Of Witches, Witchcraft, Psionics and D&D.

Witches, or users of witchcraft, have a long-standing tradition in fantasy tales. They are often maligned for wielding power misunderstood by others, and their ways are often mysterious, weird, or otherwise unsettling.

Psionics have been explored throughout D&D's history, but it has been ill-defined, broadly encompassing, and treated much like your proverbial red-headed stepchild. One of the major resistances to psionic power by the D&D-playing community at large is that is doesn't "feel" like a fantasy trope, and that it is more appropriately reserved for sci-fi settings. 4E did wonderful things for psionics, from a story perspective, by giving it a place within the fantasy world and adding its existence to the larger canonical tale of the game.

Psionics, aside from being the power of the mind, has little fantasy flavor going for it. Many state that the psion is merely a wizard, and there is ample justification for such an assertion. There is a failure to be recognized in that psions, and other psionic characters, have little fluff outside of their mechanical capabilities.

Psionics, much like witchcraft, have come to be regarded in the D&D realm as an anathema to the ways of the world; something mysterious, weird, or otherwise unsettling.

Why not marry the concepts?

There's endless flavor and story to be mined from witches and witchcraft, there is a commonly-enough encountered call to add a witch class to the game, and there is an underutilized explanation of power waiting to be given absolute standing in a PHB1 ready to go.

Re-brand psionics as witchcraft, re-dub the psion "witch," and bake in all of the neglected stories of witchy goodness that lie awaiting plunder.

It would certainly make me feel far more comfortable with psionics in my game. -- From a flavor-taste standpoint.

Just thinking out loud.

Thoughts?





Danny

To me, the term "witch" has always had the same dark stigma as "warlock," so I've taken to using it in-game as a way to show prejudice against un-sanctified spellcasters.  Wizards, sorcerers, and warlocks would all be "witches" in the eyes of the ignorant peasant.

I've never really had a problem with psionics.  It does seem kind of SF, but not enough to really bother me; it's not as bad as space aliens, or lost technology.  Especially in a world where other forms of magic are well understood and perfectly reliable, the ability to draw power from the self rather than from the inner or outer planes doesn't seem that far-fetched.  A psion or wilder would be every bit as much a "witch" as a sorcerer or warlock would be in the eyes of the peasant, though.

Of course, my preferred way to deal with psionics is with something aking to wild talents - everyone has some power locked within themselves, but nobody has quite the variety of different powers as the combined might of either the inner or outer planes.  I might have been influenced by the Heralds of Valdemar in that regard (which is a decent example of how to get around the SF overtones).

The metagame is not the game.

After integrating psionics into my games in various ways, I finally decided to kill it and roll it into arcane magic. I think there was a lot of redundancy between enchanters and psions anyway (except for power points, but I never liked spell slots anyway and pre-4e I generally found or made alternate mana point systems).

Like Saelorn, I prefer to use "witch" as an in-game label rather than as a class.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
The word “witch” probably derives from “wicked”, and specifically refers to black magic and curses. Similarly, I suspect the term “warlock” meaning “oath breaker”, similarly refers to black magic - in the sense of a male behaving cowardly and resorting to black magic, instead of fighting honorably. In Norse tradition, this gender division is evident. Its equivalent of witchcraft is actually psionic, sotospeak, seiðr literally messes with the mind of the victim. It was fine if females attacked people using seiðr, but for males to do it, it was considered “unmanly” in the sense of cowardly and unfair.
 
Interestingly, in the case of an other form of Norse magic, spá, relating to prophecy, “second sight”, true seeing, intuitions, and so on, it was admirable for both males and females to exhibit the gift, and Norse culture highly valued such individuals.
I also believe witch is an in-game term. Maybye if Psionics was power of the soul instead of the mind more people would allow it? I don't have a problem with Psioncs myself but others seem to.
Personally, I think themes are the right slot for this peg. A witch, in the broadest of definitions, is an individual with knowledge of the supernatural who is unsanctioned by society. Effectively, that could be any spellcaster from a sorcerer to a paladin (if pallies get spells this edition that is). Any self-taught, unaffiliated, or slightly shady spellcaster could be considered a witch.
 
I imagine a cranky old cleric, with the hypothetical agriculture domain, living on the edge of a village. Most of what she says doesn't make sense, and the rest of the villagers avoid her. Maybe she's a little crazy, but when someone is hurt or sick she's the one you should ask. I'd consider her a witch.
After integrating psionics into my games in various ways, I finally decided to kill it and roll it into arcane magic. I think there was a lot of redundancy between enchanters and psions anyway (except for power points, but I never liked spell slots anyway and pre-4e I generally found or made alternate mana point systems).

Like Saelorn, I prefer to use "witch" as an in-game label rather than as a class.


I think D&D can do both. First call the psionic power source the “psychic” power source instead. This lets it fit into the traditional D&D milieu. 

