New class - the Psychic

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golan2072
Patreon SupporterBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu AuthorPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu BackerACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Backer
Joined: 2012-01-14 14:14
New class - the Psychic

Psionics. Ever since I first watched Babylon 5 in the mid-late 1990's, I was fascinated by them - by the powers of the mind. I wrote some rules for them for the Cepheus Engine, not being satisfied with how it treats psionics in its core rules. However, in fantasy, things are a little different. For what are psionics, but science-fiction magic? So I was, in the past, on the fence about their inclusion in fantasy settings. However, in more "gonzo" quasi-science-fantasy settings such as my (published) Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu (BCK), or my prospective Blighted Lands post-apocalyptic setting for ACKS, they should fit well.

So, like the sorcerer, I used the magic type creation rules from Axioms I to create psionics as a custom type of "magic". Yes, you read me right - "magic". I find the ACKS spellcasting rules to be robust, more robust than, say the old AD&D Psionics Handbooks rules, or even the ACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook's spellsinging rules. So I am taking a similar road to the one I took with BCK's visitor hybrid: my psionics use a variant, custom type of "spellcasting", designed per Axioms I as noted above, rather than the traditional AD&D (or my beloved Traveller) psi-point system.

You can find the psychic magic type design sheet HERE.
Psychics have "inherited" magic with standard (mage-like) progression. Unlike sorcerers, they lack a code of behavior and do not have to fear Corruption, and cannot turn or control undead. They have mage-type saving throws (i.e., the worst) and both INT and CHA as prime requisites. They may use magic items accessible to mages.
 
Psychics have no access to "sorcerous" spells such as Blast, Summoning, Transmogrification, or Wall spells. However, they receive powerful Detection and Enchantment spells very early and have good illusion and movement spells (as a mage) - all befitting the masters of the mind.
 
A "full" psychic is at 2 build points and 950 XP, which I may yet round to 1000 XP for convenience sake. "Half" progression is that 450 XP; 133% psionics are at 1900 xp; and 150% psionics are at 3800 XP, which seems a bit excessive.
 
I have in mind (so to speak!) two psionic classes:
 
Psychic
The psychic is the master of the mind - yet skilled in survival in blighted lands and barbaric jungles alike. Men fear him (or her!) - as his mysterious mental might can dominate the will of others and penetrate even the deepest, most private thoughts of a hapless "mundane". Unlike mages or clerics, the psychic needs neither spellbooks nor holy symbols; his very presence provides him with power over the minds of others. Playing a psychic means mastering the mind - that of the character himself, and that of his enemies.
 
Class build would be Psychic 2, Fighting 1b (as thief), and Hit Dice 1 (1d6 per level). This grants full access to psionic powers (with full mage-style progression), as well as decent fighting capabilities. This costs 1950 XP to rise to level 2; I'll round it to 2000 XP (as a fighter) to make the higher level XP values more convenient.
 
Psionic Knight
Some men (and women!) master not only their minds, as a psychic does, but also the blade and the shield. A keen mind, powerful enough to rob opponents of their most intimate thoughts and bend them to the psionic knight's will, augments a steady sword-arm. If the psionic knight survives long enough to become a mind lord - a psionic warlord - his psychic skills grant him a strategic advantage against his "mundane" opponents, granting military intelligence and providing strategic capabilities beyond the ken of ordinary men.
 
Class build would be Psychic 1, Fighting 2 (as fighter), and Hit Dice 1 (1d6 per level). This grants half of a psychic's power progression, together with great martial prowess. This also costs 1950 XP to rise to level 2; I'll round it to 2000 XP (as a fighter) to make the higher level XP values more convenient.
 
I also wanted to add a savant class with Psionics 4 but 3,800 XP to get to level 2 seem like an excessive price for 150% spells.
 
Next, I will design the psionic "spell" list based on the magic type design I have linked above.
golan2072
Patreon SupporterBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu AuthorPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu BackerACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Backer
Joined: 2012-01-14 14:14

In the previous post, I presented my take on psionics for ACKS.

As noted, these are the psionic spell type categories:

Blast - unavilable
Death - as cleric
Detection - half cleric!
Enchantment - half cleric!
Healing - 1.5 cleric (i.e. slower progression)
Illusion - as mage
Movement - as mage
Protection - standard as cleric and mage
Summoning - unavailable
Transmogrification - unavailable
Wall - unavailable
 
So:
 
* denotes a reversible spell
(note that a spell and its reverse are separate spells for a psychic and must be learned separately)
Italics denote a spell from the ACKS Player's Companion,
 
Level 1:
Charm Person
Command Word
Detect Chaos*
Detect Charm*
Detect Danger
Detect Invisible
Detect Magic
Detect Secret Doors
ESP
Find Traps
Locate Object
Protection from Chaos
Read Languages
Remove Fear*
Sleep
Speak with Animals
Trance
Ventriculism
 
Level 2:
Choking Grip
Clairaudience
Clairvoyance
Cure Light Wounds*
Enthrall
Hold Person
Hypnotic Patterns
Inaudiability
Invisibility
Levitate
Mirror Image
Phantasmal Force
Telepathy
 
Level 3:
Charm Monster
Chimerical Force
Confusion
Command Animals
Command Person
Command Plants
Delay Poison
Dispel Magic
Fly
Invisibility, 10' Radius
Locate Object
Nondetection
Protection from Chaos, Sustained*
Protection from Normal Missiles
Speak with Plants
Tongues
Wizard Eye
 
Level 4:
Control Animals
Control Undead
Cure Moderate Wounds*
Fear
Feign Death
Dimension Door
Divination
Feeblemind
Hallucinatory Terrain
Hold Monster
Panic
Remove Curse*
Strength of Mind*
True Seeing
 
Level 5:
Control Plants
Cure Blindness
Cure Disease
Cure Serious Wounds*
Enslave
Neutralize Poison*
Passwall
Telekinesis
Teleport
Geas*
 
Level 6:
Anti-Magic Shell
Dispel Chaos
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GMJoe
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Joined: 2013-01-04 12:56

Huh, this is pretty cool.

The "they may use magic items accessible to mages" thing does mean that a psionicist could wave wands of magic missile and read scrolls of fireball, which seems a little counter to the intended flavour... But I guess BCK does make psychic powers and arcane magic equivilent for the purpose of using visitor technology, so maybe I'm just overthinking it.

golan2072
Patreon SupporterBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu AuthorPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu BackerACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Backer
Joined: 2012-01-14 14:14

The question is what magic items they can use. You have a point - using wands and scrolls is inappropriate for this class. So maybe use magic items available to thieves? Or only magic items without class restrictions?
 

GMJoe
Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu BackerACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Backer
Joined: 2013-01-04 12:56

Is it possible to trade away magic item use for other special abilities? The player's companion says that magic item use is tied to saving throw progression, but was the special ability-equivilent value of mage magic item use given in an issue of Axioms, or something?

jojodogboy
Patreon Supporter
Joined: 2017-09-04 12:05

If I had to guess it would count as 1 or 1 1/2 a power as arcane dabbling is basically magic item use as a mage for a single proficiency.  Another option is to create items only usable by psionic characters.

jojodogboy
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Joined: 2017-09-04 12:05

BTW pretty cool work.

golan2072
Patreon SupporterBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu AuthorPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu BackerACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Backer
Joined: 2012-01-14 14:14

Thanks!