Character traits are abilities that are not tied to your character’s race or class. They can enhance your character’s skills, racial abilities, class abilities, or other statistics, enabling you to further customize him. At its core, a character trait is approximately equal in power to half a feat, so two character traits are roughly equivalent to a bonus feat. Yet a character trait isn’t just another kind of power you can add on to your character—it’s a way to quantify (and encourage) building a character background that fits into your campaign world. Think of character traits as “story seeds” for your background; after you pick your two traits, you’ll have a point of inspiration from which to build your character’s personality and history. Alternatively, if you’ve already got a background in your head or written down for your character, you can view picking his traits as a way to quantify that background, just as picking race and class and ability scores quantifies his other strengths and weaknesses.
Many traits grant a new type of bonus: a “trait” bonus. Trait bonuses do not stack—they’re intended to give player characters a slight edge, not a secret backdoor way to focus all of a character’s traits on one type of bonus and thus gain an unseemly advantage. It’s certainly possible, for example, that somewhere down the line, a “Courageous” trait might be on the list of dwarf race traits, but just because this trait is on both the dwarf race traits list and the basic combat traits list doesn’t mean you’re any more brave if you choose both versions than if you choose only one.
Character traits are only for player characters. If you want an NPC to have traits, that NPC must “buy” them with the Additional Traits feat. Player characters are special; they’re the stars of the game, after all, and it makes sense that they have an advantage over the NPCs of the world in this way.
Presented below are two new trait categories for psionic campaign: Psionic Traits and Dream Traits.
Virtually all psionic powers carry some sort of secondary display. This might be a flash of light, a particular scent, or a humming sound. Yet the standard rules only give options for a single display effect for each type of display – auditory, material, mental, olfactory, and visual. What if you want your character to have varying displays based upon a particular personality? The rules outline a way to change a single display for one character, but not a way to make these displays the truly mutable side-effects they should be.
Presented below are a variety of new displays for manifested powers. Although they may change the look and feel of a power, they carry no mechanical changes. The powers are still identified in the same fashion, the powers still have the same primary effects, and no special rolls are needed to choose any of these effects. These are presented simply as a way to differentiate one manifester from another when using psionic power.
The first section presented will give a variety of new displays for each of the five display types. This allows the easiest method of customizing displays by simply choosing a different display instead of the default effect.
The second section presents options for combination effects, because maybe you don’t want the display effects of a power to be separate. This allows a manifester’s displays to have a single, multi-part display effect, rather than several separate effects that do not relate to each other.
The third section offers new groups of displays. This section will offer, for example, a group of displays to use with just powers with the fear descriptor. Or new displays to use on powers of the creation subdiscipline. Fear powers and creation powers are quite different and this allows the display effects to reflect this distinction.
The final section presents display themes. These themes might be for a single character, or a single set of powers, at your discretion. An example would be a psychic warrior from a village where totems are worshipped instead of gods. This psychic warrior’s powers might have displays that reflect his totem, rather than anything else.
All of the options presented here are completely optional and can be used together or separately. You might decide that the theme option makes the most sense for your character, or perhaps the theme option along with the display groups options, allowing your kineticist’s energy powers to wreathe him in energy, while his other visual displays show a burst of sparkling mist. In addition, you might think of more options for displays – this is encouraged, as the lists presented below are far from exhaustive.
Enjoy your manifestations! Your character should be truly unique and the options presented here are an effort to do just that.
Presented below are a variety of new displays for use with manifestations. Each type of display – auditory, material, mental, olfactory, and visual – has new display options. These options can be used individually or combined together; they simply offer some new options and a framework for creating your own. Choosing new displays does not require any particular feats, skill ranks, or class features; any manifester can choose Alternate displays – with the GM’s permission.
The following displays apply to powers that carry an auditory display type.
The following displays apply to powers that carry a material display type.
The following displays apply to powers that carry a mental display type.
