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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

Aldarc

Legend
Ok, let's compare the artificer shall we?

And, we're not going to get WotC psionic rules until such time as a majority of people are on board with the rules, just like anything else they've added to the game. That magic 70% number that I've seen floated around a few times. Do YOU think they've reached that threshold with the current psionic rules?
Sure. You are correct that the Artificer went through less hurdles than psionics, but most people had a pretty solid idea of sort of Artificer they wanted: an Eberron-style. The first draft was a wizard one, but that was unpopular. Psionics went through four editions of various design iterations and were less defined by a particular setting in terms of their flavor. But the point is not how many passes one class went through versus the other - that's just moving goal posts - the point is that the Artificer is similarly niche like psionics, but also one of the most popularly requested additions to the game, much like how the Artificer was.

Show me where psionics is this hugely popular thing. I'm more than willing to admit I'm wrong. But, so far, all people can do is play dueling anecdotes about their home game. Which, well, doesn't prove anything. What evidence do you have that psionics aren't languishing in the same development Hell as rangers?
Hugely popular? Difficult to prove one way or another. However, is it sufficiently popular to warrant official publication in 5e? Sure. It has been popular enough to repeatedly show up in 4 editions, which is four times more than the Warlord can say. We can also say that psionics are popular enough that WotC is still trying to bring psionics back instead of dropping it like they have so many other concepts. Or how many versions of psionics exists on the DMs Guild? How many homebrew versions of psionics are out there? It's not exactly as if psionics are on the same degree of niche as some sort of anime princess maid class. It's something that has popped up in all past editions of D&D that has gotten people to continue writing and advocating for.

* Also the development hell of rangers probably has a lot to do with how WotC doesn't want to invalidate customer's PHBs. Not sure how psionics is comparable in that regard apart from taking a lot of rehashing behind closed doors.
 

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Hussar

Legend
Sure, psionics appeared in 4 editions. OTOH, Warlords actually appeared in the PHB. Granted, psionics did once too. So, I'm not sure how much weight I'd lend. By the same token, Warlords haven't even gotten a single pass in UA, so, there's that. :D Someday maybe, but, considering the vitriol, I doubt it.

OTOH, like I said, 4 kicks at the cat so far, and not a lot of progress. I guess they've managed to iron out what NOT to do. :p

See, again, you seem to think that I'm arguing against psionics. I'm not. I couldn't really care either way to be brutally honest. If they show up, fine, if they don't, well, I won't lose any sleep over it. I'm about as ambivalent on the issue as I can be. The point I've made here though is that for those who really want psionics, you very well might be waiting a LONG time. Psionics are a niche element, so, it's not really a priority for WotC. There is considerable disagreement among those who want psionics exactly what psionics should look like. Plus you've got another group of folks, like me, who have zero interest in seeing psionics added to the game as a new ruleset, the way it's been done in other editions. I actually do rather oppose that notion. Work within the existing framework or forget about it. I have zero interest in a completely separate ruleset just so psionic fans can feel special about themselves.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I don't think there's a case to be made that psionics is hugely popular. I think it's more a case of having a smaller but very dedicated fanbase. There's enough love there to help sell a setting though, IMO. Or enough to flavor a couple - as psionics is at least somewhat key to both a potential Planes setting and to Dark Sun. I don't think that a set of Psionics rules is going to be the key marketable content for anything WotC publishes though, the fan base isn't that big. Combined with Dark Sun, or the Planes though, then you're talking.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
You keep talking about how I'm being unreasonable, but, I'm sorry, I don't see it that way. I can point to the history of psionics in the game - never really more than a small niche, point to current development - none of the UA attempts have been successful at bringing a majority of people on board and the fact that psionic play, according this poll and various other sources as well, has never really been all that important to the general population of D&D gamers. In response, I get called unreasonable, get pointed to polls that are, frankly, a joke and no actual historical or anecdotal evidence to the contrary.
I guess where you see niche, I see something that's always been prioritized in development as soon as the core 4 are fleshed out. In 2E, psionics was the PHBR5, the first rules supplement published after the core 4 classes got books. In 3E, the Complete Psionics book came out in March 2001, 7 months after the PHB and while the first class expansion books were still being published.

