RPG BOT{{(konamiCodeMode)?' - KONAMI CODE GO':''}}

{{ subtitle }}

Pathfinder - The Psychic Handbook

Last Updated: May 23, 2017

Disclaimer

I will use content from the core rules, but will intentionally omit any content not published on the official Pathfinder SRD due to the unmanageable volume of non-SRD content, and the wildly varying quality of non-SRD content. If you would like me to write handbooks for specific content not published on the official SRD, please email me and I will consider it on a case-by-case basis. I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that many colored items are also links to the Paizo SRD.

Temporary Note: Pathfinder Unchained and Occult Adventures were both recently added to the SRD. I'm excited to explore them, and I am actively working on adding their contents to my collection of handbooks. I appreciate your patience while I make these changes.

Introduction

The Psychic is the psychic equivalent of the Sorcerer. It casts spells spontaneously, but it's Intelligence-based like a wizard. The Psychic's spell list overlaps with the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list quite a bit, but isn't quite as large.

Like the Wizard, the Psychic can fill a variety of roles thanks to their expansive skills and spell list. No role except healer is beyond your reach, though the psychic excels as a Striker, Support, and a Utility Caster. Charisma-heavy psychics also make excellent Faces. However, the Occultist's spells focus much more heavily on mind-affecting effects. While many of these are powerful, this also comes with complications. Anything that is mindless or is resistant or immune to mind-affecting effects (constructs, undead, etc.) will be difficult for the Occultist to handle.

Psychic Class Features

Hit Points: d6 hit points leaves you pretty squishy, but you have a laundry list of defensive options to put in front of your hit points.

Base Attack Bonus: Fortunately, you'll almost never need to make an actual attack. Touch AC scales very little from level 1 to level 20, going from an average of 12.2 on CR 1 monsters to 16.4 on CR 20 monsters.

Saves: Your only good save is Will.

Proficiencies: Simple weapons are nice, but you're not going to use them. No armor, either, but a mithral buckler and a haramaki will be plenty alongside your magical defenses.

Skills: Psychics only get 2+ skills, but you get every knowledge skill as a class skill plus every Face skill, and your absurd intelligence will give you plenty of skill points to throw around. Remember that permanently increasing your intelligence will give you additional skill points retroactively, which will be nice when you hit levels 8 and 16.

Spells: The Psychic is the only psychic spellcaster that gets full casting.

Knacks: Knacks are cantrips with a funny name. Just like cantrips, they're fantastic and extremely versatile.

Phrenic Pool (Su): Phrenic Pool powers your amplifications. You want your pool to be as big as possible, and you want to recharge it as quickly as you can after using points. The only use for your phrenic pool points is your phrenic amplifications, so be sure to select options which you can regularly depend upon. If you go an entire day without spending a phrenic pool point you're doing something wrong.

Phrenic Amplifications: A few of the phrenic amplifications are extremely powerful, but most are bad. The feature as a whole is fine, and you only get three amplifications before you get Major Amplifications, but there aren't enough good options to leave much room for customization. See my Phrenic Amplification Breakdown for further analysis.

Psychic Discipline (Ex or Sp): Your psychic discipline grants you an extra spell known at every spell level, a mechanism to add extra points to your Phrenic Pool throughout the day, and several special abilities. Unfortunately, very few of the discipline options are good. See my Psychic Disciplines Breakdown for further guidance.

Detect Thoughts (Sp): Detect thoughts is a situational spell, and situational spells are hard for spontaneous casters to use since you've got a limited selection of spells known. This gives it to you for free, and it doesn't use a spell slot the first time you use it each day.

Telepathic Bond (Sp): Telepathic bond is a fantastic spell that keeps your party in constant communication without giving yourselves away. If my party is trying to be subtle in any way, I try to make sure that someone in the party can cast this.

Major Amplifications: A significant improvement on the basic amplifications. See my Phrenic Amplification Breakdown for further analysis.

Telepathy (Su): Telepathy doesn't require a language, so if you picked up Face skills you can now communicate with any creature intelligent enough to speak a language.

Remade Self (Sp): All of the spell options are excellent, but at this level a 3rd-level spell isn't going to make a huge difference.

