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PSIONIC COMBAT


Overview

There are five psionic attack modes and five psionic defense modes. Each mode is like a specialized psionic power and generally follows the rules for using a psionic power, but there are some differences. Successful psionic attacks deal temporary ability damage, while successful psionic defenses protect the subject from taking that ability damage. Psionic characters can target nonpsionic opponents with attack modes, though nonpsionic creatures are naturally resistant to most such attacks.

Psionic Attack Modes Psionic Defense Modes
Ego Whip (Dex) Empty Mind
Id Insinuation (Str) Intellect Fortress
Mind Blast (Cha) Mental Barrier
Mind Thrust (Int) Thought Shield
Psychic Crush (Wis) Tower of Iron Will
(Nonpsionic buffer)

Attack and defense modes do not fall under any one discipline, nor do they possess levels (though for the purposes of Concentration checks an equivalent level is given in Table: Psionic Attack Modes); however, each attack mode is keyed to a particular ability score (noted next to each attack mode in parentheses). The attacker adds his or her key ability modifier to his or her roll to set the defender’s Will save DC against the attack. The ability also indicates the specific type of temporary ability damage the attack deals if successful.

Making a Psionic Attack

A psionic character initiates psionic combat by targeting any opponent in range with one of the five psionic attack modes he or she knows. Using a psionic attack mode is a standard action, and normally only one attack is allowed in a round.
Each psionic attack mode has a power point cost (as noted on Table: Psionic Attack Modes). The attacker sets the defender’s Will save DC with a d20 roll modified by two additional components: the attacker’s appropriate ability modifier and the DC modifier. The attacker’s ability modifier is always his or her key ability modifier, regardless of the specific attack mode used. The DC modifier is determined by the defense mode raised by the defender, if any, which is found by cross-referencing the attack mode and defense mode on Table: Psionic Combat DC Modifiers. The defender does not know what specific attack he or she is defending against until after the defense is raised, nor does the attacker know what defense will be raised until after the attack is launched.
The attacker may choose to enhance the psionic attack through the use of specific feats, if possessed. An attacker cannot use feats in conjunction with psionic combat that are not specially for use with psionic attack modes.

Making a Psionic Defense

A character defending against a psionic attack mode makes a Will save to determine the success or failure of the attack. Unless flat-footed or out of power points, psionic characters can respond to a psionic attack by putting up one of the five psionic defense modes. The defender is aware of the attack but not the specific attack mode. Following the attack, the defender knows which attack mode it was, regardless of the success or failure of the attack to deal temporary ability damage.
A psionic character must be conscious to raise a psionic defense mode. Regardless of initiative order, a defender may always attempt to put up a defense mode as a free action if he or she has sufficient power points to pay for it and is not flat-footed.
If caught flat-footed, or if the defender’s power points are exhausted, the defender must make a Will save without the benefit of a psionic defense mode’s bonus on the saving throw. The DC modifier of an unanswered psionic attack mode is +8.
A defender who successfully raises a psionic defense mode gains a bonus on the Will save against that psionic attack (and that attack only) and possibly mental hardness against temporary ability score damage, depending on the mode utilized (again, only for the specific attack). This Will save bonus is set out in Table: Psionic Combat DC Modifiers.
Special Considerations: If the defender raises a psionic defense mode but still fails the Will save, the mental hardness granted by the mode, if any, still reduces the total ability damage dealt by the attack (except in the special case of id insinuation). A defender who fails the Will save and does not have sufficient mental hardness to block out all the ability damage takes the balance as the appropriate amount and type of temporary ability damage.
The defender may choose to enhance the psionic defense through the use of specific feats, if possessed. A defender cannot use feats in conjunction with psionic combat that are not specially for use with psionic defense modes.

Defending against Multiple Attacks

Unless flat-footed, a psionic character can defend against multiple psionic attacks from different aggressors in the same round, if he or she has sufficient power points to pay the cost of each defense.

Psionic Attacks against Nonpsionic Creatures

Like psionic creatures, nonpsionic creatures make a Will save to defend against psionic attacks. Nonpsionic creatures do not chose defense modes, however, they have protection from psionic attacks in the form of a nonpsionic buffer (see Table: Psionic Combat DC Modifiers). Furthermore, they naturally convert ability damage to rounds of being stunned on a 1-for-1 basis.
Even when stunned a nonpsionic being retains its nonpsionic buffer.

