Strain (3.5e Variant Rule)

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Using psychic skills is particularly taxing. Each use of a psychic skill deals a particular amount of nonlethal damage on the user, known as strain. If a psychic’s total nonlethal damage exceeds the character’s current hit points then the psychic becomes unconscious. Nonlethal damage caused by using psychic skills heals normally (1 point per character level per hour).

If the strain from using a psychic skill causes the user to become unconscious, then the skill effect still happens, but cannot be maintained. So a psychic can, for example, teleport or make a psychic attack before becoming unconscious, but a psychic who establishes a skill such as Domination or Mind Reading, then becomes unconscious due to nonlethal damage, cannot maintain the effects of the skill, which lapse.

The strain of some psychic skill use is determined by circumstances. Certain feats may also affect the amount of strain caused by using psychic skills. The psychic takes the strain regardless of whether the psychic skill check is successful, and the damage happens each time a skill is retried as well.

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