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5E Psionics in Tasha

So? It means you will have three different ways to play a psionic character. How many would you need?

I mean, buddy, you really seem to hate psionics, and it doesn't seem to be any kind of well-reasoned argument that's behind it, so I'm not sure how to engage with stuff like this, which looks like weird sniping. There's no psion/psionicist class - that's what I want. It's not really a complicated thing to understand. Right now it's like if we had Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight, and something else, and someone was saying "Why can't I play a Wizard?" (let's leave sorcerers out of this for now), and you're like "You can play an AT, or EK, or [subclass 3], you have three ways to play a Wizard, what more to do you want!". As an argument, it's irrational and somewhat laughable.
 

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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
There's a lot in this thread about what various people wanted from psionics in 5e and aren't getting.
But I'm not sure why they want them.
That is, I've played since 1e, read sci-fi, and read comic books with telepaths... but what is the particular appeal that everyone sees in psionics that leads to their desired outcome in 5e?

Is it to play a certain archetype from fiction?
Is it to enable interplay with the far realms?
Is it to do stories of the gith?
Is it to recreate some past beloved PC from a previous edition?
Is it to have powers but not be magic just for a change?
Is it to have powers that can stomp on magic?
Is it to have an alternate power set up to magic but not be any better?
Is it to have a third (fourth?) kind of magic?
Is it to get a sci-fi feeling?
 

Yes, because air doesn't require a God to exist.

Air comes from the Elemental Plane of Air. It isn't inherently created and defined by a God. It's a basic element of reality that isn't shaped or regulated by a deity. There are deities of air that exist as personifications of air, but air doesn't inherently require those deities to exist in normal D&D settings. It exists just fine in D&D settings without gods, like Dark Sun.

If you kill the God of Death, does Death cease to exist in the world? If you kill the God of War, do all wars everywhere end? If you kill the God of Nature, does all nature die? No, because metaphysical concepts or basic physical concepts exist independent of a deity. Magic has been repeatedly shown to not work like that in D&D settings.

When all the Gods left Krynn after the Chaos War (or as it was later retconned, Takhisis hid the world away from the Gods for decades), the things that disappeared were divine magic (due to the Gods not having access to the world), and arcane magic (due to the Gods of Magic not being present to provide it). When the Gods left Krynn after the Cataclysm, Divine magic left, but Arcane magic stayed because the 3 gods of Magic were the only deities that still were present on Krynn. When a God dies on Toril, that concept doesn't disappear, fade away or go wild. . .except when it's the Goddess of Magic. When Myrkul died in the Time of Troubles, the concept of death didn't cease to exist or go wild and rampant until Kelemvor took over the portfolio. When Leira was killed, illusions didn't fade away or cease to work or become unstable.

The only place in D&D lore I'm aware of where a basic, fundamental element of the world just ceases to exist because a deity dies is when a god of magic leaves or is killed and arcane magic just vanishes, which happened in FR and DL. In both of those worlds, the "fluff" is quite clear that arcane magic is a force that is ambient in the world, originally flowing from the deities, which mortals learn to tap as the energy surrounds them, but which withers away without the deities of magic present, as if turning off a spigot of water. Divine magic lacks that intermediary, which is a direct connection from the caster to the divine. Psionics skips relations to deities entirely and comes entirely from within, making it popular with those not on good terms with deities (which was at least mentioned a few times in passing in Planescape lore, but never explored in depth)

I'm specifically presenting examples from two different major, popular D&D settings to make it clear this is not a single setting-specific expectation but a more baseline concept of D&D metaphysics.

As I understand it though, the Weave is the way for mortals to access magic. It is not the source of magic itself. Otherwise, Mystra should just turn off magic in the Nine Hells, the Abyss, ect. But she can't, because she provides the interface that allows mortals to access and effect magic, not the entirety of magic itself. Sort of how your keyboard isn't the source of the electricity and drives that makes your computer work.

And while Myrkul died, Bhaal wasn't dead at the same time. Nor was Jergal, nor was Yurtrus, or beings like Talona where their portfolios are closely related to death.


