So...Psychics?


General Discussion


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Kind of betting we'll get some kind of psychic magic in the core book, it would fit in great with the setting.


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Yeah, I can see that. Perhaps even some Psy-Tech. That would be interesting.


I don't expect to see more than 1 type of magic. Remember, there is only so much room in this book and a LOT that needs to be crammed in (unlike the "Ultimate" books for Pathfinder this book will need an entire "how to play" chapter, as well as entirety new equipment, and space ship rules.)

We might see a psychic magic update in the future, but I think it might be best if people keep in mind that the physical size of the book is going to limit what they can cover.


What I would love to see, is that it has just come down to "magic" and the spellcasters of the far future just have access to Divine, Arcane and Psychic magic and just see it as one force. That would be a way to set apart Starfinder spellcasters from Pathfinder. And in a world of high tech that can obviate the need for fireballs or magic missile, the variety could be useful.


I would expect a lot of magic that interacts with technology and that functions off a better understanding of science as well, (gravity spells, mind-machine interfacing, radiation manipulation, ship enhancement spells)


I've seen word that the PF classes will be at least as compatible as 3.5 was to PF.


Rhedyn wrote:
I've seen word that the PF classes will be at least as compatible as 3.5 was to PF.

I have mentioned this before. Yes, but really, how compatible IS 3.5 with Pathfinder? Is it technically possible to play a 3.5 character in Pathfinder, yes (after all, BAB, Saves and Skills are all things). Does it ever really end well? Not really (why would you play a 3.5 Wizard/Sorc or Fighter Instead of the Pathfinder equivalent?), you still need to convert all you're feats/skills/spells (which might make you're build work completely differently).

All in All, I don't put much stock in the whole "Compatible" idea with a book that's being billed as a stand alone system. I'm sure that's the plan, but at the end of the day if they have to choose between Backwards Compatible and Balanced Design I'm sure they are going to pick Balanced Design. Using monsters from the Bestiary is one thing, using full Player Characters is something else.


I was under the impression that Monsters were meant to be easily convertable. Other things could also be converted but that the goal wasn't to provide balance for them in Starfinder.

Back to the topic at hand, I don't think we'll see Psychic magic immediately in the core rulebook since they do need to leave some room for technology to play a big role, but I would be very surprised if it didn't make an appearance somewhere down the line. Providing support for 3 kinds of magic when they're already trying to trim down the amount of spells from the amount that were in the Pathfinder core rulebook seems unlikely. Still, at the very least I would expect some monsters with psychic magic to make an appearance in a future book(s).


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Arcane magic, especially since the wizard treats magic as a science, makes more sense to me than psychic magic that is more new-age mysticism and hidden occult stuff. Psychic magic isn't psionics.


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Unfortunately, since it's a batter system than Vancian.

Except, you know, the only difference is Paizo doesn't use power points and instead of spending more to make a spell stronger, you use less to make it weaker. Ripped off quite a few Psionic Powers though, shamelessly, after saying they hate Psionics....


Milo v3 wrote:
Arcane magic, especially since the wizard treats magic as a science, makes more sense to me than psychic magic that is more new-age mysticism and hidden occult stuff. Psychic magic isn't psionics.

Eh, still it wouldn't suprise me if they delved into Psychic Magic along with Dark Tapestry stuff at least somewhat. I doubt it will be a major focus (and almost certainly won't be in the core rulebook as a player option) but it'll probably make an appearance at some point, especially if the Dominion of the Black and other such creepiness are still around.


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Regarding converting characters between 3.x games, remember that all D20 derivatives are "basically compatible" you could take a DnD 3rd edition character into D20 modern with a little bit of work, or a D20 modern into Pathfinder after converting from DnD 3.0... but that doesnt mean it would work well or wouldnt require a lot of extra work. I played a one shot once with someone who insisted on playing a 3.0 barbarian. It was basically compatible though figuring out which skill he would use when we all rolled perception was a slow down and his skills weren't up to par with what the rest of the group could manage. Also his character couldnt read. But it was what he wanted to play and it was basically compatable (thankfully we never needed to refer to his CMB/CMD, he didnt even know what those terms were). So with them having said Starfinder will be compatible with Pathfinder, i take that to mean it will still be based off D20 rules and nothing else is set in stone.


