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5E Dark Sun doesn't actually need Psionics

Does Dark Sun actually need Psionics


  • Total voters
    124
  • Poll closed .

Aldarc

Legend
It seems like there are some fairly easy ways to tie psionics into the setting themes:

The Gods Are Dead: the gods are dead, and psionic power represents the leftovers of divine will/power in Athas. Psionics are the last gift the gods gave to the inhabitants to persevere over the dying world. It's ubiquity means that it's a form of power that the dragon-kings can't wipe out or quash as they could arcane magic, and the DKs mostly tolerate it as it doesn't compete with their defiling magic.
 

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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
It seems like there are some fairly easy ways to tie psionics into the setting themes:

The Gods Are Dead: the gods are dead, and psionic power represents the leftovers of divine will/power in Athas. Psionics are the last gift the gods gave to the inhabitants to persevere over the dying world. It's ubiquity means that it's a form of power that the dragon-kings can't wipe out or quash as they could arcane magic, and the DKs mostly tolerate it as it doesn't compete with their defiling magic.
I'd play the s**t out of that.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
what we are saying isn't that different. I'm saying defiling magic should be more powerful than standard casting. your saying standard casting defiling and "good" casting is weaker. one way most players will accept. One they won't.
Well, historically, players accepted and seem to have fond nostalgia for the latter in regards to Dark Sun. Wizards were outright gimped in 2e. So, there's at least historical evidence that players will accept a penalty. Still, that's not a great reason -- "It worked before" is marginally convincing. Instead, let's look at what gimping arcane casters will do and assume you're correct that players will not like that -- they will avoid playing arcane casters. That seems like a solid win for the theme of the game, doesn't it?

Still, that's not to say that gimping is the best or proper way to implement defiling/preserving. But the argument that players won't like playing gimped characters kinda fails when you consider that this is actually one of the design goals: to discourage arcane characters.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
It seems like there are some fairly easy ways to tie psionics into the setting themes:

The Gods Are Dead: the gods are dead, and psionic power represents the leftovers of divine will/power in Athas. Psionics are the last gift the gods gave to the inhabitants to persevere over the dying world. It's ubiquity means that it's a form of power that the dragon-kings can't wipe out or quash as they could arcane magic, and the DKs mostly tolerate it as it doesn't compete with their defiling magic.

Ehh, I like psionics in DS, but I wouldn’t like this. If you want to play a character with leftover divine power, it should be a special exception to the rule against divine magic that you work with your DM to gain. I’ve played that character before, it was around the time Book of Eli came out and I basically played Denzel Washington’s character. It was pretty neat. I don’t think Dark Sun psionics should be tied to the gods. The best thing DS Psionics has going for it is the weird fantasy tone and the super-powered mutant in the wasteland trope. I say embrace that element rather than trying to fit the square peg of psionics into the round hole of Dark Sun’s core themes.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Just a thought; what about psionics as feats? take a feat & have access to a dicipline & a few associated powers.
Did someone say this already & I missed it?
I like that as a player-facing psionic option. I’d also have some psionic race and subclass features on top of that.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Well, historically, players accepted and seem to have fond nostalgia for the latter in regards to Dark Sun. Wizards were outright gimped in 2e. So, there's at least historical evidence that players will accept a penalty. Still, that's not a great reason -- "It worked before" is marginally convincing. Instead, let's look at what gimping arcane casters will do and assume you're correct that players will not like that -- they will avoid playing arcane casters. That seems like a solid win for the theme of the game, doesn't it?

Still, that's not to say that gimping is the best or proper way to implement defiling/preserving. But the argument that players won't like playing gimped characters kinda fails when you consider that this is actually one of the design goals: to discourage arcane characters.
Also, I’m not suggesting gimping arcane casters, unless you consider some fluff text about plants and stuff dying when you cast a “gimp.” I’m suggesting providing a subclass for players who are willing to opt-in to playing a gimped caster, and calling it “preserver.”
 

Aldarc

Legend
Ehh, I like psionics in DS, but I wouldn’t like this. If you want to play a character with leftover divine power, it should be a special exception to the rule against divine magic that you work with your DM to gain. I’ve played that character before, it was around the time Book of Eli came out and I basically played Denzel Washington’s character. It was pretty neat. I don’t think Dark Sun psionics should be tied to the gods. The best thing DS Psionics has going for it is the weird fantasy tone and the super-powered mutant in the wasteland trope. I say embrace that element rather than trying to fit the square peg of psionics into the round hole of Dark Sun’s core themes.
It's divine in the sense that it comes from the residue power of the dead gods, but it's not divine in the sense of a cleric's spells or faith. I would not say that it's trying to fit a square peg into a round hole of its core themes since the 4e Dark Sun Campaign Setting book talks about how psionics arose in the "The Gods Are Silent theme of Dark Sun:
In the absence of divine influence, other powers have come to prominence in the world. Psionic power is well known and widely practiced on Athas; even unintelligent desert monsters can have deadly psionic abilities.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Also, I’m not suggesting gimping arcane casters, unless you consider some fluff text about plants and stuff dying when you cast a “gimp.” I’m suggesting providing a subclass for players who are willing to opt-in to playing a gimped caster, and calling it “preserver.”
I think defiling, while not limited to the PC's abilities, definitely counts as a nerf (I've decided to change my terminology to something less aggressive/offensive) in the setting. It certainly would change the flavor of parties that would pal around with a defiler. Adding a mechanical nerf to avoid the setting nerf seems appropriate. Both discourage arcane characters, but in different ways. I like that.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I think defiling, while not limited to the PC's abilities, definitely counts as a nerf (I've decided to change my terminology to something less aggressive/offensive) in the setting. It certainly would change the flavor of parties that would pal around with a defiler. Adding a mechanical nerf to avoid the setting nerf seems appropriate. Both discourage arcane characters, but in different ways. I like that.
That’s fair, and I think nicely sums up what I was aiming for.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
It's divine in the sense that it comes from the residue power of the dead gods, but it's not divine in the sense of a cleric's spells or faith. I would not say that it's trying to fit a square peg into a round hole of its core themes since the 4e Dark Sun Campaign Setting book talks about how psionics arose in the "The Gods Are Silent theme of Dark Sun:
I guess. I never cared for the “psionics arose to fill the niche left by the absence of divine magic” explanation. It relies on a weird assumption of some sort of natural tendency towards a certain number of power sources in the world, which I don’t think suits Dark Sun at all.
 
