3.5 Psions Broken?

Voadam

Legend
I always had fun playing soulknives even though they are a bit behind the power curve as a 3/4 BAB advancement melee striker with a bunch of their powers recharging on move actions which precludes full attacks at higher levels.

The group I joined in 4e said they had had issues with [permanent?] thrall powers in 3.5 psionics, but not something I ever dealt with.

If you can do a five minute adventuring day they are a touch more optimized for that than normal 3.5 casters. You can nova quicker with some more high level stuff as a psion with points which is real powerful but can also be a two edged sword if you are then tapped out quicker and have to face more encounters or a longer one.
 

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Staffan

Legend
The main issues with the actual psion class are:
  • Even bigger nova potential than a wizard, on account of PPs rather than spell slots. A 10th level wizard with Int 20 can cast 6/5/4/4/3 spells per day. A 10th level psion with Int 20 has 113 PPs, which is the equivalent of 12 5th level spells and one 3rd level if they go all out (though it's slightly less powerful than that given that damage powers in particular need to be augmented to have damage scale with level – sort of like 5e in that way).
  • Getting access to some stuff at intermediate levels rather than the more differentiated approach wizards get. Just to use a very simple example: Wizards get charm person as a 1st level spell (charming humanoids for 1 hour/level), and charm monster at 4th (charming anything that isn't immune and lasting for 1 day/level). Psions get psionic charm at 1st level as well, at which point it is similar to charm person, but they can augment it for +2 PP (the equivalent of one spell level) to affect a selection of relatively mundane creature types, or +4 PP to affect most types of creatures; as well as +4 PP to increase duration to days. That means they can charm a Monstrous Humanoid as the equivalent of a 2nd level, or charm a humanoid for days for a 3rd level spell, or charm almost any creature for a 3rd level spell but with a shorter duration.
Those are the main structural advantages of a psion over a wizard. There are also a number of disadvantages. For example, wizards have access to all the wizard spells. The core psion list is significantly smaller, with most of the really cool powers being on the discipline lists. This is basically the equivalent of the wizard class only getting lightning bolt, and only evokers getting fireball. Then you of course have individual powers that may or may not be perfectly balanced.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
The main issues with the actual psion class are:
  • Even bigger nova potential than a wizard, on account of PPs rather than spell slots. A 10th level wizard with Int 20 can cast 6/5/4/4/3 spells per day. A 10th level psion with Int 20 has 113 PPs, which is the equivalent of 12 5th level spells and one 3rd level if they go all out (though it's slightly less powerful than that given that damage powers in particular need to be augmented to have damage scale with level – sort of like 5e in that way).
  • Getting access to some stuff at intermediate levels rather than the more differentiated approach wizards get. Just to use a very simple example: Wizards get charm person as a 1st level spell (charming humanoids for 1 hour/level), and charm monster at 4th (charming anything that isn't immune and lasting for 1 day/level). Psions get psionic charm at 1st level as well, at which point it is similar to charm person, but they can augment it for +2 PP (the equivalent of one spell level) to affect a selection of relatively mundane creature types, or +4 PP to affect most types of creatures; as well as +4 PP to increase duration to days. That means they can charm a Monstrous Humanoid as the equivalent of a 2nd level, or charm a humanoid for days for a 3rd level spell, or charm almost any creature for a 3rd level spell but with a shorter duration.
Those are the main structural advantages of a psion over a wizard. There are also a number of disadvantages. For example, wizards have access to all the wizard spells. The core psion list is significantly smaller, with most of the really cool powers being on the discipline lists. This is basically the equivalent of the wizard class only getting lightning bolt, and only evokers getting fireball. Then you of course have individual powers that may or may not be perfectly balanced.
I think one thing worth remembering is that psions aren't really the psionic equivalent of wizards; they're more like psionic sorcerers, knowing a grand total of three dozen powers by the time they hit 20th level, and significantly fewer than that for most of their adventuring career. The fact that so many powers having augmentations that stretch their functionality helps with this, of course, but it's not like they're going to be able to bust out a power for every occasion the way a utility mage can with their spells.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Times like this, I always want to point people toward the post that Jeremy Smith (of Dreamscarred Press) wrote about why psionics isn't overpowered. It was technically written for Pathfinder 1E, but it's a good read for 3.5 also:

My mind always goes to this article. If we are talking about the 3.5 era, there were FAR MANY things more busted, broken, or overpowered than the psion. Psions were considered Tier 2 alonside Sorcerers, and there were a lot of trade-offs. Meanwhile, wizards, clerics, and druids were sitting comfortably in Tier 1 "God Mode." Psionics in 3.0 WERE broken. Psionics in 3.5 were considerably toned down, if not quite weaker than the Tier 1 classes.
 

Preemptive 'It's been a while' for me as well.
My mind always goes to this article. If we are talking about the 3.5 era, there were FAR MANY things more busted, broken, or overpowered than the psion. Psions were considered Tier 2 alonside Sorcerers, and there were a lot of trade-offs. Meanwhile, wizards, clerics, and druids were sitting comfortably in Tier 1 "God Mode." Psionics in 3.0 WERE broken. Psionics in 3.5 were considerably toned down, if not quite weaker than the Tier 1 classes.

There was so much more content for those three that there was almost inherently going to be more abuses for them. Just as a straightforward example Divine Metamagic (allowing you to pay the cost of boosting your spell with turn-undead attempts), combined with relatively cheap turn-attempt boosting Nightsticks (added content almost always finding ways to remove limitations some other content imposed as a cost/balance). Psionics didn't have the multiple layers of content to make up such combinations. Where it did, it did sometimes break (I think a web supplement added Spells-to-powers rules, which theoretically let them learn any psionic power or spell in the game from all class lists; however again that was probably 3-4 years after some anyspell abuse was discovered for C/D/W).

Regardless of nova potential, I don't recall any specific psionic powers upon which you could use that nova ability that threw the game off kilter in quite the way that spells could (be that ice assassins, demiplanes, shivering touch, or just clerics with persistent combat buffs and druidic flying bears leading bear armies). Of course, we could have simply had a gentleperson's agreement not to use abusive combos at that point (much of the madness of 3.5 didn't show up at our tables either, just a running discussion about which combos were brilliant strategic thinking and which were cheap, abusive combos).
 

Zardnaar

Legend
My mind always goes to this article. If we are talking about the 3.5 era, there were FAR MANY things more busted, broken, or overpowered than the psion. Psions were considered Tier 2 alonside Sorcerers, and there were a lot of trade-offs. Meanwhile, wizards, clerics, and druids were sitting comfortably in Tier 1 "God Mode." Psionics in 3.0 WERE broken. Psionics in 3.5 were considerably toned down, if not quite weaker than the Tier 1 classes.

This us why I allow them. They're broken but Druids.......
 

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