Now, I'll grant you dragonlance, but their cosmology is a bit unique. What with the three moons (which are gods) waxing and waning and magic waxing and waning with them. It makes perfect sense that with them vanishing, magic goes wonky, because they are essentially all new moons, during which time magic of that type was turned off.

And yet, did you yourself not say, that people still figured out a "new source" of magic? How could they possibly do that, if magic was gone? Unless, again, the familiar "type" of magic was gone, the easy way that was provided to them by the gods, but MAGIC writ large, still existed. Just like a wind mill lets you harness the wind, but the wind still exists and can be used, even if you don't have a wind mill.


They were put in the same Universe pretty early... Dr. Strange was looped in by June 1964 in FF 27 (so, within his first year). And that was after 1963 which was one cross-over after another at the House of Ideas to get everyone else together.

Having devices that block psionics is a regular thing in Marvel Comics. And having magic that does just about anything is a regular thing. I don't remember mutant powers or tech or psionics stopping magic in the 616 though. Do you have a favorite example?

Unfortunately I do not. A lot of my prefered "comic book" universes are not DC and Marvel, so I'm only partially familiar with them.

I do remember that Apocalypse and Galactus are kind of "undefined" though, with them doing psychic/magic/tech all at the same time.


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Honestly, with the plethora of Psionic abilities already presented as spells, and the fact that Psionic and Magic should be "transparent" or effect each other equally (Yes, you should be able to defend against psionics with magic. Mind Blank is explicitly designed for that purpose) and that fully component-less casting means you are impossible to stop (blind me, gag me, and tie me up, I can still hit you with my abilities) I just don't see the appeal of it being a separate system, except for maybe some cool things from a different style of casting.

The sheer number of issues I can see coming up, just doesn't make it worth it to me.
 

Is it to play a certain archetype from fiction?
Is it to enable interplay with the far realms?

Is it to do stories of the gith?
Is it to recreate some past beloved PC from a previous edition?
Is it to have powers but not be magic just for a change?
Is it to have powers that can stomp on magic?
Is it to have an alternate power set up to magic but not be any better?
Is it to get a sci-fi feeling?

Bolded the ones relevant to me - the "sci-fi feeling" thing isn't exactly right, but a DIFFERENT feeling to D&D-style slot-magic is important.

There's no edition where psionics could "stomp on magic". The best they've ever been able to do was get around conventional defenses against magic, which was tightly situational, at best.
 

I mean, buddy, you really seem to hate psionics, and it doesn't seem to be any kind of well-reasoned argument that's behind it, so I'm not sure how to engage with stuff like this, which looks like weird sniping.
I don't hate them, I just find the bizarre fixation that they need to be something completely different nonsensical and counterproductive. I just said that I'm a bit exited about the psionics rules.

There's no psion/psionicist class - that's what I want. It's not really a complicated thing to understand. Right now it's like if we had Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight, and something else, and someone was saying "Why can't I play a Wizard?" (let's leave sorcerers out of this for now), and you're like "You can play an AT, or EK, or [subclass 3], you have three ways to play a Wizard, what more to do you want!". As an argument, it's irrational and somewhat laughable.
What seems irrational to me is to be fixated on the name. A psionic full caster will be the psion. Just write 'psion' on your character sheet, use the rules provided and have fun! Or not, I don't care. But it seems pretty silly to reject the rules before you have even seen them in full.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Bolded the ones relevant to me - the "sci-fi feeling" thing isn't exactly right, but a DIFFERENT feeling to D&D-style slot-magic is important.

Thank you! :)

Do you have a favorite example of the archetype in literature that you're aiming at?

I assume the 5e Warlock is still too slotted?


There's no edition where psionics could "stomp on magic". The best they've ever been able to do was get around conventional defenses against magic, which was tightly situational, at best.

In fiction there's often the thing where the really powerful wizard can be taken down by the assassin/archer/whatnot if they don't have their defensive spell up or let it lapse. But if they know it's coming, they're fine because they can bring up some defensive shields or protections or the like. It feels like there have been some psionic things in some edition where there was really nothing the mage could do to be ready. I might be misremembering.

For what you personally are looking for, do you need most magical spells to not work against psionics or is it fine if a caster wants to spend a slot on it (like they would for physical attack protection).

