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The Mind Mage: A Pathfinder Psionicist

 
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masterarminas
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:55 pm    Post subject: The Mind Mage: A Pathfinder Psionicist Reply with quote

Psionics. That single word makes more DMs cringe with fear and loathing than any other in the game system. Although an integral part of the game since the introduction of 1st Edition AD&D, in many ways the powers of the mind have been the red-headed step-child. Over the various editions and revisions and updates and overhauls, it seems that psionic powers—and those who use them—have never quite fit into the game. The mechanics have been different, and complex, sometimes overpowering, sometimes barely keeping up with more traditional forms of spellcasting. But psionics should be a part of the fantasy role-playing game experience. There are specific settings (such as Katherine Kurtz’s Deryni series) which highlight how these powers do fit into fantasy.

With the following class, I have taken as a theme the three most common psionic powers used in literature, film, and drama: pyrokinesis, telekinesis, and telepathy. The class that follows is built around using spells (not power points, but spells!) that focus on these three elements of traditional psionic myths and legends. The class also receives a number of extraordinary, spell-like, and supernatural abilities that augment those powers.

What I hope to do is to make a class that fits into the Pathfinder system and does not require a new set of rules to use. A class that integrates psionics into the existing framework of how the game works, and that does so in a way that does not overshadow the current classes, but remains true to the literary history and mythology of psionics. I don’t have all the answers, and many people who are used to the power point system of 3.5 and Dreamscarred Press will not particularly like my take on the concept. I realize that starting out. This idea is a starting point for a class and not a finished product. I would appreciate any advice, critiques, constructive criticisms, and suggestions that you may have to offer.

And thank you for bringing an open mind to this work.

Master Arminas

The Mind Mage

The mind is a powerful thing—as powerful for a select few as piety and study. The mind mage seeks to harness that power, to understand it, and through it to exert his influence on the world around him. For the most part, the mind mage is a subtle individual who gently nudges others into doing his will. But when angered, the mind mage is capable of terrible destruction with his command of fire and purely kinetic energies. A student of the ‘third’ domain of magic (Mentalism), mind mage’s are often mistaken for more common sorcerers, wizards, and magi—which is often how those who wield the power of the mind prefer it.

Role: The Mind Mage is a powerful full-level caster of magic, akin to the Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, and Wizard. Although his skill list is not quite as versatile as that of the Sorcerer, the Mind Mage receives numerous special abilities that augment his powers and make him a force not to be taken lightly. Depending on the exact spell selection the character makes, the Mind Mage can carry out many different roles, from dealing damage to serving as the face of a party to using utility and transportation magic to move from one place to the next. This class, as much as any full-spellcaster, is one that demands an inventive and intelligent player to gain its fullest benefit.

Alignment: Any

Hit Die: d6

Base Attack Bonus: Low

Good Saving Throws: Will

Class Skills: Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (any) Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).

Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: The mind mage is proficient with all simple weapons. He is not proficient with any type of armor or with a shield of any kind. However, a mind mage’s spells are not subject to arcane spell failure and the mind mage may freely cast when wearing armor if he takes the appropriate feats.

CLASS FEATURES

Bonus Feats: A mind mage gains a bonus feat at 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th level which he may select from the following list: Greater Spell Focus, Greater Spell Penetration, Heavy Armor Proficiency, Light Armor Proficiency; Martial Weapon Proficiency, Medium Armor Proficiency, Spell Focus, Spell Penetration, or any metamagic feat.

