Psionics

I've said it before, but I think it's worth re-stating: I think that Psionics needs to have a presence in the Core Rules. It doesn't need to be completely fleshed out, but the base mechanics can be defined in an appendix or something. It is a concept that has been feared by players and DMs in the past because it hasn't been addressed as a core component, even though it has deep roots in the history of D&D.

 

They have already proven that not everything that goes into the core rules is required. Several things are listed as variant rules. The same could be done for psionics as an appendix. 

 

If it's not addressed now, it will end up being shimmed-in later and it will feel like such. It will end up as a step child of magic instead of a first class citizen where it belongs.

There is ton of psionic flavor to separate it from magic, so the only thing that is tradition for D&D and other games with psionics is trying too hard to make it mechanically unique; and adding it on later. I expect they will make it a variation of the sorcerer, so as long as they don't pine for a mechanically unique version it is already in the basic/standard game.

"even though it has deep roots in the history of D&D."

 

And what are those deep roots?

 

"being shimmed-in later and it will feel like such. It will end up as a step child of magic"

 

So, the honoured tradition for psionics IS being an wkwardly wedged in afterthought. I think that's a fine tradition and support it fully.

I agree with the tradition of awkwardly wedging psionics in as an afterthought.

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DemoMonkey wrote:

"even though it has deep roots in the history of D&D."

 

And what are those deep roots?

Psionics go back to 0D&D, suplement III "Eldritch Wizardry" in 1976.  Demons had psionics in that suplement, and the Mind Flayer was introduced at that time along with a number of other psionic monsters.  Also in Eldritch Wizardry was the first appearance of the Druid.  Psionics were an apendix in the AD&D 1e PH, as well, and psionic monsters appeared in the MM.  Psionicists or Psions went on to appear in every subsequent edition.

 

Early in the development of 5e, WotC made one of it's non-binding non-promises to include each class that had appeared in a PH1 (the specification of 1 served only to exclude classes in 3.5 and 4.0, since only they had a PH2) in the core game.  Psionics /do/ appear in a PH1.  So it wouldn't exactly be unfair to put them in Core - if core were still a thing, of course, now it'd have to be the 'standard' game (if that's still a thing).

 

So the roots of psionics are as deep as those of the Druid and the Mind Flayer.  The Druid's already in as a class.  I'd be shocked if the Mind Flayer were cut from the MM.  Psionics has a lot of fans, and they have a case for psionics being in a past PH1, even if no specific psionc class has been.  In the spirit of inclusiveness - and of having /something/ besides neo-Vancian magic in the standard game - it'd be reasonable to include psionic

 

Disclaimer
Personally, I think psionics are out of place in D&D, they're a sci-fi bit, not a fantasy trope, and are redundant in a genre where magic already exists and can perform feats like mind-reading, clairsentience and TK.  But that doesn't matter, because 5e is supposed to be /inclusive/.  I just won't play a psion, and I'll be fine. 

 

 

 

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Tony_Vargas wrote:

Disclaimer

Personally, I think psionics are out of place in D&D, they're a sci-fi bit, not a fantasy trope, and are redundant in a genre where magic already exists and can perform feats like mind-reading, clairsentience and TK.

 

I actually agree.  Though, I wouldn't mind assigning mind affection "powers" that are magic like to creatures that have traditionally been psionic.

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With the latest article about Sorcerers now available, I wonder if we actually need more than one class that uses innate powers that can be augmented with a point system. It would seem rather redundant.

Jaden.Shadowcraft wrote:

With the latest article about Sorcerers now available, I wonder if we actually need more than one class that uses innate powers that can be augmented with a point system. It would seem rather redundant.

Not really no.

There's not a whole lot of functional difference between "D&D psionics" and "D&D sorcery" (mostly just the "three-finger-contact" thing ), but I've no doubt someone is going to insist they're "like totally different!" or somesuch.

Jaden.Shadowcraft wrote:

With the latest article about Sorcerers now available, I wonder if we actually need more than one class that uses innate powers that can be augmented with a point system. It would seem rather redundant.

