Psionics

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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)
Specializations


Related subjects
Dreamscape
Classes | Monk
ACP: Psionics
Forum Page

More than a character of any other class, the psionicist is self-contained. Unlike the fighter and thief, he needs no weapons or tools to practice his art. Unlike the priest, he needs no deity. Unlike the wizard, he relies on no outside energies. His power comes from within, and he alone gives it shape.

The psionicist strives to unite every aspect of his self into a single, powerful whole. He looks inward to the essence of his own being, and gains control of his subconscious. Through extraordinary discipline,contemplation, and self-awareness, he unlocks the full potential of his mind.

— Mr. Nathan

Psionics in Dungeons and Dragons

Psionics - powers of the mind such as telepathy and telekinesis - have been a feature of Dungeons and Dragons since at least the 1st edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D). In each edition of the game, their implementation has varied quite extensively. Neverwinter Nights did not include psionics, but a Hak based on the 2nd Edition AD&D version of psionics was produced by Mr Nathan and this forms the basis of psionics as implemented on Avlis.

Psionics within the world of Avlis

The psions of Avlis are generally well-received in many nations. This is especially true in orcish society where sorcerers and wizards are illegal. The orcs are well aware of the origins of their powers and have accepted them as a good substitute for magic. Consequently, the nations Brekon and Dubunat have become bastions of psionic learning and study for many, and this influence has spread especially to the Kurathene Empire, where psions have been called "mindbenders" and found useful as guardians on ships... with far less chance of catching sails on fire.

Though their numbers are primarily highest in the western parts of the continent, psions have been popping up in other areas too and generally meeting with acceptance. Those who see them realize the discipline it takes to become one, and many psion orders are either associated with or part of existing monastic orders. The close association between monks and psions is born of their common penchant for discipline. Whereas monks try to unify mind and body, psions try to transcend the body and become the mind. The two philosophies are compatible for the most part, though monastic and psionic orders that are in conflict with one another do exist, for example the Order of The Way and the Order of the Will.

Psionics as a System

Psionics on Avlis has been developed from Mr Nathan's hak, with particular reference to two 2nd Edition AD&D sources: The Complete Psionics Handbook & The Will and The Way, and adjusted to function appropriately on Avlis.

Psionic Powers

  • Psionic powers are implemented as feats. Some are passive (e.g. Expansive Mind), but most are active. They allow the psion to manifest a power. This is like a spell, and is implemented in NWN in much the same way.
  • Unlike spells, manifestations always have a failure chance, tied to the power score. You can try again, while you have sufficient psionic strength points (PSP).
  • Powers which affect another entity allow a save to avoid or reduce the effects, and have a Difficulty Class (DC) that determines how hard that save is to make.

Power score & power check

  • A power check is a d20 roll against that ability's power score. The lower the roll, the better. For example, the Psychometabolism ability Accelerate has a power score of "CON-2". So, if your CON is 16, you need a 14 (CON-2) or under to succeed.
  • In-game feedback tells you what you rolled, and the adjusted power score, as well as the remaining PSPs, e.g. "Success: 8 (14), Remaining PSPs: 118."
  • If you fail the power check, a concentration check is made. If it succeeds, you lose 1/4 of the cost of the power; if it fails, you lose 1/2 of the cost.
  • Every 10 skill points of concentration will give a +1 bonus to the power check. Skill points gained by items are ignored in this calculation. Given a maximum skill rank of 43 at character level 40, a character could get a +4 bonus to all power checks.

DC's for powers

  • 12 + 1/2 PsionLevel + applicable stat modifier, except for Ultrablast and Contact which start at 10 and 16 respectively.

Psionic strength points

  • At first level: PSP = {(WIS - 5) * 2} + (CON - 15) + (INT - 15) + Feats taken at first level, where (stat-15) has a minimum of zero.
  • Each new level: PSP = current total + {(PsionLevel-1) * (WIS-5)} + Feats taken at that level, where (WIS-5) has a minimum of 10.

PSP are recalculated whenever one of these elements changes (i.e. WIS, CON or INT increases or decreases, PsionLevel changes, appropriate feat taken) using a single formula that combines those above:

  • PSP = {(WIS - 5) * 2} + (CON - 15) + (INT - 15) + Feats + {(PsionLevel-1) * (WIS-5 (Min = 10))}

Detecting psionic activity

  • Spellcraft check: When a psion uses a power, any visual effects are IC. Anyone standing close enough to a psion using a power will also be allowed to make an IC spellcraft check. If this check fails, you know that the psion just used a power, but not what the power was. If this check succeeds, you know what power was just used. In either case, you now know that the character is a psion. A PC with 0 Spellcraft won't have a clue at all.

This is a compromise between 2nd Edition and 3rd Edition rule sets. In 2E only other psionicists can detect psionic activity and they have to use a power to do it. Otherwise, you can only guess at psionic activity when you see the end result; in 3E the Psicraft skill was added that would allow you to make a check to determine if you recognized a power, but only if you perceived the display, which could be something like the psion's eyes glowing or a deep humming sound in the area, etc. To further complicate that, psionicists could suppress the display if they made a concentration check.

  • Glowing eyes: The eyes of a creature manifesting a psionic power glow for a couple of seconds; this is something lifted from the 3rd edition ruleset. Note, however, than your PC's knowledge is determined by the spellcraft check. Even if you as a player know that the eyes of a psion glow when a power is manifested, your character only knows what the results of the spellcraft check reveal.

Now, since we don't have a Psicraft skill or an easy way to implement much of that other stuff, and in the interest of allowing other players to be able to detect when psionics are used, the current compromise is that you can use Spellcraft to detect a psionic power, but you have to be close enough to sense the "display".

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