Psychic Combat

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Part of the series on
Psionics
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The Psion Class
Telepathy Guide
Psychic Combat


Psionic Disciplines
Table of all Powers
Clairsentience (Table)
Metapsionics (Table)
Psychokinesis (Table)
Psychometabolism (Table)
Psychoportation (Table)
Telepathy (Table)
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Dreamscape
Classes | Monk
ACP: Psionics
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Overview

The "Contact" power never works against a psionicist (or psionic creature). This is true even when he's sleeping or unconscious. Psionicists normally have closed minds. Their minds can only be opened, and made vulnerable to telepathic attack, through telepathic combat. The text below describes five telepathic assaults, or attack modes, that are used to establish contact with a closed mind. It also describes five telepathic defenses, which can help prevent such attacks from succeeding.

Telepathic Attack Modes

There are five attack modes: Mind Thrust, Ego Whip, Id Insinuation, Psychic Crush, and Psionic Blast. Against a mind that is open to contact, each of these powers has specific effects. For example, ego whip can make a character feel so worthless that he suffers a penalty to all of his die rolls. None of these effects occur unless the subject's mind is open to contact, however. If the subject's mind is closed, an attack mode only serves to erode his resistance. If he is repeatedly struck with an attack mode, his mind can be forced to open, and contact will be established.

Telepathic Defense Modes

A character with psionic powers is not defenseless against telepathic attack modes. Five telepathic powers, known as defense modes, help protect characters from unwanted contact. These powers are Mind Blank, Thought Shield, Mental Barrier, Intellect Fortress, and Tower of Iron Will. When a character activates a telepathic defense mode, it becomes effective at the beginning of the round. The character conducts a psychic contest against every attack mode coming his way. The initial cost of the defense mode covers all attacks in the round.

Attack Modifiers

Each attack mode is more effective against some defense modes than others, and vice versa. This is represented by modifiers which apply to the attacker's power score. When an attack mode clashes with a defense mode, cross-index the attack with the defense on the list below. The resulting modifier is applied to the attacker's power score. Thus, positive modifiers are bonuses and negative modifiers are penalties.

Defense Mode: Mind Blank
Attack Mode Modifiers: Mind Thrust (+5), Ego Whip (+5), Id Insinuation (-3), Psychic Crush (+1), Psionic Blast (+2)
Defense Mode: Thought Shield
Attack Mode Modifiers: Mind Thrust (-2), Ego Whip (0), Id Insinuation (+2), Psychic Crush (-3), Psionic Blast (+3)
Defense Mode: Mental Barrier
Attack Mode Modifiers: Mind Thrust (-4), Ego Whip (-3), Id Insinuation (+4), Psychic Crush (-1), Psionic Blast (0)
Defense Mode: Intellect Fortress
Attack Mode Modifiers: Mind Thrust (-4), Ego Whip (-4), Id Insinuation (-1), Psychic Crush (-3), Psionic Blast (-1)
Defense Mode: Tower of Iron Will
Attack Mode Modifiers: Mind Thrust (-5), Ego Whip (-3), Id Insinuation (-3), Psychic Crush (-4), Psionic Blast (-2)

Tangents

  • When an attack mode is used against another psion, each psion (the attacker and the defender) rolls a d20. The attacker's roll is modified by the adjustments described above.
    • If the attacker's modified roll is greater than the defenders roll, the attack succeeds. Each time an attack mode overcomes a defense mode (or an attack mode succeeds against someone who was not using a defense mode), the attacker has established a partial contact called a tangent.
  • Three tangents equal full contact. Thus, establishing contact with someone's mind through combat requires three successful attacks. A tangent has no direct effects in and of itself, no matter which attack mode helps to establish it. It is only a "foot in the door." When the door is open (i.e. when three tangents have succeeded), full contact is established.
  • This contact is the same condition that is achieved when the contact power is used successfully against a nonpsionicist. (In other words, the three effective attacks simply take the place of one successful use of contact.)
  • The tangents no longer apply when contact is established. In the next round, he can use any telepathic power against the defender that he chooses-provided he's within range and pays the power cost, of course. Having contact does not make the use of another telepathic power automatic; it only makes it possible.
  • Still, the subject is incredibly vulnerable once contacted. His only means of protection is an overwhelming counterattack (probably a nontelepathic attack). A contacted mind can be dominated, mindwiped, affected by any number of other telepathic devotions, or crippled by another assault.