New Class - Alien Hybrid/Telepath

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Chimera_Prime
Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu ContributorACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Contributor
Joined: 2018-04-10 02:50
New Class - Alien Hybrid/Telepath
So i have been playing with the class on Omer's blog:
Visitor hybrid:
Also referenced this post when deciding powers:
 
So, I started trying to build a class using the level 0 (non-mage), using thief powers to get spells to mimic the visitor monsters powers. Then I sort of added the ability to use all technology along the way, deciding to give it 1d6 HD so it can go into combat with some of that stuff. Then i went a little over the top on the telepath referances... (maybe? I not sure where thematic corosses over with fandom).  I ended up with this (will post the build notes in the next post). Its sort of a telepath and technology user blend without being a full spell options style class.
 
PSION
Prime Requisite: WIS
Requirements: DEX 10, INT 10, CON less than 16
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 13
 
The enigmatic Visitors came from beyond the stars to pursue ends unknown. As part of their mysterious mission they abduct ordinary humans to perform experiments on them. Sometimes children come of these experiments, cuckoos created by eldritch rituals in the Visitors’ alien laboratories. These Nephilim, half human and half Visitor, grow up to be eccentric outsiders, belonging to neither the terrestrial world nor the alien realms. Nephilim are usually somewhat shorter than ordinary humans, slight of build, with greyish skin, dark oily hair and almond-shaped multi-faceted eyes. The Psion is a Nephilim who has taken up the path of focusing on their innate mental abilities and technological knowledge, rather than pursuing paths arcane.

The Visitors have visited many worlds. Thus, any ACKS setting where science-fiction and/or science-fantasy content is appropriate may have Visitor and with them, Nephilim. Similar to the Nephil class (BCK), the Psion class relies heavily on the existence of alien artifacts in the setting, without which several of its abilities lose their usefulness. Therefore, the class is most appropriate in a setting where such technology is in use, at least as treasure.
 
Psions lack the physique or temperament for heavy fighting, but through exercises and rote training designed to focus their mind and body they become capable combatants. At first level, Psions hit an unarmored foe (AC 0) with an attack throw of 10+. They advance in attack throws by two points every four levels of experience (i.e. the same as thieves), and use the saving throw progression of thieves. They may use leather armor, as well as all technological armors, and may use their innate mental powers while in armor. They may fight with any alien weapons (regardless of class restrictions) but are only trained in the use of daggers, short swords and swords as well as crossbows and arbalests. They may fight wielding a weapon with two hands but are not trained to use shields or dual wield weapons. They may perform one cleave attack per two levels of experience. They may use any magical and technological items usable by thieves.
 
Because of their alien mindset, they can use alien technology as if they were an arcane spellcaster. They may make the technological research test in place of arcane research when such tests are required by an alien device, such as reprogramming a robot. All Nephilim possess an instinctive knowledge – an inborn alien lore - of Visitor technology, and thus have the equivalent of the Alien Lore proficiency in weapons, armor, and chemicals. Nephilim can achieve On-the-Spot Understanding of an alien artifact from these three categories on a proficiency throw of 7+, and only suffer mishaps on a natural 1 in those categories. They can rely on their subconscious alien intuition to achieve On- the-Spot Understanding with all other types of alien tech on a proficiency throw of 11+ (with mishaps only on a 1). Their extensive knowledge of alien lore also grants them a +3 bonus on all research throws related to alien technology (already factored into technological research).
 
Nephilim are also highly tuned to their surroundings and enjoy sharp alien senses that grant a +1 bonus to avoid surprise and a +4 bonus on any proficiency throws to hear noises and detect secret doors. With a proficiency throw of 18+ a Psion can notice secret doors with just casual observation. Thanks to the genes inherited from their telepathic alien progenitors, Nephilim may use ESP (as per the spell) every 8 hours, with a casting time of 1 round. They have a telepathic ability to perceive intentions and always know the exact reaction result (Hostile, Unfriendly, etc.) of creatures they interact with, even if the creature's attempt to lie or conceal their intentions. Creatures with a CHA greater than the character’s WIS are immune to this power, though the character will know they are immune.
 
Due to their alien nature, Nephilim suffer a -1 penalty to the reactions, loyalty, and morale of humans and other humanoids, but gain a +1 bonus to the reactions, loyalty, and morale of Nephilim and pure-blood Visitors.
 
At 3rd level (psychic) their growing mental powers enable them to psychically manipulate those with similar mental structures to their own. The Psion may use Charm Person (as per the spell) every hour, with a casting time of 1 round.
 
Their mental powers continue to grow and from 5th level (telepath) their telepathic powers allow them to probe deeply into the minds of others and forcibly extract thoughts, emotions and intentions. The Psion may use Telepathy (as per the spell) every day, with a casting time of 1 round.
 
