Pros and Cons of Psionics


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Hey everyone.

This came up in another thread, and it's made me think about my own attitude.

The issue on hand, as the headline says, is psionics.

Let me explain my own personal stance her:

I don't allow Psionics in my PF campaigns. Ever. I have flatly rejected character concepts from players as soon as the word "psionic" was even brought up. I've had one player try to explain the idea to me in a circumspect kind of way, hoping he could sell me on the idea before he brought up the word "psionic" and it did sound like a pretty solid concept ...

Until the word "psionic" was mentioned, at which time I told him to please do something else.

Now that I think about it, this actually surprises me. I don't normally hold with putting too many restrictions on players (a few can be in order, in terms of class, race or archetypes I suppose, depending on the campaign), but by and large, I want people to play something they have fun with.

However, the flavour of psionics simply feels like someone is running fingernails down a blackboard or grinding a fork against a plate nearby.

In the school of RP that I was raised in, psionics was a sci-fi concept, and magic belonged in fantasy-settings, and never should the twain meet. Then someone came up with the brilliant concept of making a grimdarkdarkdarkgrimdarkgrimgrimgrim sci-fi setting, calling it Warhammer 40k, and suddenly, the lines got all blurry. Suddenly you had classic psionics, but you also had chaos sorcery, and I never properly reconciled that in my own mind.

But here's the thing:

I'm not sure if my hard-line stance on this issue is the right one. I'm at least not sure if it's the right one for me. However, I just can't seem to bend my head around the idea of psionics in a fantasy setting without getting a headache and feeling like someone's trying to insert a large, round peg in a small, triangular hole.

So I'm going to throw the ball up in the air here, and ask what all of you have to add to the topic. I'm simply hoping for input that'll help jog my ongoing, mental gymnastics-routine on this issue. I'm not saying I'll change or I'll stay with how things are now. But I'm hoping to hear people's honest opinions, pro and con, when it comes to psionics.

Thank you.


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I like giving players new options (up to a point) and I've always been a psionics fan, at least going back to 2e. They've been a part of my setting for over 20 years. I have a psion telepath in my current game and she (played by a guy, btw) takes the place of the primary spellcaster in most groups. It works out fine for everyone involved.

Having said that, be prepared for this thread to dissolve in a flame war of psionics lovers and haters.


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I have a similar distaste of mixing the two but for a completely different reason; It bothers me to mix two completely different mechanical systems that supposedly affect the same metaphysical energies. If players want Psi I am fine with that as long as they are happy with all magic being banned or vice versa. No there will NOT be two separate but supposedly equals in the same game.

Grand Lodge

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I use psionics in my campaigns, and have no qualms about mixing sci-fi with fantasy, as I never viewed psionics as belonging solely to any one category (which are very nebulous to begin with).

I take the rather unpopular stance that psionis are not magic. I run 2nd edition AD&D, and the introduction of "The Complete Psionics Handbook" says (very loosely paraphrased) that magic is an external force, that casting spells is the shaping of that external force, while psionics on the other hand is a completely internal force, and using psionic abilities shape that internal force and then "throws" that power outward from within the user.

Later the book has this to say about the effects of magic on psionics and vice-versa:

The Complete Psionics Handbook wrote:

The essences of magic and psionics are wholly different. A wizard or cleric who can detect magic will never detect psionics. Nor will a psionicist who scans for psionic activity ever detect spell-casting. This holds true even if the effect of a particular magical and psionic skill is identical, or nearly identical. For example, a wizard can use hold portal to hold a door shut. In his own way, using psychokinesis, so can a psionicist. If a psionicist is holding a door shut, and a wizard casts detect magic on the door, the wizard will find nothing unusual about it. If the wizard casts dispel magic, the door will not open. No magical forces are at work on the door.

Exceptions do exist, but they're fairly easy to determine. For example, a wizard who casts a detect invisibility spell will see a character using psionic invisibility because the spell description states specifically that the spell does not discriminate between types of invisibility.

