Pros and Cons of Psionics


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137ben wrote:
RDM42 wrote:


And I wonder how many of the people that say vancian Magic 'doesn't make sense' or 'isn't realistic' are the same people trying to use 'but dragons exist! Therefore realism and logic is thrown out the window!' As an excuse for including anything and everything under the sun?
Really? This again? Not every thread on the internet is dedicated solely to your personal favorite topic.

It is a flaw in the logic if people use that argument in one thread and 'But it isn't realistic' in another.

Sorry if you don't like that, but there it is. There are plenty of arguments you can make for why you don't like it, but if you are arguing that internal consistency, plausibility, verisimilitude or any such is an invalid reason for in game decisions, then its an invalid reason for things you like and dislike as well. Don't selectively use it as it suits.

OR - it can be admitted that such things are a legitimate reason for leaving things out of games or setting limits/making changes.


You need a legitimate line of reasoning. If mental powers come from magic, then the science fiction argument is invalid.


Goth Guru wrote:
You need a legitimate line of reasoning. If mental powers come from magic, then the science fiction argument is invalid.

Spontaneous Casting is more different from Prepared Casting than it is from Psionics. If you're going to ban Psionics you might as well ban Sorcerers and Oracles as well. [Bards and Summoners and Bloodragers can probably stay because they're really really different from Wizards and have dramatically weaker casting.]


The vancian system is a crap system, compared to the systems I have used in other FRPGs. The Psionic system in 3.5 and PF is far better and more logical system. I am talking about mechanics not fluff.

So I have no idea what you are talking about - "throwing logic out the window"

To tell the truth a lot of D&D systems are poorly done.


The 8th Dwarf wrote:

The vancian system is a crap system, compared to the systems I have used in other FRPGs. The Psionic system in 3.5 and PF is far better and more logical system. I am talking about mechanics not fluff.

So I have no idea what you are talking about - "throwing logic out the window"

To tell the truth a lot of D&D systems are poorly done.

I.e., the Vancian system applied to hit points would look like this:

A mid-level Wizard has 9 mild-injury slots, 5 minor-injury slots, 4 moderate-injury slots, and 1 severe-injury slot.

A high-level Fighter, on the other hand, has 13 mild-injury slots, 11 minor-injury slots, 10 moderate-injury slots, 5 severe-injury slots, 2 critical-injury slots, and 1 devastating-injury slot.

Anytime you take damage, the damage is assigned a category and as long as you have a slot of equal or greater value, you can keep going. No more of this "all your hit points come out of one common pool" nonsense.

...

And if that sounds just awful, then you understand the appeal of the points system of 3.X psionics. It's not a matter of feel. Both the hit point system and the injury-slot system represent the same thing, a character's ability to withstand harm. But one represents that logically and the other is a headache.

Likewise, both Vancian casters and points casters represent the same thing, characters with supernatural abilities powered by an exhaustible resource. But one subdivides that resource into premade divisions because reasons and the other doesn't bother.


I really don't see the massive headache of Vancian. I do agree it's more difficult to use, but it's a fair tradeoff for the superior power and flexibility [in a day-to-day sense, and with mid-day spell preparation].

My only problem is when people want to make Vancian the exclusive magic rather than the system's foundational magic.


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Highly opinionated, but here goes:

Pros

-Breaks the mold. Seriously, I can't state enough how much 3.5/Pathfinder is beginning to bore me, and no amount of new feats, classes, spells, archetypes and so on really helped with that. Psionics, however, is a fresh breath of air. At least, it was for me.

-Surprisingly balanced (Dreamscarred Press's version, that is). When I was first introduced to Pathfinder my first GM hated psionics and thought them to be ridiculously overpowered. I took him on his word until, looking at it a few years later, realized that it's not really that bad and, in my experience, has integrated well with traditional Vancian magic.

I'm curious to see how Occult Adventures mixes in with all this. Maybe Psionics, Psychic Magic, and Arcane Magic can all be a thing? Okay enough personal musings...

Cons

-...Can't think of any. Honestly.

This is all my personal opinion, of course. I do believe that if you have a player you know you can trust will not munchkin or try to break the game and asks to try out psionics, there's no harm in letting him or her try. The rules for it aren't terribly difficult to learn, both for GM and player.


If you have a munchkin who wants to break the game, you're far worse off handing him a Vancian Spellcaster than you are a psionic one.

That being said, a munchkin who wants to break the game is a problem in and of itself and has nothing to do with which mechanics he has available to him.


The more I'm seeing, the more I'm starting to think I might want to introduce this in my campaigns ... perhaps start small scale and make it an unusual occurrence, but at least allowing myself and the players to get used to it.

There have been some really good suggestions made for how to make it work so far.

Thank you everyone. Please, do keep it coming.