Then, the arcane power source clearly encompasses the psychic “Enchantment” school, including charm, and other mental effects, and so on.
  
But really, divine is the source that encompasses the psychic “Divination” school. Forseeing the future and speaking prophecies and oracles, is an intensely divine thing to do.

Now the psychic power source is a kind of specialist that focuses on the psychic schools of both arcane and divine.

A psychic class can be called the Psion or Telepath, or so on. From Norse tradition, I would even call it the Seid, a Witch who messes with peoples minds, and specializes in the Enchantment powers of charm, fear, hallucenation, delusion, and so on. But would also cover the psychic Divination powers of foreseeing the future, clairvoyance thru crystal pools, and so on.

Witch IMO invokes power from either a supernatural source - the realm of faerie, a specific demi-god, a magical artifact

It- to me is very similart to the warlock, except its not a risky pact.

I liked the 4e psionics and would like to see them maintain some independence.

I would say put witch/warlock in the "divine caster" category.  I posted a thread about this before...

Check it out!
Please collect and update the DND Next Community Wiki Page with your ideas and suggestions!
Take a look at my clarified ability scores And also my Houserules relevent to DNDNext
The word “witch” probably derives from “wicked”, and specifically refers to black magic and curses.


Er, no.

Z.
All points of the OP are very interesting, but I have a very deeply ingrained preference for the hag-styled witch of typical fantasy. That is, I like the concept of them being an arcane sorcerer-type, with spooky cauldrons and magic potions and spell books written in blood. Basically, a wizard with some some serious hygiene issues.

Then there's the more Wiccan style witch, which closer resembles a druid. But, unless you are playing in a campaign with a more historical-theme, this really wouldn't be appropriate.

Psionics are cool, but aside from being able to do some similar mentalist effects like divination, telepathy, telekinesis, etc., I don't see witches as psionic by nature since their powers, both in the fantasy sense and the practical sense of the examples above, are drawn form outside sources.

I think the psion or mentalist is better off being its own thing.

 
D&D Next - Basic and Expert Editions

I firmly believe that there should be two editions of the game; the core rules released as a "Basic" set and a more complicated expanded rules edition released as an "Expert" set. These two editions would provide separate entry points to the game; one for new players or players that want a more classic D&D game and another entry point for experienced gamers that want more options and all the other things they have come to expect from previous editions.

Also, they must release several rules modules covering the main elements of the game (i.e., classes, races, combat, magic, monsters, etc.) upon launch to further expand the game for those that still need more complexity in a particular element of the game.


Here's a mockup of the Basic Set I created.



(CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)
  

Basic Set

This boxed set contains a simple, "bare bones" edition of the game; the core rules. It's for those that want a rules-light edition of the game that is extremely modifiable or for new players that get intimidated easily by too many rules and/or options. The Basic Set contains everything needed to play with all the "classic" D&D races (i.e., Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling) and classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) all the way up to maximum level (i.e., 20th Level).

The Basic boxed set contains:

Quick Start Rules
A "choose your own way" adventure intended as an intro to RPGs and basic D&D terms.

Player's Handbook
(Softcover, 125 pages)
Features rules for playing the classic D&D races and classes all the way up to 20th level.

Dungeon Master's Guide

(Softcover, 125 pages)
Includes the basic rules for dungeon masters.

Monster Manual
(Softcover, 100 pages)
Includes all the classic iconic monsters from D&D. 

Introductory Adventure
(Keep on the Borderlands)
An introductory adventure for beginning players and DMs.

Also includes: 

Character Sheets
Reference Sheets
Set of Dice


Expert Set

A set of hardbound rules that contains the core rules plus expanded races and classes, more spells and a large selection of optional rules modules — that is, pretty much everything that experienced players have come to expect. Each expert edition manual may be purchased separately, or in a boxed set. The Expert set includes:

Expert PHB (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus 10 playable races, 10 character classes, expanded selection of spells and rules modules for players.)
Expert DMG (Hardcover, 250 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus expanded rules modules for DMs.)
Expert MM (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes an expanded list of monsters and creatures to challenge characters)


Expansions

These expansion rules modules can be used with both the Basic and Expert sets. Each expansion covers one specific aspect of the game, such as character creation, combat, spells, monsters, etc.) 

Hall of Heroes (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes a vast selection of playable character races and classes, new and old all in one book)
Combat and Tactics (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes dozens of new and old optional rules for combat all in one book)
Creature Compendium (Hardcover, 350 pages.$35 Includes hundreds of monsters, new and old all in one book)
The Grimoire (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes hundreds of new and old spells all in one book)





A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage

A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage and Hit Points

In my personal campaigns, I use the following system for damage and dying. It's a slight modification of the long-standing principles etsablished by the D&D game, only with a new definition of what 0 or less hit points means. I've been using it for years because it works really well. However, I've made some adjustments to take advantage of the D&D Next rules. I've decided to present the first part in a Q&A format for better clarity. So let's begin...

