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%

MGibster

Legend
Really? Jedi telekinesis and throwing lightning is pretty standard - a more powerful Mage Hand would catch that. Could you be more specific?
As all their abilities are wrapped up in mystical beliefs, the Jedi and the Force just scream magic to me rather that psionics. But I don't see a lot of Jedi using the Force to disintergrate, teleport, create food/water, or many of the other things D&D spells can accomplish. Jedi are kind of weak compared to higher level wizards.
 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
Making a decision and finding a consensus are not the same thing. There are plenty of people unhappy with 5E's magic system, particularly in the way it overwhelms every other option at high level.
Concensus does not mean universal acceptance: WotC aimed for 90%+ approval in their core options, and got there.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
...I'd like that, yes.
I care about balance.

Juggling different spellcasting mechanics is hard to balance. Some are inevitably better than others. And there is likely to be unpredicted broken combos.

Also, because 5e privileges the Wizard and Cleric classes, the Psion always gets the short end of the stick whenever there is overlap.

I would rather the Psion access whatever normal spells are appropriate thematically.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Making a decision and finding a consensus are not the same thing. There are plenty of people unhappy with 5E's magic system, particularly in the way it overwhelms every other option at high level.
On the other hand, 5e drastically reduced the number of high level spells that a caster class can have.
 

grimslade

Krampus ate my d20s
My preference is for a new system for Psi because 5E can handle it. The sorcerer is an absolute hash of a class. Build a more flavorful sorcerer and call it the Psion/Psionicist/Mystic/Jedi/Master of the Way.

At this point, I would lean away from psi as a new class or subclasses. There is too much argument over 'but mah wizard" and 'Dark Sun will die because of you Wizard lovers'. There is no consensus possible. We have seen too many threads devolve into bickering. Possibly look at the UA for Strixhaven with replacing class abilities depending on College. Add psionic powers to existing characters, by using the framework of 5E.
 

When I write up a psion, it's going to take the warlock chassis and strip away some of the setting assumptions the warlock has. Get to the basics:

  • You can do supernatural stuff.
  • Some things you can basically do an unlimited amount of.
  • There's a limit to how much powerful stuff you can. You need to rest to regain the ability to do powerful stuff.
  • There are a bunch of choices you can make to determine what you're good at.
  • Some of those choices alter the flavor of your abilities.

Basically there'd be three choices

  • "harness" (e.g., are you Int-based, Wis-based, or Cha-based -- this will interact with the 'mental focus' ability, detailed below),
  • "discipline" (telepath, telekinetic, clairsentient, psychometabolist, metcreative, and psychoportive - this is akin to warlock patron and gives you a few powers as you gain levels),
  • "approach" (e.g., can you study to gain new powers, are you a really good warrior, do you create a psychic field around you to affect others, can you potentially manifest new powers as needed albeit at great strain? - this is akin to warlock pact).

You get at-will powers.

Then of course you can pick powers from a big list divided into the six disciplines. These things cost power points that replenish with a short rest.

You'd also get psionic talents, which are akin to warlock invocations. Most of them are always on boons, what might be called "super powers" if this were a comic book game.

Any psion can use an action to gain their mental focus, and various abilities key off whether you have focus or not. Some abilities require you to expend your focus. And based on your harness, you get some perk while you have your focus.
 

I think for psionics to actually be satisfying it has to be incorporated as part of the system from the beginning. In a system like D&D 5e, where it was not, having it be a reskin of the magic system which is actually integrated into the game is the best of the bad options available.
 

As all their abilities are wrapped up in mystical beliefs, the Jedi and the Force just scream magic to me rather that psionics. But I don't see a lot of Jedi using the Force to disintergrate, teleport, create food/water, or many of the other things D&D spells can accomplish. Jedi are kind of weak compared to higher level wizards.
That's the issue. Psionics is designed to do certain things, and not other things. Magic in D&D can do pretty much anything. If you make a psionic character out of an existing spellcasting class, you are intentionally limiting yourself. That...doesn't feel good.
 

GreyLord

Legend
(Not interested in “D&D doesn’t fit sci-fi” responses)

Assuming you accept the premise, would you prefer psionics to be magic reskinned or a totally new system?
I have felt that 3.x and 4e did Psionics better than AD&D, that they were more integrated into the system and easier to understand.

AD&D had them as very different systems that worked in a completely different manner.

3e/3.5 had them so that they worked slightly different, but basically very similar to magic. They worked with spell points and such, but also were varied and leveled like magic.

4e basically had them work just like the other powers in the system.

They were easier for me to understand and run (as a DM) in 3.X and 4e than they were in AD&D. 2e was the hardest for me to integrate (in some instances they were far too underpowered, in others, far too overpowered) with the rest of the game with other players who were not psionicists.

AD&D was okay, but it was pretty hard for someone to get psionics, and then all sorts of monsters had to be kept track of by the DM that could do nasty things to that player.

As a DM, my preference is something that is a variant of the current magic system or basically a reskinned version of it rather than having to figure out an entirely separate system that may or may not integrate (play well) with the rest of the game rules.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
That's the issue. Psionics is designed to do certain things, and not other things. Magic in D&D can do pretty much anything. If you make a psionic character out of an existing spellcasting class, you are intentionally limiting yourself. That...doesn't feel good.

And to make it feel good,you'd have to go farther with spells. However spells are already close to the brink of fairness.

Or just play renamed wizards.
 


Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
I'd want a completely new system. Primarily so when I make an inevitable mash up, the two systems would be mechanically seperate, helping force the flavor to be different in play. Mages could do things differently than prions, and in a different way, and vice versa.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
What is a Jedi, if not a Space Wizard with a magic sword?

For my point of view, Jedi are more like Space Monks with OP Monk weapons.

Jedi ultimately have very few abilities. Remember you won't some powers from a Jedi.

Again, the questions if Psionics is supposed to replace or stand along with Magic? And whether Psionic is as limitless as Spells?
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I'd want a completely new system. Primarily so when I make an inevitable mash up, the two systems would be mechanically seperate, helping force the flavor to be different in play. Mages could do things differently than prions, and in a different way, and vice versa.
Heh, it's interesting how different folks want different things. That bolded part is the part I would like to avoid.
 

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