Regarding Magic, I have seen it suggested that the various disciplines of magic will be condensed into one source, perhaps a mix of previous traditions, perhaps a whole new method of accessing arcane power. There will likely be something to explain the diminishing presence of magic in the setting more so than just "we haz techz nao." While this is a stand alone game they still want to continue in the same setting of Pathfinder and this is a setting where gods exist and (at least until recently) granted extremely powerful miracles to their followers, likewise the most intelligent and educated were capable of feats of magic that made them look like gods to their lessers. To say that the best and brightest just go to university now and get a proper education doesnt explain why none of these brilliant people continue with the tried and true methods that allowed their ancestors to create their own personal planes of existence...

My just-a-theory is that the creation of Hyperspace and the Gap have done a considerable job of locking away magical powers and strengthened the boundaries between planes and that those effects have left magic as a greatly reduced and consolidated tradition. It would also create a story reason for a lot of BBEGs to hate Absalom station as a representation of the loss of most magics.


Dexion1619 wrote:

I don't expect to see more than 1 type of magic. Remember, there is only so much room in this book and a LOT that needs to be crammed in (unlike the "Ultimate" books for Pathfinder this book will need an entire "how to play" chapter, as well as entirety new equipment, and space ship rules.)

We might see a psychic magic update in the future, but I think it might be best if people keep in mind that the physical size of the book is going to limit what they can cover.

It's a core rulebook, admittedly a smaller one, but I assume there will be room for three types of magic just like the other core rulebook.


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Milo v3 wrote:
Arcane magic, especially since the wizard treats magic as a science, makes more sense to me than psychic magic that is more new-age mysticism and hidden occult stuff. Psychic magic isn't psionics.

Psionics don't have to retain the same flavour, tbh. The new-age mysticism is very much just how these powers are codified in Golarion society, but in Starfinder the more psionic aspects of psychic casters could be emphasised, focusing on kineticism and telepathy.


IonutRO wrote:


Psionics don't have to retain the same flavour, tbh. The new-age mysticism is very much just how these powers are codified in Golarion society, but in Starfinder the more psionic aspects of psychic casters could be emphasised, focusing on kineticism and telepathy.

I agree. I think flavor is a matter of how you write something.


We could see a revision in magic lay out too, the spell granting class dictates the form of magic (divine, arcane, psychic) its casting mechanics (prayer/holy symbol, gesture/voice, thoughts/emotions, prepared or spontaneous) and then have class limits of along the lines of "Can not select necromancy spells beyond level 4" or "All creation school spells must be selected as one level higher than listed" Put a consolidated spell list in the magic chapter and call it good. All magic is lumped together allowing most any caster to use most any magic but with a few tweaks for individual classes in play along the way. After all, divine casters in Pathfinder normally get enhanced weapon and armor proficiencies since their magic is less directly damaging but what do weapon or armor proficiencies matter if everyone in the future is using force fields and laser pistols against touch AC?


If they change magic that much then you can't really play a lot of classes from pathfinder wich would be disappointing.


They did say in a Know Direction podcast that they would be changing a "little bit" about how magic is cast, so I doubt we'll see too many drastic changes. James Sutter then immediately went on to talk about how magic would be making room for technology. Based on the (albeit little) information we have so far, I personally think that most of the changes will be about toning down magic. Still, it's early days right now so who knows!

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Azten wrote:
after saying they hate Psionics....

I love psionics. I always have. I wrote psionics articles for Dragon Magazine in the 1990s.


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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Azten wrote:
after saying they hate Psionics....
I love psionics. I always have. I wrote psionics articles for Dragon Magazine in the 1990s.

Yyyyyyyyeeeeeeesssssssssss...


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You aren't the one that got to decide "no psionics" though.


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iirc, they didn't ever say they hated psionics. They just didn't like point-based magic + don't want to complicate the game even further by adding in multiple different magic systems to try and remember.


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Except that's exactly what they did, isn't it? Psychic magic is not the same as arcane or divine. It's a "new" system.