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Aldarc

Legend
I guess. I never cared for the “psionics arose to fill the niche left by the absence of divine magic” explanation. It relies on a weird assumption of some sort of natural tendency towards a certain number of power sources in the works, which I don’t think suits Dark Sun at all.
Interestingly enough, in Timothy Brown's Dragon Kings RPG - a spiritual successor of sorts to Dark Sun - psionics are actually a novel force that inhabitants are only beginning to discover. This also could have been a potentially interesting angle for the Dark Sun setting.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Interestingly enough, in Timothy Brown's Dragon Kings RPG - a spiritual successor of sorts to Dark Sun - psionics are actually a novel force that inhabitants are only beginning to discover. This also could have been a potentially interesting angle for the Dark Sun setting.
Yeah, I like the sound of that much better than its near-ubiquity in classic Dark Sun.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
I guess. I never cared for the “psionics arose to fill the niche left by the absence of divine magic” explanation. It relies on a weird assumption of some sort of natural tendency towards a certain number of power sources in the works, which I don’t think suits Dark Sun at all.
Sure, but having two supernatural sources in tension/opposition does help Dark Sun feel more like a D&D setting, as opposed to another apocalyptic fantasy setting. That can have value if you feel like having Dark Sun be more D&D-like has value.
 


bulletmeat

Explorer
It's divine in the sense that it comes from the residue power of the dead gods, but it's not divine in the sense of a cleric's spells or faith. I would not say that it's trying to fit a square peg into a round hole of its core themes since the 4e Dark Sun Campaign Setting book talks about how psionics arose in the "The Gods Are Silent theme of Dark Sun:
I kind of like this idea. Maybe, w/the gods out of the astral plane and absorbing that power, it begun to or has been for a while leaking into Athas and mutating the creatures of the world.
 

nevin

Explorer
Well, historically, players accepted and seem to have fond nostalgia for the latter in regards to Dark Sun. Wizards were outright gimped in 2e. So, there's at least historical evidence that players will accept a penalty. Still, that's not a great reason -- "It worked before" is marginally convincing. Instead, let's look at what gimping arcane casters will do and assume you're correct that players will not like that -- they will avoid playing arcane casters. That seems like a solid win for the theme of the game, doesn't it?

Still, that's not to say that gimping is the best or proper way to implement defiling/preserving. But the argument that players won't like playing gimped characters kinda fails when you consider that this is actually one of the design goals: to discourage arcane characters.
no I'm saying players in general won't like that design decision and Dark sun was never popular enough alienate anyone. I loved the 2e version but non of the version have ever been wildly popular.

and I think you'll find most people that love that idea will just go play other games that don't have magic. I predict a lose lose with the game for that idea. it'll become more niche than it already was
 

I think Psionics needs Dark Suns. While many of us remember Dark Suns with psionics not playing much of a role, the fact is that it could have (and for lots of groups did) play a huge role. This was the one setting that the psionic fan could dive into, without having to badger or beg for the DM to let them use Psionics.

WOTC comes out with a full fledged psioncs system and the FR DM, the Dragonlance DM, the Homebrew DM may or may not incorporate it, or incorporate it just enough to satisfy the one psionic superfan in the group.

But, WOTC comes out with a Dark Sun Campaign setting, and psioncis has its chance to shine.
 

nevin

Explorer
I think Psionics needs Dark Suns. While many of us remember Dark Suns with psionics not playing much of a role, the fact is that it could have (and for lots of groups did) play a huge role. This was the one setting that the psionic fan could dive into, without having to badger or beg for the DM to let them use Psionics.

WOTC comes out with a full fledged psioncs system and the FR DM, the Dragonlance DM, the Homebrew DM may or may not incorporate it, or incorporate it just enough to satisfy the one psionic superfan in the group.

But, WOTC comes out with a Dark Sun Campaign setting, and psioncis has its chance to shine.
then don't need character classes power below PHB . if you want defilers to have more power give em more power and some serious downsides for taking it. I've said I loved DS. It is my opinion if the setting comes out nerfing any base class it's doa.

This forum reads like we are discussing turning it into Gamma World one of the least popular games (and I love it too) in the d&d lineup just above boot hill.
 

bulletmeat

Explorer
no I'm saying players in general won't like that design decision and Dark sun was never popular enough alienate anyone. I loved the 2e version but non of the version have ever been wildly popular.

and I think you'll find most people that love that idea will just go play other games that don't have magic. I predict a lose lose with the game for that idea. it'll become more niche than it already was
It will really depend on players for this instance then. Maybe the best bet for defile magic is to give two options; one that shows defiling as a norm and defiling as a bonus. Let the group decide.
 

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