Mental Grip (3.5e Martial Discipline)

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Author: DaTedinator (talk)
Date Created: 1/14/2010
Status: Complete
Editing: Clarity edits only please
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Stories detailing the creation of the style of the mental grip are frequently historically impossible, and always at odds with each other on a number of key points, but in a few areas there tends to be agreement.

First, the style's creation has virtually nothing to do with Reshar, instead owing itself to a pair of mysterious figures known as the Dark Father and the Son. The Dark Father was a mighty psionic being of indeterminate race, whose face was never seen, always veiled behind a shadowy cloak, or black adamantine helm. But even given his great might, there was one greater still whom he served. Even less is known about this figure than the Dark Father himself, but historical artists frequently display him as an Emperor among mind flayers. The Dark Father resented his servitude to this Emperor, but found his power alone was not enough to break the bonds of his servitude. He pushed himself to his limit, and developed the rudiments of the Mental Grip, but could not fully exploit it; either he wasn't powerful enough, or the Emperor watched him too closely, or he was simply lazy, to drunk with his current power to try too hard to gain more.

Second, the Dark Father eventually found a student. In some versions he is the darker Son of the Dark Father, in others he was a master assassin the Dark Father sought out after an untarnished record of assassinating legendary psionic figures, rivaling even the Annulus in number of psionic beings killed. Regardless of his actual familial status, he is known as the Son. The Dark Father taught him all of his exotic techniques, including the bits of the Mental Grip he had initiated. The Son took these rudimentary fragments of a style and honed them to a razor edge; his killing power rose tenfold, and his power grew to eclipse even that of his Father. He wrote many treatises on the style, and it is from these that practitioners of the other styles eventually pieced the Mental Grip style back together.

Third, it was this mastery of the Mental Grip that eventually led to his downfall. Whether it was the Dark Father's jealousy, or the fact that his power grew too large to hide, eventually the Dark Father's plans were reversed; rather than allying himself with the Son against the Emperor, he was forced to ally with the Emperor against the Son. Though the Son's power was indeed great, he could not stand long against the combined might of the Dark Father and the Emperor.

What became of the Father and the Emperor is unknown - though there are a handful of cults that claim to have the truth - and largely irrelevant. The fact remains that the Mental Grip is a potent, if unorthodox style, and is growing in popularity among psionic followers of the Sublime Way. It focuses mostly on the use of small weapons, and those easy to manipulate with one's mind: the dagger, the light hammer, the sai, the handaxe, and the scimitar. It also favors the unarmed strike, as physical discipline is important to fully grasp mental discipline. Its key skill is Autohypnosis, as the style focuses on driving your mind to master itself, its body, and even the outside world.

The way of the Mental Grip is not available to all; a practitioner must be considered a psionic creature, whether due to power point reserve, or inherent psionic abilities. Of the psionic followers of the Sublime Way, only Swordsages find themselves with the ability to grasp the supernatural strongly enough to truly understand the way of the Mental Grip, as the way of the Mental Grip is made up entirely of supernatural techniques that are alien to those used to typical martial disciplines.

However, the cost of studying such a foreign style is indeed great; the potential practitioner must either devote such a large amount of training to the style that most must exclude another style from their learning entirely. Upon gaining their first level of swordsage, a psionic character may choose to lose all access to one discipline typically known to swordsages in order to gain access to Mental Grip. Additionally, Autohypnosis becomes a class skill for the swordsage, and that discipline's associated skill is no longer a class skill. Alternatively, a potential practitioner may gain the Sublime Psychic feat detailed below to gain access to the discipline.

Game Mechanics of the Mental Grip

Available To: Swordsage, Any (feat: Sublime Psychic)

Discipline Skill: Autohypnosis (Wis)

Discipline Weapons: Dagger, Light Hammer, Sai, Handaxe, Scimitar, Unarmed Strike 

Discipline Feat: Focused Mind 

Tactical Feat: Mental Touch

Maneuvers of the Mental Grip Discipline[edit]

To see the full, expanded description of every maneuver, click here.
The Crunch, Summarized
Key Skill: Autohypnosis

Associated Weapons: Unarmed Strike, Dagger, Light Hammer, Sai, Handaxe, Scimitar.

All maneuvers of Mental Grip are considered to be supernatural abilities.

Some maneuvers let you make melee attacks at a range; if you're using a weapon, you're assumed to be telekinetically wielding the weapon, and if you're unarmed, you're assumed to be pummeling your opponents with telekinetic energy.

Some maneuvers refer to psionic focus, whether maintaining it or expending it. Details of psionic focus can be found here.

All saves for the Mental Grip discipline are Charisma-based.

1st-Level Maneuvers

  • Brain Rush: Strike — Make a Bull Rush at range.
  • Empty Hand: Stance — Be treated as in an adjacent square for attacking purposes.
  • Far Fist: Strike — Make an unarmed attack as a ranged attack.
  • Mental Ward: Stance — You protect yourself against mental intrusions.
  • Psychogenic Shield: Other [Force] — As wall of force but only one square.
  • Thought Shield: Counter — Gain Deflection bonus to AC based on Autohypnosis ranks.
  • Unseen Hands: Stance — You project invisible telekinetic hands around yourself and may use them to grabs items or even strike at other creatures.

