Psionic Class - Erudite : Scholar-Thieves of Thought

by Bruce Cordell, Dragon #319

The Expanded Psionics Handbook introduces four base classes for psionic characters: the psion, psychic warrior, soulblade, and wilder. However, there are other paths to psionic power, and one is the erudite.

The erudite is a psionic character who follows a scholarly and reflective road to power instead of a merely self-conscious path, like the psion. An erudite's psionic powers arise from a schedule of austere study and continual practice. Those who can master the teachings of erudite lore can eventually call upon an internal reservoir of psionic power.

Adventures: An erudite adventures to exercise his mastery of mental powers and the desire to discover new troves of psionic lore. Erudites might also have any of the noble or ignoble motivations that other adventurers do.

Characteristics: The erudite's strength is in his array of powers, the products of hard work and prolonged study. As with the psion, an erudite's aggressive powers do not scale by level like the spells of arcane and divine casters (although they can be augmented), but he enjoys supreme flexibility in accessing those powers with power points. Additionally, an erudite can seed a crystal or gem with a fragment of his personality, creating a psicrystal as a class ability.

Unlike a psion, an erudite does not choose a discipline in which to focus (and his ability to learn select discipline powers is somewhat restricted). In addition to the powers he learns for free when gaining a new level, an erudite can learn powers as he comes upon them, which means the erudite's potential variety of powers is far broader than a psion's.

Alignment: The studious erudites are more prone toward law than chaos. Erudites serve both good and evil in equal measure, favoring neither.

Religion: Erudites sometimes worship deities revered for their intelligence and wisdom. They often find comfort and insight communing with deities of knowledge and secrets, but they do not forge the bonds of dedication that more spiritual classes do.

Background: Unlike psions, erudites see themselves as members of a defined group, all of whom seek wellsprings of psionic lore. Moreover, they are more likely to belong to formal organizations of similarly-minded manifesters, where such lore is accumulated and studied in common.

Races: Those who choose the way of the erudite adhere to a rigorous path of study and practice. Among the humanoid races, humans, elves, and gnomes are most apt to follow such a course. Among the savage and monstrous humanoids, erudites are rare, since rigorous study of psionic lore is a requirement.

Other Classes: Erudites enjoy the company of companions with widely varying skills. They prefer to manifest their powers from a protected flank, serving either as artillery or as support to their team.

Role: An erudite's powers make him a good addition to any party. Erudites take on differing roles within a party, based on the powers they decide to manifest on a given day.

Game Rule Information

Erudites have the following game statistics.

Abilities: Intelligence determines what powers an erudite can manifest, how many powers he can manifest, and how hard those powers are to resist. See the Class Features section.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d4.

Class Skills

The erudite's class skills are Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Gather Information, Heal, Knowledge (all skills taken individually), Knowledge (psionics), Profession, Psicraft, and Sense Motive.

Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) x 4.

Skill Points at each additional level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the erudite.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Erudites are proficient with the club, dagger, heavy crossbow, light crossbow, quarterstaff, and shortspear. They are not proficient with any type of armor or shield. Armor does not interfere with the manifestation of powers.

Power Points/Day: An erudite's ability to manifest powers is limited by the power points he has available. His base daily allotment of power points is given on the Erudite class table. In addition, he receives bonus power points per day if he has a high Intelligence score (see Table 1-1: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Power Points in the Expanded Psionics Handbook). His race might also provide bonus power points per day, as might certain feats and items.

Powers Discovered (Repertoire): An erudite learns his powers from the same power list that psions and wilders use. The erudite begins play knowing three 1st-level psion/wilder powers of your choice. For each point of Intelligence bonus he possesses, he knows one additional 1st-level power when play begins. Each time the erudite achieves a new level, he unlocks the knowledge of two new powers of any level or levels that he can manifest (according to his new level) from the psion/wilder power list.

An erudite may not automatically learn powers from any of the discipline exclusive lists. However, he can later learn such powers through other means; see Learning Discipline Powers.

To learn or manifest a power, an erudite must have an Intelligence score of at least 10 + the power's level. An erudite's bonus power points are based on Intelligence (see Table 1-1: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Powers in the Expanded Psionics Handbook). The Difficulty Class for saving throws against erudite powers is 10 + the power's level + the Intelligence modifier. The erudite may learn new powers found in power stones, from the minds of other willing psionic characters, and from the minds of unconscious psionic characters (see Adding Powers to an Erudite's Repertoire).

Unique Powers Per Day: An erudite manifests psionic powers, paying for each manifestation with an expenditure of power points. Unlike a psion, an erudite is limited to manifesting a certain number of unique psionic powers of each power level per day from the repertoire of powers he knows, according to his class level. Thus, a 1st level erudite can manifest 1 unique power per day; however, the total number of powers an erudite may manifest per day is limited only by the number of his daily power points (that is, the erudite could manifest the unique power as many times per day as he has power points to pay for it). An erudite simply knows his powers (they are part of his repertoire). He does not need to prepare them, though he must get a good night's sleep each day to regain all spent power points.