As jiggy as they've gotten with sub-classes in/post Essentials, you could probably squeeze a psion into the sorcerer (or squeeze both into the wizard).  The psion might need something like a psionics school of magic to make it work, though.  Bunch of mentalist spells with a notable lack of V/S/M components, perhaps.  That, more than the class, would be the undertaking.

 

 

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Jaden.Shadowcraft wrote:
With the latest article about Sorcerers now available, I wonder if we actually need more than one class that uses innate powers that can be augmented with a point system. It would seem rather redundant.
Two of my favorite classes (Factotums and 3.5E Warlocks) use innate, augmentable powers.  The former augments them with a point system.  We definitely need more classes with this style, and have had them for many years and editions within D&D's history.

I loved the flavor of 1e psionics so much the gave me the urge to do science fiction roleplaying. The mechanics were even evocative... but written like they were never meant to really be used. errrrr... 

 

I keep wishing some 1e fan has rescued that part of the game.

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By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Garthanos wrote:

The mechanics were even evocative... but written like they were never meant to really be used. errrrr... 

More of Gary's "only statistical outliers get the whole game" theme, really.

I keep wishing some 1e fan has rescued that part of the game.

Steve Winter did, in 1991.

Qmark wrote:

 

Garthanos wrote:

The mechanics were even evocative... but written like they were never meant to really be used. errrrr... 

 

More of Gary's "only statistical outliers get the whole game" theme, really.

 

I keep wishing some 1e fan has rescued that part of the game.

 

Steve Winter did, in 1991.

 

Looks like something I would have liked in 1981 or so... 

  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

There's probably some obscure Dragon or Dungeon article from the early 80s that nobody really remembers.

DemoMonkey wrote:

"even though it has deep roots in the history of D&D."

 

And what are those deep roots?

• Original D&D 0e Eldritch Wizardry (psionics has same origin as Druid).

• D&D 1e Players Handbook (psionics in the same appendices as the origin of the Bard).

 

Psionics exists in every edition of D&D since the beginning. In 1e, Gary Gygax included his core books.

 

Psionics is an important part of D&D. The fans care alot about it.

 

5e can incorporate 1e Psionic Powers as feats.

 

5e can incorporate 3e Psion as a Mage subclass alongside Wizard, or even as a Wizard tradition. The Wizard will use spell points too, so no problem.

 

 

 

@Tony

 

Making telepathic, telekinetic, and prescient spells lack components is a good idea.

• Telepathy: Charm, Domination, Suggestion, Phantasm, Mindlink, Memory Manipulation, etcetera.

• Telekinesis: spells using telekinesis, force damage, or objects made out of magical force: Telekinesis, Fly, Magic Missile, Mage Armor, Shield, Wall of Force, Mordenkainans Sword, Unseen Servant, etcetera.

• Prescience: Divination, Clairevoyance, True Seeing, Precognition, Detect Lie, etcetera.

 

Possibly

• Psychometabolism: Polymorph, Healing, etcetera.

• Psychoportation: Teleport, Planeshift, etcetera.

 

If the spells themselves lack components, then the 3e Psion is defacto available. Personally, I think a verbal component is acceptable, but tradition says no component.

 

 

 

I want to see Telekinesis as a cantrip that can augment if using a slot or point.

Qmark wrote:
There's not a whole lot of functional difference between "D&D psionics" and "D&D sorcery" (mostly just the "three-finger-contact" thing ), but I've no doubt someone is going to insist they're "like totally different!" or somesuch.
I'll bite...

 

Sorcery is only the innate ability to harness external energies (arcane"magic"); while psionics is the innate ability to harness internal energies (mind-over-body "magic").

 

I've never really liked the way 3rd Edition seemed to change psionics into a damage focused magic system (EDIT: just my personal impression from reading and hearing stories, as I never played 3rd Edition) . AD&D psionics was tailored more towards the body chemistry/bio-feedback type of abilities (which could, indirectly, cause damage; when used properly). I don't recall any "magic force bolt" type powers back then. The only way to directly damage an opponent was with telepathic contact, through the various powers/sciences. Most powers/sciences that resulted in physical damage required an attack roll, in addition to the psionics check(s). Notably, disintegrate was an exeption; but, it was a higher-level science and required a lot of psionic strength points.

