By Bruce R. Cordell
speak of a rare breed of heroes who can bend the laws of nature to their
bidding through sheer force of will. This mental manipulation is not magical,
nor is it the stuff of superstitious gossip. It is the art of psionics.
. . .
read the Players Handbook,
the Dungeon Masters Guide,
and the Monster Manual, and yet you are not satisfied. Why? Because you have
an idea that magic is only part of the equation. You saw hints of another
kind of power in the Monster Manual and the Dungeon Masters
Guide. That tantalizing word: psionics! The power of mind over matter.
You knew there had to be more. And you were right.
to the marvel of the mind.
put, psionics is the art of tapping the minds potential. A psionic
character is blessed with a form of innate ability that enables him or
her to use mental power to achieve goals or perform tasks that nonpsionic
characters can accomplish -- if theyre even capable of doing them
at all -- only by using gross physical skills such as brute strength or
raw agility, or by using intellect or force of will as distinct from the
natural power of the mind itself.
characters mind is an infinite metaphorical plane, on which all
things are possible. It may be that all characters have within them the
potential for harnessing the energy of the mind, but only those who succeed
in tapping into that potential can become psionic characters. A psionic
character knows how to navigate the mental pathways that lead to amazing
edifices of thought and energy. Knowing the path, the psionic character
walks it. Like a flare thrown off a star, a psionic power is manifested
from the psionic characters energy of consciousness.
you hunger to learn the psionic art. With this handbook, you can. Then
let all the world stand in awe of your characters mental might.
As you will it, so it is done.
book gives you everything you need to create and play psionic characters,
including psionic items and psionic foes. It features the following chapters.
(Chapter 1): This chapter introduces two new character classes: the
psion and psychic warrior. The psion comes in six different "flavors,"
each of which follows the call of one of the psionic disciplines: Psychometabolism,
Psychoportation, Psychokinesis, Metacreativity, Clairsentience, and Telepathy.
The psychic warrior melds psionic arts with martial arts, and all fear
her crystal blade. Psionic characters can multiclass with standard character
classes found in the Players Handbook.
(Chapter 2): Psionic characters can use all the skills introduced
in the Players Handbook, plus they have exclusive access
to a few new skills detailed here, including Autohypnosis, Knowledge (psionics),
Remote View, Stabilize Self, and Use Psionic Device.
3): Yet more special abilities for psionic characters, such as Deep
Impact, Improved Psicrystal, Inertial Armor, Psionic Shot, Fell Shot,
and Up the Walls (to name only a few). Most of these feats are exclusive
to psionic characters.
4): This chapter discusses how psionic characters discover, choose,
and manifest psionic powers, along with providing rules for adjudicating
special situations. The default rule allows magic and psionics to work
with and against each other, but optional rules for making psionics and
magic different are also provided. Redesigned rules for psionic combat
reside here as well, including five psionic attack modes and five psionic
defense modes. Nonpsionic characters have little to fear from psionic
attack modes, except for the dreaded mind blast.
5): This chapter reveals almost three hundred psionic powers rated
from level 0 to level 9 for psions and psychic warriors. Many powers will
be familiar to readers familiar with older rules, though these have been
retooled, while many of the powers are completely new.
(Chapter 6): This chapter shows you how to take your psionic characters
in exciting directions with four new prestige classes: the metamind, determined
to amass as much psionic power as possible; the pyrokineticist, who doesnt
think that playing with fire is at all dangerous; the slayer, who devotes
his life to ridding the world of the despicable illithid; and the soulknife,
who knows how to manifest mental power in a blade of semisolid psychic
energy. This chapter also provides guidelines for creating psionic NPCs
of 1st through 20th level (the six varieties of psion plus the psychic
warrior) that your characters may encounter, befriend, or fight.
Psionic Items (Chapter
7): Both psionic and nonpsionic characters might be interested in
some of the items described here. Psionic weapons, armor, dorjes, psionic
tattoos, crystal capacitors, power stones, and wondrous items are presented
in a format similar to that of the Magic Items chapter in the Dungeon
Masters Guide. New categories of wondrous items include crawling
tattoos, third eyes, and psychoactive skins. Heres where youll
find out about superpowerful psionic artifacts such as the Staff of Ancient
Penumbra and the Annulus. This chapter also contains rules for creating
your own psionic items.
(Chapter 8): Here youll find psionically endowed monsters to
challenge all characters, nonpsionic and psionic alike. Favorites from
earlier versions of the game, including the githyanki and the githzerai,
are provided, as well as several new monsters. Most importantly, a psionic
template in the front of this chapter allows you to make almost any D&D
monster into a psionic creature.
played earlier editions of the D&D game, youll notice
that this psionics system features elements of previous D&D
game psionics systems. That said, those features were stripped out, laid
out on a game-mechanic work bench, then rebuilt from the ground up.
people do not use psionics in their D&D games. This reluctance
is usually due to the way previous editions have handled psionics rules.
In previous editions, psionics rule systems are add-ons that do not dovetail
well with the core rules. In contrast, psionics rules for the new edition
of the D&D game are integrated into the core mechanics of the
game. A psionic character will be balanced with a nonpsionic character
of equal level. Youll be able to multiclass into and out of the
psionic character classes like you can with the core classes.
fear for the balance of your game when you use the Psionics Handbook.
Have at it, and enjoy.