The Mentalist, Part 2: Tricks and Spells

Last time, I cut the mentalist class short. These are the tricks and spells, many of which will seem familiar if you have read the warlock invocation and spell list. I’m including them here, even though some of the text is in the Player’s Handbook, to demonstrate how just changing a few words here and there can make a class feel completely different. This isn’t the “warlock,” anymore. It may do some of the same things, like “detect magic” at will, but the mentalist is doing it by perfecting their own mind. This means that DMs and players who are uncomfortable with the “pacts with evil entities” flavor aspect of the warlock can avoid that altogether, without sacrificing flavor completely.

It might, instead, look like this:

The Doctor closed his eyes for a moment in the doorway, his allies stopping behind him. “Whadda ya doin’?” Beef asked, barely masking his irritation. “I want to know if there are any magical surprises waiting for us,” The Doctor replied. “I’m accessing some of the 90% of our brain that most people don’t use.”

Beef hefted his axe, “you can see magic like that?”

When The Doctor’s eyes opened, they seemed brighter in the torchlight. “With the right training and enough discipline,” he said, his voice preternaturally calm. “Anyone can see the energies left by magic. Now, don’t step on the rug, unless you want to fight a bear in here.”

Mandrake, artist unknown

Mentalist Tricks

If a trick has prerequisites, you must meet them to learn it. You can learn the trick at the same time that you meet its prerequisites.

Agony
Prerequisite: ego whip cantrip
When you cast ego whip, add your Charisma modifier to the damage it deals on a hit.

Ascendance
Prerequisite: 9th level
You can cast levitate on yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material components.

Beguiling Whispers
Prerequisite: 7th level
You can cast compulsion once using a mentalist spell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Cloud the Mind
Prerequisite: 5th level
You can cast slow once using a mentalist spell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Ego Blast
Prerequisite: ego whip cantrip
When you cast ego whip, its range is 300 feet.

Esoteric Sight
You can cast detect magic at will, without expending a spell slot.

Fear is My Weapon
You can cast bane once using a mentalist spell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Fists of Steel
Prerequisite: Perfect Body feature, 5th level
Your unarmed strikes do more damage than those of average people. At 5th level, your unarmed strike damage increases to 1d6. It increases again to 1d8 at 11th level and 1d10 at 17th level.

Form of Bronze
Prerequisite: Perfect Body feature, 9th level
You can cast stoneskin on yourself once using a mentalist spell slot, but without a material component. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Gaze of Two Minds
You can use your action to touch a willing humanoid and perceive through its senses until the end of your next turn. As long as the creature is on the same plane of existence as you, you can use your action on subsequent turns to maintain this connection, extending the duration until the end of your next turn. While perceiving through the other creature’s senses, you benefit from any special sense possessed by that creature, and you are blinded and deafened to your own surroundings.

Ghost Who Walks
Prerequisite: 7th level
You can cast pass without trace on yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material components.

Hardened Thoughts
Prerequisite: 12th level, Mind Blade feature
When you hit a creature with the weapon formed form your thoughts, the creature takes extra psychic damage equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum 1).

I Could Be Anyone
You can cast disguise self at will, without expending a spell slot.

Inveigling Mind
You gain proficiency in the Deception and Persuasion skills.

Irresistible Charm
Creatures who possess immunity to the charmed condition can be charmed by you, but any saving throws that they make against spells or abilities that would give them the charmed condition are made with advantage.
(For the Mentalist who wants to be the ultimate confidence artist, the widespread immunity to the charmed condition can be a deal-breaker. This might not make the angel or the clay golem your best friend, but at least you can try.)

Lurker in Shadows
Prerequisite: 5th level
When you are in an area of dim light or darkness, you can use your action to become invisible until you move or take an action or a reaction.

Mansion of the Mind
Prerequisite: 3rd level
You are experienced in the mental discipline and your mind is an unassailable fortress. If you spend an action meditating, you gain advantage on all saving throws against the charmed condition, the frightened condition, and the spells compulsion, confusion, and maze, for one hour. You can forego your advantage for the hour to recall, in perfect detail, any event or conversation that you witnessed during the previous thirty days, whether or not you were paying attention the conversation or participating in the event. As long as you were within sight of the event or earshot of the conversation, you can treat it as though you were present. You can’t use this trick again until you finish a short or long rest.
(Thanks to Harbinger of Doom for the idea! I wanted to represent the Sherlock Holmsian pulp hero’s ability to control their own perceptions through meditation.)

