Everything wrong with the Wizard Psionics subclass

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
You need a hand empty or a feat. Other than that, it's the same thing. I wouldn't call that a meaningfully different mechanic, particularly since a sorcerer already has a specific ability to do just that.
Sorcerers have no ability to cast every single spell with no somatic or verbal components. They can get very close if they use up every single one of their sorcery points on doing so. That's two differences right there. They can't do them all, where a psion could. And there's a cost to doing so, where there would be no cost for a psion. Those two things are meaningful differences.
 

Mistwell

Hero
Sorcerers have no ability to cast every single spell with no somatic or verbal components.
Now you're quibbling over how many spells they should be able to cast. Your assumption a psion would be able to cast more spells in this way than a sorcerer using all their points seems based on an unfounded assumption. And there is no cost to it - all points go to doing this, so points are not a thing for this class, which is as intended. Mechanically, it's working fine to produce the desired result...unless you want them MORE powerful than a sorcerer of course.
 

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
Sorcerers have no ability to cast every single spell with no somatic or verbal components. They can get very close if they use up every single one of their sorcery points on doing so. That's two differences right there. They can't do them all, where a psion could. And there's a cost to doing so, where there would be no cost for a psion. Those two things are meaningful differences.
Maybe instead of creating an entirely new class just make it so sorcerers don’t use verbal, somatic, and material components.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Your assumption a psion would be able to cast more spells in this way than a sorcerer using all their points seems based on an unfounded assumption.
No I'm not. I'm saying they can cast 100% of their spells that way, and that's true. Sorcerers cannot cast 100% of them that way. That's also true. No assumptions made.

Mechanically, it's working fine to produce the desired result...unless you want them MORE powerful than a sorcerer of course.
You're the one making assumptions here. You are assuming that there are no other class abilities for sorcerers and psions which can balance the two classes out.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Maybe instead of creating an entirely new class just make it so sorcerers don’t use verbal, somatic, and material components.
Except that sorcerers do use those things. To change that one thing for "psions" and nothing else about the sorcerer will make them more powerful than sorcerers, as Mistwell pointed out when he assumed that nothing else would be done to balance the psion class against sorcerers.

The sorcerer class fails the psion test on other levels as well. They have to access the weave. Charisma would not be the spellcasting stat for psions. Psions would not have sorcery points. They would not have metamagic.
They needs psion abilities. Not sorcerer ones.
 

the Jester

Legend
Generally agreed. This isn't a very well-designed subclass, and psion/psionicist is a broad enough concept to be worthy of a full class.

3. Thought Form - What the heck? That isn't a thing. That's never been a thing.
I just have to point out that 3e and 4e both had this as an option for psionic pcs in the form of a prestige class and a paragon path, IIRC.
 

Mistwell

Hero
No I'm not. I'm saying they can cast 100% of their spells that way, and that's true. Sorcerers cannot cast 100% of them that way. That's also true. No assumptions made.
Sorry I am not explaining well enough.

In my example the number of spells a sorcerer could cast in that manner using points = X.

The assumption that the Psion would be able to cast more that X spells seems false.
 
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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Sorry I am not explaining well enough.

Assume the number of spells a sorcerer could cast in that manner using points = X.

The assumption that the Psion would be able to cast more that X spells seems false.
And again, I'm not at all assuming that.

I'm saying that whatever the number psions can use is, 100% of them will be free of any somatic, material and verbal components. Those things are not a part of that class.

I'm also saying that whatever their number, sorcerers cannot use 100% of them free of those things. They are in fact a part of that class.

It doesn't matter whether sorcerers can cast more or less spells than the psion can use mental abilities. That's irrelevant. All that's relevant is that somatic, material and verbal components are a part of sorcerers, but not psions.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
If you bind a wizard's hands, he cannot cast any spell with a somatic component. A psion could. If you take away his component pouch, he literally cannot cast any spell that requires a component. A psion could. If you gag the wizard, he cannot cast any spell with a verbal component. A psion could.
So in what way is the Psion balanced against the Wizard or any other caster then?

I think that is one of the main reasons why most tables never let psionics into their games. The psion is mechanically just a better option than other casters because you can't stop their "spellcasting" short of knocking them out or having Psionic dampening room or something. Other casters can be contained and controlled (for the most part) in some way or another. Either through removing their components/foci or binding their hands, or gagging them, or all three.

That you can't do that to a Psion is somewhat problematic. It just makes them better.

