Psionic Items and Detect Psionics
When detect psionics identifies a psionic item’s aura, this information refers to the aura of the power placed within the item, or the prerequisite given for the item. The description of each item provides its aura strength and the discipline it belongs to.
If more than one power is given as a prerequisite, use the highest-level power.
To use a psionic item, it must be activated, although sometimes activation simply means putting a ring on your finger. Some items, once carried or worn, function constantly. In most cases, using an item requires a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. By contrast, power completion items are treated like powers in combat and do provoke attacks of opportunity.
Activating a psionic item is a standard action unless the item description indicates otherwise. However, the manifesting time of a power is the time required to activate the same power in an item, regardless of the type of psionic item, unless the item description specifically states otherwise.
The four ways to activate psionic items are described below.
Power Completion: This is the activation method for power stones. A power stone holds a power that is mostly finished. All that’s left to do is perform the short, simple, finishing parts of the manifestation (the final mental coda, as it were). To use a power completion item safely, a character must be of high enough level in the appropriate class to manifest the power already. If he can’t already manifest the power, there’s a chance he’ll make a mistake (see Brainburn in the power stone description). Activating a power completion item is a standard action and provokes attacks of opportunity exactly as manifesting a power does.
Powers stored in power completion items are usually not augmented, because the manifester level of such an item is assumed to be the minimum necessary to manifest the stored power. However, an item’s description may specify otherwise (some power stones have manifester levels higher than the minimum required to manifest the stored power, and are then assumed to be augmented as well).
Power Trigger: This is the activation method for dorjes and psicrowns. It requires the special knowledge of power manifestation that a character of the appropriate class would know, and the formation of the appropriate command thought. If a power is on a character’s power list, the character knows how to use a power trigger item that stores that power. The user must still determine what power is stored in the item before she can activate it. Activating a power trigger item is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
Powers stored in power trigger items are not augmented. Such powers are assumed to be stored in the item at the minimum manifester level necessary to manifest the power. However, certain items may specify a higher manifester level than necessary. If such an item holds a power that deals hit point damage, the power is assumed to be augmented to the maximum allowed by the power and the manifester level.
Command Thought: If no activation method is suggested either in the psionic item description or by the nature of the item, assume that a command thought is needed to activate it. Command thought activation means that a character mentally projects a thought, and the item activates. No other special knowledge is needed. Activating a command thought psionic item is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
Sometimes the command thought to activate an item is mentally imprinted within it and is whispered into the mind of a creature who picks it up. Other items are silent, but a Knowledge (psionics) or Knowledge (history) check might be useful in helping to identify command thoughts. A successful DC 30 check is needed to come up with the command thought in this case. The power psionic identify reveals command thoughts.
Powers stored in command thought items are usually not augmented, because the manifester level of such an item is assumed to be the minimum possible to manifest the stored power.
Use Activated: This type of item simply has to be used in order to activate it. Use activation is generally straightforward and self-explanatory.
Many use-activated items are objects that a character wears. Continually functioning items are practically always items that one wears. A few must simply be in the character’s possession (on his person). However, some items made for wearing must still be activated. Although this activation sometimes requires a command word or thought (see above), usually it means mentally willing the activation to happen (a free action). The description of an item states whether a command word or thought is needed in such a case.
Unless stated otherwise, activating a use-activated psionic item is either a standard action or not an action at all and does not provoke attacks of opportunity, unless the use involves performing an action that provokes an attack of opportunity in itself. If the use of the item takes time before a psionic effect occurs, then use activation is a standard action. If the item’s activation is subsumed in its use and takes no extra time, use activation is not an action at all.
Use activation doesn’t mean that if you use an item, you automatically know what it can do. You must know (or at least guess) what the item can do and then use the item in order to activate it, unless the benefit of the item comes automatically, such from drinking a potion or swinging a sword.
Psionic powers stored in use-activated items are usually not augmented, because the manifester level of such an item is assumed to be the minimum possible to manifest the stored power.
Size and Psionic Items
See Size and Magic Items, substituting “spell” for “power”, “caster level” for “manifester level”, and so on as appropriate.
Psionic Items on the Body
See Magic Items on the Body, substituting “spell” for “power”, “caster level” for “manifester level”, and so on as appropriate.
Saving Throws Against Psionic Item Powers
Psionic items produce psionic powers. The DC of a saving throw against a power from a psionic item is always 10 + the level of the power or effect + the ability modifier of the minimum ability score needed to manifest that level of power.
Psicrowns are an exception to the rule. Treat the saving throw as if the wielder manifested the power, including manifester level and all modifiers to save DC.
Some psionic items take advantage of the fact that powers can be augmented to increase their saving throw DCs. These items are special and have their cost to create and market price calculated using the manifester’s level instead of the power’s level.
Most item descriptions give saving throw DCs for various effects, particularly when the effect has no exact power equivalent (making its level otherwise difficult to determine quickly).
Damaging Psionic Items
See Damaging Magic Items, substituting “spell” for “power”, “caster level” for “manifester level”, and so on as appropriate.
Repairing Psionic Items
See Repairing Magic Items, substituting “spell” for “power”, “caster level” for “manifester level”, and so on as appropriate.
Some psionic items, particularly weapons, have an intelligence all their own. Only permanent psionic items (as opposed to those with a single use or those with charges) can be intelligent. (This means that psionic tattoos, power stones, and dorjes, among other items, are never intelligent.)
In general, less than 1% of psionic items have intelligence.
Some psionic items are cursed – incorrectly made, or corrupted by outside forces. Cursed items might be particularly dangerous to the user, or they might be normal items with a minor flaw, an inconvenient requirement, or an unpredictable nature. Randomly generated items are cursed 5% of the time.
