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: 2 1.2%
  • Pretty frequently. It wasn't rare in our games.

    Votes: 32 19.0%
  • Not much and certainly less common than PHB classes.

    Votes: 44 26.2%
  • Almost never.

    Votes: 63 37.5%
  • Nope. Didn't use psionics at all in my D&D.

    Votes: 25 14.9%
  • Lemony curry goodness.

    Votes: 2 1.2%

  • Total voters
    168
As I said, this is much easier to say in retrospect since the classes are printed in 5e so we can look at concrete mechanics. But would metamagic/sorcery points had been what people thought is what makes the sorcerer the sorcerer prior to its printing in 5e?
It had been pointed out in the past that Metamagic was synergistic with the 3.5 Sorcerer's known-spell restrictions, and fit with it's innate-magic concept, and that it was unfortunate that the class had been made mechanically inferior to the wizard in gaining and applying metamagic. So, yeah, there was wiff of it. Not in the playtest, but if you went far enough back, it was well-articulated minority opinion, like, way back when, on the WotC Gleemax boards.

Sorcery points, OTOH, no, whole cloth, something slightly original, even - though much less evocative of the Sorcerer's nominal "magic in the blood" concept, than the morphing playtest version. ...hmm... OK, there might have been suggestions the Sorcerer could/should use a mana system, at some point. There were certainly, early on in 3.0, some folks pointing out that there were plenty of spell-point systems back in the day that could have been adapted to the sorcerer instead of or in addition to spontaneous casting.

Yeah, with differences like these, I think that nearly any psion class could be justified.
Hold psionics to the same standards as arcane casters were apparently held, and there should be two or three psionic classes in the PH.

Seems like psionics would qualify for 5e's "concept-first class design" quite well.
Yes. Which is why you're being asked for mechanical differentiation.

Similarly, if there's a very clear implementation for the class, it's "too narrow/classes need to have at least 4/6/10 sub-classes," while, conversely, if there are many potential takes on the class it's "too unfocused/no one can agree on what it should look like."

Also similarly, before you can ask for the class, you must build the class, and once you have built the class, you don't need the official class, so shouldn't ask for it. Also, you can only want what WotC decides to give you, otherwise you're just in a tiny, vocal, minority who selfishly wants something unpopular. Until WotC does put the thing you want in print, then you're in the well-served majority who wanted it all along, because it's always been popular.

Because that's what passes for reasonable discussion around here.
 
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Aldarc

Adventurer
Yes. Which is why you're being asked for mechanical differentiation.
When people have cited possible mechanical differentiation, these things then get re-cited as evidence of disagreement on the implementation. It would be nice if this request was being done in good faith, but I have not seen that much evidence that it has.

Similarly, if there's a very clear implementation for the class, it's "too narrow/classes need to have at least 4/6/10 sub-classes," while, conversely, if there are many potential takes on the class it's "too unfocused/no one can agree on what it should look like."
Sure, but psionics isn't exactly a class built around a narrow concept like "class that wields a gun and summons a ghost based on an anime" type thing that you might find on DMs Guild. It's had a series of different iterations over its history in D&D. Some like power points. Some like the cantrip-augmentation of 4e. Some would prefer spells as long as its psionics. But it's not exactly so broad that we can't agree on what it should look like. We have a treasure trove of powers from past editions. We have Psionic classes in 3e and 4e. There is a lexicon of D&D's take on psionics. Most would agree that WotC failed with the Mystic because they were trying to make the Mystic into everything psionic all at once, and most agree that portions of psionics would be appropriate as psionic subclasses for other classes (e.g., psychic warrior, soulknife, etc.). IMHO, the design space is there. The question is largely about a preference about which approach that WotC could take or test.
 
When people have cited possible mechanical differentiation, these things then get re-cited as evidence of disagreement on the implementation. It would be nice if this request was being done in good faith, but I have not seen that much evidence that it has.
I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that, anymore than I've been holding it waiting for the classes conspicuously absent from 5e.

