Project BASiL: Mentalism Spells & Misc.

Most of my emails and forum messages have been asking about when I’m going to post the Mentalism spells for my Spell Law re-write. While Essence and Channeling were fairly straight forward, I’ve ended up re-working Mentalism several times–and now I’m doing it again! Part of this was a desire to really differentiate the realms: Essence is manipulation of the physical world and elements, Channeling is driven by the God’s aspect, “life forces”, and miraculous effects, and Mentalism are spells of mind and will. But what does that mean? What should Mentalism spells encompass for powers?

While Mentalism was never proffered as being Psionics, it was a good reference point for me to re-organize Mentalism spells, clarify their limits and group spells accordingly. Interestingly, I found that like Essence and Channeling, new spell lists and groupings created new profession possibilities.

Here are my initial power/ability groupings and associated lists/powers (same as Base lists). Most of them are just a single or a couple of lists to create a mental “Discipline”–most Mentalists might focus on 2-3 Disciplines for specialization.

Body Enhancement: Body Control, Self Augmentation, Body Weaponry, Self Healing, Body Resistance

Clairavoyance:  Item Visions, People Visions, Place Visions (yes those names are pretty bad–suggestions?)

Glamours: Phantasms/lllusions, Hallucinations, Visual, Sound, Smell, Touch

Mesmerization: Mind Control, Enthralling, Suggestion

Mind Enhancement: Mind Shields, Mind Lore (Absorption list)

Precognition: Future Visions, Awareness, Dreams

Pyschokinesis: Move Objects, Manipulate Object (heat, bend, reform, break)

Pyrokinesis: Control Fire, Manifest Fire

Sense Projection: Astral Projection, Remote Sensing

Subterfuge: Cloaking, Distractions

Telepathy: Absorb Lore, Read Mind, Sense Minds, Mind Speech, Mind Attacks

Right now I’m around 30-35 “Base Lists”, 10 Closed (which are lesser/consolidated versions of base)  and a handful of Open (limited to 10th lvl). Similar to the other BASiL lists, you can easily move things around: “Telepathy” becomes the Mentalist Base, Pyschokinesis and Subterfuge becomes Mystic Base and Body Enhancement becomes Monk base–the rest drop into Closed and/or Open.

My goal was 50 total lists which I think I’m at, but it needs another pass through. If anyone has any ideas, thoughts, spells, spell lists etc feel free to comment. After all the Companions, Guild lists, and add-ons I have no illusions that anything I’m doing is truly original. For me it was re-organizing, filling in blanks, eliminating redundant and or useless spells etc. Happy to hear any suggestions!


13 Replies to “Project BASiL: Mentalism Spells & Misc.”

  1. Glancing down your lists the functions of the lay healer seem to be missing. Is that intentional?

    I always imagine lay healers working though ‘telekinetic surgery’.

  2. I’m torn on this. I’ve kept Mentalism powers fairly tight: mental, some manipulation of physical objects and self. OTOH, I’m thinking of adding a healing/surgery list to Essence. For now, that leaves healing solely as the province of Channelers.

    I see the mental telekinetic angle though and I can see a Mentalist giving people pain and stun relief through mental manipulation…

    1. I like the idea of physically knitting muscles and blood vessels back together using a telekinetic effect.

      1. Me too. But for Mentalism and Essence I feel that medical knowledge has to come into play before working these spells. Channeling I see as more miraculous/divine–but Ess/Ment is more surgery by magic. How do you work those two in? Spell roll first and then a efficacy roll based on 1st aid?

        1. That is a really interesting idea. I think Spell Mastery is the answer. That provides you will an existing mechanism for skill related manipulation of spell effects.

          I don’t see it as magically enhanced first aid, more along the lines of visualising the working body system with an added dash of ‘listening to your body’ but tuning into the wounded person’s body’s needs and using magic to support and enhance it.

