VARIANT PSION: THE ERUDITE
An alternative to the standard psion class, the erudite is a psionic character who follows a scholarly and self-reflective road to power, instead of a merely self-conscious path like the psion follows. An erudite's psionic powers stem from a schedule of austere study and continual practice. Those who can master the teachings of erudite lore eventually call upon an internal reservoir of psionic power.
An erudite's strength lies in his array of powers. His mental abilities are the result of hard work and prolonged study. As with the psion, an erudite's aggressive powers do not freely scale like the spells of arcane and divine casters (though they can be augmented), but he enjoys supreme flexibility in accessing those powers with power points.
Unlike a psion, an erudite does not choose a discipline in which to focus; his ability to learn select discipline powers is somewhat restricted. In addition to the powers he learns for free when gaining a new level, an erudite can learn powers as he comes upon them, which means his potential variety of powers is far broader than a psion's. Additionally, an erudite can seed a crystal or gem with a fragment of his personality, creating a psicrystal as a class feature. A psicrystal has special abilities that are helpful to an erudite.
MAKING AN ERUDITE
An erudite's role is slightly larger than that of a psion, in that an erudite has access to a wider base of powers and thus is even more flexible. However, this flexibility comes at the price of limits in other areas.
Abilities: Intelligence determines the strength of an erudite's manifested powers, how hard those powers are to resist, and the size of his power point reserve. See Class Features, below.
Races: Those who choose the way of an erudite must adhere to a rigorous path of study and practice. Among the humanoid races, humans seem most apt to follow such a course. Among the savage and monstrous humanoids, erudites are rare due to the required physical study of psionic lore.
Alignment: Studious erudites tend more toward law than chaos, but they are not required to follow any particular philosophical path to use their abilities. Erudites are both good and evil in equal measure.
Hit Die: d4.
BEHIND THE CURTAIN: USING THE ERUDITE
A hallmark of most psionic classes is the ability to manifest a limited number of powers. The erudite breaks from this to provide an option for characters who want to have a variety of powers at their disposal. Limits are still in place -- an erudite must choose whether a "utility" power is worth manifesting, when each new daily power restricts his later choices. In this way, an erudite is much more versatile at the beginning of an encounter than at the end.
All the following are class features of the erudite.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Erudites are proficient with the club, dagger, heavy crossbow, light crossbow, quarterstaff, and shortspear. They are not proficient with any type of armor or shield. Armor does not interfere with the manifestation of powers. Armor check penalties for armor heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Sleight of Hand, Swim, and Tumble.
Power Points/Day: An erudite's ability to manifest powers is limited by the power points he has available. His base daily allotment of power points is given on Table 6-6. In addition, he receives bonus power points per day if he has a high Intelligence score (see Table 2-1: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Power Points, EPH 18). His race might also provide bonus power points per day, as might certain feats and items.
Unique Powers per Day: An erudite manifests psionic powers, paying for each manifestation with an expenditure of power points. Unlike a psion, an erudite is limited to manifesting a certain number of unique psionic powers of each level per day from the repertoire of powers he knows, according to his class level. Thus, a 1st-level erudite can manifest one unique power per day; however, the total number of powers he can manifest per day is limited only by his daily power points (that is, the erudite could manifest the unique power as many times per day as he has power points to pay for it). An erudite simply knows his powers; they are part of his repertoire. He does not need to prepare them, though he must get a good night's sleep to regain all spent power points the next day.
An erudite does not choose a primary discipline.
Powers Discovered (Repertoire): An erudite selects powers from the same power list that psions and wilders use. An erudite begins play knowing two 1st-level powers of your choice. For each point of Intelligence bonus your character possesses, he knows one additional 1st-level power when you begin play. Each time he achieves a new level, he unlocks the knowledge of two new powers of any level or levels that he can manifest (according to his new level) from the psion/wilder power list.
An erudite cannot automatically learn powers from any of the discipline power lists. However, he can learn such powers later, as described below under Learning Discipline Powers. To learn or manifest a power, an erudite must have an Intelligence score of at least 10 + the power's level. The Difficulty Class for saving throws against erudite powers is 10 + the power's level + the erudite's Int modifier. An erudite can later learn new powers from power stones, from the minds of other willing psionic characters, and from the minds of unwilling unconscious psionic characters (see Adding Powers to an Erudite's Repertoire, below).
Psicrystal: At 1st level, an erudite gains Psicrystal Affinity (EPH 49) as a bonus feat.
Bonus Feats: An erudite gains a bonus feat at 1st level, 5th level, 10th level, 15th level, and 20th level. This feat must be a psionic feat, a metapsionic feat, or a psionic item creation feat. These bonus feats are in addition to the feats that a character of any class gains every three levels (as shown on Table 3-2: Experience and Level-Dependent Benefits, PH 22). An erudite is not limited to psionic feats, metapsionic feats, and psionic item creation feats when choosing these other feats.
