What do you get for the mind that has everything?
We always knew Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Occult Adventures would have a full 9-level caster who could cast all the biggest and baddest psychic spells. This was our psychic, running fully on the power of her intellect. The big challenge with 9-level casters is always making them unique without making their non-spell class features too powerful. Getting full spell access is a big deal, and doesn't leave a lot of room for other bells and whistles. This is also the Pathfinder RPG's first Intelligence-based fully spontaneous caster, drawing on the strange psychic structures of her mind rather than her force of personality. And that unique mental structure leads to...
Psychic disciplines! Because psychic magic is heady and full of occult weirdness, one of my priorities was making sure there was something for the player to wrap their head around a little bit more easily—a frame of reference for how her psychic works. Psychic disciplines fill that space by describing what techniques the psychic uses to access the spells from her mind. In many ways, it's akin to praying to a deity for a cleric or studying a spellbook for a wizard, but far more individualized to suit how psychic magic works. (This wasn't just useful for the players. Even the design team had some trouble wrapping our brains around the esoteric concepts this book talks about, so it was valuable for us too.) Much like sorcerer bloodlines, disciplines give additional abilities and additions to the psychic's spell list mirror bloodlines in many ways, and provide roleplaying cues. The disciplines didn't change drastically after playtest, except for a few balance and thematic issues, particularly in the pain discipline. The final version of the class adds several new disciplines: dream, faith, psychedelia, rapport, and self-perfection. Faith and self-perfection lend a bit of a divine feel and a bit of a monk theme, respectively. Some of these, like dream, required some of the new spells from the book to function properly, so we waited to add those until the final version.
Though our version of mental magic differs wildly from ye olde psionic rules, the psychic's phrenic amplifications were designed to recapture some of the feeling of augmenting spells. The psychic can exert herself to dig into the workings of her mind and mess with the very nature of her spells. Some of the new phrenic amplifications let the psychic read the thoughts of creatures affected by a spell, spend phrenic points to improve her undercast spells, or replicate metamagic feats.
Now, the biggest change to the psychic isn't really any of her special abilities. It's her spell list. From the playtest, the psychic spell list has expanded dramatically, including the vast majority of the new spells from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Occult Adventures. The psychic is also the only class with access to undercast spells. The spell list more than doubled in size from the playtest version. At the low end, the book introduces a telekinetic 0-level spell that hurls an object at an opponent. With high-level magic, the psychic can duplicate herself to be in two places at once, make a special ship that can take her and her companions on a voyage through dreams, or permanently switch minds with another creature.
Archetypes for the psychic have an interesting range. The psychic can get better at psychic duels (a new subsystem in the book) with the psychic duelist archetype, adopt physical mutations with the mutation mind, or shed her physical body with the formless adept. The craziest archetype we've included is the amnesiac, who forgets her own spellcasting ability and can attempt to recall spells to determine which ones she knows at a given time.