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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default 2e Psionics Unification

    Special Thanks to garhkal who compiled the Psionic Powers list that I altered to fit my new mechanics. It saved me untold work. (sorry about the giant text sizes; the forum I originally copied the BB markup from used a different scale)

    Psychic Powers: A General Primer
    The use of psychic powers requires the psychic to first know the power, to have sufficient remaining PSP (Psionic Strength Points) to make use of the power, and to successfully complete a Power Check (which is not to be confused with a Ravenloft Powers Check, to see if one gains the attention of the Dark Powers which control that demi-plane).

    Powers are divided into six disciplines, and divided in power into Sciences and Devotions. The six disciplines are Clairsentience (divining information about the world), Psychokinesis (moving and manipulating objects with one’s mind), Psychometabolism (altering someone’s body; usually one’s own), Psychoportation (moving through space, dimensions, and time), Telepathy (reading and manipulating someone’s mind), and Metapsionics (manipulating one’s own psychic powers). Sciences are usually more powerful, flexible, or both, while devotions tend to be less powerful or flexible. Many psychics are what are known as “wild talents”; they have one or two psychic powers, but do not study these powers in any organized fashion. It is a skill, knack, or special feeling they have. The most powerful as known as “psionicists”, who make psychic powers the focus of their studies. As the advance, they learn more powers, and improve the ones they have.

    One’s reserves of psychic power are counted in Psionic Strength Points, usually called PSPs. Depending on one’s attributes, training, and level of experience, PSPs can range from as little as 1 (a wild talent of Know Direction), to several hundred (a high-level psionicist with superlative attributes). Using, or maintaining, psychic powers drain PSPs, according to the power. PSPs are recovered with rest and time; you cannot recover PSPs during hard exertion, and those with extremely high pools of PSPs may find a night’s rest insufficient to recover all of their PSPs.

    Lastly, there is the Power Check, which is made like a Non-Weapon Proficiency. One’s Power Score is the number that must be rolled under to successfully use the power. A higher Power Score is better, and a higher successful roll is usually better. Failure of a Power Check results in half the PSPs necessary to use the power being expended without benefit. Many powers have special effects when the psychic rolls exactly their power score, and many also have special penalties if the psychic rolls a natural 20; a natural 20 requires a second roll of the power check. If the second roll is a failure, then the negative effects apply. If the second roll is a success, the power merely fails, with the associated loss of PSPs. Some powers have a lesser effect if the psychic rolls a natural 1; the power is still successful, but it does not function up to its full potential. Each power has a base Power Check, which is modified according to the listed attribute. These modifications are laid out on Table 44 in the Skills and Powers supplement; no modification for an attribute of 8-13, and 1 point higher for each point above that, until a +5 is gained at an 18, or 1 point lower for a 7 or below, to a maximum penalty of -5 at a 3 attribute.

    Psychic Combat
    In addition to traditional powers, psychics also have the option to engage in Psychic Combat. Many wild talents do not learn psychic combat, unless they have Telepathic powers. All psionicists are familiar with psychic combat, however, and have the Contact proficiency, which allows one to enter the mental combat arena.

    Regardless of their ability to engage in psionic combat, all characters have a Mental Armor Class (MAC). This MAC is used to determine basic defenses in psionic combat, but also the ease of contacting their minds for use of telepathic powers. This MAC begins at 12, and improves based on Intelligence; the Number of Languages provided by their intelligence is the bonus to MAC, so someone with an 18 Intelligence will have an MAC of 12-7, or 5, while someone with an Intelligence of 8 will have an MAC of 12-1 or 11. MAC can be improved with practice, even by non-psychics.

    Contact is used to touch someone’s mind, and is a prerequisite for many telepathic powers. If someone is not capable of engaging in psionic combat (whether they have psychic powers or not), then their MAC plus five is the power score to use Contact on them; consult the Contact Power in the Psionic’s Handbook for the cost of Establishing Contact, modifiers due to distance or order, and the ability of characters aware of the psychic attack to resist contact.

    Against those with the ability to engage in psionic combat, MAC serves a more traditional purpose; defense against psychic assault. All psychics begin with two Psionic Combat Actions per round, but psionic combat actions take the place of physical combat actions; while engaged in psionic combat, a character can do little more than defend themselves physically (they take no penalty to AC, nor are they helpless), and move up to half their movement rate. One of these psychic combat actions may be used to activate a non-psychic combat power.

