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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
It's not that I don't get how you're moving from A to B, I do, I just don't agree with you about what it means. Right now there are no spell-like psionic abilities that are separate from the casting rules. Every full caster psion ever designed for D&D has had access to a host of spells, or spell-like abilities if you prefer. So the Sorcerer in question is our only example of what a full-caster psion would look like in 5E, at least at this point in the design cycle. There's no other evidence of anything for what a full class Psion might look like, other than that it would use the psionic die mechanic.
Except that the Sorcerer in question isn't an example of what a full-caster Psion would look like. It's an example of what an arcane caster who has a bit of psionics to modify his arcane magic would look like.

Just because the psionic die sometimes removes the need for the usual trapping of arcane casting is evidence neither that a 'full psion' class would completely remove those requirements, nor that that class would somehow be created outside the current spellcasting rules.
You seem to be under the mistaken impression that evidence has to show definitive proof of something. Your presence at a night club during the time of a shooting is evidence that you could be the shooter. It's not strong evidence by itself, but it is evidence, even if you are not the shooter.

The Psionic Soul power is evidence that psionics won't require components. It's just not absolute proof. Even the Mystic is evidence, even though it has been discarded, as it shows the thinking of WotC. 3e and 4e are similarly evidence. The lack of a single psionic power in the new UA requiring components is also evidence.

Taken in its totality, all that evidence is enough to convince me that a Psion, should it ever be made, won't need components for its powers.
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I agree there’s evidence that WotC thinks component-less magic is an aspect of psionics worth exploring.
I think after 20 years, they are done exploring it. They may be exploring component using psionics, but I don't believe that they will ultimately go in that direction. After 20 years of WotC doing it that way, and 44 years total of psionics with no components, I think that's pretty set in stone. It's a sacred cow as strong as(even if not as big in scope) as alignment. Nerd rage is strong with us. :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
For 5e, we just use a house-doctored Sorcerer for Psionics, with the optional Spell Points table from the DMG.
Ya know, that's actually not a bad idea.

Sorcerer as a class is kind of expendable anyway, and flipping it to spell points as a Psionicist gives it a nice unique mechanical distinction in play. Good one!
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
One middle ground open to them between components and no-components is the idea of a psionic focus item. This would be something a psion carries all the time and has to touch* to operate; without it her powers are weak but useable, with it her powers are fully functional.

* - this could mean by holding or wielding, or by wearing next to the skin, or whatever.

The item itself could be anything the player decides, within reason, as part of the character's background; but once set it's locked in stone, and should a psion ever lose it the character is kinda hooped until a new one can be generated - a process taking considerable time (at least a year, I'd say).

The item would not radiate magic or in any other way be detectable as anything other than a mundane item, except maybe by another psion.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Except that the Sorcerer in question isn't an example of what a full-caster Psion would look like. It's an example of what an arcane caster who has a bit of psionics to modify his arcane magic would look like.
That's quite true. What it means is where we differ.

You seem to be under the mistaken impression that evidence has to show definitive proof of something. Your presence at a night club during the time of a shooting is evidence that you could be the shooter. It's not strong evidence by itself, but it is evidence, even if you are not the shooter.
The only person here who is trying to prove something is you. All I'm doing is examining the evidence to see if supports your current assertion, and it doesn't. Not the way you want it to. I'm not trying to prove the opposite by any means.
The Psionic Soul power is evidence that psionics won't require components. It's just not absolute proof. Even the Mystic is evidence, even though it has been discarded, as it shows the thinking of WotC. 3e and 4e are similarly evidence. The lack of a single psionic power in the new UA requiring components is also evidence.
If that psion doesn't have any spell-like abilities, sure. That's what the evidence actually supports. My point was that the 'full psion' of yore tended to have rather a lot of spell like abilities. What we haven't seen in the latest design iteration is a version of those abilities that somehow escapes the orbit of components and the current magic system. Now, if WotC completely redesigns all the spells that used to make up a significant portion of the Psion ability set then you may get what you want. However, what we actually have evidence for isn't anything like that - a big potion of what previously used be the class skills don't have a design exemplar outside the current spell system. I thought I was being clear about my take on this, but perhaps I wasn't.
Taken in its totality, all that evidence is enough to convince me that a Psion, should it ever be made, won't need components for its powers.
And that's fine. It doesn't convince me of the same thing, but that's also fine. I wasn't trying to suggest that you won't get what you want, and I hope you remember from previous discussions that I want much the same thing. All I was suggesting is that the models in the most current UA don't show a clear path to that result.
 

