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D&D 5E In your Years of Gaming, How many Psionic Characters did you See played

When I play/run D&D in any edition, I see psionic characters

  • All the time. At least one per group.

    Votes: 3 1.2%
  • Pretty frequently. It wasn't rare in our games.

    Votes: 42 17.3%
  • Not much and certainly less common than PHB classes.

    Votes: 62 25.5%
  • Almost never.

    Votes: 91 37.4%
  • Nope. Didn't use psionics at all in my D&D.

    Votes: 39 16.0%
  • Lemony curry goodness.

    Votes: 6 2.5%

  • Total voters
    243

Remathilis

Legend
2e: three PCs (one was a psionic variant of the 2e monk) half dozen with wild talents
3e: I played a psychic warrior/bard combo.
3.5e: two psions and a soul knife.
4e: didn't play.
Pathfinder: 0
5e; someone tried a mystic for a session but the game was a one shot
 

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Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
  • I don't see a difference between magic and psychic abilities other than fluff.
  • There should be some limitiation or cost if psionic abilites cannot be counter spelled and/or are unaffected by anti-magic zones.

Point 1: Lets take a simple task, like picking a lock for an example. I think you would agree with me that there is a fundamental difference (on the lowest basic level of GM adjudication) between a rogue picking the lock using thieves tools and a wizard casting a KNOCK spell? Even though the KNOCK spell might (in your games world) physically move the levers and dials of a lock the exact same way a rogue would using a pick you would still consider it a fundamentally different source of manipulation of the lock. If there are two fundamental (in the worlds laws) forces that might act upon the lock, are there possibly more than just two? If a cleric used a bit of Divine Intervention (not the same as casting a spell) and the door just unlocks because of his chosen gods influence on the world, is that necessarily the same thing as just his god casting the KNOCK spell like the party wizard, or is it a totally different force? If you do accept that its possible (once again in a game world, not just YOUR game world) to have three fundamentally different forces that can act upon the lock with the same end result, does that close the door on there being a 4th or 10th fundamental source depending on how the game world works?

Point 2: In the OG version of psionics there was a HUGE fundamental difference between them and magic. Each psionicist had access to a possible 5 at-will attack powers (one of which is the Mind Flayers telepathic blast) and a further 5 at-will defense powers. Only 1 of the attack powers was usable against non-psychic characters....once again the telepathic blast, which is why Mind Flayers used it as an offensive weapon against everyone. All the other 4 attack and all 5 of the defensive powers were ONLY usable against psionics themselves. It was a completely separate system that barely interacted with non-psychics (and could easily be tossed out as a whole by any group not using psionics). They did nothing to help you resist a Charm Person spell, a Fireball, or any other arcane or divine based attack.

So the balance in Psionics are different is threefold. First and foremost, a psionicist with no points left to power their defenses were pretty much TOAST to another psionicist who attacked them via the psi-only at-will powers. Secondly, the basic attacks for the most part could not be used again non-psionic characters. Thirdly, just as an opposing wizard could not counterspell one of your psionic powers....you could not "counterspell" one of their spells.
 

Hussar

Legend
But, that's the point I was tryign to make earlier. Your OG psionics with it's rock-scissors-paper mechanics was completely different from any other system in the game. It shared nothing with any other system. The problem is, since 3e onwards, the notion that everything needs its own subsystem has fallen out of favor. Insisting that psionics must be its own thing is likely not going to get you anywhere.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
But, that's the point I was tryign to make earlier. Your OG psionics with it's rock-scissors-paper mechanics was completely different from any other system in the game. It shared nothing with any other system. The problem is, since 3e onwards, the notion that everything needs its own subsystem has fallen out of favor. Insisting that psionics must be its own thing is likely not going to get you anywhere.
This isn't even an argument that most here are making. We just want some unique things to their abilities, like no components. At this point, you're engaging in a Strawman.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Really? So if they took the wizard psion or the aberrant mind sorc and said, “No components “. You’d be groovy?
I said "things like," which means more than just that. They would also have to come up with some new Psion class abilities, but they wouldn't need to come up with a completely new subsystem like you keep bringing up in your Strawman.
 