Spells: A mind mage casts mentalism spells drawn from the mind mage spell list. He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time. To learn or cast a spell, a mind mage must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a mind mage’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the mind mage’s Intelligence modifier.
Like other spellcasters, a mind mage can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is the same as that of the Sorcerer class. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Intelligence score.
The mind mage’s selection of spells is extremely limited. A mind mage begins play knowing four 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells of the mind mage’s choice from his spell list. At each new mind mage level, he gains one or more new spells, as per the Sorcerer’s spells known table. (Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a mind mage knows is not affected by his Intelligence score.)
Upon reaching 4th level, and at every even numbered mind mage level after that (6th, 8th, and so on), a mind mage can choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows. In effect, the mind mage “loses” the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged, and it must be at least one level lower than the highest-level mind mage spell the mind mage can cast. A mind mage may swap only a single spell at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that he gains new spells known for the level.
A mind mage need not prepare his spells in advance. He can cast any spell he knows at any time, assuming he has not yet used up his allotment of spells per day for the spell’s level.
A mind mage casts Mentalism spells. Mentalism spells are identical to their listed arcane and divine counterparts, except as listed here. Mentalism spells require no components (verbal, somatic, or material) or focus. They are not subject to arcane spell failure. Mentalism spells do provoke attacks of opportunity like all other spells when cast. Mentalism spells are not scribed on scrolls, but are instead recorded on power stones. Mechanically, this is identical to the cost and description of normal scrolls. If a specific spell (such as restoration) requires an expensive material component or focus, then the mind mage must still possess that component or focus in order to cast the spell.

Talents (Su): Mind mages learn a number of talents, or 0-level spells, as noted under ‘Spells Known’. These spells are cast like any other spell, but they do not consume any slots and may be used again.

Telepath (Su): A mind mage gains telepathy out to 100 feet. He may communicate with another living creature that has a language, even if the mind mage and the creature do not share a language in common. A mind mage can only communicate with one creature in this fashion at a time.

Empathy (Ex): Starting at 2nd-level, a mind mage becomes able to read the emotional content of people near him. He gains a competence bonus equal to one-half his mind mage level on all Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sense Motive skill checks.

Greater Mage Hand (Sp): A mind mage of 4th-level may use mage hand, as per the spell, as a spell-like ability at will. This ability allows the mind mage to manipulate both mundane and magical objects weighing up to 5 lbs. per mind mage level.

Fire Resistance (Ex): A mind mage of 6th-level gains fire resistance 10. This protection increases to fire resistance 20 at 12th-level and fire resistance 30 at 18th-level.

Telekinetic Maneuver (Sp): At 8th-level, a mind mage may, as a standard action, invoke a telekinetic maneuver against a single creature within Medium range (100 feet + 10 feet per level of the mind mage). He can perform a bull rush, a disarm, a grapple (including a pin), or a trip against the target of this ability. The mind mage resolves this maneuver as normal, except that the maneuver does not provoke an attack of opportunity, he uses his mind mage class level in place of his base attack bonus, and he uses his Intelligence modifier in place of his Strength or Dexterity modifier. A failed maneuver attempt does not result in the mind mage being disarmed or knocked prone (if he is attempting a disarm or trip). There is no saving throw against this ability, but spell resistance applies normally. The mind mage may maintain this ability by concentration, for up to 1 round/level. He may attempt one combat maneuver each round on his action.
At 8th-level a mind mage may use this ability twice per day. At 12th-level, and every four mind mage levels gained thereafter, the mind mage gains one additional daily use of this ability.

Greater Telekinesis (Su): At 10th-level, a mind mage who selects telekinesis as a spell known may hurl twice the weight normally allowed by the spell (50 lbs. per caster level rather than 25 lbs.) and the maximum weight allowed by the spell no longer caps at 15th level. If a mind mage does not select telekinesis as one of his spells known at 10th-level, but does select it at a later date, the mind mage instead gains greater telekinesis at that level.

Mind Probe (Sp): A 12th-level mind mage may, once per day, probe the mind of a living creature. This ability requires that the mind mage touch the creature and takes one minute of concentration to activate. Once activated, the mind mage may ask the creature one question per round. The creature gets a Will save (DC 10 + one-half the mind mage’s level + the mind mage’s Intelligence modifier) for each question. If the save is successful, the creature does not have to answer. If the creature fails the save, he must answer the question truthfully and to the best of his knowledge. The mind mage may repeat the same question in order to force an answer against which the creature has already saved once; each question allows a Will save on the part of the subject.
The mind mage may maintain his mind probe for two rounds per level. At the conclusion of this ability, the mind mage is fatigued for the next 10 minutes.
At 15th-level, and again at 18th-level, the mind mage gains one additional daily use of this ability.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 14th-level, a mind mage can react to danger before his senses would normally him to do so. He cannot be caught flat-footed, even if the attacker is invisible. He still loses his Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized, or if his opponent successfully uses the feint action against him.

