No "Core" Psions?

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I was disappointed to find out that psionics are being left out of the initial Player's Handbook despite the class/powers having been around since AD&D 2nd Edition.

Has there ever been an official reason behind not including psionics in the "core" material? Are they not popular enough? Are they too far removed from traditional fantasy magic but still fun enough to get included as a supplement? Are they cut simply due to space requirements?
Don't worry unlike in 3.5 they are actually making sure Psionics are going to fit right into the game.

They simply are not appearing in PHB1, Primal, Shadow and Psionic classes will be appearing most likely first in PHB2 next year.

So it will actually be more core then it was in 3.5.
I was disappointed to find out that psionics are being left out of the initial Player's Handbook despite the class/powers having been around since AD&D 2nd Edition.

Has there ever been an official reason behind not including psionics in the "core" material? Are they not popular enough? Are they too far removed from traditional fantasy magic but still fun enough to get included as a supplement? Are they cut simply due to space requirements?

Psionics were never in the original PHBs at any edition that I can recall. They've always come in a year or two later with their own handbook. They'll be in soon enough.
AD&D 1 DMG.


One big reason.... The fanbase find it controversial. Somes hate it because of bad past mechanics, and others because they dub it science-fiction and not fantasy (there is quite purist visions of what should be fantasy, you know the drill...).

As much as I like the idea, WOTC really don't have much choices. There would be complains otherwise.
AD&D 1 had some Psionics related stuff in its DMG, IIRC.

But, yes, there has never been psionics in a Player's Handbook.

I believe it's been left out for 2 big reasons.

1) Psionics is the single most polarizing aspect of D&D. Some people love it beyond all reason. Others feel it is the most vile, hateful abomination ever made. The pro-Psi extremists are used to having to wait a bit, and generally are not angered by that as much as the anti-psi extremists would be if it were put in to the book. The anti-side has "tradition" on their side... and we all know how pissy some people can get over tradition.

2) Psionics has needed a lot of space to describe its internal mechanical differences. Psi has both a wildly different than core flavor as well as wildly different from core mechanic. And unless 4E Psi is dramatically different on both accounts, it will need a bit of space for its own uniqueness.

One lesser reason why it has been left out of 4E's PHb is that is a different power source than the big three they are pushing. The highest icons of sword-and-sorcery mythic/epic/heroic fantasy are easiest to represent with martial, divine or arcane classes (not saying all are, but definitely most).

edit; ninja'd by ubbergeek
Psionics were never in the original PHBs at any edition that I can recall. They've always come in a year or two later with their own handbook.

AD&D 1 had some Psionics related stuff in its DMG, IIRC.

But, yes, there has never been psionics in a Player's Handbook.

Wrong. 1e PHB had it in one of the appendices--after the bard and before the planes, IIRC.
Wrong. 1e PHB had it in one of the appendices--after the bard and before the planes, IIRC.

The Planes were not detailed int he PHb, I think you are confusing it with the DMG.
The Planes were not detailed int he PHb, I think you are confusing it with the DMG.

The PHB doesn't describe the planes, just lays out a diagram of which goes where; I'd call it the Great Wheel, but it was a square shape. ;)

But psionics were definitely in the PHB. I don't have my PHB on me, so I can't quote you anything, but I have my 1e DMG right here and there's nothing in there on psionics.
Hmm, If my books weren't in storage, I would have double-checked them. I guess I did not recall correctly.
Thanks for the responses, guys!

I didn't get into AD&D until some years after 2nd edition was already out and only found the softcover psionics supplement by accident some time after that.

I think I can see the reasoning, though, especially after reading the explanations about differing mechanics and taking up space. I don't think that "legacy" or "tradition" is going to hold a lot of water this time around, though. Greyhawk and Dragonlance have been set aside (at least for the time being and I've only heard rumors about Dragonlance making a return later on).
In anyway, the psionic are still controversial and can't be realisticaly placed in the base PHB for now...
In anyway, the psionic are still controversial and can't be realisticaly placed in the base PHB for now...

That is still next year! :D
That is still next year! :D

We talks about a legacy that go back to the first AD&D ed....
I think I can see the reasoning, though, especially after reading the explanations about differing mechanics and taking up space. I don't think that "legacy" or "tradition" is going to hold a lot of water this time around, though. Greyhawk and Dragonlance have been set aside (at least for the time being and I've only heard rumors about Dragonlance making a return later on).