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Azten wrote:
Except that's exactly what they did, isn't it? Psychic magic is not the same as arcane or divine. It's a "new" system.

It's spontaneous Vancian casting with free Eschew Materials and drawbacks for being still/silent. If it's a new system, there's not much new about it.

Liberty's Edge

The spell lists are fairly distinctive, at least. Which isn't saying a whole lot from a class design perspective, but at least there's that.


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Azten wrote:
Except that's exactly what they did, isn't it? Psychic magic is not the same as arcane or divine. It's a "new" system.

It's less of a "new" system than the alchemist's alchemy is.


OK, as someone who loves psionics and psychic magic equally I am quite interested in seeing how much this plays into the game. Historically speaking psionic/psychic ability has been a part of science fiction for quite some time. Heck, the reason may who don't want this as part of [insert name of favorite fantasy RPG here] is because of the overall perception that is sci-fi and thus has no place in fantasy. I like to refer to psionic/psychic power as "Magic that likes to pretend it's science" as there have been fantasy stories to feature it and if we are doing science fantasy I think it really should be part of the game. But I understand there are those that might not agree with me. Still I do think it's the most "appropriate" kind of magic as in its a trope that is well establish and well accepted as being part of the overall space opera landscape, or would that be starscape?


Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well, I think one thing is that it looks like the majority of the new classes aren't going to be magical in nature. Envoy, Mechanic, Operative, and Soldier seem like they're going to be mundane classes, with only Mystic, Solarian, and Technomancer as more magical classes. So I'm not sure if there will even be an arcane/divine divide, much less adding in psychic magic to begin with, though I think it would be interesting if each of the magically-inclined classes could choose arcane/divine/psychic and get some variant abilities, or perhaps just one of them. Of course, it's possible that we will have, say, the Mystic as Divine, the Solarian as Psychic, and the Technomancer as Arcane. We'll just have to see...


From what's been said at Gencon, it sounds like the Mystic could be themed as a psychic if you wanted. Looks to me like they're differentiating use of magic in terms of mechanics rather than "Arcane/Psychic/Divine".

I'm guessing the Solarion will use Kineticist / Ki-type abilities; mystic will have spell lists; Technomancer will have less spells and use archetypes/talents to adjust how they're integrated into use in/alongside technology (a la Alchemist, Occultist, Magus).

I'm expecting to see a lot of class-based Talents so you can have an infinite variety of different interpretations of a class.


Milo v3 wrote:
Arcane magic, especially since the wizard treats magic as a science, makes more sense to me than psychic magic that is more new-age mysticism and hidden occult stuff. Psychic magic isn't psionics.

No, it isn't. Arcane magic fits more into Starfinder.


The kineticist fits better in Starfinder then any of the other current Pathfinder classes.

As for psychic magic, the psychic still fits well but the occultist, medium, and spiritualist not so much. I could see the mesmerist being useful as well.

I can see sorcerers still being around unless genetic engineering made sure otherwise.

The only wizards I could see fitting are ones that found immortality or undeath.

Bards could still have a place.

Most other arcane casters would be rare.

Divine casters in general would rare but I could see Oracles still being more common now them most other divine casters.

Druids and shamans would still be common on more primitive or nature focused planets.


EltonJ wrote:


No, it isn't. Arcane magic fits more into Starfinder.

That's what I said....

Liberty's Edge

If it were me, I'd probably designate the technomancer as arcane, the mystic as divine and the solarian as psychic, and then develop archetypes to swap those around as seems suitable.


Is it definite that there will be a Technomancer base class in Starfinder? If so, that might cause some confusion between the Technomancer prestige class (CS: Technology Guide) and the Technomancer base class (Starfinder).


Yes, it's definite. It's a caster that understands and uses the underlining math of the universe to do magic, blending science and magic.


Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bellona wrote:
Is it definite that there will be a Technomancer base class in Starfinder? If so, that might cause some confusion between the Technomancer prestige class (CS: Technology Guide) and the Technomancer base class (Starfinder).