Aberrant Mind UA said:
Psionic Sorcery
6th-level Aberrant Mind feature

Beginning at 6th level, when you cast any of the spells gained from your Psionic Spells feature, you can cast it by expending a spell slot as normal or by spending a number of sorcery points equal to the spell’s level. If you cast the spell using sorcery points, it requires no components.
So they are toying with this concept for Sorcerer already. Yes it's at 6th level, not 1st, and it's for a limited number of spells, but it's working towards what you're asking for.

I still don't think they can have it for free for every power/spell. It just makes that version of a power/spell user inherently better than any other version out there.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
So in what way is the Psion balanced against the Wizard or any other caster then?

I think that is one of the main reasons why most tables never let psionics into their games. The psion is mechanically just a better option than other casters because you can't stop their "spellcasting" short of knocking them out or having Psionic dampening room or something. Other casters can be contained and controlled (for the most part) in some way or another. Either through removing their components/foci or binding their hands, or gagging them, or all three.

That you can't do that to a Psion is somewhat problematic. It just makes them better.
Their extra class and subclass abilities can be weaker.

I still don't think they can have it for free for every power/spell. It just makes that version of a power/spell user inherently better than any other version out there.
In one way, sure. It can be balanced by weakening the psions in other areas. Remove cantrips from them for starters. If they don't have infinite attacks like the other casters, they will run out of resources faster.

If they don't get their stuff free of components, then they aren't psions. They're something else.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Their extra class and subclass abilities can be weaker.
There is no way that kind of design angle works in the modern day.

If you make them noticeably weaker than traditional classes then the psionic fans will riot, and any potential new fans will be spurned for yet another edition, an edition that is shaping up to be the longest one yet.

If you don't make them noticeably weaker then they will be shunned because they are broken, again. Regulated to the pile of bad ideas that nobody learned any lessons from.

And either way it isn't going to get up to that magic 70% approval rating because it lass mass appeal.

It's just a non-starter. Psions are just going to have to use concentration, a focus, and have some kind of display when manifesting their powers. Sure, it might not be a chicken dance with bat guano being flung across the room, but it will have to be blatantly obvious and able to be shut down with mundane means in some other fashion.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
There is no way that kind of design angle works in the modern day.

If you make them noticeably weaker than traditional classes then the psionic fans will riot, and any potential new fans will be spurned for yet another edition, an edition that is shaping up to be the longest one yet.

If you don't make them noticeably weaker then they will be shunned because they are broken, again. Regulated to the pile of bad ideas that nobody learned any lessons from.
Or you balance them so that they are similar in power. More here, less there, and it's all equal.
 

Perun

Mushroom
If the psion has to be fitted to one of the exiting classes, I think the sorcerer makes a much better fit than the wizard -- apart from one detail: psions have usually been depicted as Int-based casters. However, other 'mental' stats also played a role in determining their overall workings, namely Wisdom, as Charisma has been pretty much a generic dump-stat, pre-3e.

To be clear -- I'm all against this idea. I'd vastly prefer a separate psionic mechanic, but if the only option to have psionics integrated into the game, I can see how it could work.

Sorceres gain their subclass at level 1, meaning that all psionicky fiddly bits could be fitted right at the character creation. The psion sorcerer could use Int as a secondary stat, and it could be made fairly important for the subclass. This would make psion sorcerer (psioncerer?) vulnerable to MAD (since they'd probably want decent scores in Con and Dex as well), but then again, high ability scores are not as crucial in 5e as they were in past editions.

Then there are the spells... that's the trickiest bit, IMO, because if you make the psion a subclass of an existing spellcasting class, the psion can use spells from the base class list, and the other subclasses will gain access to the special psionic spells (as evidenced in the latest UA). Some players will go for the flavour of the class, and will not take fireball or lightning bolt, but there are those who will go for what they perceive to be the best option available, however much it doesn't fit thematically.

With direct damage spells, I can see two options: i) either you boost psi-themed spells (the psionic subclass rerolls all 1s on damage dice, or something similar), or ii) with sorcerer, you could apply a custom-made metamagic option that all psioncerers gain automatically, which can turn spell damage to psychic and/or force damage, but as those are rarely resisted damage types, reduce the overall damage. Something along the lines of:
Psionic Damage (Metamagic Option): When using this metamagic option, you can change the damage type dealt by the spell to either psychic or force damage (your choice). The use of this option doesn't cost sorcery points, but it reduces the damage die used by the spell by one size (so, d12 becomes d10, d10 becomes d8, d8 becomes d6, d6 becomes d4). For example, a psionic fireball would deal 8d6 psychic or force damage. This metamagic option can be used in addition to any other metamagic option available.