Dragonlance hasn't been officially supported for several years now. I believe the last WotC dragonlance book was...2003? 2004? Anyway, it stopped with 3.0 and, while it will probably come back with WotC's one-CS-per-year policy, it's not the big deal that Eberron and FR are.
APsionics has needed a lot of space to describe its internal mechanical differences. Psi has both a wildly different than core flavor as well as wildly different from core mechanic. And unless 4E Psi is dramatically different on both accounts, it will need a bit of space for its own uniqueness.

Hi Steveman,

I for one will be very, very surprised if the mechanics of 4E psionic powers vary significantly from the mechanics of other powers. I suspect Psi will be just another power source (no different in that respect from Martial or Arcane) and the classes that use it will have access to the same at-will, encounter, and daily power progression as any other class.

Laterz.
Just to set the record straight, Psionics were in the original AD&D PHB, as mentioned.

They were in appendix I, starting on page 110.
Appendix II was bards, starting on page 117.
Appendix III was the character alignment graph on page 119.
Appendix IV was the known planes of existence, beginning on page 120.
Finally, appendix V was "suggested agreements for division of treasure", on page 122.
Hi Steveman,

I for one will be very, very surprised if the mechanics of 4E psionic powers vary significantly from the mechanics of other powers. I suspect Psi will be just another power source (no different in that respect from Martial or Arcane) and the classes that use it will have access to the same at-will, encounter, and daily power progression as any other class.

Laterz.

Hi Heretic,

The reason I mention it is because it is a possibility, a very unlikely possibility, but a possibility nonetheless.

After all, a fighter's best powers are Reliable, a wizard still has a spellbook and the cleric/paladin has channel divinity powers. Some fo the classes still have unique sub-mechanics.
Just to set the record straight, Psionics were in the original AD&D PHB, as mentioned.

They were in appendix I, starting on page 110.
Appendix II was bards, starting on page 117.
Appendix III was the character alignment graph on page 119.
Appendix IV was the known planes of existence, beginning on page 120.
Finally, appendix V was "suggested agreements for division of treasure", on page 122.

Ach, it comes before the bard. Dammit. Well, thanks for the backup anyways.
I stand up corrected, too.
I would say they did not want to bite off more than they could chew for the first 4E players handbook. All the stuff that is 'left out' like druids and psionics and such, will show up in a later players handbook.





Gnome: "I'm a MONSTER!......ARRRRR!!!"
I'll admit. I'm one of those Anti-Psions, though I think 4ed is the first place they will be able to alleviate my dislike of them(since I always perceived them as a balance issue, this time the support is built in). I won't get into that part though.

I know it's been said before, but I think they didn't make it just because they're not one of the "Iconic figures" basically. D&D has always been the Cleric, the Fighter, the Rogue, and the Wizard. The other classes included in the PHB really, are not all that difference from the group mentioned above, and kind of fall into the "Iconic Figures of Fantasy" category too.
I was disappointed to find out that psionics are being left out of the initial Player's Handbook despite the class/powers having been around since AD&D 2nd Edition.

Has there ever been an official reason behind not including psionics in the "core" material? Are they not popular enough? Are they too far removed from traditional fantasy magic but still fun enough to get included as a supplement? Are they cut simply due to space requirements?

Aside from them never having been "core" before? Core can only include so much, and non-core classes like psion's always get left out for later books.
The Planes were not detailed int he PHb, I think you are confusing it with the DMG.

No,for psionics, it was in the PHB for sure. I think he's right about the planes as well. I think the 1ed PHB had a little blurb about them at the end. However, psionics in 1ed was not a class, nor was it easy to get. Maybe a 3% chance, and about an equal chance of lobotomizing your character if you botched the roll for psionics. I forget the exact numbers.
Hmm, that's why I've been storing up all of my NERD RAGE.

Yes, Psionics is "controversial." No, Psionics is not "overpowered" or "broken beyond all belief." That's called Arcane/Divine Magic. Psionics is not core... yet. Every time people discuss further Player's Handbooks, the topic of power sources come up. There will be new power sources in new PHB's. Psionics will be one of them, so one could consider them to (finally) be core material. Of course, the other side's NERD RAGE will be unleashed at that point. IMO, it would be laughable to fool around with a Shadow power source just one year or so after the game's release. Bards, Barbarians, and Druids have to be accounted for first, then Psionics is pretty much mandatory for the second PHB, since Eberron (boo! hiss!) will probably be the second campaign setting released. I *could* be wrong, but the timing is pretty much guaranteed. I happily await the cries of horror and disgust. They shan't last long.
Hmm, that's why I've been storing up all of my NERD RAGE.