They announced at GenCon that the base classes would be Envoy, Mechanic, Mystic, Operative, Solarian, Soldier, and Technomancer, so while they might still change things, it seems dubious at this point. And eh, remember it's been a long time since when Pathfinder is set, the technomancer prestige class might well have historically led to the line of study that ultimately led to the creation of the technomancer base class as they better learned to combine magic and mathematical principles.

Besides, while they say you will be able to convert classes between them, they still are two different - albeit similar - systems. You can technically play a warlock from 3.5 in Pathfinder with a little conversion too, but that hasn't stopped Paizo from making their own warlock archetype for the vigilante!


That's a good point/idea about the prestige class potentially evolving into a base class during the Gap.

Slightly more on topic for the thread: it would be interesting to see both psychic magic and Dreamscarred psionics in this new setting. Although I haven't really dug into Dreamscarred's psionics, I've always seen it as a "science", whereas Paizo's psychic magic has always struck me as being more mystical (particularly classes that contact the dead like the Medium and Spiritualist).


Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bellona wrote:

That's a good point/idea about the prestige class potentially evolving into a base class during the Gap.

Slightly more on topic for the thread: it would be interesting to see both psychic magic and Dreamscarred psionics in this new setting. Although I haven't really dug into Dreamscarred's psionics, I've always seen it as a "science", whereas Paizo's psychic magic has always struck me as being more mystical (particularly classes that contact the dead like the Medium and Spiritualist).

I certainly suspect that Dreamscarred Press will publish at least a conversion guide for Starfinder, depending on just how much conversion is necessary...we'll just have to see! If conversion is necessary, I'm personally hoping to see conversions for Dreamscarred Press' Akashic Mysteries, Drop Dead Studio's Spheres of Power, and Radiance House's Grimoire of Lost Souls...and Interjection Games' Ultimate Ethermagic seems appropriate as well, for that matter. We'll just have to see how things go...


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Honestly I think arcane, divine, and psychic will be replaced completely. My guess is cosmic magic, or maybe remnant magic. The Mystic and Solarion use cosmic magic, which would be more basic things, like heals, evocation in general, stuff like that. But magic that does things like polymorph or prestidigitation? Technomancer. I'm sure some spells would fall between them (mage hand,fir example) but otherwise I think they're gonna really change magic as we know it


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Bellona wrote:
Is it definite that there will be a Technomancer base class in Starfinder? If so, that might cause some confusion between the Technomancer prestige class (CS: Technology Guide) and the Technomancer base class (Starfinder).

Reusing the exact same name for various feats, archetypes, and classes to maximize confusion is a long time Pathfinder tradition that I hope carries forward to Starfinder.

E.g., if you're playing an "Occultist" in PF you might be playing an Occultist or an Arcanist. There are lots of other examples.


Milo v3 wrote:
iirc, they didn't ever say they hated psionics. They just didn't like point-based magic + don't want to complicate the game even further by adding in multiple different magic systems to try and remember.

There's also the fact that Dreamscarred had already sailed the psionic boat off the dock.

Liberty's Edge

I'd definitely like to see some psychic representation in Starfinder.

With the whole idea of mixing science and magic, I can totally see science and psionic powers mixing. I've always been a stickler for the tortured science experiment who manifested destructive powers as a result. For me Psychics fit that mold better than arcane. Divine also make sense. But nothing scarier than needles and other sharp implements suddenly levitating before being flung in the direction of a merciless, but defenseless scientist.

Dark Archive

Given that the fluff seems to work very similarly, I envision that psychic magic will be a stand-in for the Force in this universe. We haven't really had an occult gish class, so I envision that the mystic will fill that gap by offering psychic magic in conjunction with combat ability (a perfect combo for a jedi, if you ask me.

On that note, it would cool to see some archetypes for the psychic that give star wars-esque abilities. Maybe access to chain lightning, suffocation, and even create undead (Expanded Universe FTW) could be part of a sith archetype or dark side discipline.


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psionics would definitely fit better than vancian psychic casting though.
less bookkeeping, too; the "more complicated" claim has always felt a little... stretched?


Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jamie Charlan wrote:

psionics would definitely fit better than vancian psychic casting though.

less bookkeeping, too; the "more complicated" claim has always felt a little... stretched?

Less bookkeeping, good one!

