This is part of my RPG series of entries here at SOB. See the inaugural entry in the series for more details.
I had a psionic character in a D&D game named Ainan Blalock. That character’s class is Psion (Nomad), with the Elocator prestige class, and he is a member of the Elan race, all three of which are described in the Expanded Psionics Handbook, published by Wizards of the Coast. The rules presented in the EPH are also available under the terms of the OGL, and can be found at any of a number of SRD sites online. I listed some SRD resources in my previous post, D&D 3.5 Experience Level Charts.
With the advent of the third Alpha playtest release of Pathfinder RPG, the GM (and I) decided to convert the D&D game in which I played Blalcok to the PRPGa3 rules. It was, in fact, after converting characters for that game to PRPGa3 rules that I decided to create the pfconv utility — see Pathfinder RPG a3 XP converter for details. Some of the rules in the EPH were not perfectly suited to PRPGa3, and some of them just needed to be changed because we felt they could have been done better in the first place, so I took the opportunity to rework some of them — particularly those that applied to my character, Blalock.
In a discussion of Psionic core classes at the Paizo (publishers of Pathfinder RPG) discussion forum, I came up with the idea of turning the rules I had already converted into professional quality, publishable materials, to be offered under the terms of the OGL. Such an effort will require not only making the rules in the EPH fit with the rules of Pathfinder, but also development of flavor text, clear explanations of the rules, and clean formatting. For the exercise to be worthwhile, I would also need to ensure continued compatibility with the non-OGL materials of D&D 3.5 as much as possible and improve upon the basis provided by WotC in a manner keeping with the spirit of the PRPGa3 improvements. In addition to being well suited to use with PRPGa3, however, I believe this version of the Elan race can serve as a well-balanced drop-in replacement for the Elan of the EHP in D&D 3.5 games as well (with the slight modification of eliminating the +2 attribute bonus granted to humans in PRPGa3, of course).
It would also be nice to have some artwork for this project, so if anyone’s interested and has the requisite talent, get in touch with me. I’d also like for anyone with comments, criticisms, and requests with regard to my PRPG psionics update to let me know, so I can refine and improve upon my efforts.
Paizo is of course welcome — encouraged, in fact — to use my update of the Elan race, in whole or in part, in a future psionics expansion for PRPG. Money would be a nice consideration — but I’d settle for my name in the book credits.
Without further ado, the following game materials (all redistributable under the terms of the OGL, in contrast with my usual tendency to offer things under the PDL) represent the first part of that update of the rules in WotC’s Expanded Psionics Handbook. None of the text in the following content is designated as Product Identity, and is all designated Open Game Content. Enjoy.
(pronounced “ay-LAHN”, plural Elan)
The Elan are a secret race, unknown to most members of other races, though rumors of their existence do exist. They are secretive not by law, but by custom and circumstance, for they usually find it inconvenient to have to explain themselves to others and to suffer distrust when less enlightened individuals learn of their unnatural nature.
Elan begin their lives as normal human beings, and undergo a transformative process they call “ascension” to become a member of the Elan race; they are not born to this race. One must be sponsored by an existing Elan, and because the transformative process requires a great deal of psionic power, one is traditionally required to pass a series of tests or otherwise convince the group of Elan who will perform the ritual of ascension that one is worthy of it.
Just as with Humans, there are no particular alignment leanings among Elan other than the preferences of individuals who select new candidates to sponsor for the ascension process.
As Humans who have undergone a transformation, Elan tend to share many of the strengths and weaknesses of their Human heritage. Their long lifespans, more meditative existences, and increased self-knowledge predisposes them toward a slightly more emotionally distant and restrained personality in some respects, though. Otherwise, their personalities are as adaptable and flexible as those of unaltered Humans, and can vary just as much from one individual to the next.
In general, Elan appearance is identical to that of Humans, with as widely varying possible characteristics. Because Elan are chosen rather than born, however, it is typical for attractive individuals without obvious deformities to be selected. Generational fads emerge from time to time, as societal tastes change, so that a majority of Elan created during a particular period may share certain appearance characteristics in common.
Because the Elan have effectively unlimited lifespans, they maintain the same appearance for the rest of their lives after the ritual of ascension or after reaching physical maturity, whichever comes last, as their psionically improved physiologies constantly renew their bodies.
In most campaign worlds, the Elan are part of a society within the larger Human society of the world, loosely governed by a council of trusted elders or elected representatives. Some areas may have regular enclaves, where Elan of the region gather according to a schedule such as once a year to discuss matters of mutual interest among them and perhaps to elect a representative to the council. Such gatherings are generally voluntary, however, and because of the rarity of the Elan such an enclave may consist of nothing more than a handful of acquaintances meeting at a particular tavern for a drink and conversation.
In daily dealings, because their existence is not widely known outside of rumor and Elan generally do not advertise their inhuman nature, they interact with others as Humans. A vague sense of strangeness permeates the presence of an Elan, however (see Racial Traits below), which can subtly influence such interactions. If their true natures were known, Elan would probably find interactions with members of other races — particularly humans — more overtly influenced, as suspicions and prejudices might arise. Because of this, they almost universally keep their inhuman nature secret, though there is no official Elan societal position on the matter of secrecy per se in standard campaign worlds.