What are hit points?
The premise is very simple, but often misunderstood; hit points are an abstraction that represent the character's ability to avoid serious damage, not necessarily their ability to take serious damage. This is a very important distinction. They represent a combination of skillful maneuvering, toughness, stamina and luck. Some targets have more hit points because they are physically tougher and are harder to injure...others have more because they are experienced combatants and have learned how to turn near fatal blows into mere scratches by skillful maneuvering...and then others are just plain lucky. Once a character runs out of hit points they become vulnerable to serious life-threatening injuries.

So what exactly does it mean to "hit" with a successful attack roll, then?
It means that through your own skill and ability you may have wounded your target if the target lacks the hit points to avoid the full brunt of the attack. That's an important thing to keep in mind; a successful "hit" does not necessarily mean you physically damaged your target. It just means that your attack was well placed and forced the target to exert themselves in such a way as to leave them vulnerable to further attacks. For example, instead of severing the target's arm, the attack merely grazes them leaving a minor cut.

But the attack did 25 points of damage! Why did it only "graze" the target?
Because the target has more than 25 hit points. Your attack forced them to exert a lot of energy to avoid the attack, but because of their combat skill, toughness, stamina and luck, they managed to avoid being seriously injured. However, because of this attack, they may not have the reserves to avoid your next attack. Perhaps you knocked them off balance or the attack left them so fatigued they lack the stamina to evade another attack. It's the DM's call on how they want to narrate the exact reason the blow didn't kill or wound the target.

Yeah, but what about "touch" attacks that rely on physical contact?
Making physical contact with a target is a lot different than striking them, so these types of attacks are the exception. If a touch attack succeeds, the attacker manages to make contact with their target.

If hit points and weapon damage don't always represent actual damage to the target, then what does it represent?
Think of the damage from an attack as more like a "threat level" rather than actual physical damage that transfers directly to the target's body. That is, the more damage an attack does, the harder it is to avoid serious injury. For example, an attack that causes 14 points of damage is more likely to wound the target than 3 points of damage (depending on how many hit points the target has left). The higher the damage, the greater the chance is that the target will become seriously injured. So, an attack that does 34 points of damage could be thought of as a "threat level of 34." If the target doesn't have the hit points to negate that threat, they become seriously injured.

Ok, but shouldn't armor reduce the amount of damage delivered from an attack?
It does reduce damage; by making it harder for an attack to cause serious injury. A successful hit against an armored target suggests that the attack may have circumvented the target's armor by striking in a vulnerable area.

What about poison and other types of non-combat damage?
Hit point loss from non-physical forms of damage represents the character spitting the poison out just in time before it takes full strength or perhaps the poison just wasn't strong enough to affect them drastically, but still weakens them. Again, it's the DMs call on how to narrate the reasons why the character avoids serious harm from the damage.

If hit points don't don't represent actual damage then how does that make sense with spells like Cure Serious Wounds and other forms of healing like healer kits with bandages?
Hit points do represent some physical damage, just not serious physical damage. Healing magic and other forms of healing still affect these minor wounds just as well as more serious wounds. For example, bandaging up minor cuts and abrasions helps the character rejuvenate and relieve the pain and/or fatigue of hit point loss. The key thing to remember is that it's an abstraction that allows the DM freedom to interpret and narrate it as they see fit.

What if my attack reduces the target to 0 or less hit points?
If a player is reduced to 0 or less hit points they are wounded. If a monster or NPC is reduce to 0 or less hit points they are killed.

Why are monsters killed immediately and not players?
Because unless the monsters are crucial to the story, it makes combat resolution much faster. It is assumed that players immediately execute a coup de grace on wounded monsters as a finishing move.

What if a character is wounded by poison or other types of non-physical damage?
If a character becomes wounded from non-combat damage they still receive the effects of being wounded, regardless if they show any physical signs of injury (i.e., internal injuries are still considered injuries).

Ok. I get it...but what happens once a character is wounded?
See below.
 

Damage and Dying

Once a character is reduced to 0 or less hit points, they start taking real damage. In other words, their reserves have run out and they can no longer avoid taking serious damage.

  1. Characters are fully operational as long as they have 1 hit point or more. They may have minor cuts, bruises, and superficial wounds, but they are are not impaired significantly. 
  2. Once they reach 0 or less hit points, they become Wounded (see below).That is, they have sustained a wound that impairs their ability to perform actions.
  3. If they reach a negative amount of hit points equal or greater than their Constitution score, they are Incapacitated. This means they are in critical condition and could possibly die.
  4. Characters will die if their hit points reach a negative amount greater than their Constitution score, plus their current level.