In a world that had both magic and psionics, would the casters and practitioners have figured out how to defend against each other and have defenses in their arsenal?
 

But it seems pretty silly to reject the rules before you have even seen them in full.

Man what?

You're contradicting your own argument from a post ago!

Let's recap.

I said "They're not going to make psions, they're just going to make three subclasses".

You said "Ur dumb, u should b hapy that u even got those 3, wat more u want????!!!111" (paraphrasing loosely)

I said "A psion"

Now you're saying "Well you'll get a psion, don't hate the rules before you see them!!!!11!".

And like no, as I said, I believe we won't, that's the problem, which we just discussed.

If you're trying, ineptly, to say that a Sorcerer with a light psionic theme is a psion, well, we can go ahead and delete Wizards, because there are Sorcerers, and we can delete Bards, because there are Sorcerers, and we can delete Clerics, because there are Druids, and we can just delete Warlocks period. I mean that's just ludicrous.
 

Mistwell

Legend
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.

OK, let's recap to catch you up.

You said:

Least hated? I very much doubt that. I'd really want to see some evidence, because every poll on this sort of approach I've seen, over four editions (because it is an approach some people insist on), has been pretty negative on it (it's usually either most-unpopular, or second-most after some particularly bizarre approach).

It's a simple approach, but it's a bad one. I'm not against Psionic spells existing - but to make them how Psionics works is rubbish.

Then I said:

It's not a question of over 4 editions, it's only a question of what the customer base, as a generalization, likes right now. And right now, the majority of the customer base never even played a prior edition and do not appear to have any attachment to psionics as something other than spells They did do polls, they did get feedback, and this appears to be the least objectionable to this particular customer base for this edition.

And they don't need to show you their cards by the way. Their data is collected for them to make decisions. Their data wouldn't change your preferences anyway, so what would be the purpose of "providing you evidence"?

You then never responded to most of that, including your allegation that polling "over four editions" rather than just right now is somehow relevant to this discussion. Which, again, is fine if your point is to say we're not going to get anywhere with that line of conversation.

So, not wacky. I think others followed just fine. Is it clearer to you now?
 
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Man what?

You're contradicting your own argument from a post ago!
Nope.

Let's recap.

I said "They're not going to make psions, they're just going to make three subclasses".

You said "Ur dumb, u should b hapy that u even got those 3, wat more u want????!!!111" (paraphrasing loosely)

I said "A psion"

Now you're saying "Well you'll get a psion, don't hate the rules before you see them!!!!11!".

And like no, as I said, I believe we won't, that's the problem, which we just discussed.

If you're trying, ineptly, to say that a Sorcerer with a light psionic theme is a psion, well, we can go ahead and delete Wizards, because there are Sorcerers, and we can delete Bards, because there are Sorcerers, and we can delete Clerics, because there are Druids, and we can just delete Warlocks period. I mean that's just ludicrous.
Yes, a sorcerer with psion theme is what psions are in this edition. You're rejecting this approach without having seen the rules because it is not called 'psion'. You're irrationally fixated on the nomenclature.
 

Do you have a favorite example of the archetype in literature that you're aiming at?

The easiest example might be someone like Fitzchivalry Farseer, but honestly, an awful lot of "romantic fantasy" (i.e. the "Blue Rose" genre) has "magic" which is basically psionics, rather than vice-versa (i.e. it's all telepathy, empathy, telekinesis, mind-battles and so on, not rituals, fireballs, magic traps and so on).

In general in fantasy literature, a pretty significant proportion of characters who wield "magic" or some kind of supernatural power are using something which in previous editions been "psionics", and which worked in a very different way to D&D's flashy, big-effect-oriented slot magic.

I think the issue is that I come from a fantasy-literature background, and I'm interested in characters who have abilities like that, more than ones with flashy BOOM-spell abilities - those have their charm too but it's a different charm.

Warlocks are cool but they're extremely specific. They can't be reskinned as a psionic caster without both rules revisions and a sort of incredibly elaborate re-skinning. You'd want more in the way of cantrips, completely change out the warlock-ability-things for psionic ones, get rid of the whole mechanical bit to do with the patron, and use that design-room to give you the ability to use some kind of spell-point-based system for low-level spells or something maybe. I don't think it would really work out well.

