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Old Screeds

The Mentalist: A Pathfinder prestige class designed to create a psionic feel using the existing magic and PrC system.

A Tower of Iron Will can prevent anyone else from learning about your secret obsession with donuts.

The Mentalist

Summary: The powers of the mind are amazing and esoteric – as are those who master them. Hidden knowledge and rigorous mental discipline, spread from mind to mind to mind, make for a heady mix of powers as practiced by the mentalists. With disdain for their physical bodies, they focus keenly on developing the remarkable powers of their own brains. And taking to heart the need to communicate their potent lore, mentalists stretch their minds and the minds of others by practicing strict regimens that unleash the power of the id, ego, and superego.

Role: Mentalists are arcane spell casters (though not alchemists) who push into the minds of others to share their secrets. They perfect mentalist techniques through contact with the Collective Unconscious. Mentalists meet in pairs, each reading the other’s thoughts, communicating abstract concepts that cannot be spoken in words. Divine casters do not have the right mindset to master the art. However, some mentalists find that the mental discipline of monks is relevant to their art.

Alignment: Mentalists may be any alignment, although their code, devoted to the sharing their lore, is in its way admirable. Mentalists tend to look down on lesser minds, with scorn and contempt, if evil, or with benevolent condescension, if good. In general, their focus on strict discipline pushes them towards law, rather than chaos.

Summary: The major feature of this prestige class is that it replaces the character's spell list with a new, custom spell list. Add in First-Edition-inspired mental attacks and defenses, plus other powers of the mind, for a unique magical take on psi. To check out the mechanics of the Mentalist prestige class, please download my free Prestige Class PDF ebook.

Design Notes: More than a decade ago, I created a Third Edition D&D prestige class based on this idea. This new version is dramatically evolved from that long-ago concept. Some prestige classes boost casting by stacking with existing base classes. Others (in D&D 3.5) grant their own spells per day and spell list. In the mentalist, I tried to boost existing spells per day with a brand new spell list, but using a prior base casting class. That's an unusual design element, and a drastic one, to scrap a caster's spell list and impose a brand new one. But it is essential to the flavor of the PrC.

Speaking of which, I tried to give a feel for the psionics of D&D editions past, but using magic and the existing Pathfinder rules. And I added a few of my own touches, like the ethos and the split brain. And my plans were too rich for balance with full progression, so I cut it to spells per day advancement only at even levels. I also did not include ninth level spells, and offered inducements on the spells known, to try to entice players to take more than a dip into the PrC.

Note that I gave the spell list for this prestige class a fuller, detailed treatment, because the spells on the list are from widely diverse sources, because many are unfamiliar, and because the grouping into disciplines needed to be made super clear.

This is the second part of a two-part series on psionics-emulation in Pathfinder without actually using psionics. The first part, a sorcerous bloodline of my own creation, is here.

Home | This page was created on 10 April 2017 and last modified 3 January 2018