The 3.5 psionics handbook came out 8 months after the 3.5 PHB, was almost a complete rework of 3.0, and was popular enough to get a follow up book. Its system was also popular enough to generate a 3PP system that was well-liked enough that it deterred Paizo from introducing its own psionics system in Pathfinder 1.

In 4e, 4 different psionic classes were introduced in the PHB3, the second power source introduced after the core 3 of martial, divine, and arcane. (Primal did admittedly leapfrog psionics, but druid has also been a fairly central D&D class.)

So, the way I view it is that psionics has always been important, both as its own thematic content, and as a way of introducing new subsystems to the core of the game engine. I don't think it's a coincidence that the most popular version of psionics was the 3.5 version, which was both distinct (multiple classes, point based abilities, its own power list) and yet familiar (class power progression mirrored caster progression, powers were formatted like spells, the basic power level of powers mimicked spells). Honestly, I think the success of 3.5 psionics was a direct precursor to the unified framework of abilities in 4e.

I would say the big sticking point of 5e psionics is that the general demand in psionics is "related, yet separate", and they've never committed to providing that. Mystic was a good experiment, but the disciplines weren't cohesive, and the most recent experiments have been focused on narrative over mechanical expansion. A good psionics system in the D&D tradition needs to provide both.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Show me where psionics is this hugely popular thing. I'm more than willing to admit I'm wrong. But, so far, all people can do is play dueling anecdotes about their home game. Which, well, doesn't prove anything. What evidence do you have that psionics aren't languishing in the same development Hell as rangers?
That poll you've been poopooing shows both Psionics and Dark Sun as top 4.
 


Hussar

Legend
Do we actually know that the 3e Psionics books sold well? Or, is that another gut feeling?

Again, @Maxperson, I'd point out that 4th place is kinda damning with faint praise. Wouldn't you do whatever is in 1st place first? I dunno, seems like a better idea to me. "Almost as popular as this other thing" is a pretty tough sell.

And, yup, Psionics got treatments early in virtually every edition. Yet, despite that, psionics has never really cracked the niche egg. Sure, Dark Sun, ok, fair enough. But, again, no serious adventure features. Outside of Dark Sun, it's barely mentioned in settings. And, here, we have a poll saying that it's not really much of a feature at the majority of tables (can I say that without being taken to task?).

Look, I honestly do hope you all get what you want. I really do. It's no skin off my nose if you do. Cool. Great. But, I do think that it's not really reasonable to be expecting it any time soon. My prediction is 2002 at the absolute earliest, and, really, probably 2003 before you're going to get psionic rules for 5e.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Do we actually know that the 3e Psionics books sold well? Or, is that another gut feeling?

Again, @Maxperson, I'd point out that 4th place is kinda damning with faint praise. Wouldn't you do whatever is in 1st place first? I dunno, seems like a better idea to me. "Almost as popular as this other thing" is a pretty tough sell.

And, yup, Psionics got treatments early in virtually every edition. Yet, despite that, psionics has never really cracked the niche egg. Sure, Dark Sun, ok, fair enough. But, again, no serious adventure features. Outside of Dark Sun, it's barely mentioned in settings. And, here, we have a poll saying that it's not really much of a feature at the majority of tables (can I say that without being taken to task?).

Look, I honestly do hope you all get what you want. I really do. It's no skin off my nose if you do. Cool. Great. But, I do think that it's not really reasonable to be expecting it any time soon. My prediction is 2002 at the absolute earliest, and, really, probably 2003 before you're going to get psionic rules for 5e.
Unless you think 5e is a dead edition that will be ending within months, then even at 5e's glacial release rate, 4th place would guarantee a book release within a year or two. 4th place is not only not "faint praise," but is rather a glowingly awesome endorsement.
 

