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Georgeís Pathfinder Mystara Campaign: Psionics

by Giorgio

After reading threw all the posts on psionics here I am now ready to proceed with my own take on this subject.

I want to include psionics into my Pathfinder Mystara campaign and I would like to ask for some feedback of the knowledgeable people here on how to integrate psionics with the various cultures are races on Mystara, primarily in the Known World area.

Working under the following principles, and in the year 1000 AC:

1- Primary reference source is the D&D 3.5 Expanded Psionics Handbook / d20 srd:

2-Psionics has always existed on Mystara on a planetary wide basis, is well known (although the average person thinks it is just another form of magic), and society, law enforcement, economics, warfare and politics have adapted to take its existence into account.

3- Psionics is different from magic (with everything that implies) and is a separate source of power, the others being Arcane Magic and Divine Magic.

Taking all the above into account, how do you see the various races, cultures , nations and power centers having developed the use of psionics, how it has impacted their society, and how it co-exists or not with arcane and divine magic. This is what I am working on so far.

I will start first with the seven base races as found in the Pathfinder RPG, the other Mystara races will be included once I have a chance to update them to pathfinder rules.

In the Expanded Psionic Handbook these are the base psionic classes and their key ability scores:

Psion (Int)
Psychic Warrior (Wis, Str, Con)
Soulknife (Str, Dex, Con)
Wilder (Cha, Dex, Str)

Taking a look at the races from a mechanical and social standpoint:

Dwarf Racial Traits
+2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, Ė2 Charisma: Dwarves are both tough and wise, but also a bit gruff.

Dwarves would make great Psychic Warriors due to their wisdom and constitution bonus, their strong lawful, organized and militaristic culture and their disdain for arcane magic and strong inclination for divine magic. As psionics is not arcane, and is not in conflict with divine, these two can work together for the betterment of the dwarven race, especially on the battlefield.

They can also be good Psions and Soulknifes, but I donít think they will take these options since they are naturally suited for the Psychic Warrior class. I donít see them as being Wilders as its emphasis on raw uncontrolled powers goes against the dwarven way of thinking and character.

Elf Racial Traits
+2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, Ė2 Constitution: Elves are nimble, both in body and mind, but their form is frail.

As with arcane magic Elves can be great psionics due to their intelligence and dexterity bonuses.
I can see elves going with both magic and psionics in their society, since they excel in both, or I can see some elves going towards a magic path and others towards a psionic path. With the variety of elven society in Mystara, both can probably occur (but I lack the deep understand of these elven societies to make any suggestions at this time).

Due to their constitution penalties I do not see elves embracing the paths of the Psychic Warrior or Soulknifes, nor the path of the wilder as I donít see elves as that passionate or uncontrolled.

Gnome Racial Traits
+2 Constitution, +2 Charisma, Ė2 Strength: Gnomes are physically weak but surprisingly hardy, and their attitude makes them naturally agreeable.

With their charisma bonus they can make great Wilders, but I donít know if they are inclined to take that path. Due to their constitution penalties I do not see gnomes embracing the paths of the Psychic Warrior or Soulknifes; perhaps Psions are more to their liking?

Half-Elf Racial Traits
+2 to One Ability Score: Half-elf characters get a +2 bonus to one ability score of their choice at creation to represent their varied nature.

Half-Orc Racial Traits
+2 to One Ability Score: Half-orc characters get a +2 bonus to one ability score of their choice at creation to represent their varied nature.

Human Racial Traits
+2 to One Ability Score: Human characters get a +2 bonus to one ability score of their choice at creation to represent their varied nature.

As Half-Elfs and Half-Orcs are rare in my campaign and I canít say anything general about them with regards to psionics. With their floating +2 ability score they can excel at any of the psionic classes as per the choice of each individual Half-Elf or Half-Orc that embraces the psionic path.

Humans on the other hand are more dominant and I can see psionics more widespread among them, with humans equally capable of being any of the psionic classes. I can see the society the human develops in being a key factor on how they approach psionics and what classes they take.

Halfling Racial Traits
+2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, Ė2 Strength: Halflings are nimble and strong-willed, but their small stature makes them weaker than other races.

Same comments as per the Gnomes above, I need to learn more about the Hin society/culture to see if anything might make more sense.

The other races like Lupins, Tortles, Rakashas I need to learn more about (and get pathfinder versions) in order to make some comments.

As for the way psionics is treated in the various societies/nations of the Known World, I need to read the newbies guide again and takes notes.

So far I get the idea that Glantri and Alphatia hates psionics and hunts them down, Ylaruam embraces psionics completly, and that Thyatis uses them extensively in their wars with the Alphatians both covertly and in open warfare. I am also thinking that Wilders are common in the Broken Lands, the LE Hobgoblins should make for great Psychic Warriors and Soulknifes, and Darokin will find a way for psionics to give them even more of a competitive commercial edge.