From what I have read here on this message-board, a lot of posters, even those that use psionics, do not agree with that, and therefore let magic effect psionics and vice versa.

I happen to like keeping the two independent of one another in that regard.


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If you can ignore the name "psionics" and some of the names of abilities, the 3e psionic system makes more sense to me for characters with supernatural or magical abilities: not an arbitrary uses-per-day mechanism, but a pool of energy points, and the user can choose which of their known abilities the energy will power.

Digitalelf wrote:

From what I have read here on this message-board, a lot of posters, even those that use psionics, do not agree with that, and therefore let magic effect psionics and vice versa.

I happen to like keeping the two independent of one another in that regard.

With regards to flavor, I agree. However, there may be mechanical balance problems (e.g. Spell Resistance vs. Power Resistance, Anti-Magic Shell vs. Null Psionics Field) to consider. If one source of power is more common than the other, you might find one power source running rampant over the other. Also, the classic 3e "psionics is different" had no psionic abilities affecting magic in any way, no magic affecting psionics, so it was more extreme than your quote.


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Psionics is generally more well balanced than spells are.

Powers don't get the free scaling spells do (Your Energy Ray will do 1d6 damage at 1st or 20th unless you pump more power points into it) which leaves them a bit weaker...but by the same token this leaves them open to having more than one effect possible for Powers with more points pumped into them (Energy Ray can choose from Fire, Cold, Electricity, or Sonic damage, and has slightly different effects depending).

And I really don't get the complaints over the flavor. The only real difference between magic and Psionics is Psionics is "mind power". It's still some dude waving his hands or flexing his mental muscle real hard and making a bolt of fire shoot out of his ass.

Plus, Psionics is neat in the way its "components" work. Instead of Verbal/Somatic/Material components in most cases, you have Displays. Auditory/Visual/Olfactory, and so on.

There's a whole section on customizing these to your taste, since the only direction the spell gives is (taking Energy Ray again), it has an Auditory Display.

Exactly how this manifests is up to you. It can make a loud thundercrack when you fire your ray, or the sound of birds chirping, or a low humming noise, or anything else you can think of.

It's really fun coming up with stuff. My Psion had a thing where every time he manifested a Power the sweet smell of cherry blossoms permeated the air because he was a snobby noble and the smell of real life offended him.

Psionics feels MORE magical than spells, not less. It has all the bits spellcasters in other media get, with auras of electricity crackling around them as they cast (An example Visual Display), or the wind whipping up around them (a sample Tactile Display) and stuff. It's a little thing, but really lends itself to the FUN of magic.


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Wow! Psionics is one of those things that people choose sides almost as a religious level!

So given that you seem to be openminded at the moment, Alkenstarian, have you heard the good news about our Lord Jesus Christ? ;-)

Personally, I don't like Psionics on a pure flavor level, and the fact that people are already used to standard magic, but I agree with Rynjin - I think it might actually be more balanced than the standard spell system. Narrower but more customization. I wish the default magic system was actually more like psionics.

I also find people who think it is horribly broken either a) missed some limiting element in the rules, or b) have players that nova a lot (which is even easier with psionics).


We had psionics in first edition, so it's always felt like a part of the game to me. If you don't like it for a fluff reason as stated, then that's your prerogative as GM. If you're worried about balance, as long as you use Dreamscarred Press materials, you will be as balanced as possible.


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Just reflavor Psionics into 'Mana Spellcasting.'

Pathfinder already has the Preparation Vancian casters and Spontaneous Vancian Casters, Mana Vancian [where spells are still defined in specific packages, but those packages are paid for by spending freely mutable mana and can be augmented with additional mana expenditure, up to the limit of their Caster Level.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Running a 2 year Dark Sun campaign back in 2e sold me on their 'fit' in a Fantasy Setting. Previously i could take it or leave it. If they are included though, i think they should have a Presence in the setting. Academy of the Mind alongside a mage school or clerical monastery.


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Freely admitting to not having looked yet, I'd have to look first.

