Eclipse d20 – The Society Mind and Psionic Focus

   The Society Mind is a creation of Dreamscarred Press. Fortunately, however, the mechanics are entirely open game license – which means that I can easily go along with a request for information on how to translate them into Eclipse.

   Buying the basics is quite straightforward:

  • BAB +10 (60 CP)
  • Proficiency with All Simple Weapons (3 CP) and Light Armor (3 CP)
  • Saves +24 (72 CP)
  • 20d6 Hit Dice (40 CP)
  • 92 Skill Points (92 CP)

   and

  • 20 levels of the Wilder Power Progression, using Wisdom as the casting attribute (120 CP)

   Total: 390 CP. Given the standard 504 CP allowance for a basic class, that leaves the Society Mind with 114 CP to spend on special abilities.

   The rest of the build is likely to be more complicated. It’s not that it does anything that’s not available in Eclipse; it’s just that throwing in all the restrictions and modifiers needed to match the original build will require some work.

   The primary special ability of the Society Mind is the “Worldthought Network” – a supernatural ability to link together a group of people via subconscious psychic bonds. The Society mind can transfer and share a variety of things over those bonds, and has a special selection of powers that can be used in conjunction with this ability.

   The selection of powers is no problem at all of course. In Eclipse, if a spontaneous caster gains a new spell, it can indeed be a new spell. Those are, after all, generally spontaneously developed powers. Why should spontaneous developments be limited to a particular list?

   The “psychic bonds” ability is simply a variation of Mystic Link. To duplicate what the Society Mind gets at level twenty, we’ll need:

  • Mystic Link with Communications, Power Link, Transferable, and Identity Link (18 CP).
  • Nineteen more links – to make one per class level (57 CP) .
  • Immunity/transferring unwanted effects over the network (Common, Severe, Epic, 27 CP).
  • Immunity/normal requirements for setting up a mystic link (Common, Minor, Major, 6 CP).
    • The requirements for setting up a Mystic Link are not specified in Eclipse – mostly because they’re usually relatively scarce, are usually pretty dramatic, and are normally heavily customized to fit the setting. Of course, they’re usually epic mystic bonds, rather than casual telepathic links. With this ability a Society Mind simply requires (a) line of sight, (b) a standard action (sufficing for any number of links), and (c) targets who either renounce their saving throws OR are within close range and fails them (Will, DC 10 + Cha Mod + ½ the number of Mystic Links the Society Mind can currently maintain). The originator can drop any link as a free action, linked individuals may also do so if the originator has no objection. If the originator does object, the victim may take a full-round action that provokes an attack of opportunity to attempt a new save at the original DC; success removes him or her from the network.
  • Opportunist: Whenever one person on the network wishes to communicate with another one, the Society Mind may relay that communication without having to take an action of any kind to do so – although he or she does not HAVE to do so (6 CP).
  • Immunity/the inability to transfer nightly healing over the links (Common, Severe, Minor, 6 CP). Note that this is still subject to the limitations of “Cooperative Healing”, below – but the user can let the members of the network transfer the benefits of nightly healing.

   That’s a lot of points. A base total of 120 CP. Ouch. Of course, that is the full, level-20, fully-developed feature of the class – and in this unrestricted state it’s considerably more powerful than the original classes abilities: the Worldthought Network is restricted in several ways that a Mystic Link is not. In the case of a Worldthought Network:

