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5E Dark Sun doesn't actually need Psionics

Does Dark Sun actually need Psionics


  • Total voters
    124
  • Poll closed .

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Dark Sun doesn't actually need psionics to be Dark Sun. Ultimately, the role of psionics in Dark Sun is to provide character options, but psionics don't directly address the central themes of the setting. You can have a perfectly cromulent Dark Sun game without psionics at all. It's not a necessary part of the setting, and the thing most easily severed from it without much change. I know, I know, lots of people liked psionics in Dark Sun, but it didn't define the setting, it just let you have wizards that didn't trip over the arcane magic is bad detail, or clerics when there were no gods. Peel off the psionics and your still left with an extremely flavorful setting with lots of room for play. Add it in, and you have pretty much the same thing just with some different character options. In fact, to say another bad thing, given how badly screwed wild talents could be in psionic conflicts in pre 3e D&D (I didn't do any Dark Sun post 2e), it might even be beneficial to avoid psionics in Dark Sun for non-psions/non-lucky-as-hell characters.

Anyway, I've said the horrible thing, now it's time to argue about it. Discuss.
Alas, this is the Internet, and discussions usually devolve quickly into "you're wrong and I'm right, which I will now explain in an unnecessarily hostile and insulting manner."

But I agree with @Ovinomancer: Dark Sun doesn't actually need psionics to be Dark Sun. "Peel off the psionics and you're still left with an extremely flavorful setting with lots of room for play." Which is true. I mean, it's fiction; we can add/remove/change it to suit our own whim.

"But then it wouldn't really be Dark Sun!" some might say. They'd be as correct as they wanted to be, but I'd be too busy playing it to argue.
 

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Shardstone

Adventurer
Alas, this is the Internet, and discussions usually devolve quickly into "you're wrong and I'm right, which I will now explain in an unnecessarily hostile and insulting manner."

But I agree with @Ovinomancer: Dark Sun doesn't actually need psionics to be Dark Sun. "Peel off the psionics and you're still left with an extremely flavorful setting with lots of room for play." And that is absolutely correct. It's fiction; we can add/remove/change it to suit our own whims.

"But then it wouldn't really be Dark Sun!" some might say. They'd be as correct as they wanted to be, but I'd be too busy playing it to argue.


There's deep irony in calling out others as being hostile or insulting in the same post where you act coy and condescending.
 



glass

(he, him)
So, yes, if a single instance, apologized for, is sufficient for you to both claim you quoted me doing it three times (when, in fact, you've just repeated the same complaint about the single instance three times) AND you represent my claims as a strawman by saying my point is summed up by either, then there's a clear direction to you assuming my intent and what I'm saying rather than reading it.
Intent matters less than what you actually wrote.

Speaking of which, I was mistakenly counting "psionics hating" and "cabal" as separate instances when they were from the same post. So that was unfair, and I am sorry about that.

Not only are you fixated on an apologized for and not repeated statement from upthread, you've decided to double down and insist that your representation of my arguments is not a strawman after I said it was and used the single statement as supposed evidence of my position.
You never apologised for misrepresenting me, you apologised that "the word was so offensive to me". Then you doubled down on the misrepresentation with "that if not for the anti-psionics crowd downvoting things in the surveys, we'd have psionics by now".

Then doubled down again (trippled? quadrupled?) with "looking to be offended".

Perhaps, at this point, if there's no way forward, it would be better to cease discussion on the matter. Is there a way forward?
Depends, are you going to offer me a real apology (like I did when I accidentally misrepresented you)? And more importantly, stop. Because if you are going to carry on as you have been I agree there is not point in continuing to discuss things.

_
glass.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Intent matters less than what you actually wrote.

Speaking of which, I was mistakenly counting "psionics hating" and "cabal" as separate instances when they were from the same post. So that was unfair, and I am sorry about that.

You never apologised for misrepresenting me, you apologised that "the word was so offensive to me". Then you doubled down on the misrepresentation with "that if not for the anti-psionics crowd downvoting things in the surveys, we'd have psionics by now".

Then doubled down again (trippled? quadrupled?) with "looking to be offended".

Depends, are you going to offer me a real apology (like I did when I accidentally misrepresented you)? And more importantly, stop. Because if you are going to carry on as you have been I agree there is not point in continuing to discuss things.

_
glass.
I think it best we part ways at this point. I'm having trouble taking you seriously. You've said my first apology wasn't "real" like yours, and demand I apologize again, using different words this time. And, the thing you're demanding I apologize for you did to me, and still have your double down on that above. I grant you apologized to me for saying I said "hate" and "cabal" in three different posts, so that's accepted. The rest, though... yeah, probably best we just ignore each other for a bit.
 