The following displays apply to powers that carry an olfactory display type.
The following displays apply to powers that carry a visual display type.
For some powers, the various displays should be directly related, rather than two or more disjointed displays. Presented below are a variety of new displays for combinations of different display types.
In addition, GMs are encouraged to allow players to change the displays of powers, as long as the overall feel of the displays fits the theme of the power. Because altered displays do not modify the actual power, or the ability to identify the power, changing the display should not carry any mechanical or balance concerns.
The displays below are for when a power has two displays. In addition, if a power has more than two displays, one of the options below and a different third option might be selected.
Although there are only a handful of powers that have three displays, new options for these powers are presented below, as well as should players create new powers with three displays.
While few powers have four display types, new options are presented below for powers that players might research that do have such displays. In addition, lenient GMs may allow the use of four-part display combinations even if a power does not have four displays.
Although there are no known powers that have all five display types, two new displays are presented below for just such an instance. These displays should be reserved for truly signature powers, although that does not necessarily mean the highest level power possible. Perhaps such a display is possible by augmenting a power to a high amount.
Some powers fit into a specific theme and might share their displays based upon that theme. Some themes include the different subdisciplines or power descriptors. Powers of these groups can use the same displays and some options for these groups are detailed below.
The different subdisciplines of powers often fall within a single theme. As such, it might fit your character concept if powers of that particular subdiscipline had their own displays. Presented below are new displays for each of the psionic subdisciplines.
Auditory: Nearly inaudible whisperings can be heard by all within 30 feet of the manifester. If listened to closely, they appear to be telling the listener just how wonderful a person the manifester is.
Material: Clear crystals resembling diamonds fall to the ground around the manifester, but disappear upon landing.
Mental: The manifester’s presence seems reassuring to those in the nearby area
Olfactory: A pleasant scent, different for each individual within 15 feet of the manifester, can be smelled coming from the manifester.
Visual: The manifester’s eyes seem to sparkle, teeth seem to gleam, and hair seems to ripple as if in the wind.
Auditory: Nearly inaudible whisperings can be heard by all within 30 feet of the manifester. If listened to closely, they appear to be coaxing the listener to heed the words of the manifester.
Material: Chain links form around the manifester’s wrists and ankles, but disappear after a second. The links do not impede the manifester’s movement.
Mental: Everyone around the manifester feels an urge to listen to him, that what he says or does has some important but hidden meaning.
Olfactory: Those within 5 feet of the manifester smell a sickly sweet odor for the round.
Visual: The manifester’s face radiates with light, drawing the eyes of all within sight.
Auditory: The sound of a hammer striking an anvil, becoming louder and striking faster the higher the level of the power.
Material: A glowing hammer manifests in the hand of the manifester, or an anvil materializes nearby, glowing as if hot.
Mental: The sense of accomplishment, of having finished something fills those around the manifester.
Olfactory: The smell of burning coals and burnt hair fills the area around the manifester.
Visual: The hands of the manifester glow either with dripping ectoplasm or as if they were made from molten steel given form.
Auditory: The sound of a wind chime playing in the wind fills the area. The higher the level, the more wind chimes seem to make up the chorus.
Material: Small drops of warm water fall on the target of the power, but do not cause the target to become wet.
Mental: Those around the manifester feel safe and at home, as if nothing in the world could hurt them right now.
Olfactory: The smell of rosemary and basil fills the area, as might the smell of freshly baked bread or flowers.
Visual: A soft white light spreads from the hands of the manifester to all targets of the power. Alternatively, small glowing motes of light form in the air around the manifester, and are then absorbed into the wounds of the target(s) of power.
Auditory: Sounds in the area are briefly muted, as if being heard from a distance.
Material: Small shards of glass cover the area near the manifester, although they are too small to cause damage if touched or stepped on.
Mental: All creatures within 30 feet of the manifester feel as if they are being watched, although the feeling quickly passes.