  • It only works on creatures with a mind – that is on creatures who currently possess both Intelligence and Wisdom. A Society Mind can’t link with a mystic power nexus, a magical device, or that handy-dandy healing fountain.
  • If a voluntary member of the network dies, they’re removed from the network (that does not automatically follow with Mystic Link, which had trans-planar range) and the originator must make a Fortitude save (DC 15) or lose 10 XP and 1 power point for every Hit Die of the fallen member. That’s not actually a very large penalty, or a difficult save, but it is annoying.
  • The links will not work in a null-psionic field. The class information does not mention it, but presumably wards and dimensions that prevent the passage of psionic energies, psychic shields, telepathic disruptions, and similar effects can also disrupt the link – while hostile mentalists may be able to trace such links, derive some information – a “mental signature” – from them, or even transmit effects over them. Personally, I’d interpret this restriction as indicating that
  • The society mind must maintain a power point reserve of at least one point to maintain the network. Again, a rather trivial restriction.
  • Normally a healing spell or power used on any member of the network would take full effect on everyone in it. The Society Mind is – however – limited to Cooperative Healing; a voluntary network member who is affected by a healing effect may opt to redirect part or all of that healing to one or more other willing members of the network, whether that ability restores hit points or ability damage. Healing from ongoing healing effects, such as the fast healing special quality or true metabolism, cannot be transferred. The type of healing (positive energy, negative energy, construct repair, etc.) is unchanged from the original source for determining who or what can be healed.
  • Other beneficial powers and abilities used on one member of the network are not automatically shared either, although that’s a standard feature of the Identity Link. The Society Mind must identify the power (via Spellcraft or some similar skill, a free action), and expend a standard action which provokes attacks of opportunity and (1 power per caster or manifestor level of the effects creator + 4 power per additional member of the network to be affected beyond the first) to make it do so – although this does override the limitations of Cooperative Healing if applied to a healing effect. The requirement that the creature to be affected be a valid target for the power or ability in question applies normally. The original notation that this ability does not include metamagical or metapsionic effects that have been applied to the original effect is being ignored; those are, after all, an integral part of the effect. Finally, the reduplicated copies can be dispelled normally without terminating the original effect.
  • As an exception to the limitation above, abilities and powers designed to be used on the members of a network can be applied to additional members at a cost of a mere +1 Power per target.
  • A member who leaves the network for any reason immediately loses any and all benefits they may have gained from being a member.

   That’s quite enough to Specialize the entire affair – reducing the net cost to 60 CP. Fortunately for low-level Society Minds, they don’t need anywhere near all of that at once – which fits in with the original source material nicely.

   As Society Minds go up in level, they develop several other special abilities. These include:

  • Powers designed to affect the members of a Worldthought Network (that is, a power with that in the description) can be manifested on any member of the network even if that member would normally be immune to the power in question – and bypass both spell/power resistance and initial saves. That’s Immunity to Defenses against Mental Powers (Uncommon, Severe, Major, Specialized for Double Effect [to cover effects of up to level ten] 6 CP).
  • Reflex Training/Three action per day variant, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect (nine uses per day)/only for the use of mental powers, only for attempting to set up links, still counts as move action and can only be used during the character’s initiative (6 CP).
  • Favored Enemy (Networked Creatures), Specialized/Never gets to add additional creature types. The bonus applies to Bluff, Sense Motive, Intimidate, Spot, Listen, and Knowledge checks made against members of the network, Corrupted/this is a supernatural power (2 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Network Status. The user is aware of the location, identity (as he or she knows it), and current condition of every creature on the network. Corrupted/requires a move action to use (4 CP).
  • Social Insight: This subtle telepathic and clairsentient ability manifests itself as a +2 bonus to all Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, and Sense Motive checks. That is most easily purchased as Augmented Bonus/add Int Mod to Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, and Sense Motive, Specialized for Double Effect/Limited to a maximum of +2 (6 CP).
    • That’s actually rather awkward – but that’s because, in Eclipse, bonuses are usually bought to suit individual characters, rather than to fit a generic framework.
  • Psionic creatures who are willing members in a society mind’s worldthought network (including the society mind himself) may manifest unknown powers from powers known by another willing psionic creature in the network as if they were making physical contact (see the Expanded Psionics Handbook, page 64). This is actually a normal feature of standard rules on using unknown powers and the Power Link ability in the Mystic Link sequence, since it effectively keeps the entities involved in contact with each other despite distance. This has no cost.
  • All willing members of his worldthought network (including the society mind himself) can communicate with each other telepathically, even if they do not share a common language. That’s Immunity/the need to actually learn languages (Very Common, Minor, Minor – since a level three spell handles this nicely, Specialized/only works when transferring messages on the network in conjunction with the message-relaying power, 4 CP).
  • Society Minds can understand all languages, as long as they’re being used by a creature with a mind in an attempt to communicate with them. This does not grant the ability to read, write, or speak the languages in question. That’s Occult Sense/what a creature is trying to communicate (6 CP).
  • Metamagic (Metapsionic) Theorem/Transference with Streamline, both Specialized/only for applying the “Giveaway” option. The Society Mind may transfer control, and the need to concentrate on, a power he or she has manifested to someone else on his or her network (6 CP).
  • Opportunist/Can maintain concentration on a power as a move action. Specialized/this increases the DC of any required concentration check by five and only works on powers designed to be applied to a Worldthought Network (3 CP).
  • Immunity/the inability to manifest other powers while concentrating (Very Common, Minor, Major, Specialized for double effect [works on powers of up to level ten]/only works on one additional power at a time, requires a Concentration check at DC (15 + the level of the power being concented on + the level of the power he or she intends to manifest). If this check fails, the new power fails (and the power points spent on it are lost) and user must make a second Concentration check or lose concentration on the original power, ending it immediately (12 CP).

