Psychic in D&D and psionics (not so?) sacred cow

Edit (to be more clear about the intention) : I created this thread to know if people who like playing psychic powers using classes are really attached for these classes to be sci-fi flavored, or if they would be more interested to see them better and more naturally integrated into the fantasy setting of D&D.
I don't think that people who hate psionics in D&D would hate to see a psychic power using witch, what they hate is all the names that come from nowhere in any setting. But it would also be interesting to know if I'm right or not about this.

Edit 2 : When I say psychic, I do not refer to the 4th edition keyword and in no way imply that this keyword has to be the reserved domain of what would be the psionic classes replacing. I just oppose this term to magic because I don't know another term to describe easily psychic power users, not power as a 4th game term and not psychic as a 4th edition keyword. This imprecision from my part seems to have led to some misunderstanding Wink

When I talk about psychic power with other roleplayers around me, there’s a consensus about psychic powers and charm spells:


Charm spells are impersonal, dictated effects send through magic, like an archer killing from afar, where dead people are just falling people within your range limit.


Psychic powers are intimate, printed effects directly from mind to mind, like a fighter killing in melee, where dead people had a voice, left their blood on you, and lost all their hope at your feet.


Some of them started saying that it was the same, but they changed their mind almost immediately after having been focused on the subject.


There was a strange consensus between them about psionics :


- I like psychic powers specialists


- They are interesting, but not enough implemented in any edition (we played since AD&D 1st ed. where psionics were only “wild psionic”)


- I don’t know where to put them in a campaign setting, we treat them as isolated phenomenons.


- Psionics has nothing to do in D&D.


The consensus being that no one of them liked psionics as they are, even the ones who regulary played psionic classes. And when I looked at their old character sheets (and mine), I saw different levels of refluff, from the name of the class adopted within the campaign (witch, warlock, shaman, seidkona) to some of the power names (2nd ed. psionics). Few psionics flavor was left untouched.


We are French, so we haven’t incorporated a foreign word for “witch” like the English language. Sorcerie is an old French word that means witchcraft adopted by the English language as Sorcery. Sorcier = witch or warlock. French translators have to find an entire different name for the sorcerer classes. So English gained “sorcerer” beside “witch” as a name for the same function : witch. So when I write “witch, warlock, shaman, seidkona”, the non translated terms were in fact : Sorcier/sorcière, warlock (English term used), chamane, seidkona (norse witch). As the subject is psychic powers and that the perception of what they are may be influenced by our different cultures (the language we use influence the ways we apprehend things), I felt it was useful to share these informations.


 When I wanted to determine if they considered psionics as a D&D sacred cow, the great majority said : No ! Surprisingly, the two who said yes were “psionic haters”.


 

I don’t know enough roleplayers to consider the above informations as an absolute truth, and I think that people believing in an absolute truth deserve to be burnt at the stake Wink


 Shamanic traditions and derived traditions such as witchcraft or seidr in north Europe are all about spirits. The practitioners interact with the spirit of the spirit worlds as well as with the spirit of living people. If we were translating all their abilities into D&D 4th ed. powers, almost all of them would have the psychic keyword.


The obious incompatibility with D&D is that shamanism is magic. In the “real world” psychic powers and magic were or isconsidered as being the same thing. The D&D concept of completely separating the physical and the psychic is influenced by the prevalent monotheistic conceptions of the world. The upside is that we have more room to create classes and special abilities, the downside is that the D&D cosmology is totally inconsistent and appears totally artificial, even during play.


 


In D&D, the spirit concept is a complete mess.


How can you talk about earth spirits when playing “primal” classes ? There are elementals on the elemental planes, but the “spirit world” is at the other side of the D&D spectrum, a new age concept called the Astral Plane that contains very physical gods, devils and a lot of other creatures. In the 4th edition, primal classes call upon spirits, but nobody seems to really know where they come from or what they are exactly. They are like some roaming monsters that you can meet or call everywhere.


 D&D cosmologies (through editions) are awfully complicated and artificial just to match a symbolic concept such as a wheel or spheres. A fact is that an elemental chaos and a spirit world are enough to take care of all the monsters and the specific dualities imposed by the D&D concept.


The current cosmology strongly link some planes to the world, even geographically, when a sort of border before really entering the pure spirit plane would be enough. How two different planes such as the feywild and the shadowfell can be considered as opposed when they never interact directly ? The D&D cosmology is not dynamic, it’s organized, and organized as themed dungeons.


 So, in D&D, spirits are strange undefined roaming creatures, insubstantial or not, who could come from the far realm when we see how they are not compatible with the D&D cosmology.


 


I’ll now focus on the psychic powers users.


In 4th edition, a lot of classes use psychic powers, some use them a lot, such as the warlock or the shaman, but they are not labeled as psychic powers users. One is arcane, the other is primal. The two could be “spirit” or “psychic” class interacting differently with a spirit world. I personally picture more easily a warlock pact with an evil spirit than with an evil fey somewhere in the feywild that can maintain a kind of link with the current warlock. Pure spirit will always have more foreign ways of thinking than material beings, and that leave some room for the DM as well as for the player.


Psionics = Ki
Before 4th ed., The psionicist (2nd ed.) or psion (3rd ed.) used some ki with some current monotheistic concept of soul in it and called it psionics.


The reason why they called themselves psionicists or psion? Nobody knows.


Any historic reference? No.


Any fantasy culture reference? No.


Any logic in calling themselves like this? No. They normally didn’t have access to the novel, psy is a greek letter, and the idea of treating their powers like if they were using little particles called psions has not been precised in the description of their class.


Now, I start to have a little idea why psionics are not universally well accepted, and why their flavor do not blend very well in a fantasy setting…


 


4th edition has assumed the fact that it was really hard to tell what is Ki and what is psionics.
But it also has killed the psychic power user by turning psychic power users into charm spell casters.
The psychic flavor is lost, and most “psychic” players I know play the new enchanter build to emulate a telepath.


The 4th edition psion is the more balanced of all, but it is no more a class that intimately manipulates minds and obtains a wider range of effects in this field than anyone. It’s just a poor sad debuffer.


And then we have the witch, traditionally able to manipulate minds, making other believe crazy thing like she is invisible, she is their loved one or that they became a frog. Some witches, trade with spirits, some are herbalists, some others are very capable in mundane healing. Spirit healing, exorcism and spirit travel is also in their domains, as well as the evil eye to force people to always make the wrong choices and curse their bad fortune. And when a witch has a familiar, it has the power of the spirit that possesses it and is not dependent of the witch’s will unless she has enslaved it. Or it’s just her housecat.
The fourth edition witch is, again, an arcane class. She can cast wizards spell and is even less linked mechanically to a spirit world than a warden or a barbarian.


 


I’m curious to know your opinions about psychic powers in D&D.


Do you think psionics are a sacred cow that deserves its place in the next edition without a major change in flavor?


Do you think that psychic classes should completely replace the psionic classes, and let shaman, warlock and witch be the master telepaths and mental dominators they traditionally are? 

As far as I'm concerned, from a 'flavor' standpoint, psionic and psychic are synonymous; in game terms, psionic is a power source and psychic is a damage keyword.

