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5E Psionics in Tasha


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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Found this interesting in the 3.5 Psionic Handbook:

"Some people do not use psionics in their D&D games. This reluctance is usually due to the way previous editions have handled psionics rules. In previous editions, psionics rule systems are add-ons that do not dovetail well with the core rules. In contrast, psionics rules for the new edition of the D&D game are integrated into the core mechanics of the game. A psionic character will be balanced with a non-psionic character of equal level. You’ll be able to multiclass into and out of the psionic character classes like you can with the core classes."
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Found this interesting in the 3.5 Psionic Handbook:

"Some people do not use psionics in their D&D games. This reluctance is usually due to the way previous editions have handled psionics rules. In previous editions, psionics rule systems are add-ons that do not dovetail well with the core rules. In contrast, psionics rules for the new edition of the D&D game are integrated into the core mechanics of the game. A psionic character will be balanced with a non-psionic character of equal level. You’ll be able to multiclass into and out of the psionic character classes like you can with the core classes."
Of course, 3e psionics routinely got lambasted for being “spells with the word psionic tacked on.” The pendulum swings.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
?

Stating a truism is not wanting. Whether or not I think most people suck, or not, is a completely different exercise.

After all, you can't trust people. People like Nickelback and gave Driving Miss Daisy the Best Picture Oscar.
Ah, I misunderstood you from earlier in the thread, then. You think that psionics as spells is the better option and have use the truism to show support. My bad.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
For ~40 years, since Psionics were introduced in the 1st edition DMG, until now, Psionics were treated as something other than magic, a separate power source under a separate name.

In every D&D setting that has used psionics, it's been treated as something other than spells, a distinctly "third" alternative to arcane and divine magic. Right offhand I know it was treated that was in Forgotten Realms (right offhand I remember the difference being explicitly described and discussed in Volo's Guide to All Things Magical as not being magic and being something else) and in Dark Sun (entire books written on the subject, like The Will and the Way).

At best you had the treatment from 3rd edition and later where Psionic powers and Magic spells could directly detect, protect from, or dispel each other, but even then the actual abilities were still considered distinct.

That's a vast and overwhelming consensus of 4 editions of D&D, and the "fluff" or lore of multiple settings. . .vs. a preview of the 5th edition psionic rules released a few days ago.

The fact that WotC decided to make 5th edition Psionics totally different than everything before and just make it apparently a different spell list and that's it does NOT change a decades-long consensus of D&D editions and campaign settings. . .it means that 5th edition is the one that is out of line, not that other editions and settings are out of line because they contradict 5e.
Once they introduced the section below (from the 3.0 Psionic book), there has been little fundamental difference between "psionics" and "spells".

PMT.JPG


Note: I, personally, think that psioncs SHOULD be 100% different from spells and spell-like-abilities and think that there shouldn't be any "crossing of the streams" between the two power sources except for very specific spells/powers created explicitly to affect the other power source. I even make this true in my campaigns as a house rule. The fact remains that at a deeper, generic level psionics has been "magic" since 3e.
 




Aldarc

Legend
Of course, 3e psionics routinely got lambasted for being “spells with the word psionic tacked on.” The pendulum swings.
IMHO, 3e and 4e psionics were probably the best iteration. I don't mind that psionics are spells or magic, but I don't want psionics to just be subsumed by arcane magic. I want it to be more like divine cleric magic or primal druid magic, which both co-exist alongside arcane magic without people calling for the death of clerics and druids since sorcerers and wizards already exist.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
And for completeness on that change in view on psionics...what the 2e Psionic Handbook had to say about it.

View attachment 126629

And from AD&D 1E PHB:
1600900785011.png

I guess we just didn't need that much of an explanation back then. FWIW, pay particular attention to that word: resemble. ;)

Having hardly played 3E, and no 4E at all, but over 30 years of 1E and 2E-- Yes, psionics remain distinctly non-magical in my games.

But as I have said before, I will reserve final judgement once the full system is released. I am not pleased about the "psionics is spells" thinking, but I am hoping I might be pleasantly surprised by what the final version of WotC's vision reveals. :)
 
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IMHO, 3e and 4e psionics were probably the best iteration. I don't mind that psionics are spells or magic, but I don't want psionics to just be subsumed by arcane magic. I want it to be more like divine cleric magic or primal druid magic, which both co-exist alongside arcane magic without people calling for the death of clerics and druids since sorcerers and wizards already exist.
Sure. Then again, these things change. Like I think primal being a separate from divine was a thing only in 4E. But but if you want them to be separate in your world's metaphysics, then they can. Rules really don't need to change. And do these things even need to be solidly defined? Perhaps the arguments about how to classify various supernatural powers actually is what's happening in the setting as well? Different scholars and traditions have their own classification methods. Wizards say that psions are just low class hedge-mages, psions think they're enlightened practitioners of a secret way that is beyond mere sorcery. And the clerics think that they both are heretics. There really doesn't even need to be one right answer.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Sure. Then again, these things change. Like I think primal being a separate from divine was a thing only in 4E. But but if you want them to be separate in your world's metaphysics, then they can. Rules really don't need to change. And do these things even need to be solidly defined? Perhaps the arguments about how to classify various supernatural powers actually is what's happening in the setting as well? Different scholars and traditions have their own classification methods. Wizards say that psions are just low class hedge-mages, psions think they're enlightened practitioners of a secret way that is beyond mere sorcery. And clerics think that they both are heretics. There really doesn't even need to be one right answer.
But I think that in order to be able to tell such stories, then I think that there should at least be a psion class such that a psionic themed class, spell list, and abilities that can stand on its own. I'm skeptical that just having a psionic-themed sorcerer really does the trick, as that just subsumes psionics within an arcane caster.
 