Artificers cast spells just like every other caster. They don't need any "special" rules to make them stand out.

The UA version had a requirement to use a tool kit in their spellcasting. Did they take that out in the final product? That seems just as big of a change to fundamental spellcasting as the "no components" angle of psionics that some of us find to be the biggest need for differentiation.

* - and here's a stray thought: if they ever do another M:tG setting I wonder if it'll be Dark Sun, as a tie-in.....

I sure hope not. That would actually tempt me to take up M:tG. But I can't afford it, and I'd just frustrate my Magic-playing roommate by always wanting to play the Dark Sun setting exclusively. It wouldn't be a pretty picture.
 

The UA version had a requirement to use a tool kit in their spellcasting. Did they take that out in the final product? That seems just as big of a change to fundamental spellcasting as the "no components" angle of psionics that some of us find to be the biggest need for differentiation.
They still need toolkit to cast but it is more fluff than a hard rule. The artificer in my group is using a crossbow to cast spells. Different lenses for different spells. A red lens to fire fire bolt. A blue white lens for Ray of Frost. A purple lens for his spare the dying cantrip and so on. His healing spells are made with salves that are projected with his crossbow like tiny bottles that explodes on impact healing the person targeted by the spell. It is just a nice description.
 

Hussar

Legend
Unless you think 5e is a dead edition that will be ending within months, then even at 5e's glacial release rate, 4th place would guarantee a book release within a year or two. 4th place is not only not "faint praise," but is rather a glowingly awesome endorsement.

Well, that's certainly an interpretation.
 

Hussar

Legend
The UA version had a requirement to use a tool kit in their spellcasting. Did they take that out in the final product? That seems just as big of a change to fundamental spellcasting as the "no components" angle of psionics that some of us find to be the biggest need for differentiation.

/snip

I guess it comes down to what you consider to be a new mechanic. Needing a tool, to me, is no different than any other caster. Tool or holy symbol or whatever, who cares? To me, that's so minor that I find it weird the people care.

To be honest, if that's the sticking point for psionics - no components, people really have to get over themselves.
 

To be honest, if that's the sticking point for psionics - no components, people really have to get over themselves.

I kind of find this insulting, and I'm not generally very easily offended. I bring up my response not to get argumentative or because I think you were intending to be insulting, but to point out that yes, it really is extremely important to some of us that psionics not use components. It's on a very short of list of what I consider identity-level D&D Psionics traits. It's licking A-1 from a hot grill important.
 

Hussar

Legend
I kind of find this insulting, and I'm not generally very easily offended. I bring up my response not to get argumentative or because I think you were intending to be insulting, but to point out that yes, it really is extremely important to some of us that psionics not use components. It's on a very short of list of what I consider identity-level D&D Psionics traits. It's licking A-1 from a hot grill important.

I'm sorry, but, really? You couldn't just say, "Yes, the official rules have components, but, we're going to ignore that at my table"?

Look, I get dying on a hill for something, but, this seems to be a pretty minor hill that would be extremely easy to ignore.
 

Olrox17

Hero
I'm sorry, but, really? You couldn't just say, "Yes, the official rules have components, but, we're going to ignore that at my table"?

Look, I get dying on a hill for something, but, this seems to be a pretty minor hill that would be extremely easy to ignore.
No, it’s not. You don’t really get psionics and their appeal, I get it, it’s cool, but try not tell other people why they shouldn’t want what they want.

I’ll give you an example. What if the 5e wizard didn’t have a spell book class feature? What if spellbooks weren’t mentioned at all in the class’ description? Do you think wizards fans would be fine with that? Would they agree with me if I told them “eh whatever, it’s fluff, just houserule a spellbook at your table”?

