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Psychic Duels

Source Occult Adventures pg. 201
Psychic duels are battles in which combatants’ minds become intertwined within a binary mindscape. Though psychic spellcasters wield tremendous power in such battles, other creatures can also wield mental might with surprising potency.

Instigating a Psychic Duel

Source Occult Adventures pg. 201
A psychic spellcaster creates a binary mindscape when a target fails its save against instigate psychic duel. The caster’s and target’s minds are then merged in a psychic duel within that mindscape until either the spell’s duration ends or the psychic duel reaches its conclusion. If the duel begins during combat, each of the dueling characters retains its initiative order and the psychic duel goes on in conjunction with the initial combat.

If the duel begins outside combat, the initiator can take a swift action to create a supernatural effect called a psychic manifestation upon entering the binary mindscape, before her opponent’s first turn.

While locked in a psychic duel, the combatants’ physical bodies become unresponsive. They retain their positions, but they can take no actions and lose their Dexterity bonuses to Armor Class for the duration of the duel.

Running Psychic Duels

Source Occult Adventures pg. 201
Each combatant in a psychic duel attacks her opponent and defends herself with the power of her imagination and force of her personality. Such combatants appear in the binary mindscape much as they appear in reality (unless using a mental mask), but their abilities and attacks are enhanced in some ways and limited in others by the strange laws of the binary mindscape.

While the illusion of physical movement exists in the mindscape’s reality, such things as speed and position have little bearing on a psychic duel. Combatants are limited to purely mental actions, speech, and the creation of psychic manifestations (see below). With very few exceptions, spells and spell-like abilities can’t be used (see Concluding a Psychic Duel).

When a character enters a binary mindscape, she uses the following statistics as they were prior to entering: her current hit points; ability scores; AC and touch AC; Reflex, Fortitude, and Will saving throws; highest melee attack bonus; and highest ranged attack bonus. These attack bonuses apply on melee and ranged offensive manifestations, respectively. Regeneration and fast healing are the only special abilities that apply in a psychic duel; uncanny dodge and damage reduction, for example, do not.

Bonuses and penalties granted by items, as well as spells and effects active before entering the mindscape, apply to these statistics, as such items and effects gain psychic equivalents when a creature enters a mindscape. However, while the mind is engaged in a psychic duel, only damaging and healing spells and effects cast on the body of a combatant have an effect on the battle.

Manifestations retain many of the manifestor’s combat capabilities. The nature of the binary mindscape translates martial prowess into psychic parallels; after all, such prowess comes from training, muscle memory, and other subconscious components of the mind. This means that while martially inclined characters have fewer resources in a psychic duel, they can still make powerful attacks against their foes with great accuracy.

Conditions gained during a psychic duel rarely carry over into the real world, but damage is dealt to the physical body of the duelist, so it’s possible for combatants to die. Similarly, unlike all other effects that occur in the real world after a psychic duel begins, damaging and healing a duelist’s physical body carry over to the psychic duel.

Psychic Manifestations

Source Occult Adventures pg. 201
While engaged in a psychic duel, the combatants don’t attack or cast spells normally. Instead, the combatants create psychic manifestations, abilities that can be used only within a binary mindscape; these represent changes to the mindscape’s fabric (see Mindscapes).

Concluding a Psychic Duel

Source Occult Adventures pg. 204
There are a number of ways a psychic duel can conclude and the combatants’ minds can return to their bodies (aside from the end of the instigate psychic duel spell that started the combat). The duel ends immediately if one of the combatants reaches 0 or fewer hit points or both combatants agree to end the psychic duel. Each combatant can make this agreement as a free action that can be taken even when it isn’t that combatant’s turn. Rarely, a spell or ability can allow combatants to leave a psychic duel. For instance, unlike most spells, mindscape door can be cast while in a psychic duel, allowing the caster to leave the mindscape and end the duel. Lastly, a creature adjacent to the body of a combatant can attempt to shake that creature out of its torpor as a standard action. Doing so is a melee touch attack that deals no damage but allows the combatant to attempt a new saving throw against the effect that started the psychic duel. If the check is successful, the mind of the roused creature returns to its body and the duel ends. A creature in a psychic duel can attempt no more than one additional save per round in this way.