Psionics can stay just as they are.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I've suggested calling them Psychics or Espers before. There's plenty of references to those. The feeling of D&D psionics is alien to anything "psionic" in fiction, for every reason you could name, including the use of PSPs that quickly extinguish and take hours rather than minutes to recover, the limitations placed on the traditional powers like psychokinesis, precognition, astral projection, and telepathy, while the other made up powers are often wholly useless or completely overpowered. It's clear the books D&D creators read when making the class are not what everyone else is reading, and definitely not related to the films we watch.

Some struggling author of 2e actually called the Star Wars "Force" MAGIC, in the same game system where psionic powers supposedly reside, a year after publishing a whole section on psionics. That's the best possible example of how broken the Psionics were. Isn't Esprit french for Spirit? Look,

6th Sense- Extra Sensory Perception - ESP - Esper - Esprit - Spirit - Psyche - Psychic - Psi - Mind

How can people not see this?
Options are Liberating
Look,

6th Sense- Extra Sensory Perception - ESP - Esper - Esprit - Spirit - Psyche - Psychic - Psi - Mind

How can people not see this?



Because the connection between 'Esper' and 'Esprit', as well as 'Spirit' and 'Psyche' are tenuous at best?  Saying 'A sounds like B, and B sounds like C, and C sounds like D, so A and D are related' is Glenn Beck logic.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Psionics in D&D were never kept to single concept.  I was first introduced to psionics in D&D with the AD&D 2e Complete Psionics Handbook.  In the back of that book, it talks about how a yogi describes the unleashing of this power as a tiger unsheathing its claws in his mind.  The problem with this is that the yogis come from a spiritual tradition more akin to Ki/Chi/Qi, or Prana, or Chakra, or Mana, while western psychics and spiritualists have a tradition rooted in communication with actual spiritual beings, while the modern psionic concept stems from post-modern physics (mental energy forcing quantum changes in reality) instead of the spiritual.

The problem with all of this getting rolled into the same source is that they clash with each other.  The psionic power of Akira or Stephen King's Firestarter fits the postmodern physics mold.  To imagine one of these characters speaking with the spirits of the dead through a Ouija board, or trying to divine the future through Tarot cards or by gazing into a crystal ball seems absurd.  If psychics of all stripes are to get more acceptance in D&D, they will either have to be defined by a single tradition, or multiple traditions will need to be reflected while being kept distinctly separate.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Psionics in D&D were never kept to single concept.  I was first introduced to psionics in D&D with the AD&D 2e Complete Psionics Handbook.  In the back of that book, it talks about how a yogi describes the unleashing of this power as a tiger unsheathing its claws in his mind.  The problem with this is that the yogis come from a spiritual tradition more akin to Ki/Chi/Qi, or Prana, or Chakra, or Mana, while western psychics and spiritualists have a tradition rooted in communication with actual spiritual beings, while the modern psionic concept stems from post-modern physics (mental energy forcing quantum changes in reality) instead of the spiritual.

The problem with all of this getting rolled into the same source is that they clash with each other.  The psionic power of Akira or Stephen King's Firestarter fits the postmodern physics mold.  To imagine one of these characters speaking with the spirits of the dead through a Ouija board, or trying to divine the future through Tarot cards or by gazing into a crystal ball seems absurd.  If psychics of all stripes are to get more acceptance in D&D, they will either have to be defined by a single tradition, or multiple traditions will need to be reflected while being kept distinctly separate.

It's not absurd if we consider that tarot or crystal ball are a mean to translate a powerful subconscious analysis process able to determine the more probable outcome from known informations. Superstitions and religions are the first phase for human civilizations to handle fragmentary knowledge of the world, so we can consider that psychic are subject to the same experimentation phase. Subconscious would mean nothing for them, but direct experimentation allows them to learn that if they do this like this, they obtain a useful effect. If one psychic obtains an effect through a crystal ball, he will teach to the next generation of psychic that a crystal ball is required to obtain the effect, when another would be convinced that this same effect can only be obtained with tarot cards or rune casting.

I think that D&D psionics are wrong because they imply that they are far more advanced in their knowledge of the world than every D&D civlizations. They know about atomic level of the matter and how the human psyche is organized. D&D psionics would be even more advanced than our best specialists in the different fields of physics. If we consider that knowledge is power, a psion organization would be the most powerful thing in a D&D setting outside divine interventions, that would the research field for these psions until they crack the divine codes.

The psion concept should be toned down to the current D&D civilization level, with psychic traditions, as you suggested, that don't really know the nature of their tools but that have learnt to create useful effects with them. 

@ Salla : these game terms will not survive in the next edition if the designers do not change their minds. But you said too little things, and you seem to only express global indifference. In fact, I didn't really understand your opinion on the subject.

@ shintashi : I agree that psychic powers in fiction appear more like at-will powers that always requires concentration to maintain their effects.
I tried the exercise with "Espoir", "Espar", "Espal" and "espion". It works, but I don't really know how to handle what these words associations can mean Laughing (Maybe I'm too sober now to treat the information, I'll try later).
 The word psyche has a "secondary meaning" in french. Psyché is also a kind of tall mirror. When you say psyche, I think greek mythology, mind and mirror.
Look,

6th Sense- Extra Sensory Perception - ESP - Esper - Esprit - Spirit - Psyche - Psychic - Psi - Mind

How can people not see this?



Because the connection between 'Esper' and 'Esprit', as well as 'Spirit' and 'Psyche' are tenuous at best?  Saying 'A sounds like B, and B sounds like C, and C sounds like D, so A and D are related' is Glenn Beck logic.



I didn't study Glenn Beck in philosophy or logic class. But to contrast Karl Popper, I stand by the idea that if it looks like a simpler and more self evident explanation, go with it. If it's elegant and look like there's a connection when there isn't one, who cares? 22/7 is close enough to pi for me. The space program ended even with the fancy calculators. Tenuous is good enough for me. We are playing to people's psyches - most of everything people believe about D&D is junk anyway.

Options are Liberating
Psionics in D&D were never kept to single concept.  I was first introduced to psionics in D&D with the AD&D 2e Complete Psionics Handbook.  In the back of that book, it talks about how a yogi describes the unleashing of this power as a tiger unsheathing its claws in his mind.  The problem with this is that the yogis come from a spiritual tradition more akin to Ki/Chi/Qi, or Prana, or Chakra, or Mana, while western psychics and spiritualists have a tradition rooted in communication with actual spiritual beings, while the modern psionic concept stems from post-modern physics (mental energy forcing quantum changes in reality) instead of the spiritual.

The problem with all of this getting rolled into the same source is that they clash with each other.  The psionic power of Akira or Stephen King's Firestarter fits the postmodern physics mold.  To imagine one of these characters speaking with the spirits of the dead through a Ouija board, or trying to divine the future through Tarot cards or by gazing into a crystal ball seems absurd.  If psychics of all stripes are to get more acceptance in D&D, they will either have to be defined by a single tradition, or multiple traditions will need to be reflected while being kept distinctly separate.


You really need to watch Genma Taisen (1983). The opening character is a gypsy with a crystal ball who's instructed by the universe to hook up with an advanced cyborg from another planet and then track down psionicists from all over the world, including a psychokineticist from Japan. It was done by a lot of the same people who went on to make Akira, including the character designers.