But I would say that "feel" is a valid reason for not wanting to add something.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I've never liked either the mechanics or the flavor of D&D psionics, as far back as AD&D 1st ed. They always felt like a bolted-on subsystem that uses completely different rules. And the flavor is based on mid-20th-century parapsychology, not the older real-world psychic traditions. Even the word "psionics" is a bit suspect: It was coined by a scifi author in the 1950s, and was never really embraced by professional parapsychologists. Gygax picked up the term in the 1970s for a D&D supplement, and those rules made it into the 1st ed AD&D Players Handbook.

That said, I've read DSP's psionics rules, and they look really, really good. It's just that I don't want to play the X-Men in a fantasy setting. I have used 3.5-style psionics in a d20 Modern: Agents of PSI game, and they worked very, very well.

I'm really looking forward to Occult Adventures: both the rules and the flavor of psychic phenomena are more in line with my tastes for fantasy gaming.


So far, I'm taking all this in at least. I'm grateful for the feedback so far.

I know this is a contentious issue for many, but I'm not trying to troll anyone into getting into a flame-fight or anything of the sort. It's genuinely an issue that I would like some help dealing with and consequently, people's feedback is greatly appreciated.


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As far as I'm concerned if you posit a source of power that somehow separates yourself from the matter/energy of a physics universe it's "magic". I don't care how much how much pseudo-science jargon cobbled together from Greek it has, it says "mind power" and that's an automatic assignment to the "fantasy power" category. Maybe I'm just really good at ignoring names.

My feeling is that if I have to choose between psionics and spellslots for my spellcasters I choose the more flexible psionics. The default spellslots feels very weird in that the spells don't change much at casting time, even with metamagic. That's more something I associated with pre-built effects meaning I can see them working for magic items but not on-the-fly.


Aranna wrote:

I have a similar distaste of mixing the two but for a completely different reason; It bothers me to mix two completely different mechanical systems that supposedly affect the same metaphysical energies. If players want Psi I am fine with that as long as they are happy with all magic being banned or vice versa. No there will NOT be two separate but supposedly equals in the same game.

That seems like an odd stance to take, considering there are already several mechanical systems that supposedly affect the same metaphysical energies (divine vs arcane, spontaneous vs prepared).

More on topic:

I originally found the idea jarring, and it definitely is in a weird zone with more traditional tolkien-esque fantasy... but given that the system is very well balanced and there's a lot of interesting flavour niche around psionics, I really don't think there's any issue with it at all.

Have a look at the roguelike 'ToME' for a very good implementation of both psionic and magic powers in an otherwise pretty normal fantasy world.


And that is it in a nutshell Psionics aren't overpowered they are better.

I always marvel at the fact that the people who most want to use psionics are the people quickest to exclaim how underpowered they are. It's hypocrisy. They certainly aren't eager to use them because they are underpowered as they claim... no that is just a smokescreen for their real motivation. What is that? The psionic mechanics allow them to do things the spell slot mechanics don't. BUT but doesn't that make them more powerful?! Nope. Let's face it in terms of raw breakability magic and psionics stand hand in hand. I have been in too many OP arguments to think otherwise, anything that lets you rewrite the laws of physics is open to powerful shenanigans regardless of the mechanical system behind it. So why call it better? For the very reason that it lets you break those tidy prepackaged rules spell slot mechanics force on us. Oh they have balancers built in which get a little better with each new system, the latest rules made for Pathfinder being the most balanced introduced so far. So overpowered? Not at all.

Still I stand by my desire to use only ONE system in any given game though. It just feels wrong to have two separate systems at the same time.


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The Alkenstarian wrote:

...However, the flavour of psionics simply feels like someone is running fingernails down a blackboard or grinding a fork against a plate nearby.

In the school of RP that I was raised in, psionics was a sci-fi concept, and magic belonged in fantasy-settings, and never should the twain meet....

However, I just can't seem to bend my head around the idea of psionics in a fantasy setting without getting a headache and feeling like someone's trying to insert a large, round peg in a small, triangular hole.

So I'm going to throw the ball up in the air here, and ask what all of you have to add to the topic. I'm simply hoping for input...

