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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

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
When you have a poll with multiple choices like this, and none of the choices particularly stand out from any of the other choices, that means that none of the choices are particularly appealing. Sure, Dark Sun and Planescape might be more appealing than, say, Dragonlance, but, again, that's just a RELATIVE standing. I mean, according to that poll, Planescape should come out before Dark Sun, right?
It could just as easily mean all of them are very appealing. I know that I would have voted for nearly all of them.
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
And, yet, funnily enough, you go after me for my math, but, ignore the other poll. Huh.
Whataboutism is not going to get you out of this.

Now, since 77% people DON'T want any of those options, even as a third choice, to me, that says that they are not quite as popular as folks would like to think they are.
Eh, no. That third choice could have barely edged out 15 other choices that are all in about the same range of desirability. Getting lower votes does not even come remotely close to meaning that 77% of people don't want those other options.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The flavor of Dark Sun focuses on MAGIC, not psionics. None of the Dragon kings ascend through psionics, do they? Even Borys doesn't have any psionic powers.
If by none, you mean all of them, you would be correct! You literally have to be a 20th level Wizard/20th level Psion to even become a dragon, and all of the Dragon Kings are on some step of dragonhood.
 

Olrox17

Hero
Look, your poll is so misleading that it's worthless. It's completely biased, for one, and, if you did THE EXACT same poll, but, change Dark Sun to pretty much anything, you'd get exactly the same results.

I accept that my poll isn't exactly science, but, it at least dovetails nicely with anecdotal evidence, and the fact that I've got several hundred modules from 1e on forwards and pretty much none of them feature psionics. Psionics is an afterthought in most settings, if it appears at all, and, even in Dark Sun, where it's supposed to be a BIG DEAL, it's still largely a side bit that is easily ignored. The flavor of Dark Sun focuses on MAGIC, not psionics. None of the Dragon kings ascend through psionics, do they? Even Borys doesn't have any psionic powers.
Misleading, biased. You're throwing around these words for no reason. The poll I made has 5 options, that basically boil down to Yes, No, Probably Yes, Probably no and Don't Care. Most polls and surveys I've seen follow this format.
Could I have phrased some of the options better? I suppose: there were 3-4 people (out of more than 100 votes) that expressed dissatisfaction with the phrasing.
Is the poll worthless, then? Says you! It clearly shows that most ENworld posters would buy Dark Sun if a well made book comes out. Done, point proven.

Would the poll's result be the EXACT same with anything else in place of Dark Sun? Again, says you! I believe you're wrong, and I invite you to prove your point. Make the same poll for, say, Ghostwalk, and let's see if the numbers align.

Also, I would like to point out that I never claimed that psionics are somehow much more popular than this thread shows. They're niche, always been. My point was, from the beginning, that DARK SUN is decently popular, and if you do Dark Sun you GOTTA tackle psionics to some degree. EVEN if they're niche, by themselves.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Look at the thread Morrus just made asking which books people have purchased. There as no limit, so you could vote for all of them if you wanted. Only 5 books are at the 70% threshold. The core three(PHB, DMG and MM), Volo's and Xanathar's. Mordenkainen's is close at 67.5%. The only other two at 50% or higher are the Starter Set and Sword Coast.

It seems only mechanical options sell really well. Again, that's only those here at EN World.


Edit: I misread the thread author. It's Mercurious, not Morrus.
 
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Istbor

Dances with Gnolls
There was one person who sometimes played one.

It never ended well. One being an evil campaign where we were all supposed to be Drow, but he chose some weird human like race that had like... two other heads that were only in the astral plane or something? He got made deaf and blind from a Nymph whose forest he was destroying. When asked how long it was till it wore off the answer was permanently. And since he was only a human to the rest of us Drow, we weren't inclined to help him out. It was younger days, so looking back it was a pretty badly handled by everyone involved.

I did have a space Illithid in Sci-fi campaign. That was somewhat fun. I mind controlled a bunch of NPCs and stayed in the shadows. I was shackled at the time by some galactic police so I had to be pretty discreet for a long time. Eventually convincing them I had escaped when I was still in the cell, making them open it up and panic.

Otherwise... we really didn't use them. Both instances the psionic character was actually pretty OP. These were 3.5 rule sets at the time. Even though all of our characters int eh space campaign were meant to be OPish I was able to overcome my physical weaknesses by just Mind Controlling a bunch of brutes to protect me after I got out of custody.
 

Voadam

Hero
I mean, that poll that was linked above put Dark Sun at 25%. That's the death knell of the setting. If only a quarter of the people on En World are interested in seeing it
If 25% of people rank it as their top 3 it does not tell us 75% are not interested in seeing it.