Options are Liberating
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />@ Salla : these game terms will not survive in the next edition if the designers do not change their minds. But you said too little things, and you seem to only express global indifference. In fact, I didn't really understand your opinion on the subject.



My opinion is 'they're fine as they are', which is precisely what I said.  If a player wants to muck about with crystal balls and tarot cards or other such paraphernalia, that's their call; it shouldn't be hard-coded into the system.  the defining element of psionics for me is that they are internal power; you don't need outside objects to use them.  You just need willpower and focus, and you can read minds/move objects/whatever.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
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Psionics in D&D were never kept to single concept.  I was first introduced to psionics in D&D with the AD&D 2e Complete Psionics Handbook.  In the back of that book, it talks about how a yogi describes the unleashing of this power as a tiger unsheathing its claws in his mind.  The problem with this is that the yogis come from a spiritual tradition more akin to Ki/Chi/Qi, or Prana, or Chakra, or Mana, while western psychics and spiritualists have a tradition rooted in communication with actual spiritual beings, while the modern psionic concept stems from post-modern physics (mental energy forcing quantum changes in reality) instead of the spiritual.

The problem with all of this getting rolled into the same source is that they clash with each other.  The psionic power of Akira or Stephen King's Firestarter fits the postmodern physics mold.  To imagine one of these characters speaking with the spirits of the dead through a Ouija board, or trying to divine the future through Tarot cards or by gazing into a crystal ball seems absurd.  If psychics of all stripes are to get more acceptance in D&D, they will either have to be defined by a single tradition, or multiple traditions will need to be reflected while being kept distinctly separate.


You really need to watch Genma Taisen (1983). The opening character is a gypsy with a crystal ball who's instructed by the universe to hook up with an advanced cyborg from another planet and then track down psionicists from all over the world, including a psychokineticist from Japan. It was done by a lot of the same people who went on to make Akira, including the character designers.


The gypsy comes from the communing with spirits tradition of psychics, and so the crystal ball makes sense.  A post-modern physics oriented psychic using a crystal ball doesn't fit thematically; it's like a gypsy doing yoga, or a yogi meditating with a white noise machine.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />@ Salla : these game terms will not survive in the next edition if the designers do not change their minds. But you said too little things, and you seem to only express global indifference. In fact, I didn't really understand your opinion on the subject.



My opinion is 'they're fine as they are', which is precisely what I said.  If a player wants to muck about with crystal balls and tarot cards or other such paraphernalia, that's their call; it shouldn't be hard-coded into the system.  the defining element of psionics for me is that they are internal power; you don't need outside objects to use them.  You just need willpower and focus, and you can read minds/move objects/whatever.

But in 4th edition, the prominent aspect of psionics is debuffing, their power come from outside, an answer to the far realm influence, and they better focus them through implements. It doesn't match the description you give of psionics.

The next edition will get rid of implement, but I also hope it will also get rid of terms that do not feel like being naturally coming from the known D&D campaign setting. Even in Dark Sun, we don't know how this post-modern magic setting have decided that psychic powers have to be called "psionics".
In our 21st century, psionics don't mean anything to a majority of people, psions even less, but almost everyone know and understand what are mental or psychic powers.

I think it would be better if psychic powers specialists were some of the classic wielders of these kind of power, like witch, warlock or shaman, and maybe without any dailies to be the classes with the more potent utility powers (to make 4th edition reference).
After that, I agree that things like tarot or crystal balls should be optional, linked to themes or else.

But what I also think is that "psionics" or "Psion" should be optional too, pertaining to some themes, specific organization or campaign setting.
The fact is that these terms forbid some (maybe more than I think) players to play pure psychic powers wielders because they are called a strange sci-fi flavored name and using a sci-fi flavored name power source. Psionics are not new options added to D&D one or more years after the printing of the new editions (after AD&D 1st), each time they are the "D&D sci-fi psionics patch 1.0"
It's more easy to reflavor a witch focused on mental perception and manipulation into a more modern telepath or medium concept than to reflavor a psion into a witch, just because psionics are banned from a lot of tables.

I created this thread to know if people who like playing psychic powers using classes are really attached for these classes to be sci-fi flavored, or if they would be more interested to see them better and more naturally integrated into the fantasy setting of D&D.
I don't think that people who hate psionics in D&D would hate to see a psychic power using witch, what they hate is all the names that come from nowhere in any setting. But it would also be interesting to know if I'm right or not about this.
(I have edited the first post to be more clear about this)
I like psionics as an optional module.  Mostly because I have never used it in any edition.

I think non-psionic spellcasters should have psychic spells and abilities.  Especially monsters.

Psionics, imo, has always been another thing.  I don't think I ever thought of it as sci-fi, but I certainly don't think psychic echantments or monsters should be solely the place of psionics.

I guess I think of psionics as an alternate subsystem, and if that subsystems manifests in energy punches or psychic powers, it's all good with me.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />@ Salla : these game terms will not survive in the next edition if the designers do not change their minds. But you said too little things, and you seem to only express global indifference. In fact, I didn't really understand your opinion on the subject.



My opinion is 'they're fine as they are', which is precisely what I said.  If a player wants to muck about with crystal balls and tarot cards or other such paraphernalia, that's their call; it shouldn't be hard-coded into the system.  the defining element of psionics for me is that they are internal power; you don't need outside objects to use them.  You just need willpower and focus, and you can read minds/move objects/whatever.




you can just be option oriented, like Foci and Totems as crutches. There was an option for Wizards to have Taboos in Spells & Magic. I could see a similar point award for characters using Tarot, Amythests, Ouija boards, or Crystal Balls. As a Crutch it's like a 2 point penalty, as a focus it's probably a +1 bonus if used when not necessary. The sciency aspect of Psionics doesn't really matter.

From my perspective, you have magic-religion-science-psionics. That means the notions of science are just as different and possibly ridiculous to a Psionicist/Psychic as the notions of Religion are to a Scientist. I'm not promoting the emnity, simply illustrating it's there, and the pattern is repeated. Everyone thinks their Recipe for Reality is best, and Psychics are Post-Post Modern, thematically.
Options are Liberating
Psionics is another repackaged magic option, with mechanical variations ranging from slight to major, flavored as "mind magic". What that flavor entails in practice is largely subjective, and depends mostly on the table using it. Sure, base fluff might right it off as some sort of technomancy equivalent or some other such sci-fi likeness, but that's just one example of a way to fluff them, not the fact of their fluff.

Really, I'm less concerned with how to flavor psionics than I am how their mechanics translate, since that was always what seperated them the most from conventional spellcasting. I can flavor a Psion attacking by summoning armies of illusionary french poodles to nip at my opponents heals, but if it's not any different in usage than arcane or divine spellcasting I might as well be playing a Bard/Wizard/Cleric/etc.
psionics being packaged like magic is the first step to failure.

try looking at it is as a skill/feat package and then you are on to something. Psionics shouldn't be viewed as magic, it should be viewed as an extension of the character - any character. Psionics makes a person smarter, wiser, healthier, more empathic, intuitive, etc. Otherwise, it really is just reflavored magic and doesn't need to exist.