Probability Travel (Su): At 16th-level, a mind mage using plane shift, teleport, or any other form of transportation magic that has a chance of arriving off target, reduces the percentile rolls for distance or mishap by his mind mage class level.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A mind mage of 18th-level or higher can no longer be flanked. This defense denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack the mind mage by flanking him, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the mind mage’s class level.

Psilord (Su): At 20th-level, a mind mage gains a +2 bonus to the DC of any spell mind-affecting, fire-based, or telekinetic spell, spell-like ability, or supernatural ability that he uses. This bonus stacks with those received from Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus.
The mind mage also receives a +2 bonus on all caster level checks made to penetrate Spell Resistance when using a mind-affecting, fire-based, or telekinetic spell, spell-like ability, or supernatural ability. This bonus stacks with those received from Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration.
When the mind mage casts the spell telekinesis, he may affect a single object weighing up to 2,000 lbs, regardless of the normal weight limits imposed by the spell. Multiple objects are still limited to the mind mage’s greater telekinesis.
When using his probability travel ability, the mind mage receives -30% on the mishap or mis-arrival roll.
The mind mage becomes immune to fire upon reaching this level.

Mind Mage Spell List

0-level Spells: Bleed; Daze; Detect Magic; Detect Poison; Guidance; Know Direction; Mage Hand; Mending; Message; Open/Close; Prestidigitation; Read Magic; Stabilize

1st-level Spells: Burning Hands; Calm Animals; Charm Animal; Charm Person; Command; Comprehend Languages; Confusion, Lesser; Endure Elements; Expeditious Retreat; Feather Fall; Grease; Hold Portal; Identify; Jump; Mage Armor; Mind Thrust*; Produce Flame; Shield; Sleep

2nd-level Spells: Animal Affinity*; Calm Emotions; Chill Metal; Cure Light Wounds; Darkvision; Daze Monster; Delay Poison; Detect Thoughts; Ego Whip*; Flame Blade; Heat Metal; Hold Animal; Invisibility; Knock; Levitate; Locate Object; Make Whole; Protection from Arrows; Pyrotechnics; Scorching Ray; See Invisibility; Spider Climb; Touch of Idiocy; Undetectable Alignment

3rd-level Spells: Clairaudience/Clairvoyance; Cure Moderate Wounds; Delay Poison; Deep Slumber; Discern Lies; Dispel Magic; Dominate Animal; Fireball; Glibness; Hold Person; Nondetection; Psionic Blast*; Protection from Energy; Quench; Restoration, Lesser; Scrying; Suggestion; Tongues; Water Breathing

4th-level Spells: Charm Monster; Confusion; Crushing Despair; Cure Serious Wounds; Detect Scrying; Dimension Door; Fire Shield (warm only); Freedom of Movement; Geas, Lesser; Globe of Invulnerability, Intellect Fortress*; Lesser; Invisibility, Greater; Locate Creature; Phantasmal Killer; Remove Disease; Wall of Fire

5th-level Spells: Break Enchantment; Command, Greater; Cure Critical Wounds; Dominate Person; Dream; Feeblemind; Hold Monster; Interposing Hand; Magic Jar; Modify Memory; Nightmare; Neutralize Poison; Passwall; Permanency; Restoration; Rusting Grasp; Sending; Telekinesis; Telepathic Bond; Teleport; Tower of Iron Will*

6th-level Spells: Air Walk; Antimagic Field; Contingency; Disintegrate; Dispel Magic, Greater; Forceful Hand; Geas/Quest; Globe of Invulnerability; Plane Shift; Scrying, Greater; Suggestion, Mass; True Seeing

7th-level Spells: Delayed Blast Fireball; Ethereal Jaunt; Fire Storm; Grasping Hand; Hold Person, Mass; Insanity; Spell Turning; Teleport, Greater

8th-level Spells: Charm Monster, Mass; Clenched Fist; Clone; Irresistible Dance; Moment of Prescience; Regenerate

9th-level Spells: Astral Projection; Crushing Hand; Dominate Monster; Etherealness; Foresight; Freedom; Hold Monster, Mass; Mage’s Disjunction; Meteor Swarm

*New spell, see below for details.