Nagol

Unimportant
In 1e, they aren't particularly rare; I use the PHB rules for determining psionics and then allow players to opt out before rolling psionic strength. Psionic PCs tend to die slightly faster overall in my experience and many players (especially if they don't have tremendous Int, Wis AND Cha) don't want to risk psychic encounters and combat.

2e, as a player, they really weren't used except in Dark Sun. I offered them as a DM, but got no takers.

3e and 3.x, as a DM, I didn't use them. When the rules came out, I floated the idea of adding them to the group, but I didn't get unanimity.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
If that psion doesn't have any spell-like abilities, sure. That's what the evidence actually supports. My point was that the 'full psion' of yore tended to have rather a lot of spell like abilities. What we haven't seen in the latest design iteration is a version of those abilities that somehow escapes the orbit of components and the current magic system. Now, if WotC completely redesigns all the spells that used to make up a significant portion of the Psion ability set then you may get what you want.
What redesign work on spells would they need to do?
 

Hussar

Legend
Sorry, this components rabbit hole is my mistake. Totally my bad.

The point I was trying to make was that if they bang out a set of psionic rules that are completely acceptable, except for one point, perhaps it would be better to accept it rather than drawing a line in the sand over a single issue. Whatever that issue happens to be. Sorry for the confusion.
 

I think after 20 years, they are done exploring it. They may be exploring component using psionics, but I don't believe that they will ultimately go in that direction. After 20 years of WotC doing it that way, and 44 years total of psionics with no components, I think that's pretty set in stone. It's a sacred cow as strong as(even if not as big in scope) as alignment. Nerd rage is strong with us. :)
Much better. All perfectly valid beliefs.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
What redesign work on spells would they need to do?
Sorry, I meant redesign on the class/psion abilities to move them far enough away from being spell-like that they could just use the psionic die, or whatever mechanic they decided to use. I think if they aren't going to use the spell mechanics, which I really do hope is the case, then they won't be very spell-like in some kind of significant way. I can't see WotC falling back into the lazy trap of well, they're really just spells, but they don't need trappings, isn't that super-duper? I feel like they could do something far more interesting than that if they wanted to.
 

Almost never here.
Dabbled in some of the psionic rules from Unearthed Arcana I think for AD&D 1st edition, played a few games of Dark Sun where everyone had psionic powers. Didn't use 3.5 psionics.
In 5e, have seen someone play a UA Mystic for a one-shot. Have one character in my Eberron game playing a Psion. That's it.
 

Hussar

Legend
Sorry, I meant redesign on the class/psion abilities to move them far enough away from being spell-like that they could just use the psionic die, or whatever mechanic they decided to use. I think if they aren't going to use the spell mechanics, which I really do hope is the case, then they won't be very spell-like in some kind of significant way. I can't see WotC falling back into the lazy trap of well, they're really just spells, but they don't need trappings, isn't that super-duper? I feel like they could do something far more interesting than that if they wanted to.
I do get this, and I can certainly appreciate. But, just to bring up the counter argument, if they don't use spells, but instead go with some completely different mechanic, then I think it's going to be a much steeper uphill climb to convince the majority that we need psionics. There are some who look existing spells, and they do have a point, and say, "Well, with magic, you can mind control, lift things from far away, communicate telepathically, etc, why do we need a shopping list of completley new spells (err powers or whatever they call it) that do essentially the same thing?"

It's not an unreasonable point. What effect is uniquely psionic? (Heh, this runs the risk of diving back into the genre discussions from the other thread. Please, let's not go there)
 
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Aldarc

Legend
One middle ground open to them between components and no-components is the idea of a psionic focus item. This would be something a psion carries all the time and has to touch* to operate; without it her powers are weak but useable, with it her powers are fully functional.

* - this could mean by holding or wielding, or by wearing next to the skin, or whatever.

The item itself could be anything the player decides, within reason, as part of the character's background; but once set it's locked in stone, and should a psion ever lose it the character is kinda hooped until a new one can be generated - a process taking considerable time (at least a year, I'd say).