Shadow Lodge

If you want a more closely balanced Pathfinder game, you are better off banning all Paizo classes and allowing Dreamscarred Press classes (be they from Ultimate Psionics, Path of War, or Akashic Mysteries).


Kthulhu wrote:
If you want a more closely balanced Pathfinder game, you are better off banning all Paizo classes and allowing Dreamscarred Press classes (be they from Ultimate Psionics, Path of War, or Akashic Mysteries).

Bard and Inquisitor and Paladin fit pretty well into such a campaign as well. [Perhaps the Warpriest as well? I'm not terribly familiar with it.]


137ben wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:

Psionic Transparency can be extended a hell of a lot farther than it is by default.

There isn't a single item in the game related to magic [unless it's explicitly tied to Prepared Casters somehow] that can't just as easily be applied to Psionics via a super loose interpretation.

I'd avoid doing it...I don't want to see metamagic rods being turned into metapsionic rods. Metapsionics has a lot of drawbacks compared to metamagic, and they shouldn't be wiped away by a magic item.

Although, to be fair, that could just be due to my general hatred of metamagic rods (and metamagic cost reducers). I'm glad Bruce decided not to include any such cheese in psionics.


137ben wrote:
137ben wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:

Psionic Transparency can be extended a hell of a lot farther than it is by default.

There isn't a single item in the game related to magic [unless it's explicitly tied to Prepared Casters somehow] that can't just as easily be applied to Psionics via a super loose interpretation.

I'd avoid doing it...I don't want to see metamagic rods being turned into metapsionic rods. Metapsionics has a lot of drawbacks compared to metamagic, and they shouldn't be wiped away by a magic item.

Although, to be fair, that could just be due to my general hatred of metamagic rods (and metamagic cost reducers). I'm glad Bruce decided not to include any such cheese in psionics.

You know, I've never used metamagic before. I've never seen the value of the higher spell sit versus just using a higher level spell. I've also never given it a decent mathematical analysis (not have I seen one, so if you know of one, please point it out).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
kyrt-ryder wrote:

I really don't see the massive headache of Vancian. I do agree it's more difficult to use, but it's a fair tradeoff for the superior power and flexibility [in a day-to-day sense, and with mid-day spell preparation].

My only problem is when people want to make Vancian the exclusive magic rather than the system's foundational magic.

Why is that a problem? Dungeons and Dragons DID exist before 3rd Edition you know, and it worked fine for the time. Isn't the whole point that people play the game they want to play?


LazarX wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:

I really don't see the massive headache of Vancian. I do agree it's more difficult to use, but it's a fair tradeoff for the superior power and flexibility [in a day-to-day sense, and with mid-day spell preparation].

My only problem is when people want to make Vancian the exclusive magic rather than the system's foundational magic.

Why is that a problem? Dungeons and Dragons DID exist before 3rd Edition you know, and it worked fine for the time. Isn't the whole point that people play the game they want to play?

When I said System here, I was referring to the game as a whole.

Every now and then you see people either clamoring to make a theoretical PF2 completely Non-Vancian, and on the other side of the fence you see people insisting Vancian should be the only style of magic.

I feel Vancian makes for a fine foundation, it just shouldn't be the exclusive magic. [In other words, my stance is right down the middle.]


Psionics Rulez!

In Dark Sun 2e, the Evil Wizards were the reason the world was destroyed, turning into a huge desert, all the magic consumed all the surounding energy leaving the world dry. Psionis would produce their powers from their own energy, and all Wizards are now hunted down. Gota love Dark Sun ^^.

Plus, I never liked the vancian system.

"Can't cast a fireball today."

"Dude, why not? Out of juice?"

"Nah, I got the juice, just can't use it for a fireball."

"Dude, why not? You've just casted one."

"Yeah, but now I can't. Only tomorow, after I read it again"

"DUDE, you read this stuff every day! Aren't you supposed to be smart?"

"... #%@*!"

"So, what can you cast?"

"Explosive Runes"

"Alright, let's hope that Direbear is actually a druid and knows how to read."


Kchaka to better understand Vancian casting think of it as the ability to write a scroll into your head. There is no juice. You are literally writing the magic in your head and holding on to it with shear concentration. And just like a scroll the magic words are consumed in the activation.


Tectorman wrote:
The 8th Dwarf wrote:

The vancian system is a crap system, compared to the systems I have used in other FRPGs. The Psionic system in 3.5 and PF is far better and more logical system. I am talking about mechanics not fluff.

So I have no idea what you are talking about - "throwing logic out the window"

To tell the truth a lot of D&D systems are poorly done.

I.e., the Vancian system applied to hit points would look like this:

A mid-level Wizard has 9 mild-injury slots, 5 minor-injury slots, 4 moderate-injury slots, and 1 severe-injury slot.

A high-level Fighter, on the other hand, has 13 mild-injury slots, 11 minor-injury slots, 10 moderate-injury slots, 5 severe-injury slots, 2 critical-injury slots, and 1 devastating-injury slot.

