Another class inspired by my browsing through the Pathfinder SRD. Pathfinder has a Mesmerist class, and like most Pathfinder classes it's enormously fiddly and overcomplicated, full of abilities that let you do one thing to allow someone else to do another thing which, in turn, gives you a bonus to a third thing when someone does something else. Maybe once I could have kept track of all that stuff, but now I'm old and tired and I just want a class which lets you stare at people until they drop down dead.
Fortunately, amongst the many, many areas of obscure knowledge I have accumulated over the course of my life is a bizarrely complete knowledge of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century mesmerism; and, let me tell you, the stuff those guys got up to was easily weird enough for D&D. So here's a new Mesmerist class which is not only simple, but also HISTORICALLY ACCURATE, in the sense that all the things it can do are things which actual historical mesmerists claimed that they could do as well. (Yes, even the really weird ones like 'Eyes in the Belly' and 'Electric Sex'.) Because God knows that the one thing most D&D games need more of is a bunch of pseudo-Victorian hypno-occultists who go around staring at people all the time.
(I am now morbidly curious about what a B/X game would look like if it used Mesmerist, Angel, Inquisitor, and Patchwork Girl as its four core classes...)
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Hit Dice, Experience, saving throws, to-hit charts, weapons and armour: All as magic-user.
Mesmeric Stare: By staring at someone for one round, you can project waves of MESMERIC FORCE into their bodies and their brains. This ability has a maximum range of 20' plus 5' per level. Your target must make a save or go into a trance state, effectively paralysed by your mesmeric powers for as long as you maintain total concentration. (Of course, if they want to enter a trance state, then they can forgo their save.) If your target takes any damage, or if you take any action other than walking, talking, and staring, this effect immediately ends. Once someone succeeds in a saving throw against your mesmeric stare, you cannot attempt to mesmerise them again for the next 24 hours.
Mesmeric Passes: If you use both hands to make continual waving motions at the target of your Mesmeric Stare, propelling additional waves of MESMERIC FORCE into their bodies, they take a -2 penalty to their saving throw. You can only make Mesmeric Passes if your hands are empty and your arms are unencumbered.
Sonambulism: Once you have placed someone into a trance state using your Mesmeric Stare, you can order them to perform simple physical actions: 'drop your weapon', 'walk forwards', 'unlock the door', and so on. All these actions will be performed very slowly and clumsily, making fine manipulation impossible. (Similarly, if you tell them to attack someone, their blows will be so slow and clumsy that only an immobile target will be in any danger from them.) If you order them to do something harmful to themselves, or repugnant to their beliefs, they may make a new saving throw to break out of the trance; and if they actually take damage, the trance ends immediately.
Mesmeric Energy: You have a pool of Mesmeric Energy (ME) equal to your level. If your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma score is 13 or higher, you gain an extra +1. If any of them are 16 or higher, you gain an extra +2, instead. This energy is used to power your Mesmeric Powers (see below), and is recharged after a good night's sleep.
Iron Will: Whenever you are affected by a mind-affecting supernatural power (e.g. sleep, charm person, fear, etc), you may spend 1 ME to reroll your save (or to make a save, if the power doesn't normally allow one). If you fail, you can try again next round until you either pass your save or run out of ME.
Mesmeric Transfer: By touching a fellow mesmerist, you may transfer any amount of your own Mesmeric Energy to them. If this transfer brings them above their normal maximum level of Mesmeric Energy, the excess must be used immediately or it is lost at a rate of 1 point per round.
Battle of Wills: If you ever try to involuntarily mesmerise another mesmerist, they are instantly aware of your attempt; and, instead of making a saving throw, they may instead choose to engage you in the world's most epic staring contest. Each round, you each roll 1d6 and add your Mesmerist level; the loser loses 1d3 points of Mesmeric Energy. Whoever runs out of Mesmeric Energy first is mesmerised by the winner.
|'You're trying to mesmerise me again, aren't you, Miriam?'|
The powers you may choose from are as follows:
- Clairvoyance: Once you have placed someone into a trance state, you may spend 1 ME to relocate their senses to another location, with a maximum range of ten miles per level. The location must either be named (e.g. 'inside Lord Beaumont's study') or exactly specified (e.g. 'on the other side of this door' or 'three hundred yards west of here'). For the duration of their trance, the entranced individual can see and hear whatever is happening at this location as if they were actually present, and will truthfully answer any questions you ask about what is happening there. The effort is very tiring, however, and can be maintained for a maximum of one minute per level; after this the subject collapses in exhaustion and the trance ends.
