The Gift: an Alternative to "Psionics" (3.5e Variant Rule)

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The Gift: an Alternative to "Psionics"[edit]

This is an attempt to come up with a different approach to psychic powers, for those dissatisfied with the current psionic system. I'm trying to get closer to the portrayal of the "psychic" in fantasy: the gypsy fortune-teller, the faith-healer, the warrior who can foresee his opponent's moves in combat, the otherwise normal person with one or more supernatural abilities. Not the mighty powers of "psionics" in science-fiction, the powerful abilities that operate like high-level spells (though I have assumed that it should be easier to influence minds and magic with psychic powers than to influence inanimate objects).

There are no "power points" in this system. Most psychic powers are usable at will, any number of times per day, and most operate on a successful skill check. And each of them is a Feat, allowing characters to take them without delaying progression in their main classes: provided they were born with "The Gift", a special Feat that normally must be selected at first level, representing psychic potential (and the loss of 2 points of Constitution).

If a character without the Gift wants it badly enough, there is a way of getting it: but it's not easy. The power of a full Wish is required to bestow The Gift on someone not born with it, and it must be administered by a psychic practitioner using the Insinuation power, with at least 20 ranks of Bluff, Diplomacy and Sense Motive skills (representing the degree of mental finesse required to operate on the recipient's mind). Furthermore, the recipient will immediately lose 2 points of Constitution (the usual penalty associated with the Gift) and will lose his/her next Feat (as The Gift takes the place of it).

These powers are magical, and generally won't work in an Anti-Magic Field or null-magic area (with some exceptions: Vitality and Mind Of Power are one-off irreversible transformations). However, continually-operating psychic powers (such as Power Of Command) are very "low-key" and operate below the threshold of magical detection. Powers such as Fast Healing or Immortality can be detected only while they are actively healing damage or eliminating toxins. Generally, only obvious powers active for a limited duration (like a spell) can be readily detected. Though not spells, offensive powers resemble spells closely enough for Spell Resistance and defensive spells to work against them (they qualify as "spell-like abilities"). Magic items and spells that boost skills will NOT boost psychic skill checks, and neither will synergy bonuses or Skill Focus feats: the Skill Mastery ability of Rogues won't work either. No modifiers apply to psychic skill rolls except racial and ability score modifiers. Ability scores may include "inherent" bonuses, but "enhancement" bonuses are ignored.

Some powers are based on the character's level. In such cases, overall character level is used, including racial hitdice and level adjusts. For instance, a psychic Satyr character who is a 3rd level Bard would count as 10th level (5 hitdice, LA +2, 3 class levels).

Creatures described as naturally psychic (e.g. the various "psionic" monsters) receive The Gift as a bonus feat, and do not suffer the usual penalties associated with it: no loss of constitution, no danger of uncontrolled psychic powers. Their listed abilities don't require any additional feats, but they may still take such feats to gain additional powers. References to the "Psion" and "Psychic Warrior" classes may be replaced by "Sorcerer" and "Fighter" respectively.

For those that want to develop their psychic abilities faster, I've provided a five-level Prestige Class, the "Gifted", offering one bonus psychic Feat per level (two at 5th level).


The Gifted (Prestige Class)[edit]

There is only one entry requirement for this prestige class: the Feat known as "The Gift", the potential to develop psychic powers.

NPC members of this class will usually begin as Commoners or Experts: normal people with a special potential. However, some are children: these will have no prior classes (and must select The Gift as a first-level Feat).

Hit dice: d6

Attack and Saves: The Gifted have good Will saves and moderate combat skills, gaining +1 BAB at all levels except 1st and 5th.

Weapons and Armour: The Gifted gain no proficiency with weapons or armour.

Skills: The Gifted get 6 skill points per level (plus Intelligence modifier). However, they have no class skills except those bestowed by psychic Feats: thus, Concentration (bestowed by The Gift itself) is the only class skill they are guaranteed to have.

Bonus Feats: The Gifted get one bonus psychic Feat for each of the first four levels of this class, and two at 5th level.