Table: Psionic Combat DC Modifiers
Ego Id Mind Mind Psychic
Whip Insinuation Blast Thrust Crush
Empty Mind +1 –2 +3 –3 –5
Intellect Fortress –2 +1 +0 +6 +4
Mental Barrier –1 +4 –3 +1 +3
Thought Shield –4 –1 –2 +4 +2
Tower of Iron Will +3 +0 –1 +5 –3
Nonpsionic buffer –8 –9 +4 –8 –8
Flat-footed or out +8 +7 +8 +8 +8
of power points

The defender knows he or she is being attacked, but not what attack is coming in, and can put up a defense he or she knows unless flat-footed. Depending on the combination of attack mode and defense mode, the defender’s DC is modified as noted on the table.

Table: Psionic Attack Modes
Attack Ability Power
Mode†† Range Damage Points
Mind Thrust Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels) 1d2 Int 1
Ego Whip Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels) 1d4 Dex 3
Id Insinuation Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels) 1d2 Str* 3
Psychic Crush Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels) 2d4 Wis 5
Mind Blast 60 ft. cone** 1d4 Cha† 9

*A defender who fails a Will save ignores mental hardness, if any.
**All creatures caught in the area must save or be affected.
†Nonpsionic beings affected by mind blast are stunned for 3d4 rounds.
††Attack mode level equivalents for the purpose of Concentration checks: Mind Thrust, 1st; Ego Whip and Id Insinuation, 2nd; Psychic Crush, 3rd; Mind Blast, 5th.

Table: Psionic Defense Modes
Defense Power
Mode Secondary Protection Points
Empty Mind None 1
Thought Shield 1 mental hardness* 1
Mental Barrier 2 mental hardness* 3
Intellect Fortress 3 mental hardness* 5
Tower of Iron Will 2 mental hardness*, 5
10-ft. radius**
Nonpsionic buffer Ability damage=stun† n/a

*Mental hardness reduces total ability damage dealt by successful psionic attack.
**Bonus on defender’s Will save does not stack with overlapping psionic defenses, but mental hardness does stack.
†Nonpsionic creatures are stunned for a number of rounds equal to the points of ability damage that would be dealt.

Ability Damage from Psionic Attacks

All damage taken during psionic combat is in the form of temporary ability damage. The specific attack mode used determines the type of temporary ability damage dealt. Temporary ability damage returns naturally at a rate of 1 point per day for each damaged ability (2 points per day under the care of someone versed in the Heal skill).
If a psionic being’s score in any one ability damaged by an attack mode reaches 0, he or she drops helpless. All further psionic attacks against that target deal temporary Constitution damage. The downed being cannot raise psionic defenses against these attacks. If his or her Constitution reaches 0, he or she immediately dies. If brought back to life through magical or psionic means, the victim comes back with a Constitution score of 1. Lost ability points continue to return normally as the temporary damage fades.

Psionic Attack and Defense Modes

Psionic attack and defense modes are in many ways akin to standard powers, but they differ in some ways. Since they do not really belong to any one discipline, a psionic character can use any mode he or she has access to without worrying about a key ability score. Psionic attack and defense modes are supernatural, not spell-like. Using an attack mode draws an attack of opportunity, but using a defense mode does not.

Ego Whip

Attack Mode (Dex)
Display: Me
Manifestation Time: 1 action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One living creature
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will negates (see text)
Power Resistance: No
Power Points: 3
The defender makes a Will save (DC 1d20 + manifester’s Dexterity modifier + DC modifier).
Psionic creatures are allowed to raise a psionic defense mode, which modifies the defender’s Will save DC. Those who fail their saving throw take 1d4 points of temporary Dexterity damage.
Nonpsionic creatures always enjoy a nonpsionic buffer against a psionic attack mode (see Table: Psionic Combat DC Modifiers). On a failed saving throw, nonpsionic creatures are stunned for 1d4 rounds.

Empty Mind

Defense Mode
Display: Au
Manifestation Time: 1 action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: Instantaneous
Power Points: 1
A manifester can raise empty mind as a reaction in response to a psionic attack mode, even if he or she has already taken the full allotment of actions for the round (unless the manifester is flat-footed or out of power points). Cross-reference this defense with the attack mode on Table: Psionic Combat DC Modifiers to get the appropriate modifier to the Will save DC.

Id Insinuation

Attack Mode (Str)
Display: Me
Manifestation Time: 1 action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One living creature
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will negates (see text)
Power Resistance: No
Power Points: 3
The defender makes a Will save (DC 1d20 + manifester’s Strength modifier + DC modifier).
Psionic creatures are allowed to raise a psionic defense mode, which modifies the defender’s Will save DC. Those who fail their saving throw take 1d2 points of temporary Strength damage, regardless of mental hardness.
Nonpsionic creatures always enjoy a nonpsionic buffer against a psionic attack mode (see Table: Psionic Combat DC Modifiers). On a failed saving throw, nonpsionic creatures are stunned for 1d2 rounds.