I can certainly understand the reluctance in a GM having to learn a new system on top of everything else they have to juggle. But...

I have no problem accepting psionics in a fantasy setting, especially after seeing it fit perfectly into a setting like Dark Sun. To me, the psion is what the 3.x/Pathfinder sorcerer should have been: intuitive, precise control of desired effects vs. resource expenditure. It fits the sorcerer's theme better than "X slots at each level" does. As others have said, Dreamscarred's psionics is the best, most balanced version yet.

As a GM, I've never had a nova-ing problem, because I believe in the 8hr workday for PCs. I also stuck to magic-psionics transparency rule (for sanity's sake), and dutifully enforced the #1 rule: "You can’t spend more power points on a power than your manifester level."


And yes Blakemane they are TWO systems. When you break down the spell slot system it matters very little which fluff you use arcane or divine. Much the same as there is little mechanical difference in a Telepath vs a Kineticist. And while spontaneous slots ARE a little different they in effect only break one little rule of slots and follow the system too closely to be considered something like a whole different system they are merely a variant of spell slots.


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The Alkenstarian wrote:

I'm not sure if my hard-line stance on this issue is the right one. I'm at least not sure if it's the right one for me. However, I just can't seem to bend my head around the idea of psionics in a fantasy setting without getting a headache and feeling like someone's trying to insert a large, round peg in a small, triangular hole.

So I'm going to throw the ball up in the air here, and ask what all of you have to add to the topic. I'm simply hoping for input that'll help jog my ongoing, mental gymnastics-routine on this issue. I'm not saying I'll change or I'll stay with how things are now. But I'm hoping to hear people's honest opinions, pro and con, when it comes to psionics.

Thank you.

A few things.

If you're interested in real-world traditions as a backdrop, there is functionally little difference between magic and psionics beyond methodology.

If you're interested purely based on past fantasy materials, psionics does a better job of representing a rawer or more primal form of magic and does a wonderful job of representing mana-based ideas of magic where characters have a finite resource of energy that is manipulated by their will and higher understanding, whereas D&D magic is more like loading a revolver with spell-bullets.

Psionics (the system) are gloriously refluffable because all the bells and whistles are not required by the system to be good. This means that you can make a psionic character and flavor them more or less however you please. I made a psion (egoist/shaper) who was functionally and flavorfully a mixture between a druid and a witch. By all world accounts she was using a sort of magic.

Because the psionics system is so refluffable, in my monk rewrite the monk uses psionics as the foundation for their system rather than ki-points (they serve the same function but psionics is more elegant).

Psionics are better balanced than core magic as well, with the ceiling being lower and the bottom being higher. It's harder to completely screw up a psion beyond hope (like you might with a sorcerer) but you also won't see psions doing things like gating in solars to be their b**** minions (which core clerics can totally do by the way).

Psionics, the system, is very much like sorcerers done right. Like most things in this game, with so little forced fluff you can take the mechanics and give them almost any flavor that you want.

There's also the fact that there's nothing wrong with mixing traditional fantasy with stuff that is often considered science fiction. Psi is often just a stand in for magic in sci-fi settings because they don't want to say magic for the same reasons you don't want to say psi. However, you can find examples of both all over the place and mixtures if you look around.

If you can stomach playing in Golarion with their space-elves, there's no valid reason not to include psionics.


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Aranna wrote:
And yes Blakemane they are TWO systems. When you break down the spell slot system it matters very little which fluff you use arcane or divine. Much the same as there is little mechanical difference in a Telepath vs a Kineticist. And while spontaneous slots ARE a little different they in effect only break one little rule of slots and follow the system too closely to be considered something like a whole different system they are merely a variant of spell slots.

Well, except when it comes to things like arcane spell failure % (which doesn't even affect all arcane spells, requiring you to track which spells can and cannot be effectively cast in armor), preparation times based on classes (such as how clerics do not have to rest before preparing their spells), different rules for how spells interact with things like scrolls even when they appear cross-spell lists (requiring you to keep track of things like whether or not a scroll of greater magic weapon or resist energy is an arcane or divine scroll), then you have the entire category of "not spells" spell-like abilities which mimic the way spells work but aren't spells and have their own set of rules.