Psionics should be the skills and feats between normal mundane person and the three omnis, omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience. It's a ladder. It's running where once was walking, walking where once was crawling, and flying where once was leaping. Psionics isn't about being different, it's about being better.
Options are Liberating
The 'How' and 'Why' can be as fruity as you want.  The 'What' is still just repainted magic.
The 'How' and 'Why' can be as fruity as you want.  The 'What' is still just repainted magic.

It has to be very fruity, because it's what's important.

Martial is also just repainted magic. the fluff and the ways to deliver damage and conditions change, but we can consider that we cast "a sword in the head" spell.

Charm spells (like all spells) have their own "life". You cast them, they work the way they are intended to work.
The flavor of psychic powers in fiction differs, they are more like using new organs to directly alter the world in more subtle ways than high magic.
In 4th edition, psionics are not even repainted magic, and the 3rd edition was not perfect from this point of view with all the fireballs.

How you paint the mechanics of a class is the most important thing. Paint it in psionics colors and you have something that doesn't match well with D&D worlds, even Dark Sun.

Supernatural effects could be all linked in a spectrum going from pure psychic to pure elemental, all supernatural effects users existing in different places along this spectrum. Psychics and D&D sorcerers could be at each ends of this spectrum as natural users, using similar at-will mechanics for all their abilities, from attacks to utility.

Psychic abilities don't have to be advanced science in fantasy settings. Psion can just be a sci-fi theme applied to a traditional psychic class in my opinion.
It has to be very fruity, because it's what's important.

Martial is also just repainted magic. the fluff and the ways to deliver damage and conditions change, but we can consider that we cast "a sword in the head" spell.

Charm spells (like all spells) have their own "life". You cast them, they work the way they are intended to work.
The flavor of psychic powers in fiction differs, they are more like using new organs to directly alter the world in more subtle ways than high magic.
In 4th edition, psionics are not even repainted magic, and the 3rd edition was not perfect from this point of view with all the fireballs.

How you paint the mechanics of a class is the most important thing. Paint it in psionics colors and you have something that doesn't match well with D&D worlds, even Dark Sun.

Supernatural effects could be all linked in a spectrum going from pure psychic to pure elemental, all supernatural effects users existing in different places along this spectrum. Psychics and D&D sorcerers could be at each ends of this spectrum as natural users, using similar at-will mechanics for all their abilities, from attacks to utility.

Psychic abilities don't have to be advanced science in fantasy settings. Psion can just be a sci-fi theme applied to a traditional psychic class in my opinion.



I have hard time believing so. The spit and polish is cheep. I played a Dark Sun Psion once who used a shrunken head instead of an orb, and painted him in the light of some sort of witch doctor who could use the shrunken head to invade the minds of others. I could have easily done this with any mentalist arcane, divine or primal class as well. So it's obvious that you can flavor it any which way you want it.

What it does though, has to be different aside from its flavor. I could have fluffed any magic casting class with mind assailing powers and a held or worn object and played a creepy mind invading witch doctor who harness his powers through a shrunken head, but I can only play a psionic class like a psionic class where the nuts and bolts are concerned.

Also, if your belief that the sci-fi flavor of psionics can easily be removed, and all psionic concepts relegated to offshoots of existing classes, why does they flavor even matter to you? I hope I'm reading that wrong, because that makes no sense to me at all.
It has to be very fruity, because it's what's important.

Martial is also just repainted magic. the fluff and the ways to deliver damage and conditions change, but we can consider that we cast "a sword in the head" spell.

Charm spells (like all spells) have their own "life". You cast them, they work the way they are intended to work.
The flavor of psychic powers in fiction differs, they are more like using new organs to directly alter the world in more subtle ways than high magic.
In 4th edition, psionics are not even repainted magic, and the 3rd edition was not perfect from this point of view with all the fireballs.

How you paint the mechanics of a class is the most important thing. Paint it in psionics colors and you have something that doesn't match well with D&D worlds, even Dark Sun.

Supernatural effects could be all linked in a spectrum going from pure psychic to pure elemental, all supernatural effects users existing in different places along this spectrum. Psychics and D&D sorcerers could be at each ends of this spectrum as natural users, using similar at-will mechanics for all their abilities, from attacks to utility.

Psychic abilities don't have to be advanced science in fantasy settings. Psion can just be a sci-fi theme applied to a traditional psychic class in my opinion.



I have hard time believing so. The spit and polish is cheep. I played a Dark Sun Psion once who used a shrunken head instead of an orb, and painted him in the light of some sort of witch doctor who could use the shrunken head to invade the minds of others. I could have easily done this with any mentalist arcane, divine or primal class as well. So it's obvious that you can flavor it any which way you want it.

What it does though, has to be different aside from its flavor. I could have fluffed any magic casting class with mind assailing powers and a held or worn object and played a creepy mind invading witch doctor who harness his powers through a shrunken head, but I can only play a psionic class like a psionic class where the nuts and bolts are concerned.

Also, if your belief that the sci-fi flavor of psionics can easily be removed, and all psionic concepts relegated to offshoots of existing classes, why does they flavor even matter to you? I hope I'm reading that wrong, because that makes no sense to me at all.

Because you don't want to consider that there are many DMs that are not so flexible with classes flavor. I remember a 2nd ed. DM who refused to refluff clerics into non divine profiles, and our group hated divine classes so there wasn't any healer in the group.

In fact, I know more DMs who will agree for some refluff, but not about an entire class. Just because it feels artificial.

I played a refluffed class to play a psychic powers user in 4th ed. and I didn't take a psionic class, I took an enchanter, because I'm not agree with the telepath as a debuff spammer unable to manifest telepathy without taking the right race or feat. Refluff is not a concept beyond my imagination. 

What you consider obvious is not obvious at all, or there wouldn't be so much rejection about psionics. I remember some 2nd edition people who were upset to see names like "Telekinesis", "ESP" or "Astral Projection" in the wizard spell list, and it was just a spell name to change in their characters' spell books.
The more you work to refluff a class, the less you easily immerse you in your character, just because each time you open a D&D rule book about your totally refluffed character, you see pictures and read text that are formated for the base class. Some people don't care, some others have problems with this. I do not say that removing the Sci-fi fluff is easy once the psionic concept is printed, it's something that must be done before.

We all have different ways to apprehend things, such as through logic or through aestheticism. It doesn't make no sense, it's just opinions. And it seems that psionics are not liked as they are by a majority of D&D players and DMs. And this bars players like me, who like to play pure psychic powers wielders, to have well supported classes.

So I make this thread to see if there's any hope to see some compromise in the next edition. And no, I don't consider "People just have to refluff all their characters from up to bottom" as a good answer to the problem, because it won't get "instinctive" psychic powers from the ghetto they are in.

I think that psionics is a concept that works less and less edition after edition. Their place in D&D have to be designed from the start, and my opinion is that the sci-fi approach didn't work well in 1st and following editions, do not work at all now, and so will never work later.
I won't lose sleep if psionics are back as they are in the next edition, but I don't see what anybody gain with a sci-fi concept that falls flat again and again when there are already traditional psychic powers users that would benefit from this specialization instead of being crappy or bizarre classes.

Nobody will convince me that the witch has been a good class in any edition, just a toned down wizard, each time.
Because you don't want to consider that there are many DMs that are not so flexible with classes flavor



Actually, I understand that fact very well. I have been a victim. I simply ignore it out of benefit of the doubt than any ignorance of it. Any DM who won't let you play a character the way you want, and work with you to make it fit the game, is a bad DM. Plain and simple. Just because I've met enough of them to last a life time, I don't want to automatically assume people will be bad DMs.

