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D&D 5E Psionics in a sci-fi D&D

How would you do it?

  • Reskin magic

    Votes: 44 35.8%
  • Totally new system

    Votes: 79 64.2%

  • Total voters
    123

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Indeed. There is no difference between Magic in Warcraft and Psionics in Starcraft. Everything you can do with one you can do with the other.

You might be inclined to call Starcraft Science Fantasy rather than Science Fiction, but then so would D&D be unless you reskin everything.

Incorrect. I clearly said that this was only due to Blizzard using the same engine for all their RTSes.

In their RPs like WOW and Diablo 3 (as reminded by @Aldarc ), classes use different systems to more accurately display differences in their abilities.
 

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But, you're not really countering my point, @Scars Unseen. None of what you're talking about can't be done with the existing magic system. What you've just listed is pretty much a warlock with the ability to upcast spells over and above the usual limit by level.

IOW, why do I need a, for example, proficiency based casting system like 2e, in order to achieve what you're talking about? Why can't simply "Spells Known" and a daily/short rest limit cover things?

I guess my question is, what is your new system? You've talked about effects, but, not mechanics.
I have seen the full caster with a warlock frame it was more complex to get to work than a wizard, some simplicity will be needed
 

Incorrect. I clearly said that this was only due to Blizzard using the same engine for all their RTSes.
What's incorrect? Bizzard reskinned their fantasy game into a science fiction game - pretty much exactly what is being asked about in the OP.

And the result was massively successful, and IMO rather fun, although I only every played the single player campaigns.
In their RPs like WOW and Diablo 3 (as reminded by @Aldarc ), classes use different systems to more accurately display differences in their abilities.
Just because you can do something differently doesn't mean you have to do it differently. WoW has never been reskinned into a successful science fiction game.
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
What's incorrect? Bizzard reskinned their fantasy game into a science fiction game - pretty much exactly what is being asked about in the OP.

And the result was massively successful, and IMO rather fun, although I only every played the single player campaigns.

Blizzard reskinned its fantasy RTS into a scifi RTS.
But when it did an RPG, classes got different mechanics to match their lore.

That's the point. All RTS (fantasy, historical, modern, scifi) games use cooldown and mana because you manage too many units.
 

But when it did an RPG, classes got different mechanics to match their lore.
Blizzard have never reskinned WoW to science fiction.

And D&D 5e manages to have a bunch of spell casting classes that use minor variations of the same mechanics. I see no reason why changing to science fiction should change that design ethos.
 

Blizzard have never reskinned WoW to science fiction.

And D&D 5e manages to have a bunch of spell casting classes that use minor variations of the same mechanics. I see no reason why changing to science fiction should change that design ethos.
would you still agree it would need some mechanical difference that changes it so it is not just a clone of the wizard?
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
And D&D 5e manages to have a bunch of spell casting classes that use minor variations of the same mechanics. I see no reason why changing to science fiction should change that design ethos.
It doesn't

My point and the point of many others is that Reskinned 5e Spell system would not resemble any scifi setting with psionics in existence and would be hard to explain via science.

There are so many design assumptions in the D&D spell system that it would be look ugly to even attempt soft sci-fi.You would have a tough time even doing Science Fantasy.

D&D only gets the effects right. The magic system assumptions are so wired to fantasy that you could only do space fantasy or future fantasy with it. The amount of work to get the fake science to work would be harder then making a new system.
 

would you still agree it would need some mechanical difference that changes it so it is not just a clone of the wizard?
If wizard actually existed in the setting, sure. There is no point in adding a new class that is the same as an existing class. But really, there is very little mechanical difference between, say, a wizard and a cleric.

If the setting doesn't have any magic apart from psionics, I would probably base something around a reskinned sorcerer with wisdom as the casting stat. But a lot depends upon the setting.

I would probably have a technologist class as a reskinned artificer as well.
 

It doesn't

My point and the point of many others is that Reskinned 5e Spell system would not resemble any scifi setting with psionics in existence and would be hard to explain via science.

There are so many design assumptions in the D&D spell system that it would be look ugly to even attempt soft sci-fi.You would have a tough time even doing Science Fantasy.

D&D only gets the effects right. The magic system assumptions are so wired to fantasy that you could only do space fantasy or future fantasy with it. The amount of work to get the fake science to work would be harder then making a new system.
D&D magic doesn't resemble most fictional magic either. And no, it is not any more difficult to explain the spell system with pseudoscientific made-up nonsense than it is with mystical made-up nonsense.
 

D&D magic doesn't resemble most fictional magic either. And no, it is not any more difficult to explain the spell system with pseudoscientific made-up nonsense than it is with mystical made-up nonsense.
Ditch the components and rename the spells to something less goofy than "Fizban's Fantabulous Fatabuliser". A tedious job, but you are probably only going to use a subset of available spells, along with a few new ones.

Although it's worth noting that in Starfinder the regular Pathfinder classes still exist, along with their goofily named spells. So "you can't do science fantasy without ditching spells" is a pile of horsesheet.
 