EDIT: SLAs likewise don't even use spell slots. They have a number of times you can use them based on a given time period. Some SLAs are usable at-will, others x/day, some x/week, some x/year, and could use entirely different cooldowns (binders in 3.5 for example had SLAs that were usable once every 5 rounds). They likewise ignore components, have different rules for handling them, and use entirely different feats to modify and/or improve them.

In essence, someone who bars psionics based on it being different from spell-slot magic is a hypocrite if they also use SLA mechanics in their games.


SLA's being the exception none of that is enough to call it a whole new system. And SLA's really aren't a comprehensive class based system... they are a sort of bolt on mechanic to explain some monster powers.

Edit: Not hypocritical at all, SLA's being a much simpler bolt on mechanic can be used effortlessly side by side with either the psionic points or magic slots systems.


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Gonna leave this here once more, considering it got no action earlier.

kyrt-ryder wrote:

Just reflavor Psionics into 'Mana Spellcasting.'

Pathfinder already has the Preparation Vancian casters and Spontaneous Vancian Casters, Mana Vancian [where spells are still defined in specific packages, but those packages are paid for by spending freely mutable mana and can be augmented with additional mana expenditure, up to the limit of their Caster Level.] is only one step further down the line.

It's not like Psionics is freeform magic or anything too far out there :P


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Aranna wrote:

SLA's being the exception none of that is enough to call it a whole new system. And SLA's really aren't a comprehensive class based system... they are a sort of bolt on mechanic to explain some monster powers.

And yet they are also used as class features by a fairly large number of classes.


Ashiel wrote:
Aranna wrote:

SLA's being the exception none of that is enough to call it a whole new system. And SLA's really aren't a comprehensive class based system... they are a sort of bolt on mechanic to explain some monster powers.

And yet they are also used as class features by a fairly large number of classes.

Nothing in this statement is false. But that doesn't rescue them from bolt on status. No decisions need be made with them, no slots are filled no points are spent, they do just one thing x times per day at their predetermined level.


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There's also the fact that the majority of differences between psionics and vancian magic are also the differences between SLAs and vancian magic.


  • They don't use components.
  • They aren't slot based.
  • They have effects that are similar to existing spells mechanically but are a little different.
  • You can affect them as spells with things like dispel magic, detect magic, arcane sight, etc.
  • They are both subject to effects based on spell level such as globe of invulnerability.

The biggest difference between the two is psionics has a standardized method for casting, doesn't freely get better with your caster level, and has standard mechanics for the things they do.

And again, psionics is better balanced. You can get lots of +caster level effects just like with vancian casting, except psionic characters do not get free-scaling powers, which means that a higher caster level doesn't mean stronger powers. It means they can pierce SR more easily and the range/durations of their powers gets better but they still have to pay for stronger spells. Vancian casters, however, just get stronger spells as a gimme when their caster level rises (so a cleric who gets +5 CL automatically heals an extra +50 HP when they cast heal, automatically controls stronger monsters when they cast gate, automatically deals more damage with flamestrike, automatically gets stronger options with create undead spells, automaticcally kills off stronger enemies with holy word, automatically...).


Aranna wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Aranna wrote:

SLA's being the exception none of that is enough to call it a whole new system. And SLA's really aren't a comprehensive class based system... they are a sort of bolt on mechanic to explain some monster powers.

And yet they are also used as class features by a fairly large number of classes.

Nothing in this statement is false. But that doesn't rescue them from bolt on status. No decisions need be made with them, no slots are filled no points are spent, they do just one thing x times per day at their predetermined level.

Given that the psionics system is intentionally crafted to be an expansion that works both stand-along or stand-alone, the vast majority of the psionics rules are copy-paste stuff from the magic chapter, while the differences are comparable to SLAs.

