Ability Tuesday-Mental Duel

This is the first psionic ability in the rotation. As a major ability, Mental Duel is expected to have a direct impact on combat and play a principle role in a character’s build.

Mental Duel allows a character or monster to engage a target in a contest of the minds, much like a grapple. Depending on the progress of the duel, one or both characters may find physical action is hindered as they struggle on. The ultimate goal in initiating such a duel is to take control of the target by gaining a strong upper hand.

A Mental Duel behaves like the rock-paper-scissors of grappling. The characters choose an approach among wisdom, intelligence, and charisma, each an advantage over one of the others. Unlike in a grapple, the participants can split their efforts between the duel and physical activities, taking some penalty for not focusing on the mental rigors or taking penalties to physical actions while distracted by the battle of mind.

The mental duel is also exhausting. Additional levels reduce in Mental Duel the fatigue rate (as does Will) and give bonuses to performance in all styles of duel. Levels in Mental Duel also increase the character’s ability to split his efforts efficiently between the duel and physical activities.

With these psionic abilities, I hope to make wisdom a little more attractive as an attribute, since right now it is of limited use. I am concerned that these abilities will make Will overpowered and upset the balance between those classes that get Will and those that don’t, but between cross-class abilities and Will enchants, like the Resolute Robe, I think people will be able to cope in a campaign using psionics.

What did you think of the first psionic ability? Would you get it? How would you defend against it? What would your strategy be in a duel of the minds? Let us know in the comments below.

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