Olfactory: The strong scent of incense can be smelled by those within 30 feet of the manifester.
Visual: Disembodied eyes float around the manifester’s head for the duration of the power.
Auditory: Popping and rustling noises, as of bones dislocating and being set back into the joint, can be heard by all within 30 feet of the manifester.
Material: The manifester skin flakes off and briefly blankets the ground nearby before disappearing, leaving no remains.
Mental: Creatures within 15 feet of the manifester feel as if something is crawling on their skin.
Olfactory: A musky scent permeates the area near the affected area or the manifester, at the manifester’s discretion.
Visual: A grey haze envelopes the form of the manifester, disappearing once the power has taken effect.
Auditory: A loud ‘whoosh’ of wind can be heard near the origin and destination of the manifester.
Material: A shimmering substance, vaguely resembling ectoplasm, coats the ground near the manifester and quickly fades away. The substance is actually temporal energy in material form.
Mental: The feeling of falling, or the memory of a long trek, fill the mind of those near the manifester.
Olfactory: A foreign smell, unlike anything the person has ever smelled, fills the area around the manifester.
Visual: The manifester’s form slowly fades from view, re-appearing gradually at the destination (or the original location, if his location hasn’t changed).
Power descriptors indicate a certain style of power, even if of different disciplines. A clairsentience power and a telepathy power may both be fear effects, for example. These powers may have similar displays as a result of their descriptors. Presented below are new displays for some of the psionic power descriptors.
Auditory: A sizzling and popping sound can be heard, emanating from the manifester or the target of the power, at the manifester’s discretion.
Material: A slightly viscous substance coats the area around the target or manifester, at the manifester’s choice. The substance dissipates after one round.
Mental: All creatures within 20 feet of the manifester feel an itchy sensation on their flesh, although it quickly passes.
Olfactory: An acrid odor spreads out from the manifester’s location, to a 20′ radius, before dissipating the next round.
Visual: The floor or ground around the manifester appears to dissolve and smoke, although after a few seconds, the effect ends and the area is unharmed.
Auditory: The roaring sound of an arctic wind envelopes the area around the manifester.
Material: A slick of ice covers the area, or a fine powder of snow, but does not last long enough to make walking difficult.
Mental: Those nearby get the feeling of the frigid cold or the soft lull of hypothermia.
Olfactory: Smells seem muted, as if covered by a blanket of snow.
Visual: The manifester’s breath frosts and his skin briefly turns a shade of faint blue.
Auditory: A death rattle can be faintly heard, growing louder until near deafening, then abruptly fades.
Material: Maggots blanket the area around the manifester or the target, at the manifester’s discretion, for only a second, but long enough for those nearby to witness their appearance.
Mental: The feeling of death approaching, or the comforting feel of a deep slumber, fills the minds of those nearby.
Olfactory: The stench of rotting flesh fills the nearby area.
Visual: The manifester’s face turns to that of a skull for a split second.
Auditory: The crackle and pop of sparks, combined shortly after with a crash of thunder
Material: Small flakes of a metallic substance cover the area around the manifester, before disappearing a few seconds later.
Mental: You get the feeling of being shocked from static electricity.
Olfactory: The smell of ozone permeates the area for the round.
Visual: Sparks jump across the manifester’s skin for the duration of the manifestation.
Auditory: A sinister laugh can be heard by all within 30 feet of the manifester.
Material: Maggots blanket the area, including the flesh of individuals, near the manifester for a split second before disappearing.
Mental: A feeling of dread and unease briefly fills the minds of those near the manifester.
Olfactory: The smell of sulfur or mold fills the area near the manifester for a short time before quickly fading away.
Visual: The manifester’s face turns to that of any demon or devil of the manifester’s choice
Auditory: Blood-curdling scream or the howling of wolves or even more disturbing creatures fill the area around the manifester.
Material: A sticky, red substance covers the area, resembling blood, but disappears after 1 round.