  3. For sources of ideas, you can always scavenge other systems if you haven’t already. D&D in its many forms has quite a lot of material on psionics.

    1. For all of BASiL I printed off every spell list in all the books, cut out each individual spell with sticky tape and created a wall board to re-organize spell lists. Then I created “topics” of spell groupings and brain-stormed new spell ideas to be translated to RM rule set. THEN, I went through my library, and wiki to review spell systems for popular fiction (Malazan, Black Company, Elric, Conan among many, many others) and updated the brainstorm lists. I discarded anything that was too loose or so setting specific that it didn’t work (like warren travelling in Malazan). From there I winnowed down the base/closed/open groups for each realm and organized spells into individual lists. That’s why the Essence elemental base are so similar in structure. Once I had that organized I took my new spell ideas and established RM spells on the cut-outs and moved them around to organize them by efficacy (level). That was just the first iteration. I posted up the 2nd iteration but am on the 4th for Essence and the 3rd for Channeling in the hopes that it can be officially published some day…..

      1. I think, given the research you’ve done, it’s going to be tricky offering ideas that are new without seeing what you’ve actually got so far.

  4. I think Mentalism is an especially good choice for spells that boost skills: using your mental powers to do some almost supernatural things.

    I am hoping some day to make a revised Armsmaster (Mentalism Companion)/ Noble Warrior (RoCo III) that is kind of like a Kensai or Knight, and then another that could be a Rolemaster version of the Warlord/Marshal from DnD (the old RoCoIV had the leader, but he was a pure arms). So I’m thinking of Mentalism spells that inspire/intimidate comrades, give them attack bonuses (say for spotting a weak spot in an enemy’s defense or understanding the enemy’s combat style), and things like that. I guess those might already be covered under your categories though; I guess inspiration could be considered a kind of glamor/mesmerisation?

    I really like the current RMU open Mentalism spells Anticipate Attack and Anticipate Defence, as they are perfectly suited to Mentalism.

    1. Anticipation is interesting as a spell. Barring the GM telling the player what might happen in the immediate future (which would be difficult!), it needs to be handled through a game mechanic. Right? So if you could predict or sense 1 sec or 1 min into the future how could that be dealt with RM rules? My conclusion is just a simple bonus to any action. The future sense is an automatic feedback loop, fine tuning a persons actions–no matter what they are. Sensing an attack or sensing how an opponent reacts to an attack is a distinction without a difference. Initiative, OB, DB or any action would receive a bonus representing the benefit of feeling how/why that action would manifest based on other external forces. To an outsider it would almost appear to be a “Haste” spell, since the user would be reacting before or simultaneously to stimuli.

      1. I was thinking specifically of the spells in RMU, where the mechanic I think is well done. Anticipate Attack means that if you use OB to parry, the bonus to your DB is doubled. Anticipate Defense means that if an opponent uses OB to Parry, the bonus to his DB is halved. It is a nice, neat mechanic, and very flavorful.

        The spells I really had problems with as a GM were the ones like Clairvoyance and others that predicted the future. How can I as a GM tell my player what will happen when random dice rolls are involved? I never quite figured that out.

        1. “Future” magic is tricky, especially if you aren’t running a long term campaign. I’ve tried to isolate those types of spells into discrete lists (future vision, time manipulation) so if you don’t want to use those types of spells you can opt out of those lists without losing ancillary spells.

          I do use them, and limit them to “possible futures” and scenes that are likely the group will encounter. The final battle, a particular trap OR to introduce a new narrative element that have yet to encounter: a key NPC or new adventure.
          I think Dragon magazine did a good article on this years ago IIRC

  5. Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.

    The other possibility I was thinking about is a Witcher-type Mentalism semi, who used his mental powers to help him craft potions, oils for his sword (did extra damage against certain monsters), traps and bombs, etc. He was essentially a monster hunter. You could make him essence too, but I think Mentalism actually works better, since he was in chain armor.

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