No they wouldn't. Spellbooks are an important part of the wizard's identity, and the mechanics have to reflect that. No somatic or verbal components is an important part of psionics. In 3e they had "displays", instead. Auditory, material, mental, olfactory, or visual cues that a psionic powers was being used. That's closer to the psion's identity.
 
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Hussar

Legend
No, it’s not. You don’t really get psionics and their appeal, I get it, it’s cool, but try not tell other people why they shouldn’t want what they want.

I’ll give you an example. What if the 5e wizard didn’t have a spell book class feature? What if spellbooks weren’t mentioned at all in the class’ description? Do you think wizards fans would be fine with that? Would they agree with me if I told them “eh whatever, it’s fluff, just houserule a spellbook at your table”?

No they wouldn't. Spellbooks are an important part of the wizard's identity, and the mechanics have to reflect that. No somatic or verbal components is an important part of psionics. In 3e they had "displays", instead. Auditory, material, mental, olfactory, or visual cues that a psionic powers was being used. That's closer to the psion's identity.

Well, I cannot speak for "wizard fans", but, for myself? Would not care in the slightest. Adding in "needs spellbook" is so low of a priority in the identity of a wizard that I really cannot even imagine anyone caring so much that they'd rather NOT have a wizard class at all.

I guess I'm just nowhere near that fussy. I think I can count on one hand the number of times a wizard's spellbook has ever actually mattered in play. Other than as treasure I suppose. But, care so much that I'd rather not have a wizard class at all, than have a wizard with no spellbook? Yeah, not a hill I would even consider climbing, let alone dying on.
 

Hussar

Legend
Just another thought to add.

See, I remember, not that long ago, when druids absolutely needed a golden sickle and mistletoe to cast their spells. This was absolutely required. Yet, 3e ejected that bit and, well, everyone got over it.

I remember when paladins absolutely had to be Lawful Good. This was absolutely required and core to the identity of the class. Yet 5e ejected that and everyone got over it.

I remember when clerics absolutely could not use edged weapons. This was absolutely required and core to the identity of the class. Yet, 2e started ejecting that notion and 3e buried it for good. And everyone got over it.

Classes change. What goes into a class changes. What is the "important part" of the identy of a class one day is on the cutting room floor the next. Insisting that X MUST be part of the class just because that's the way it was before doesn't really hold a lot of water when you look at 5e and the evolution of virtually every class over the course of various editions. Other than maybe, and very maybe, a fighter, none of the classes look much like they did before.
 

Olrox17

Hero
Well, I cannot speak for "wizard fans", but, for myself? Would not care in the slightest. Adding in "needs spellbook" is so low of a priority in the identity of a wizard that I really cannot even imagine anyone caring so much that they'd rather NOT have a wizard class at all.

I guess I'm just nowhere near that fussy. I think I can count on one hand the number of times a wizard's spellbook has ever actually mattered in play. Other than as treasure I suppose. But, care so much that I'd rather not have a wizard class at all, than have a wizard with no spellbook? Yeah, not a hill I would even consider climbing, let alone dying on.
That's good for you. No joke, not being fussy is good for your health.
However, I believe we can agree that this hobby has sacred cows, and that great backlash happens when those cows are slaughtered with carelessness.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
To be honest, if that's the sticking point for psionics - no components, people really have to get over themselves.
Why? Every iteration of a Psion/Mystic in the 5e UA has required no components. Even the Sorcerer psionic subclass can remove components as they turn magic into psionics. 1e, 2e and 3e had no components.

We may or may not ever get a Psion, but if it does come, it won't need components.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I'm sorry, but, really? You couldn't just say, "Yes, the official rules have components, but, we're going to ignore that at my table"?

Look, I get dying on a hill for something, but, this seems to be a pretty minor hill that would be extremely easy to ignore.
There's no hill to die on. This not a sticking point for WotC, since they agree with us that Psions/Mystics don't need components. If they make one and release it, it will not require components. There may or may not be visual, aural or scent displays like 3e, but those are not components.
 

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