- Derange: Once you have placed someone in a trance, you may spend 1 ME to scramble the animal magnetism in their brain. They may make a new save to break out of the trance and resist this effect; but if they fail, they will start to behave in completely crazy, random ways as soon as the trance ends, and continue to do so for one hour per level.
- Diagnosis: Once you have placed a sick individual in a trance state, you can ask them to diagnose themselves. They will then proceed to recite some eccentric-sounding but basically harmless routine of diet and exercise that they need to undertake in order to get well. ('Eat celery seven times a day and avoid all contact with hot water', for example, or 'run three miles every morning and drink nothing but raspberry juice'.) Provided these instructions are followed to the letter, the patient will recover from their illness completely in 2d6 days.
- Electric Sex: By spending 1 ME, you can charge an iron bedframe with animal magnetism for the next 24 hours. The next two people who have sex on it during that time will be refreshed and revitalised: each will regain 1d4 HP, and will gain a +1 bonus to Strength and Constitution for the next day.
- Energy Drain: Once you have placed someone into a trance state, you may concentrate for one round and spend 1 ME to suck all the animal magnetism out of them. They may make a new save to break the trance; but if they fail, they take 1d6 damage per level. Unlike all other forms of damage, this does not cause the trance to end. If the damage doesn't kill them, you can try to energy drain them again the following round.
- Enthrall: If you place a single individual into a trance state (willingly or otherwise) for at least one hour per day, and continue doing this for a number of days equal to their Wisdom score, then at the end of this time you may invest one point of ME in them to reduce them to a state of reflexive obedience. While in this state they will automatically obey any instructions you give them that are not obviously harmful or repugnant in character, and may be placed in or out of trance states by you at will, simply with a word, gesture, or glance. (You don't need to concentrate to maintain these trance states.) If you try to force them to do something harmful or abhorrent and they then pass their saving throw to resist your command, then the Enthrall effect ends as well and must be re-established from scratch.
- Eyes in the Belly: Anyone whom you have placed into a mesmeric trance gains the ability to see as though they had eyes in their stomach. These 'gastric eyes' can see through clothes, darkness, containers, and even thin walls, allowing them to see inside locked chests, through doors, etc. For the duration of their trance, the individual will turn their eyes to look in any direction you dictate, and will truthfully recite what they can see through them.
- Inspire Dread: When any enemy you are facing makes a morale check, you may spend any amount of ME to make yourself seem fearsome and terrifying. Your enemies take a penalty to their morale check equal to the amount of ME spent.
- Long-Range Mesmerism: Once you have successfully mesmerised someone, from that point forwards you may spend 1 ME to attempt to mesmerise them even if they are not present, up to a maximum range of 10 miles per level. If they don't want to be mesmerised, they get a saving throw as normal, and if they pass their save then you cannot attempt long-range mesmerism against them again until you have re-established your hold over them by successfully mesmerising them in person. (People under the influence of your Enthrall ability don't get a saving throw, however.) Once they are mesmerised, you gain a general sense of where they are and what they are doing, and you may then use any of your other mesmeric powers on them - commanding them with Sonambulism, healing them with Mesmeric Healing, etc - just as if you were actually present. The trance ends if they are hurt or if your concentration is broken.
- Magnetise Fluid: By spending 1 ME, you may charge a bottle of water with animal magnetism. Whoever drinks it will be healed, regaining 1d6 HP. The water will retain the charge for a maximum of 24 hours, or 48 hours if mixed with iron filings.
- Magnetise Ink: By spending 1 ME, you can imbue the ink of a letter you've just written with a mental impression: an emotion, for example, or an image, or a short phrase. The first person who reads the letter will immediately find this emotion, phrase, or image taking root in their mind, although if they're not familiar with mesmerism they may not realise where it has come from!
- Magnetise Metal: You may spend 1 ME to charge a metal wand with animal magnetism. Wielding this wand whilst making Mesmeric Passes at people imposes an additional -2 penalty on their saving throws against your Mesmeric Stare ability, for a total of -4. The wand retains its charge for 24 hours.