 

Of course, it has been quite a while since I've played with those rules (AD&D 2nd Edition Complete Psionics Handbook); so, I could be remembering incorrectly (and, I played a psionicist that focused on healing).

That would be a great title for a clone.  Psions and Psorcerers.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

lawrencehoy wrote:

Of course, it has been quite a while since I've played with those rules (AD&D 2nd Edition Complete Psionics Handbook); so, I could be remembering incorrectly (and, I played a psionicist that focused on healing).

I dug that book up about an hour or three ago (mostly to get the author), and that's a pretty accurate assement.

However, it's a thematic difference, not a funtional one.

 

Does anyone know how to get that mysterious grey crud off the covers of old 2e brown books, or even know what grey stuff is?

Haldrik wrote:

 

DemoMonkey wrote:

"even though it has deep roots in the history of D&D."

 

And what are those deep roots?

 

• Original D&D 0e Eldritch Wizardry (psionics has same origin as Druid).

• D&D 1e Players Handbook (psionics in the same appendices as the origin of the Bard).

 

Psionics exists in every edition of D&D since the beginning. In 1e, Gary Gygax included it one of his core books.

 

Psionics is an important part of D&D. The fans care alot about it.

 

(See Ninja Tony Vargas for more details.)

As someone who's inexperienced with this class:
 (Within the confines of Next)
   Psionics use what ability to measure their power?
   How is this power expressed?
   How does this power multiclass? 

The psionic powers should be in the core books, but the psion class can wait and the next demi-core (player handbook II). 

 

If a "core" monster from first MM has got psionic powers, the stats to play with psionic powers should be in that MM. I don´t want a no-psionic version in the MM and after the psionic version in the psionic handbook.

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

Qmark wrote:

 

lawrencehoy wrote:

Of course, it has been quite a while since I've played with those rules (AD&D 2nd Edition Complete Psionics Handbook); so, I could be remembering incorrectly (and, I played a psionicist that focused on healing).

 

I dug that book up about an hour or three ago (mostly to get the author), and that's a pretty accurate assement.

However, it's a thematic difference, not a funtional one.

 

Does anyone know how to get that mysterious grey crud off the covers of old 2e brown books, or even know what grey stuff is?

 

I think it is called greygax

 

what?

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

Miladoon wrote:

I think it is called greygax

 

what?

I can' t tell if it's crud on the brown cover, or if the brown parts are just wearing through to the backing.

E-Tallitnics wrote:

 

Haldrik wrote:

 

DemoMonkey wrote:

"even though it has deep roots in the history of D&D."

 

And what are those deep roots?

 

• Original D&D 0e Eldritch Wizardry (psionics has same origin as Druid).

• D&D 1e Players Handbook (psionics in the same appendices as the origin of the Bard).

 

Psionics exists in every edition of D&D since the beginning. In 1e, Gary Gygax included it one of his core books.

 

Psionics is an important part of D&D. The fans care alot about it.

 

(See Ninja Tony Vargas for more details.)

 

As someone who's inexperienced with this class:
 (Within the confines of Next)
   Psionics use what ability to measure their power?
   How is this power expressed?
   How does this power multiclass?

 

Traditionally, the Psion uses Intelligence. Personally, Charisma feels more important. Charisma includes willpower, personal presence, luck, innate magic, and so on.

 

If the Psion depends on several abilities, even better.

 

• Telekinesis/Force/Fly (Psychokinesis): Intelligence Charisma

• Enchantment/Phantasm (Telepathy): Charisma Wisdom

• Divination/Bless (Clairesentience): Wisdom Intelligence

 

• Teleport/Planeshift/Timestop (Psychoportation): Intelligence Wisdom

• Polymorph/Healing (Psychometabolism): Wisdom Charisma

• Conjuration/Illusion (Metacreativity): Charisma Intelligence

 

 

 

Personally, I prefer the 3e Psion as a kind of Wizard, using normal spells, normal mechanics, and normal nomenclature. For me it is *thematics* that matter, plus mechanics to benefit those Wizards who specialize in those themes.