Abilities

The Psychic is very MAD for a spellcaster. Their spellcasting is Intelligence-based, but depending on your Psychic Discipline you'll need either Wisdom or Charisma. You also need Dexterity and Constitution for AC, hp, and saves. That leaves you with just one dump stat compared to the Wizard's two.

Str: Dump to 7. You need the points.

Dex: Saves and AC.

Con: Saves and hp.

Int: Runs your spells.

Wis: If your discipline needs Wisdom, you want to invest here. If it doesn't, you still don't want to dump this because you need Will saves.

Cha: If your discipline uses Charisma, you get to be a Face. If it doesn't, dump this to 7.

Wisdom-based Discipline
25 Point Buy 20 Point Buy 15 Point Buy Elite Array
  • Str: 7
  • Dex: 12
  • Con: 12
  • Int: 18
  • Wis: 16
  • Cha: 8
  • Str: 7
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 17
  • Wis: 14
  • Cha: 7
  • Str: 7
  • Dex: 12
  • Con: 13
  • Int: 17
  • Wis: 14
  • Cha: 7
  • Str: 8
  • Dex: 12
  • Con: 13
  • Int: 15
  • Wis: 14
  • Cha: 10
Charisma-based Discipline
25 Point Buy 20 Point Buy 15 Point Buy Elite Array
  • Str: 7
  • Dex: 12
  • Con: 12
  • Int: 17
  • Wis: 12
  • Cha: 16
  • Str: 7
  • Dex: 12
  • Con: 12
  • Int: 17
  • Wis: 12
  • Cha: 14
  • Str: 7
  • Dex: 12
  • Con: 12
  • Int: 16
  • Wis: 10
  • Cha: 14
  • Str: 8
  • Dex: 12
  • Con: 13
  • Int: 15
  • Wis: 10
  • Cha: 14

Races

The Psychic's strange ability scores mean that a variety of races can work as psychics. However, your race's ability scores may make some disciplines more appealing than others.

Dwarf: Wisdom bonus works for some disciplines, and the bonus duration to abjuration spells from the favored class bonus is useful once it adds up a bit.

Elf: Dexterity for saves and AC, Intelligence for spells, +2 to overcome spell resistance that stacks with Spell Penetration. The Constitution penalty always hurts, but the Intelligence bonus is well worth it. The favored class bonus increases the size of your phrenic pool.

Gnome: Charisma works for some disciplines, bonus Constitution, a penalty to your dump stat, and small size. The favored class bonus increases the size of your phrenic pool.

Half-Elf: Flexible +2 goes into Intelligence. The favored class bonus is tempting, but it's hard to justify six levels of favored class bonus when there are already so few good amplification options.

Half-Orc: Flexible +2 goes into Intelligence. Unfortunately, that's the only good bit that half-orcs offer. The favored class bonus is terrible.

Halfling: Charisma works for some disciplines, Dexterity helps with AC and saves, and small size. The favored class bonus is really unique and exciting. Treating your Charisma bonus as higher allows you to recharge your phrenic pool more and use powerful discipline abilities more throughout the day.

Human: Flexible +2 in Intelligence, bonus skill ranks, and a feat. The favored class bonus gets you extra spells known, solving the largest problem for spontaneous casters. At low levels you won't be able to use the favored class bonus for anything interesting (ooh boy, more cantrips!) so put the points into your hit points or get some extra skill ranks to spread around your gigantic skill list. I rarely recommend this, but the Dual Talent alternate racial feature may worthwhile here if you don't need the extra feat.

Traits

Skills

Feats

Psychic feats are largely identical to Wizard feats, so I'll only cover Psychic-specific feats here. For further advice on feats, see my Wizard Handbook.

Weapons

Stop. Put that down. You're going to hurt yourself.

Armor

If you need AC, you're doing something wrong. Still, it doesn't hurt to get some cheap protection. Keep in mind that Mage Armor is generally your best bet when you need AC, but Mage Armor isn't always on.

Armor is presented in the order in which you should acquire it, rather than alphabetical order.

Spells

This section won't address every spell on your spell list, but it will point out some especially notable options. For a complete list of spells, see the SRD Spell Index.

0-Level Spells

Permanent Spells