This article features various
suggestions on how to introduce Psionics in the world of Mystara. Since
Mystara was originally created for OD&D, it is rather obvious that
there aren't many "canonical" sources on the presence of Psionics there.
Nevertheless, there are some phenomena that could, at the DM's will, be
explained through Psionics. Moreover, should one employ other AD&D
2e settings together with Mystara, it might be useful to have some explanation
of the (apparent) absence of Psionics on the planet.
In general, the more a setting
is high magic, the less it is high psionic, and vice versa. Mystara is
commonly held high magic, so, even when Psionics are used in the setting,
its frequency should be lower than on other worlds. Also, while on many
worlds Psionics are researched, teached, and learned with mechanics resembling
those used for magic, it is not so for Mystara. Here, Psionics are so rare
that only few institutions (namely, mystic monasteries and the Yavi Seers)
give formal training in the Way.
Following some reasons are suggested
for the rarity of Psionics on Mystara, and some advice is given on the
nature of Wild Talents and Psionicists of this world.
While most Mystaran humans doesn't
seem to be different from their kin of other worlds, some of them show
peculiarities that might explain why Psionics are so rare on Mystara, and
why the presence of Psionicists is known only in a few regions of the planet.
Alphatian (also Cypri and Flaems)
are genetically inapt to Psionics. Pure blood Alphatians cannot become
Psionicists nor they can have wild talents. This is in some way linked
to their affinity for magic. Those of mixed descent have a reduced probability
of being talented for Psionics.
Tanagoro people are the most psionic
talented Mystarans, though this is evident only in Yavdlom, where a considerable
number of Clairsentients exist.
Cynidiceans developed a notable
psionic potential through their century long exposition to drugs. As a
side effect, this provoked a permanent dream-like state in most Cynidiceans.
No true Psionicist should exist in the Lost City, since the dream-like
state prevent them from developing their powers beyond wild talent nature.
Most wild talent should be from the Clairsentient disciplines, and are
activated unconsciously during the deep waking dreams of the Cynidiceans.
Traladaran gypsy can be Psionicists,
choosing Telepathy, Psycoportation or Clairsentience disciplines. Most
are view as wizardly or priestly seers (or just charlatans) by common Mystarans.
Mystarans Mystics can be converted
to AD&D 2e as Psionicists with the Sensei kit.
Demihumans & Humanoids
Dwarven Psionicists may exist on
Mystara only as Crystallites. They can chose their primary discipline only
between Psycometabolism and Psycokinesis. Most would be multiclass fighter/psionicists
or cleric/psionicist. They need a quartz crystal worth 100 gp plus 100
gp for each discipline used by the Psionicist. Dwarves may also have wild
talent, though they are able to use it only by learning the Crystal Focus
Gnomes and Halflings have the needed
psionic potential, but they are not trained to use it. Even wild talent
will not manifest until the character undergoes great hardship. Gnomes
have the same limitations as Dwarves, but they must choose their primary
discipline according to standard Crystallite rules.
Elves don't have enough Will, in
general, to become Psionicists. The rate of wild talents is also lower
than that of other Mystaran Demihumans. However, Half-Elves can be Psionicists,
and they are relatively common in Yavdlom. Most Yavi Seers are of mixed
elven and tanagoro inheritance, and they have the ability to detect psionic
potential in their compatriots.
Rakasta and Tortles can be Psionicist,
using the Sensei kit.
The savage races of the Savage
Coast have a small number of Psionicists. They use the Savage Psionicist
kit and aren't clearly distinguished from Savage Wizards.
Mystarans seldom have Wild Talents,
and even then they have lesser power in comparison to Athasians. They never
have Wild Sciences, and may have only two different Talents (not counting
the prerequisites). They also have a reduced selection of Wild Devotions.
Dwarves and Gnomes get Wild Talents
only from the Psycometabolic, Psycokinetic and Metapsionic disciplines.
Halflings always receive Telepathic
or Metapsionic devotions.
Elves and Half-Elves get their
talents from the Clairsentient, Telepathic or Metapsionic disciplines.
People from tribal cultures of
the Savage Coast have Psycometabolic or Psycokinetic Talents.
Traladaran Gypsies have an higher
than average probability of having a Clairsentience wild talent, if they
The rate of Wild Talents is for
standard humans and demihumans is the same as that of standard AD&D
campaigns. This means that only one in a hundred Mystaran humans has psionic
talent. This rate is even lower for elves and humans of alphatian blood.
Alphatians never have psionic Wild
Talents. Those of mixed blood are treated as demihumans.
Elves have one half the standard
rate (i.e. one quarter that of humans).
Tanagoro people from Yavdlom have
double the standard rate, and Wild Talents are discovered more often than
in other nations (especially Clairsentient powers).
Wild Talents are seldom discovered.
This happens only when a Talent activates by unconscious reaction to threatening
or stressing situations, or in response to psionic or magic influence.
Even then, it is often confused with other powers (for example the Red
Curse or class related powers like paladins' laying on hands).
Crystallite kit was introduced
in "The Even More Complete Psionicist" by Jon Winter, appeared on Dragon
Magazine issue 200 of December 1993, and still available from TSR
website (Dragon Magazine back issues). Dwarves and gnomes
of Mystara have the potential to be Crystallites, but they cannot be Psionicists
without this kit. Also, a dwarf or gnome cannot use a wild talent without
the Crystal Focus proficiency, which does not give him the standard bonus,
but just allows him to use the power. Differently from Crystallites of
other worlds Mystaran dwarves have to choose their primary discipline between
Psycokinesis or Psycometabolism, while gnomes have the standard choice.
Sensei are described in "The
Will & the Way" (currently available for download at TSR
website). They are known on Mystara as Mystics. They belong
to monastic orders, but may leave their monastery for long times when needed.
Humans, Half-Elves, Rakasta and Tortles might be Sensei, though there aren't
many monasteries along the Savage Coast at the time. Rakastan Sensei are
the most common, but they are encountered mainly on Myoshima.
Mystics almost always learn
these powers as they have the opportunity to do so: Inertial Barrier, Cell
Adjustment, Body Control, Body Equilibrium, Fighting Trance, Adrenaline
Control, Invisibility, Mind Bar, Suppress Fear, ESP, Catfall, Heightened
Senses, Flesh Armour. These powers mimic the various physical and supernatural
abilities of the OD&D Mystic well enough, and should allow proper role-playing
of the Mystic class.