Hence why I see a profound hypocrisy every time someone tries to denote some grand difference in mechanics that make the two systems incompatible or somehow unfeasible. Especially since you can learn everything you need to know to GM a game with psionic PCs in 5 minutes or less, usually by just reading a short bullet-point list.


I am not going to argue which system is better balanced. Suffice it to say they are internally balanced very differently... this makes for yet another good reason not to use both systems at the same time.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The Alkenstarian wrote:


I'm not sure if my hard-line stance on this issue is the right one. I'm at least not sure if it's the right one for me. However, I just can't seem to bend my head around the idea of psionics in a fantasy setting without getting a headache and feeling like someone's trying to insert a large, round peg in a small, triangular hole.

So I'm going to throw the ball up in the air here, and ask what all of you have to add to the topic. I'm simply hoping for input...

You're the Gamemaster. BY DEFINITION, whatever restrictions you decide for your world are right. It's the player's choice to either accept your world or not opt to play in it.

Restricting something from a world is not automatically a "bad" thing. After all a statue is defined by what's carved away from it.


Ashiel wrote:
Hence why I see a profound hypocrisy every time someone tries to denote some grand difference in mechanics that make the two systems incompatible or somehow unfeasible. Especially since you can learn everything you need to know to GM a game with psionic PCs in 5 minutes or less, usually by just reading a short bullet-point list.

They aren't incompatible nor is it unfeasible, stop falsely quoting me please. I just like using one system especially when the two systems are doing the SAME THING. Pick one and roll with it.

Also the second part is blatantly false. You can not pick up everything you need to build a psionic encounter off a 5 minute chat. Trust me that would be my first failed attempt to use psionics; Trying to pick it up on the fly.


Aranna wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Hence why I see a profound hypocrisy every time someone tries to denote some grand difference in mechanics that make the two systems incompatible or somehow unfeasible. Especially since you can learn everything you need to know to GM a game with psionic PCs in 5 minutes or less, usually by just reading a short bullet-point list.
They aren't incompatible nor is it unfeasible, stop falsely quoting me please. I just like using one system especially when the two systems are doing the SAME THING. Pick one and roll with it.

I'm not falsely quoting you. In fact, aside from the first paragraph, I wasn't even talking to you directly. Instead I was making a general comment on what I see frequently amongst detractors. I apologize for being unclear and making you think I was specifically talking about you or something you said.

Quote:
Also the second part is blatantly false. You can not pick up everything you need to build a psionic encounter off a 5 minute chat. Trust me that would be my first failed attempt to use psionics; Trying to pick it up on the fly.

No, it's not false. I said "GM a game with psionic PCs". That is trivially easy and can be done with a bullet point explanation of psionics. Now if you want to build encounters and stuff containing the material you should become more familiar with the source material. However, for actually resolving and running encounters that psionic PCs are in, it requires no work.

I frequently run entire games that don't actually use psionic NPCs or creatures but feature psionic characters in the party. In fact, my current ongoing campaign has 5/6 psionic party members (#6 is a Paladin) and most of the encounters they have engaged in have been with bestiary I monsters, NPC classes (adepts & warriors), and stuff with lots of SLAs, and a number of clerics and sorcerers. Only in two encounters in the entire campaign have I actually used psionics for NPCs.

So no, it's not false. You can just run the game as normal. If your PCs have references to the powers that they know and/or will be using, you can run the game off bullet-point knowledge. It's that smooth.


What is the point in including Psionic characters if you are not going to be using psionic encounters/treasure/challenges? Sure it can be done but everyone will have a much better time in this case if you have that psionic player instead take a spell based class and refluff it as psionics.


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Aranna wrote:
What is the point in including Psionic characters if you are not going to be using psionic encounters/treasure/challenges?

Fun.

Quote:
Sure it can be done but everyone will have a much better time in this case if you have that psionic player instead take a spell based class and refluff it as psionics.

Someone who wants to play a Paladin wants to play a Paladin. Someone who wants to play a Psion wants to play a Psion. Forcing them to play with mechanics they are disinterested in is as foolish as forcing the Paladin to play a Barbarian because you aren't using Paladin NPCs.