 

(Fans of the 2e Psionicist seem to prefer a separate class.)

Haldrik wrote:

(Fans of the 2e Psionicist seem to prefer a separate class.)

2E Psionics is essentially it's own game.  A reasonably functional party could be assembled out of Psions self-specializing along 'roles'.

Qmark wrote:
Miladoon wrote:

I think it is called greygax

 

what?

 

I can' t tell if it's crud on the brown cover, or if the brown parts are just wearing through to the backing.

Greygax!

 

I haven't noticed any grey crud on my books (I have about a dozen of them, if not more). I'll have to check them in the next few days, to see if I've missed that. It would be a shame if the covers are deteriorating.

 

As far as the thematic difference response, I'm not sure which part of my original post you are refering to. If it is the difference between external/internal energies, then it would be a functional difference, when incorporated into the rest of the rules. Psionics would not be (and was not) treated the same as arcane or divine magic, in relation to other arcane/divine magical effects (e.g., dispel magic, anti-magic shell, globe of invulnerability).

A psionic subclass for spellcaster is possible, I would give it the name "mastermind".

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

lawrencehoy wrote:

If it is the difference between external/internal energies, then it would be a functional difference, when incorporated into the rest of the rules.

Not really, no.

"You are adept at manipulating arcane engergies and that guy over there exploded" is functionally identical to "you thought about it really hard and that guy over there exploded".   Points/Slots are just an obfuscation.

Haldrik wrote:

 

E-Tallitnics wrote:

 

Haldrik wrote:

 

DemoMonkey wrote:

"even though it has deep roots in the history of D&D."

 

And what are those deep roots?

 

• Original D&D 0e Eldritch Wizardry (psionics has same origin as Druid).

• D&D 1e Players Handbook (psionics in the same appendices as the origin of the Bard).

 

Psionics exists in every edition of D&D since the beginning. In 1e, Gary Gygax included it one of his core books.

 

Psionics is an important part of D&D. The fans care alot about it.

 

(See Ninja Tony Vargas for more details.)

 

As someone who's inexperienced with this class:
 (Within the confines of Next)
   Psionics use what ability to measure their power?
   How is this power expressed?
   How does this power multiclass?

 

 

Traditionally, the Psion uses Intelligence. Personally, Charisma feels more important. Charisma includes willpower, personal presence, luck, innate magic, and so on.

 

If the Psion depends on several abilities, even better.

The original psionics took into account all three mental stats, so that last seems nicely nostalgic.  MAD is bad, but the psion could have slightly more generous stat boosts/feats, like the fighter.  

 

 

 

 

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Qmark wrote:

I can' t tell if it's crud on the brown cover, or if the brown parts are just wearing through to the backing.

 

It's just the brown parts wearing through.  My own Complete Psionics Handbook looks like it's covered in snow.

 

I find that the Complete Psionics handbook is worst about that look, though; my other Complete books have a grey spot here and there, but all of them combined are still, like, two orders of magnitude less than Complete Psionics.

 

 

edit to be a little more on-topic:

Intelligence wasn't enshrined as the prime stat for psionicists until 3E, to my knowledge (I have no experience before 2E).  In 2E, Wisdom was their prime requisite, but their three big important stats were Wis, Int, and Con.  They weren't really any more MAD than a fighter; they needed a high Wis, and the higher their Int and Con the better, but having weak Int or Con scores wasn't going to kill them.  (As long as you met the actual requirements to pick the class, anyway.)

The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.

lawrencehoy wrote:

 

Qmark wrote:
There's not a whole lot of functional difference between "D&D psionics" and "D&D sorcery" (mostly just the "three-finger-contact" thing ), but I've no doubt someone is going to insist they're "like totally different!" or somesuch.

I'll bite...

