Fox’s Cunning — Psizing-up Psychics

Last month on Fox’s Cunning we analyzed different routes you could take to make a Spy like Llyod Forger and an Assassin like Yor Forger, but what about Anya?! I’ll admit Anya is going to be the most difficult in the series, especially if we don’t want any manga spoilers. She’s a psychic, and that’s a great new class and all…but she’s not really lashing out with occult energy, throwing things with her mind, or starting fires like the Pathfinder psychic. She reads minds, punches people, and avoids getting hit. Oh, and overwhelmingly cute.

Now my initial thought was something along the lines of the 3.5e Mindspy prestige class, which could use detect thoughts in combat to dodge attacks and anticipate peril. Unfortunately there is no psychic that specializes in mind reading, which makes sense given it’s a third level uncommon spell! So how do we improvise using the new tools in Dark Archive? Note that none of these assumes you want to play an actual Psychic, but rather something like a Monk, Fighter, Rogue, or Investigator that later multi-classes into fighter. Heck, maybe even a Ranger if you want Bond. Of course Anya herself would prefer Gunslinger or Alchemist, but let’s just shelve those ideas until she’s older… so let’s just analyze archetypes!

Note: These will be updated with Archives of Nethys links as soon as Dark Archives is added to the Archives. Until then, I’m going to work off my subscriber copy!

Waku 1: Psychic Dedication

The Infinite Eye is the way to go to play a mind-reading psychic. Guidance can represent that slight edge you have by reading the minds of those around you, with the Amp being hints you throw at your teammates as you read what they are thinking and help correct that way of thinking with an outsider’s perspective. For your Basic Thoughtform at level 4, Psychic Rapport is probably your best bet, but you won’t be able to use it well until you pick up a mental cantrip from somewhere (as Guidance wouldn’t apply). If you really like the feat, you could make Anya as a Silent Whisper psychic and pick up Daze, but using that outside of combat is tricky. Mental Balm would probably fit better, as you could be reading your ally’s mind just enough to know exactly what to say (which will, of course, be “waku waku!”). Basic Psychic Spellcasting can pick up 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level spell; I recommend Anticipate Peril or Truestrike for 1st, Mind Games or Status for 2nd, and Mind Reading for 3rd. At level 6 Psi Development nets you Glimpse Weakness to help guide your punches right to that sore spot your enemy has been trying to hide from you in the midst of combat. Finally, Advanced Thoughtform can pick up Thought Sense at level 16.

Waku 2: Psychic Duelist

So right off the bat we get an option called “Psychic Fist” that fits our concept to a tee. Entering a psychic duel fits the idea of a psychic who is always next-leveling people with her subtle mind-reading, even if it’s not exactly what Anya does in the series. The only downside? You can’t really do anything with your archetype until level 12 when you pick up Initiate Psychic Duel, so this might be best in an adventure that starts above level 10 or has a number of psychic duels. The other downside, of course, is the psychic duel can very much take the rest of the party out of the encounter, and be potentially unbalanced as you’ll be the only dedicated psychic duelist in the party.

 Waku 3: Bard Dedication

So we know Anya isn’t much of a musician, but she is entertaining, heart-wrenching, and ‘performs’ her role as a ‘regular student’ enough to make up for it. For Cantrip I’d go with Infectious Enthusiasm, but Read the Air makes sense too (even if she occasionally frequently fails at the subsequent check). Basic Bard Spellcasting gives you access to the same spells you’d pick if you chose Psychic Dedication. Your muse would be Enigma if Bard was your base class, but as an archetype you are probably better off with Maestro if you’d like to pick up Inspire Competence as your Basic Muse’s Whispers. At level 8 Advanced Muse’s Whispers can pick up Combat Reading. Of course at 8th level you’ll also want to inspire your family party to defend you with Inspiration Performance.

 Waku 4: Eldritch Trickster Rogue

Remember when I said I would only analyze archetypes? I lied. Eldritch Trickster into Psychic or Bard is probably your best route to making a mind-reading combatant. You get social skill feats you can flavor as reading subtle cues in the room. You get to use a spellcasting archetype to flavor your mystic powers. And you get fun flavor for your repertoire of rogue feats like Nimble Dodge, Overextending Feint, Clever Gambit, Underhanded Assault, and more! (Ok, maybe not Nimble Dodge.) The rogue has so many feats that can fit the idea of “I can do this well because I can kind of read your thoughts” that it’s a natural fit for a character like this. Of course, if you are making the Spy x Family party you are now a party of three rogues, but in the right campaign that can be a total blast!

Dustin Knight

Dustin has been playing and improving on RPGs since AD&D in 1999. He ran games and conventions around California while studying Graphic Design, Philosophy, English & Architecture. After developing a tabletop game seminar he began working freelance for Alderac Entertainment Games. During his stint on the East Coast, he became a Venture Lieutenant and began reviewing Pathfinder mechanics for Organized Play. After moving to Washington in 2019, he met Alex Augunas at Paizocon and developed, designed and wrote for Everybody Games LLC. He has since published work with Rogue Genius Games and Paizo. He can be found on the Know Direction discord where he goes by the username "KitsuneWarlock".