Complete Psionic



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Complete Psionic

Author: Bruce Cordell & Christopher Lindsay
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Publish Date: 04/2006
ISBN: 0-7869-3911-7
Pages: 157
Rating: 3 out of 10
Retail Price: $29.95

 

When I heard the Wizards of the Coast was going to release Complete Psionic, I could have kissed someone. Unlike many DMs, I love psionics and think it adds another facet of play to the game. I’m of the mind that Expanded Psionics Handbook was one of the best books released since the 3.5 revision. Given that the author of that great book was one of the co-authors of Complete Psionic, I expected to see some extremely good things. Unfortunately, I was in for a let-down.

As in other books from the Complete series, the first chapter begins by introducing new classes. Three new psionic classes are presented, the ardent, the divine mind and the lurk. I’m not a big fan of new core classes, but usually, I can at least see a reason or drive behind new class concepts. The three classes presented in Complete Psionic, on the other hand, were (and this is putting it lightly) nothing more than wasted ink on paper. The ardent seems to be little more than a psionic paladin, the divine mind is obviously supposed to be a psionic cleric and the lurk is not only supposed to be a psionic rogue, but due to the high number of potential augments that the class can choose from almost at will, I can’t see why a min/maxer would ever want to play a rogue again, when the lurk can be a more efficient rogue than an actual rogue!

The second chapter is the token collection of prestige classes. Like most other WotC books, there wasn’t a lot of good material here to choose from. Nothing looked especially overpowered, but the authors really seem to have followed the WotC trend for designing prestige classes that are so extremely focused that one game in twenty might have use for them. The exception to this seems to be the ectopic adept, which specializes in the creation of astral constructs. I can see a use for that in many games. The one really good thing that I can say about this chapter is tat each prestige class came with a short blurb tying it to a psionic organization of some kind. If nothing else, this gives the reader an idea of how the class might possibly be useful.

The third chapter deals with feats, which everyone loves. At first glance, there seem to be an enormous number of feats in this book. However, upon closer inspection, many are basically the same feat that do the same thing in a different way. For example, one feat allows a soulknife to turn his mindblade into a dire flail, while another separate feat allows him to turn it into a dwarven urgrosh. Almost half of the given feats simply allow members of some of the psionic races (duergar, githyanki, etc) to switch out their psi-like abilities so that they duplicate other powers. At the end of the day, probably half of the feats given are actually standalone feats, and a large number of them only apply to one of the three classes given in chapter one.

Upon reaching chapter four, I thought to myself “alright, here, at least, is where I’ll find something useful to me.” The chapter has forty pages packed full of psionic powers, I figured there’d be something worthwhile in there. There was, but I noticed a continuing trend that this book seems to be exhibiting, as well. Psions and wilders get the shaft in this chapter. There are a few powers for psions/wilders, and because there are a number of powers designed for the lurk class, the psychic warrior gets a number, but the overwhelming majority of powers are designed for the divine mind class and wouldn’t translate well to other non-divine classes. Afterwards, the chapter follows up with a few short pages of psionic items and a two-page blurb about psionic locations that can be offered as treasure. Le sigh.

Chapter five was the requisite chapter on monsters. It was actually very useful. The first couple of pages are dedicated to giving stats for the various types of astral constructs that can be created with some of the feats from chapter three. Afterwards, it goes into “normal” psionic monsters. There were very few actual monsters given in this chapter, but I did like the larval flayer and shadow eft.

The final chapter was titled “character options.” It began with a single new psionc race called the synad. This race has three partitions to its mind, each controlling a different aspect of thought. The synad was nothing to write home to mom about, but it wasn’t bad... at least as good as the maenad or xeph. Continuing with the racial theme, six “clans” of naturally-psionic humans were detailed. This was an interesting bit of fluff, and there was nothing unbalanced about it, as these “races” are just humans forced to dedicate their racial feat slot to the Wild Talent feat from Expanded Psionics Handbook. Next, the psionic races with a level advancement were broken down into class progressions, much like the Savage Species style, so that each can be played in a watered-down version at level 1. Aside from a few epic psionic feats (that probably ought to have been included in chapter three instead), the last thing of note from this chapter is the erudite class variant. If a psion is a psionic variant of the sorcerer, the erudite is a variant of the wizard class, with the ability to learn new powers from power stones the way a wizard can from scrolls.

I really hate to say it, but I’m extremely disappointed in Complete Psionic. Psionics is a part of the D&D system that has somewhat of a bad reputation, due to how it was implemented in earlier editions. Because of this, I have maintained a basic assumption that those authors that wrote about psionics needed to be people who liked and would treat psionics with the reverence and attention given by someone who loved the system. Unfortunately, it seems I was very mistaken in my assumption.