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Because psionic mechanics are fun, and you want everyone to have fun.


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The magic system is quite FUN or it wouldn't be the system they stuck with all these years.


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And sometimes you want to play something different. Can you comprehend the idea that different people enjoy different things to different degrees?


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Ashiel wrote:
Forcing them to play with mechanics they are disinterested in

Ahhh here is the REAL argument. Player A wants to use a certain set of mechanics... NOT fluff, NOT concept... mechanics. But when NOTHING engages your character, nothing challenges his field, or nothing rewards his field... then I say absolutely in my case this make the game LESS fun than simply using the system everyone else is using. You can probably do almost exactly the same concept with either system, so this boils down to certain players feeling they can get an edge by using different mechanics than the rest.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ashiel wrote:
So no, it's not false. You can just run the game as normal. If your PCs have references to the powers that they know and/or will be using, you can run the game off bullet-point knowledge. It's that smooth..

Assuming the players are themselves all of the following.

1. Fully knowledgeable of the psionics system.

2. Fully honest about using it, and the important bit, actually willing to police themselves about such important things as manifestor limits, special rules restricting powers etc... I've heard players rebuking other players for reminding DM's of things that they forgotten that were mandatory to apply.

And to be honest, you run your games with more than a casual knowledge of psionics, given how much you champion it on the forum. A GM who is going to run a campaign with psionic players is pretty much giving them the house if he's not conversant with either the system and the occasional monkey wrench such as psionic predators to throw at them.


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Mechanics /= 'Gaining an Edge.'

The mechanics impact how the character plays in combat. This isn't necessarily about gaining an edge, but rather about how it plays.

In this particular case, changing the mechanics is less like changing the Engine [more or less power, although there is a bit less power than Vancian Magic it's fairly close] and more like changing the Suspension.


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Aranna wrote:

And yes Blakemane they are TWO systems. When you break down the spell slot system it matters very little which fluff you use arcane or divine. Much the same as there is little mechanical difference in a Telepath vs a Kineticist. And while spontaneous slots ARE a little different they in effect only break one little rule of slots and follow the system too closely to be considered something like a whole different system they are merely a variant of spell slots.

If you really just want one system, you'd probably be happier with another game, like 4e. The beauty of pathfinder is that we don't have just one system--we have many, and they all work together. We have Vancian magic, yes. But we also have psionics, and maneuvers, and hexes, and Akashic magic, and composition magic, and ethermagic, and evolutions, and talisman/petition magic, and words of power, and waypoints, and grit, and whatever else we have now that I lost track of.

If you want to cut all of that down to a single mechanic...well, maybe it is time for you to stop and think about whether pathfinder is helping you and your campaign or whether it is working against you.


I dont like Psionics so much as I dont like the mechanics and poor balance thus far.
In fact ive had more then one spellcaster in my games cast spells classically as sorcerers or wizards, but let them refer to their magic as "psionics".

Many already established monsters have lots of strange abilities that I can not classify as anything but psionics. I understand that a demon may be born with fire in his essence, casting fire spells and generally setting stuff on fire with his burning hair/armpits whatever, but why does a vampire have the ability to dominate people? Its supposedly because the have such immense willpower that they can overwhelm lesser minds? Is that not the definition of psionics?

.

In other words, I dislike psionics so far because to me they are synonimous with power points, psionic feats and other stuff that makes up an alternate system that I find broken, overly complex or otherwise detrimental. The last time I played psionics I played an "Aegis" or I think, the one that psionically armor's himself, in game he was an arabian themed mezmerisingly charismatic gigolo playboy and businessman, but everyone knows it was Iron man. With flight and phaser lasers and everything.

So yes, when I get my hands on the official Pathfinder version of psionics I will be exited and glad to find a new ruleset for psionic characters.

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The only downside I see however is that at first glance none of the Occult mysteries classes seem to have any martial elements. At least the old psionics system had Soulknives, Psiblades and stuff like that.