. The problem is, since 3e onwards, the notion that everything needs its own subsystem has fallen out of favor. Insisting that psionics must be its own thing is likely not going to get you anywhere.
3e consolidated dice mechanics on the d20, and a lot of fiddly non-combat sub-systems into skills.
But classes still had plenty of unique sub-systems to define them, even individual spells could be sub-systems unto themselves. The wizard & sorcerer cast the same spells, but had different magic systems, psionics was it's own thing, and it just kept adding new ones - Warlock, truenamers, incarnum, etc.
Yes, 4e actually did eschew differentiating classes that way, and edition warring ensued.
After 2 years, Essentials backslid on that point, and 5e has fully repudiated it.

In 5e, there are three casting systems, plus metamagic & sorcery points, invocations, and Ki. There are three different mechanics for inspiration - four if you count Rally. There are combat styles, feats, and manuevers.

Except for diligently recycling spells in every single class, 5e shows no inclination to avoid adding new sub-systems.
 



OD&D (Eldritch Wizardry): Never played this supplement. Barely played OD&D at all.

Basic D&D: Played a few campaigns. I don't ever remember someone playing a Mystic. We were all about Fighters, Elves, Dwarves, Magic-Users, and (for some reason) Thieves.

1e: Played exactly one campaign where the DM had the PCs roll for psionics. Exactly one character had a psionic ability. All I remember is that he knew disintegrate but could never actually use it somehow? It almost never came up. We also had exactly one encounter where the DM used the psionic combat rule that there was 1 round of psi combat for every segment of initiative (i.e., 10 rounds of psionic combat per normal round). We made it a few segments into the encounter and before anyone could act physically the psionic character had already stunned or killed several creatures. That rule got thrown in the trash where it belongs. I'm told there's supposed to be stuff in the DMG to prevent this -- that is, largely to prevent the PCs from doing it -- but I don't know if how we played was in line with that or not.

2e: Played a Dark Sun campaign. No actual psionicists, but everyone had the minor talents. I don't remember it coming up very often, largely because people were terrified of running out of power points and were confused by psionic combat.

3e: One player tried a psionic warrior for one campaign, but the awful medium BAB caused him to retire the character after a few sessions. Don't remember any psions.

4e: Pretty sure we had a 4e Dark Sun campaign with multiple psionic characters (and not just monks). However, calling this "psionics" is being extremely liberal to the term because all the crunch was basically identical to any other power source. 4e has psionics in the same way that Magic: The Gathering has psionics.
 


I have used psionics in every edition of D&D.

OD&D - I used Eldritch Wizardry

1e and 2e - We started with the rules in the DMG, then switched to a Judge's Guild supplement (Masters of the Mind)

3e and 3.5e - We used the Expanded Psionics Handbook

4e - Stopped playing shortly after the Psionics book came out and switched to Pathfinder where we continued to use the Expanded Psionics Handbook.

5e - We reflavored sorcercers. Needless to say, we're very happy with the Psionic Soul Sorcerer.
 


jgsugden

Legend
Psionics is an integral part of the primary campaign world I have run since the 1980s. It is intentionally mysterious and rare - primarily because I've become used to keeping it in the background while waiting for an edition to finally release rules for it.

The primary reason, in my mind, to provide us with a psionic character class is to support all of the DMs that have built it into their campaign worlds and are just fidgeting around the fact that there are not clear rules for it now.
 

Hussar

Legend
Psionics is an integral part of the primary campaign world I have run since the 1980s. It is intentionally mysterious and rare - primarily because I've become used to keeping it in the background while waiting for an edition to finally release rules for it.

The primary reason, in my mind, to provide us with a psionic character class is to support all of the DMs that have built it into their campaign worlds and are just fidgeting around the fact that there are not clear rules for it now.
Oh, and I get that.

But, if the poll here is in any way indicative of the general gaming population, that means that slightly over half of the tables out there either never use psionics or barely use it. And, really, only a pretty small slice would find it to be an integral part of a campaign world.