It could be that nobody who ranked it not their top 3 has any interest it. It could also be that everybody has an interest in it but 75% have more of an interest in three others. Both are possible scenarios consistent with 25% putting it in their top 3.

If it its closer to the latter it would be a weird business decision to not produce any product from a broad range that would sell well because there was no clear one dominating preference.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
Supporter
I accept that my poll isn't exactly science, but, it at least dovetails nicely with anecdotal evidence, and the fact that I've got several hundred modules from 1e on forwards and pretty much none of them feature psionics. Psionics is an afterthought in most settings, if it appears at all, and, even in Dark Sun, where it's supposed to be a BIG DEAL, it's still largely a side bit that is easily ignored. The flavor of Dark Sun focuses on MAGIC, not psionics. None of the Dragon kings ascend through psionics, do they? Even Borys doesn't have any psionic powers.
I do agree with you that while psionics is ubiquitous in Dark Sun, it's also somewhat inessential to the overall feel of the setting. Preserving and defiling arcane magic, as a metaphor for responsible and irresponsible use of technology damaging the environment, is far more central. If anything, I think the availability of psionics as an alternative power that sidesteps that central conflict is a weakness in the previously published versions of the setting.
 

Olrox17

Hero
Preserving and defiling arcane magic, as a metaphor for responsible and irresponsible use of technology damaging the environment, is far more central. If anything, I think the availability of psionics as an alternative power that sidesteps that central conflict is a weakness in the previously published versions of the setting.
You know, if Dark Sun arcane magic is a metaphor for technology gone too far, and psionic power can be easily compared to emergent mutant superpowers, I can see a Dark Sun campaign inspired by X-Men Days of Future Past.

The Sorcerer Kings have enslaved the world in their mad scramble for power, and they now feel threatened by an alarming amount of slaves developing powerful psionic abilities, so they start a ruthless purge, and the PCs are involved in this conflict. Interesting.
 

Hussar

Legend
It could just as easily mean all of them are very appealing. I know that I would have voted for nearly all of them.
Again, though, this isn't exactly a vote for Dark Sun then is it? "Hey, it's just as popular as any other choice and just as appealing." doesn't really sell the notion.

Look, I know you folks want to paint me as the bad guy here for being a negative Nellie. Fair enough. To be honest, I'd personally LOVE a WotC Dark Sun treatment - say a level 4-20 adventure path that introduces the setting, brings a strong story and includes defiling and psionic rules plus all the really groovy Dark Sun beasties. I'd buy it in a minute. Very cool.

But, my personal preference doesn't really matter does it? Neither does yours. "I want it" is not a particularly good argument. The point I'm making here is, psionics have never been very popular and are not really seen at that many tables. Dark Sun is cool but, it's also pretty niche and lacks a strong, broad appeal, plus, it's been out of print (more or less, saving the 4e foray into it) for longer than the majority of gamers have been alive. It's not exactly high on the list of things folks are aware of.

Yes, yes, I know YOU know about it. But, you're an En Worlder who's either reading this or posting. Both of which pretty much place you outside of the mainstream.

Now, as evidence for psionics not being particularly popular, I presented this thread, which, instead of asking leading questions or being predicated on future actions, is simply asking about past experiences. It's still self selecting and frankly, since I'm polling En Worlders, not strongly idicative of anything. However, I would also point out that in 50 years, psionics have never strongly featured in the game. There are no module series (that I can think of) that leaned on psionics. Even Dark Sun, where psionics has its strongest place, makes psionics a side element and certainly not central to the themes of the setting. And, outside of the small niche of people who actually have played/read Dark Sun, psionics is largely absent. Oh, sure, it pokes its head up here or there, but, it's never really been a big element of D&D.

Which is what this poll shows.

Like I said above, I'd LOVE a big, beautiful Dark Sun book. I think it'd be FANTASTIC. But, I also am very much not getting my hopes up that a setting that's almost as popular as other settings, featuring psionic rules that, in the history of the game, have never really had much of an impact, is going to see the light of day.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
Supporter
Again, though, this isn't exactly a vote for Dark Sun then is it? "Hey, it's just as popular as any other choice and just as appealing." doesn't really sell the notion.

Look, I know you folks want to paint me as the bad guy here for being a negative Nellie. Fair enough. To be honest, I'd personally LOVE a WotC Dark Sun treatment - say a level 4-20 adventure path that introduces the setting, brings a strong story and includes defiling and psionic rules plus all the really groovy Dark Sun beasties. I'd buy it in a minute. Very cool.

But, my personal preference doesn't really matter does it? Neither does yours. "I want it" is not a particularly good argument. The point I'm making here is, psionics have never been very popular and are not really seen at that many tables. Dark Sun is cool but, it's also pretty niche and lacks a strong, broad appeal, plus, it's been out of print (more or less, saving the 4e foray into it) for longer than the majority of gamers have been alive. It's not exactly high on the list of things folks are aware of.