Yes, Psionics is "controversial." No, Psionics is not "overpowered" or "broken beyond all belief." That's called Arcane/Divine Magic. Psionics is not core... yet. Every time people discuss further Player's Handbooks, the topic of power sources come up. There will be new power sources in new PHB's. Psionics will be one of them, so one could consider them to (finally) be core material. Of course, the other side's NERD RAGE will be unleashed at that point. IMO, it would be laughable to fool around with a Shadow power source just one year or so after the game's release. Bards, Barbarians, and Druids have to be accounted for first, then Psionics is pretty much mandatory for the second PHB, since Eberron (boo! hiss!) will probably be the second campaign setting released. I *could* be wrong, but the timing is pretty much guaranteed. I happily await the cries of horror and disgust. They shan't last long.

Psionics in 3ed was easily as powerful as arcane/divine magic was.
Psionics in 3ed was easily as powerful as arcane/divine magic was.

Uh, no. More powerful than melee/martial classes, certainly, but not even CLOSE to the power of wizards, clerics, and druids.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Uh, no. More powerful than melee/martial classes, certainly, but not even CLOSE to the power of wizards, clerics, and druids.

:::shrug::: My psion was. I could do amazing things with his sheer versatility and ability to have everything on call at every given moment. It was like having a wizard with sorcerer spells per day.
Uh, no. More powerful than melee/martial classes, certainly, but not even CLOSE to the power of wizards, clerics, and druids.

Druid, I would agree with, but its inadvertent exploits made it the most powerful class to take for single classing.

Cleric and Wizards might hedge out the Kineticist, Egoist or Nomad if the player was unfamiliar with how to build psions for that sort of thing (the other base psions could be built to overpower wizards and clerics, but it was muc hharder than Blasters, Morphers and Teleporters). In the hands of the CharOp boards they were all relatively equal... Faerunian Easy Mode clerics not withstanding (A very specific build of Clerics of Mystara).
Cleric and Wizards might hedge out the Kineticist, Egoist or Nomad if the player was unfamiliar with how to build psions for that sort of thing (the other base psions could be built to overpower wizards and clerics, but it was muc hharder than Blasters, Morphers and Teleporters). In the hands of the CharOp boards they were all relatively equal... Faerunian Easy Mode clerics not withstanding (A very specific build of Clerics of Mystara).

1) Mystra is an FR deity, Mystara is a 2e campaign setting. :D

2) The spells a wizard or cleric has are far more varied and powerful than the powers of a psion. A wizard can learn every spell on his list given time and money, and a cleric can prepare any at will, while the psion knows a limited number of powers; wizards and clerics have exceedingly powerful spells like divine power and polymorph while the power versions (if they exist) are greatly toned down; and clerics and wizards have far more save-or-die spells than psions have save-or-die powers.

Psions are powerful, and particular psions can be made more powerful than particular wizards or clerics, but (A) the same player who can build an uber psion can build an even-more-uber cleric or wizard and (B) it's much easier to make a cleric or wizard incredibly powerful than a psion, as psions are just as easy (or just as hard) to break underpowered as they are to break overpowered.
A) Bah, If she's not Midnight I refuse to spell it right. Anyways, I posted that right after I spoke about resurrecting the Mystara setting.

B) Variety and Power are not (always) the same thing. In variety, nothing beats the wizard and cleric classes, but I was talking about sheer power.
Meh. I don't care how core people claim Psionics will be in 4e. They will still be outright banned in my games. And I'll ban any idiot players that whine about not being allowed to play a psion from my games. When someone asks me what I think about when someone says Fantasy or D&D, psionics doesn't even enter the playing field.
I used to not allow psionics, simply because they were a separate system of game mechanics that didn't reconcile esily with the base game. And because people who play psionic classes smell like cheese. All of them. Without exception. Even you.