The item would not radiate magic or in any other way be detectable as anything other than a mundane item, except maybe by another psion.
Someone in another thread had the interesting idea for a psion class. The psion would gradually lose (or outgrow) the need for spell components (V,S,M) as they level up, though material components might be one of the earliest things they learn to lose. The trade-off might be a psionic focus that helps them maintain their mental um... focus. It may even be that the psion can cast without the focus, but there is some other trade-off.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Someone in another thread had the interesting idea for a psion class. The psion would gradually lose (or outgrow) the need for spell components (V,S,M) as they level up, though material components might be one of the earliest things they learn to lose. The trade-off might be a psionic focus that helps them maintain their mental um... focus. It may even be that the psion can cast without the focus, but there is some other trade-off.
OK, but if there's going to be psionics I'd like to completely divorce them from current spell mechanics right from square one, and replace those mechanics with something simpler (e.g. all or most abilities are at-will), faster (i.e. a typical psionic ability will beat a typical spell, speed/time wise*), and - as a trade-off for being able to keep at it all day - make each ability less effective per use than a typical spell.

Why? Because if you make them just another type of spellcaster - of which there's already too many - using much the same mechanics as all the other casters, what's the point?

* - this would be far more relevant in a system that either a) used casting times for spells and-or b) allowed simultaneous initiatives.
 

Aldarc

Legend
OK, but if there's going to be psionics I'd like to completely divorce them from current spell mechanics right from square one, and replace those mechanics with something simpler (e.g. all or most abilities are at-will), faster (i.e. a typical psionic ability will beat a typical spell, speed/time wise*), and - as a trade-off for being able to keep at it all day - make each ability less effective per use than a typical spell.

Why? Because if you make them just another type of spellcaster - of which there's already too many - using much the same mechanics as all the other casters, what's the point?

* - this would be far more relevant in a system that either a) used casting times for spells and-or b) allowed simultaneous initiatives.
I would not be opposed to such a system. But I would also point out that the powers of psionics are typically more specialized from other spellcasters as well. A psion will not have as much versatility at their disposal as a wizard. So that must also be factored into such a system in regards to "trade-offs" in power level.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I do get this, and I can certainly appreciate. But, just to bring up the counter argument, if they don't use spells, but instead go with some completely different mechanic, then I think it's going to be a much steeper uphill climb to convince the majority that we need psionics. There are some who look existing spells, and they do have a point, and say, "Well, with magic, you can mind control, lift things from far away, communicate telepathically, etc, why do we need a shopping list of completley new spells (err powers or whatever they call it) that do essentially the same thing?"

It's not an unreasonable point. What effect is uniquely psionic? (Heh, this runs the risk of diving back into the genre discussions from the other thread. Please, let's not go there)
This is a fair argument. I think the separation of psionic abilities from spells for a whole class is a pretty significant design endeavor when the whole process is going to be hemmed in by having to stay 6' away from the current spell rules at all times. One way to accomplish that would be to pare down the actual number of psionic abilites, perhaps into a set of ability families, but provide significantly more gradients and nuance then you find in similar spells within that family. Telepathy/Mind control, for example, could be a rich source of related abilities that really get granular about what could be done with the power. You could tie in a lot of specific conditions and outcomes that escape the spell equivalents, and you could also make a system where effects can be combined.

If, for example, a Psion had the ability to do psychic damage, something like command or suggestion, plus apply conditions like stunned, fear, paralyzed and the like, and the ability to scale powers to effect multiple targets (from a variety of chosen abilities), you have some very fine control and choice as a player about what the outcome of your ability use looks like. Obviously you don't want to fall too far down the rabbit hole of custom effects, but I do think there's room to make it feel different than spells. At the very least, you'd have the Wizard's can do this, but Psions excel at it angle.

To take another example, lets look at the idea of illusion. Wizards create illusions visible to all and that's basis on which those spells have effects. A Psion might also be able to create illusions, but only in the mind of the target. Handled right that could feel very different, and it would also have a different set of possible applications. You could probably allow a lot more detail, with all the sense involved, and scale the ability by number of targets potentially affected.

A third example would be telekinesis. The Wizard does have a suite of spells that have telekinetic effects, but they aren't offensive generally, and the use of each spell is pretty tightly constrained by the spell description. A suite of psion telekinesis abilities could have a lot more offensive capability, as we've seen in some of the subclasses in the UA, and also have more general applications because it could be a lot more flexible in application. The ability to use them to interact with encounter environments in a more flexible way could be a great tool, and it would feel different than the spell equivalents. The example here is probably Jedis - if you can lift, topple, throw and otherwise interact with the entire diagetic frame, the ability has a very different flavor.

Anyway, those are completely spitballed ideas, but I think they index some of the potential pretty well.
 

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