Which, frankly, plops it firmly in DM's Guild territory. There ARE very good psionic rules for D&D. And, if we're talking about people's home games, then the whole Adventurers League thing goes out the window.

Anyway, like I said earlier, I have zero horse in this race. I really couldn't care either way - if they come out with a psionic book, I'll ignore it like I ignored every other psionic book. But, I think it's fair to say that the "need" for psionics in the game is perhaps being somewhat overstated by those who want it.

In any case, welcome to Warlord country. Have a drink. Stay for the company. :D
 

I saw psionic characters pretty regularly.

In our 2e days, rolling for wild talents was a part of every character creation. At least half our parties had someone who actually got a wild talent. Probably roughly half our parties also had a psionic character, usually multiclassed. One gaming group I was within the 2e era even had a homebrew "psionic fighter" that was essentially the 3.x psychic warrior before it was even an official thing.

In 3e, psionics were still used and around. Maybe a little less often, but were still an option and still were played.

DM's tended to love to use psionic treasure as something "exotic", and going to a place where psionics was as prevalent (or moreso) than arcane magic was a common DM trick to convey that this is an alien and strange land that the characters have found themselves in.

I even played a year-long campaign in a homebrew settings where psionics was the main form of supernatural power, with arcane magic being rare and divine magic being obscure (to the degree that psionics is in normal games)
 

Aldarc

Legend
Anyway, like I said earlier, I have zero horse in this race. I really couldn't care either way - if they come out with a psionic book, I'll ignore it like I ignored every other psionic book. But, I think it's fair to say that the "need" for psionics in the game is perhaps being somewhat overstated by those who want it.
See, I think it's fair to say that you're not exactly the most unbiased person when it comes to "what's fair to say" about psionics.

In any case, welcome to Warlord country. Have a drink. Stay for the company. :D
Welcome? I'm still in warlord country. Just wish that you would turn a more sympathetic ear to psionics fans given your desire for a warlord in 5e. But adopting the attitude of anti-warlord advocates when talking about psionics is not a good look for you.
 

Hussar

Legend
Heh. The funny thing is @Aldarc, all the arguments against warlords are virtually IDENTICAL to the arguements against psionics. Yet, we've had, what, three, four kicks at the cat for psionics in 5e? Not a single whisper for warlords.

Maybe the anti-warlord crowd is right. Just like Psionics, no matter what WotC puts out, it won't be good enough and it'll just get panned anyway.

But, again, like I said, if this poll is indicative of anything, it tells me that less than half of the gamers out there actually give a darn if we get psionics at all. It won't matter to them at all. Which, frankly, puts psionics in the warlord camp of being too niche for WotC.

Unfortunate but, we'll see how it pans out.
 

Just like Psionics, no matter what WotC puts out, it won't be good enough and it'll just get panned anyway.

But, again, like I said, if this poll is indicative of anything, it tells me that less than half of the gamers out there actually give a darn if we get psionics at all. It won't matter to them at all. Which, frankly, puts psionics in the warlord camp of being too niche for WotC.

Unfortunate but, we'll see how it pans out.
Nerdrage is extremely tiresome. Even if the mechanics are great you will still have those who will find any fault. Sometimes the vocal minority will pan it deliberately. Shrilly. Wizards do not seem to listen to these much any more.
 

Heh. The funny thing is @Aldarc, all the arguments against warlords are virtually IDENTICAL to the arguements against psionics. Yet, we've had, what, three, four kicks at the cat for psionics in 5e? Not a single whisper for warlords.
True that.
Maybe the anti-warlord crowd is right. Just like Psionics, no matter what WotC puts out, it won't be good enough and it'll just get panned anyway.
I don't think so, the problem with psionics is it has been is many different editions and worked very differently. The warlord has only been in one edition, so there is only one "one true warlord". It shouldn't be too difficult to reach agreement over.
Which, frankly, puts psionics in the warlord camp of being too niche for WotC.
There is a key difference: Dark Sun. Psionics is central to what remains one of the most popular old settings. There is no setting - not even Netter Vale - that needs warlord.

It seems likely that the reason psionics is getting preferential treatment over warlord is because WotC want to eventually do Dark Sun.
 
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