Mental Disruption has conflicting info.

It says

Range: 10 ft.

Area: 10-ft.-radius spread centered on you

If the range of the spell is 10 ft, how can it be centered on you?

Was this ever errata'd?


Errata for Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 was capricious, spotty, and often ill-conceived. The errata wand didn't touch this power, but

Giving the power mental disruption a Range entry is an error

It's common to find an effect that's been written, gone through the editorial process, maybe even been playtested, then printed, yet still contains errors spotted by careful readers. Spells (therefore powers) are especially complex (cf. shivering touch, blast of flame), and writers, editors, and players often think they know what something means or does until it's pointed out by some amateur that it doesn't mean or do what they intended.

Thus, while the 2nd-level psion/wilder power mental disruption [telepathy] does, indeed, say Range: 10 ft. and Area: 10-ft.-radius spread centered on you, that's nonsense.

Range says that

A power’s range is the maximum distance from you that the power’s effect can occur, as well as the maximum distance at which you can designate the power’s point of origin.

Emphasis mine. But Area says that

Most powers that affect an area function as a burst, an emanation, or a spread. In each case, you select the power’s point of origin and measure its effect from that point. A burst power affects whatever it catches in its area, even including creatures that you can’t see. It can’t affect creatures with total cover from its point of origin (in other words, its effects don’t extend around corners). The default shape for a burst effect is a sphere, but some burst powers are specifically described as cone-shaped.

A burst’s area defines how far from the point of origin the power’s effect extends.

A spread power spreads out like a burst but can turn corners. You select the point of origin, and the power spreads out a given distance in all directions. Figure the area the power effect fills by taking into account any turns the effect takes.

Emphasis mine. One can't resolve the contradiction between Range: 10 ft. and Area: 10-ft.-radius spread centered on you. By way of consolation, the author of mental disruption did earn maybe $0.15 by including that Range entry, so it wasn't a total waste.

Play the Area entry, ignore the Range entry, and have fun.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The "Range Expressed in Feet" and the power descriptions state that the "range" is the distance from the point of origin and that the point of origin is the psion. Clumsy way to describe it? Sure. Error? Not really. \$\endgroup\$ – Wyrmwood May 14 '15 at 20:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Wyrmwood Range Expressed in Feet remains Range. Range includes the maximum distance at which the manifester can designate the power's point of origin. But the point of origin is always a 10-ft.-radius spread centered on the manifester. That the power continues making the same error in its Augment section proves only that the power is consistently mistaken in how Range works, not that the information about Range means something other than what it says. (Not trying to start a fight; I just don't know how else to read it.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 14 '15 at 21:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I completely agree with your argument. Logical error? Yes. Unintended error? No. They created a new type of range/area with these powers, and should have come up with a better way of categorizing it, rather than trying to fit the proverbial square peg. I guess it just depends on what you define as an "error". \$\endgroup\$ – Wyrmwood May 15 '15 at 15:33

Range Expressed in Feet

Some powers have no standard range category, just a range expressed in feet.

None of the other range categories fit. Personal would mean it only affects you, but Close, et al, could be centered elsewhere. There are other powers that use this same range descriptor. It just means the effect is centered on the psion but affects out to a given distance.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought personal would fit the range category. It just means you are always the target of the spell, which in this case is true. \$\endgroup\$ – Jean-Luc Nacif Coelho May 13 '15 at 6:14
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Jean-LucNacifCoelho: There are specific rules tied up to Personal range, so that it would not be strictly equivalent. Example: Spells with a range of Personal cannot be made into a potion. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthieu M. May 13 '15 at 6:36
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You aren't a "target" in this case. For example, even though it emanates from you, an energy burst doesn't do you any damage. According to the description, "it extends outward from you" so while you are the "source", you are not the target, as is the case with personal. \$\endgroup\$ – Wyrmwood May 13 '15 at 15:26

The range of the spell is just the maximum distance from you that a thing effected by the spell can be. Therefore, the spell effects everything within a 10 foot radius centered on you, as the area indicates. The range entry tells you that everything in that area can be effected; it does not give you the maximum possible distance to the center of the area.

  • \$\begingroup\$ isn't 'maximum possible distance to the center of the area' radius? \$\endgroup\$ – Wyrmwood May 13 '15 at 4:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ How does this relate to the spell description, which says "All creatures you designate in the affected area [are affected]"? It seems like either the area or the range is redundant. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener May 13 '15 at 4:47

A power’s range is the maximum distance from you that the power’s effect can occur, as well as the maximum distance at which you can designate the power’s point of origin. If any portion of the area would extend beyond the range, that area is wasted.

(Quoted from the SRD, emphasis mine)

If you were to cast a fireball (i'm using a spell because I'm not familiar with psionic powers, the rules are the same) at the maximum range you'd hit a weirdly shaped space that's the intersection of two spheres.
So, range 10 feet just tells us your power (that's a 10 feet spread centered of you) can hit everything in its area.

Just think at a cone. It originates from the caster (from any corner of the squares the caster is in) and has a range that defines how far the cone covers.

In this specific case, the information is redundant but it's not wrong.


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