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%

Parmandur

Book-Friend
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?
Depends on which h Extended Universe novels you read.
 

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SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
I'd expect any D&D-based scifi that contains psionics to be at least as fantasy than Star Wars. Neither D&D or psionics are fit for hard scifi.

That's cool, we all get here somehow. Personally the seventies are my childhood, so not so bad at all. Still one has to think about in Battlestar Galactica, they face down the devil at one point, or Mr Rourke in Fantasy Island, he also banishes evil? So yeah, everyone believed in the psi stuff and that is cool, though I don't think I have read anything after around 1990 that purports to be serious sci-fi that includes it. Nothing I saw in the Expanse, Revelation Space, or even the Culture, which is Space Opera deluxe for the most part. It has pretty much been binned as magic, and in that case, esp if the game has no magic either, then I'd just use those rules, waste not, want not.
You know thats fair, I lived the 70s and basically accepted there was magic and potentially mental abilities.

Sadly to this day, for all that most say they are the same, I have seen evidence of neither.

Kinda bummed.
 

SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
Magic is typically supernatural, eg like from a god or something. Psi isn't really that, except it is fantasy anyways, so close enough. There is absolutely no science in psi, none.
We could say there is no science in all the scifi stories that exceed the speed of light somehow, but that would be no fun.
 

dragoner

solisrpg.com
We could say there is no science in all the scifi stories that exceed the speed of light somehow, but that would be no fun.
Sure, and if you want to have psi, that is totally cool, you should do so. I often find limits can make the setting interesting, such as fantasy with no gunpowder or steam, etc., and conversely I have run a campaign in Steampunk Byzantium, which was cool too.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
If I were to say my preference, especially for aSciF setting, is to create a whole host of psionic disciplines (telepath, telekinesis, pyrokinesis, electrokinesis, cyberkinesis, metacreativity, shard creativity, ecto creativity, etc etc)

and each one gets its own powers.

Part of what make SciFi SciFi to me is each science is made fictional on their own. Every science is upgraded by the crazy own its own. The fictional science that makes a Psyker doesn't make a Space Marine or a Tech Priest. You can combine them but its combining 2 different things.

That's why I don't like Psionics as Spells in SciFi. The spell to make yourself a Space Marine is in the same pathways as the spell that make you shoot lightning. Even when psions and psykers have multiple powers the number is few. You get Telekinesis and Clairsentience and either Lightning and Vampiric powers or Healing and Light powers.
 

Redwizard007

Adventurer
Yes. But we would expect this to work differently to normal animate dead. For one we would to expect the caster to have to continue to concentrate to maintain the telekinetic affect.

And that's leaving aside whether this is really a telekinetic effect that makes sense. Why would I telekinetically animate a whole skeleton rather than just say a sword?

Off the cuff answer? Because I can visualize the skeleton moving easier than I can visualize making good strikes with a floating sword. The fact that the skeleton is requiring more complex movements is irrelevant because I believe it will be easier.
 

If I were to say my preference, especially for aSciF setting, is to create a whole host of psionic disciplines (telepath, telekinesis, pyrokinesis, electrokinesis, cyberkinesis, metacreativity, shard creativity, ecto creativity, etc etc)

and each one gets its own powers.

Part of what make SciFi SciFi to me is each science is made fictional on their own. Every science is upgraded by the crazy own its own. The fictional science that makes a Psyker doesn't make a Space Marine or a Tech Priest. You can combine them but its combining 2 different things.

That's why I don't like Psionics as Spells in SciFi. The spell to make yourself a Space Marine is in the same pathways as the spell that make you shoot lightning. Even when psions and psykers have multiple powers the number is few. You get Telekinesis and Clairsentience and either Lightning and Vampiric powers or Healing and Light powers.
Yeah, if there's one thing I would want to avoid in a psionics mechanic it's the existence of a generalist. A pyrokinetic is not a telekinetic is not a telepath is not a biokinetic, and so on.
 


Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
Heh, it's interesting how different folks want different things. That bolded part is the part I would like to avoid.
Yeah. I can understand.

For RPGs I tend to really love system that have a small (medium) devoted fanbase, but not top of the market - and play them for decades. I played HERO as my primary system 30+ years, and now I'm into Cypher and I have a feeling it will be the same.

I've always liked one flavor or another of D&D, as it was my first RPG, so there is serious nostolgia for it, even if the rules shift a lot.
 