At 7th level (mentalist) their understanding of the mind enables them to dominate the mind of an individual. The Psion may use Command Person (as per the spell) once per week, with a casting time of 1 round.
 
Upon reaching 9th level (meta-psion), a psion achieves metapsionic mastery allowing them to use their power more frequently. The abilities physically manipulate, telepathic powers and ESP may be used at will. Dominate the mind may be used once per day.
 
Also on reaching 9th level (meta-psion), a psion can build a refuge for other nephilim and human families that are outcasts of other domains taking on the role of leader. When he does so, up to 1d4+1x10 0th level mercenaries and 1d6 psions of 1st-3rd level will come to apply for jobs and training. If hired, they must be paid standard rates for mercenaries. To maintain order and wellbeing for all this domain does not adopt a religion but instead funds a society of telepaths who guide and assist the population for the benefit of all. The cost to maintain this is the same as a  religion and while this cost is paid the domain moral can never be negative as telepaths ensure all thoughts are directed towards the benefit of the society. In most societies these telepaths build on the greater good fulfilling the role priest often fill in other societies, but in domains suffering from outward threats or difficult times they are often viewed more as thought police keeping the social order together above the needs of the individual. Additional rules for domains are detailed in the Campaign chapter.
 
At 11th level (meta-psion, 11th level) their mastery of mental manipulation allows them to manipulate monsters and other strange minds. The Psion may use Charm Monster (as per the spell) once per day, with a casting time of 1 round.
 
Upon  attaining  13th level (transcendent),  the psion gains the ability  to project their mental form.  After 1 turn (10 minutes)  of meditation, the psion enters  a deep trance during which his mental form  projects free of his body. Once a projection  begins, it continues until the psions projection  returns to his body, to a maximum duration of 13  hours. A projecting psion's mental form appears as a stylized version of their physical form.  The psion can see and hear normally, move around at his normal movement rate, and pass  through solid objects without difficulty. However, the projecting psion cannot see into, hear  sounds from, or move through an area warded by an antimagic shell or protection from evil spell  or similar effect. The projecting psion is incorporeal and invisible, but can be detected with detect invisible  or true seeing, harmed by spells and magic weapons if detected, and forced to return to his body with dispel  evil. If the psion’s body is destroyed, the character dies at the end of the projection. If the psion’s spirit is  destroyed, his body falls into a catatonic slumber that can only be lifted with restore life and limb, resurrection,  or wish. Projecting is so taxing that it can be performed but once per week.
 
Psion Proficiency List (29): Alien Lore, Arcane Dabbling, Bargaining, Beast Friendship, Blind  Fighting, Bribery, Climbing, Combat Reflexes, Combat Trickery (disarm, incapacitate), Command, Contortionism, Diplomacy, Eavesdropping, Fighting Style, Gambling, Illusion Resistance, Intimidation, Mapping, Martial Training, Mystic Aura, Passing Without Trace, Precise Shooting, Running, Seduction, Swashbuckling, Wakefulness, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus.
Class proficiencies at: 1st, 4th, 8th, 12th.
General proficiencies at: 1st, 5th, 9th, 13th.
 
Troubleshooter Template:  This pre-generated template represents a researcher seeking to uncover the truth and recover arcane and visitor artifacts that reveal secrets of the past. The template is ready for adventure. However, if your troubleshooter's INT is 13 or greater, you may pick one or more additional general proficiencies before play if you’d like (see Starting Proficiencies  in Chapter 4 of ACKS).
Template
Researcher
Proficiencies:
Arcane Dabbling, Mapping
Starting Equipment
Crossbow, case with 20 bolts, slender shortsword, boot holstered dagger, leather armor, cloak with deep hood, traveler’s tunic and pants, black gloves, leather belt, shoes, backpack, 2 small sack, 2 large sacks, thick woolen blanket, 50' rope, grappling hook, tinder box, 6 torches, 1 weeks’ iron rations, canteen of water, 15gp. (5 2/6 st., Move 90’/30’)
 
Psion level progression
Experience
Title
Level
Hit Dice
Technological Research
0
Sensitive
1
1d6
13+
1,725
Reader
2
2d6
12+
3,450
Psychic
3
3d6
11+
6,900
Mystic
4
4d6
10+
13,800
Telepath
5
5d6
9+
27,600
Auger
6
6d6
8+
55,000
Mentalist
7
7d6
7+
110,000
Cerebral
8
8d6
6+
265,000
Meta-psion
9
9d6
5+
420,000
Meta-psion, 10th Level
10
9d6+2*
4+
575,000
Meta-psion, 11th Level
11
9d6+4*
3+
730,000
Meta-psion, 12th Level
12
9d6+6*
2+
885,000
Transcendent
13
9d6+8*
1+
 