Anytime you take damage, the damage is assigned a category and as long as you have a slot of equal or greater value, you can keep going. No more of this "all your hit points come out of one common pool" nonsense.

...

And if that sounds just awful, then you understand the appeal of the points system of 3.X psionics. It's not a matter of feel. Both the hit point system and the injury-slot system represent the same thing, a character's ability to withstand harm. But one represents that logically and the other is a headache.

Likewise, both Vancian casters and points casters represent the same thing, characters with supernatural abilities powered by an exhaustible resource. But one subdivides that resource into premade divisions because reasons and the other doesn't bother.

So subdual is the zero level slot. You heal your con bonus of subdual every round.


Just some personal opinion but...

Psionics is "Different", which is enough for me. The simple fact it's fantastically balanced and I don't have to go through the work of fixing it is icing on the cake. I can't even begin to tell you how bored I am of the basics... Then again, I've been gaming regularly since I was 4, and haven't been able to find a group that enjoys 3rd party material.

... But I suppose that's because my preferred setting is: "Everything, plus the kitchen sink.... And that guy's sink too."... I long for the day when I can get in a game with Veilweaving, Arcane, Divine, Words of Power, Psionics, and Psychic magics.... Despite them being underpowered, Tome of Magic was my fave 3.5 supplement. (Edit: Case in point, my first tristalt character was a Twilight Sage Arcanist/Sadist Life Leech Soul Thief Vitalist/Vizier.... Never got to play it, but it was so much damn fun to build, and the fluff and flavor was just so, so nice)

If the basics are still fun for you AND your players, by all means, keep to it. But if someone's starting to get bored, I'd encourage you to let a little psionics into the game, at least as a test. And make sure you remember rule #1: you cannot use more points on a power than your manifester level!.... Otherwise you wind up with a lot of what causes the "PSIONICS OP!" knee-jerk reactions many wind up shouting about.

Because, regardless of system, cheaters will be cheaters. My last group had a player using a monk/summoner in a gestalt game I wasn't apart of, but I sat in for a bit of one and turns out the guy was changing his eidolon's base form, evolutions, SIZE, and skill points, EVERY TIME HE SUMMONED IT... And didn't know that eidolons share magic slots with their summoner, didn't even know they COULD wear magic gear. This is the kind of not-reading you need to make sure won't happen. Then again, this was the same group of people who were outcasts from other groups in the area, and all of them were spot-light hogs who got pissed anytime they weren't the focus of the game (and constantly performed acts of Dirty-Munchkinism that would make even the most liberal of POWUHGAMAHS! tell them to tone it down, thanks to very liberal readings of rules that included not informing the GM of all the rules of their character.

So if you can generally trust you players to be honest with you, and you give a quick read over of the most important points, by all means go for it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I really struggled for a long time with accepting psionics/psychics for a long time into my medieval fantasy. If it helps to have some non-DnD examples of psychic abilities in a medieval fantasy setting, the original Spellforce game had Mentalists alongside their standard necromancers and enchanters and warlocks. It actually felt like it worked, because that unit came across as a hypnotist and mesmerist and debuffer. In Diablo, the rogues are a sisterhood with mild psychic abilities (the Sisterhood of the Sightless Eye) that help them detect traps and avoid danger.

In 3.0, the Rokugen/5 Rings asian setting, there was a really awesome pseudo-religion/state of being called "the Akasha" that was all about the naga mindlinks, as well as general enlightenment. It was mostly a series of feat chains that gave essentially power points, but it was open to all classes. Fighters could use a point to do a backflip or move farther, casters could spent points to regain a spell, anyone could use it to get a little boost to their skill check. Imo it was one of the best ways to incorporate psychic-ish material into a fantasy setting because it made this huge mythos all about it where the (humanoid) naga were the original practitioners of it and taught it to any human, and anyone could pick it up. Instead of (totally understandably imo) the way DnD treats most psionic material - essentially strange and weird and really kind of jarring - it felt more like a genuine part of the world. More of this material found it's way into 3.0 with "void points" I think they're called - essentially the same thing. The Void Disciple from the Complete Divine came from the Rokugen setting and is a mixture of caster and clairvoyant sensate, essentially building on the psychic theme.

I don't like straight-up "I'm a psionic!" type of lore, or to have some of the very sci-fi flavor added to them. Or when they aren't really focused on one type of talent. But yeah in small doses and when it's established that the world understands something of psychic abilities, and the psychic character isn't the lone ranger of their type, it can be really flavorful.

Liberty's Edge

Pro: You can make heads explode!

Con: The head you explode might not be your opponent's.

Shadow Lodge

Snorb wrote:

Pro: You can make heads explode!

Con: The head you explode might not be your opponent's.

Somebody watched Scanners recently.

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