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Psionics Coming Soon To D&D?

WotC's Mike Mearls has hinted that we may be able to expect some psionics content soon, possibly in the Unearthed Arcana column. He was asked by Ethan Clow on the Twitterweb "any chance we might see a Psionic class for 5e soon? Perhaps in unearthed arcana?" to which he replied "wouldn't be surprised. I *might* have had a couple prior edition psionics books on my desk last week..." (Thanks to Wolf Hunter for the scoop).
 
Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Jessica

First Post
I definitely want to see Psions come back. They are one of my favorite classes and now that spellcasters are all jazz hands and jibber jabber based again, the need for psionics is increased in my mind. I really love how 4e did the Psion except for being a little stingy with some basic utility stuff(e.g. the ability that GoO Warlocks get at first level at-will being an encounter ability limited to 25 words). If WotC dropped the ball on 5e Psionics(or delayed them for terribly long) then that would probably leave a really bad taste in my mouth.
 

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Goemoe

Explorer
I only hope for "psionics are different". If they mix magic and psionics, they very well may skip the whole idea. We have enough magic, but lack psionics so far.
 

Sadrik

First Post
Additionally, psions aren't just one type; there are five or six disciplines which can have unique abilities and powers.

Wikipedia said:
Clairsentience
Clairsentience powers enable a character to learn secrets long forgotten, to glimpse the immediate future and predict the far future, to find hidden objects, and to know what is normally unknowable. They include precognition and remote viewing. A psion who specializes in clairsentience is known as a seer, and is most akin to an arcane diviner. In 3rd edition, Clairsentience is linked to Wisdom.

Metacreativity
Metacreativity powers create objects, creatures, or some form of matter. Creatures a character creates usually, but not always, obey their creator's commands. Powers of the metacreativity discipline include astral construct and greater psionic fabricate. A psion who specializes in metacreativity is known as a shaper, and is most akin to an arcane conjurer. Metacreativity was not introduced until 3rd edition. In 3rd edition, Metacreativity is linked to Intelligence.

Metapsionics
Metapsionic powers generally augment other psionic powers, although the discipline also contains some utility powers. The Metapsionics discipline was introduced in 2nd edition, and was not carried over into 3rd edition. In the 3rd and 3.5 editions, abilities which were part of the Metapsionics discipline in 2nd edition are often handled through metapsionic feats and item creation feats, although some metapsionic powers were converted into Clairsentience or Telepathy powers.

Psychokinesis
Psychokinesis powers manipulate energy or tap the power of the mind to produce a desired end. Many of these powers produce spectacular effects such as moving, melting, transforming, or blasting a target. Psychokinesis powers can deal large amounts of damage. They include energy missile and tornado blast. A psion who specializes in psychokinesis is known as a kineticist, and is most akin to an arcane evoker. In 3rd edition, Psychokinesis is linked to Constitution.

Psychometabolism
Psychometabolism powers change the physical properties of some creature, thing, or condition. They include animal affinity and psionic revivify. A psion who specializes in psychometabolism is known as an egoist, and is most akin to an arcane transmuter. In 3rd edition, Psychometabolism is linked to Strength.

Psychoportation
Psychoportation powers move the manifester, an object, or another creature through space and time. They include astral caravan and psionic teleport. A psion who specializes in psychoportation is known as a nomad, and has no arcane counterpart. In 3rd edition, Psychoportation is linked to Dexterity.

Telepathy
Telepathy powers can spy on and affect the minds of others, influencing or controlling their behavior. They include psionic suggestion and mind switch. A psion who specializes in telepathy is known as a telepath, and is most akin to an arcane enchanter. In 3rd edition, Telepathy is linked to Charisma.

To get to the heart of these, there is one discipline where you exert your mind and one where you exert your body. There are also a couple of lame ones that should be greatly reduced in my opinion (ex. blasty 3.5 psion). The ones that do not fit for me, however can still have powers just not worthy of their own unique discipline are: Metacreativity, Metapsionics, and Psychoportation. The remaining very good ones are: Clairsentience, Psychometabolism, and Telepathy. I could get behind Psychokinesis if it were more limited in scope to just Telekinesis like effects, instead of fireballs and lightning bolts. So, the end result being I guess three:

  • Psychometabolism (Body)
  • Clairsentience and Telepathy (Mind)
  • Psychokinesis (limited to more Telekinesis effects) (Mind)

I can see 3 spell lists for these three caster types. As noted above: Psychometabolism is a transmuter, Clairsentience is a diviner, Telepathy is an enchanter, and Psychokinesis is an evoker. These types of casters exist in the game and refluffing them to make them more of a mentalist over a magician is all a hand wave trick. A unique spell list plus some mentalist type features, use no components to cast spells but instead must use focus on a spell even for instantaneous ones etc. This is essentially what they did with the bard and the warlock (though the warlock does have a different casting method).
 



D&D has, traditionally, going back to 1976, had Psi be separate. (3E allowed for it to be done as just more magic, but the default was separate. I can't speak to 4E,
In 4e, each 'source' was different. Traditional D&D Vancian magic was the 'Arcane' Source, and the Divine, Primal, and Psionic sources were all distinct from it (Shadow and Elemental, not so much, they tended to combine with other sources).

The Psionic source, in addition to being 'powers of the mind,' was associated with the Far Realms, the idea being the awakening of psionic powers was a reaction to the threat of the insanity-inducing Far Realms.

So 4e supported your vision of psionics as separate from traditional arcane magic. Which, really, may not bode well for that vision in 5e. Also....

I'd like to see that continued. Psi works in an Antimagic Zone. It can cross an antimagic shell.
And, given the feat options, wild psi can be handled as feats just like the spellcasting ones.
5e leverages one spell list to handle all sorts of magic, from the book learn'n of wizards, to the divine miracles of Clerics, to the nature-magic of Druids, to the draconic or chaos magic of sorcerers, to Lovecraftian magic of certain Warlocks.

The easiest thing to do in terms of design would be to leverage and add to that spell list to handle Psionics, and the smoothest way to handle that in terms of concept would be the 'psionics is magic' rubric.

But, whatever 5e finally does for psionics (if anything), it can always be changed by the DM, anyway. So if you want to run psionics that are 'different,' you certainly could.


The idea of Feats for 'Wild Talents' does make perfect sense, though - and there are already feats that give some limited spellcasting, so there's even precedent.
 


Panthanas

Explorer
5e leverages one spell list to handle all sorts of magic, from the book learn'n of wizards, to the divine miracles of Clerics, to the nature-magic of Druids, to the draconic or chaos magic of sorcerers, to Lovecraftian magic of certain Warlocks.

The easiest thing to do in terms of design would be to leverage and add to that spell list to handle Psionics, and the smoothest way to handle that in terms of concept would be the 'psionics is magic' rubric.

The idea of Feats for 'Wild Talents' does make perfect sense, though - and there are already feats that give some limited spellcasting, so there's even precedent.

My group is looking to run a Dark Sun game using Princes of the Apocalypse and compiled together a number of DS 5E conversion material. I ended up putting together, what I feel is, a viable psion. I used the variant spell point system from the DMG, blended with the sorcerer, so the points are a little different than what is presented in the DMG. I'm not allowing sorcerers as a class when I run the adventure on Athas, so I felt this was a good trade off, and we will be using the existing spell list. We found that someone else had put together a psionics spell (power) list, so we kept that with some slight modifications.

As for Wild Talents, I like the idea of having them as a feat, but since all PCs on Athas have a Wild Talent I made up a few tables to grant the Wild Talent.

If any one is interested in the conversion, I posted it over in the D&D House Rules, Homebrews, & Conversion Library.
 

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