Unharmed: 1 hp or more
Wounded: 0 hp or less
Incapacitated: -(Constitution) to -(Constitution+Level)
Dead: Less than -(Constitution +Level)

Wounded
When the character reaches 0 or less hit points they become wounded. Wounded characters receive disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws until they heal back up to 1 hit point or more. This allows for a transitory stage between healthy and dying, without having to mess around with impairment rules while the character still has hit points left.

Incapacitated
Characters begin dying when they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution score. At which point, they must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw on each of their following turns (the disadvantage from being wounded does not apply for these saving throws).

If successful, the character remains dying, but their condition does not worsen.

If the saving throw fails, another DC 10 Constitution saving throw must be made. If that one fails, the character succumbs to their wounds and dies. If successful, the character stabilizes and is no longer dying.

Finally, if a dying character receives first aid or healing at any point, they immediately stabilize.

Dead
Characters will die if they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution, plus their current level. Thus, if an 8th level character with a Constitution score of 12 is down to 4 hit points then takes 24 points of damage (reducing their hit points to -20) the attack kills them outright.

The word “witch” probably derives from “wicked”, and specifically refers to black magic and curses.


Er, no.

Z.

Huh. I just went to the dictionary to show you wrong. But they updated the etymology. The connection of Old English wicce with wicked was the prevailing opinion for a while, tho controversial. But here, one etymology has it relating to:

• Swedish vicka to move to and fro
• Middle Low German wicken to conjure

To me that sounds highly plausible. (I bet you that was someones thesis paper.)



But note, “wicked” does indeed derive from wicce “witch”. So wicked does mean “witchy”. But it is important to note, the word wicce may not itself denote harm.


Mysticism ... is something I associate with psionics 
One game had

A mystic, monk and marial artist as three related classes.

Its not entirely power of the mind but it is that fuelled by inner energies of mind soul and body too. 
  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."

 

To me, psionics and witchcraft are distinguished by style.  Psionics are supernatural powers created solely by the internal power of one's mind.  To the extent an accoutrement is needed, it is a focus like a crystal or a talisman personal to the psion.

Witchcraft is either spellcasting powered by intimate knowledge of the primal spirits, knowledge of arcane formula and ancient recipes, or by a pact with some otherworldy entity.

I don't see the overlap between the two, except that they can each bring about the same effects through different means.  The witch uses the essence of frog and invokes the rules of sympathy to transform the victim into a frog.  The psion uses his mental powers and discipline in the science of transmutation to change his victim into a frog. 

I agree that witch and psion may make good themes or backgrounds to be added to any spellcaster to reflect these different styles.

Well, this may seem hyper technical, but as I can best understand it, real world witchcraft would more likely fall under the purview of divine magic.   I could also see the witch class being part of or very similar to the warlock class.  Perhaps as the cleric’s answer to the wizard’s warlock, (if that makes as much sense to the reader as it does in my head.) Barring any of that you could easily just add flavor to a preexisting class.


Psionics as D&D expresses them are mostly a creation of game mechanics. The broad capabilities of the Psionicist and the Arcanist are almost identical.  Neither has exclusive access or restriction to certain types of effects, be it, mental effects, augmenting themselves or others, overtly effecting their environment, creating objects or emanations, etc…    I’m sure psionics will have their place in the upcoming edition, perhaps sooner, perhaps later.  I’m not terribly concerned because  for now there are other areas of the game I’m more curious to learn about.

Exactly, the Psychic-Psionic power source overlaps with the Arcane and Divine power sources.
Psionics come from the self. Psionics is the power of the self to change reality around it. Arcane power is a power outside the self. Arcanists tap into a power outside of the self to change reality. I think that flavour should be saved. Hell, an entire D&D campaign setting is based around that division. People who don't like psionics can feel free to ban them from their settings. However, I think that the flavor/fluff that has been used to define psionics up to now should not be changed. 
I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments here: that the wise woman, arcanist crone, wicked pythoness, hedgewitch, etc., are the truly evocative and resonant imagery that I desire and draw from when building a stereotypical witch.

What I'm proposing for consideration is something a bit outside of that box, if not progressive. -- Something that could be uniquely D&D.

Witches, in their most stripped-down, simplistic sense are users of inexplicable power. Are they dealing with devils? Lying with gods? Tapping ancient secrets? Psionics, in its most stripped-down, simplistic sense is a source of inexplicable strength. Does it come from the mind? Does it come from the soul? Is it you, or is it something else?

Solely in terms of D&D, we can seize upon this. The witch: non-magical, delving into the inner mysteries, gathering with others in secret, nurturing power incomprehensible to sage and common man alike.

Pluck out all of the special and unique things that are iconically psionic (telekinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance, etc), make sure that no one else duplicates or otherwise makes these capabilities redundant, and you have a class ripe for the flavoring (as you see fit).