Sure, but psionics isn't exactly a class built around a narrow concept like "class that wields a gun and summons a ghost based on an anime" type thing that you might find on DMs Guild.
Right, therefore it doesn't need to be concept-first, instead it can't possibly be an acceptable class because "no one can agree on what it should be." It's a catch-22, if you can clear one hurdle to justifying a class, you automatically get caught up by it's exact opposite.

If the standards of obstructionists had been applied to all classes, 5e would be a classless game...

...hmm... hypothetical silver lining....

It's had a series of different iterations over its history in D&D. Some like power points. Some like the cantrip-augmentation of 4e. Some would prefer spells as long as its psionics. But it's not exactly so broad that we can't agree on what it should look like. We have a treasure trove of powers from past editions. We have Psionic classes in 3e and 4e.
And psionics has been explicitly magic, not-magic, or DM's choice, too. It's been an odd supernatural talent that just pops up, a product of focused training, or a connection-to/reaction-against the horrific entities of the Far Realms.

It has also never been spellcasting.

There is a lexicon of D&D's take on psionics. Most would agree that WotC failed with the Mystic because they were trying to make the Mystic into everything psionic all at once, and most agree that portions of psionics would be appropriate as psionic subclasses for other classes (e.g., psychic warrior, soulknife, etc.). IMHO, the design space is there. The question is largely about a preference about which approach that WotC could take or test.
The longer you wait to deliver something, the better it needs to be to meet expectations, or it's "too little, too late" - neither side of any fence has a lock on catch-22s - at this point, the psion has been in development so long it has to be better than perfect to justify the delay.
That, too, becomes a 'good reason' to give up on it.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
6+. That may not sound like much, but I've only seen 4 or 5 paladins, about 3 rangers, and I think 2 druids. If I tried to add up all of the others I think there would be other standard classes that also rated as low or lower.
Out of how many characters overall?

If your sample size is 20 what you're saying is much different than if your sample size is 200. :)

Somewhat shocked that you saw so few Rangers, regardless.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Though it won't happen in 5e, the one way I can see psyonics really taking off is if they were used to replace all other means of arcane casting, rather than just as an add-on.

See Kurtz' Deryni series for a good example of how this can work.
 

Ashrym

Hero
Somewhat shocked that you saw so few Rangers, regardless.
Ah, the "fond" memories of the Drizz't clones. I joined a group playing 2e once that had 8 members in the party. It was a good sized group and it was one of those "just make a character and show up groups" but I had only just recently met them.

3 Drizz't and 2 Harry Potter fans, and I showed up with a mage. The party was 3 drow rangers, 3 mages where two of them were pretty clear on the role of owls, a paladin, and a fighter.

I find the popularity of books and movies among the players at the time has definitely influenced the party composition.
 

Hussar

Legend
Honestly I have no horse in this race. If another psionic handbook comes out, I’ll do the same thing I always did - completely ignore it.

If there are more of me than there are of you, then it’s unlikely psionics will gain much traction.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Honestly I have no horse in this race. If another psionic handbook comes out, I’ll do the same thing I always did - completely ignore it.

If there are more of me than there are of you, then it’s unlikely psionics will gain much traction.
The poll here indicates that nearly half of the players here saw psionics played a decent amount, and a full 20% saw them a lot. That's a significant percentage. Not that the people here are a good sample size. However, we also don't know that it's not a correct assessment of the players at large.
 

Hussar

Legend
I propose a poll on the Artificer for the purpose of comparison.
Except we never got an "Artificer's" handbook. We got a complete setting guide with, what, five pages detailing a class that doesn't actually use any new mechanics. There's no "spell points" or anything like that for artificers. Other than a somewhat different casting progression, an artificer introduces no new mechanics at all.

OTOH, people seem to insisting that we get a completely new class with a psion, and that it MUST NOT use existing mechanics. Because, apparently, a psionic wizard or sorcerer isn't good enough. Nor are the five or six other subclasses we've seen for psionics in the last little while. No, it must be 100% new and it must not be in any way similar to a wizard/sorcerer.

I'm thinking that that's a bit much to ask for for a class that not that many people actually want in the first place.

