a fifth-level to illustrate some changes.

So, looking here (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/classes/psion.htm) we see that a first-level telepath has three powers known and two power points from his class. Let's say he has 18 int; that's two extra (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/classes/index.htm#abilitiesAndManifesters) power points, a total of four. This is the equivalent to a wizard's spells per day. At first level, all powers cost one power point, and you can't spend more than one power point anyway, so that's four manifestations per day.

The powers known will be chosen from the psion/wilder (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/powerList.htm#firstLevelPsionWilderPowers) list and from the telepath's discipline (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/powerList.htm#telepathTelepathyDisciplinePowers) list. For simple ones to illustrate let's take energy ray, inertial armor, and psionic charm. Whenever you want to manifest one of these, you'll spend its power point cost - at this point, one pp across the board. Unlike spells, there are no components, and no failure chance - so long as you can concentrate, pretty much, you can manifest. Because psionics generally gives fewer powers known than magic gives spells, the powers tend to be more flexible; for example, energy ray gives you a choice of four energy types designated when the power is manifested.

Now let's say our telepath is fifth level. He's now got a whole 11 powers known, and 25 pp from his class, plus 10 from his int (discounting any increases to that stat). So, he's got a whole 35 power points to spend throughout the day! But, and this is the number one most important rule, he cannot spend more on any single manifestation than his manifester level. He's level 5, so any single power he manifests can cost 5pp, maximum. That's the base cost of a third-level power.

The reason this is important is that psionic powers, for the most part, don't scale with level. You don't get something like "1d4+1 damage per caster level". You get "1d6 damage", and that's it. If you want a first-level power to deal damage like a first-level spell being cast by a fifth-level wizard, you have to augment it to cost the same as a higher-level power. So, you might cast energy ray fully augmented: "for every additional power point you spend, this power’s damage increases by one die (d6)." So, let's say we spend five power points, that's four additional power points beyond the base cost, so four extra dice for a total of 5d6 damage of the type we choose. Not bad; the wizard's dealing 4d6 fire damage with scorching ray, has been doing so since third level (when we could only deal 3d6), and will get a free doubling at 7th level (for 8d6 vs our 7d6 at that level) - it'll only ever cost him a 2nd-level spell slot, but we get that choice of energy types for our higher expense, and can always manifest it with less augmentation depending on the nature of the threat.

A fifth-level telepath might also have crisis of breath (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/powers/crisisofBreath.htm). That's a third-level power, so it costs 5pp and can't be augmented yet. It's a good illustration of how augmentation works for many powers, and contributes to verstatility: instead of separate versions for humanoids and non-, like "hold person" and "hold monster" and later "mass <whatever>", you can augment it to affect more dangerous creatures, or many creatures at once.

That's the gist of how it all works... there's other stuff involving psionic focus and metapsionic feats, but that's the chief principle you have to understand. You will likely find most other questions you might have answered under the FAQ (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=638776) on the Wizards boards.