New Mind Mage Spells

Animal Affinity
Transmutation
Level: Mind Mage 2
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: 1 min./level
You gain a +4 enhancement bonus to a single ability score of your choice. Select Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma when you cast this spell. You may take a standard action at any point during the spell’s duration to switch the enhancement bonus to another ability score of your choice. You may only have one animal affinity spell in effect on your person at any one time. Casting the spell a second time automatically dispels the first casting and resets the duration.

Ego Whip
Enchantment [Mind-affecting]
Level: Mind Mage 2
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One creature
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will partial, see text
Spell Resistance: Yes
You unleash a powerful bolt of mental energy that strikes a single target. You must make a ranged touch attack; if you are successful, the target suffers 1d8 points of damage per caster level (maximum 5d8) and is staggered for one round. A successful Will saving throw negates the staggered condition.

Intellect Fortress
Abjuration
Level: Mind Mage 4
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: 20 feet
Area: 20-ft.-radius emanation centered on you
Duration: 1 round/level
Saving Throw: No
Spell Resistance: No
You generate a fortress of thought so strong that it offers protection to you and everyone around you. You and all allies within the area of this spell’s effect gain spell resistance equal to 12 + your caster level. If an ally leaves the area of effect, they lose the protection offered by this spell. If the spell’s duration is still active and they return to within 20-feet of you, they once again receive the benefits.

Mind Thrust
Enchantment [Mind-affecting]
Level: Mind Mage 1
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One creature
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will half
Spell Resistance: Yes
You project a bolt of mental force that stabs into your target’s mind, causing intense pain and damage. You inflict 1d8 points of damage for every two caster levels you possess (maximum of 5d8 at 9th-level). The target can make a Will saving throw to reduce the damage that he suffers by one-half.

Psionic Blast
Enchantment [Mind-affecting]
Level: Mind Mage 3
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: 60 ft.
Area: Cone-shaped burst extended out to 60 ft.
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will half
Spell Resistance: Yes
You project a wave of mental energy that inflicts 1d6 points of damage per caster level (maximum 10d6) to all creatures in the area of effect. A successful Will saving throw will reduce the damage taken by one-half.

Tower of Iron Will
Abjuration
Level: Mind Mage 5
Casting Time: 1 immediate action
Range: 20 feet
Area: 20-ft.-radius spread centered on you
Duration: 1 round
Saving Throw: No
Spell Resistance: No
You encase yourself and your allies in a shimmering bastion of telekinetic force. The tower of iron will can sustain 10 points of damage per caster level (maximum of 150 points) before it collapses. Those within the tower suffer no damage from attacks initiating outside the tower until the duration expires or the tower suffers sufficient damage to collapse. Those inside the tower can freely exit, but any creatures outside the area of effect (hostile or allied) cannot enter the area until the duration expires or the tower has been breached by sufficient damage.
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masterarminas
Journeyman Greytalker


Joined: Oct 29, 2011
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few comments here, to let you my thoughts behind the design of this class.

First off, I know that psionics have used power points and not spell slots. But it always made the system mechanically different--and DMs aren't really big in different in the same setting. Perusing some of the old posts on Paizo, I found one by James Jacobs that indicates this might be the direction Pathfinder will deal with psionics, if they decide to add them to the game. Still, I was hesitant, but gave it a try--and believe or not, it actually works better. Not as flexible, perhaps, but it works in game far smoother. I know some people will not like that aspect, and for that I am truely sorrowful. But I believe it to be the direction that psionics in Pathfinder are heading.