And, umm, @Maxperson, that's 50% who never (or rarely) saw the class in play. Another 25% saw it less than most other classes. Only about a fifth of respondents have used them with any regularity. And, given the nature of the poll, that's hardly overwhelming.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Except we never got an "Artificer's" handbook. We got a complete setting guide with, what, five pages detailing a class that doesn't actually use any new mechanics. There's no "spell points" or anything like that for artificers. Other than a somewhat different casting progression, an artificer introduces no new mechanics at all.

OTOH, people seem to insisting that we get a completely new class with a psion, and that it MUST NOT use existing mechanics. Because, apparently, a psionic wizard or sorcerer isn't good enough. Nor are the five or six other subclasses we've seen for psionics in the last little while. No, it must be 100% new and it must not be in any way similar to a wizard/sorcerer.

I'm thinking that that's a bit much to ask for for a class that not that many people actually want in the first place.

And, umm, @Maxperson, that's 50% who never (or rarely) saw the class in play. Another 25% saw it less than most other classes. Only about a fifth of respondents have used them with any regularity. And, given the nature of the poll, that's hardly overwhelming.
50% who never or rarely saw it = 50% who did see it more than rarely. And less than most other classes doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot. 1 less is less. And really, I saw more psionic characters than I saw bards. Less than any class other than bard, but about double the number of bards over the same period of time.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
OTOH, people seem to insisting that we get a completely new class with a psion, and that it MUST NOT use existing mechanics. Because, apparently, a psionic wizard or sorcerer isn't good enough.
They aren't good enough. Both classes fail miserably to model a Psion.

Nor are the five or six other subclasses we've seen for psionics in the last little while.
Why would a non-Psion subclass be good enough to be a Psion?

No, it must be 100% new and it must not be in any way similar to a wizard/sorcerer.
Incorrect. It must not BE a Wizard or Sorcerer. There can be similarities.
 

Ashrym

Hero
50% is fantastic for a single class.
It would be but I don't think that's an accurate representation. You're including "not much" with "frequently" to get that interpretation. A person can turn around and say 80% of the response range from "not much" to "never". Neither lines up with other polls I've pulled from reddit that demonstrated psioncists were lower than artificers or base classes in popularity from sampling sizes that make this one look tiny.

I think the categories are a bit too subjective as well.

I'm thinking "have you ever played a psionicist" or "what percentage of the time did you play a psionicist" would be better polling questions. In order to have seen someone play a class someone one has to have played it so seeing it becomes redundant, and a class played rarely can still stand out as "having been seen" by a group of players.
 

Hussar

Legend
Wasn't that around the level to invoke the infamous "gnome effect?"
Yeah, pretty much.

But, then again, we're not getting a complete book of gnomes are we? We got gnomes. And other than the three pages or so in the PHB, that's all she wrote.

Expecting an entire supplement dedicated to gnomes would be unreasonable, no?
 

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
Out of how many characters overall?

If your sample size is 20 what you're saying is much different than if your sample size is 200. :)

Somewhat shocked that you saw so few Rangers, regardless.
Good point.

I'm going to give a random gut assessment of about 60-85. I started with the Mentzer Red Box, so there's a lot to have to remember. For me though, psionic classes haven't seemed to be much rarer in actual play than some of the other classes.

Except we never got an "Artificer's" handbook. We got a complete setting guide with, what, five pages detailing a class that doesn't actually use any new mechanics. There's no "spell points" or anything like that for artificers. Other than a somewhat different casting progression, an artificer introduces no new mechanics at all.

OTOH, people seem to insisting that we get a completely new class with a psion, and that it MUST NOT use existing mechanics. Because, apparently, a psionic wizard or sorcerer isn't good enough. Nor are the five or six other subclasses we've seen for psionics in the last little while. No, it must be 100% new and it must not be in any way similar to a wizard/sorcerer.

I'm thinking that that's a bit much to ask for for a class that not that many people actually want in the first place.
I'd be completely fine with a write-up in the Dark Sun book of similar complexity to artificer. I want a class, and psionics flavored as "different", and hearkening back to presentation in prior editions. You could do that without adding any systems that are more complex that current classes have. After all, the artificer added new systems. The class doesn't have to hit everyone's ideal (including mine). I'm totally on board with a lowest somewhat common denominator here, as long as it's an actual class.