You then never responded to most of that, including your allegation that polling "over four editions" rather than just right now is somehow relevant to this discussion.

I'm still mystified. I agree with your general point re: right now being what matters most, if that's the issue. Is it?

Yes, a sorcerer with psion theme is what psions are in this edition. You're rejecting this approach without having seen the rules because it is not called 'psion'. You're irrationally fixated on the nomenclature.

ROFL. No, you're being ridiculous. No-one is suggesting the specific kind of Sorcerer, which we have seen, in detail, BTW, is "a psion". That's just funny. There's no "psion" theme for Sorcerers in this book. There's a specific and rather delightfully weird theme which touches on psionics, via the far realm. I quite like that theme but the idea that it's literally 5E's take on the psion is just silly. WotC certainly don't believe that.
 

Bolded the ones relevant to me - the "sci-fi feeling" thing isn't exactly right, but a DIFFERENT feeling to D&D-style slot-magic is important.
A different thematic feel doesn't have to mean different mechanics though.

An Echo Knight that is described as using Psionic Energy is straight out of Remote Viewing lore.

The mechanics are a means to advance play, not a way to shackle it.

Take a cleric, use the Spell Point option...swap out some spells. Replace Channel Divinity with Psionic Recovery, which is just like Arcane Recovery but for Psionics.
Allow Psionic Recovery to get multiple uses per Long Rest, like Channel Divinity.
Swap Divine Intervention for a Magical Secrets like ability.

I'd play that. Would you play that class? The engine works...the frame is solid.
In car terms Psionics is an appearance item, like a fender.
It is easy to modifier, and won't wreck the car.
Dont haphazardly start modifying an engine, though.

Let the designers use what we know works.

The U/A Psi Knight feels like a Psionic Warrior....not the weak caster that the Psychic Warrior was in 3e. It plays like a 5e Battlemind, especially with the Telekinetic feat.

I think you can achieve the feel of play you want with all the classes 5e has now,mic you are willing to modify and be open minded.

Of course, you might feel differently, and I would be interested to know, why if you do.
 

Azzy

Newtype
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.
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.

The 3.5 psionics rules were, IMO, the best we've had (I didn't play 4e, so I can't speak to that—although I do have the 4e Psionic Power rulebook as it was given to me by a friend who wong it in a trivia contest). In one of the psionic wizard subclass UAs, part of my feedback is that even if they print the subclass that it's not a substitute for having a psion class. I also said that the 3.5 psion was likely the best model for a 5e subclass—complete with built-in subclasses with the different disciplines (you could even turn the wilder and possibly erudite into psion subclasses). The psionic powers in 3.5 were alread a direct analog to spells with 9 levels, magic transparency as the default, and such, so it wouldn't be amiss if they went with spell slots given that the spell point rules in the DMG would allow for point-based powers of 3.5 and earlier editions if one wanted them. I also asked them to bring back psicrystals (wich were cool af) and astral constructs. The psychic warrior and soulknife make sense as subclasses, but some of the psionic feats that played a big part of those classes should be brought back as class features.

So I hope that what we get in Tasha's isn't the be-all-end-all of psionics in 5e and that they at least take my suggestion under consideration.
 

Maxperson

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

I can't speak much to 4e, but from what I read it didn't really seem like there was much differentiation. If there was, I'd like to hear it.

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.

I forgot about spell failure. That's one mechanical difference. The mechanical requirements for prestige classes is the same for divine as it is for arcane. All that's different is the name. The same for pretty much everything else, too.

In both 3e and 5e we have arcane and divine as names. In both 3e and 5e arcane comes from the weave or something similar, and divine comes from the gods/faith. In both 3e and 5e the spells in each category are virtually the same. In both 3e and 5e you had some divine access to arcane spells and vice versa.

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".
Sure, but other than divine being for divine and arcane being for arcane, what were the mechanical differences? In 5e arcane is for arcane and divine is for divine, too. They just aren't called power sources.
 