In the world of D&D, I see users of psionic power facing persecution, hatred and danger while navigating the high fantasy realm of worlds that understand wizards and priests. -- Seems like a missed opportunity.

I, myself, am inclined to deal with terms like witch and witchcraft moreso than psion and psionics. And I'm far more inclined to explore cauldrons and mirrors than I am crystal spheres and othersuch science-y hoopla.

All opinion of course.

Danny

So long as we are still talking about iconically psionic powers (telekinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance, etc), then it sounds like you are talking about a flavor shift that 4e already performed. In 4e psionics are the power of the mind. How exactly that power first appeared is something of a mystery. There are, however, a lot of suggestions that the power appeared as a result of the Far Realm intruding into the material plane; afterall, creatures like mindflayers and aboliths seem to have an uncommonly large amount of psionic capabilities. As a result, many groups see psionics as a mutation of the far realm, and treat such "mutants" accordingly. 


Of course, I only really use psionics in Dark Sun games, so I just use Dark Sun fluff. As long as the psionic mechanics can match up to Dark Sun fluff I am happy. 


So long as we are still talking about iconically psionic powers (telekinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance, etc), then it sounds like you are talking about a flavor shift that 4e already performed. In 4e psionics are the power of the mind. How exactly that power first appeared is something of a mystery. There are, however, a lot of suggestions that the power appeared as a result of the Far Realm intruding into the material plane; afterall, creatures like mindflayers and aboliths seem to have an uncommonly large amount of psionic capabilities. As a result, many groups see psionics as a mutation of the far realm, and treat such "mutants" accordingly. 


Of course, I only really use psionics in Dark Sun games, so I just use Dark Sun fluff. As long as the psionic mechanics can match up to Dark Sun fluff I am happy.


I'm running with the flavor shift and doing a little rebranding.

I'm toying with terms at the macro level, which should only impact general feel, the utterly basic premise of fluff, and affords the specific piece of the game an identity (the class). --  Nothing should toy with the flavor of your Dark Sun experience, or dictate aspects of your character's story.

D&D Next seems to be cutting flavor free from the mechanical implications of classes, allowing us to skin as we see fit. By calling the psionic class a witch, we're only working with the general distinction of how a witch character goes about affecting and interacting with the mechanic. -- How they affect and interact with their world is up to the player. 

Danny

A witch is just a wizard with a particular flavor attached.  Opting to use cauldrons for doing rituals, cat familiars, that sort of thing.  Seriously ... witches look through books a lot to come up with formulas and spells ... books with spells, spellbooks.  Wizard.  They cast spells.

Psionic characters do not cast spells.  They have internal power.

No relation.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.

So long as we are still talking about iconically psionic powers (telekinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance, etc), then it sounds like you are talking about a flavor shift that 4e already performed. In 4e psionics are the power of the mind. How exactly that power first appeared is something of a mystery. There are, however, a lot of suggestions that the power appeared as a result of the Far Realm intruding into the material plane; afterall, creatures like mindflayers and aboliths seem to have an uncommonly large amount of psionic capabilities. As a result, many groups see psionics as a mutation of the far realm, and treat such "mutants" accordingly. 


Of course, I only really use psionics in Dark Sun games, so I just use Dark Sun fluff. As long as the psionic mechanics can match up to Dark Sun fluff I am happy. 




i have only played within the Forgotten Realms setting, but i have seen a bit of Psionics used in those games, and it thus far worked for my group (from a flavor standpoint, anyway). personally, i don't consider psionics fantasy OR sci-fi. i think it is its own animal, something new to the world of Roleplaying, and it is looking to find a home amongst its elder peers. as such, i am happy to see it enter DnD, but feel that Cyber-Dave is correct that the denizens of the world would consider Psionics "Far-Realms Mutants" who should be at least feared and at most burned at the stake.

This, however, is their only connection with witches. instead what i see is that psionics, being the new little brother, should be given his own space so that his own feel is not lost behind the completely different flavor of witchcraft.

WHile i apreciate the creativeness of the idea, i think i would lose all interest in Psionics the moment it was called Witchcraft, simply because they are completely different subjects, with completely different connotation and power sources. that said, a witch class would be interesting to see, albiet very similar to the wizard and warlock flavor wise.
A witch is just a wizard with a particular flavor attached.  Opting to use cauldrons for doing rituals, cat familiars, that sort of thing.  Seriously ... witches look through books a lot to come up with formulas and spells ... books with spells, spellbooks.  Wizard.  They cast spells.

Psionic characters do not cast spells.  They have internal power.

No relation.



So do the "Gifted" ... but they still use spells to manipulate and extend that power, it isnt ummm cut and dry.
 
  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."

 

A witch is just a wizard with a particular flavor attached.  Opting to use cauldrons for doing rituals, cat familiars, that sort of thing.  Seriously ... witches look through books a lot to come up with formulas and spells ... books with spells, spellbooks.  Wizard.  They cast spells.