- Mass Mesmerism: By spending 1 ME and directing your Mesmeric Stare against a whole group of people (who must all be standing in a group, allowing you to stare at all of them at once), you may attempt to simultaneously mesmerise a number of people equal to twice your level. They all get saving throws as normal. You may choose to have any subsequent mesmeric abilities you then use (e.g. Mesmeric Sleep, Mesmeric Command, Suppress Pain, etc) affect any or all of them, at your option.
- Mesmeric Charisma: You may spend any amount of ME to give yourself a magnetic and commanding quality to your words and gestures. For each point of ME expended, your effective Charisma is increased by 2 for one hour per level, up to a maximum of 20.
- Mesmeric Command: By spending 1 ME, you may gain a much more powerful form of control over someone whom you have placed in a trance state, similar to a Charm Person spell. For as long as you maintain complete concentration, they will obey your commands to the full extent of their normal ability: they will fight for you, perform complex tasks for you, truthfully answer questions you ask them, and so on. As with Sonambulism, harmful or abhorrent orders permit them to make a new saving throw to break the trance.
- Mesmeric Healing: Once you have placed someone in a trance state, you may spend any number of points of ME to heal their injuries. Each point expended allows them to heal 1d6 HP. If you spend three or more points at once, they are also healed of any poisons currently affecting them.
- Mesmeric Sleep: By concentrating for one round, you may cause anyone whom you have placed in a trance to fall into a deep sleep. They instantly pass out, and unless awakened by loud noise, pain, or similar, they will continue to sleep for the next 1d6 hours. By spending 1 ME, you may instead choose exactly how long they sleep, up to a maximum of 24 hours. (Taking any kind of damage still wakes them up immediately, though.)
- Mesmeric Spiritualism: Anyone whom you place into a trance state gains the ability to see and communicate with nearby invisible beings, spirits, ghosts, etc. They will truthfully describe what they see and hear, and can be used to convey messages back and forth between you and the spirits. The effort is tiring, however, and can be maintained for a maximum of ten minutes per level; after this the subject collapses in exhaustion and the trance ends.
- Perfect Recall: Anyone whom you place into a trance state gains the ability to answer questions about their past with perfect accuracy, including recalling entire conversations - even conversations conducted years ago in languages they don't know - word for word. During the trance state they will truthfully and accurately answer any questions you ask them about their past. Perfect recall is tiring, however, and can be maintained for a maximum of ten minutes per level; after this the subject collapses in exhaustion and the trance ends.
- Phreno-Magnetism: By spending 1 ME, you may channel mesmeric energy into one of the phrenological organs of a target whom you have mesmerised, enormously exaggerating one side of their personality: so you could supercharge their rage, their fear, their friendliness, their laziness, and so on. This effect begins as soon as the trance ends, and lasts for a number of hours equal to your level.
- Summons: Once you have successfully mesmerised someone, from that point forwards you may spend 1 ME to attempt to call them to you, up to a maximum range of 20 miles per level. They instantly become intuitively aware of your location, and experience an overwhelming desire to come to you. If they attempt to resist this, they may make a saving throw; if they pass then the effect ends, and you cannot attempt to summon them again until you have re-established your hold over them by successfully mesmerising them in person. (People under the influence of your Enthrall ability don't get a saving throw, however.) Otherwise, they must come to your side as quickly as possible. The effect ends if your concentration is broken.
- Suppress Pain: Once you have placed someone into a trance, you may spend 1 ME to render them impervious to pain for 1 hour per level. During this time, the damage they take from all attacks is reduced by 1. (So a hit that would inflict 3 damage inflicts 2 instead, and so on.) This may be combined with Mesmeric Sleep to place people into mesmeric comas from which they are effectively impossible to awaken until the appointed time.
this is pretty awesomeReplyDelete
i once considered making 1800s mediums a modern version of shaman but this might be even better - always very inspiring
Glad you liked it!Delete
I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the mesmerists, just for being so totally weird and creepy all the time.
I think that Victorian spiritualist mediumship was totally a case of a bunch of people trying to figure out shamanism from first principles and doing it really badly. Some of the stuff that spiritualist mediums claimed to be able to do - levitating, elongating their limbs, and so on - could totally work as magical abilities in an RPG, though!