    Attacks are rolled against the MAC, and the die roll is compared to Mental ThAC0 (MThAC0) to determine if the MAC is reached, much like in physical combat. A psionicists MThAC0 begins at 20, and improves by 1 point each level. A wild talent’s MThAC0 improves at every odd level. MThAC0 also improves based on the psychic’s Intelligence; a bonus of 1 for a 16 or 17, 2 for 18 or 19, 3 for 20-22, and 4 for 23 or higher.

    Psychic attacks serve two purposes; first, they deplete the PSPs of the victim. Secondly, they serve to create or resist contact. Even more physically-oriented psychics may choose to engage in some level of psychic combat, as the defense of a trained psychic combatant is far greater than that of an untrained target. If that physically-oriented chooses not to engage in psionic combat (instead choosing, perhaps, to punch their opponent in the face, or fling bricks at them with telekinetic powers), then their proficiency with psionic combat will at least help in resisting contact for a round or more.

    Each successful psychic attack inflicts damage to the target’s PSPs, depending on the experience and training of the attacker. It also creates a “tangent”, however. Tangents are a partial contact; not enough to create contact, but a step towards it. In order to contact a defended psychic mind, a psychic must acquire three tangents. However, successful attacks by the other psychic will move a tangent between them; thus, psychics must score three unanswered attacks to manipulate the defended psychic mind. Each tangent requires 1 PSP per round to maintain, and a psychic can only maintain tangents against one target at a time; however, they can maintain contact with any number of minds at once pay paying the PSP cost. Once contact is achieved, it is not broken so long as the attacker maintains the Contact power, or uses other powers against the mind, unless the victim has a power to remove contact (such as Ejection).

    For example, if Betsy and Charlie are in a psychic combat, Betsy gets the first hit, giving her one tangent against Charlie. He swings back and misses; she follows up with a hit, giving her two tangents against him. He hits back, removing one tangent from himself and giving it to her... they both have one tangent. Betsy hits again, putting Charlie at two, Chuck misses, then Betsy hits again... Contact. She can use other Telepathic powers on him, even though he has PSPs left. He can still engage in psychic combat, trying to contact her mind, but she's still got defenses. Now, each of these hits have inflicted PSP damage... if either Chuck or Betsy had completely run out of PSPs, then they'd be unable to fight back, making it easy to get three unanswered attacks on them.

    A psychic without powers that require contact may thus choose to engage in psychic combat to remove tangents; even without engaging, though, it will still require three successful hits against their MAC to use those powers against them. The psychic may also choose to erect psychic defenses, improving their MAC, but then engage in physical endeavors. These defenses are specific telepathic powers, but psionicists learn them as part of their training.

    The Psionicist
    The psionicist is a wizard of the mind; while others may dabble in psychic powers, the psionicist has made their psychic abilities the focal point of their studies. While a wild talent may, at the beginning, have a number of powers and an impressive pool of PSPs, they are unlikely to advance far in either, while the psionicist will gain power, proficiency, and points at a far faster rate.

    Many details of the psionicist class are laid out in the Psionic’s Handbook; the XP required, their hit dice, ThAC0 progression, saving throws, weapon and armor selections, and number of powers and psychic defense modes are all as described there. However, there are a few modifications to the rules as written, explained below.

    The method labeled “Raising Psionic Scores” may be used, but such a repetition of powers adds 3 to the power score, and expands the range at which an improved “Power Score” result happens by 1 point; so, if your previous power score was 10, your new power score will be 13, and you will achieve a Power Score result on 12 or 13. A third power selection spent on the same power will improve the Power Score to 16, and allow the improved result on 14-16. No power score may be above 19, but a character dedicated to a single power can continue to expand their enhanced result range by 1 point with each additional selection. Such specialization in a single power can have negative effects on further advancement; specializing in a power means the psychic did not gain a new power, and so limits on how many sciences and devotions one can have in secondary disciplines, or number of sciences v. devotions in a single discipline, can further limit their breadth of ability than it might first seem.

    Psionicists may also spend proficiency slots (either weapon or non-weapon) they may gain to improve a single science or devotion’s power score by 1. This method does not increase the range of enhanced effects, only the power score.

    In addition to this, however, psionicists improve power scores as they increase in level. Every 3rd level, the power score of all devotions increases by 1 point (so, +1 at level 3, +2 at level 6, +3 at level 9, usw). Likewise, the power score of all sciences improves by 1 point every 4 levels (+1 at level 4, +2 at level 8, +3 at level 12, usw). This bonus applies to all powers the psionicist knows or may learn. This does not increase the range for enhanced effect, but does make it more likely that all powers will succeed.