Psionic characters do not cast spells.  They have internal power.

No relation.



Actually thats a good point- but I'd actually look at a witch in this case as a hybrid

Witch = hybrid Wizard/Alchemist 
Please collect and update the DND Next Community Wiki Page with your ideas and suggestions!
Take a look at my clarified ability scores And also my Houserules relevent to DNDNext
I could even see a Witch as a pure magical-alchemy type class.  The one gimmick that's always shouted "Witch" more than anything else has always been the cauldron and potion (well, and the broom).  Maybe a Witch could be a traditional (low-tech) type of potion and item-enchanting class?  Like an artificer, but without the steampunk overtones?

The metagame is not the game.

I could even see a Witch as a pure magical-alchemy type class.  The one gimmick that's always shouted "Witch" more than anything else has always been the cauldron and potion (well, and the broom).  Maybe a Witch could be a traditional (low-tech) type of potion and item-enchanting class?  Like an artificer, but without the steampunk overtones?



Then perhaps someone could get ALL the steampunk stuff from the artificer without having to mix it with magic?


 
Please collect and update the DND Next Community Wiki Page with your ideas and suggestions!
Take a look at my clarified ability scores And also my Houserules relevent to DNDNext
A witch is just a wizard with a particular flavor attached.  Opting to use cauldrons for doing rituals, cat familiars, that sort of thing.  Seriously ... witches look through books a lot to come up with formulas and spells ... books with spells, spellbooks.  Wizard.  They cast spells.

Psionic characters do not cast spells.  They have internal power.

No relation.

Witches are part of european shamanic traditions, like to druids, seidkonas and others. They predate writing.

Descriptions are similar, they use transes and they either use personal psychic powers or go to the spirit plane to trade with different types of spirits, from the spirits of the dead to the animal spirits or demons. Demons didn't have the same meaning before christianity.

It perfectly matches the psionic profile if you leave the psychometabolism aspect aside (Most buffing psychometabolism effects can be triggered by use of telepathy to control your own unconscious body functions).

A lot of modern witches representations are influenced by modern iconography (post christian). Like other shamanic traditions, witches were mostly solitary and not often met other witches, except sometimes when there were family ties.

Another point against arcane witches and modern representations of circles of witches with big family books of hermetic magic : illiteracy, particularily among women post christianity.

D&D can easily switch to shamanism replacing psionics :
• Ethereal plane is an "historic" spirit plane, and D&D currently does not have a consistent cosmology regarding spirits (fey, undead, dead). Fighting ghosts was easier from the ethereal plane.
• From ethereal plane, you could access to different planes. It works with shamanic spirit travel (or psionic/mediumnic astral travel)
• Not all individuals have to rely on spirits to function. Psychic abilities are personal abilities in shamanic traditions that can't be removed from the shaman. It can be lost if the practicioner is not enough devoted to his "art" and can can also be recovered with "training". Psionic profiles are perfectly compatible with a scientist approach of psychic transes and spirit travel (astral form).

The only problem with this is the D&D druid. The fact (edit : ridiculously wrong ! Surprised) is that christians have so totally destroyed their cultures that we know almost nothing about them, except that what is known is similar to other shamanic traditions. But feys are nature spirits, and by strongly linking them to druids, D&D shapeshifting druids can have their source of shapeshift (fey glamour and else).

The fact is that christians have so totally destroyed their cultures that we know almost nothing about them


The Romans started (and largely finished) that process well before they Christianized.  In fact, most of what we do know about the Druids is from accounts of the Jupiter-worshipping Roman legionnaires sent to slaughter them.

By the time Constantine made Christianity the religion of Rome, the Druids were well on their last legs, if not already completely wiped out.
The fact is that christians have so totally destroyed their cultures that we know almost nothing about them


The Romans started (and largely finished) that process well before they Christianized.  In fact, most of what we do know about the Druids is from accounts of the Jupiter-worshipping Roman legionnaires sent to slaughter them.

By the time Constantine made Christianity the religion of Rome, the Druids were well on their last legs, if not already completely wiped out.

True, I wrote to quickly and confounded with norse culture deformed through christian point of view and also left with few objective description.

Julius Caesar is said to have been very objective about celtic cultures as he wanted to fully integrate them in his empire.

For what I understand about druids, it seems that their shamanism was very close to religion, so we could also say that linking them to witches or seidkonas is also not very accurate Smile
The Norse “witch”, doing seiðr, is strictly psionic, explicitly using the power of ones own “mindforce” hugr. It is strictly telepathic magic involving mental enchantment including charm and hallucenation, and domination.

The related magic of the “seer”, doing spá that engages prophecy, seeing visions, seeing hidden phenomena, feeling hunches, and other “psychic” intuitions, is likewise strictly psionic. Also by mindforce.

