Any creature with psionic powers has the psionic subtype. A psionic creature can be born with the subtype or can gain the subtype during its life.
A creature meeting any one of the following criteria has the psionic subtype:
- Creatures with a power point reserve, including characters who have levels in a character class that grants them a power point reserve or creatures who have the Wild Talent feat.
- Creatures with psi-like abilities, including characters who have racial psi-like abilities.
- Creatures that have spell-like abilities described as “psionics.”
Other than the fact that all psionic creatures have psionic powers, power points, or psi-like abilities, psionic creatures have no specific traits. The psionic subtype serves to identify creatures that may be vulnerable to powers, spells, and effects targeting psionic creatures.
The Psionic Subtype
The psionic subtype applies to creatures that can use psionic powers or abilities or that have the ability to manifest powers. (In other words, a creature with the psionic subtype either has a power point reserve or has psi-like abilities.) It also applies to creatures from other sources that have spell-like abilities labeled as “psionics.”
Characters who have levels in any class that grants the use of psionics, or who have psi-like abilities as racial traits, gain the psionic subtype.
Other than the fact that all psionic creatures have psionic powers or psi-like abilities, psionic creatures have no specific traits. The psionic subtype simply identifies creatures that may be vulnerable to powers, spells, and effects targeting psionic creatures.
Undead Psionic Creatures
A psionic undead creature, although rare, is a force to be reckoned with.
Because undead are immune to mind-affecting effects (including charms and compulsions), they are particularly threatening to other psionic creatures and characters (especially telepaths). Psionic undead creatures can use mind-affecting powers on the living, even though they themselves are immune to such attacks. However, an undead creature may have the psionic subtype if it meets the criteria described above, and thus be vulnerable to non-mindaffecting powers or effects that specifically affect psionic creatures.
Intelligent constructs and plants with psionic powers or psi-like abilities also share this advantage.
Creatures with psionic powers are similar to creatures with racial spellcasting ability. They have the ability to manifest powers just as a member of a psionic character class can (and can activate psionic items accordingly).
Creatures with the ability to use powers are subject to the same rules for manifesting powers that characters are, but they are not actually members of a class and do not gain any class abilities unless otherwise specified.
Creatures with psionic powers generally emulate the manifesting ability of a particular psionic class. When such a creature takes levels in that same class, it can stack its innate psionic powers and its class power progression together.
Creatures with psionic powers that take levels in a class other than the one they emulate combine their two power point reserves into a single reserve, but they manifest powers from each psionic class separately.
Most psionic monsters have some number of psi-like abilities. These are very similar to spell-like abilities. Naturally, they are psionic and work just like powers or spells. A creature with psi-like abilities does not pay for these abilities with power points and does not pay any XP cost associated with manifesting the power the ability duplicates.
Psi-like abilities do not work in a null psionics field and are subject to power resistance if the power or spell the ability duplicates would be subject to power resistance. A psi-like ability usually has a limit on how often it can be used. A psi-like ability that can be used at will has no use limit. Using a psi-like ability is a standard action unless noted otherwise, and doing so while threatened provokes attacks of opportunity. It is possible to make a Concentration check to use a psi-like ability defensively and avoid provoking attacks of opportunity, just as when using a power or casting a spell. A psi-like ability can be interrupted just as a spell can be. Psi-like abilities cannot be used to counterspell, nor can they be counterspelled.
All creatures with psi-like abilities are assigned a manifester level, which indicates how difficult it is to dispel their psi-like effects and determines all level-dependent variables (such as range or duration) the abilities might have. When a creature uses a psi-like ability, the power is manifested as if the creature had spent a number of power points equal to its manifester level, which may augment the power to improve its damage or save DC. However, the creature does not actually spend power points for its psi-like abilities, even if it has a power point reserve due to racial abilities, class levels, or some other psionic ability.
The DC of a saving throw (if applicable) against a creature’s psi-like ability is 10 + the level of the power or spell the ability duplicates + the creature’s Cha modifier. Remember to check the power’s Augment entry to see if the creature’s manifester level (and thus the effective power point expenditure) increases the DC of the saving throw. Changes to the effect’s save DC, damage, and so on are noted in the psi-like ability entry.
Some creatures have feats that can be used only when the creature is psionically focused, or that require the creature to expend its psionic focus. Assume that such a creature is psionically focused before entering combat.
Psi-Like Abilities and Feats
Creatures with access to psi-like abilities can use the feats Empower Spell-Like Ability and Quicken Spell-Like Ability.
These feats can be used only on psi-like abilities that do not have increased effects due to augmentation. Furthermore, the creature can empower only a psi-like ability with a level less than or equal to half its manifester level (round down) minus 2, and can quicken only a psi-like ability with a level less than or equal to half its manifester level (round down) minus 4.
Creatures with “Psionics” Entries
Psionic monsters often possess spell-like abilities that are identified as “psionics,” instead of “spell-like abilities.” For all intents and purposes, creatures with spell-like abilities described as psionics are considered to possess psi-like abilities, and they manifest their powers as described above.
In some cases, a creature’s psi-like abilities (or abilities listed under a creature’s psionics entry) may include an effect that does not duplicate any listed power. For such abilities, simply use the existing spell description. Treat the creature’s
manifester level as the caster level for the spell. The ability is still psionic in origin, so spells and powers that specifically affect psionic powers can negate or reduce its effects as they would any other psionic power.
Psionic Versions Of Creatures
Below are presented psionic versions of the following creatures: aboleth, couatl, and duergar,. These alternate versions are psionic equivalents of their standard counterparts.
Only the portions of the monster entry that are specifically changed by the addition of psionics rules have been listed. All other elements of the creature remain the same.
Reading Psionic Creature Entries
Creatures with Psi-Like Abilities
Each of a creature’s psi-like abilities has a manifester level. Each ability that allows a saving throw also gives a save DC in parentheses following the power name.
Powers that have increased effects due to augmentation include information about the effect. An asterisk indicates that the power has already been augmented by the creature’s innate ability.
Powers that can’t be augmented, or that are manifested at their normal minimum level, do not contain any special notations. Resolve the effect of manifesting the power without augmentation at the creature’s given manifester level.
Some creatures may have particular powers that are manifested at a higher or lower level than their normal manifester level. In such cases, the manifester level is given in the parenthetical information following the power name.