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Untapped Potential: New Horizons in Psionics (Expanded Version)
 
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Untapped Potential: New Horizons in Psionics (Expanded Version)
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Untapped Potential: New Horizons in Psionics (Expanded Version)
Publisher: Dreamscarred Press
by Patrick S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/18/2007 20:53:59
Untapped Potential: New Horizons in Psionics; the Expanded Edition. Produced by Dreamscarred Press and written by Brian Dupuis, Michel Fiallo-Perez, Gres Jacob and Jeremy Smith. The cover is by Brandon Gore and interior illustrations are by J.R. Dart, Brandon Gore, Gerald Lee, Alex Leonard, and Kevin Miller.

Untapped Potential is a 208 page PDF product that strives to expand the “core” psionic rules found in the Expanded Psionics Handbook (XPH). It also often refers to the Malhavoc Press product “Hyperconscious” by Bruce Cordell, and although that product is not required to use Untapped Potential, it will add to the utility. There is a complete table of contents but no index. The OGL takes up one page.

The new rules, creatures and classes are loosely framed together by the invention of an island of Dream-stuff called Rajrin, which has somehow found it’s way to the material plane. As an attempt to facilitate the introduction of the new rules it is at least passable. For all the real impact on the rules themselves, I was unimpressed.

Untapped Potential does have a lot to offer. First, they provide racial paragon classes for all the XPH races. This goes a long way to help flesh out the details of the “standard” psionic races. Then they present racial substitution levels for various classes. Both sets of options seem fairly well balanced and will be interesting to play.

Chapter three covers the new base classes. A variant “Devoted” psion, is a psion who specializes their powers in a particular discipline (egoist, nomad, etc). They gain powers specific to their devotion and the more usual boosts specialists gain to their normal psi abilities.

The marksman is a full on fighter-type class that uses psi power to enhance their ranged attacks. They eventually (7th level) choose a signature style (bow, crossbow or thrown weapon styles are presented but there is no reason why other sorts of ranged weapons, (e.g. firearms) couldn’t be worked into the class. Their style provides increasing abilities similar to the ranger weapon styles.

The real gem of the book is the third new base class, the society mind. This class builds mind networks of willing allies and can manifest their powers to or through the other members of the network. Their powers known can change from day-to-day providing tremendous flexibility. They can be psionic buff masters, strong support characters or truly innovative “masterminds” (pardon the pun).

There are well over forty new feats and additional psionic feats called Mantra’s that provide a passive bonus once you’ve meditated for your psionic focus and which also provide a different effect when you expend the focus. This is an interesting concept that I would like to see expanded on in future works.

The prestige classes are interesting and flavorful. For the most part they are 10 levels (a couple of five level classes are included). They cover a fairly wide range of types- a psionic acrobat, a shaping expert that can reshape constructs too, a specialist in creating/using crystal limbs and crystal constructs and so on. They all look balanced, if perhaps a trifle under-powered.

The book then presents a new psionic NPC class, the augur, a sort of “hedge-wizard” among Psionics. Then we get a number of organizations with some interesting fluff, some with a handful of substitution levels that the groups can provide to better tie prestige classes into the goals of the organizations. This is another nice idea that would be good to see expanded upon.

Next up are a boatload of new and modified powers for both the new and the existing psionic classes. Some of the more interesting powers include the Mirror Shot, which calls into reality the potential paths of your projectiles and creates duplicates which strike at a target all using the same attack roll. Or Disrupting Lash that telepathically strikes at a target to force a concentration check. The powers seem to be well built to tie in with existing OGL powers and give plenty of support to the new classes introduced here.

Items are up next and all seem workable if somewhat predictable. Such things as crystals that store form impressions for shape-changing, or various powers the user can then manifest; somewhat like psionic scrolls but using the manifesters own power points. Psicrowns can hold multiple related psionic powers as well as a reservoir of power points to manifest them.

