Conquest of the Realms
Psionics in the Realms
Psionics are a touchy item in Faerun. In a world where magic is a well known world-shaping force, shockingly few people have even heard of this alternate source of power. Those who know of the Way have usually had some kind of direct contact with its disciples; rare indeed, considering the nature of these beings.
It is commonly understood that all psionic practices are rooted in the Far Realms. The entities which inhabit this maddening dimension are myriad and twisted, lacking any rhyme or reason; they bend reality to their will as effortlessly as a fish parts water. An individual who is able to learn this art can likewise bend our world to their mental whims, and this is the basis of all psionics. The caveat lies is in the dangers the Far Realms pose to a mere mortal; sanity is but the first of many prices to be paid for such contact. For any of the current races which populate Faerun, learning psionics from its raw source is simply not an option.
Certain elder races, however, have a natural affinity with psionic arts. Aboleths, yuan-ti, and, most notably, mind flayers, all learned to safely manipulate at least a small amount of this dangerous power at some point in their ancient history. Indeed, mind flayers are so renowned as the true masters of psionics that many believe them to be the sole practitioners; they mistakenly see psionics as merely some strange form of illithid pseudo-magic, unique to their race.
This might even be case, were it not for the illithid’s own habit of breeding psionic potential into their slaves. Whether some inevitable result of prolonged exposure, or an intentional process taken up by the flayers (it is commonly held that a mind flayer would find the brain of a psion much more appetizing), the former slave races of the illithids—duergar, githyanki, githzerai, and some drow—all display psionic ability. Usually this psionic development led directly to that race’s rebellion, as psions from these “lesser” breed would be known to match or even surpass their masters at their own art.