Charges, Doses, and Multiple Uses
Many items – particularly dorjes and psicrowns – are limited in power by the number of charges they hold. Normally, charged items have 50 charges at most. If such an item is found as a random part of a treasure, roll d% and divide by 2 to determine the number of charges left (round down, minimum 1). If the item has a maximum number of charges other than 50, roll randomly to determine how many charges are left.
Prices listed are always for fully charged items. (When an item is created, it is fully charged.) For an item that’s worthless when its charges run out (which is the case for almost all charged items), the value of the partially used item is proportional to the number of charges left. For an item that has usefulness in addition to its charges, only part of the item’s value is based on the number of charges left.
Some psionic items are limited in power by the number of charges they hold or the number of power points they contain. Normally, charged items (such as dorjes) have 50 charges at most. If such an item is found as a random part of a treasure, roll d% and divide by 2 to determine the number of charges left (round down, minimum 1).
Similarly, items that contain power points (such as psicrowns) have a number of points equal to 50 × the manifester level of the creator. If such an item is found as a random part of a treasure, roll d% and divide by 2 to determine the number by which the manifester level is multiplied (round down, minimum 1).
Market prices given on the tables are always for fully charged or fully powered items. (When an item is created, it is fully charged or fully powered.) For an item that’s worthless when its charges or power points run out (which is the case for almost all charged or powered items), the value of the partially used item is proportional to the number of charges left. For an item that has usefulness in addition to its charges, only part of the item’s value is based on the number of charges left.
Some items are single-use and expendable. Such items can often be found in sets or groups.
Magic Items for Psionic Characters
Many magic items can aid psionic characters. The table below provides some possibilities.
Helm of telepathy
Substitute power for spell
Pearl of power
Treat in all ways as a cognizance crystal with power point capacity appropriate to the equivalent power level
Substitute power for spell
— Vibrant purple
Stores three levels of psionic powers
— Pale lavender
Absorbs powers up to 4th level (burns out as normal)
Provides 5 power points per day (regenerates)
— Dull gray2
Provides 1 power point to a psionic character, then disintegrates
1New item: Treat as a cognizance crystal in ioun stone form, except that it regenerates its stored power points each day; Price 16,000 gp.
Psionic Item Descriptions
Each general type of psionic item gets an overall description, followed by descriptions of specific items.
General descriptions include notes on activation, random generation, and other material. The AC, hardness, hit points, and break DC are given for typical examples of some psionic items. The AC assumes that the item is unattended and includes a -5 penalty for the item’s effective Dexterity of 0. If a creature holds the item, use the creature’s Dexterity modifier in place of the -5 penalty.
Some individual items, notably those that simply store psionic powers, don’t get full-blown descriptions. Reference the power’s description for details, modified by the form of the item (power stone, dorje, and so on). Assume that the power is manifested at the minimum level required to do so, unless otherwise noted.
Items with full descriptions have their powers detailed, and each of the following topics is covered in notational form at the end of the description.
Aura: Most of the time, a detect psionics power will reveal the discipline associated with a psionic item and the strength of the aura an item emits. This information (when applicable) is given at the beginning of the item’s notational entry in the form of a phrase. See the detect psionics power description for more information.
Manifester Level: The next entry in the summary of a psionic item indicates the level of the creator (or the manifester level of the powers placed within the item, if this level is lower than the actual level of the creator). The manifester level provides the item’s saving throw bonus, as well as range and other level-dependent aspects of the powers of the item (if variable).
It also determines the level that must be contended with should the item come under the effect of a dispel psionics power or a similar situation. This information is given in the form “ML x,” where “ML” is an abbreviation for manifester level and “x” is an ordinal number representing the manifester level itself.
For psionic tattoos, power stones, and dorjes, the creator can set the manifester level of an item at any number high enough to manifest the stored power and not higher than her own manifester level. For other psionic items, the item itself determines the manifester level. In this case, the creator’s manifester level must be as high as the item’s manifester level (and prerequisites may effectively put a higher minimum on the creator’s level).
Prerequisites: Certain requirements must be met in order for a character to create a psionic item. These include feats, powers, and miscellaneous requirements such as level, alignment, and race or kind. The prerequisites for creation of an item are given immediately following the item’s manifester level.
A power prerequisite can be provided by a character who knows the power, or through the use of a power completion or power trigger psionic item or a psi-like ability that produces the desired power effect. For each day that passes during the creation process, the creator must expend one power completion item (such as a power stone) or 1 charge from a power trigger item (such as a dorje), if either of those objects is used to supply a prerequisite.
It is possible for more than one character to cooperate in the creation of an item, with each participant providing one or more of the prerequisites. In some cases, cooperation may even be necessary.
If two or more characters cooperate to create an item, they must agree among themselves who will be considered the creator for the purpose of determinations where the creator’s level must be known. The character designated as the creator pays the XP required to make the item.
Typically, a list of prerequisites includes one feat and one or more powers (or some other requirement in addition to the feat).
When two powers at the end of a list are separated by “or,” one of those powers is required in addition to every other power mentioned prior to the last two.
Market Price: This gold piece value, given following the word “Price,” represents the price someone should expect to pay to buy the item. The market price for an item that can be constructed with an item creation feat is usually equal to the base price plus the price for any components (material or XP).
Cost to Create: The next part of a notational entry is the cost in gp and XP to create the item, given following the word.
Cost: This information appears only for items with components (material or XP), which make their market prices higher than their base prices. The cost to create includes the costs derived from the base cost plus the costs of the components.
Items without components do not have a “Cost” entry. For them, the market price and the base price are the same. The cost in gp is ½ the market price, and the cost in XP is 1/25 the market price.
Weight: The notational entry for many wondrous items ends with a value for the item’s weight. When a weight figure is not given, the item has no weight worth noting (for purposes of determining how much of a load a character can carry).