These abilities are summarized in the following table:

Table 1-1: The Gifted
Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special Abilities
1. +0 +0 +0 +2 Bonus Psychic Feat
2. +1 +0 +0 +3 Bonus Psychic Feat
3. +2 +1 +1 +3 Bonus Psychic Feat
4. +3 +1 +1 +4 Bonus Psychic Feat
5. +3 +1 +1 +4 2 Bonus Psychic Feats


'The Gift' Feats[edit]

Table: 'The Gift' Feats
Feat Prerequisites Benefit
General 'The Gift' Feats
The Gift 1st level character -2 Constitution, character has psychic potential
Clairvoyant 'The Gift' Feats
Clairvoyance The Gift, 13 Wisdom +1 Reflex, Listen / Search / Spot skills, clairvoyant potential
Boosted Reflexes Clairvoyance, Lightning Reflexes Reflex save equal to 1/2 level (or +1)
Clarity of Vision Clairvoyance Good chance of seeing through illusions
Combat Sense Clairvoyance, Combat Reflexes +2 Insight bonus on initiative and AC: can't be surprised / flanked
Killer Instinct Combat Sense BAB equal to 3/4 level (or +1)
Contact Other Plane Clairvoyance, Telepathy As the spell
Darkvision Clairvoyance Can see without light
Deepvision Clairvoyance, Darkvision Can see into solid objects
Precognition Clairvoyance Limited predictive ability
Prophecy Precognition Major predictive ability
Remote Sensing Clairvoyance As Clairvoyance/Clairaudience spell
Scrying Clairvoyance As Scrying spell
Seekersense Clairvoyance Locates objects, creatures, and places.
Uncanny Knowledge Clairvoyance You know things you shouldn't
Psychic Healing 'The Gift' Feats
Psychic Healing The Gift, 13 Wisdom +1 Fortitude, Heal skill, health sense, Psychic Healing potential
Boost Metabolism Psychic Healing Temporary Strength / Dexterity / Constitution boost
Boosted Fortitude Great Fortitude, Psychic Healing Fortitude save equal to 1/2 level (or +1)
Cure/Inflict Wounds Psychic Healing Cure wounds, inflict damage, cure ability damage
Damage Reduction Psychic Healing Damage Reduction 2/-
Gift of Life Cure/Inflict Wounds, Damage Reduction Fast Healing 1
Purge Metabolism Psychic Healing Cure poisoning & disease
Immortality Purge Metabolism, Vitality Immune to poison, disease and age
Vitality Psychic Healing +2 Constitution
Immortality Purge Metabolism, Vitality Immune to poison, disease and age
Psychokinetic 'The Gift' Feats
Psychokinesis The Gift, 13 Intelligence "Mage Hand", Disable Device / Open Locks / Sleight of Hand skills, Psychokinetic potential
Improved Psychokinesis Psychokinesis, 16 Charisma More force behind psychokinesis, wider variety of uses.
Controlled Fall Psychokinesis Feather Fall effect
Levitation Controlled Fall Ascend vertically
Energy Barrier Psychokinesis Resist energy damage
Kinetic Shield Psychokinesis +2 Shield bonus
Pyrokinesis Psychokinesis Produce / hurl flames
Self-Propulsion Psychokinesis True flight when levitating, +10 on movement and various skills
Shatter Psychokinesis As the spell
Psychomagic 'The Gift' Feats
Psychomagic The Gift, 13 Intelligence, 2nd level spell capability Detect Magic, Knowledge(arcane) / Spellcraft / Use Magic Device skills, Psychomagic potential
Familiar Bond Psychomagic, Telepathy Gain familiar, all class levels count for familiar advancement
Impromptu Dispelling Psychomagic Spend 3 spell levels for Dispel Magic
Spell Resistance Impromptu Dispelling Spell Resistance 10+level
Impromptu Metamagic Psychomagic, any metamagic Feat Apply metamagic without preparation
Magical Strike Psychomagic Treat weapon or unarmed strike as magical (or aligned)
Powercast Psychomagic Boosts caster level by 2 or more
Powerturn Psychomagic Boosts turning ability by 2 or more
Spell Recovery Psychomagic Chance of recovering miscast spell
Preserve Scroll Scribe Scroll, Spell Recovery Chance of powering scroll with your own magic
Telepathic 'The Gift' Feats
Telepathy The Gift, 13 Charisma +1 Will, social skills, telepathic potential
Assess The Foe Telepathy Identify creature type / class, Favored Enemy bonus
Boosted Will Iron Will, Telepathy Will save equal to 1/2 level (or +1)
Contact Other Plane Clairvoyance, Telepathy As the spell
Familiar Bond Psychomagic, Telepathy Gain familiar, all class levels count for familiar advancement
Induce Fear Telepathy Similar to Fear spell
Mind of Power Telepathy +1 Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma: -1 Constitution
Inward Focus Mind Of Power Bonus psychic feats on subsequent levels
Power of Command Leadership, Telepathy +3 on Leadership and related abilities
Read Minds Telepathy Read surface thoughts and deep memories
Telepathic Communication Read Minds Mind-to-mind communication
Insinuation Telepathic Communication Telepathic suggestion
Resilient Mind Telepathy Resistance to enchantment effects
Cloak the Mind Resilient Mind Unreadable mind, false alignment / thoughts



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