12
May
10

Red Box Workshop: The Mentalist PC

must... control... minds!

MENTALISTS

Countless forms of magic exist throughout the planes, not all of which rely on arcane books and spells. Adepts of the art of mentalism hone the powers of the mind to achieve purely psychic feats. Their powers range from simple extrasensory tricks to outright mind control.

The prime requisites for a mentalist are Wisdom and Charisma. A mentalist character whose Wisdom or Charisma score is 13 or higher will receive a 5% bonus on earned experience. Mentalists whose Wisdom and Charisma scores are 13 or higher will receive a 10% bonus to earned experience.

RESTRICTIONS: Mentalists use four-sided dice (d4) to determine their hit points. They may not employ armor or shields, and may only use a dagger for a weapon. Mentalists must have a minimum score of 9 in Intelligence and Wisdom.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: A mentalist has a number of psychic powers (see PSYCHIC POWERS, below). The mentalist’s player chooses which powers to take at each level. Mentalists are allowed a saving throw vs. spells to avoid the effects of mental powers and abilities that do not normally allow a saving throw, such as the ESP spell. Due to their powers of mind over matter, mentalists may base their bonus hit points off of Wisdom or Charisma instead of Constitution.

PSYCHIC POWERS: Mentalist powers are innate. Mentalists do not need spell books, nor do they prepare spells as do clerics, elves and magic-users. Instead, a mentalist has a number of psychic powers that she may employ at will, once per round, during the magic phase of the combat sequence. Treat these as magic spells for purposes of saving throws, dispel magic, etc. The DM is encouraged to adjust the spell selection as desired; for example, a DM with access to AD&D or OSRIC rules might add command, sanctuary, scare and tongues to the mentalist’s power selection.

Whenever the mentalist employs a psychic power, she suffers damage equal to the power’s level due to strain. This is as lethal as physical injury! A full night’s rest restores all hit points lost to psychic strain; such damage cannot be cured by any other means short of a wish.

Mentalist abilities are blocked by willpower. If a target successfully saves against a psychic power, it gains a non-cumulative +4 bonus to all saving throws against all psychic powers until the next time it rests. Furthermore, the target will perceive the source and general intent of the failed power; this may provoke an unwelcome response.

First Level Psychic Powers:
1) Detect Evil
2) Psychic Invisibility (as Invisibility, but each observer of equal or higher hit dice gets a save vs. spells to spot the mentalist)
3) Know Alignment
4) Mesmerize (as Snake Charm, but affects any creatures of at least animal intelligence)
5) Mind Over Matter (as either Resist Cold or Resist Fire, only affecting the caster)
6) Remove Fear (the reverse, Cause Fear, may not be used until the mentalist reaches level 4; treat this as a second level psychic power)

Second Level Psychic Powers:
1) Boost Morale (aka Bless)
2) Charm Person
3) ESP
4) Psychic Phantasm (as Phantasmal Force, but only one target perceives the illusion)
5) Sleep
6) Speak with Animals

Third Level Psychic Powers:
1) Clairvoyance
2) Locate Object
3) Hold Person
4) Mind Bar (used in response to a psychic power or other mind-affecting ability, gives the mentalist an additional saving throw)
5) Psychic Invisibility 10’ Radius (as Invisibility 10’ Radius, but each observer of equal or higher hit dice gets a save vs. spells to spot the invisible group)
6) Speak with Plants

Fourth Level Psychic Powers:
1) Charm Monster
2) Confusion
3) Feeblemind
4) Magic Jar

Fifth Level Psychic Powers:
1) Contact Other Plane
2) Geas
3) Hold Monster
4) Psychic Crush (aka Finger of Death)

Powers
Level Title 1 2 3 4 5
1 Sensitive 1
2 Percipient 2
3 Empath 3
4 Hypnotist 3 1
5 Telepath 3 2
6 Psychic 4 2
7 Clairvoyant 4 2 1
8 Mesmerist 4 2 2
9 Mentalist 4 3 2
10 Master Mentalist 4 3 2 1
11 11th Level Master Mentalist 4 3 2 2
12 12th Level Master Mentalist 4 3 3 2
13 13th Level Master Mentalist 4 3 3 2 1
14 14th Level Master Mentalist 4 3 3 2 2

SAVING THROWS: As magic-users.

ATTACK PROGRESSION: As magic-users.

ADVANCEMENT: As per the magic-user advancement table.


9 Responses to “Red Box Workshop: The Mentalist PC”


  1. 1 Bargle
    May 12, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Awesome. One thing I would consider is to use the chainmail spellcasting rules in place of at will/ 4 bonus if saved.

    Basically, it’s at will until you fail the difficulty attempt. Yours is great and very easy to use; I’m just a sucker for using rules already in place in the history of the game and the mentalist almost calls our for using the pre-vancian d&d rules (most recently used by spellcraft and swordplay simulacrum)

    it would put some spice in the class (more dice rolling) without really changing the flavor at all.

  2. May 12, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    I don’t see any indication in the Chainmail rules that spellcasting works that way under that system. There is an optional “spell complexity” system that involves spell difficulties, but it doesn’t seem to have any connection to the number of spells the Chainmail wizard can cast per day, nor does failing to get a spell off seem to prevent further attempts. The only limitation I see on spell use is a table indicating how many spells the wizard can cast per day.

    “At will until you fail the difficulty attempt” is, however, how our group handles turning undead.

  3. 3 Greengoat
    May 12, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    An interesting write-up. A couple of questions & comments:

    Must the Mentalist pick their permanent powers for their slots at each level or may they switch powers every day for their slots?

    I think basing the casting on HP kind of results in too harsh of a “ramping up” as the PC levels. Each level pretty much doubles the number of castings in a day so as a result there is a slow progression access to the powers built in. No real offensive powers available until 4th (a long time playing, I know)) and then with the possibility of casting sleep a possible six times a day if the Mentalist has max HP.

  4. May 12, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Must the Mentalist pick their permanent powers for their slots at each level or may they switch powers every day for their slots?

    The Mentalist picks permanent powers upon gaining a level.

    I think basing the casting on HP kind of results in too harsh of a “ramping up” as the PC levels. Each level pretty much doubles the number of castings in a day so as a result there is a slow progression access to the powers built in. No real offensive powers available until 4th (a long time playing, I know)) and then with the possibility of casting sleep a possible six times a day if the Mentalist has max HP.

    The Mentalist has an interesting resource-management game going on, as her “spell points” are also her hit points. So if she has 12 HP and casts sleep 5 times, she’s down to 2 HP. And since HP spent to power her abilities can’t be healed with spells or potions, she’s stuck with 2 HP for the rest of the adventure, which means that any old goblin can kill her with one hit. Likewise, damage she takes from other sources cuts directly into her spell-casting ability.

    I think it’ll work out well in play. No way to know for sure, though, without a little playtesting!

  5. 5 N.
    May 12, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    My Mentalist’s name will be Simon Baker!

  6. 6 Bargle
    May 13, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Wouldn’t it be ironic when using HP as a resource drain on magic that when fighting weak opponents the mentalist is more free to use lots of powerful abilities, wheras when fighting powerful and dangerous opponenents the mentalist (it would seem) would need to use fewer powers out of fear of taking extra damage?

  7. May 13, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    A corollary is that the mentalist is at its strongest in city adventures, where the likelihood of combat is decreased.

  8. February 18, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Just read this. Really well done on an otherwise difficult system for D&D.


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