As for the spell components... the problem are the spells with costly material components. Verbal and somatic components could be replaced with effects like those used by psions in 3e (ringing noise, lights, metallic taste in mouth, etc.), and this would take care of subtle casting. The potential issue is casting/manifesting while gagged and bound, but this is not something that comes up often (IME, but it all depends on campaign and play style, I guess). If the spell requires a costly material component that is tied to the workings of the spell itself (i.e. you can't magic a weapon without the weapon) it's still required, but if it's just a balance factor (like in back-from-the-dead spells)possible solution would be working out a formula for max hp reduction and/or levels of exhaustion. That would limit the availability of such spells in campaign.

Just off the top of my head. There are lots of other options that could turn sorcerer into something resembling the psion.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
So if you can indeed make a list of psionic abilities that the Psion would/should have that Wizards cannot match... please do so and I'd happily change my opinion!
Calm Emotions, Enthrall, Zone of Truth, Guidance, Commune (Psionic Version), Ectoplasmic Shaping, Astral Constructs, Call to Mind, Deja Vu, low level precognition, low level two-way telepathy, some good low level sources and varieties of all levels of psychic damage, Synesthete (use one sense through another sense), Body Equilibrium (walk on non-solid surface), Psychic Bodyguard (you make another character's Wisdom/Will saving throws for it), Ubiquitous Vision, Psionic Stunning/Blast, Telekinetic Force (3rd level), Empathic Feedback (your foe takes damage when you do), Power Leech (you drain power points/spells from a foe), Psychokinetic Charge, Telekinetic Maneuver, Dream Message, Brutalize Wounds (creatures more damage than usual for from normal damage), Suspend Life, Bend Reality (like a lesser and lower level version of Wish but for psions), Energy Conversion, Divert Teleport, Assimilate (incorporate a creature into your own body), remove the powers of others, Microcosm (creature forever lives in a world of their own imagination), Link Senses, Psychometabolistic Healing (e.g., Body Adjustment, Mend Body), Share Pain, Body Purification (restore ability damage), Sustenance (go without food or water), Adapt Body (body adjusts to hostile environments), and so on.

;) But right now, telepathy, telekinesis, psychoportation, precognition, pyrokinesis and the like are as far I can tell, are all doable with Wizard spells. Now granted, they might not give everything someone might think should be in a single spell-- someone might say that having the Mage Hand cantrip, and the Catapult and Telekinesis spells do not do enough mind-over-matter movement and thus we'd need special spells for additional stuff... but I don't think anyone would claim that telekinesis as a concept isn't covered by the Wizard in some form or fashion.
And I guess since Clerics can divine knowledge and objects, there is no need for Wizard Diviners?
 

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
Except that sorcerers do use those things. To change that one thing for "psions" and nothing else about the sorcerer will make them more powerful than sorcerers, as Mistwell pointed out when he assumed that nothing else would be done to balance the psion class against sorcerers.

The sorcerer class fails the psion test on other levels as well. They have to access the weave. Charisma would not be the spellcasting stat for psions. Psions would not have sorcery points. They would not have metamagic.
They needs psion abilities. Not sorcerer ones.
well yeah. Just make the psion the sorcerer. The sorcerer is kind of silly they way it is now. They are born able to cast spells already knowing the verbal, somatic, and material components. They just know the magic words and rare components. Just get rid of that silly concept and sorcerer is just what a medieval person would call a psionocist which is a 19th or 20th century word for sorcerer anyway.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Calm Emotions, Enthrall, Zone of Truth, Guidance, Commune (Psionic Version), Ectoplasmic Shaping, Astral Constructs, Call to Mind, Deja Vu, low level precognition, low level two-way telepathy, some good low level sources and varieties of all levels of psychic damage, Synesthete (use one sense through another sense), Body Equilibrium (walk on non-solid surface), Psychic Bodyguard (you make another character's Wisdom/Will saving throws for it), Ubiquitous Vision, Psionic Stunning/Blast, Telekinetic Force (3rd level), Empathic Feedback (your foe takes damage when you do), Power Leech (you drain power points/spells from a foe), Psychokinetic Charge, Telekinetic Maneuver, Dream Message, Brutalize Wounds (creatures more damage than usual for from normal damage), Suspend Life, Bend Reality (like a lesser and lower level version of Wish but for psions), Energy Conversion, Divert Teleport, Assimilate (incorporate a creature into your own body), remove the powers of others, Microcosm (creature forever lives in a world of their own imagination), Link Senses, Psychometabolistic Healing (e.g., Body Adjustment, Mend Body), Share Pain, Body Purification (restore ability damage), Sustenance (go without food or water), Adapt Body (body adjusts to hostile environments), and so on.