 

Sorcery is only the innate ability to harness external energies (arcane"magic"); while psionics is the innate ability to harness internal energies (mind-over-body "magic").

There was also the 3.5 Warlock, who had the innate ability to harness internal arcane energies.

Tony_Vargas wrote:

 

Haldrik wrote:

 

E-Tallitnics wrote:

 

Haldrik wrote:

 

DemoMonkey wrote:

"even though it has deep roots in the history of D&D."

 

And what are those deep roots?

 

• Original D&D 0e Eldritch Wizardry (psionics has same origin as Druid).

• D&D 1e Players Handbook (psionics in the same appendices as the origin of the Bard).

 

Psionics exists in every edition of D&D since the beginning. In 1e, Gary Gygax included it one of his core books.

 

Psionics is an important part of D&D. The fans care alot about it.

 

(See Ninja Tony Vargas for more details.)

 

As someone who's inexperienced with this class:
 (Within the confines of Next)
   Psionics use what ability to measure their power?
   How is this power expressed?
   How does this power multiclass?

 

 

Traditionally, the Psion uses Intelligence. Personally, Charisma feels more important. Charisma includes willpower, personal presence, luck, innate magic, and so on.

 

If the Psion depends on several abilities, even better.

 

The original psionics took into account all three mental stats, so that last seems nicely nostalgic.  MAD is bad, but the psion could have slightly more generous stat boosts/feats, like the fighter.

 

 

Heh, I dislike the Wizard being SAD. I also want the Wizard to depend on the other mental abilities, and not need the physical abilities at all.

 

Also, I dislike material components.

 

And I prefer the Wizard to use simple spell points, and be able to refresh several times per day.

 

I am comfortable with a Psion being a Wizard.

Emerikol wrote:

 

Tony_Vargas wrote:

Disclaimer

Personally, I think psionics are out of place in D&D, they're a sci-fi bit, not a fantasy trope, and are redundant in a genre where magic already exists and can perform feats like mind-reading, clairsentience and TK.

 

 

I actually agree.  Though, I wouldn't mind assigning mind affection "powers" that are magic like to creatures that have traditionally been psionic.

But that doesn't matter, because 5e is supposed to be /inclusive/.  I just won't play a psion, and I'll be fine. 

 

 

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I would accept condensing classes into a few archetypes, but even the developers are not following that path. So if there is enough unique flavor for a class then create one. I do not believe a psionic class will be represented to its full potential as a wizard subclass, unless they intend to implement sub-subclasses.

I would use the 4e model where they had some at-will (cantrip) powers and had power points that could augment those powers (sorcery points) and then could perform some special daily power (vancian casting).

 

Hello Sorcerer! If you want a Psionics pick those kind of spells.

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

Uchawi wrote:

I do not believe a psionic class will be represented to its full potential as a wizard subclass, unless they intend to implement sub-subclasses.

Sub-subclasses is a good indication that something should probably be another class.

I've been misquoted/taken out of context several times.

 

I am NOT saying that psionics don't have a longstanding tradition in D&D.

 

I AM saying that that tradition is that they be wedged in as an awkward kludged-on afterthought.

 

As a great respecter of tradition,  I hope to see psionics in Next occupying that same honoured position

Miladoon wrote:

That would be a great title for a clone.  Psions and Psorcerers.

 

Psorcerers! Ha! Love it.

Timmee wrote:

 

Miladoon wrote:

That would be a great title for a clone.  Psions and Psorcerers.

 

 

Psorcerers! Ha! Love it.

 

Scions even better - Birthright for the Win!

  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Garthanos wrote:

 

Timmee wrote:

 

Miladoon wrote:

That would be a great title for a clone.  Psions and Psorcerers.

 

 

Psorcerers! Ha! Love it.

 

 

Scions even better - Birthright for the Win!

Well obviously, Psorcerers and Scions must be distinct classes because reasons.

Qmark wrote:

Well obviously, Psorcerers and Scions must be distinct classes because reasons.

 

A Psion class for each Alignment! Who's with me!

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

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