Psionics, known in Faerûn as the Invisible Art and colloquially known as mind magic was practiced by psionicists.[citation needed]

Nature of PsionicsEdit

Psionics was fueled by the internal magic of one's own mind and life-force, using this power to produce psionic effects. In contrast to the spellcasting of conventional magic, psionics did not draw power from the Weave (nor the Shadow Weave) and did not need it to function. Instead, a psionic creature was itself its own Weave. Not even deities of magic like Mystra and Shar could stop a psionic creature using its powers. Nevertheless, the results of psionic powers were magical in nature and psionics and conventional magic were fully transparent to one another, interacting just as magic did with itself.[1]

Use of psionic power did not require spell components. Psionic power could be activated much faster than either divine or arcane magic. All psionicists possessed formidable mental discipline in order to properly use their psionic powers.[citation needed]

Psionics was more common in the Realms before the Time of Troubles. Psionics vanished for a brief period after the Time of Troubles, with the exception of those travelling Realmspace in spelljammer ships.[citation needed]

During the 1360s DR, one who studied psionics and cultivated its powers was known as a "psionicist", while one who was naturally gifted with psionic powers or the necessary mental energy was called a "wild talent". Their powers were categorized as "sciences" or "devotions", which were in turn grouped into "disciplines".[2] Known disciplines included:[3]

Psionic ItemsEdit

Psionic items were objects that had been "empowered" through psionic techniques, being imbued with the mental energies of their creators. The process of empowerment of a psionic item paralleled the enchantment of a magical item in many ways. Quality materials were required, as well as the psionic power, devotion, or science required to be installed in the object. In the 1360s DR, it was believed that all sciences and devotions to be placed in the item must come from the same discipline (in contrast to magical items of the time that could have spells of different schools). Finally, the creator, a psionicist, must concentrate to imbue the object with the psionic power and mental energies, which was an involved process.[2]

Unlike magic items, psionic items of the 1360s DR were invariably intelligent to some degree and had a personality of some form. The shape of this personality was mostly unpredictable, but Daltim Flamefist theorized it arose from a fragment of the creator's own psyche and was influenced by what was high in their thoughts during creation, such as the aim of their work or their dreams or desires. Such intelligent empowered items could communicate with their owners, who in turn needed to communicate with the item in order to gain the use of its powers. This was much like any relationship: one had to become familiar with the item's intelligence, earn its trust, and persuade it to function when required. A good owner spent several minutes a day communicating with such psionic items in order to maintain and strengthen the bond. Fortunately, most were relatively friendly and quick to bond, being similar to semi-intelligent pets or familiars. Daltim even intended to research the possibility of using a psionically empowered item as a familiar.[2]

Psionic items of the 1360s DR behaved much like regular magical items, yet they did not register as such to traditional divinations. Hence, they were sometimes known as "not-magical items" by puzzled mages at a loss to identify them. Nevertheless, divinations designed specially to identify psionic emanations did work on them. Many magical items could be duplicated in function by a psionic item. A psionic item could also be enchanted as a magical item, with no clash or interference. However, if the magic was activated by mental command, thanks to the innate intelligence, the item could well activate itself.[2]


Although commonly believed to be something wielded only by monstrous creatures, anyone with enough dedication could cultivate and command psionic powers.[1]

The most notable psionicists belonged to the powerful illithid race, who had the nickname "mind flayers", owing to their considerable psionic powers, and appetite for brain matter. Illithid communities possessed a communal intelligence.[citation needed]

Few members of any other race besides aboleths and duergar were psionicists, and they tended to be less powerful than illithids. Notable non-illithid psionicists included the members of the fallen drow House Oblodra, of which only Kimmuriel Oblodra survived,[citation needed] and the half-fiend son of Mephistopheles, Magadon.[citation needed]


As psionic talent arose only rarely, in some lands the psionically gifted tended to gather around a critical individual. Others banded together to provide a needed service or to work toward tolerance and ultimately acceptance.[4] Nevertheless, psionic organizations were often mistakenly considered to be orders of mages devoted to divination, enchantment, or some other school of magic. Many were small, reclusive, close-lipped about their activities, and even outright secretive.[1]

While psionic organizations were uncommon in Faerûn, a few did exist:.[1]Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 172. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.</ref> Many psionic groups were found among the duergar.[5] A few psionic organizations of a mercenary bent could be found in Sembia.[4] Some notable psionic organizations were:


Jhaamdath, located in the south of Faerûn, was ruled by powerful human psionicists. It existed between -5800 DR and -255 DR, when it became under the control of the tyrannical emperor Dharien who was a threat to the elves of Nikerymath. As a kind of vengeance for their crimes against the wood and its inhabitants, the high magi of the elves unleashed a gargantuan tidal wave and destroyed the whole realm.[9]

Despite the widespread usage and training of arcane magic in Halruaa, there was also a higher than expected number of people with psionic potential. The most prominent were members of the Destroyers, including their leader, Daltim Flamefist.[4] Even the Wizard King himself, Zalathorm Kirkson, possessed a number of psionic powers for seeing the future, which he used in concert with traditional divination magic to foresee threats to the realm.[10]

Owing to Sembia's general lack of concern for the source of unusual powers, only in their effectiveness, some psionic people chose to settle there. In the 1370s, the psionic population was small but higher than the average. Most were of a mercenary nature, as befitted the realm.[4]


Psionics were unknown in the ancient magocratic empire of Netheril (−3859 DR to −339 DR). It was even theorized that the Netherese's great focus and dependence on traditional magic atrophied the parts of the brain that enabled psionics. However, its abjuration magic was so potent it also protected against psionics. Meanwhile, outside the empire's borders and floating enclaves, psionics was known and practiced.[11]

Right after the Time of Troubles of 1358 DR, and the magical upsets that occurred, psionics appeared to no longer exist in any form in the Realms. People with psionic powers lost them and received nothing in exchange. Critics of psionics argued that it never had existed, but its supporters theorized the death of Mystra and her merger with the nature of the world had changed psionics beyond recognition and human understanding. They had to rediscover psionics all over again.[12]

The noted Halruaan psionicist Daltim Flamefist gave a landmark lecture on his research into psionically empowered items at a symposium of mages in Halruaa in the mid-1360s DR. He presented a lengthy and detailed description of psionic item empowerment, as well as a spell of detect psionics, and urged his peers to become familiar with psionic powers, if only to protect themselves from them. His lecture was recorded in his spellbook, Daltim's Tome of Fire.[2]


Owing to the predominance of magic in Faerûn, the practice of psionics was often obscured and rarely played a significant role. Hence it was especially little-known and mysterious.[1] The majority of common people knew it only as a strange power wielded by monsters like mind flayers, rakshasas, and yuan-ti, and then only in areas where such creatures were a common threat.[13][1] Even the greatest wizards of the 14th century DR could be ignorant of the fundamental principles of psionics.[2] Furthermore, psionics study was shrouded by misinformation and mystery. It was not uncommon for monsters and great figures to be credited with psionic powers, with more basis in boasting and legend than in reality. Opponents of psionics even claimed it did not exist at all.[12] In any case, most folk could hardly tell the difference between psionics and magic.[13]

Thus, wherever they went, psionics-users could expect to enjoy, or suffer, the same treatment that mages or even priests would. Where mages were welcomed, or simply tolerated, so too would a psionicist. In lands like Amn where wizards were shunned or feared, a psionicist would be equally ill-treated. However, in any land, a good number of spellcasters and priests would view a psionicist as a potential rival in magic. It was therefore wise for a psionics-user to disguise or conceal their talents wherever they went, lest they meet a jealous rival, especially in wizard-ruled realms like Thay.[13]

There were also a number of pejorative terms for those who practiced psionics.[2]

Deities of PsionicsEdit

Mystra and Shar, each goddesses of their own kinds of magic, did not oversee the appearance of psionic talent or the propagation of psionic knowledge in Faerûn.[1] Deities associated with psionics included:

Works on PsionicsEdit


See AlsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 172. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Ed Greenwood, Tim Beach (1995). Pages from the Mages. (TSR, Inc), pp. 39–40. ISBN 0-7869-0183-7.
  3. Bruce R. Cordell (April 2004). Expanded Psionics Handbook. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 21. ISBN 0-7869-3301-1.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Eytan Bernstein (2007-07-03). Psionics Across the Land. Class Chronicles. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-05-21.
  5. Eytan Bernstein (2007-06-20). Psionic Races and Classes (Blues, Duergar, and Elans). Class Chronicles. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2017-09-24.
  6. Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 173. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  7. Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 174. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  8. Eytan Bernstein (2007-07-11). Psionic Classes. Class Chronicles. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-07-25.
  9. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 25. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  10. Tom Prusa (1993). The Shining South. (TSR, Inc), p. 12. ISBN 1-56076-595-X.
  11. slade, James Butler (November 1996). Netheril: Empire of Magic (The Winds of Netheril). (TSR, Inc.), p. 21. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 6. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 290–291. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.


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