Intellect Fortress

Defense Mode
Display: Au
Manifestation Time: 1 action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: Instantaneous
Power Points: 5
A manifester can raise intellect fortress as a reaction in response to a psionic attack mode, even if he or she has already taken the full allotment of actions for the round (unless the manifester is flat-footed or out of power points). Cross-reference this defense with the attack mode on Table: Psionic Combat DC Modifiers to get the appropriate modifier to the Will save DC. The manifester also gains mental hardness 3, which is applied against any temporary ability damage dealt by the attack mode if the manifester fails his or her Will save (except against id insinuation).

Mental Barrier

Defense Mode
Display: Au
Manifestation Time: 1 action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: Instantaneous
Power Points: 3
A manifester can raise mental barrier as a reaction in response to a psionic attack mode, even if he or she has already taken the full allotment of actions for the round (unless the manifester is flat-footed or out of power points). Cross-reference this defense with the attack mode on Table: Psionic Combat DC Modifiers to get the appropriate modifier to the Will save DC. The manifester also gains mental hardness 2, which is applied against any temporary ability damage dealt by the attack mode if the manifester fails his or her Will save (except against id insinuation).

Mind Blast

Attack Mode (Cha)
Display: Vi (see text)
Manifestation Time: 1 action
Range: 60 ft.
Area: Cone
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will negates (see text)
Power Resistance: No
Power Points: 9
This attack blasts the minds of all creatures in a 60-foot cone. Defenders within the area make a Will save (DC 1d20 + manifester’s Charisma modifier + DC modifier).
Psionic creatures are allowed to raise a psionic defense mode, which modifies the defender’s Will save DC. Those who fail their saving throw take 1d4 points of temporary Charisma damage.
A nonpsionic creature’s buffer is less helpful against mind blast than other psionic attack modes. The Will save DC increases by +4, and on a failed saving throw, a nonpsionic creature is stunned for 3d4 rounds (rather than 1d4).

Mind Thrust

Attack Mode (Int)
Display: Me
Manifestation Time: 1 action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One living creature
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will negates (see text)
Power Resistance: No
Power Points: 1
The defender makes a Will save (DC 1d20 + manifester’s Intelligence modifier + DC modifier).
Psionic creatures are allowed to raise a psionic defense mode, which modifies the defender’s Will save DC. Those who fail their saving throw take 1d2 points of temporary Intelligence damage.
Nonpsionic creatures always enjoy a nonpsionic buffer against a psionic attack mode (see Table: Psionic Combat DC Modifiers). On a failed saving throw, nonpsionic creatures are stunned for 1d2 rounds.

Psychic Crush

Attack Mode (Wis)
Display: Me
Manifestation Time: 1 action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One living creature
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will negates (See text)
Power Resistance: No
Power Points: 5
The defender makes a Will save (DC 1d20 + manifester’s Wisdom modifier + DC modifier).
Psionic creatures are allowed to raise a psionic defense mode, which modifies the defender’s Will save DC. Those who fail their saving throw take 2d4 points of temporary Wisdom damage.
Nonpsionic creatures always enjoy a nonpsionic buffer against a psionic attack mode (see Table: Psionic Combat DC Modifiers). On a failed saving throw, a nonpsionic creature is stunned for 2d4 rounds.

Thought Shield

Defense Mode
Display: Au
Manifestation Time: 1 action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: Instantaneous
Power Points: 1
A manifester can raise thought shield as a reaction in response to a psionic attack mode, even if he or she has already taken the full allotment of actions for the round (unless the manifester is flat-footed or out of power points). Cross-reference this defense with the attack mode on Table: Psionic Combat DC Modifiers to get the appropriate modifier to the Will save DC. The manifester also gains mental hardness 1, which is applied against any temporary ability damage dealt by the attack mode if the manifester fails his or her Will save (except against id insinuation).

Tower of Iron Will
Defense Mode
Display: Au
Manifestation Time: 1 action
Range: 5 feet
Area: 10-ft.-radius emanation, centered on you (see text)
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Yes (harmless)
Power Resistance: No
Power Points: 5
A manifester can raise tower of iron will as a reaction in response to a psionic attack mode, even if he or she has already taken the full allotment of actions for the round (unless the manifester is flat-footed or out of power points). Cross-reference this defense with the attack mode on Table: Psionic Combat DC Modifiers to get the appropriate modifier to the Will save DC. The manifester and those within the area also gain mental hardness 2, which is applied against any temporary ability damage dealt by the attack mode if the manifester fails his or her Will save (except against id insinuation).
Because tower of iron will has an area, it specifically grants mental hardness (but not a DC modifier) to other living, willing creatures against a psionic attack. These bonuses stack.
Nonpsionic creatures within the area also gain this mental hardness, which shields them from potential rounds of being stunned instead of temporary ability damage, on a point-for-point basis.