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Rick's D&D style psionics for TFT. Post 1

Hi all,
   I am planning to send my rules in 5 posts here for feedback.
After people have given their thoughts, I'll post them on the TFT wiki.
People who actually try the psionic fights will get more weight than
off the cuff comments of course.

   I strongly recommend making a set of offence and defence cards for 
both players, as it greatly speeds up the psionic combat.

   I intend to do the rules for psionic creatures soonish.


D&D Style Psionics in TFT.

  1. copyright 2016 by Richard W. Smith.


This is an attempt to bring the psionics from 1st edition AD&D into TFT. The rules as published, were incomplete, had typos, integrated poorly with the D&D rules, were confusing, and suffered from dominate strategies. Thus this document is an attempt to capture the style of those rules, while cleaning them up and making them work. This is no attempt to make them exactly like the old D&D rules, but rather to capture the feel of that system.


Psionics are powers derived from the mind of the user. Mental forms of attack and defence have evolved among psionic users and some have powers which are spell like. It is very rare for humans to have these powers, but some creatures have powerful psionic powers. Beings who can use psionics are called Psions.

Perhaps 1/50 people have the ability to use magic, but only about 1/1,000 have the ability to use psionics. Psionic use does not preclude a person from being a wizard, hero or other character class, it is in addition to those abilities (altho memory points must be spent to develop the talents that allow the abilities to be used effectively). A danger of psionic use, is that on rare occasions when using the abilities a wandering psionic monster may notice these power's use and attack the psionic user and his or her companions. Thus a wise psion saves the use of their powers for situations when they are greatly needed.

Advantages of psionic powers are they require no fST to use, are quick and are debilitating to those with no mental defences. There are two talents non-psionic users can take which give them some defence vs. psionic attack. These are IQ 11 Trained Will (1), and IQ 15 Psychic Combat [ 1+ ]. However most people and almost no animals have psionic defences. Dragon's hypnotic abilities are psionic in nature, and thus all dragons have instinctive psionic defences.


First a character has to have the ability to use psionics. These are very rare, and the GM can use any system wished to determine how many PC's can use these. The default assumption is that any player who wants to try these rules may do so.

Psion characters may put experience into a new attribute called Psionic Skill. This measures the mental flexibility to control psionic power. This attribute is abbreviated PSI. PSI for all characters starts at zero, and for most characters the maximum that this attribute can reach is also zero. Thus for the vast majority of characters PSI can be left off their character sheet. If a character has PSI of zero, but a maximum PSI of a value of greater than zero, then they are said to have psionic potential.

Note that maximum attributes are recorded to the left of the attribute.

So a player who has a PSI of 4 and a maximum PSI of 18 would be recorded thus:

18 PSI 4.

Where as a giant with an IQ of 8 and a maximum IQ of 10 might have:

10 IQ 8.

(I use attributes maximums in my campaign. The maximum attributes for ST, DX & IQ are 35 + 3d6. If you do not use these, then on the Brain Damage table below, change loses max attributes to loses an attribute.)

The maximum PSI for a human and most other PC races is 2d6 + 13. (Thus it will range from 15 to 25, with most characters having a maximum PSI of close to 20.)

Players can have the potential of psionics, but to use these abilities, they must learn about them. These are learned with the following talents, IQ 12 Psionics 1 (1), IQ 16 Psionics 2 (2), IQ 20 Psionics 3 (2), IQ 24 Psionics 4 (2), IQ 28 Psionics 5 (3). However, only the first level of the talent is really needed. The later levels of the talents increase the range and flexibility of the psion.

The third thing that a good psion needs is a high IQ. ST and DX are largely irrelevant to a psion, and so tend to be low.

Optional Rule: PSI superscripts.

For those using my superscript rules players may buy a superscript to PSI. This is called Psionic Power and is recorded as a number above and the to the right of the attribute. (I often put a small '+' symbol before the number.) Any number of Psionic Power superscripts may be bought by a character using the normal superscript rules. Each point of Psionic Power adds 1 to the character's Psionic Pool, described below.

So a psionic character might look like this:

Cye the Psion.

50 ST 8 Talents: Psionics 1 & 2 (3). Several other talents.

48 DX 10

41 IQ 16

20 PSI 6 +4 Psychic Pool = 20.

The above character would have ST 8, DX 10, IQ 16 and PSI 6, plus 4 psionic power superscripts.

Psychic Pool:

To power the various attacks and defences a pool of psychic 'energy' is generated called the psychic pool or just the pool for short. This is equal to the PSI attribute, plus the psionic power superscript plus 5 for each psionic talent the character has learned. So Cye, above, (noting he has learned Psionics 1 and Psionics 2), would have 20 points in his psychic pool.

It is suggested that the current size of the psychic pool is kept track on a sticky note or scrap piece of paper as it will change a lot during a psionic combat.

The energy in the psychic pool is exhausted by attacks and defences (and damage), and is recovered with time. One point recovers per minute.

In combat it is suggested that the GM gives all psions 1 point to their psychic pool at the same time (when the combat reaches its 12th, 24th, etc. turn) to avoid having to remember when each character started saving up for their first spent point.