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D&D 5E 5e Psionics

Retreater

Legend
Is anyone aware of a good 3PP resource that emulates 2nd edition psionics for 5e? I have a player whose character just underwent psychic surgery by an elder brain and is finding that the psionic options from Tasha's don't go nearly far enough.
 

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Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Is anyone aware of a good 3PP resource that emulates 2nd edition psionics for 5e? I have a player whose character just underwent psychic surgery by an elder brain and is finding that the psionic options from Tasha's don't go nearly far enough.
5e - Psion (KibblesTasty) by KibblesTasty is a good option for the pumping power feel of it.

As to Psionic Combat, I've yet to see a 5e designer -attempt- to model that. I think most people kind of gave up on the whole idea of it pretty much immediately.
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
I have a player whose character just underwent psychic surgery by an elder brain and is finding that the psionic options from Tasha's don't go nearly far enough.
Maybe let your player do Persuasion and Intimidation skill checks, telepathically?
 




dave2008

Legend
As someone
5e - Psion (KibblesTasty) by KibblesTasty is a good option for the pumping power feel of it.

As to Psionic Combat, I've yet to see a 5e designer -attempt- to model that. I think most people kind of gave up on the whole idea of it pretty much immediately.
As someone who has never played with psionics in D&D, can you expand on why you believe psionics would require a different combat system?
 

Inchoroi

Adventurer
One of the things that I've always been hesitant with when it comes to psionics in general is: how to balance it versus magic. Like, a DM can deal with things like Magic Resistance and such, but is it necessary for there to be what would essentially be an entire new spellcasting system that is separate from traditional spellcasting?

My preference would be that its straight-up magic, just doesn't require components like traditional spells. That way, all the stuff we as DMs have to torture our players with aren't out of luck.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
As someone who has never played with psionics in D&D, can you expand on why you believe psionics would require a different combat system?
2e Psionic Combat and Psionic Powers were two separate systems, though Psionic Powers sometimes interacted with, or triggered, Psionic Combat.

Psionic Powers essentially functioned like Spells except that they had Power Point costs and different aspects of the power that you could change by investing more points into it. This is back when D&D Spells didn't have a "When cast from a higher level slot" option but spells instead scaled with your level (A 6th level Wizard's Fireball did 6d6 while a 10th level Wizard's Fireball did 10d6, both for a 3rd level slot)

Psionic Combat was a whole different beast basically meant to mimic going into someone else's mind and fighting them there. Something like this:


Or this:


In reality you stood there, while brain-battling. It was pretty cool in -concept-, obviously. But in play? It meant the entire table ground to a halt as the Psionicist player spent 20 minutes rolling various attacks and defenses against the DM while other people twiddled their thumbs.

It also applied to stuff like two Psionicists trying to use Psychokinesis on the same object. They'd do roll-offs to see who could control it, sort of like brain-wrestling instead of arm-wrestling.

And, to be clear: I don't "Believe D&D needs" that. In fact I think it's better left as a relic of the past. As cool and thematic as it is, it doesn't translate well into game terms or playscape sharing. Which is the reason that I mentioned never seeing a designer try and model it into 5e D&D.

I've never heard of anyone who tried to have sex with an in-use Blender. Acknowledging that doesn't mean I think people -should-. Just means they haven't to my knowledge.
 

dave2008

Legend
2e Psionic Combat and Psionic Powers were two separate systems, though Psionic Powers sometimes interacted with, or triggered, Psionic Combat.

Psionic Powers essentially functioned like Spells except that they had Power Point costs and different aspects of the power that you could change by investing more points into it. This is back when D&D Spells didn't have a "When cast from a higher level slot" option but spells instead scaled with your level (A 6th level Wizard's Fireball did 6d6 while a 10th level Wizard's Fireball did 10d6, both for a 3rd level slot)

Psionic Combat was a whole different beast basically meant to mimic going into someone else's mind and fighting them there. Something like this:


Or this:


In reality you stood there, while brain-battling. It was pretty cool in -concept-, obviously. But in play? It meant the entire table ground to a halt as the Psionicist player spent 20 minutes rolling various attacks and defenses against the DM while other people twiddled their thumbs.