2nd-Level Maneuvers

  • Great Tap: Strike — Make attack as touch attack.
  • Inertia Vacuum: Counter — Gain DR/- against one attack, free movement based on damage prevented.
  • Lift Self: Boost — Assist your jumps with telekinesis.
  • Mental Shove: Boost — You or an ally takes a move action.

3rd-Level Maneuvers

  • Forceful Yank: Strike — Pull an opponent into your weapon.
  • Know thy Enemy: Boost [X-Discipline Scrying] — The key to victory is to anticipate your opponent's moves, and make sure he can't perform them. Learn what your foe has in store for you, then selectively deprive him of his greatest assets!
  • Mental Might: Stance — Deal bonus damage based on Autohypnosis ranks, take a penalty to attacks.
  • Psionic Insight: Stance [Mind-Affecting] — Read minds, and talk to them.
  • Rage of the Poltergeist: Strike — As telekinetic thrust.
  • Strength of Will: Boost — Make a Strength check using pooled mental stat bonuses.
  • Telekinetic Catch: Counter — You catch an attack aimed at you, or an ally if you expend your psionic focus.

4th-Level Maneuvers

  • Featherweight: Stance — Reduce your weight so you can glide.
  • Hurl Weapon: Strike — Make full attack at range.
  • Master of Barriers: Stance — You get better uses out of psychogenic barrier, psychogenic shield and psychogenic wall.
  • Mighty Tap: Strike — Make attack as touch attack, shove target back.
  • Mind Probe: Boost [X-Discipline Scrying] — Like know thy enemy, but a little bit faster.
  • Psychogenic Barrier: Other [Force] — As wall of force but smaller.
  • Reflective Barrier: Counter — You raise a powerful barrier which deflect attack and potentially reflect projectiles, but get weaker as attacks miss against you. If pierced vanish, but greatly reduce damage.
  • Weapon of My Enemy: Counter — Attempt to disarm opponent, can't attempt to disarm you back.

5th-Level Maneuvers

6th-Level Maneuvers

7th-Level Maneuvers

8th-Level Maneuvers

  • Animated Armory: Stance — Weapons and shields fight on their own.
  • Fastball Special: Strike — Throw ally at opponent, ally makes charge attack with bonus damage.
  • Mental Rush: Stance — Damage and throw back all adjacent opponents.

9th-Level Maneuvers

  • Mindjack: Strike [Mind-Affecting] — Reprogram, mindswap, and generally do telepathy proud.
  • Telekinetic Surge: Strike — Deal damage, throw back, and knock prone everything within a cone.


Focused Mind

Focused Mind [Psionic] Prerequisites: One Mental Grip strike, Manifester level 1Benefit: Whenever a Mental Grip maneuver would benefit from you expending your psionic focus, you may instead expend a number of power points equal to the level of the maneuver to gain the same benefit. Whenever you enter a Mental Grip stance, you may spend a number of power points equal to twice the level of the stance to attempt to gain psionic focus as a part of the same action.

Mental Touch

Mental Touch [Psionic, Tactical] Prerequisites: Psionic Meditation, Three Mental Grip maneuvers (at least one must be a stance), Base Attack Bonus +6Benefit: This feat enables the use of three new combat options:

  • Mental Hand (Su): As long as you are psionically focused, you may use mage hand at will.
  • Telekinetic Force (Su): As long as you are in a Mental Grip stance, you may add your Charisma modifier to damage instead of your Strength modifier when using any weapons associated with Mental Grip.
  • Telekinetic Weapon (Su): As long as you are psionically focused and in a Mental Grip stance, you may add your Charisma modifier to attack instead of your Strength modifier when using any weapons associated with Mental Grip.

Sublime Psychic

Sublime Psychic [Psionic] Prerequisites: Swordsage 3rd or Warblade or Crusader 6th, Autohypnosis 3 ranks or Skill Focus (Autohypnosis).Benefit: Choose one class that you have that grants access to martial maneuvers. You may now choose from Mental Grip maneuvers for that class, following the normal rules for selecting martial maneuvers; additionally, you may immediately exchange up to three of your known maneuvers for maneuvers from the Mental Grip discipline. Autohypnosis is now a class skill for all of your classes.

Back to Main Page3.5e HomebrewClass Ability ComponentsMartial Disciplines

Article BalanceModerate +
AuthorDaTedinator +
ClassSwordsage + and Any (feat: Sublime Psychic) +
Identifier3.5e Martial Discipline +
Rated ByEthereal1111 +
RatingRating Pending +
SkillAutohypnosis +
SummaryPsionic discipline +
TitleMental Grip +
WeaponDagger +, Light Hammer +, Sai +, Handaxe +, Scimitar + and Unarmed Strike +