    Regardless of method, no power score may be raised above 19; a natural 20 is always a failure, but increased power scores make it far less likely that it will be a catastrophic failure.

    The Psionicist in Psychic Combat
    All psionicists begin with the Contact proficiency and power, which does not count against powers or proficiencies known. This allows them to engage in psionic combat. Their MAC is calculated as noted above; 12, minus the number of bonus languages they receive from Intelligence. Their MThAC0 begins at 20, and improves every level thereafter. Their damage, however, is somewhat more complex.

    At 1st level, a psionicist inflicts 1d6 points of damage in psychic combat. As they level up, they gain 1 additional point of damage for each psychic defense mode they have, as well as 1 more point of damage if they have any Telepathic Devotions if that require Contact, and 1 more point of damage if they have any Telepathic Devotions which require Contact. So, a 1st level Telepath may do up to 1d6+3 damage; +1 for having a defense mode, +1 for having a devotion requiring contact (even if they have 3 devotions which require Contact, they only receive +1 for this), and +1 for a science requiring Contact. As they gain more psionic defenses with levels, their damage will increase.

    Likewise, damage may be increased by taking certain psychic attack powers; Psionic Blast, Psychic Crush, Ego Whip, Id Insinuation, and Mind Thrust. These powers all have special effects on contacted minds, but each additional one possessed increases the damage die used in psychic combat. With one psychic attack mode, their damage increases to 1d8, then 1d10, then 2d6, then 2d8, then 2d10 if they have all five psychic attack modes, plus any bonuses from telepathic sciences, devotions, or defenses. A fully armed telepath thus may do 2d10+7 damage in psychic combat, provided they have expended the resources to do so.

    Lastly, a psionicist in psychic combat may attack more frequently. At 7th level, they gain one additional action in psionic combat every 2 rounds (going from 2/1 to 5/2), and an additional psychic combat action every 2 rounds at level 13 (going from 5/2 to 3/1). They may sacrifice two psychic combat actions to take an action in the real world.

    Wild Talents
    Wild talents have psychic powers, but do not make them the focus of their lives. Some may be simple people; potters, bartenders, or clerks, whose special psychic knack aids them in their daily lives, or is a simple trick that they can usually perform. Wild Talents are much as described in the Psionic’s Handbook, and that source should be consulted regarding their generation, unless specific rules are in place (for example, Dragonlance allows no psionic powers at all, while in Dark Sun, every character is a wild talent). Instead, special consideration must be given to Wild Talents in psychic combat.

    If one of the wild talent’s powers requires Contact, then they receive Contact as a bonus proficiency and power; if none do, they may choose Contact by spending a single non-weapon proficiency slot. Non-psychics may not choose the Contact proficiency; psychics without the Contact proficiency are treated as non-psychics in psychic combat, requiring only a simple Contact Power Check to affect their minds.

    However, wild talents do not excel in psychic combat as psionicists do. They still have 2 psychic combat actions each turn, one of which may be used to activate a non-psychic combat power. Their MAC is calculated normally (12-the number of bonus languages provided by their Intelligence), and their MThAC0 improves at a rate of 1 point every odd level. In psychic combat, they do 1d4 points of damage, and may, if they have telepathic powers, gain a +1 to damage for each Telepathic Devotion which requires Contact, and another if they have a Telepathic Science which requires Contact, to a maximum of 1d4+2. They do not gain access to either telepathic defenses or telepathic attack modes, and so gain no benefit from either.

    Altered Non-Weapon Proficiency
    The Psionic’s Handbook should be consulted regarding the proficiencies Harness Subconscious, Hypnosis, Meditative Focus, and Rejuvenation. The Dark Sun supplement, The Will and the Way, should be consulted for the proficiencies Crystal Focus, Power Manipulation, and Psionic Lore. The power Psychic Defense is considerably altered, however.

    Psychic Defense (1 slot/Psionic Group): Psychic Defense improves a character’s MAC. the first time the proficiency is selected, the character’s MAC improves by 2 points. Each additional selection improves MAC by only 1 point, and no more 5 points of MAC may be gained from this proficiency.
    As this proficiency is in the Psionic Group, those without access to the Psionic Group (including wild talents) must pay 2 slots for the first selection of this proficiency.