However I plan on allowing them in 4E tentatively, because I imagine they will be pretty well integrated with the rest of the game....which means no more funky mechanics to deal with. I just have to do some reflavoring so that psionics are a little less "XMen"
The PHB doesn't describe the planes, just lays out a diagram of which goes where; I'd call it the Great Wheel, but it was a square shape. ;)

But psionics were definitely in the PHB. I don't have my PHB on me, so I can't quote you anything, but I have my 1e DMG right here and there's nothing in there on psionics.

Appendix I of the PHB is psionics.

Psionics didn't become a class until the 2e Complete Psionicists Handbook. Before that, Psionic powers were given out at random to other characters. The earliest appearance of Psionic Rules is in the OD&D supplement, Eldritch Wizardry (1976).
Meh. I don't care how core people claim Psionics will be in 4e. They will still be outright banned in my games. And I'll ban any idiot players that whine about not being allowed to play a psion from my games. When someone asks me what I think about when someone says Fantasy or D&D, psionics doesn't even enter the playing field.

I used to agree with you. Then I let someone actually play a psion. The game didn't break, hell did not freeze (well, the fiery parts didn't anyway), and the flying pigs weren't his fault (the wizard did it.) 3.5 did a good job of making psionics usable. Any form of magic was abusable, but CharOps at least showed them to be relatively equally abusable (the first Pun-pun build was psionic ::shivers:.


After all, a fighter's best powers are Reliable, a wizard still has a spellbook and the cleric/paladin has channel divinity powers. Some fo the classes still have unique sub-mechanics.

I don't like eberron and really didn't care much for a lot of the fluff psionics had, but I found the mechanics useful for duplicating a number of other concepts. I'll be disappointed if 4E psionics lacks the uniqueness it held before. I'll be banning psionics only if it is little more than the a wizard with no components and better enchantment spells. If it still feels different mechanically, I'll welcome it into core.
Mmmmm... delicious anti-psionic posters. It looks like the tropes have been trotted out once again. So much... uh, fun.

Damage isn't everything. Really, it's not. When you hit high levels, it's all about Save-or-Die or Save-or-Suck. The only good Psionic Save-or-Die powers... well, they aren't all that good. Crisis of Life is [Mind Affecting], so the majority of high level threats are simply untouchable. Microcosm, while cool, isn't exactly useful, for the same reason. Whereas Arcane/Divine Magic has the Power Word spells (no save!), Prismatic Wall/Sphere, Disjunction (no fighters allowed!), Implosion, Wail of the Banshee, and I can go on and on. Not to mention the "Win" buttons named Gate (Solars? 'Cause I think I heard someone say "Solar..."), Wish and Miracle. Yeah, Psionics has Reality Revision, but it doesn't really compare.

As for the "Psionics is not Fantasy"... I'm just so very tired of that one. Oh, and if you're really concerned about reflavouring the system, the members of the Psionics board have an entire thread dedicated to just that. You'll just have to put up with the smell of cheese, but I don't really understand how that can be transmitted over the Internet. Or, you can just keep complaining and pointlessly banning. Your players will thank you, I'm sure.
Oh, and if you're really concerned about reflavouring the system, the members of the Psionics board have an entire thread dedicated to just that.

I just want to second this, I actually found them quite helpful. Don't get the wrong idea, I let people play psionics as is, but the system's greater flexibility over spellcasting made it one of my first choices for characters that already had fluff and lacked mechanics.
B) Variety and Power are not (always) the same thing. In variety, nothing beats the wizard and cleric classes, but I was talking about sheer power.

I know.

1st level psion? Energy ray, ranged touch, 1d6+1 damage max, resistable energy damage. 1st level wizard? Magic missile, auto-hit, 1d4+1 damage, force damage.

20th level psion? Energy ball, augmented to 20 PP, 20d6 damage. 20th level wizard? Twinned fireball, effective 13 PP cost before metamagic reducers, plus scaling save DCs.

Psion? Reality revision. Cleric? Miracle. Psion? Claw of energy. Cleric? Divine power.

Spell compendium comes out? Cleric prepares any of those spells the next morning, wizard spends a few weeks scribing the spells in and can do the same. Complete Psionic comes out? Psion has to wait and spend one of 32 slots to get a power or burn a feat on Expanded knowledge.

Wizard? Gate, polymorph, wish. Psion? ....

Psion loses on sheer power as well. I love my psions, but equally optimized, they lose to wizards and clerics every time.