Note, the Norse culture cherishes the wisewoman völva for her prophetic spá, but she is assumed to also know the mind-messing seiðr. She is a Psion.

Now there is another kind of Norse magic, called “shapetravels” hamfarir, that is shamanic in origin, and for the Norse culture feels more exotic to them. But it too explicitly uses ones own mindforce hugr. Here the mage projects their mindforce out of body to manifest physically elsewhere, and even to bring items back, via the spirit world, which overlays the physical world.

The “shape” hamr refers to the virtual body of the mindseye, and it can shift into different forms, depending on imagination. The shamans among the arctic Finnar especially project their mindforce in the form an animal. The Norse also consider the wild “trolls” trollir to also be masters of this magic. (In fact, the Norse word troll literally means “enchanter”, a mage.) The mindforce even has the power to transform ones own body (even the bodies of others) into the form of an animal. This is how the shapetravels magic relates to stories of werewolves and other wearbeasts - it is someones mindforce that is shifting the shape of the body into the virtual shape of the mind. The Norse berserkers induce trances where their mindforce shapeshifts their body into the fury and strength of ferocious animans. It connects directly with the shamanic aspects.



Fitting Norse magic into terms of D&D, the second-sight “seer” and the mind-messing “witch” are strictly psionic. It is psychic magic employing ones own mindforce.

The shamans are likewise using their mindforce, but are more in tune with nature, and for D&D are primal in character. Their manifestations are usually in animal form, with nature perhaps helping to “ground” the mindforce into a physical form. Likewise the Berserker whose stories involve projecting their mindforce into the forms of bears, wolves, bulls, and so on with any animal, as well as shapeshifting their bodies into these animals. Since D&D relates primal magic with the lifeforce of nature, there is no real hard line between the lifeforce of the shamanic magic and the mindforce of Norse magic. The main difference is attunement with nature.

The Norse trolls are masters of all magic. Especially, the witch seid, the shaman shapetravels, but also elemental magic. Descending from the jotuns, includes the earth of mountains, the wind of arctic storms, the fire of volcanos, the water of the oceans, and so on. So while troll magic explicitly involves wilderness themes, and employs the mindforce to “shape” these magical effects, it seems to catagorize in D&D, best, as arcane magic.

The arcane magic, overlaps the elemental magic, the primal magic, and the psychic magic.

Interestingly, the troll magic seems to not know the psychic prophetic magic of the “seer”, whose divination is more divine. Making the troll magic seem even moreso arcane.
The Norse “witch”, doing seiðr, is strictly psionic, explicitly using the power of ones own “mindforce” hugr



Odins ravens... psychic projections... 
  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."

 

The Norse “witch”, doing seiðr, is strictly psionic, explicitly using the power of ones own “mindforce” hugr. It is strictly telepathic magic involving mental enchantment including charm and hallucenation, and domination.

The problem here is the D&D definition of psionics.
Even if I agree that mental powers would more mental by being... mental... D&D has always presented psionics as a Ki-like force.

It would so simple to make psychic powers using classes and Ki using classes...

Wizards and others "physical forces channelers" can obtain their charm effect by physical means manipulating senses and biology, making charms effects spells of the same nature as illusion spells.
Shamans, witches and warlocks could directly manipulate the spirits, trade with them or channel their power (spirits of living creatures as well as any disembodied or pure spirits). Each class putting a stronger emphasis on an aspect of psychic powers, from the witches being more "human" to the shaman being more "disembodied".
Ki-powers users could drain all the mental/body concepts of many psionic powers and classes.

Then all these classes would have their own identities within a fantasy setting, even if each power source can duplicate effects from the others. it could even allows specific backgrounds like psionics as lettered scientists explorers of the psychic levels of existence.
D&D has always presented psionics as a Ki-like force.


No it hasn't.  In First Edition, psionics was very clearly expressed as the power of one's mind.  It drew upon no external power, was completely not subject to anything that affected magic, and used lotsof Freudian and Jungian imagery in its effect names.  Second Edition followed the same pattern.

It wasn't until Third Edition that psionics started borrowing from Eastern mysticism (though that was spotty at best).  Only in 4e, with the monk being tied to the psionic power source was an explicit connection between ki and psionics made.
Extreme psychometabolism powers felt like some ki abilities for me. Gaining psychic powers from the body is common in eastern mysticism , not in shamanic traditions. Even in modern science-fiction, stress from using psychic powers affect the body, but it's rare to read about psychic powers directly fueled by the body.
Extreme psychometabolism powers felt like some ki abilities for me.


It may have "felt" that way to you, but it certainly wasn't presented that way.  Until 4e, ki was always presented in D&D as an external universal energy, closer to primal power than psionic power.  Psionics were always presented in very clinical pseudoscientific or prarpsychiological jargon.