Raduin711

Adventurer
I voted a new system, but I do think there may be a middle ground between "reskin" and "new system"

Every class has their differences. Wizards have spellbooks. Sorcerers have a limited selection of innate spells. Warlocks have a collection of at-will abilities, etc. These all exist to give each class their own purpose and flavor.

I feel that Psionics, at the very least, deserves it's own class(es), purpose and flavor as well. Necessity might demand that you simply reskin (Magic missile is "psychic bolts" or whatever) but that has to do with a lack of published material. I don't see why psionics isn't a topic strong enough to hold it's own class. And if it has it's own class, I don't see why it couldn't also function in a unique way, like a Warlock does.

How unique does it have to be, though? Does it need a bunch of crazy new subsystems and reinvent the wheel everywhere it goes? Well, no, but it needs to be unique enough to support the concept of "psionic."
 

I voted a new system, but I do think there may be a middle ground between "reskin" and "new system"

Every class has their differences. Wizards have spellbooks. Sorcerers have a limited selection of innate spells. Warlocks have a collection of at-will abilities, etc. These all exist to give each class their own purpose and flavor.

I feel that Psionics, at the very least, deserves it's own class(es), purpose and flavor as well. Necessity might demand that you simply reskin (Magic missile is "psychic bolts" or whatever) but that has to do with a lack of published material. I don't see why psionics isn't a topic strong enough to hold it's own class. And if it has it's own class, I don't see why it couldn't also function in a unique way, like a Warlock does.

How unique does it have to be, though? Does it need a bunch of crazy new subsystems and reinvent the wheel everywhere it goes? Well, no, but it needs to be unique enough to support the concept of "psionic."
I can see that. After all, artificer got to be it's own class, and it has far less history than psionics.
 

TarionzCousin

Second Most Angelic Devil Ever
I liked Psionics in 3.5E. So--without any research or looking into it whatsoever--I would like to Psionics in 5E use spell points.
 

Hussar

Legend
I can see that. After all, artificer got to be it's own class, and it has far less history than psionics.
But, again, the Artificer doesn't have any unique mechanics. It's simply repurposing existing mechanics into a different package. Heck, it didn't even get a new magic system - just spells again.

So, if that's the bar - repurpose existing mechanics into a new package at the same level as the artificer, then I'm all for it.

I wonder if maybe that's one of the bigger tripping points. People keep talking about the need for a new system, but, how new does it need to be? The existing magic system deals with warlocks, artificers and then full body casters pretty well. How hard would it be to tweak to fit psionics?
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Yeah, if there's one thing I would want to avoid in a psionics mechanic it's the existence of a generalist. A pyrokinetic is not a telekinetic is not a telepath is not a biokinetic, and so on.

Well you can be a generalist. But you'd go crazy from having too much in your head and become an NPC.
That's the other trope. If you do get a bunch of psionic powers, you go mad, feral, and shutdown.

But, again, the Artificer doesn't have any unique mechanics. It's simply repurposing existing mechanics into a different package. Heck, it didn't even get a new magic system - just spells again.

So, if that's the bar - repurpose existing mechanics into a new package at the same level as the artificer, then I'm all for it.

I wonder if maybe that's one of the bigger tripping points. People keep talking about the need for a new system, but, how new does it need to be? The existing magic system deals with warlocks, artificers and then full body casters pretty well. How hard would it be to tweak to fit psionics?
How hard? Depends.

Artificers, warlocks, and sorcerer "worked" by nerfing their spell lists to hell and boosting what's left or what is added. The spells and features they share with the general casters are still about the same power.

What do you take away and add with psionics in the spell system without making a broken character? Traditionally psionics has some powerful stuff and you use the psionics system as the limitation. If you port them over wholely, whoever gets them will have very powerfull spells. If you use what exists, you then have to invent what is psionics's gimmick mechancis.
 

Well you can be a generalist. But you'd go crazy from having too much in your head and become an NPC.
That's the other trope. If you do get a bunch of psionic powers, you go mad, feral, and shutdown.


How hard? Depends.

Artificers, warlocks, and sorcerer "worked" by nerfing their spell lists to hell and boosting what's left or what is added. The spells and features they share with the general casters are still about the same power.

What do you take away and add with psionics in the spell system without making a broken character? Traditionally psionics has some powerful stuff and you use the psionics system as the limitation. If you port them over wholely, whoever gets them will have very powerfull spells. If you use what exists, you then have to invent what is psionics's gimmick mechancis.
the ability to be hyper generalised has ruined the 5e wizards you get too many optimums for certain things and it is horrible to have to pick otherwise they all end up feeling pretty samey.
 

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