Expanding Your Mind
Alter Your Basic Psionic Combat
By Mark A. Jindra and Frank Coletto

With inspiration and testing provided by members of the Wizards of the Coast online community

This month in "Expanding Your Mind," we take another look at psionic combat, bringing you two new feats, and a new psionic combat mode known as an alteration. This material was designed to work with the material in the Psionics Handbook, and material presented in the "Battle of the Mind" article (pay special attention to the Psionic Combat Buffer and Greater Psionic Combat Buffer feats).

Alterations

For centuries psionic creatures have engaged in a unique kind of psionic combat, using their mind to assail their adversaries. The basic attacks and defenses of psionic combat are referred to as combat modes, and it has long been believed that the ten basic combat modes and the feats that have developed around them were the only weapons in this battle of the mind, but recent discoveries have shown that there may be much more to psionic combat than first believed.

Psionic creatures have used metapsionic feats to alter the way powers are manifested, changing the range, duration, or intensity of a power. However that flexibility has eluded those who engage in psionic combat -- until now.

Variant: Bonus Combat Modes

Psions continue learning psionic combat modes every two levels after 11th. Psions with the Resculpt Mind feat, however, begin gaining these extra modes at 21st level and every two levels after.

New combat modes modifiers known as "alterations" have been discovered, adding flexibility to the world of psionic combat. Alterations can be learned in place of standard combat modes, provided the prerequisites are met. More than one alteration can be applied to a combat mode (but see below), but the power points for the mode and all alterations must be paid. Unlike metapsionics, there is no cap to the number of power points that you can spend applying alterations to a combat mode.

Each individual alteration and type of alteration cannot be applied to the same combat mode more than once unless otherwise specified. For example, you cannot apply area alteration (cone) and area alteration (radius) to the same combat mode. Some alterations can be applied only in certain situations or to specific combat modes as described in the alteration. For example, target alteration can be applied only to area alteration (cone) or area alteration (radius). Alterations are available to all psionic creatures (psions, psychic warriors, prestige classes that gain combat modes, and so on). Alterations cannot be applied to the imbed psionic attack ability of the soulknife.

Alteration

PP

Prerequisite**

Type

Area alteration (cone)

+7

7 modes

Area

Area alteration (radius)

+9

8 modes

Area

--- Target alteration

+2*

Area alteration (cone) or area alteration (radius)

--

Attack alteration

+2*

4 modes (3 of which must be attack modes)

--

--- Intensity alteration

+3*

5 modes, attack alteration

--

Condition alteration (blinding/deafening)

+7

6 modes

Condition

Condition alteration (bewildering)

+11

7 modes

Condition

Condition alteration (dread)

+5*

4 modes

Condition

Condition alteration (fatigue)

+3*

3 modes

Condition

Condition alteration (nauseating)

+1

3 modes

Condition

Condition alteration (stun)

+13

8 modes

Condition

Defense alteration

+2*

4 modes (3 of which must be defense modes)

--

Extend alteration (basic)

+9

6 modes

Extend

--- Extend alteration (improved)

+13

Extend alteration (basic)

Extend

--- Extend alteration (greater)

+17

Extend alteration (improved)

Extend

Hidden alteration

+1

1 mode

--

Origin alteration

+7

5 modes

--

Range alteration

+3*

3 modes

--

*Power points may vary with additional applications of this alteration.
**Modes referred to in the prerequisites can be attack, defense, or alterations unless otherwise specified.

Area Alteration (Cone)
Prerequisites: 7 modes
Power Points: +7

Area alteration (cone) changes the area and range of an attack mode to a 60-foot cone. All creatures within the area are affected (friend and foe).

Area Alteration (Radius)
Prerequisites: 8 modes
Area: 30-ft. radius, centered on you
Power Points: +9

Area alteration (radius) changes the area and range of an attack mode to a 30-foot radius, centered on you. All creatures within the area are affected (friend and foe).