And I guess since Clerics can divine knowledge and objects, there is no need for Wizard Diviners?
Thank you for at least succeeding in doing the one thing I've been asking about in all the various Psion threads! You're 10 steps ahead of everyone else, who haven't been able to get any farther than "No spell slots", "No spell components", and "No spellbook". So sincerely, thank you for actually trying to make a substantive attempt at detailing what Psions should actually have that can't be replicated via the Wizard.

Looking through this list it does have quite a number of interesting things in it. Granted, I don't recognize a lot of it because it looks like you copied over the names of powers from previous sources so I honestly have no idea what many of these things are supposed do (since I've never owned them). I can guess at them, but it makes it harder to see how many are truly original and how many are for the most part just re-fluffed or re-leveled spells with different potential targets and such. That's not a deal-breaker by any stretch... but it doesn't lessen the case for the class need (since at that point you could just add new spells to the existing spell lists, like WotC did in the UA.)

The thing I would most say about this list is that it does incorporate spell effects that are relatively matched to spells from ALL the various classes in the game. So in that regard... if we're talking about mixing and matching current spells into an entirely new list, that would necessitate a new class (because there are no effects in the game that allow you to change the spell lists for any class currently, and that's I suspect too big of a change to become a Variant Class Feature.)

So okay... with the various spell effects that would come from the Bard, Cleric and Wizard lists (plus of course any number of entirely new effects), I can see why a full Psion class would be necessary. If people were allowed to complain that the Artificer didn't work as a Wizard sub-class because of the stuff the Artificer had to give up when shoved into the Wizard body... then the Psion is allowed the same argument. Good show!
 
Thank you for at least succeeding in doing the one thing I've been asking about in all the various Psion threads!
Have a cookie for being supercilious.

You're 10 steps ahead of everyone else, who haven't been able to get any farther than "No spell slots", "No spell components", and "No spellbook".
No, you are 10 steps behind for refusing to accept that the problem with the wizard is not what they don't get, it's what they do get, and the impossibility of removing anything from a class in 5e.

Pretty much anything could be added to a wizard, or indeed any class.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Thank you for at least succeeding in doing the one thing I've been asking about in all the various Psion threads! You're 10 steps ahead of everyone else, who haven't been able to get any farther than "No spell slots", "No spell components", and "No spellbook". So sincerely, thank you for actually trying to make a substantive attempt at detailing what Psions should actually have that can't be replicated via the Wizard.
Many of those things have been a part of psionics since 1e, and almost all of the rest since 2e. Why would you make him go through that effort to tell you something you and pretty much everyone else already knew or could easily look up?

Psionics isn't new. It has been around and been DIFFERENT for a reason for the last 45 years.

So okay... with the various spell effects that would come from the Bard, Cleric and Wizard lists (plus of course any number of entirely new effects), I can see why a full Psion class would be necessary. If people were allowed to complain that the Artificer didn't work as a Wizard sub-class because of the stuff the Artificer had to give up when shoved into the Wizard body... then the Psion is allowed the same argument. Good show!
Yep. Current classes, including the sorcerer, fail miserably to be a psion.
 

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
Many of those things have been a part of psionics since 1e, and almost all of the rest since 2e. Why would you make him go through that effort to tell you something you and pretty much everyone else already knew or could easily look up?

Psionics isn't new. It has been around and been DIFFERENT for a reason for the last 45 years.


Yep. Current classes, including the sorcerer, fail miserably to be a psion.
although I like 2E psionics. Psionics has been something loathed in d&d for 45 years. Even the early developers thought its inclusion a mistake. I would kind if like to see a good one developed. but the game will most likely go on another 45 years with very few people really caring. I think more people think psionics is a mistake than something that is needed. It’s just magic with a different name. It fills the exact same role and place as a wizard, that being a character that has his own magic and doesn’t get it from a deity, spirit, or someone else.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
although I like 2E psionics. Psionics has been something loathed in d&d for 45 years. Even the early developers thought its inclusion a mistake. I would kind if like to see a good one developed. but the game will most likely go on another 45 years with very few people really caring. I think more people think psionics is a mistake than something that is needed. It’s just magic with a different name. It fills the exact same role and place as a wizard, that being a character that has his own magic and doesn’t get it from a deity, spirit, or someone else.
Hey you're right. Rangers and Paladins are just fighters with a different name an mechanics and fill the same role. Sorcerers and warlocks are wizards with a different name and mechanics and fill that role. Druids are just clerics with a different name and mechanics and fill that role. We can get rid of lots of classes! Class mistakes abound!
 

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