Manual of Forbidden Knowledge
Prerequisite: Book of Secrets feature
You can now inscribe magical rituals in your Book of Secrets. Choose two 1st-level spells that have the ritual tag from any class’ spell list. The spells appear in the book and don’t count against the number of spells you know. With your Book of Secrets in hand, you can cast the chosen spells as rituals. You can’t cast the spells except as rituals, unless you’ve learned them by some other means. You can also cast a mentalist spell you know as a ritual if it has the ritual tag.
On your adventures, you can add other ritual spells to your Book of Secrets. When you find such a spell, you can add it to the book if the spell’s level is equal to or less than half your mentalist level (rounded up) and if you can spare the time to transcribe the spell. For each level of the spell, the transcription process takes 2 hours and costs 50 gp for the rare inks needed to inscribe it.

Master of the Mind
Prerequisite: 5th level
As a bonus action, you use your hypnotic stare on a creature you can see within 90 feet. This requires your Concentration and lasts up to one hour. Until the spell ends, you deal an extra 1d6 psychic damage to the target whenever you hit it with an attack. Choose one ability when you use this effect: the target has disadvantage on ability checks made with the chosen ability. This effect does not stack with hypnotic stare. When you have used this effect a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier, you may not use it again until you complete a long rest. A remove curse cast on the target ends this effect early.
(Thanks to Harbinger of Doom for this one, as well. Hypnotic stare should be both more common and easier to use, particularly at higher levels, and this makes that possible while still making it worth casting it as a spell, sometimes.)

Mental Leap
Prerequisite: 9th level
You can cast jump on yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material components.

No Prey Escapes
Prerequisite: 7th level
You can cast locate creature once using a mentalist spell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

One with Nature
You can cast speak with animals at will, without expending a spell slot.

Overwhelming Mind
Prerequisite: 
3rd level, ego whip cantrip
The force of your personality can overcome even the most resistant minds. Targets that possess immunity to psychic damage only damage resistance against your psychic attacks. In addition, when you cast ego whip, add your Charisma modifier to the damage it deals on a hit.
(It doesn’t make sense for a spell called ego whip to do force damage, so I changed it to psychic. Psychic immunity is much more common, however. This trick is meant to be a later-level replacement for Agony, to represent the Mentalist’s growing psychic power.)

Psychic Armor
You can cast mage armor on yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material components.

Psychic Senses
You can see normally in darkness, both magical and nonmagical, to a distance of 120 feet.

Psychic Vigor
You can cast false life on yourself at will as a 1st-level spell, without expending a spell slot or material components.

Secrets from Beyond the Grave
Prerequisite: 9th level
You can cast speak with dead at will, without expending a spell slot.

Shed the Form of Man
Prerequisite: 15th level
You can cast alter self at will, without expending a spell slot.

Speed of Thought
Prerequisite: 5th level, Mind Weapon feature
You can attack with your psychic weapon twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

The Sight
Prerequisite: 15th level
You can see the true form of any shapechanger or creature concealed by illusion or transmutation magic while the creature is within 30 feet of you and within line of sight.

Unapproachable
Prerequisite: ego whip cantrip
When you hit a creature with ego whip, you can push the creature up to 10 feet away from you in a straight line.

Weak Willed
Prerequisite: 5th level
You can cast bestow curse once using a mentalist spell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Weapon of Choice
Prerequisite: 5th level
Choose one ranged weapon. Your mind weapon can take the form of that ranged weapon, when you summon it. You are considered proficient with this ranged weapon while you use it in this way.
(Since even the most powerful ranged weapon is going to be weaker, on average, than ego whip, I don’t see a reason to keep a pulp character from creating a gun – or a longbow – out of thin air, and it fits the trope of the mystical avenger perfectly.)

Who Knows What Lurks
Prerequisite: 15th level
You can cast arcane eye at will, without expending a spell slot.

Your Eyes Deceive You
You can cast silent image at will, without expending a spell slot or material components.

Your Mind is Mine
Prerequisite: 9th level
You can cast modify memory once using a mentalist spell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