Mistwell

Legend
A different thematic feel doesn't have to mean different mechanics though.

An Echo Knight that is described as using Psionic Energy is straight out of Remote Viewing lore.

The mechanics are a means to advance play, not a way to shackle it.

Take a cleric, use the Spell Point option...swap out some spells. Replace Channel Divinity with Psionic Recovery, which is just like Arcane Recovery but for Psionics.
Allow Psionic Recovery to get multiple uses per Long Rest, like Channel Divinity.
Swap Divine Intervention for a Magical Secrets like ability.

I'd play that. Would you play that class? The engine works...the frame is solid.
In car terms Psionics is an appearance item, like a fender.
It is easy to modifier, and won't wreck the car.
Dont haphazardly start modifying an engine, though.

Let the designers use what we know works.

The U/A Psi Knight feels like a Psionic Warrior....not the weak caster that the Psychic Warrior was in 3e. It plays like a 5e Battlemind, especially with the Telekinetic feat.

I think you can achieve the feel of play you want with all the classes 5e has now,mic you are willing to modify and be open minded.

Of course, you might feel differently, and I would be interested to know, why if you do.

Personally I think the College of Whispers Bard makes the best base engine for a Psion.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
3.5 made at least a little distinction anyway... "Clerics, druids, experienced paladins, and experienced rangers can cast divine spells. Unlike arcane spells, divine spells draw power from a divine source. Clerics gain spell power from deities or from divine forces. The divine force of nature powers druid and ranger spells. The divine forces of law and good power paladin spells. Divine spells tend to focus on healing and protection and are less flashy, destructive, and disruptive than arcane spells." ... "However, only characters who have the spell in question (in its divine form) on their class spell list can cast a divine spell from a scroll."

This is not really much different from 5e. In 5e clerics and paladins cast divine spells, just as they did in 3e(in 3e paladin spells were specifically divine). They moved rangers and clerics to nature, but that's just the same as divine and arcane. In 5e, just as in 3e, divine spells tend to focus on healing and protection and are less flashy and destructive overall than arcane spells. Both editions are much the same here.

As far as scroll use goes, that's scroll mechanics. Not really a difference between divine and arcane.

And they had different lists and could be different level of spell. ::🤷::
But this was not a difference between arcane and divine. There were arcane spells that differed in level between various arcane classes, and divine spells that differed in level between various divine classes.

For there to be a mechanical difference between divine magic and arcane magic, something has to be significantly different with how they are used. Take one DM I played with during the 1e days. At one point he made it so that clerics just prayed for their spells as they needed them. If someone got hurt, you prayed for cure light wounds on the spot and marked off a 1st level spell slot. No preparing lists at all. THAT is a mechanical difference. :)
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
As an argument, it's irrational and somewhat laughable.

You said "Ur dumb, u should b hapy that u even got those 3, wat more u want????!!!111" (paraphrasing loosely)
...
I mean that's just ludicrous.

Mod Note:
You don't seem to be approaching this from a very even keel yourself. If you continue in with the kind of insulting and loaded language, you should expect this to go very poorly for you very shortly.

If you think that little of the position, either don't dignify it with a response, or dial back the disdain about 7 notches, please and thank you.
 

As I understand it though, the Weave is the way for mortals to access magic. It is not the source of magic itself. Otherwise, Mystra should just turn off magic in the Nine Hells, the Abyss, ect. But she can't, because she provides the interface that allows mortals to access and effect magic, not the entirety of magic itself. Sort of how your keyboard isn't the source of the electricity and drives that makes your computer work.
Mystra is the Goddess of Magic in the Realms, why would her power extend beyond the crystal sphere of Realmspace to other planes? She doesn't have sovereignty over magic all throughout the multiverse, like in the Nine Hells or the Abyss. A Goddess of Magic from one single Prime Material world doesn't have universal say-so over other planes.

No matter how you describe or try to paraphrase it, arcane magic is something that in multiple mainstream, popular D&D settings doesn't come from within, but explicitly requires activity from a deity to exist. Without the Weave, only the Gods Themselves can use magic in Realmspace. . .and gee, I've already established that metaphysically, Gods can grant spells and provide magical energy.
 




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