Excerpts 04/03/2006


Complete Psionic Excerpt
By Bruce Cordell and Chris Lindsay



Ready for some more psionic fun in your game? You should definitely take a peek at what's in store for you in Complete Psionic, the essential sourcebook for expanding the use of psionic power by any character. Some of the things you'll find in this book include more feats, more prestige classes, and more monsters. But don't dally here -- look below for the table of contents. You'll also find some excerpts that give you a taste of what's inside this supplement: feats, powers, monsters, psionic-flavored source material, and prestige classes.

THE SIX HIDDEN HOUSES

Among the humans who belong to the Six Hidden Houses, psionic power comes naturally at birth. Their own legends speak of ancestors who came to the world from a far place, a realm they ruled, but which ended in cataclysm brought on by an evil power known only as the Enemy. Not even the house elders know the entire truth.

Whatever the reason, the refugees from that lost place, called Talaron, chose to hide their psionic ability when they came to this world. Members of the Six Hidden Houses -- who refer to themselves as Talaire -- therefore take pains to blend into regular human society, masking their presence for hundreds of years.

According to Talaire legend, each of the houses descends from a noble house that once ruled in their lost world. Each house is a type of extended clan, and members are related by blood, marriage, or adoption. When a Talaire marries a regular human, the child always breeds true with psionic ability. The spouse of a Talaire becomes part of a particular house in name, but the child of such a union becomes a member of the house in fact. (Children of Talaire and elves do not breed true with psionic power.)

The Talaire are interspersed through regular human society, and have homes, businesses, interests, and adventures as regular humans. However, they also owe a cultural and psionic allegiance to their own Hidden House and to the Talaire in general (though some houses are deadly enemies). Each house keeps a secret location that serves as the nexus of its interests, lore, and directives (if any). Those locations are not necessarily permanent, shifting if the secrecy of the house threatens to become compromised. One rumor says that there were originally eight houses, but misfortune and feuding over the centuries has reduced the current number to six. Another claims the seventh and eighth houses have become so secretive that even the other Talaire no longer know of them. Either way, they're called the Two Lost Houses.

Most Talaire never learn the location of their own house's secret fortress, unless they rise to their house elders' attention through ability, deed, or other talent. The ruler of each house bears the title of Paragon and is chosen from the house elders to rule for life. Paragons are like family patriarchs and matriarchs, with power over the entire family and the authority to negotiate with the elders and paragons of other houses.

Each of the Six Hidden Houses has its own symbol that appears on a member's skin either at birth or sometime within the first few years of life. Each house is associated with a particular gemstone that members commonly use for psicrystals and as part of other psionic items they craft.

As humans, Talaire have the usual bonus feat, but they must choose Wild Talent -- or, more precisely, a version of Wild Talent specific to each house. For reasons lost in the mists of time, each house has a particular talent for psionics, which means they focus on a specific discipline. An individual Talaire, however, can choose a class that specializes in any discipline. For instance, it is not unknown for members of House Novar to become shapers or telepaths (although more become seers).

PLAYER AND DM OPTIONS

The Six Hidden Houses provide both players and the DM with new game options.

For Players: Because of the difficulties endured by the Talaire in their transition from their old homeworld to the new, many members now live sundered from the Six Hidden Houses. They don't know the source of their strange powers of the mind or the meaning of the birthmark that seems oddly like a symbol. Sometimes, the psionic talent and symbol reappear only every few generations. The discovery of a lost birthright becomes the goal of those humans who are finally welcomed into their own forgotten house (or, if found first by a quarreling house, brutally hunted and perhaps murdered, all in ignorance). Player characters who survive their first encounters with members of their sundered house might finally learn the truth of their heritage.

For the DM: At the minimum, an NPC or two with strange tattoos and psionic power can prove an interesting mystery to the player characters. Perhaps a hireling or cohort reveals her true status to the characters by using her power in a time of dire need. It's never something revealed or discussed casually, unless the PCs are trusted completely.

If one of the players decides that his background is Talairan (or if the DM decides for him), perhaps the symbol that appears on all Talairans was merely long delayed on the character. After some triggering event (even a dream), the symbol appears, and the PC wakes to psionic power. This means he must give up a feat and take Wild Talent instead, unless his particular Wild Talent feat is gained as part of his normal feat progression.

HOUSE ADON

Tempered by flame.

-- House Adon motto

Symbol: Green flame against a silver background.

Crystal: Emerald.

Characteristics: Members of House Adon have a predilection for metacreativity, the ability to fashion objects from nothing other than their own desire to create. They are the renowned builders and crafters of the Talaire. The typical Adonan is tall and broad shouldered, with brown or sandy hair and green eyes.

Elders of House Adon believe that their house once possessed a singular artifact, called the Making Stone, that enabled its wielder to fashion entire worlds if he were talented enough. In the background of all their other plans, the elders seek this legendary item.

Many houses distrust House Cogitare, but none more than House Adon. Past betrayals still burn between the two houses (though the specifics are forgotten), and they often clash. Members of House Adon are most willing to work and ally with House Novar.

Wild Talent (Adon): Instead of a free bonus feat, Talaire of House Adon have the Wild Talent (Adon) feat.

Benefit: You gain the psionic subtype. As a psionic character, you gain a reserve of 1 power point and qualify for psionic feats, metapsionic feats, and psionic item creation feats. In addition, you gain the psi-like ability to use psionic minor creation (EPH 121) once per day (manifester level 1st + half the number of psionic class levels gained).

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