Psion (Thief) Attack and Saving Throws
Level
Petrification & Paralysis
Poison & Death
Blast & Breath
Staffs & Wands
Spells
Attack
Throw
1-2
13+
10+ 
16+
13+
15+
10+
3-4
12+
9+
15+
12+
14+
9+
5-6
11+
8+
14+
11+
13+
8+
7-8
10+
7+
13+
10+
12+
7+
9-10
9+
6+
12+
9+
11+
6+
11-12
8+
5+
11+
8+
10+
5+
13
7+
4+
10+
7+
9+
4+

 

Chimera_Prime
Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu ContributorACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Contributor
Joined: 2018-04-10 02:50
My build notes:
Psion  Build Notes
Allocations: HP 1, FTR 1b (1 tradeoff), THF 2, Hybrid 0
Max level: 13
Tradeoff: Remove one fighting style
Weapons: broad, selecting an 'all alien weapons’ as one broad category. Selecting 5 choices as the other, adding the martial training proficiency to the list to compensate for low weapon choice.
Armor: Narrow, but spending the point gained in dropping the fighting style to get the power suit on the list.
Fighting style: one remains, two handed selected for the alien rapier two handed use.
Power - scientific mindset from terran for 2
Power - one power every odd level after 1 for 3 points, as half chosen.
3 - charm person (1/hour)
5 - telepathy (1/day)
7 - command person (1/week)
9 - Command of the mind - cooldowns at name level
11 - charm monster (1/day) (affected by 9)
13 - project mind.
Save: Save as thief
Magic items: thief
Prime requisite: for thief it's DEX or CHA, but this thematically seems more a WIS class, so going with that. This reflects the mental strength required to master these powers of the mind.
Domain: lacking thief skills I went with the bard option of taking a fighter domain, but instead of the 5th level bonus they gained the thought police (no idea on its balance but I just couldn't get the psi corps out of my head).
Post 9 hp: as thief = 2 per level
XP: 500+500+400+325  = 1725; Round 7 down; Post 8 = FTR 100,000 + visitor hybrid 55,000 = 155,000 per level.
General notes:
I see perceive intentions as still useful with telepathy present as it is always on, and telepathy requires concentration. It's effectively an always present surface read. ESP allows shallow read, Telepathy deep read.
The level 9  - Basically reducing cooldowns across the board. Given the discrete/themed nature of the powers I’m just counting this as one even though it could be 2 or 3 in relative effect. This is carefully considered based on the nature of the spells as below (all detection/controll based, little combat effect outside dominate).
  • ESP - already lasts two hours anyway, so is up 2 out of its 8 recast.
  • Charm person - still takes an action and is already once an hour. Also is simulated by some passive reaction test proficiencies in mass. This remains a single target cast.
  • Telepathy - allows deep reading - requires full concentration and cannot move. So it’s use is already limited.
  • The later charm monster is cooled down by this too - mostly to avoid bookkeeping really… And increase the fun.
 
My only concern remains my undercosting of the level 9 power, but i think im ok here...
In terms of play i think most of its cost goes into tech related gear use, making it heavily dependant on items it finds, the psi powers are thematic and able to be used ‘çleaverly’.
 
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

Looks wonderful! I like this take on Psionics, which is distinct from magic. My only concern would be Charm Person, which is quite frequent once per hour; consider that a Mage at Level 3 will have far less frequent use of this powerful spell. Maybe once per day? Or at most three times per day?

Chimera_Prime
Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu ContributorACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Contributor
Joined: 2018-04-10 02:50

Thanks for the kind words. I see what you mean about charm when you put it like that. I was so focused on the mid level I didn’t look at its early game impacts. I think I will drop it down to the same level as ESP, once per eight hours. I find it tends to be once to twice per day at that rate. Given the thief xp is about a third of the mage I definitely don’t want them to be close to on par. This change also takes a bit of pressure off the cool down effect that comes later, in that your not getting as much early on for a later payoff.

Thanks for the blogs that inspired me by by the way :) My players find my approach to sword and planet to be odd but fun, and BCK was the trigger for that.

 

Loswaith
Joined: 2017-05-12 02:19

For the 9th power, metapsionic mastery, rather than making them at will (thus once per action/round) you could have it as once per hour as you planed initially for psychically manipulate. This effectivly makes them seem like it is at will, but would prevent the use of charm person every round in combat (unless that is the desire), reinforcing that more out of combat feel to the power.  Once per hour or at will doesnt really seem to impact the others to much as they tend to last for a while anyway.