Ditch the components and rename the spells to something less goofy than "Fizban's Fantabulous Fatabuliser". A tedious job, but you are probably only going to use a subset of available spells, along with a few new ones.

Although it's worth noting that in Starfinder the regular Pathfinder classes still exist, along with their goofily named spells. So "you can't do science fantasy without ditching spells" is a pile of horsesheet.
It sounds like if you ever wanted to use psionics in a game, you already have everything you need. That being the case, is it really necessary to push so hard against what other people (including most of the people who voted) would like to see? Would a new psionics system you have no reason to use harm your gaming experience?
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
D&D magic doesn't resemble most fictional magic either. And no, it is not any more difficult to explain the spell system with pseudoscientific made-up nonsense than it is with mystical made-up nonsense.
It is really.

Scifi, soft and hard, relies on fake science explanation for its psioinics. That's why most psi fi psioinics can only do a few things. The few powers, the fewer explanations. Usually you only get 1-5 powers of different strengths and applications.

D&D spells system has 10 levels of 10+ spells of every popular supernatural effects. And the effects break physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, and psychology like paper. With slots that appear and disappear.

Ditch the components and rename the spells to something less goofy than "Fizban's Fantabulous Fatabuliser". A tedious job, but you are probably only going to use a subset of available spells, along with a few new ones.

Although it's worth noting that in Starfinder the regular Pathfinder classes still exist, along with their goofily named spells. So "you can't do science fantasy without ditching spells" is a pile of horsesheet.

Starfinder is Space Fantasy, not Sci-Fi.
 

SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
Since new system is ahead in the polls, why don't we talk about suggestions for a new system in order to help Morrus answer the question and perhaps spark ideas? Instead of arguing about could/should?

I would recommend looking at the skill based approach from Green Ronin's Psychic. It's elegant and the idea could be transposed to sci fi fairly easily IMO.
 

It is really.

Scifi, soft and hard, relies on fake science explanation for its psioinics. That's why most psi fi psioinics can only do a few things. The few powers, the fewer explanations. Usually you only get 1-5 powers of different strengths and applications.
It is all made up, none of it is 'scientifically plausible.'

D&D spells system has 10 levels of 10+ spells of every popular supernatural effects. And the effects break physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, and psychology like paper. With slots that appear and disappear.
Psionics will break physics. Physics don't allow levitating things with your mind. it is magic with another name. And you don't need to give the psion class spells that wouldn't fit their theme. Same than with any other caster class.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
It is all made up, none of it is 'scientifically plausible.'
Sci-Fi deals with either the scientifically plausible or stretched from a scientific basis. Tht's why it's called science fiction.
And why some other media are called science fantasy.

Psionics will break physics. Physics don't allow levitating things with your mind. it is magic with another name. And you don't need to give the psion class spells that wouldn't fit their theme. Same than with any other caster class.
It's not that Psionics doesn't break physics. It's that you have to explain less.
With D&D you have to science mumbo jumbo 100+ spells of 9 schools and dozens of subschools.
If you don't science mumbo jumbo all the effects, it isn't science fiction.

That's why science fiction uses psionics. Authors and readers are more comfortabe with the limited capacity and smaller lore dump of "mind powers". If your psions can only do gravity manipulation and telekinesis (Mass Effect series), you only have to explain 2 things.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Since new system is ahead in the polls, why don't we talk about suggestions for a new system in order to help Morrus answer the question and perhaps spark ideas? Instead of arguing about could/should?

I would recommend looking at the skill based approach from Green Ronin's Psychic. It's elegant and the idea could be transposed to sci fi fairly easily IMO.
I'm a fan of a stress threshold system. Psionic actions and failure build up stress. As you cross thresholds of stress, you get penalties.

Allows for the Light/Cautous/Safe and Dark/Reckless/Maddening psionic types and the "Oh no, Sue/Jean fainted" trope
 

Since new system is ahead in the polls, why don't we talk about suggestions for a new system in order to help Morrus answer the question and perhaps spark ideas? Instead of arguing about could/should?

I would recommend looking at the skill based approach from Green Ronin's Psychic. It's elegant and the idea could be transposed to sci fi fairly easily IMO.
if we are going to talk mechanics we need to know what types of power are an option and who do we want to simulate with each subclass?
I'm a fan of a stress threshold system. Psionic actions and failure build up stress. As you cross thresholds of stress, you get penalties.

Allows for the Light/Cautous/Safe and Dark/Reckless/Maddening psionic types and the "Oh no, Sue/Jean fainted" trope
I would like an all most rage mechanic where you can temporarily push yourself harder but you have to pay it back later
 

I'm a fan of a stress threshold system. Psionic actions and failure build up stress. As you cross thresholds of stress, you get penalties.

Allows for the Light/Cautous/Safe and Dark/Reckless/Maddening psionic types and the "Oh no, Sue/Jean fainted" trope
In practice it means you need to cripple your character to use your class features. Like the berserker barbarian. Terrible design.
 

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