The Norse “witch”, doing seiðr, is strictly psionic, explicitly using the power of ones own “mindforce” hugr



Odins ravens... psychic projections... 

Right, exactly. The concept being these ravens are his mindforce “shapetraveling” in the form of ravens.




@Monsieur Mustache.

The “soul” and the “spirit” of a person are aspects of the same thing. Indeed, using the Greek terminology, the “psyche” psukhe actually refers to the lifeforce, the soul, while the “spirit” pneuma refers to the mindforce, the spirit. The lifeforce emphasizes the physical aspect of life, sensuality and instincts, including the lifeforce of animals. Meanwhile the mindforce emphasizes the mental aspect of life including thoughts and feelings - explicitly comprising the human capacity for language - and is viewed as a higher level of the same lifeforce. Ambition is often understood to be an aspect of the mindforce, rather than the lifeforce. These mental conceptual aspects of life, the spirit of a person, where words have a life of their own “beyond” the physical body, ultimately transcend.

The ki (tshi) corresponds more specifically with the lifeforce of a person, especially as an aura of energy that enlivens the physical body of the person. In this sense, and especially in the context of Daoism being in tune with nature, I see the ki as more primal in emphasis, in terms of D&D. Distinctively the psychic mindforce is emphasizes the power of the concepts of ones mind.
@NonHeroicPunch.

I will look at your comments more carefully, as there are number of interesting points. I agree sources are moreso “expressions”. Likewise, the martial “expression” includes parallel distinctions.

As a quick response, I see the psionic disciplines translating roughly as follows - especially with the idea that there are overlaps among the sources:



Psionic Disciplines
Schools
Sources 























 



Elemental


PHYSICAL MATTER



Primal


VITAL LIFEFORCE



Psychic


MENTAL MINDFORCE



Arcane


TRANSFORMATION



Evocation


/Psychokinesis
4 Elements: Inorganic Form



Shapeshift*


/Psychometabolism
Organic Form



Enchantment


/Telepathy



Divine


CREATION



Conjuration


/Metacreativity
5th Element: Force-Light



Teleportation**


/Psychoportation

(Healing)



Divination


/Clairsentience




* Note, I divide the transmutation school into two separate categories. I see a big difference between “transmogrification” into inorganic forms, like gaseous form, stoneskin, wall of iron, and so on, which feels more elemental, emphasizing matter - versus “shapeshifting” into organic forms, like animals and plants, including wildshape, barkskin, fabricating leather, and so on, which feels more primal, emphasizing lifeforce. Shapeshift also includes being in tune with nature spirits.
** Healing is something that both divine Cleric and primal Druid do well, but D&D psionic generally doesnt. This method of healing connects to the eternal ideal of the lifeforce, even beyond death. Teleportation is tricky, there is a fine line between Divination sending your mindforce to a location and Teleportation bringing your body with you.

The Norse “witch”, doing seiðr, is strictly psionic, explicitly using the power of ones own “mindforce” hugr



Odins ravens... psychic projections... 

Right, exactly. The concept being these ravens are his mindforce “shapetraveling” in the form of ravens.


 



I could really really really go for a Norse flavor package... expansion whatever for D&D.
  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."

 

I took a look through the list of psionic disciplines as they are listed on the Wikipedia page for D&D Psionics, and using that list, I'll try using a new tactic for determing the place of the psion. In all of D&D history, there are seven types of psionic disciplines:

>Clairsentience
>Metacreativity
>Metapsionics
>Psychokinesis
>Psychometabolism
>Psychoportation
>Telepathy 

The biggest problem with trying to intergrate psionics into the D&D worlds is how it fits with all the other power sources. If you remember you're sourcebooks, there are two stances to take with psionics and magic: They are the same source, or they are different sources. Despite how we have been given this consideration, I think it would be fair to say that, since psionics were introduced in the earliest iterations of the game, the two sources have always been different. What I mean is that even if you say "They are the same," the most that does is allow a wizard to counterspell a psion's manifests. In order to solve the problem, I think we need to go a step further and say that they are so much the same as to have psionics be the reason there is any magic at all.

I think the biggest problem with trying to integrate psionics into the D&D worlds is the break in high fantasy tone when you start using terms like psionicistpsychometabolism, and clairsentience. 

It's really jarring in comparison to Melf's Acid Arrow.

Danny

Only if you assume that the study of magic somehow precludes or marginalizes the study of science.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Taking this stance, I took a look at the descriptions of those listed disciplines and sorted them into the three most relevent power sources: Arcane, Divine, and Primal. (I am going to set aside the Martial power source for now). Each power source gets two focus(=) disciplines, and one minor(+) discipline that overlaps with another power source.


I did something similar in this blog article

Only if you assume that the study of magic somehow precludes or marginalizes the study of science.

Isn't that the very premise of high fantasy?

Danny