It also applied to stuff like two Psionicists trying to use Psychokinesis on the same object. They'd do roll-offs to see who could control it, sort of like brain-wrestling instead of arm-wrestling.

And, to be clear: I don't "Believe D&D needs" that. In fact I think it's better left as a relic of the past. As cool and thematic as it is, it doesn't translate well into game terms or playscape sharing. Which is the reason that I mentioned never seeing a designer try and model it into 5e D&D.

I've never heard of anyone who tried to have sex with an in-use Blender. Acknowledging that doesn't mean I think people -should-. Just means they haven't to my knowledge.
OK, I get it. I didn't play 2e (skipped it - couldn't stand the graphic design). However, I did play BECMI. In the Immortals rules, immortals had Power combat that was separate from magic and physical combat and adjudicated separately too (you always resolved Power combat first). It had things like: wrap, blast, shield, etc.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
OK, I get it. I didn't play 2e (skipped it - couldn't stand the graphic design). However, I did play BECMI. In the Immortals rules, immortals had Power combat that was separate from magic and physical combat and adjudicated separately too (you always resolved Power combat first). It had things like: wrap, blast, shield, etc.
That's pretty much where Psionic Combat got it's start, yup. The same basic idea transmuted to cover a different concept.
 

Samloyal23

Adventurer
If you have a campaign like Dark Sun where EVERYONE has psionics, then psionic combat added another level of strategy and made the game more cinematic. The interplay of harbingers and constructs vying for power was exciting. I really miss the 3-dimensional chess vibe of psionicists fighting in the mindscape with their symbolic monsters and fortresses. It was a game within the game that every one played by few mastered. Good times!
 

Is anyone aware of a good 3PP resource that emulates 2nd edition psionics for 5e? I have a player whose character just underwent psychic surgery by an elder brain and is finding that the psionic options from Tasha's don't go nearly far enough.

Get your player to a real doctor ASAP.

If the same thing happens to his character, Aberrant Mind sounds perfect though.
 



Yaarel

Mind Mage
Here is what the D&D 1e Players Handbook says about Psionic Combat.

"
PSIONlC COMBAT
During psionic combat the creatures involved can engage in no other activity. The procedure is as follows: Combatants select their defense modes, attack modes, and opponent (if multiple creatures per side are involved). This information is recorded, and the defenses and attacks are matrixed to determine results. Expeditures for defense, attack and combat losses ore noted and token from the appropriate totals of involved creatures. Psionic combat takes place at a rate of 1 exchange per segment, 10 exchanges per melee round. If the attention of a creature i s distracted by physical attack or spell damage or effect (such as charm hold, etc.) it cannot engage in attack,
although its defenses remain. Non-psionic creatures can be attacked psionically only by attack mode A., psionic blast. This attack mode cannot be used by distracted creatures as shown above.

"



"
PSlONlC POWERS

Psionic powers include attack modes, defense modes, and disciplines (the magic-like powers). The number of each power is determined by further dice rolls; attack/defense modes are selected by choice, disciplines by random selection.

Attack Modes:
Roll percentile dice, and consult the following table:
01-25 1 attack mode
26-50 2 attack modes
51 -75 3 attack modes
76-95 4 attack modes
96-00 5 attack modes

Attack Mode (Point Cost per Usage) [Range]: Short Medium Long
A. Psionic Blast (20) 2" 4" 6"
B. Mind Thrust (4) 3" 6" 9"
C. EgoWhip (7) 4" 8 1 2 "
D. Id Insinuation (10) 6" 1 2 " 1 8
E. Psychic Crush (14) 5"

Psionic Blast is a wave of brain force, in effect much like "stunning news" to the mind. It is costly in attack point expenditure, but it i s the only psionic attack which can affect non-psionic creatures. The attack is a cone-shaped wave of force %" diameter at its source and 2" diameter at its terminus (6" distance).

Mind Thrust is a stabbing attack which seeks to short the synapses of the defender. The attack is individual.

