Psionics and Psychic Warrior in 5E D&D Part 5 — Telepath Class Features
Welcome Nerdarchists! This is a multipart series about my homebrew psionics and psychic warrior classes and rules for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. You may want to check these first — Intro to Psionics and Psychic Warrior, Psychometabolist’s starting abilities and Class Features. Psychoportationist, and Psychokineticist. I am slowly revealing the general psionics class features in each post because this is a work in progress. If I had it completed right now I would let you know. Really, I would. Since I was not yet struck by the full epiphany of what psionics in 5th edition dungeons and dragons should be you are just getting a bit at a time. This time, due to complete coincidence, or synchronicity, I am pairing the general psionics class feature Contact with the Telepath discipline. This is very convenient since Contact needs to be explained before the class Telepath will make any sense. Here is the video I did with the rest of the Nerdarchy crew where I asked them for their opinion on psionics for 5E D&D.
Contact — psionics class feature
Contact is a talent (cantrip) for the general psionicist. The talent is used to build a mental conduit or mental link between the psionicist’s mind and another mind. It is a line of sight power with a range of 1000 feet. Metapsionics, other powers and items may be used to increase this range. Contact is the bonus action that has to happen first before many other powers that affect the mind can be used.
A mind unconsciously guards itself from intrusion. If the target is willing but does not have training in opening one’s mind then the psionicist does not automatically succeed but gets advantage to contacting them. Using Contact does not alert the target unless it is done in concert with a mental attack. Psionic Blast is noticed considering it is akin to a battering ram on fire smashing into the mental gates of the target’s mind. I will get into those later.
Contacting an unwilling being who is not trained in mental defense can be done. It requires an attack roll and the psionicist must be viewing the target (however they are able). The target is unaware it is being contacted. Once an attack is successful the psionicist can use powers and abilities that require Contact without alerting the contacted being as long as the powers do not cause direct mental or physical damage.
Psychic Constructs — psionics class feature
Psychic Constructs can be crystals, mini golems, a maze of webs (circuits), a collections of smoke or sparks. It is a creation of the mind manifest, even if not physically strong in the material world. Whatever it’s appearance a psychic construct seems to be contained within a rigid translucent or transparent crystalline form. It will do something for the psionics a kin to the find familiar spell for wizards but I just don’t know yet. Post in the comments with your suggestions for it.
Telepath for 5E D&D
This has been one of the harder disciplines to work on since telepathy in general in D&D is either super weak or super powerful like the various dominate spells.
Each Discipline gets Wisdom as a saving throw as well as one other.
- Telepaths get Charisma as their second saving throw .
- Persuasion and Deception are added to their class skill choices
Telepaths have several powers and abilities that they learn throughout their lives.
At 1st level you get a feeling when interacting with people whose minds you have contacted. It lets you know where to steer an encounter. After Contact is established (with at least one other being) a Telepath can gain advantage on a Charisma based skill check directed at the contacted being.
At 3rd level the Telepath has gained a better understanding of how other minds work and can set up a soundless form of communication with contacted minds. Language is a barrier but images of gestures, actions, and results can be a crude substitute for simple words. Don’t expect to convey complex concepts or plans more complicated than a sport’s playbook without knowing a language in common with the being.
At 5th level the psionicist has a better understanding of the flow of thoughts of other beings. It is possible to string together words and images from another’s mind and get information from it. This is still only surface thoughts and current topics within the being’s mind. The Telepath is limited to the information that the being is currently thinking about not what they know of a subject in general. For example if the Telepath wants to know who the mayor was speaking with last night then the mayor needs to coincidentally think about it (worried about, troubled about, planning for, or anticipating the next meeting). Otherwise the Telepath will be waiting for the mayor to daydream about it or get reminded about it by seeing the person they met last night or if someone asks the Mayor where he was on the previous evening.
At 7th level the Telepath can now selectively attempt to contact several different minds simultaneously within a 100 foot radius. The number of beings the Telepath can attempt to contact each round for free is equal to half (rounded down) of their level in psionics (at least 3rd). After that number of contacts has been attempted each additional contact attempt that round costs 1 dram (psionic power point). For example an 8th level Telepath can attempt to contact 4 different beings per round. For each attempt after the initial 4 their is a cost of 1 dram (point).
At 9th level the Telepath has figured out how to lead a mind to certain conclusions. A contacted mind can have a suggestion planted within their mind that is a false memory or nagging thought. These planted suggestions quickly fade but can be brought to the forefront of a beings mind through triggering events.
For example a king gets a false memory of overhearing mysterious voices down a hall who were plotting his assassination. The king decides to act on it by hiring the Telepath to weed out any would be killers. Great! This is exactly what the Telepath wanted him to do. But now the Telepath is targeted by the thieves’ guild who wants to remove the king.
In the above example the king could have just as easily decided the Telepath was the voice the king heard plotting his demise (poetic justice) and he calls for your arrest and execution. Or he could just hire a whole new guard squad to be his personal bodyguards.
In this example it is better to implant a nagging thought stating the Telepath would be a good candidate for assisting in the king’s protection through the psionicist’s talents.
This is just the start of this class’s features. Let me know if you want it to go a different way or you like what you see so far. Until next time, stay nerdy!
[NERDITOR’S NOTE: A new Unearthed Arcana dropped as I was freshening this post up April 14, 2020. Here’s a link!]