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A psionicist is a person who uses the power of the mind, or psionics, to supernaturally influence objects rather than magic. Often colloquially referred to as "mind mages," they draw their powers from their own consciousness using methods that must be replenished, or can be innate, as in illithid and drow practitioners. Although it is not fully known, this gift is an inherited trait and is subsequently genetic. That being true, it is rare to find a psionicist in races where psionic powers are not the norm. Despite their rarity, a master psionicist can be quite powerful. Not being held to the need for gestures or spell components a psionicist is awarded the advantage of surprise in many cases, and thus may hold an advantage over a magic user or a priest. However, in many of the humanoid races, manifestation of psionic power can lead to a secondary display that can often give the psionicist away. These displays may include, but are not limited to, visual, auditory and olfactory senses being emitted. As an example, if a mind mage manifests a simple charm, or mind reading power, a low droning sound may be heard. Similarly, a polymorphic manifestation may leave the odor of saffron and ginger.
As most of these secondary displays are difficult to observe, most tactics used by psionicists can prove surprising to non-psions. If caught unaware, or in the case of a powerful mind mage very aware, a psionicist can be most powerful. Psionic powers can range from devastating mental attacks that dominate an opponent, to physical ectoplasm constructs, to a fate link that can inflict damage linked between individuals. That being said, such manifestations can take a great toll. Innate practitioners such as illithids and select drow can grow weary and unfocused if they over-exert themselves. Practitioners of other races can deplete their store of power in short order if unskilled, and will have need to replenish those powers.
- Psionicists can reproduce many spells propagated by more conventional magic, such as simple charms to dimensional portals throughout Faerûn.
- Kimmuriel Oblodra is a powerful drow psionicist as well as a lieutenant and temporary leader of Bregan D'aerthe.
- It may be that psionic abilities do not have to be inherited, as the Erudite psionic class gains its power from a schedule of study and meditation, much like a wizard.
- Jon Winter (December 1993). “The Even More Complete Psionicist”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #200 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 97–101.