Ego Whip attacks the ego, either by feelings of inferiority and worthlessness or by superiority and megalomania. The attack affects but a
single creature.

Id Insinuation seeks to loose the uncontrolled subconscious mind of the defender, pitting it against the super-ego. The attack affects all psionically aware creatures in a 2" X 2"area within attack range.

Psychic Crush is a massive assault upon all neurons in the brain, attempting to destroy a11 by a massive overload of signals. This mode of attack affects but one defender If i t is used the user may defend with only mode G, Thought Shield, or have no defense ot all.
Point Cost per Usage: This shows the number of psionic attack points of strength which the attacker must expend in using the attack mode.

Attack Range: This table shows the various distances at which the various attack modes will function. Effects of attacks are reduced at medium and long ranges.

If all attack points are expended, or too few remain to use any attack mode listed, the creature may defend only.

Defense Modes:
Roll percentile dice and consult the following table:
01 -25 2 defense modes
26-75 3 defense modes
76-90 4 defense modes
91 -00 5 defense modes

Defense Mode (Point Cost per Usage) Area Protected
F. Mind Blank (1) Individual only
G. Thought Shield (2) Individual only
H. Mental Barrier (3) Individual only
I. Intellect Fortress (8) 10' r. of individual
J. Tower of Iron Will 10 3' r. of individual

The individual must always have defense mode F. Others are optionally selected.

Mind Blank attempts to hide the mind from attack, making its parts unidentifiable.

Thought Shield cloaks the mind so as to hide first one part, then another. This defense can be kept up at all times, unlike the others.

Mental Barrier is a carefully built thought repetition wall which exposes only that small area.

Intellect Fortress is a defense which calls forth the powers of the ego and super-ego to stop attacks.

Tower of Iron Will relies only upon the super-ego to build an unassailable haven for the brain.

Point Cost per Usage: This shows the number of psionic defense points of strength which the attacker must expend to use the defense mode when under psionic attack.

Area Protected: If the defense mode has an area of protection beyond the individual, it offers its defense, or the defense used by any individual within its radius, whichever i s better. Suppose 3 psionics are defending in a group; the first puts up defense mode F, another I, and the third puts up J. The first selects from defense modes F, I or J; the other two from either I or J, whichever does the most efficient job of damage reduction. Non-psionics in the area are given 1-2 by an Intellect Fortress, +6 by a Tower of iron Will, on saving throws versus Psionic Blast.

If all defense points are expended, the individual has NO defense and can be attacked on a special combat table which offers the possibility of stunning, mental wounding or crippling, and death as well os loss of psionic strength points.

"



So the above 1e description is part of the origins of D&D psionics. But much of it is less doable in 5e. Heh, the 10 attacks per round would be absurd according to todays sensibilities. Also much of this has different mechanics in 5e. Mind Blank, Tashas Mind Whip, and Intellect Fortress are all spells now. If I recall correctly, what was originally called "Id Insinuation" is now the cantrip, "Mind Sliver". Psionic Blast is a trait.

Personally, I loved the 3e Psion power points, as a balanced alternative to "vancian" spellcasting. However, I love the normal 5e "spontaneous" spellcasting so much better. I want to use mind-magic spells and normal spellcasting mechanics for the Psion. Of course, psionic spells are "innate" and lack spell components. Costly components can be eschewed via rituals or frequency limitations, or other requirements, if there is a concern about spamming.

The spell point system in the DMs Guide is klugey. Instead, it should be something like, slot 1 (2 points), slot 2 (3p), slot 3 (4p), slot 4 (5p), and slot 5 (6p). Then treat slots 6 to 9 separately as normal per-day spell slots. The simplified and more accurate spell point system, will make it easier to spell points for players who want spell points.

Similar to how the Athletics skill can be used for grappling in combat, perhaps the Insight skill can be used for psionic combat, "mind wrestling", with the mental equivalents of hold and restrain. Just like any character can take the Arcana skill, probably any character can use Insight to mind wrestle. Psionics is a natural aspect of ones own physical brain and mental consciousness.
 

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