In contrast with common Human tendencies, Elan are not prone to devotion to, and worship of, a particular deity. They tend to place their faith in the strength of their own minds, rather than in outside powers, though this does not preclude reverence for deities and respect for religious faiths in general.
The adventurous qualities of Humans tend to survive the transformation of the ascension ritual. Over time, however, the contemplative and mentally focused perspective of the Elan can begin to turn a character’s attention away from such external interests, and toward a more inwardly directed existence. This is by no means universal, and the differing vulnerabilities and needs of an Elan as contrasted with a Human sometimes allows one to act in a manner that might seem particularly brave and adventurous to those who are not aware of the Elan’s intrinsic psionic gifts.
Elan Racial Traits
Human Characteristics: Having begun their lives as Humans, some of the racial traits of any Elan are those that carried over from his or her Human origins. Elan retain the attribute bonus (+2 to any one ability score), size and appearance, base speed, languages, and bonus feat they had as a human, as well as any bonus skill points they have already spent. Players of Elan created as first level characters should select these traits with that Human origin in mind, and the initial bonus feat is lost (see below), though the initial bonus skill point at first level is kept.
The concept of the Elan from the Expanded Psionics Handbook as “starting over”, while suitable from a game balance perspective, ignored important in-game suspension of disbelief concerns. The sacrifice of a life’s experience, except as hazy dream-like memories of past experiences, seemed too significant a price to pay in addition to giving up one’s fundamental humanity, to be believable as something anyone not consumed with a lust for immortality and power to pay — which would effectively limit believable Elan character concepts too much. Further, that makes it essentially impossible for a mid- to high-level character in an ongoing campaign to become an Elan without becoming an unsuitable character for the campaign in most cases. As a result, the concept of what becoming an Elan means was reworked for this revised version.
Among other things, this meant keeping some basic Human racial traits and modifying others. In part because many GMs and players use the Charisma attribute not only to measure force of personality but also appearance (while Elan appearance is unchanged from its Human origins), it was determined that the -2 Charisma modifier should be replaced by a reaction modifier. Two points of change in the Charisma ability score translates to a one point change in reaction modifiers in play, so the -2 Charisma modifier for the Elan race was replaced by a -1 reaction roll modifier to achieve basically the same effect where it counts.
Aberration: The unnatural, transhuman nature of the Elan imposes an inescapable, subtle sense of wrongness on the perceptions of non-Elan who have not grown familiar with the character or Elan in general. As a result, all reaction checks are made with a -1 penalty. In addition, thanks to the pervasive and fundamental alteration of an Elan’s nature, the character no longer qualifies as a standard humanoid race. Because of this, an Elan is subject to the aberration racial qualifier, subject to spells and effects that target aberrations, but can no longer be affected by spells or effects that target only standard humanoids (such as Charm Person or Hold Person).
Feats: While an Elan gains a Human’s initial bonus Feat, the resources (time, effort, and study) required to acquire a Feat must be spent to develop the state of mind necessary to the transformation to an Elan. As such, a first level Elan character is assumed to have already spent that initial bonus Feat a Human enjoys at first level, and a character undergoing the transformation later in his or her life (after advancing beyond first level) must spend a standard Feat slot before he or she can become an Elan.
Psionic Fortification: The psionic fortification of an Elan’s mind and body grants the character a +2 on all saves so long as he or she maintains psionic focus. Additionally, an Elan does not need food, drink, or sleep in any 24 hour period during which psionic focus is maintained for at least 20 hours. If psionic focus is lost for cumulatively more than four hours in any 24 hour period, however, the Elan requires food, drink, and sleep as does a normal Human for that 24 hour period.
Psionic Meditation: The psionically empowered metabolism of an Elan allows the character to spend one power point to heal two of his or her own Hit Points. One power point can also be spent in this manner to heal all nonlethal damage to Hit Points. Spending points in this manner requires an Autohypnosis check (DC 15) as a full-round action. Failure means the correct state of mind was not achieved, no power points were spent, and no Hit Points were healed. This roll is considered to automatically succeed if the character is maintaining psionic focus. An Elan may also meditate for one hour to recover a number of power points equal to the total of an Autohypnosis roll.
Special Rules Notes:
D9: The open roll extension of the D9 system applies to the Autohypnosis roll for regaining power points through Psionic Meditation.
Vitality: Psionic Meditation healing effects apply to any Vitality damage, and to non-lethal Wound damage, just as to Hit Points. Lethal Wound damage, however, cannot be healed by the use of an Elan’s Psionic Meditation ability.
Psionic Nature: Any Elan automatically possesses two bonus psionic power points as a result of his or her training and the process of transformation. These bonus power points allow any Elan to establish and maintain psionic focus, and acquire psionic Feats that require psionic focus, regardless of any ability to manifest powers. The character still needs to take an appropriate Feat or a level in a psionic class to manifest psionic powers, but the character does not need to take a Feat to acquire the potential to advance in a psionic class; he or she is assumed to possess such potential already because of the psionic nature of the race.
Special Training: An Elan’s special training is related to psionic capabilities, not weapons. As such, a character starting as an Elan does not receive the standard Human proficiency in any one Martial weapon of choice above and beyond class-based proficiencies.
Favored Class: Upon transformation to Elan, a character’s favored class becomes Psion. This replaces the standard Human ability to select any Favored Class the player desires.
Level Adjustment: +0
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