Lighthouse for the Blind
“Resist all you like. I have ways of making you think.”
―Dechares, Dwarven inquisitor
The psion learns the Way, a philosophy of mental
discipline, to become master of his will, or innate mental
power. Most aspiring psions seek out an instructor, a
master of the Way. Most Athasian cities contain psionic
academies where students receive instructions in
exchange for money or loyal service.
Making a Psion
The psion learns the Way in order to shape his Will.
The psion uses, through study called the Way, how to
manifest the power inherent in his inner self. The psion is
able to project this power, the Will, into creating all sorts
of supernatural effects. The psion may know a limited
number of ways to shape his will, but he enjoys great
flexibility in how he uses his known powers.
Races: Nearly all living creatures have a latent psionic
capacity, and psions are found among all sentient races of
the Tablelands, and even among some creatures that are
not ordinarily considered sentient.
Alignment: The search for refinement of the Way
tends to draw many psions into a neutral view of the
world, so most psions have one part of their alignment
that is neutral. Good psions may spend their time in
search of new powers, or help their village defend itself
against predators, or maybe join the ranks of Merchant
Houses. Evil psions may serve as agents in service of the
sorcerer‐kings, or as more shady agents of Merchant
Houses, or simply work as mercenaries and offer their
specialized services to the highest bidder. Even though
many psions tend to have a neutral view of the world,
they can be of any alignment.
Same as XPH.
Playing a Psion
When you first learned to use psionics, you were
taught to create a nexus―a point in the center of your
being where physical, mental, and spiritual energy can be
harnessed. It is the union of these powers that allows you
to perform the remarkable feats you’re capable of.
As a psion, your choice of discipline is all‐important to
you. Seers are not very powerful, if one defines power as
the ability to cause immediate harm to one’s foes, but they
are the most capable information gatherers of Athas.
Shapers are tinkerers, creating toys and monsters out of
thin air, just to dismiss them and build another.
Kineticists are battlefield psionicists who are actively
sought out as military auxiliaries, and is almost as good as
a wizard for creating mayhem in a fight. Egoists have a
wide range of useful powers: they can fight as well as a
fighter, become stealthier than a thief, heal like a cleric, or
change shape like a wizard. Nomads possess an array of
valuable powers that can bypass almost any obstacle and
confound any enemies, working with the very fabric of
space, time, and reality itself to achieve his goals.
Telepaths are considered by some to the most powerful
psions, and most Athasians are terrified of a telepath’s
ability to manipulate their very thoughts.
Psions use the Way to manifest their inner powers;
through long hours of meditation and extremes of the
senses, they seek knowledge inward. Their power comes
from inside them, so only psions from the most animistic
cultures look to outside beings or religions for spiritual
Psions tend to be drawn to those like themselves.
Lower‐level psions tend to towards a nearly worshipful
attitude towards higher level psions, curious about their
mysterious training and knowledge.
Higher‐level psions tend to either stay to themselves,
or to try to befriend almost everyone, pressing for party
leadership. Most psions tolerate priests and druids
(although some psions make needling remarks about
“foolish superstition”), but most psions are uneasy with
wizards. Psions view wilders much in the same way that
a fighter views a barbarian―untrained, erratic, and as
much a danger to his companions as to his enemies.
You usually disdain combat and other primitive
displays of force, but when needed, you use your
impressive array of psionic powers for both attack and
defense against your enemies, just as any other psionic
Most psions were strongly inclined towards a specific
discipline before their ever realized they had any psionic
talent. Once you have undergone your initial training,
you can continue your studies on your own, much the
way a wizard learn new spells.
As you attain more levels in the psion class, the most
important choice you face is which powers to learn. A
psion has access to much fewer spells than a wizard, so he
has to chose carefully in order to find a good mix of
offensive, defensive, and utility powers.
Psions on Athas
“Once, I encountered a shattered tribe of elves wandering
aimlessly through the desert. Lost and unprovisioned, they
clearly had no hope of survival beyond the next few days. I
later learned that they had made the mistake of disturbing
a psionic master’s trance as they attempted to rob his
―The Wanderer’s Journal
Nearly every level of Athasian society is permeated
with psionics. Even the humblest slave may possess an
unusual talent or ability, while the most powerful
enchantments of the sorcerer‐monarchs include psionic
elements. Mental powers are used on an everyday basis in
Telepaths allow instantaneous communication across
hundreds of miles. Draft animals and slaves are kept
under control by psionic overseers. Prophets use their
visionary powers to forecast the fortunes of kings and
peasants, find missing objects, and solve crimes.
Kineticists and egoists use their potent abilities in all
manner of enterprises, both legitimate and otherwise.
The study of the Way is very similar to the study of
magic. Just as wizards strive to master more advanced
and difficult spells, psionicists must constantly seek to
unlock new and more powerful abilities. Unlike wizardry,
there is no single formula that will reproduce an effect of
the Way that will work the same for each individual.
Students must independently develop the command of
High‐level psions tend to become contemplative
masters, so they can make good patrons for lower‐level
PCs. Such psions often hire adventurers to gather rare
psionic items for study or to recover lost knowledge of the
ancient ages in their stead.
The human psion known as Pharistes brought chaos
over the Tyr Region when he activated a powerful artifact
that dampened all psionic power in the region and drove
all thri‐kreen mad because he thought the abuse of
psionics was the cause of all the evil under the dark sun.
Agis of Asticles was an accomplished telepath and
politician, who fought to bring freedom to the city‐stated
of Tyr and helped to remove Athas from the menace of
the Dragon of Tyr.
Psions don’t organize together, but they often join
other organizations, specially psionic academies and
monasteries. Psions who dedicate themselves into
extensive studies in such organizations in order to master
the Way often become psiologists (page 104).
The common people usually react to a psion exactly as
they would to any other psionicists in their community.
Because trained psionicists are scarce and their skills are
vital, they are highly valued by many elements of the
Athasian society. Unlike wizards, psionicists are free of
the taint of magic and need not disguise their calling.
They owe no loyalty to the sorcerer‐kings, unlike the
templars. Even clerics and druids have elemental powers
and guarded lands that they must place before all other
considerations. Psionicists are free of these patrons and
responsibilities and may employ their powers as they see
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (psionics) can
research psions to learn more about them. When a
character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the
following, including the information from lower DCs.
DC 10: Psions are manifesters who use the forces of
their own minds to affect their environment.
DC 15: Psionic powers do not draw upon magical
energy that surrounds all things. Rather they are derived
from within when the psionicist has his entire essence in
coordination; his mind, body, and soul in perfect
DC 20: Psions choose one of the six psionic disciplines
in which to focus their efforts.