Yes, yes, I know YOU know about it. But, you're an En Worlder who's either reading this or posting. Both of which pretty much place you outside of the mainstream.

Now, as evidence for psionics not being particularly popular, I presented this thread, which, instead of asking leading questions or being predicated on future actions, is simply asking about past experiences. It's still self selecting and frankly, since I'm polling En Worlders, not strongly idicative of anything. However, I would also point out that in 50 years, psionics have never strongly featured in the game. There are no module series (that I can think of) that leaned on psionics. Even Dark Sun, where psionics has its strongest place, makes psionics a side element and certainly not central to the themes of the setting. And, outside of the small niche of people who actually have played/read Dark Sun, psionics is largely absent. Oh, sure, it pokes its head up here or there, but, it's never really been a big element of D&D.

Which is what this poll shows.

Like I said above, I'd LOVE a big, beautiful Dark Sun book. I think it'd be FANTASTIC. But, I also am very much not getting my hopes up that a setting that's almost as popular as other settings, featuring psionic rules that, in the history of the game, have never really had much of an impact, is going to see the light of day.
I agree with your overall argument. But we’re nerds here, and if you say a ~40% response on a “best 3 out of 23 options” poll isn’t a strong positive response, you’re going to get called out for being incorrect. That’s my only issue.
 

Voadam

Hero
instead of asking leading questions
I don't know, I felt the questions were stacked to have people who played a lot of psionics pick your 3rd option.

"Not much and certainly less common than PHB classes." Seems to fit everything not from the PHB in every edition for every person who plays a lot and sees a lot. Was something not in the PHB certainly less common that stuff from the PHB almost seems like a tautology.

Barbarians in 1e. I saw them and played one, but they were less common than PHB classes.

Psions in 2e and 3e and Pathfinder. I saw them and played them but they were less common than PHB classes.

Swordmages in 4e. I saw them and played them but they were less common than PHB classes.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
"I want it" is not a particularly good argument.
That solely depends on how many people across the customer base say "I want it".

Just you, or just me, or just any other person saying "I want it" isn't likely to get very far.

But get enough people saying it, and it's the best argument there is in favour of actually producing it.
 

One being an evil campaign where we were all supposed to be Drow, but he chose some weird human like race that had like... two other heads that were only in the astral plane or something? He got made deaf and blind from a Nymph whose forest he was destroying. When asked how long it was till it wore off the answer was permanently. And since he was only a human to the rest of us Drow, we weren't inclined to help him out. It was younger days, so looking back it was a pretty badly handled by everyone involved.
This made me laugh, and reminds me of my own D&D experiences as a teenager.
 

Mr. Wilson

Explorer
I have played since the early 90s and have never seen a psionic PC in DnD. I have seen them in other games like Deadlands, Rifts, and TMNT.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Again, though, this isn't exactly a vote for Dark Sun then is it? "Hey, it's just as popular as any other choice and just as appealing." doesn't really sell the notion.
I don't think you're seeing the big picture here. Yes, if that poll had been opened up like the "What products have you bought?" poll, you'd see much higher numbers across the board, just like the "What products have you bought?" poll is seeing. That doesn't mean that there wouldn't be stand-outs. It just means that everything on that poll would see a significant bump. The ones that are currently the most popular, though, would remain in the lead. The bump would likely be pretty even across the board.

Look, I know you folks want to paint me as the bad guy here for being a negative Nellie. Fair enough.
So it wouldn't be fair to paint you as a bad guy for being a pessimist. However, that's not what we are doing. Heck, we aren't even painting you as a bad guy at all. We're disagreeing with you and telling you that you are reading the poll numbers incorrectly, and that if it had been a fair poll that allowed everyone to vote for all the things that they want to see come to the game, the numbers would be very much higher across the board.

But, my personal preference doesn't really matter does it? Neither does yours. "I want it" is not a particularly good argument. The point I'm making here is, psionics have never been very popular and are not really seen at that many tables. Dark Sun is cool but, it's also pretty niche and lacks a strong, broad appeal, plus, it's been out of print (more or less, saving the 4e foray into it) for longer than the majority of gamers have been alive. It's not exactly high on the list of things folks are aware of.
So first, we aren't making that argument. This isn't about personal preference. It's about what things hit high numbers with what people want WotC to make and release. Dark Sun and Psionics made the top 4. That's very significant when you read the polls numbers properly.

Second, Dark Sun had broad appeal years ago and new players are very likely to also like it as a setting. People haven't changed all that much since it was released the first time.

