The Four Winds
I dont like the way psionics got changed from 2nd ed. As such I use the powers from 2nd edition still. Players need a copy of Complete Psionic Handbook to play a psionic in my game. You can usually find them on sale for about $5 dollars at any game store or online.
3.5 edition treats psionics like sorcerery, or mutants off the X-Men movies. It is something anyone can do. People just wake up one day with these powers, or develop them in times of stress. In my world Psionics is a very disciplined study that takes years for someone to master. It is harder training to become a psion then it is to become a wizard or monk.
As such all psions must be lawful with very few exceptions (Githyanki, Mind Flayers, some Dragons, and other extreme creatures) they must have full control of their emotions. If a psion ever finds himself unable to control his emotions, whether from a magical effect or naturally, they are unable to access their powers. They can be good, neutral, or evil, but must always be lawful. Any who slip from their lawful alignment lose access to psionic abilities until alignment status is regained.
The lawful requirement is the biggest enforcement of how to keep a psion in check. If they go crazy with their powers for no reason, they lose access to them. Not having a lawful requirement is what makes githyanki and mind flayers so dangerous.
Psions have a psionic failure chance that is the same as arcane failure when wearing armor of any kind. If they fail because of a armor penalty, they still must pay half cost of the power score they were trying to activate.
Psions have different hit dice depending on where they specialize. If they specialize in Telepathy they use 1d4 for hit points. If they specialize in Pscyometabolics they use 1d8. If they specialize in any of the others they use 1d6.
I use the same skill points (2/level) saves (Will strong, Fort/Ref weak) and BAB (weak) that wizards use. That is because that is what is listed in the Psionics handbook. In addition several of the powers listed in the book have been converted as well as some of the Psionic Feats added. Also here is a quick link to 0 Level Powers an Telepathic Combat Rules.
To calculate how a power works, and what the saving throw is, I use the following system. First the psion must make the Power Score. Then, if effects another creature and a save is allowed a d20 is rolled, add the Power Score penalty and the Power Score stat modifier. Below are two examples.
Molecular Manipulation Int – 3.
So a psion needs to roll their Int score minus 3 or lower. So if a psion has a Int of 16 they need to roll a 13 or lower. Rolling 14 or higher means the power doesn’t activate. A 13 or lower and the score works. This power allows the target a save. To calculate the save it is 1d20 + the psions Power Score penalty (the – 3 Int so it becomes a +3 to the DC of the save) + the Power Score stat modifier (Int in this case which is 16 so +3 modifier) for a total of 1d20 + 6. Note that neither a roll of 1 or 20 on the d20 are special when determining DC saves. This power effects items worn or carried so it would be Reflex DC 7 – 26.
ESP Wis – 4.
The target must first be Contacted. Once this is established psion rolls Wis – 4 and tries to roll lower. Say the psions Wis is 18 so needs a 14 or lower. If the roll is successful then Roll 1d20 + 4 (the penalty equivalent) +4 (the stat modifier) for a total of 1d20 + 8 Will save.
That is how psionics works. It is very similar to how a Wizards save works except instead of starting at a static 10, the psion rolls a d20. And instead of power “levels” whatever the penalty is determines the level.
A roll of 20 always fails, even if it should work. A roll of 1 does NOT automatically succeed. If the psion needs to roll a target number lower then one then they cannot manifest the power.
If a psion rolls to manifest a power and fails, they still have to pay half the Initial Cost. Failure has a price. This is a balance for some of the more powerful powers a psion gets. If a psion rolls a nat 20 they have to pay full cost.
If a psion rolls the Power Score (the highest number possible without failing) then the Initial Cost is free. Maintenance Cost is same however.
According to the book four out of five of the Psionic Defense Modes have no Maintenance Cost, I have altered it to same as IC (Initial Cost). This allows a psion to keep a stronger defense then Mind Blank active when in psionic combat.
Finally I keep with the book when they allow 2 attacks for each manifestation of one of the 5 Psionic Attack Powers (Psychic Crush [which adds Wis mod to the damage], Ego Whip, ID Insinuation, Mind Thrust, and the powerful Psionic Blast) Psion only has to pay the IC cost once per manifestation.
As for the actual powers, below is a list of powers and how they work. This list will be updated as I translate more powers from the 3.5 system into my own version. It would still be best to simply buy the Complete Handbook of Psionic Powers for the simplicity. The Deck of Powers makes it even simpler. Both these can be purchased very cheaply though amazon and other online retailers.
A psion must choose his Primary Discipline upon character creation. It is kinda like specializing as a wizard. You do not choose a prohibited Discipline however. The psion must always have twice as many Sciences in their primary Discipline as any other. They must also have twice as many Devotions in their primary Discipline as any other. So if you are a Telepath, you must have twice as many Telepathic Sciences and Devotions as any other Discipline you may take. Once chosen, only a Wish or Psychic Surgery can change it.
High Science. A high science is usually the strongest science in that particular Discipline. As such only a psion who chose that Discipline as their chosen one may learn a high science. For example only a psion who chose Telepathy as their primary Discipline may learn the Science power Mass Contact. There is no High Science for the Metapsionic Discipline because the entire Discipline is ment for those that plan to reach higher leveles as a psion.
Each power has a Power Score, Initial Cost, Maintenance Cost, Range, Preperation Time, Area of Effect, and Prerequisites. They will be abbreviated IC, MC, R, PT, AoE, and Pr. Also Psionic Strength Points is abbreviated PSP. Note that there is no abbreviation for Power Score because I found it easier not to write it but just put what it is. Every power reads something like this
Name of Power Con -2, IC 5, MC 3/rnd, R 30’, PT -2 init, AoE 1 target, Pr none. I didnt actually put anything for power score but it is the Con -2. Below are the explanations.
Power Score is the number that the psion must roll, or lower to activate the power. A roll of 20 always fails and cost half the IC in power points. A roll of 1 does not always succeed. If psion rolls the highest number without going over, the IC is free.
Initial Cost is how many Psionic Strength Points (PSP) it cost to activate the power.
Maintenance Cost is how many PSP it cost to maintain the power.
Range is how far the power reaches.
Preperation Time is how long a psion must charge up a power before unleashing it. Usually in the same round, but goes further in the initative order.
Area of Effect is how big of an area does the power effect. Psionics generally only effect either the psion or one target at a time, but there are exceptions (like Death Field).
Prerequisites is what level and what powers a psion must have before learning this one.
The power choices are as follows. Note that any powers marked with a * are powers that I either made up, or altered quite a bit from the original to fit 3.5 that I want to draw attention to them and let the player know they are significantly different then the book list. I tried to keep this to an absolute minimum.