    Modifications to Powers
    Most psionic powers remain unchanged from their descriptions in Psionic’s Handbook, Dragon Kings, Will and the Way, or other sources. However, the changed nature of Psychic Combat necessitates that the Telepathic Defense Modes be rewritten. Likewise, the power of Telekinesis is rewritten, below, to bring it up to the level of a Science. The current power of Telekinesis is renamed “Telekinetic Manipulation”, and downgraded to a devotion, with a power score of 13 (Wisdom) with no prerequisites, and prerequisite to nothing.

    Telekinesis (Telekinetic Science)
    Power Score: 13-special
    Initial Cost: 3+
    Maintenance Cost: 1+/round
    Range: 30 yards
    Preparation Time: 0
    Area of Effect: single item
    Prerequisite: none
    Telekinesis, or "TK" for short, is the ability to move objects through space without touching them. The psychic manifests a formless, insubstantial force, capable of lifting objects, manipulating them, and moving them from place to place as if they were being carried.

    The initial cost of the power is 2, plus one point for every point of strength that the telekinetic force possesses, up to and including an 18 strength (costing a total of 20 points). Maintenance on the power is equal to one-fifth the initial cost, rounded up (1 point for a strength up to 3, two points for a strength between 4 and 8, three points for 9-13, four points for 14-17, and 5 points for a strength of 18). Additionally, there is a penalty to the power score equal to one-sixth the relevant strength, rounded down (so, -0 at Strength 1-6, -1 at 7-12, -3 at 13-18).

    A psionicist using TK can move an object up to 60 feet per round, but may be slowed if the weight would encumber a person of that strength. The object can serve as a weapon. In this case, the character attacks using his own THACO score, with a bonus or penalty dependent upon the Strength of the force. The force may be considered, depending upon the psychic’s mood, either as an arm or as a bowl; it can carry one object easily, or many small objects grouped closely together, but it cannot, for example, carry several objects widely spaced apart without being initiated several times.

    Power Score - The force can divide itself in two; while its Strength remains the same, it can form two “arms”, two “bowls”, or one bowl and one arm.
    20 - The psionicist "fumbles" the item, knocking it over, etc.

    Telekinetic Manipulation (Psychokinetic Devotion)
    Power Score: 13-special
    Initial Cost: 3+
    Maintenance Cost: 1+/round
    Range: 30 yards
    Preparation Time: 0
    Area of Effect: single item
    Prerequisite: none
    Telekinetic Manipulation is a lesser power related to the science of Telekinesis. Seldom studied by those with Psychokinesis as a Primary Discipline, it is instead useful for those psychics who wish a degree of telekinetic power, without investing a full science. It is not a substitute for Telekinesis as a prerequisite, and is prerequisite to no powers. All telekinetic efforts tend to be physically taxing, because they involve real work. Moving small, light objects is relatively easy. As the objects become more massive, the task becomes significantly more difficult.

    The costs above (3 PSPs initially and 1 per round of maintenance) assume that the object being moved weighs 3 pounds or less. For heavier objects, these rules apply:
    • The initial cost equals the object's weight in pounds.
    • The maintenance cost is half the initial cost, rounded down.
    • The character's power score is decreased by one-third of the object's weight in pounds, rounded down.

    For example, to telekinetically snatch a 15-pound battle axe from a rack, a psionicist must pay 15 PSPs and make a power check with a -5 modifier to his score.

    A psionicist using Telekinetic Manipulation can move an object up to 60 feet per round. The object can serve as a weapon. In this case, the character attacks using his own THACO score, with a penalty equaling the object's weight modifier (one-third its weight, rounded down).
    Power Score - The character can lift a second item of equal or lesser weight simultaneously for the same cost.
    20 - The psionicist "fumbles" the item, knocking it over, etc.

    Tower of Iron Will (Telepathic Science)
    Power Score: 11 (Wisdom)
    Initial Cost: 6
    Maintenance Cost: 3
    Range: 0
    Preparation Time: 0
    Area of Effect: 1 yard
    Prerequisites: none
    Tower of iron will is one of the five telepathic defenses against unwanted contact. It relies only upon the superego to build an unassailable haven for the brain. Tower of Iron Will provides a bonus to MAC of 6.

    Like intellect fortress (a telepathic devotion), tower of iron will has an area of effect beyond the psionicist’s mind. At 3 feet, it’s very limited. Tower of Iron will also reduces all PSP damage suffered by those within its area of effect by 1 point, and by 1 additional point per psychic attack mode the attacker possesses so, while the attacker will roll higher damage dice, they will suffer a higher penalty.

