As I detailed in some previous posts (here and here), according to the dice, psionics should be far more common that most people give them credit for. In a city of 45,000 people, the odds indicate the presence of 100 people with psionic powers. In this post, I will detail one of the more intriguing possibilities: the psionic brawler.
The Brawler is a smallish looking fellow, perhaps even a woman. Physically weak, slight of frame, an easy mark, apparently. Perhaps our PCs encounter him as part of a bar bet. Imagine a smooth talking local, baiting our heroes with challenges to their manhood. "Take you guys on? Ha, I bet you can't even toss my old grandpa out of the ring!" as he points to a petite looking fellow at the table next to him. He, in turn, looks our heroes up and down, and snorts, "ha, don't waste my time with a tray full of creampuffs like that" and dismisses them with a wave.
Meanwhile, hearing the challenges and sensing a possible fight, a crowd has begun to gather around. The young trouble maker continues his tirade and insults, "These vagabond yahoos are all the same, they ain't nothing without their candy-ass armor and magic swords. Give 'em an old fashioned fight, man to man, and they cry like little girls!" The gathering crowd begins to laugh and jeer... "I'm not going to waste my time with these patsies... I'll bet you a hundred gold you can't even whip my old grandpa!" The crowd erupts in laughter... The spindly old man pulls himself up on his table and flexes his tiny arms to the crowds delight, toothless old grin leering at our heroes...
Once outside, a ring is quickly drawn in the dirt, a large crowd gathered round, cheering the old man on, as he pulls his overshirt and pants off, stripped down to his girdle. "Now, mind the rules, strangers: no magic, no armor, no weapons, first one out of the ring loses." Your hero nods his assent, as he strips off the last of his outergarments and steps into the ring.
The old man across the ring throws aside his walking stick, and with a crooked smile on his face, straightens up his back to stand to his full height, which, you swear, is bigger than he looked in the tavern. The crowd erupts in a rising roar as he throws his hands up in the air, and continues to grow, up, up, up...
The old man across the ring has grown to the size of a giant, with legs like small trees, and arms as thick as a normal man's waist. The ground shakes before you as he stamps his feet and pounds his chest and lets out a loud scream, which drowns out even the cheers of the crowd...
The old man is exhibiting his psionic power of Expansion. His sixth level power has transformed him to the size and strength of a large ogre, growing to over 10' high, and adding a +6 damage bonus because his 18(00) strength. Luckily for our hero, this minor discipline uses up 5 psionic strength points per round, enough for, say, 10 rounds of combat. Can our hero stay in the ring that long??? Better brush up on your grappling rules, Mr. DM, cause the fight is on!
Another cool idea for this "hand to hand" fighting scam is versus a brawler who has the minor psionic discipline of Body Weaponry. At the sixth level of mastery his hard skin would equal an armor class of 4, and his fists would strike as a morning star!
A brawler with the major psionic science of Shape Alteration could also be quite fun to play. With that power, the psionic can change forms into anything for 3 strength points, and add 100 pounds of mass to his new form for every strength point expended beyond that. Think: instant transformation from skinny old man to 700 pound sumo wrestler.... Yeah, that is a fun NPC to have around.
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