You will notice there are no (zero, zip, zilch) summoning spells on the list. 3.5 went a little too far in that direction, with the shaper being able to make Astral Constructs customized. In fact, they went overboard with the whole ecto-thing! It doesn't fit into the theme of psionics (in my opinion) and I just winced everytime I saw a shaper. I wanted to back off from that take and go with a more tradtional look to the class.

In a similar vein, I got rid of most of the transmutation aspects. Shape-shifting seems (to me, at least) to be an arcane discipline, not a psionic one. Contorting your jaws to gain a bite attack, or growing claws, or physically altering your form just doesn't fit. Although, I nearly made a spell that duplicated the old 1st edition body weaponry, but then I decided against it.

And I am sure that some are asking the question: why fire? It is the most common resistance out there? Can't we have electrokinesis, or acedokinesis (however you spell it), or cyrokinesis? Let's face it, folks, Wizards just made those up pretty much from whole cloth. Fire, on the other hand, is something that is very much associated with psionics in traditional literature (ala Stephen King's Firestarter and to a lesser degree Carrie). Sure, it is not the most mechanically advantageous, but it fits.

Telepathy and telekinesis are the two main powers that people think of when they see psionics, mind-mages, Jedi, what-have-you. That's why these powers consitute much of the spell list (with things like suggestion and charm and dominate and the specific mind mage spells at the end of the list). And it is also why so many of the special abilities the class gets concentrate on those areas. The hand spells (interposing hand, grasping hand, etc) were included because once you strip away the description of a giant 10-foot hand floating in the air, these spells are basically different forms of telekinesis.

Psychoportation is a more recent addition to the psionic regime. But it has a been a large part of D&D psionics (and Traveler) since the first books were printed. From simple levitation (always associated with psionics) to the old probability travel to astral projection and teleport, these fit the theme perfectly. Which is why they are present, just not in the extreme amounts that many might want to see them.

Which brings us to the question about why are all those darn clerical healing spells on the list? Psionics is about knowing ones body and mind; and in myth and legend powerful users of the mind are often able to purge their body of disease and poisons and heal wounds. They can't do it as effectively as a cleric, but they can still do it. And so, I added them. Pretty much three levels after a cleric gets them, but they have them.

But why then mage armor and shield? And jump, for god's sake?

I see mage armor and shield as manifestations of protective telekinetic force--and hence very much in character for this class. Jump (and animal affinity and others) are here because we all grew up watching Star Wars, and if a Jedi isn't psionic, then I don't know what psionics are!

Grease is definately something that may not fit. But I think it can, if you look at as the removal of friction from a surface. Still, it can be removed with little loss to the class as a whole. Chill metal and heat metal (with chill metal being the only cold spell on the entire list) are a nod to the old molecular agitation power from 1st edition.

I kept the BAB and saving throws the same as the Wizard and Sorcerer because it seemed to fit. Likewise, with Intelligence as a controlling attribute for their magic, 2 skill ranks per level is more than enough. The class skills were chosen to reflect knowledge and (for want of a better term) 'attitude adjustment', which is an area where a psionicist should excel (and the assistance of his empthy ability, the mind mage does).

That pretty much leaves Uncanny Dodge and Improved Uncanny Dodge as the outliers. But let's take a look at their descriptions. It is all about being able to react to danger before he even consciously senses it. THAT, my friends, is what psionics is all about. Still, the class gets these ability very, very late in the game (ten levels after a rogue!), so they should not be too game-breaking.

I do hope that you enjoy my work, and continue to give your ideas and advice on how to make this class fit into the Pathfinder setting. And Merry Christmas everyone.

Master Arminas
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Argon
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Joined: Jul 10, 2003
Posts: 1232
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the difference's psionic's (psychic's) have from magic. I don't particularly like seeing them as spells. Now some spells and interupt psychic activity and psychic activity can disrupt spells. However keeping the two separate IMO is part of the appeal. I think you did a good job with the class you created, but it does not jive with my vision of psionics.

Later

Argon
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