I played a refluffed class to play a psychic powers user in 4th ed. and I didn't take a psionic class, I took an enchanter, because I'm not agree with the telepath as a debuff spammer unable to manifest telepathy without taking the right race or feat. Refluff is not a concept beyond my imagination.



No psychic class in 4e can "telepathy" without the right race or feat, be it psionic or arcane or whatever else have you. I see little cause for concern on a mechanical limitation that everyone has if it isn't breaking the games mold.

What you consider obvious is not obvious at all, or there wouldn't be so much rejection about psionics. I remember some 2nd edition people who were upset to see names like "Telekinesis", "ESP" or "Astral Projection" in the wizard spell list, and it was just a spell name to change in their characters' spell books.

The more you work to refluff a class, the less you easily immerse you in your character, just because each time you open a D&D rule book about your totally refluffed character, you see pictures and read text that are formated for the base class. Some people don't care, some others have problems with this. I do not say that removing the Sci-fi fluff is easy once the psionic concept is printed, it's something that must be done before.

We all have different ways to apprehend things, such as through logic or through aestheticism. It doesn't make no sense, it's just opinions. And it seems that psionics are not liked as they are by a majority of D&D players and DMs. And this bars players like me, who like to play pure psychic powers wielders, to have well supported classes.



The removal of Psionic options from a DMs table without ever giving a player who wants to play it the chance has nothing to do with its legitimacy as a class or a concept, nor has anything to do with the flavor it takes. It has to do with people forcing their concept of badwrongfun on others. I don't like the primal power source from 4e. It makes no sense to me, and it largely seems to force its way into the fluff of both the original print, and anything I come up with as a homebrew. One of my players loves to play those primal classes though, and loves their fluff. Just because I'm the DM doesn't mean I can tell them they can't play that class without even trying to explore ways to work it in. I might as well tell them they can't play with me. That's bad DMing.

People can get over it. They choose not to. The problem is with the people, not the class/power source/flavor/etc.

So I make this thread to see if there's any hope to see some compromise in the next edition. And no, I don't consider "People just have to refluff all their characters from up to bottom" as a good answer to the problem, because it won't get "instinctive" psychic powers from the ghetto they are in.



I can get behind that desire, though I have jaded views about what such a goal can ultimately accomplish. For some Psionic fans, the sci-fi feel is what makes them interesting, because it is far and away the most defining thing that makes them different from the rest of the magic users. Changing that will alienate them if refluff is not an optional course of action, even if the mechanics are the same as what they know and love. I don't see it as anything but a lose-lose.

I think that psionics is a concept that works less and less edition after edition. Their place in D&D have to be designed from the start, and my opinion is that the sci-fi approach didn't work well in 1st and following editions, do not work at all now, and so will never work later.

I won't lose sleep if psionics are back as they are in the next edition, but I don't see what anybody gain with a sci-fi concept that falls flat again and again when there are already traditional psychic powers users that would benefit from this specialization instead of being crappy or bizarre classes.



Working psionics as part of core won't change the view people have of it, nor do I believe it will even do anything to make it mechanically better. D&D is a growing game, where the mythology becomes richer and deeper with time and the introduction of new concepts. A late start in psionic support is no more helpful or damaging to the game than adding it in to begin with. Sure, it might get more support since its been around from the get go, but people will still either love it or hate it no matter what.

Psionic is one of those things that have never worked for me in D&D to the point I have banned them from my campaign. It always feels like the psionic rules sets are put into the game as an afterthought and they tend to feel like the old champions RPG rules set. I think that psionic in 5e could really use a lot of attention. It would be great if the rules for psionic “psychic’s” included rules for your telepathic link to your familiar. I would like to see at least some consistency between Magic psychic’s and psionic psychics.

I would like to see at least some consistency between Magic psychic’s and psionic psychics.


Wouldn't that just reinforce the design concept that psionics should just be re-skinned magic?  Psionics already suffers from that problem due to a significant lack of flavoring.  I'd be a shame to see them lose what little identity they have.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Monsieur_Moustache, have you ever heard of or read Katherine Kurtz's Deryni novels?
Try this link!

-DS
I agree with the OP concerning odd terminology for "psychic" concepts (such as "psionics" itself) in a fantasy milieu.  Terms like "Ego Whip", "Id Insinuation", and the like (from the original D&D psionics as presented in Eldritch Wizardry back in 1976) are somewhat anachronistic for a medieval-flavored campaign ("ego" and "id" being latinizations of Freud's "das Ich und das Es," actually "the Self and the It" with "das Über-Ich" for "super-ego" meaning the "Over-Self").
On perusing 4th Edition D&D's Psionic Power (which was conveniently at hand) I do not see anything particularly egregious about the flavoring of names and powers for a medieval setting.  The connection to the "Far Realm" is one that is easily removed if desired.
For my own personal campaigns, I prefer Psionics to be separate from Magic, both mechanically and in flavor.  I agree with Salla concerning Psionics being based on an internal source (much like Martial, actually), rather than an external source (like Arcane and Divine and Primal).  The Witch subclass from Heroes of the Feywild missed an opportunity, I think, to be a blending of all those external sources (Arcane/Divine/Primal), but, such is life!  The OP's concept of a "psychic witch" reminds me (for some reason) of the Bene Gesserit of the Dune novels by Frank Herbert, which are both Sci-Fi and definitely psionic-flavored, while simultaneously evoking an archaic, medieval nature.  Katherine Kurtz's Deryni novels (starting 1970) present characters who wield "psychic" and "magic" powers simultaneously and I note that neither she nor these novels are mentioned in Gygax's "Inspirational Reading" section in the AD&D DMG (1979, p224).

-DS
Because you don't want to consider that there are many DMs that are not so flexible with classes flavor

 

Actually, I understand that fact very well. I have been a victim. I simply ignore it out of benefit of the doubt than any ignorance of it. Any DM who won't let you play a character the way you want, and work with you to make it fit the game, is a bad DM. Plain and simple. Just because I've met enough of them to last a life time, I don't want to automatically assume people will be bad DMs.

I played a refluffed class to play a psychic powers user in 4th ed. and I didn't take a psionic class, I took an enchanter, because I'm not agree with the telepath as a debuff spammer unable to manifest telepathy without taking the right race or feat. Refluff is not a concept beyond my imagination.

 

No psychic class in 4e can "telepathy" without the right race or feat, be it psionic or arcane or whatever else have you. I see little cause for concern on a mechanical limitation that everyone has if it isn't breaking the games mold.

What you consider obvious is not obvious at all, or there wouldn't be so much rejection about psionics. I remember some 2nd edition people who were upset to see names like "Telekinesis", "ESP" or "Astral Projection" in the wizard spell list, and it was just a spell name to change in their characters' spell books.

The more you work to refluff a class, the less you easily immerse you in your character, just because each time you open a D&D rule book about your totally refluffed character, you see pictures and read text that are formated for the base class. Some people don't care, some others have problems with this. I do not say that removing the Sci-fi fluff is easy once the psionic concept is printed, it's something that must be done before.