For example, here's a simple bare bones way they could make a class that would be more satisfying than not making one:

Psion
d6 HD
Saves: Int, Wis
Armor: Light
Weapons: Simple
Skill: 2 from a suitable list

Psionics is described as a mystical power that some consider is another category of magic, different than arcane or divine, while others consider it to be something else entirely. For mechanical purposes it counts as magic (just like the Psionic abilities of monsters do). We'll call their "spells" powers, and the act of "spellcasting" manifesting, though they use all the normal rules except where noted.

Full spellcaster with the standard spell slots. A prominent sidebar encouraging usage of the Spell Points system on Page XX of the DMG.

They don't need any components for their spells, unless those spells normally require costly material components. Encouragement to refluff those components into other objects of the same cost but more psionically appropriate (crystals, etc) is given. They have noticeable indications when they manifest their powers. It'd take a sentence or two to describe that (let's say), verbal components are generally replaced with auditory indications, somatic components with visual indications, and material components with olfactory indications. (They could do better if they spent more than a minute thinking about it). Give about 4 examples of each, and say they can vary by power and individual psion.

Give them the high end of cantrips (or maybe one extra).

Give them a pool of points they can spend to manifest powers in higher level slots. Make the numbers work out such that it could be easily added to spell points (or convert into twice as many spell points). The points refresh on a short rest.

At high levels, give them the ability to manifest unlimited 1st (and maybe even 2nd) level powers. Perhaps levels 18 and 20.

Give them their own powers list, mostly selected from published spells. Take all of those spells in this travesty of a UA that came out and make them exclusively part of their power list--no one else gets them.

Make the 6 traditional psionic types into subclasses. Or save space and combine them into three (1st = telepathy+clairsentience, 2nd = psychokineticism+psychoportation, 3rd = psychometabolism+metacreativity; or switch psychoportation and metacreativity).

Each subclass gets some simple appropriately themed abilities every few levels.

That was just me, off the cuff, never having attempted to make a psion class before. I could come up with a better one if I took a day, or a week, or a month on it. If someone did take that month, I'd bet they could come up with something most fans of psions would like enough to use without much house ruling. Sure, some people didn't like 3.5e psionic classes, but they worked just fine and I'm sure the book sold perfectly fine. Give us something like that in the Dark Sun book and I'll be happy.
 
It would be but I don't think that's an accurate representation. You're including "not much" with "frequently" to get that interpretation. A person can turn around and say 80% of the response range from "not much" to "never". Neither lines up with other polls I've pulled from reddit that demonstrated psioncists were lower than artificers or base classes in popularity from sampling sizes that make this one look tiny.

I think the categories are a bit too subjective as well.

I'm thinking "have you ever played a psionicist" or "what percentage of the time did you play a psionicist" would be better polling questions. In order to have seen someone play a class someone one has to have played it so seeing it becomes redundant, and a class played rarely can still stand out as "having been seen" by a group of players.
I think the main flaw with the poll is it doesn't distinguish between a psionic class and psionic wild talents. It's pretty significant because psionic wild talents came first, as an optional rule in the 1st edition DMG, psionic classes didn't appear until a 2nd edition, and then not in a core rulebook.
 

Hussar

Legend
Honestly? And, I mean this completely without insult, but, if they came out with that, it would never see my table. The whole "spell points" thing is a non-starter right from the get go. Plus the whole "psionics are different, for no real reason that just to be different" completely turns me off. EVERY other caster uses spells the same way - VSM. Why should psionics be any different? If clerics have to carry a holy symbol to cast their spells, there's no reason that a psionicist doesn't have to carry some sort of gew gaw that focuses their powers.

Insisting that psionics HAS to mirror earlier editions is a non-starter for me. No other class does, so, why should psionics be any different?

To me, the UA captures a psionicist perfectly well.

And, as a side note, what new mechanics does the artificer have that doesn't appear in another class?
 

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