Then we dip into some new monsters: the Astral Juggernaut that can be used by it’s creator as a sort of ectoplasmic exo-skeleton. A pair of true dragons focused on Law or Chaos. The Nameless, creatures formed from the stuff of nightmares and the Dreamscarred, those humans touched by Nightmare while in the womb, but who survive and grow to be psionically empowered beings. There are details given for making Dreamscarred PCs. Several new constructs and a few templates are also included.

Finally, there is an appendix which makes an attempt to upgrade the Soulknife and the Wilder classes to provide some more interesting options and incorporate some of the new ideas presented in the book. For those who engage in epic-level play, there are details on using the three new classes at those lofty heights.

The art in this book is fair, some of it looking a bit washed out (even when printed on a color laser-jet). There are some typos scattered throughout the work but it is easy to see the intended meanings so that is a minor ding.

Overall, this is a solid product to build out the psionic content of a campaign. A goodly number of ideas are included to spark Gamemasters’ creativity and plenty of room to innovate from the seeds planted in this book. It was a generally interesting read and would be a fine addition to anyone playing in a psionic campaign.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Untapped Potential: New Horizons in Psionics (Expanded Version)
Publisher: Dreamscarred Press
by Tom G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/16/2007 12:08:13
First off, I would like to note that the production quality in Untapped Potential (UP) is quite good for a 3rd party resource, especially in its first foray into the field. I was pleased to find the PDF version was all bookmarked appropriately. However, I would have liked to see the art inked, as the majority of it is penciled illustrations. At least in my copy, I saw some typesetting errors. Nothing is too obvious except for your average anal attentive reader (guilty!). Though one cannot help but cringe when seeing the “Skill points at first level” info taking up two lines.
The book is setup in the familiar Players Handbook setup, which is worth noting, because some other companies fail to pick up on that.
The Racial levels in UP are well thought out and flavorful, and nothing unbalancing from a mechanics standpoint. The Replacement levels are also a welcome addition.
UP gives us 2 new base classes and a variant on the psion. The Devoted Psion is better than the specialist wizard, but still feels a little lacking until the 20th level capstone. The Marksman is the “Full-warrior” class that psionics has been lacking, even with the advent of the Complete Psionic by Wizards of the Coast. It has a number of interesting abilities, but would like to see options for sling users and/or firearms. The Society mind is generally the high-point and gem of the book. It gives psionics users the party-support class they’ve been starving for. Although power acquisition is a tad wonky, and the Planar Network range has potential for abuse, it is quite an attractive class that is well worth the addition into any game with psionics included.
The feats are all worth adding to your game as well. The poison feats seem a bit out of place in a psionics supplement, though not unwelcome. The racial feats are flavorful and well thought out, and the mind blade feats were a necessity. The newly introduced Mantra Feats are well done, providing an interesting new way to utilize the Psionic Focus mechanic.
The prestige classes all continue the same great psionic prestige class design, in that they are all well balanced (if not balanced, than actually underpowered). Nothing glares out at me as game breaking, and none of it is too specific to cause DM’s trouble integrating it into their games. (All too common in some supplements)
UP provides us with a Psionic NPC class. The Organizations have good fluff, and again, aren’t too specific as to be unusable.
The psionic powers are a worthy addition to any psionic character’s repertoire. I was glad to see some clarifications and fixes to troublesome powers in the past.
The items are both familiar and fresh at the same time. Familiar in that they work well and fit the theme of existing psionic material, and fresh in the sense of a welcome variety. Some prices seem a tad off, but nothing obvious.
The monster section is well done. Likely to keep players on their toes, and the CR are fitting.
UP offers two “fixes” for existing base classes. The Soulknife variant gives the otherwise lacking class more of a niche. The multiple throw still needs to come earlier, however. The Wilder fix does alleviate some of the issues with enervation and wild-surge, as well as provides some more flavorful and useful abilities.
In all, it is a great addition to any DM or player who enjoys psionics. It was worth every penny I bought it with, and save for a few minor things, it is the best psionic product to have come out since the Expanded Psionics Handbook!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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