We all have different ways to apprehend things, such as through logic or through aestheticism. It doesn't make no sense, it's just opinions. And it seems that psionics are not liked as they are by a majority of D&D players and DMs. And this bars players like me, who like to play pure psychic powers wielders, to have well supported classes.

 

The removal of Psionic options from a DMs table without ever giving a player who wants to play it the chance has nothing to do with its legitimacy as a class or a concept, nor has anything to do with the flavor it takes. It has to do with people forcing their concept of badwrongfun on others. I don't like the primal power source from 4e. It makes no sense to me, and it largely seems to force its way into the fluff of both the original print, and anything I come up with as a homebrew. One of my players loves to play those primal classes though, and loves their fluff. Just because I'm the DM doesn't mean I can tell them they can't play that class without even trying to explore ways to work it in. I might as well tell them they can't play with me. That's bad DMing.

People can get over it. They choose not to. The problem is with the people, not the class/power source/flavor/etc.

So I make this thread to see if there's any hope to see some compromise in the next edition. And no, I don't consider "People just have to refluff all their characters from up to bottom" as a good answer to the problem, because it won't get "instinctive" psychic powers from the ghetto they are in.

 

I can get behind that desire, though I have jaded views about what such a goal can ultimately accomplish. For some Psionic fans, the sci-fi feel is what makes them interesting, because it is far and away the most defining thing that makes them different from the rest of the magic users. Changing that will alienate them if refluff is not an optional course of action, even if the mechanics are the same as what they know and love. I don't see it as anything but a lose-lose.

I think that psionics is a concept that works less and less edition after edition. Their place in D&D have to be designed from the start, and my opinion is that the sci-fi approach didn't work well in 1st and following editions, do not work at all now, and so will never work later.

I won't lose sleep if psionics are back as they are in the next edition, but I don't see what anybody gain with a sci-fi concept that falls flat again and again when there are already traditional psychic powers users that would benefit from this specialization instead of being crappy or bizarre classes.

 

Working psionics as part of core won't change the view people have of it, nor do I believe it will even do anything to make it mechanically better. D&D is a growing game, where the mythology becomes richer and deeper with time and the introduction of new concepts. A late start in psionic support is no more helpful or damaging to the game than adding it in to begin with. Sure, it might get more support since its been around from the get go, but people will still either love it or hate it no matter what.

It seems that we agree on a lot of points, beside the fact I really that traditional psychic powers based classes, with easy recognizable names, free all the sci-fi terminology would work in D&D.

My refluffed character was an example of psionic classes in 4th edition bringing nothing, as my character has just taken the Elan heritage feat. I then played a character with able to force people to move or attack against their will with one wizard at-will power, something that a psion can not do. And the psion does not even bring something similar to telepathy 5.

Another question I ask myself is why psion as a wizard or controller alternative ? I feel that psion as cleric or rogue alternative would have made more sense. In 2nd edition, psionicists were able to be (not really good) healers and had a lot of utility powers, but the 3rd edition started to orient the psion as wizard alternative. Wizard occupy very well the big offensive flashy effects place, and alternative classes to them does not work as wizard is a flexible concept that only impose dedication to study in their profiles, and includes a lot of specializations that can feel as their own classes.

I agree with the OP concerning odd terminology for "psychic" concepts (such as "psionics" itself) in a fantasy milieu.  Terms like "Ego Whip", "Id Insinuation", and the like (from the original D&D psionics as presented in Eldritch Wizardry back in 1976) are somewhat anachronistic for a medieval-flavored campaign ("ego" and "id" being latinizations of Freud's "das Ich und das Es," actually "the Self and the It" with "das Über-Ich" for "super-ego" meaning the "Over-Self").
On perusing 4th Edition D&D's Psionic Power (which was conveniently at hand) I do not see anything particularly egregious about the flavoring of names and powers for a medieval setting.  The connection to the "Far Realm" is one that is easily removed if desired.
For my own personal campaigns, I prefer Psionics to be separate from Magic, both mechanically and in flavor.  I agree with Salla concerning Psionics being based on an internal source (much like Martial, actually), rather than an external source (like Arcane and Divine and Primal).  The Witch subclass from Heroes of the Feywild missed an opportunity, I think, to be a blending of all those external sources (Arcane/Divine/Primal), but, such is life!  The OP's concept of a "psychic witch" reminds me (for some reason) of the Bene Gesserit of the Dune novels by Frank Herbert, which are both Sci-Fi and definitely psionic-flavored, while simultaneously evoking an archaic, medieval nature.  Katherine Kurtz's Deryni novels (starting 1970) present characters who wield "psychic" and "magic" powers simultaneously and I note that neither she nor these novels are mentioned in Gygax's "Inspirational Reading" section in the AD&D DMG (1979, p224).

-DS

I have read a lot of these Katherine Kurtz's novels. I don't like wizard or psychics as separate races, but good novels are good novels...
I think the concept of psychic witch is natural if you include a psychic plane of existence where adventurous or desperate psychics can trade with pure spirits or spirits of dead creatures more easy to understand. And D&D really needs a cosmology lifting, at least just to put their spirits somewhere Laughing
The Bene Gesserit and the Dune novels are monuments in the imagination of people who know them, making me remember anything about these novels is like casting a "power word : Stun" spell on me !
I don't nor have ever pictured psionics as sci-fi in nature.  Perhaps that is colored by Star Wars, which is so fantasy it's not even funny, but there it is.

I also prefer something to be different between the implementation of psionics versus magic, and I'm not usually a fan of sub-systems.  Also, I see no problem with magic having things that it does "psychically" like controlling the mind, telepathy, etc, because at that point, the flavour is what is important; the outside influence of magic that is being controlled by the magic user versus the psionist using the power of their own mind to extert influence over another or what have you.  I could, however, see the merit in a feeback system attached to psionics; strain to hard and the character gets damaged.
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
fun quotes
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If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
+1 for "DnD Psionics is not Sci-Fi", at least not as the term is usually used.
It's dark city's tuning, "The ability to alter reality through will alone"
It's neo seeing the nature of the world around him.
It's having a bleedin' Green Lantern Ring.

It's fine as it is.

...
Although I wouldn't mind it being renamed "Sorcery"
You will fear my Laser Face!
Thinking about it ... what difference does it make what the names of psionic powers are?  The character would most likely be completely unaware of them.  I can see spells having names, given the way they are traditionally used; taught as rote, each one having specific, identifiable and consistent components (every wizard casts Fireball the exact same way in pre-4e, for example).  It makes sense that one could 'learn Magic Missile' or 'learn Meteor Swarm', as those exist as discrete entities.

Psionic powers are entirely internal, though.  The psionic doesn't know he's 'manifesting Empathic Projection'; he just knows he can force someone else to feel a different emotion.  He doesn't know he's 'manifesting Probability Travel'; he just knows he's teleporting.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Thinking about it ... what difference does it make what the names of psionic powers are?  The character would most likely be completely unaware of them.  I can see spells having names, given the way they are traditionally used; taught as rote, each one having specific, identifiable and consistent components (every wizard casts Fireball the exact same way in pre-4e, for example).  It makes sense that one could 'learn Magic Missile' or 'learn Meteor Swarm', as those exist as discrete entities.

