D&D 5E Psionics in a sci-fi D&D

How would you do it?

  • Reskin magic

    Votes: 46 35.1%
  • Totally new system

    Votes: 85 64.9%


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Pedantic Grognard
following your rationalisation to its logical conclusion just end with us not making anything and just playing a weak wizard, to seek to do something is important regardless of how likely we are to succeed.
What one should seek to do is entirely dependent on what end one wants to achieve.

If the end sought is making an interesting psionics system for psionics fans, then as I pointed out myself, deliberately making something different and complicated and powerful is the correct thing to do.

But the question being asked by Morrus was not "how to make a psionics system for D&D to sell to psionics fans".

If the end sought is making a new game that strongly models some specific vision of a sci-fi world, and one is designing a psionics system from scratch to support that vision, something different and complicated and powerful is also fine.

But the question being asked by Morrus was not "how should psionics work to model (this specific vision of a sci-fi world)." Indeed, it would have been illogical to take the form of psionics to a poll in that case, since it should already be clear whether reskinned magic fits a specific vision.

However, if the end sought is taking D&D 5th edition, and publishing a "sci-fi" version of it, making the psionics system something very different and complicated and powerful is, simply, choosing to spend a lot of effort on reducing the market for the eventual published product.

@Morrus knows his own goal, presumably. How he pursues psionics should be directed by that goal.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Officially, psionics is magic.

This thread sometimes distinguishes between magic and psionics perhaps because of 1e and 2e.

However, 3e officially uses "transparency".
3e uses that as the default, but officially it can go either way and is completely up to the DM as they included an official variant rule that makes psionics different. It also was not magic in 3e by default. The transparency rule was about what happens when psionics interacts with magic, making psionics explicitly not magic. So the distinction was present from at least 1e-3e.
 





What one should seek to do is entirely dependent on what end one wants to achieve.

If the end sought is making an interesting psionics system for psionics fans, then as I pointed out myself, deliberately making something different and complicated and powerful is the correct thing to do.

But the question being asked by Morrus was not "how to make a psionics system for D&D to sell to psionics fans".

If the end sought is making a new game that strongly models some specific vision of a sci-fi world, and one is designing a psionics system from scratch to support that vision, something different and complicated and powerful is also fine.

But the question being asked by Morrus was not "how should psionics work to model (this specific vision of a sci-fi world)." Indeed, it would have been illogical to take the form of psionics to a poll in that case, since it should already be clear whether reskinned magic fits a specific vision.

However, if the end sought is taking D&D 5th edition, and publishing a "sci-fi" version of it, making the psionics system something very different and complicated and powerful is, simply, choosing to spend a lot of effort on reducing the market for the eventual published product.

@Morrus knows his own goal, presumably. How he pursues psionics should be directed by that goal.
There is also the matter of resources. The more new powers you add to the game the more testing you need to balance them. And it's not a linear relationship, since each new power has to interact with the other new powers as well as all the old powers. One assumes @Morrus has fewer of those than WotC. On the other hand, people tend to be more forgiving of imbalances from 3PP.

If this is a "Level Up" related project (why wasn't it posted on the dedicated forum?) one assumes customers are already looking for increased complexity. It is already a niche product, so higher complexity is unlikely to hurt sales significantly.
 

There is also the matter of resources. The more new powers you add to the game the more testing you need to balance them. And it's not a linear relationship, since each new power has to interact with the other new powers as well as all the old powers. One assumes @Morrus has fewer of those than WotC. On the other hand, people tend to be more forgiving of imbalances from 3PP.

If this is a "Level Up" related project (why wasn't it posted on the dedicated forum?) one assumes customers are already looking for increased complexity. It is already a niche product, so higher complexity is unlikely to hurt sales significantly.
I would still suggest we do not make the basic mechanics or math too hard so learning a new system is a quick as can realistically be.
 

I would still suggest we do not make the basic mechanics or math too hard so learning a new system is a quick as can realistically be.
For a mass market product, sure. But isn't the whole point of of Level Up so people can prove how hardcore they are with complex mechanics and math? 😉

The Psi Blast: The target takes damage equal to the natural logarithm of the number of psi points expanded multiplied by the cube root of your character level.
 



Aldarc

Legend
Just take the Numenera approach.

It's super-advanced technology. Done.

Actually I think it's telling that while Numenera does have the conceit that its magic has an underlying scientific explanation it doesn't rely on psionics to be that explanation. More commonly it waves vaguely at things like nano-technology*

*True it does have psychic powers, and that's one option, but it's limited much more to the more specific realm of psychics, rather than expanded into a catch-all explanation for pseudo-magic. (A recognition I think that it can't work that way any more.)
The sources of magic for Numenera are not consistent. It does point to nano-technology, but it's also not limited to that. There are also cybernetic augmentations, mutations, and other known and unknown sources. There are also some hints that these are only the best explanations available for their powers, and peoples' grasp of how their powers actually work may actually be erroneous.

I would potentially go at magic in several angles in a science-fantasy D&D setting. One would be to extend the academic and scentific approaches of the wizard to its science-fantasy conclusion: i.e., that it sees its powers as advanced physics-altering science, advanced formulas, etc. that is indistinguishable from magic. The second would be the unexplainable, mystical, and wonderous powers that still somehow defy those approaches. So again, potentially having a key difference between the "Techno-Mage" and the "Mystic" in how they approach magic.

There is also the matter of resources. The more new powers you add to the game the more testing you need to balance them. And it's not a linear relationship, since each new power has to interact with the other new powers as well as all the old powers. One assumes @Morrus has fewer of those than WotC. On the other hand, people tend to be more forgiving of imbalances from 3PP.

If this is a "Level Up" related project (why wasn't it posted on the dedicated forum?) one assumes customers are already looking for increased complexity. It is already a niche product, so higher complexity is unlikely to hurt sales significantly.
Are there even Psionics in fantasy version of Level Up?
 




Because you can have magic in sci-fi.
No you can't, at least if we are making the dubious distinction between mystical magic and scientific psionics and science fantasy and science fiction.

It's a matter of focus in the themes and impact in the setting.

Default D&D magic is high impact.
But it is D&D magic we're talking about. So why would you assume that a scifi setting would have that?
 



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