Attack Alteration
Prerequisites: 4 modes (3 of which must be attack modes)
Power Points: +2 (see text)

The save DC of an attack mode that this alteration is applied to is increased by +1. You can apply this alteration multiple times to the same attack mode. Each additional +1 bonus costs one more power point than the +1 bonus before it. For example +2 would cost (2 + 3 = 5) 5 power points, +3 would cost (2 + 3 + 4 = 9) 9 power points, and so on. The total amount of power points spent on this alteration cannot exceed your manifester level.

Condition Alteration (Blinding/Deafening)
Prerequisites: 6 modes
Power Points: +7

An attack mode with this alteration causes the defender to become blind and deaf for a number of rounds equal to the points of ability damage that would normally be dealt. Applying this alteration to a mode that stuns an opponent causes the foe to become blind and deaf for 1d4 rounds starting the round after the stun effect expires.

Condition Alteration (Bewildering)
Prerequisites: 7 modes
Power Points: +11

An attack mode with this alteration confuses an opponent (as the confusion spell) for a number of rounds equal to the points of ability damage that would normally be dealt. Applying this alteration to a mode that stuns an opponent causes the foe to become confused 1d4 rounds starting the round after the stun affect expires. The target adds a +2 bonus to its saving throw against this mode.

Condition Alteration (Dread)
Prerequisites: 4 modes
Power Points: +5 (see text)

An attack mode with this alteration causes the target to become frightened for a number of rounds equal to the points of ability damage that would normally be dealt. Applying this alteration to a mode that stuns an opponent causes the foe to become frightened for 1d4 rounds starting the round after the stun affect expires. This alteration can be applied up to three times. Applying this alteration a second time causes the defender to become panicked. Applying this alteration a third time causes the defender to become paralyzed. Each time beyond the first that this alteration is applied, the target adds a +1 bonus to its saving throw against this mode, and the cost to activate the alteration is increased by +3 power points. The total amount of power points spent on this alteration cannot exceed your manifester level.

Condition Alteration (Fatigue)
Prerequisites: 3 modes
Power Points: +3 (see text)

An attack mode with this alteration causes the defender to become fatigued for a number of rounds equal to the points of ability damage that would normally be dealt. Applying this alteration to a mode that stuns an opponent causes the foe to become fatigued for 1d4 rounds starting the round after the stun affect expires. This alteration can be applied a second time, increasing the fatigue so that the defender becomes exhausted. Applying this alteration a second time costs +5 power points. The total amount of power points spent on this alteration cannot exceed your manifester level.

Condition Alteration (Nauseating)
Prerequisites: 3 modes
Power Points: +1

An attack mode with this alteration make an opponent nauseated for a number of rounds equal to the points of ability damage that would normally be dealt. Applying this alteration to a mode that stuns an opponent causes the foe to become nauseated for 1d4 rounds starting the round after the stun affect expires.

Condition Alteration (Stun)
Prerequisites: 8 modes
Power Points: +13

An attack mode with this alteration stuns an opponent for a number of rounds equal to the points of ability damage that would normally be dealt. The target adds a +4 bonus to its saving throw against this mode. Applying this alteration to a mode that stuns a nonpsionic opponent causes it to become stunned for an additional 1d4 rounds.

Defense Alteration
Prerequisites: 4 modes (3 of which must be defense modes)
Power Points: +2 (see text)

Add a +1 bonus on your roll when defending against an attack mode. You can apply this alteration multiple times to the same attack mode. Each additional +1 bonus costs one more power point than the +1 bonus before it. For example +2 would cost (2 + 3 = 5) 5 power points, +3 would cost (2 + 3 + 4 = 9) 9 power points, and so on. The total amount of power points spent on this alteration cannot exceed your manifester level.

Extend Alteration (Basic)
Prerequisites: 6 modes
Power Points: +9

A defense mode with extend alteration (basic) has its duration changed to 1 round per manifester level. The mode persists until the defender fails her Will save when defending in psionic combat, another defensive mode is activated, or the duration expires.