Psionics didn't become a class until the 2e Complete Psionicists Handbook. Before that, Psionic powers were given out at random to other characters. The earliest appearance of Psionic Rules is in the OD&D supplement, Eldritch Wizardry (1976).

I didn't say psions were core, did I? ;) I played 1e for a while, and remember the horrible mess those psionics were very well...toowell....
As for the "Psionics is not Fantasy"... I'm just so very tired of that one. Oh, and if you're really concerned about reflavouring the system, the members of the Psionics board have an entire thread dedicated to just that. You'll just have to put up with the smell of cheese, but I don't really understand how that can be transmitted over the Internet. Or, you can just keep complaining and pointlessly banning. Your players will thank you, I'm sure.

I find it tremendously entertaining how defensive the pro psionics crowd (or certain elements of the crowd, to be more accurate {funny how one of those elements is always on hand though}) gets when you say something in the least bit derisive about the concept.

I find it even more entertaining how they get bent out of shape for banning psionics in games they will never ever be playing in. I tell you folks, the whole thing reeks of fanatacism.

Incidentally...as I said before I will be allowing psionics in my 4E games, merely renaming the practice to "Mentalism" because it sounds mystical and I would rather not have sci-fitastic alien space laser anime crap in my games.
While I enjoy Psionics, one thing about it was the ease of picking which saving throw you wanted the opponent to make vs. your save-or-die type powers. Fuse flesh, microcosm, decerebrate, etc. Actually decerebrate was a must for any psion that I planned out, as the psionic teleportation powers had no equivalent magic school and therefore not much was "immune" to them. If you picked up the right powers, you could pick, at any time, whether to throw a fort, reflex, or will save at an enemy. See a slinking or flambouyant type, throw a fort save at them, a spell slinger, throw a reflex save, heavy armor, throw them a will save. Spellcasters can do the same, but if they pick the wrong time to use them, they are spent and they can't generally get it back to use again the same day. It wasn't so much the sheer "power" of psions as the ability to always have the right power for the task at hand, even if they used it 15 times already that day. With the right selection, you could take advantage of every single enemy's weaknesses, at any time. Planning for a psion is what powers to learn, in order to cover all the bases, while for a wizard/cleric/druid, it's what do i expect to encounter today, and what spells best meet that challenge. A well prepared wizard will outpower a psion any day, while a well prepared psion will never be caught with his pants down.
Incidentally...as I said before I will be allowing psionics in my 4E games, merely renaming the practice to "Mentalism" because it sounds mystical and I would rather not have sci-fitastic alien space laser anime crap in my games.

You're drifting pretty close to flaming/trolling right there, you know. You hit the big button named "Anime" too. Oh, and as for aliens/lasers/spaceships, I'll guide you to module S3 from 1st Edition AD&D. I'll give you three guesses as to what it is, and the first two don't count.

Yeah, many of the pro-psionics crowd are fanatics. But, uh... isn't that true of just about any crowd? The majority of us are just sick and tired of the crap that passes as "psionics discussions." They're just a mish-mash of misinformation, out-right flaming, and knee-jerk reactions. Yeah, the psionics community is a minority, but we're a proud minority. With 3.5, we have a system that works wonderfully, but everyone else assigns it the baggage of three older editions. It's completely unnecessary, and just lowers the "public" opinion of the system.
You're drifting pretty close to flaming/trolling right there, you know. You hit the big button named "Anime" too. Oh, and as for aliens/lasers/spaceships, I'll guide you to module S3 from 1st Edition AD&D. I'll give you three guesses as to what it is, and the first two don't count.

Yeah, many of the pro-psionics crowd are fanatics. But, uh... isn't that true of just about any crowd? The majority of us are just sick and tired of the crap that passes as "psionics discussions." They're just a mish-mash of misinformation, out-right flaming, and knee-jerk reactions. Yeah, the psionics community is a minority, but we're a proud minority. With 3.5, we have a system that works wonderfully, but everyone else assigns it the baggage of three older editions. It's completely unnecessary, and just lowers the "public" opinion of the system.

You must be one of those aforementioned fanatics...that's the only possible reason you could be getting so worked up over this crap.

Well if you want to start an anti/pro psionics debate, go ahead and trot out your best argument how psionics is balanced and about how "it is too fantasy!" and I'll simply remind you about how despite these arguments, psionics are still not allowed at the majority of game tables.