Psionic powers are entirely internal, though.  The psionic doesn't know he's 'manifesting Empathic Projection'; he just knows he can force someone else to feel a different emotion.  He doesn't know he's 'manifesting Probability Travel'; he just knows he's teleporting.

It is exactly where I think the problem of the "psionics terminology" is.

For example, the non educated man is not stupid, and when he look at something, he can deduce by looking to another human being, that the eyes are what he is using to see. The eyes of the other human are moving in the direction of an object, the man look in the same direction, and the reaction of the other human prove that he is seeing the same thing. Then the eyes as the organs used to see are an evidence. But the non educated man will not start to deduce that seeing things involves little particles and strange little things inside the eyes that react to this particles, and then deduce that there is a common nervous system and that only a part of it handles the vision. And this man won't start naming all this elements and processes with precise and standardized terms, just because he's seeing things and that he knows that he uses his eyes for this.

Terms like psionics, (tele)kinetic, Id insinuation, psychofeedback, precognitive, dimensional, telepath(ic), ectoplasmic, ego whip, or psychosis are part of our specific organized system of knowledge, they are not in any way terms that would come to mind to a D&D character. "Id" and "ego" even refer to something that a lot of specialized people consider dubious at best. Psionic is only standard in a specific kind of fiction, and not even the most popular...

If we are creating a D&D character with psychic powers, why naming elements related to this medieval character after references that make no sense in a D&D setting ?
In our world, some countries still refuse to adopt the metric system, even when their scientists use them. The standardized system is just better, but cultural aspects block its adoption. And our civilizations share informations across the world like never before. How would a "psionics" kind of standardized terminology be established and then shared by all the psychics in all the strange and more than often antagonistic D&D scattered civilizations ?

For me, these questions are the reason why the psionics concept will never feel natural in the D&D settings.
they are not in any way terms that would come to mind to a D&D character.



Go back and actually read my post.  The names are for the benefit of the PLAYER.  As I specifically said, the character would probably not be familiar with those terms, and most likely nobody around him would either; the player can rename them as he sees fit for what his character would call them, if the character even decides to name his abilities.

The character cannot see the names or stats or anything else of their abilities; what the game books call them is irrelevant.

D&D takes place on an entirely different world.  Why do they measure things in feet and inches and miles (or meters and kilometers) and hours and minutes and pounds?  They would have developed their own measurements, but the game designers know that it would be a pain in the butt to have to convert breems to minutes, so they just call them minutes ... for the benefit of the players.  Same thing here.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
they are not in any way terms that would come to mind to a D&D character.



Go back and actually read my post.  The names are for the benefit of the PLAYER.  As I specifically said, the character would probably not be familiar with those terms, and most likely nobody around him would either; the player can rename them as he sees fit for what his character would call them, if the character even decides to name his abilities.

The character cannot see the names or stats or anything else of their abilities; what the game books call them is irrelevant.

D&D takes place on an entirely different world.  Why do they measure things in feet and inches and miles (or meters and kilometers) and hours and minutes and pounds?  They would have developed their own measurements, but the game designers know that it would be a pain in the butt to have to convert breems to minutes, so they just call them minutes ... for the benefit of the players.  Same thing here.

I note the aggressive tone and I understand your point of view, but I still don't see why this point of view would be valid for psionics and not for all the other types of powers.

If what the game books call abilities was irrelevant, we wouldn't even have this discussion.

You say that names are for the benefit of the player, and I agree with that. But where is the psionic terminology a benefit for the player ?

When you say PLAYER, do you include the DM ? Each time that fluff is involved, DM is involved, it's mostly his part of the game. A DM have its word to say regarding the characters we play, just because any of the characters fluff will impact his own immersion.

When a DM prepare a D&D game, he thinks about what the life is in this medieval setting, how the different classes interact with it. Psionics clearly doesn't interact well with D&D for a lot of DM, so they just do not allow them from the start. Each time refluff is involved, at least two players are involved, DM and character players. Sometimes, it will also alter the immersion of one or more character players at the table. They will always refers  in their heads to your character as "the refluffed psion", psion being the reference to know what your character can do and what it can have within the D&D rules. The DM is still the most exposed to this radical refluff, because he has to refer to psionics material to handle your character mechanics.
We can say that DMs can be stupid or evil, or we can accept that they are also here to play a game with us, and that refering to books where modern terminology is involved every page doesn't pleased at all someone who is first interested by the fluff, by definition. (OK, some DMs just put monsters in dungeons and roll dice, but I don't think these DMs would even have problems with new D&D monsters called psychic killer nanorobots clouds...)

If terms have no importance for players immersion, why telekinesis/ESP kind of terms have been removed from the wizard spell list ?

Where is the benefit for a wizard player when a spell is called "Far hand" and not "Minor Summoned Telekinetic Force" if it's not for the general immersion ? You lose a lot of space to explain what happens when you cast far hand, but if you use "minor summoned telekinetic force", every players around the table already know what will happen just by hearing the spell name, logically making the life more easy them, but the fact is that wouldn't work, because logic is not the only parameter involved when you create and play a character.

To refluff something, there must be a fluff.
What I think is that the base fluff have to be in line with the rest of the D&D products, have to be interesting for more people if players who like to play psychic powers users want to have their favored classes having more support than what psionics has offered in all editions. If psionics were just an easy dismissible optional refluff for existing psychic classes, through themes or else, I think it would be better for more players (DM included), just because there are more players against psionics fluff than players totally fan of it.

Then, I may be wrong regarding the reasons why the concept doesn't work, and finding these reasons is indirectly the purpose of my first post. Just because if the reasons are found, it could interest the game designers. At least it would interest me.
The only issue is that some people think fluff is set in stone, and that things can't be renamed.  The problem is inflexible thinking and closed minds.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
The only issue is that some people think fluff is set in stone, and that things can't be renamed.  The problem is inflexible thinking and closed minds.

Then the flexibility has to come from the designers side.
But if a majority of people doesn't like psionics as they are, I don't think saying that the majority is wrong is even starting to solve anything. If something does not work well, I think the right attitude is to study it and try to make it works better.

The fluff doesn't matching at all the other D&D products is subject to discussion, at least from an aesthetic and marketing point of view.
But another subject of discussion is the role given to the iconic psionics user as a wizard alternative instead of something maybe like a cleric-rogue hybrid.
And another one is the subtlety level of the psychic powers. Personnally, I'm totally against the 3rd edition fireball launcher and I think that telepathy (used on self) can cover the self body control of what was psychometabolism, and that metamorphosis level body alteration should be avoided. I also think that teleportation is too powerful for low level psychokinesis.

I really think there's a lot of thing to discuss about "psychic powers form" beside fluff.
Having a Psychic damage type seemed very good to me, caused old favourites like Phantasmal Killer and Demi-Shadow magic to really have more of a bite.
I do not, however, feel the Psychic damage type need be tied to Psionic power source.