Extend Alteration (Improved)
Prerequisites:Extend alteration (basic)
Power Points: +13

A defense mode using extend alteration (improved) has its duration changed to 1 minute per manifester level. The mode persists until the defender fails his Will save when defending in psionic combat, another defensive mode is activated, or the duration expires.

Extend Alteration (Greater)
Prerequisites:Extended alteration (improved)
Power Points: +17

A defense mode with extend alteration (greater) has its duration changed to 10 minutes per manifester level. The mode persists until the defender fails her Will save when defending in psionic combat, another defensive mode is activated, or the duration expires.

Hidden Alteration
Prerequisites: 1 mode
Power Points: +1

Attack or defense modes with hidden alteration emit no display.

Intensity Alteration
Prerequisites: 5 modes, attack alteration
Power Points: +3 (see text)

The amount of ability damage you do with an attack mode is increased by 1. You can apply this alteration multiple times to the same attack mode. Each additional +1 bonus costs one more power point than the +1 bonus before it. For example +2 would cost (3 + 4 = 7) 7 power points, +3 would cost (3 + 4 + 5 = 12) 12 power points, and so on. The total amount of power points spent on this alteration cannot exceed your manifester level.

Origin Alteration
Prerequisites: 5 modes
Power Points: +7

An attack mode with origin alteration has its point of origin changed to a location within range (25 ft. + 5 ft./level) that is in your line of effect.

Range Alteration
Prerequisites: 3 modes
Power Points: +3 (see text)

A combat mode with a range other than personal has its range increased by 25 feet. You can apply this alteration multiple times, adding 25 feet to the range each time. Each time this alteration is applied it costs +3 power points. A combat mode cannot have its range increased to more than double with this alteration. Modes with an area effect such as mind blast or modes that have been altered by an area alteration are increased by 5 feet each time this alteration is applied.

Target Alteration
Prerequisites:Area alteration (cone) or area alteration (radius)
Power Points: +2 (see text)

This alteration modifies the target of a combat mode with an area effect, such as those modes modified by area alteration (cone), area alteration (radius), or mind blast. You can choose to exclude one creature from its effects for a cost of +2 power points. Additional targets beyond the first can be excluded for a cost of +1 power point each. You cannot exclude more targets than your current manifester level.

Feats

Bonus Mode [Psionic]

You have discovered an additional psionic combat mode.

Benefit: You learn one additional psionic combat mode or alteration.

Quicken Mode [Psionic]

You can activate a psionic combat mode with a moment's thought.

Prerequisites: Minimum level 6th, any other psionic combat feat*.

Benefit: Activating a psionic combat mode as a quickened mode is a free action. You can perform another action, including activating another psionic combat mode, in the same round that you activated the quickened mode. You can activate only one quickened mode per round. A quickened mode costs a number of power points equal to its standard cost +8. In addition to the +8 additional power points required, a combat mode that has had alterations applied costs an additional +3 power points for each application of an alteration.

*Psionic combat feats that can be used as a prerequisite include Psychic Assault, Mental Adversary, Mind Trap, Psychic Bastion, Disarm Mind, Psionic Combat Buffer, Greater Psionic Combat Buffer, Bonus Mode, and Mind Blind.

Game Resources: To use the material in this article to its fullest, check out the following resources: Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual, Psionics Handbook, and the "Battle of the Mind" article.

About the Authors

Frank Coletto graduated from SUNY Albany in 1998 with a B.A. in Linguistics and Anthropology and has been employed in the gaming industry since 1999. He has been playing D&D since before he can remember, and lives in New York with his wife and two sons.

Mark A. Jindra Is a web developer for Wizards of the Coast and is currently the developer of the D&D website. Mark has authored or coauthored various tournaments for the RPGA Network, and he also coauthors the monthly Mind's Eye feature on the Wizards of the Coast website.


1995-2008 Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.