For instance, Aemund the 1st-level erudite (who has taken the Extra Unique Power feat) has in his repertoire four different 1st level powers: crystal shard, empty mind, psionic daze, and synesthete. On any given day, he may manifest up to two of those powers (if he hadn't taken the Extra Unique Power feat, he would only be able to manifest one power per day from all the powers he knows). He doesn't have to decide ahead of time which two powers he'll manifest. At 1st level, he has 5 power points (2 class base + 1 bonus power point for high Intelligence + 2 for Psionic Talent feat) so he could manifest crystal shard, for 1 power point, a total of five times, without breaking the rule of just two unique 1st level powers per day. In this case, he only manifests one power today; he could have manifested crystal shard three times and psionic daze two times without breaking the unique power per day rule, too. For the purposes of manifesting unique powers per day, a new day is assumed to start after the erudite rests to regain daily power points. He can manifest a different mix of unique powers each day, as he desires, without preparation.

An erudite does not choose a primary discipline.

Bonus Feats: An erudite gains a bonus feat at 1st level, 5th level, 10th level, 15th level, and 20th level. This feat must be a psionic feat, a metapsionic feat, or a psionic item creation feat.

These bonus feats are in addition to the feats that a character of any class gains every three levels (as given on Experience and Level-Dependent Benefits). An erudite is not limited to psionic feats, metapsionic feats, and psionic item creation feats when choosing these other feats.

Psicrystal: An erudite gains the Psi-crystal Affinity feat as a class feature (see Chapter 3 of the Expanded Psionics Handbook).

Adding Powers To An Erudite's Repertoire

Erudites can add new powers to their repertoires through several methods, in addition to learning new powers for gaining a level like other psionic classes.

Powers Gained at a New Level: Erudites and other psionic characters perform a certain amount of personal meditation between adventures in an attempt to unlock latent mental abilities. Each time an erudite achieves a new level, he learns additional powers according to his class schedule.

An erudite learns two powers of his choice to add to his repertoire in this fashion. These powers represent powers unlocked through study, practice, and the accumulation of psionic lore. The two free powers must be of levels the erudite can manifest. These two free powers can never be from a select discipline list.

Learning Discipline Powers: An erudite can only learn discipline powers by directly learning the power from another's repertoire, learning it from a power stone, or by taking the Expanded Knowledge feat or the Epic Expanded Knowledge feat (see the Expanded Psionics Handbook).

An erudite can learn powers whenever he encounters a new power on a power stone, or gains access to another psionic character's or creature's repertoire (these could be any powers from the psion/wilder list, or any select discipline powers encoded in the stone or held in a creature's repertoire). No matter what the power's source, the character must first make contact (a process similar to addressing a power stone, requiring a Psicraft check against a DC of 15 + the highest level power contained in the stone or the repertoire). An erudite can make contact with only a willing psionic character or creature (unconscious creatures are considered willing, but not psionic characters under the effects of other immobilizing conditions).

Mental contact requires full round of physical contact, which can provoke attacks of opportunity. Once contact is achieved, the character becomes aware of all the powers stored in the power stone or all the powers the other character knows up to the highest level of power the contactor knows himself.

Next, the erudite may make a Psicraft check (DC 15 + power's level) to see if he understands one of the powers. If the power is not on his class list or is a discipline power, he automatically fails this check.

If the check fails, the erudite cannot understand, manifest, or learn the power. He cannot attempt to manifest or learn it again, even if he studies it from another source, until he gains another rank in Psicraft. If the power was being learned from a power stone, it does not vanish from the power stone.

If the erudite understands the selected power, he can attempt to manifest the power normally on his next turn, as described in the Expanded Psionics Handbook, or he may attempt to permanently commit the power to his own repertoire.

Committing Powers to a Repertoire: Once an erudite understands a new power through the described procedure of contact, he can learn it, permanently adding it to his repertoire.

Requirements: The process requires eight hours, regardless of the power's level. During those 8 hours, the erudite must remain in meditation. The erudite doesn't need to keep the power stone or other psionic source nearby while he fixes the candidate power in his repertoire. However, should he manifest any other power during the time requirement, he loses focus on the power to be added, and loses the chance to learn that power until he gains at least one more rank in Psicraft.

XP Cost: To permanently learn a new power that is not one of the powers the erudite learns automatically for going up a level, he must expend 20 XP, which are deducted from the character at the end of the meditation. Now the erudite permanently knows the power, and has it in his repertoire just like any other power he knows.

The erudite does not have to pay the costs in time or XP for the powers he gains for free at each new level. The erudite adds these to his repertoire as part of his ongoing meditation.

Other Considerations: In most cases, psionic characters or creatures charge a fee to erudites for the privilege of learning powers from their repertoires. This fee is usually equal to the power's level times 50 gp, although many jealously guard their higher-level powers and might charge much more (or deny access altogether). Erudites friendly to one another often "trade" access to equal-level powers from each other's repertoires at no cost.

If contacting another psionic character or creature, the process leaves the other character's repertoire unharmed in either case, but a power learned from a power stone disappears from the power stone.

Starting Gear

3d4 x 10 gp of equipment.

EruditeHit Die: d4Unique Powers per Day
1st+0+0+0+2Psicrystal, Bonus Feat21--------
5th+2+1+1+4Bonus feat25321------
10th+5+3+3+7Bonus feat8844332----
15th+7/+2+5+5+9Bonus Feat19544444321-
20th+10/+5+6+6+12Bonus feat343444444444

Source: Dragon #319

Psionic Classes
© 2000-2006 Wizards of the Coast, Inc. All rights reserved.