But I think that in order to be able to tell such stories, then I think that there should at least be a psion class such that a psionic themed class, spell list, and abilities that can stand on its own. I'm skeptical that just having a psionic-themed sorcerer really does the trick, as that just subsumes psionics within an arcane caster.
Well, that kinda depends on how you see the classes. Like do the people in the setting really see psionic sorcerer and dragonic sorcerer to be same type of thing any more than they see a druid and bard to be the same. Now I fully get the sentiment of wanting the classes to be actual, coherent classifications that have some meaning in the setting too. I really want that, but that's not the only way to look at things. But yah, if we think that psionics is at least as different from arcane than arcane is from divine, then it is indeed a bit weird to have the psionics to be just tacked on as subclasses to arcane classes. Like there isn't some cleric subclass that suddenly becomes arcane caster. Then again, there is already the divine soul sorcerer...
 

Aldarc

Legend
Well, that kinda depends on how you see the classes. Like do the people in the setting really see psionic sorcerer and dragonic sorcerer to be same type of thing any more than they see a druid and bard to be the same. Now I fully get the sentiment of wanting the classes to be actual, coherent classifications that have some meaning in the setting too. I really want that, but that's not the only way to look at things. But yah, if we think that psionics is at least as different from arcane than arcane is from divine, then it is indeed a bit weird to have the psionics to be just tacked on as subclasses to arcane classes. Like there isn't some cleric subclass that suddenly becomes arcane caster. Then again, there is already the divine soul sorcerer...
But the divine soul sorcerer doesn't negate the existence of the cleric. In fact, it depends on it because its ability assumes an independent cleric spell list from which it can also draw divine spells.
 

You think there aren't distinctions between Arcane and Divine magic in 3e and 4e?

3e is what literally gave us the terms "Arcane" and "Divine" when "Wizard" and "Priest" magic was generally used before that. When you read the spellcasting descriptions in a 3e class, it specifically enumerates if it's considered arcane or divine. . .and one hard mechanical difference between them is that divine spells don't suffer from Arcane Spell Failure for somatic components in armor. Also, Prestige Classes often specified if spellcasting for a prerequisite had to be Arcane or Divine in nature. . .Cleric or Druid spellcasting would never qualify you for Arcane Archer, and no amount of Wizard levels could qualify you to be a Heirophant.

4e went so far as to break down all classes into a "power source" and a role. . .with Arcane and Divine as two of the first and major "power sources".

Even though in 3.x divine and arcane was spellt out explicitely, in 2e they felt more distinct.
Even the spell with the same name could have slightly different effects depending on the caster (hold person/ daylight from memory). Also while initiative modifier for wizard spell was usually just level, for priest spells it was often level +3. Also the type of spells really differed. There were nearly no good damage spells (except for flamestrike and blade wall) while there simply was no helaing spell for wizards (or bards whose only cross class skill was healing on top), except for a setting specific 7th level spell named after a famous wizard.
 

Anyway, I'm interested seeing how they handle in Tasha's. One thing I hope that they make the sorcerer psion to me thematically a pure psion without the Lovecraftian influences (so psionic mind rather than aberrant mind.) This will let people who like the theme of psionics to play as close to pure psion than the current design paradigm allows. It also avoids overlap with warlock, who can keep the Lovecraftian stuff. To me the latter is very important.

Whilst I'm rather lukewarm about psionics in general, I'm still a bit exited about this. I really don't like the normal sorcerers (as I have said many times in other threads, I think the basic sorcerer fluff is better represented by warlock rules) but if the psionic sorcerer is decent then perhaps I could use those in my setting. If warlocks are creepy witches with wild eldritch powers and psion-sorcerers can be meditating mystics that tap the power of their mind, then that would feel pretty thematically clear and distinct. I also feel that sorcery point mechanic would be pretty decent representation of malleability of psionics; the powers are not just memorised rotes so the psion can control what they want to do better.
 

gantzerteo

Explorer
Psionics as stand alone classes will never come to be. At least in this edition where the main concept is to simplify the load of rules.
A brand new psionic system most of independent from the 3 core books is something unbearable for 5E.
As the (forgotten, thankfully) Prestige Classes argument.
Even in 3.X psionics simply broke the rules, capsizing the postulates of the core books as the game was intended to work (Evasion, Grapple, type of damage etc.) and they never really settle in with any other class or setting with some (few) exceptions.
Psionics is good only as Monsters/NPCs which don't need any new rules.
 


Which is fine if this is your way of saying "I don't want to talk about my allegation about prior editions being relevant to now". We don't need to debate that back and forth.

I literally have no idea what this means. I re-read both my post and yours and I am none the wiser. That's some wacky stuff.

WOTC have claimed this is the leased objectionable approach because ALL their decisions are based on the least objectionable approach, even if it's described in different words like "This is the one the most people found awesome!"

They haven't made any comment at all on whether psionics-as-spells is popular AFAIK, neither phrased as "least worst" or "most awesome" nor anything in-between. That's the claim I'm arguing with.

They have commented on the psionic subclass approach, but that's a bit different.

But, mostly I am just happy they finally settled on something and will put out psionics stuff finally.

I feel like this is optimistic. I think these three subclasses may well be all the psionic stuff we see before 6E at the current rate. I mean, Dark Sun might happen, but honestly it seems unlikely given it's just getting more topical and WotC are a part of a big, risk-averse, politics-averse corporation.
 


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