Third, a lot of old time gamers had biases against psionics that newer players won't have. D&D has gone main stream and many, if not most new players aren't the hardcore geeks that don't want to mix their D&D and their Sci-Fi, because geeky reasons. I'm sure a lot of them will be like, "Cool!! Mind powers!"

Yes, yes, I know YOU know about it. But, you're an En Worlder who's either reading this or posting. Both of which pretty much place you outside of the mainstream.
I also walked through 1e uphill in the snow. When THACO arrived, I was there! ;)

Now, as evidence for psionics not being particularly popular, I presented this thread, which, instead of asking leading questions or being predicated on future actions, is simply asking about past experiences. It's still self selecting and frankly, since I'm polling En Worlders, not strongly idicative of anything. However, I would also point out that in 50 years, psionics have never strongly featured in the game. There are no module series (that I can think of) that leaned on psionics.
The Dark Sun modules had psionics in them. As for psionics not being that popular, as you point out, this is EN World where many of us have played for decades and have those biases I mentioned above. Even then, most of us saw psionics used at some point, and some saw them fairly often.

Even Dark Sun, where psionics has its strongest place, makes psionics a side element and certainly not central to the themes of the setting. And, outside of the small niche of people who actually have played/read Dark Sun, psionics is largely absent. Oh, sure, it pokes its head up here or there, but, it's never really been a big element of D&D.
It absolutely was a central theme. Every being in the game was at least a wild talent. Creatures were intensely psionic, with the majority of the creatures in the Dark Sun Monstrous Compendiums having psionics and special abilities related to psionics. Of the 11 creatures in the boxed set, 9 had psionics. The Dragon Kings as oppressors, which were probably the second most important theme in game were 20th level Wizards and 20th level Psions to even become a dragon. We wouldn't have that theme without psionics being present.
 



Aldarc

Legend
I do agree with you that while psionics is ubiquitous in Dark Sun, it's also somewhat inessential to the overall feel of the setting. Preserving and defiling arcane magic, as a metaphor for responsible and irresponsible use of technology damaging the environment, is far more central. If anything, I think the availability of psionics as an alternative power that sidesteps that central conflict is a weakness in the previously published versions of the setting.
I can't agree with this sentiment. Honestly, preserving and divine magic felt more like sidestepping the issue of the original setting than psionics. Psionics strikes me as the whole "life adapts" aspect to the weird and harsh environment of the setting. Psionics wasn't just something that people did in Dark Sun. It was something that nature did. There were plants and animals with psionic powers.

Now, as evidence for psionics not being particularly popular, I presented this thread, which, instead of asking leading questions or being predicated on future actions, is simply asking about past experiences. It's still self selecting and frankly, since I'm polling En Worlders, not strongly idicative of anything. However, I would also point out that in 50 years, psionics have never strongly featured in the game. There are no module series (that I can think of) that leaned on psionics. Even Dark Sun, where psionics has its strongest place, makes psionics a side element and certainly not central to the themes of the setting. And, outside of the small niche of people who actually have played/read Dark Sun, psionics is largely absent. Oh, sure, it pokes its head up here or there, but, it's never really been a big element of D&D.
In 20 years of gaming, I have never seen a gnome played. However, saying that this means that there should be no gnomes - while that would likely excite some people - would exclude tables where people did enjoy playing gnomes. The same is true, IMHO, regarding psionics. It's not necessarily about the tables where psionics weren't seen, but the ones where they enjoyed regular use.

Really? Skip all of the rest of my post and move the goal posts on that one, eh? To remind you, here is what you said, "There are no module series (that I can think of) that leaned on psionics."
You will never get a reasonable conversation from a man who has already set their mind against being reasoned with.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
Supporter
I can't agree with this sentiment. Honestly, preserving and divine magic felt more like sidestepping the issue of the original setting than psionics. Psionics strikes me as the whole "life adapts" aspect to the weird and harsh environment of the setting. Psionics wasn't just something that people did in Dark Sun. It was something that nature did. There were plants and animals with psionic powers.
I could get on board with that, (it also tracks nicely with the 4E idea of psionics as "nature's immune response to an unnatural presence") if psionic use wasn't so integrated into the populace as a whole and used so frequently in the city-states. Like if psionics was something of the "outside" (reinforcing the safer but subjugated aspect of the city-states versus the dangerous but free aspect of the wilds), and if you spent enough time out there, you might also develop those kinds of powers.

I'd also like psionics better if that was the power being nurtured by the Veiled Alliance in opposition to the arcane power of the sorcerer-kings. I guess I'd just like it to be integrated into the thematic conflicts of the setting, somehow. To me, it feels like a sort of background story in the setting, and it isn't really reinforcing anything.
 

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