Truth is I am one of the few people that liked 4e... but it was a nightmare to GM it so I didn't. And since I was one of the few local GMs it meant no 4e games.


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Aranna wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Forcing them to play with mechanics they are disinterested in

Ahhh here is the REAL argument. Player A wants to use a certain set of mechanics... NOT fluff, NOT concept... mechanics. But when NOTHING engages your character, nothing challenges his field, or nothing rewards his field... then I say absolutely in my case this make the game LESS fun than simply using the system everyone else is using. You can probably do almost exactly the same concept with either system, so this boils down to certain players feeling they can get an edge by using different mechanics than the rest.

What EDGE?

And what's all this nonsense about engaging you, challenging you, or rewarding you?

The same things that reward an Arcane caster, or Divine caster, or Alchemist, or Psychic Magic user reward a challenge, engage, and reward a Psionic character!

Challenges: Spell Resistance (also applies to powers, because transparency is true by default), saving throws

Engages: ...Same as any other character. You pick stuff that sounds fun. You use it. You wrap it in a big ball of roleplay.

Rewards: Ditto the above.

Where do you GET this idea from?

Yes, Psionics is DIFFERENT. That doesn't mean it has an EDGE (contrary, actually, since using more powerful Powers that do things that spells do for free actively reduces your spells per day), it just means it's fun because it can do different things.

I can't make an Aegis without Psionics. Period. Nor can I make a Soulknife. Or a Psychic Warrior. Or even a Psion, which is basically still a Wizard but with a much larger restriction on which powers he can pick.

I don't get where this nonsense is flowing from with you.


Have you been following the thread Rynjin?
The comments are based on the 5 minutes to run for a psionic character in a non psionic game scenario Ashiel championed. It basically means your psionic character isn't going to encounter any psionic challenges, NPCs, treasures, or anything else a player would like to find when playing a psionic character. Which I feel is less fun.

The edge is only in the minds of those who must have the mechanics behind the point system. Those who feel magic can't interest them at all. Despite the fact that concepts can be copied back and forth from magic to psi or vice versa.

Edit: There are a number of Gish or spellblade builds which can stand in for those psionic classes with a little refluffing. Even Sorcerer which can be fluffed as a psion.


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Perhaps it is less fun.

You know what's even less fun?

Not being able to play the class at all.

I'll take the class alone if the GM is unwilling to toss in the Psionic Bestiary and whatnot, no complaints.

I love the Psionic classes, more than the majority of the Paizo classes, save a few gems like the Inquisitor, Alchemist, Slayer, and Monk and Brawler.

It's not a matter of "edge" it's a matter of the classes being FUN.

And still, even without specifically Psionic NPCs, treasure, and monsters...your claims that the character isn't challenged, engaged, or rewarded is ludicrous. They get all three in the same measure as the other members of the party.


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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.


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Aranna wrote:
The edge is only in the minds of those who must have the mechanics behind the point system. Those who feel magic can't interest them at all. Despite the fact that concepts can be copied back and forth from magic to psi or vice versa.

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Wanting to use X mechanics doesn't have to have anything to do with gaining an 'edge.' Whatsoever.

Certain mechanics also impact gameplay in a stylistic way. They change the way playing the game plays out, which may provide an edge, may remain neutral or [in the case of psionics vs vancian] may actually be a downgrade of power to one degree or another.

Fun is a distinct concern all its own Aranna, and it's derived from more than just the roleplay concept side of the game [although IMO that is indeed the largest part by a small margin.]


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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.


Rynjin wrote:
And still, even without specifically Psionic NPCs, treasure, and monsters...your claims that the character isn't challenged, engaged, or rewarded is ludicrous. They get all three in the same measure as the other members of the party.

How are you STILL misunderstanding this? This refers to psionic encounters/rewards NOT normal encounters/rewards.

In your game feel free to mix and match as you desire, I made no claims that my way was the only way to play. I don't mix them, it's what I prefer. You don't hear me calling your way wrongbadfun, but somehow I have to endlessly justify my way...

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