    Power Score - The area of effect increases to 10 feet.
    20 - The psionicist is lost inside himself and cannot engage in psionic activity for 1d4 hours.

    Intellect Fortress (Telepathic Devotion)
    Power Score: 10 (Wisdom)
    Initial Cost: 4
    Maintenance Cost: 2
    Range: 0
    Preparation Time: 0
    Area of Effect: 3-yd. radius
    Prerequisites: none
    Intellect fortress is one of five telepathic defenses against unwanted contact. It calls forth the powers of the ego and superego to stop attacks. Intellect Fortress provides a bonus to MAC of 4.

    Unlike most other defenses, intellect fortress has an area of effect beyond the psionicist’s mind, offering protection to other minds within that radius. Every mind within that area receives the bonus to MAC. This can have downsides, as it will protect enemies as well as friends.

    Power Score - The psychic can exclude certain minds from the Fortress, leaving them vulnerable.
    20 - This defense falters and is not usable again for 1d4 rounds.

    Mental Barrier (Telepathic Devotion)
    Power Score: 11 (Wisdom)
    Initial Cost: 3
    Maintenance Cost: 1
    Range: 0
    Preparation Time: 0
    Area of Effect: personal
    Prerequisites: none

    Mental barrier is one of five telepathic defenses against unwanted contact. It is a carefully built wall of thought repetition which exposes only one small area of the mind at a time. Mental Barrier provides an MAC bonus of 3.

    Power Score - Contact during this round and the next is impossible.
    20 - The barrier fails, and the mental attempt disrupts any currently active powers.

    Mind Blank (Telepathic Devotion)
    Power Score: 6 (Wisdom)
    Initial Cost: 0
    Maintenance Cost: 0
    Range: 0
    Preparation Time: 0
    Area of Effect: personal
    Prerequisites: none

    Mind blank is one of five telepathic defenses against unwanted contact. It attempts to hide the mind from attack, making its parts unidentifiable. It provides an MAC bonus of 2.

    Mind blank is unique. Unlike the other four defense modes, it costs nothing to maintain. In fact, a character can still recover PSPs while using this power. That’s because mind blank is almost instinctual; if a character knows it, it’s nearly always active, even when he’s sleeping or meditating. The power is inactive only if 1) the player announces it, or 2) the character uses another defense mode (other than Thought Shield).
    Even though mind blank has no PSP cost, it still constitutes psionic activity. If the power is active, a character is vulnerable to detection. He still may attract psionic feeders, or suffer some other unpleasant effect.

    Power Score - No other effect.
    20 - The character cannot use mind blank for 1d4 hours.

    Thought Shield (Telepathic Devotion)
    Power Score: 10 (Wisdom)
    Initial Cost: 1
    Maintenance Cost: 1
    Range: 0
    Preparation Time: 0
    Area of Effect: personal
    Prerequisites: none

    Thought shield is one of five telepathic defenses against unwanted contact. It clouds the mind so as to hide first one part, then another. Thought Shield provides an MAC bonus of only 1, but it can be used in conjunction with any other Defense Mode.

    Power Score - Thought Shield’s Maintenance is free if maintaining any other Telepathic Defense.
    20 - No other effect.
    The Cranky Gamer
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude; the appearance of truth within the framework of the game.
    *Picard management tip: Debate honestly. The goal is to arrive at the truth, not at your preconception.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: 2e Psionics Unification

    The Cranky Gamer
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude; the appearance of truth within the framework of the game.
    *Picard management tip: Debate honestly. The goal is to arrive at the truth, not at your preconception.
    *Two Tales of Tellene, available from DriveThruFiction
    *The One Deck Engine: Gaming on a budget
    Avatar is from local user Mehangel
    Written by Me on DriveThru RPG
    If you need me to address a thread as a moderator, include a link.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: 2e Psionics Unification

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post

    i applaud the effort. I did something like this a while back, compiling and revising WATW, CPsiHB and Dragon Kings.

    i think personally, using the 10+wis mod/level psp track and the MAC/MTHAC0 works great.

    Attack/Defense modes were flawed because you'd end up spending essentially ineffectually large amounts of points in attack and defense modes, though i later discovered the raw damage and stuff like ego whip were super useful against random NPC slug monsters. My revision ended up being over 300 pages before it was all erased. Best of luck!
    Last edited by anthon; 2021-01-22 at 02:33 AM.

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