Psionics as always on supernatural abilities?


Homebrew and House Rules

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

I’d like to see psionics come to Pathfinder and provide both new rules and new story options. I know the topic is controversial, but I hope we can keep it civil.

Instead of using points, I’d like to see psionics as always on supernatural abilities. D&D 3.5 warlocks used this idea but I’d like to see it confined ONLY to psionics in PF. That makes psionics unique but also still magical, still in the existing rule framework, and still useful and interesting.

All psions would have the psionic blast ability. They can always make a ranged attack with it unless magic is suppressed.

In addition, each psion would start out knowing one of the six sciences. Telepathy, for example, might give the psion ESP all the time. In addition, the psion could pick a discipline from the science, for example precognition that gives the psion a dodge bonus. These abilities are always on, 24/7.

As the psion advances, he learns both new sciences and new disciplines. He can manifest a few more abilities as he rises in ability. He can swap out sciences and disciplines once a day as needed as he develops new ones.

The psion would actually be more magic than other casters. A psion would fear a magic dead zone more than anyone else. Having the psionic power that is always on shut off could drive a psion mad (and some interesting books have explored this very event). As supernatural powers, the sciences and disciplines already work in the existing rules.

Roleplaying wise, the question for many non-psions is how human (or elf or dwarf) is a psion? If you always have strange energy flowing through you, all the time, are you really the same as me? Or are you a mutant freak? Dangerous even. And how does the psion feel? Does always having active abilities powered by his mind make him better than others?

Also, where does the power for psionics come from? Does it come from terrible alien minds existing in madness in the darkness between dead stairs? Is it manifested by strong will? Or perhaps alien and strange rocks or fungus found deep in the Darklands.

Psions could also tend more toward mental or physical power. A psion who can extend claws formed by the rage in his own mind and defend himself with righteous indignation made into hardened flesh will be quite different from a cunning telepath who reads minds and maybe steals spells or abilities.

Ruleswise, lots of options would open up. Wild talents might allow a non-psion to take a discipline to use. Alien sciences might exist; for example the aboleths could have the dark matter science that allows them to manipulate the terrible black void between dead stars. What happens to a human that masters dark matter science?

Also, existing monsters could easily be made psionic. Any creature with caster levels could swap all those levels for psion levels, turning existing creatures into psionic versions.

Finally, perhaps locations exist rich in psionic energy (the Darklands, certain monasteries, ancient rings of stone or pyramids etc.) and those poor in psionic energy (technological advanced areas, areas where terrible genocide or atrocities wiped up much life, or areas ruined by magic run amok). Psions might travel to these areas, guard them, and fight over them. Prisoners might be interred in psionic poor areas.

I'm wondering if this idea of a magic-rich psion appeals to anyone else. The psion would have a different casting method than divine or arcane caster but the rules already exist in the system.


Charles Dunwoody wrote:

I’d like to see psionics come to Pathfinder and provide both new rules and new story options. I know the topic is controversial, but I hope we can keep it civil.

Instead of using points, I’d like to see psionics as always on supernatural abilities. D&D 3.5 warlocks used this idea but I’d like to see it confined ONLY to psionics in PF. That makes psionics unique but also still magical, still in the existing rule framework, and still useful and interesting.

All psions would have the psionic blast ability. They can always make a ranged attack with it unless magic is suppressed.

In addition, each psion would start out knowing one of the six sciences. Telepathy, for example, might give the psion ESP all the time. In addition, the psion could pick a discipline from the science, for example precognition that gives the psion a dodge bonus. These abilities are always on, 24/7.

As the psion advances, he learns both new sciences and new disciplines. He can manifest a few more abilities as he rises in ability. He can swap out sciences and disciplines once a day as needed as he develops new ones.

The psion would actually be more magic than other casters. A psion would fear a magic dead zone more than anyone else. Having the psionic power that is always on shut off could drive a psion mad (and some interesting books have explored this very event). As supernatural powers, the sciences and disciplines already work in the existing rules.

Roleplaying wise, the question for many non-psions is how human (or elf or dwarf) is a psion? If you always have strange energy flowing through you, all the time, are you really the same as me? Or are you a mutant freak? Dangerous even. And how does the psion feel? Does always having active abilities powered by his mind make him better than others?

Also, where does the power for psionics come from? Does it come from terrible alien minds existing in madness in the darkness between dead stairs? Is it manifested by strong will? Or perhaps alien and strange rocks or fungus...

Supernatural abilities bypass SR, one of the issues that was a part of the variant/optional rules, and it still keeps coming up even thought it was not the norm. Another complaint is the fact that a grappled psion can still cast meaning they can bypass most issues that spellcasters have to deal with. I dont think having a class that can ignore magic, and its weaknessess to a large extent, will go over well. If the abilities are "at will" they can be spammed. That was an issue. The witch's hex issue is getting heat now. If you create a class than can do these things all day long with several abilities it will not go well. I am not saying it won't be balanced, but the same complaints will come up. Now I am sure people that don't like it will come up with some other reasons.

Calling them sciences will also not go well fluff wise for a lot of people.
People losing their characters due to madness in an antimagic zone(I don't know if Golarion has any) would not sit well with me. Antimagic zones already cause supernatural powers to stop working anyway. That is more than enough of an issue.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Instead of supernatural abilities, the psion could use spell-like abilities. The name sciences already exists for psionics but it could be changed.

I'm not sure what spamming means, but the psion would have a small handful of abilities not several spells as a normal caster does. It worked pretty well with the 3.5 warlock and that class is somewhat underpowered for PF.


Charles Dunwoody wrote:
I'm not sure what spamming means

Used over and over again without thought, reason, or caution.


Madak wrote:
Charles Dunwoody wrote:
I'm not sure what spamming means
Used over and over again without thought, reason, or caution.

Thanks. I've never heard the term spamming applied to gaming before.


Charles Dunwoody wrote:

Instead of supernatural abilities, the psion could use spell-like abilities. The name sciences already exists for psionics but it could be changed.

I'm not sure what spamming means, but the psion would have a small handful of abilities not several spells as a normal caster does. It worked pretty well with the 3.5 warlock and that class is somewhat underpowered for PF.

If it uses SLA's then many would not accept it as psionics, and even so the issues of being able to get around things spells can't such as being silenced would still be an issue. The warlock had SLA's that were not that good, and its main shtick was the ray for 1d6 every so many levels that still had to deal with SR, and crappy damage at higher levels. The concept was nice, but the execution sucked. Now if it just had special powers similar to the ToB, but were restricted by magic in some sense that might work.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I think this is a really bad idea.

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