Mental: The feeling of being watched, followed, and stalked by some unnameable entity out of the deepest corners of the mind flows into those near the manifester.
Olfactory: The scent of rotting flesh and the sharp smell of poison wafts out from the manifester.
Visual: The manifester seems to writhe with internal tentacles just under his skin.
Auditory: The crackle of flames can be faintly heard, growing rapidly louder into the roar of a bonfire, before fading into the wind.
Material: Sooty ash coats the nearby area and disappears the next round, leaving no residue.
Mental: Those within 15 feet of the manifester feel a hot sensation on the side of their bodies closest to the manifester.
Olfactory: The smell of char or burnt flesh permeates the area
Visual: Crackling flames surround the manifester or the affected area, at the manifester’s discretion.
Auditory: A faint buzzing sound can be heard by all near the manifester or the target of the effect, at the manifester’s discretion.
Material: Small, hazy cubes appear dotting the ground near the manifester. Close inspection reveals that the cubes don’t seem to be made of any real substance, instead composed of pure force in physical form.
Mental: A feeling of being pushed backwards comes over those within 15 feet of the manifester, although it is easily resisted.
Olfactory: The faint smell of ozone drifts into the area around the manifester for the round.
Visual: A transparent blue-white field encompasses the manifester’s form for the duration of the power.
Auditory: The sound of angelic voices singing can be heard by all within 15 feet of the manifester.
Material: Wisps of fog cover the ground around the manifester, making it appear as if he is walking on a cloud.
Mental: A peaceful feeling, and the desire to help others, briefly passes over those within 30 feet of the manifester.
Olfactory: The odor of freshly baked pastries fills the nostrils (or appropriate body part) of those within 15 feet of the manifester.
Visual: Angelic wings appear attached to the manifester’s back for one round.
Auditory: Voices in dozens of different languages can be heard by anyone within earshot of the manifester.
Material: Sheets of paper with writing in varying dialects appear on the ground around the manifester, but disappear the next round.
Mental: All intelligent creatures near the manifester feel a fleeting desire to learn a new language.
Olfactory: The scent of paper can be smelled by those within the area around the manifester.
Visual: Faces appear behind the manifester’s head, apparently in conversation with each other and oblivious to those nearby.
Auditory: A blaring trumpet can be heard by those within 50 feet of the manifester.
Material: Luminescent particles blanket the area briefly, before disappearing
Mental: The feeling of realizing the answer to an unasked question enters the minds of those near the manifester.
Olfactory: The scent of smoke, as of a fire just put out, can be smelled by those near the manifester.
Visual: Twinkling motes of light surround the head of the manifester, either in a white hue or multicolored, at the manifester’s choice.
Auditory: Faint voices, muttering indecipherable words, can be heard by those within 10 feet of the manifester.
Material: A sticky, clear fluid covers the surfaces near the manifester. Those with ranks in Heal recognize it as the same fluid that leaks from head wounds.
Mental: Those near the manifester feel as if their name is being called, although they do not hear any sound.
Olfactory: For one round, odors in the area seem to smell incorrectly to those near the manifester. For example, a pine tree might smell like roast meat.
Visual: The manifester’s eyes seem to glow bright purple, and a faint shimmer surrounds his head for the duration of the power.
Auditory: A humming noise can be heard by those near the manifester, growing louder until the power’s manifestation is completed.
Material: Shattered glass fragments cover surfaces near the manifester, although cause no harm if touched. The fragments disappear after one round.
Mental: Any creature within 5 feet of the manifester feels a pressure to their eardrums (or appropriate body part) for a few seconds; the pressure vanishes as rapidly as it came.
Olfactory: Scents seem to fade and grow in strength for all those near the manifester.
Visual: A rippling haze surrounds the manifester’s form for the duration of the power.
Psionics Expanded: Advanced Psionics Guide. Copyright 2011, Dreamscarred Press; Authors: Jeremy Smith and Andreas Rönnqvist.