I feel that Psionics are a purely internal power source. In 4E terms, I almost consider them a refinement of the Martial power source. Whereas the Wizard masters the power of magic through ritual and incantation, and the Sorcerer taps into the power hiding in their bloodline (often the legacy of mixing with something not strictly mortal or otherwise supernatural), the Psionic character is realizing thier body, mind, and soul's full potential. While both the Sorcerer and the Psionist look inward for power, the Sorcerer does so to find magic hidden there generations ago, some mystical birthright, without which, they would be powerless. Anyone with the discipline and strength of character can achieve transcendental enlightnement and escape the apparent limitations of their body. Looking inward, self discovery, and the power of the self over the power of cosmic forces struck me as a very valid journey for a Hero. To the uninformed, it may look like magic, but the chanting has no word of power, it merely galvanizes the mind and blocks out distraction. The feats accomplished may look magical, but they are not, there is nothing supernatural occurring. I never really cared for the explicitely Sci-Fi aspects sometimes associated with it... other than Illithid. I gotta admit, I loved those. As for the "Wild Talent" I always felt that was more a Sorcerer thing, but in games that didn't distinguish between magic and psionics, it was perfectly valid, and created almost an X-men style situation, for better and worse. I even played in a few games where Barbarian rage was consider a psionic effect (which I can understand, but would desire more background explanation other than Wagh). If a Psionist does use material components and gestures, they are psycho-drama, props to help their will-working. 

Psychic damage just means the damage is coming from the mind/bodies reaction to (possibly false) stimulae. Fear so strong you actually lose control of functions, artificially induced shock, especially as a result of an illusion giving one a heart attack.  These can be caused by spells or psionic effects. Anything from a telepath hammering away at your thought form to a spell that conjures your worst nightmare right before you.
I have an answer for you, it may even be the truth.
I realize that there is a focus on "psychic" as the 4th edition keyword.

When I say psychic, I do not refer to the 4th edition keyword and in no way imply that this keyword has to be the reserved domain of what would be the psionic classes replacing. I just oppose this term to magic because I don't know another term to describe easily psychic power users, not power as a 4th game term and not psychic as a 4th edition keyword. (I'll edit my first post)

And I refer to all incarnations of psionics in D&D. In 4th edition, psionics are not internal at all, and I agree with you that "natural" (even trained) psychic powers users base fluff should be only dependent on the individual, like martial.

But when we consider that there are spirits and pure spirits in D&D (not just 4th edition), it implies some "psychic external natural rules", just liike there are the natural rules that martial characters obey.
My opinion is that a "spirit plane" (not a spirit power source since power sources won't survive from what I understood) could streamline a lot of things when we consider cultures that describe feys, most undead, demons, and often gods as spirits. It would also enforce a dynamic oppositions between concepts embodiments, not like now with these forces isolated from each others without real incitation to be directly opposed as they are not even on the same planes in some cases. In traditions, where spirits appear, the world become anormal (enchanted forest, eternal night), so it could be the result of physical and spirit plane. At the other side of the cosmology, the elemental chaos would be enough, It could even be the base of D&D magic, as alchemy and hermetic magic are very elemental centric and that psychic effects on living can be induced through biology.

(Self)Possession by spirits is a concept shared by all psychic power users traditions, with some exception in modern science fiction, but even there can be reference to some global consciousness with strange rules.

A lot of elements are common to shaman, druid, witch or medium (and there are a lot of similarities with asian cultures psychic powers users). I willingly ignore the religion prism. A problem with the druid is that the fact is that we know virtually nothing about them after their eradication by the christians. D&D druids are pure invention, but the animal metamorphosis aspect is spirit related in some cultures, like with the Norse seidr and berserkers.
Okay, now I think I see the disconnect we're having.

You're interpretting psionic/psychic as spiritual stuff, whereas most of the rest of us are interpretting it as pure mental powers.  Psionics has nothing to do with spirits or ghosts, it's just mental powers; telepathy, telekinesis, extrasensory perceptions.

Spirits and ghosts and such fall under the category of necromancy, which is an arcane thing.

There we go, problem solved.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Okay, now I think I see the disconnect we're having.

You're interpretting psionic/psychic as spiritual stuff, whereas most of the rest of us are interpretting it as pure mental powers.  Psionics has nothing to do with spirits or ghosts, it's just mental powers; telepathy, telekinesis, extrasensory perceptions.

Spirits and ghosts and such fall under the category of necromancy, which is an arcane thing.

There we go, problem solved.

By D&D old standard, masters of necromancy were clerics. D&D standards has changed from edition to edition.

Even by D&D psionics standards, spirits have been involved in the 2nd edition, and ectoplasm is a direct reference to spiritsm, the modern form of necromancy.

You are very attached to psionics keeping their current forms, but never explain why. Everybody loose, they do not sell well, players do not have well supported classes, and so on like I said before.

I invite you to reread my post :
"[...], and I agree with you that "natural" (even trained) psychic powers users base fluff should be only dependent on the individual, like martial.

But when we consider that there are spirits and pure spirits in D&D (not just 4th edition), it implies some "psychic external natural rules", just liike there are the natural rules that martial characters obey."
This allows different ways (classes in game term) to focus on psychic powers, from the pure personnal use to the spiritism form, and involves psychic character profiles to be naturally linked to the D&D world.
I want them to stay the way they are because I like the way they are.  I don't get 'spirits' or that jazz; I want my psionics to be pure 'my will overrides reality'.  My psionic characters aren't witches, or mediums; they're telepaths, or telekinetics, or clairvoyants (or a combo of the 3).  'Spirits' don't enter into it, at all.

Powers that pertain to spirits are a whole 'nother power source.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Okay, now I think I see the disconnect we're having.

You're interpretting psionic/psychic as spiritual stuff, whereas most of the rest of us are interpretting it as pure mental powers.  Psionics has nothing to do with spirits or ghosts, it's just mental powers; telepathy, telekinesis, extrasensory perceptions.

Spirits and ghosts and such fall under the category of necromancy, which is an arcane thing.

There we go, problem solved.

By D&D old standard, masters of necromancy were clerics. D&D standards has changed from edition to edition.

Even by D&D psionics standards, spirits have been involved in the 2nd edition, and ectoplasm is a direct reference to spiritsm, the modern form of necromancy.

You are very attached to psionics keeping their current forms, but never explain why. Everybody loose, they do not sell well, players do not have well supported classes, and so on like I said before.

I invite you to reread my post :
"[...], and I agree with you that "natural" (even trained) psychic powers users base fluff should be only dependent on the individual, like martial.

But when we consider that there are spirits and pure spirits in D&D (not just 4th edition), it implies some "psychic external natural rules", just liike there are the natural rules that martial characters obey."
This allows different ways (classes in game term) to focus on psychic powers, from the pure personnal use to the spiritism form, and involves psychic character profiles to be naturally linked to the D&D world.



Spirit use is currently where it belongs, in the Primal power concept of Shamans and their ilk, not in Psionics, which has commonly seemed to be the reigning in and use of a mental ability within one's own self.

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
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quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
Okay, now I think I see the disconnect we're having.

You're interpretting psionic/psychic as spiritual stuff, whereas most of the rest of us are interpretting it as pure mental powers.  Psionics has nothing to do with spirits or ghosts, it's just mental powers; telepathy, telekinesis, extrasensory perceptions.

Spirits and ghosts and such fall under the category of necromancy, which is an arcane thing.

There we go, problem solved.


IDK.  I think there's room for a necromantic psychic.  This would be the gypsy psychic who communes with spirits of the dead.  The concept of the spiritualist could very easily be defined as a necromantic psychic.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.