ADDING POWERS TO AN ERUDITE'S REPERTOIRE
In addition to learning new powers for gaining a level like other psionic classes, erudites can add new powers to their repertoires through several other methods. Powers Gained at a New Level: Erudites and other psionic characters perform a certain amount of personal meditation between adventures in an attempt to unlock latent mental abilities. Each time a psionic character attains a new level, he learns additional powers according to his class schedule.
An erudite learns two powers of his choice to add to his repertoire in this fashion. These represent powers unlocked through study, practice, and the accumulation of psionic lore. The two free powers must be of levels the erudite can manifest, and they cannot be from a select discipline list.
Exception: If a character with erudite levels gains at least as many levels in another psionic class as he has in his erudite class, he permanently loses the ability to add additional powers (above and beyond the two gained at each new erudite level) to his repertoire of powers known.
Learning Discipline Powers: An erudite can learn discipline powers only by directly learning a power from another's repertoire, learning it from a power stone, or taking the Expanded Knowledge feat (EPH 46). In any case, an erudite can learn a discipline-only power only if it is up to 1 level lower than the highest level power he can manifest.
No matter what the power's source, the character must first make mental contact (a process similar to addressing a power stone, requiring a Psicraft check against a DC of 15 + the highest-level power contained in the stone or the repertoire). He can make mental contact only with a willing psionic character or creature (unconscious creatures are considered willing, but not psionic characters under the effects of other immobilizing conditions). Mental contact requires 1 round of physical contact. Once mental contact is achieved, the erudite becomes aware of all the powers stored in the power stone or all the powers known by the target up to the highest level of power the erudite knows himself (if the powers' host fails a Will save [DC 13 + erudite's Int bonus]).
Next, the erudite must make a Psicraft check (DC 15 + power's level) for each power he is trying to learn to see if he understands that power. If the selected power is not on his class list or on any of the select discipline lists, he automatically fails this check.
If the check fails, the erudite cannot understand, manifest, or learn the power. He cannot attempt to manifest or learn it again, even if he studies it from another source, until he gains another rank in Psicraft. If the power was being learned from a power stone, it does not vanish from the stone.
If the check succeeds, the erudite understands the selected power. He can attempt to manifest the power normally on his next turn, as described in Expanded Psionics Handbook, or he can attempt to permanently commit the power to his own repertoire.
Committing the Power to Repertoire: Once an erudite understands a new power through the procedure of contact described above, he can learn it, permanently adding it to his repertoire.
Physical Requirements: The erudite doesn't need to keep the power stone or other psionic source nearby while he fixes the candidate power in his repertoire. However, should he manifest any other power during the time requirement, he loses focus on the power to be added, forgoing the chance to learn that power until he gains at least one more rank in Psicraft.
Time: The process requires 8 hours, regardless of the power's level. During those 8 hours, the erudite must remain in meditation.
XP Cost: To permanently learn a new power that is not one of the powers he learns automatically when gaining a level, he must expend 20 experience points per erudite level, which are deducted from the character at the end of the meditation. At that time, the erudite permanently knows the power and it is in his repertoire just like any other power he knows. An erudite cannot expend so much XP that he would lose a level. If he doesn't have enough XP to spend on learning a power, he can't learn it until he gains more XP.
An erudite does not have to pay the costs in time or XP for the powers he gains for free at each new level. He adds them to his repertoire as part of his ongoing meditation.
Other Considerations: In most cases, psionic characters or creatures charge a fee to erudites for the privilege of learning powers from their repertoires. This fee is usually equal to the power's level x 50 gp, though many jealously guard their higher-level powers and charge much more (or deny access to them altogether). Erudites friendly to one another often trade access to equal-level powers from their repertoires at no cost.
If an erudite learns a power from a psionic character or creature, the process leaves the target's repertoire unharmed. A power learned from a power stone disappears from the stone.
PLAYING AN ERUDITE
An erudite adventures to exercise his mastery over mental powers and fulfill his desire to discover new troves of psionic lore. Of course, he can also have any of the noble or ignoble motivations that other adventurers have.
Religion: Erudites sometimes worship deities revered for their intelligence and wisdom. Erudites who revere a deity do not conform to any particular choice.
Other Classes: Erudites enjoy traveling with companions with widely varying skills. They prefer to manifest their powers from a protected flank, serving either as "artillery" or as support to their team.
Combat: An erudite wins his way to victory through the swift and merciless application of psionic powers. Because of the character's limitation on the number of unique powers per day, it is important to keep in reserve at least one power that he can use for offense or defense.
Advancement: An erudite shares the psion's benefit of gaining bonus feats every five levels, beginning with 1st level. If an erudite decides early that he'd like to rely on metapsionic feats, a good complementary feat to take is Psionic Meditation (EPH 50), which allows him to become psionically focused as a move action.
Unlike a psion, an erudite is not limited by the number of powers he can know. This is an advantage that an erudite should maximize early and often, looking as hard as possible for new powers to add to his repertoire. An erudite shouldn't wait for opportunities to discover new powers to fall into his lap. Instead, he should actively seek them by making deals with other psionic characters, purchasing rare power stones and so on in pursuit of expanding the sphere of his psionic mastery.