Not sure why psionics would fit better for a setting that's the future of a setting that uses Gygaxian spellcasting, though...


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Um, how is it anything but less bookkeeping?
You have one stack of points, and powers known. One big "we swear it's not MP" pool. Subtract the cost.

Compare that to tracking remaining slots of each different level, as well as (in case of prepared casters) which spells of your spells known list are stored in each slot and expended for the day once cast.


Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jamie Charlan wrote:

Um, how is it anything but less bookkeeping?

You have one stack of points, and powers known. One big "we swear it's not MP" pool. Subtract the cost.

Compare that to tracking remaining slots of each different level, as well as (in case of prepared casters) which spells of your spells known list are stored in each slot and expended for the day once cast.

...you find checklists complicated? Much less more complicated than subtracting various powers with different costs that can vary depending on how many points you want to spend to boost them? Out of a pool of point that usually winds up in the triple digits? I mean, I don't mind if other people want to use psionics, but 'less bookkeeping' is definitely not something I associate with it.

Edit: Which is not to say that I don't enjoy non-Gygaxian spellcasting as well, much less view Gygaxian spellcasting as a sacred cow that must not be touched, etc. But realistically, Starfinder takes place in the future of Golarion, where they use Gygaxian magic for the most part as far as Paizo is concerned - your home game may be different, of course. And as always, people can certainly add in or substitute different magic systems.


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Here's what I see looking at those classes:
I have 243/343 PPs.
I use this power, it costs 5, plus 7 worth of augmentations. 231/343
In the morning I recover everything. 343/343 Done.
The augments are either metanotmagic or straight up paying the scaling from caster level increase (as unlike the vancian spells they don't autoscale so if you want that 10d6 fireball, you're paying more than a 3rd level power); things you'd keep track of with spells as well, but: One number value at the top of the page to track.

Meanwhile, Sorcerer:
6/9___9/9___7/9___0/8___5/8___2/7___4/7___1/6___6/6
Okay I want to cast dimensional anchor, but I can't anymore. But I could change its spell level and thus value with metamagic and could then cast it with a different slot. I'll go down to 4/8 if I just take a +1, but if I +4 it that's the last 8th level spell I can cast today... I'll Extend.
6/9___9/9___7/9___0/8___4/8___2/7___4/7___1/6___6/6
"how many I have of each level I'm allowed to use" is extra steps for sure. Had to choose variables there as well. Even in the morning, it's also more writing than the power points.

And wizard's even worse. The work comes all in the morning when you choose and memorize. "Do I want two empowered acid arrows, or do I want a maximized augury (no I don't know why you'd maximize augury), how many heightened limited wishes do I set up here today?


Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That's an odd way of looking at it. After all, especially if you're a spontaneous caster you already have that written down ahead of time, so you just have a list of how many spells you know and what metamagics you know, no more complicated than your metapsionics powers or paying the scaling from caster level increase. Usually it's a straight list. Then you just put a check mark by each spell level after you cast it on your sheet. Prepared casters are even easier since you have a very specific list, so you can just check off each one individually. The only time it's an issue in-game is when you have to prepare spells during a session instead of between sessions, which is one reason I prefer spontaneous. Also, I guess people you play with use a lot more metamagic than in my experience...

Conversely with psionics you have to keep a running tally going on in the middle of play, subtracting each point total every time you use a power, which may vary depending on your chosen caster level and desired metapsionics instead of just checking off what you've used. Just what Pathfinder needs, even more math...if I have to use a point-based system, I'd much rather use Akashic Mysteries's veilweaving with its constant, small, rearrangeable pool of points, Ultimate Ethermagic's ethermagic with its small, regenerating pool of points, or Spheres of Power with a smaller pool of points but more things you can do without needing to spend those points.

Edit: Overall it seems like you view Gygaxian magic as having too much prep work, though, ie assembling said list to check off in the first place, while I view psionics as being unwieldy in actual play. But I tend to view the list-assembling as just part of character creation for a spontaneous caster, and to some extent for arcane prepared casters, even if they can swap around lists, and it's not like character creation in Pathfinder is simple regardless of the magic system you're using...at least in my opinion. So to me at least, it's more important as to how much work it takes in actual play.

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