   That’s a grand total of 60 CP (for the Worldthought Network at full development) plus 55 CP for the supplemental abilities, for a grand total of 115 CP worth of special abilities.

   That comes out to a grand total of 505 CP, out of the 504 available CP, to build a Society Mind – a nicely balanced build. Considering that it didn’t come out until two years after Eclipse did, it’s nice to find that later publications are still fully compatible.

   Psionic Focus is worth a note. According to the rules, becoming Psionically Focused is a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity and requires a DC20 Concentration check to succeed. Once you’re focused, you can stay that way until you fall asleep, run out of power, or get knocked out. You can expend your Psionic Focus to take 15 on a Concentration check.

   OK, that’s a minor additional use on the Concentration skill. A small benefit for casters who have bought a bit of power or are in games where everyone gets some.

   Powers which you’d often want to use more than once in a short time – like most combat powers – that require you to expend your Psionic Focus may be corrupted; you may not get to use them nearly as often as you might like. Of course, if you buy some method of regaining your psionic focus instantly – such as Reflex Action (the three actions per day variant) and Luck with Bonus Uses, all specialized in mental actions only, corrupted for concentration checks only (6 CP total) – than expending your psionic focus isn’t much of a limitation at all any more. In such cases, the game master can and should insist that the character simply buy off the limitation on the affected powers, rather than trying to get around it. If he or she didn’t want to live with a limitation, he or she should not have taken it.

   Powers you can take your time with, or abilities which simply require that the user be psionically focused, do not get a price break. After all, if characters were allowed to get away with that, they could simply apply that modifier to – say – all their skills, or to their combat abilities, buy a few points of power, and simply stay psionically focused pretty much all the time. The golden rule is pretty simple; if a limitation of some type doesn’t actually limit your character, you do not get a price break for it.

   The Open Game License (Main Body)

15. COPYRIGHT NOTICE

Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

System Reference Document Copyright 2000-2003, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Rich Baker, Andy Collins, David Noonan, Rich Redman, Bruce R. Cordell, John D. Rateliff, Thomas Reid, James Wyatt, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Character Portraits: Fantasy Heroes copyright 2003,Mongoose Publishing.

Eclipse: The Codex Persona copyright 2005 by Paul Melroy and Patrick Bryant. Distributed by Distant Horizons Games.

Mongoose Publishing repeated the Fantasy Heroes entry rather than Fantasy Heroines in Fantasy Heroines. In accord with the OGL we have not corrected this.

Untapped Classes: Society Mind Copyright 2007 Michel Fiallo-Perez, Greg Jacob, Brian Dupuis, B.J. Horn, and Jeremy Smith.

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2 Responses

  1. Wow. Thanks for all that!

    Now I just have two questions. When is Eclipse III coming out or, alternatively, where can I donate to help make sure you keep at this!? As if Eclipse wasn’t enough, there’s a great deal of great content here on this blog.

    My second question is whether or not you used some sort of formula to come up with the costs of various class’ casting/manifesting ability. Eclipse has rules for how much individual spells/powers known cost and how much caster/manifester levels cost, but no rules for how to price out spells per day/power points. I’m getting conflicting numbers trying to reverse engineer the math on them (or on max spell/power level known, but that’s not as important to me).

    • Eclipse III is now underway again; after being on hold for a while. The problem was simply that most higher-level Eclipse characters are tightly bound to their settings – and thus properly explaining most of them meant providing a good deal of background discussion. While I haven’t been able to think of a good way around that while working on other projects, the vote so far from my (admittedly limited) test audience has been leaning towards “but we like background discussion!”. Ergo, I’ll be going ahead on that basis.

      As for your second question – that one’s come up before, so I thought I’d put up a complete explanation. It’s been posted here: https://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/rpg-design-eclipse-spell-progressions/

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