My hat Cy Onyx knows no limits! Or Go psi Fi!


Krampus ate my d20s
Reading through the class discussion threads in this forum, the psion and psionics seem to not fit into many D&D games.
The Do Not Want! camp notes:
Psi is covered by wizards already. Spells like telekinesis, ESP, and dominate, already fill the mind power niche.
Ack! Science Fiction in my pseudo-medieval fantasy. Make it stop!
The power names are too campy science-y Biofeedback Loop
Psionics has never had a good rule system
Psionics always feels tacked on either as an appendix or a later different ruleset

They are all solid reasons, but I like the quirky world of psionics. I have since 1E and running my first psionic campaign in the Sea of Dust in Oerth. How do we make psionics a vibrant and vital component D&D Next?

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Krampus ate my d20s
The psionic system needs to be in place at the start of 5E. It has been tacked on in previous editions, and it has seemed like an alternate magic system with funny names. I want psionic mind flayers and gith. A psion class might have to wait, if they can't find an appropriate role/ niche.
A good role for psion? He should beat up the beguiler from 3.5 and take his stuff. A manipulator, a crowd pacifier, a dominator. Not a blaster, not a fighter, and not a psychic surgeon.

Jeff Carlsen

You plan them from the beginning and you make them focused.

But you'll never please everybody. Some people see a clear distinction between fantasy and science fiction. Some people don't. Of those that do, some think of psionics as being firmly part of sci-si, and thus out of place in a fantasy world.

Those that like psionics either don't see fantasy and science fiction as being particularly different, or already consider psionics to be fantasy, even in an otherwise science fiction setting. Personally, I fall into this camp.

There is also another aspect in play. There are those that like magic to behave like a form of science. To obey rules and have specific limitations. Psionics hint at this.

They also appeal to those who want to believe in the power of the mind—that power comes from thought instead of from the world around us—which is a particular world view.

I believe that, over the years, psionics have developed a particular flavor. It should embrace that flavor, focus on very particular abilities, such as telepathy and telekinesis, and really try to have certain rules. It should be the form of magic that appeals to the "magic as science and the power of the mind" crowd. Let it know it's audience, and that way those who don't like it can avoid it, and those who do get something they love.


Steeliest of the dragons
This would be very tough...though I do love my puh-sychic powers.

I thnk, to do this properly, just off the top of my head and throwin' stuff out there, let's start with this...

First and foremost: CHANGE THE NAME! "Psionics=Psychic Bionics"..not very fantasy-ey. They are decidedly and admittedly (if I'm not mistaken) a "sci-fi" element thrown in as an option back when Swords n' Sorcery, Pulp and Sci-Fi were not necessarily all that was all "fantasy."

Just call 'em what they are: "Psychic Powers" or something else simple and straight forward...even just the name of the power themselves...You're not "psionic" you're "telepathic" or what have you.

On the note of powers, WIPE THE BOARD CLEAN! Forget all of the "psionic" stuff that came before.

Telepathy and Telekinesis. Those are essentially the basis upon which any/all other "psychic abilities" stem from or are contained within.

Start with those. Make those work.

Read people's minds. Speak to them wordlessly. Form telepathic rapports/bonds with your companions. Empathy. Psychometry (picking up/sensing residual psychic energies in a particular location). Astral Projection. "Hold Person" via telepathic induced paralysis. "Telepathic Invisibility and Illusions" (by altering what the subject thinks they see), a "Psychic Scream/Area Attack or Bolts." Suggestion. Domination. Mass suggestion and domination. Protecting yourself and others from "mental" spells and magical effects (fear, charms, confusion, detecting illusions, etc.)

Move things with your mind. Light things. More heavy things. "Gross" control (throwing the table in the tavern across the room or busting open a lock/door) verse "Fine" control (untying your rope bindings or adjusting the tumblers to open a lock). "Stop" things (like arrows, then boulders) coming at you (and "fire" them back!). Telekinetic concussive force blasts/"push" effects. "Hold" effects. Levitation and eventual flight for yourself and others. "Force field" shields and/or domes/areas of protection from physical and energy effects.

Basically old style "psionic/psychic combat" (the Tower of Iron Will and all of that) is just all "telepathic combat" (color it for/as taking place on the astral or ethereal plane if you like). Need to work out a system for that as well (psychic v. psychic battle of wills type stuff).

Sounds like plenty for a Psychic/Psion character to play around with to get started in the new game.

Then worry about "psychoportation" <rolls eyes> and "cellular adjustment"/whatever it was that "innate shapeshifting powers", "Soulblades" <eyes roll OUT of the head>, and whatever else has come down the "Psionic pipline" through the years get bundled in some other "expansion/psychic hero supplement" later.


I'm A Banana

grimslade said:
How do we make psionics a vibrant and vital component D&D Next?

  • The "Make Room For It" Method: Wizards in D&D history evolved to sort of become the "everything that does magic is a wizard" class. But that doesn't have to be true, anymore. A "wizard" can be a focused, knowledge-based, laugage-themed, scholar-esque class now, and some of the more "psychic-y" powers can be relocated to the psion. The psion now becomes the game's best divination and/or charm specialist, the character you go to when you play an oracle, holy seer, or a manipulator of others. Remove a lot of the quirky flavor, and dedicate the psion to its own role in the game. The Wizard remains the "scholar-spellcaster" archetype, but looses some of the "enchanter/diviner" possibility (you can play a psion if you want that).
  • The "Wild Talent" Method: Psionics is something any character can dip into at any time. It is perhaps a "theme" you can take, rather than a class. You remain a cleric or a wizard or a rogue or a fighter, you just get to take these psionic options to improve your base abilities or add some variety. DMs who dislike psinoicists can kick the themes with psion flavor to the curb. You can add the "psionics" module to your game in order to evoke a more science-fantasy/new-agey/biopunky kind of feel, if you want.

Those are the two main avenues I see. I think the last one has the most potential and avoids the most conflict, but I like the possibility of the first one.

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