MENTALIST SPELLS

Spell Level Effect (if different)
Blade Ward Abjuration Cantrip
Chill Touch Necromancy Cantrip
Ego Whip Evocation Cantrip As eldrich blast, deals psychic damage
Friends Enchantment Cantrip
Mage Hand Conjuration Cantrip
Minor Illusion Transmutation Cantrip
Poison Spray Conjuration Cantrip
Prestidigitation Transmutation Cantrip
True Strike Divination Cantrip
Armor of Agathys 1st level Abjuration deals psychic damage
Charm Person 1st level Enchantment
Comprehend Languages 1st level Divination
Expeditious Retreat 1st level Transmutation
Hypnotic Stare 1st level Enchantment As hex
Illusory Script 1st level Illusion
Ionized Bolt 1st level Evocation As witch bolt
Protection from Evil and Good 1st level Abjuration
Pyrokinetic Rebuke 1st level Evocation As hellish rebuke
Telekinetic Lash 1st level Conjuration As arms of hadar
Unseen Servant 1st level Conjuration
Cloud of Daggers 2nd-level Conjuration
Crown of Madness 2nd-level Enchantment
Darkness 2nd-level Evocation
Enthrall 2nd-level Enchantment
Hold Person 2nd-level Enchantment
Invisibility 2nd-level Illusion
Mirror Image 2nd-level Illusion
Misty Step 2nd-level Conjuration
Ray of Enfeeblement 2nd-level Necromancy
Shatter 2nd-level Evocation
Spider Climb 2nd-level Transmutation
Suggestion 2nd-level Enchantment
Counterspell 3rd-level Abjuration
Dispel Magic 3rd-level Abjuration
Fear 3rd-level Illusion
Fly 3rd-level Transmutation
Gaseous Form 3rd-level Transmutation
Hypnotic Pattern 3rd-level Illusion
Id Insinuation 3rd-level Necromancy As vampiric touch
Magic Circle 3rd-level Abjuration
Major Image 3rd-level Illusion
Remove Curse 3rd-level Abjuration
Tongues 3rd-level Divination
Visions of Terror 3rd-level Conjuration As hunger of Hadar
Banishment 4th-level Abjuration
Confusion 4th-level Enchantment
Dimension Door 4th-level Conjuration
Hallucinatory Terrain 4th-level Illusion
Contact Other Plane 5th-level Divination
Dream 5th-level Illusion
Hold Monster 5th-level Enchantment
Scrying 5th-level Divination
Astral Transport 6th-level Conjuration As arcane gate
Eyebite 6th-level Necromancy
Flesh to Stone 6th-level Transmutation
Mass Suggestion 6th-level Enchantment
Magic Jar 6th-level Necromancy
Otto’s Irresistible Dance 6th-level Enchantment
Programmed Illusion 6th-level Illusion
True Seeing 6th-level Divination
Etherealness 7th-level Transmutation
Finger of Death 7th-level Necromancy
Forcecage 7th-level Evocation
Plane Shift 7th-level Conjuration
Demiplane 8th-level Conjuration
Dominate Monster 8th-level Enchantment
Feeblemind 8th-level Enchantment
Glibness 8th-level Transmutation
Power Word Stun 8th-level Enchantment
Astral Projection 9th-level Necromancy
Foresight 9th-level Divination
Power Word Kill 9th-level Enchantment
Shapechange 9th-level Transmutation
Time Stop 9th-level Transmutation
Weird 9th-level Illusion

A Final Note

The spell list is similar, but I did make some changes, pulling out the more demonic spells and adding spells like weird, that fit well with the theme. I hope this rebuild is useful, not only to borrow for your games, though I’d love to hear about it if anyone does that, but also as an example of how easy it is to reskin 5th Edition classes for big changes in flavor. The warlock is probably the easiest to do this with, but I’ll be experimenting with other examples, as well.

Next time: A re-cap of the first couple of session of my 5th Edition Iron Gods game!

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3 responses to “The Mentalist, Part 2: Tricks and Spells

  1. I’m glad my post was useful to you!

    I’d like to suggest that with Fear Is My Weapon, you have a chance to fix the problem of WotC’s design of Thief of Five Fates: this invocation just isn’t great. It has a really tough time being an interesting option for a 2nd-level warlock or mentalist, but it’s even less desirable as better options open up with level. If it shifted from costing a spell slot to not costing a spell slot as you advanced, it might still need a boost (maybe around 8th level?), but it would be a lot closer.

    I like Irresistible Charm. The prevalence of charm- and fear-immune creatures is a serious downer for warlocks, and I feel like WotC just… didn’t think that through, or if they did, they didn’t highlight what made be okay.

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  2. Thanks for reading! You make a great point about Fear is My Weapon. I took a quick look at the Warlock list, and it looks like there are two rules for invocations that grant spells: if the invocation is offensive, it costs a spell slot (compulsion, slow, bestow curse, modify memory, and bane), and if an invocation grants a 4th or 5th level spell, it costs a spell slot (compulsion, locate creature, modify memory). Bane is the only first level offensive spell granted by invocations, so it looks like an over-application of the rules. Meanwhile, arcane eye is a 4th level spell that doesn’t cost a spell slot.

    I think that casting bane for free once per long rest, even at low levels, is still a less interesting choice than many of the other options, but for a Mentalist whose goal is to haunt the dreams of her prey, it would be thematic.

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  3. Pingback: The Lion of Olympus and the Lamest Avenger: 5e Builds for Hercules and Dr. Druid! | Dungeon Hacking

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