Shardstone

Adventurer
I think an important thing to keep in mind is the bestiary of Dark SUn has a lot of psionic creatures (mutants, tribes, and beasts) that really spice up the setting. Dark Sun is all about constant survival warfare, and creatures have evolved a way to deal with that: psionics. There are psionic cats, psionic tigers, psionic grasses (that are murderrous), psionic catci, psionic insects, even psionic ghosts. If you take out Psionics, Dark Sun loses its weirdness in the bestiary and with its monsters - which is a big shame.

Overall though I find the conceit of this thread just pretty thickheaded. Its like saying "You can have Forgotten Realms without magic." like huh ??
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I think an important thing to keep in mind is the bestiary of Dark SUn has a lot of psionic creatures (mutants, tribes, and beasts) that really spice up the setting. Dark Sun is all about constant survival warfare, and creatures have evolved a way to deal with that: psionics. There are psionic cats, psionic tigers, psionic grasses (that are murderrous), psionic catci, psionic insects, even psionic ghosts. If you take out Psionics, Dark Sun loses its weirdness in the bestiary and with its monsters - which is a big shame.
This is a decent point -- psionics fills the weird trope, which is present in Dark Sun. I don't think it's at all necessary for the dangerous or survival themes, and I think there's a lot of room to have lots of weird without psionics, but it's a solid point.
Overall though I find the conceit of this thread just pretty thickheaded. Its like saying "You can have Forgotten Realms without magic." like huh ??
This, however, is uncharitable. Dark Sun, as a setting, evolved largely without psionics, according to the designer interview I link above. It was towards the end when they agreed to incorporate psionics because it was in development and it went with the weird themes. If psionics had not been in development as a separate thing, we very likely would have had a Dark Sun without psionics. Instead, the designers worked to incorporate it. However, the designer interviewed did say they didn't like how psionics was implemented in the Psionics Handbooks and how that worked with the system and would have preferred a reworked psionics that only PCs and major NPCs had. This, again, cuts against your statement here -- we almost had Dark Sun with a lot less psionics, perhaps even none, but for a quirk of conincidence.

I get the argument that this is how it was written. My question isn't to examine what a Dark Sun without psionics looks like, but rather to ask if the psionics included are necessary for the themes of the game. I don't think they are, because psionics was an add-on later in the development cycle, and the designer himself felt the game would have been better served with less psionics. That says to me that the major themes of Dark Sun are largely independent of psionics, which is interesting because that would mean that psionics as a system can be very different and still operate in Dark Sun. We saw this in 4e.

As for Forgotten Realms without magic, far too many of the core concepts of Forgotten Realms are rooted in magic -- it's not just a layered on system, it's fundamental to the themes and tropes of the game. So, no, if you would care to actually ask if Forgotten Realms needs magic, I have some points on why I think it does, foundationally, and not because there's a number of magical monsters but things that go directly to the foundational tropes of the setting.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
This is a decent point -- psionics fills the weird trope, which is present in Dark Sun. I don't think it's at all necessary for the dangerous or survival themes, and I think there's a lot of room to have lots of weird without psionics, but it's a solid point.

You can have dangerous and survival themes without psionics, but not in Dark Sun. Dark Sun has psionics interwoven.

Dark Sun, as a setting, evolved largely without psionics, according to the designer interview I link above. It was towards the end when they agreed to incorporate psionics because it was in development and it went with the weird themes. If psionics had not been in development as a separate thing, we very likely would have had a Dark Sun without psionics. Instead, the designers worked to incorporate it. However, the designer interviewed did say they didn't like how psionics was implemented in the Psionics Handbooks and how that worked with the system and would have preferred a reworked psionics that only PCs and major NPCs had. This, again, cuts against your statement here -- we almost had Dark Sun with a lot less psionics, perhaps even none, but for a quirk of conincidence.

None of this matters one iota. Had they released Dark Sun without any psionics, then it wouldn't be Dark Sun with psionics added. However, they didn't do that. They wove in psionics and regardless of why did that or the opinion of the creator, Dark Sun has them and wouldn't be Dark Sun without psionics.
 



Raduin711

Adventurer
My feeling is that if magic and psionics are interchangeable functionally or mechanically, it kind of ruins the dichotomy set up in the setting.

If psionics can do all the things magic can do, then why bother with magic? It would be irredeemably evil. We will have lost the veiled alliance as a sympathetic organization, and the struggle between preserving and the temptation of defiling is meritless.

You can say it's "reflavored" but it depends on what that means. If it means we replace all the magic words and wiggling fingers with pointing at our temples and looking very intensely at things and Magic Missile with Magic Missile [Psionic]... I do think Dark Sun has lost something in the process.
 

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