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D&D 5E Psionics in Tasha

WotC said that their surveys during 5e heavily leaned to wanting psionics using the existing spell casting mechanic. Not sure that meant they are spells in the polls / surveys - but people didn't want a new mechanic.

Aren't you conflating two things there?

People definitely said they didn't want Psionics using an entirely new mechanic, but I don't recall them also saying that people wanted Psionics to use the spell mechanics, just not something new like Psi die. I think I'd have remember if WotC claimed people wanted Psionic spells, because I'd have been incensed.

Personally I think there is room for both. I actually think it can work fine with spells if psions use the spell point system and there spells are class specifict - but that doesn't look like what we are getting. Not a big deal to me as we never use psionics.

I agree that there is, but my concern is that when you start making psionic spells, especially calling them things like "Tasha's Mind Whip" (not Mind Whip), you're very clearly establishing them as spells, and they can't really be re-used as psionics without creating a new, separate system, which WotC don't want to do.

Being able to manifest such effect by your will is blatantly supernatural (people can't do that in real life) and by most normal definitions would be magic. The definition of psionics in D&D has always been an incoherent mess. Psionics is just a pseudo-scientific sounding term for magic.

This is a lazy argument that has no substance to it. It's just about a semantic definition of magic (which itself is a bloody silly word). It's been knocking around since the 1980s. It doesn't matter if you call it "magic" or not. But Psionics is clearly not the SPELL-SLOT-BASED magic that all D&D casters use.
 

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I'm a psionics fan. I have little faith that WotC can produce a psionics system that is significantly different from magic without breaking the game. I still have trouble playing psychic characters because of how badly 2e D&D's psionics system was designed. Flavorful but broken. I'm not saying overpowered, but saying it did not work within the system. WotC tried in 3e, but designed a MAD system that both nerfed psions and also let them manifest powers with their bodies. They had the ability to enhance physical stats and polymorph. Ug. They tried in 3.5, but unfortunately WotC made few attempts to balance "save or die" with power points, while leaving direct damage nerfed, but then direct damage could switch energy types more effectively than a wizard despite this not being the psion's forte. They tried in 4e, but their power point system simply meant the most boring but effective power would be used over and over and over again.

I wouldn't worry about all the "psychic damage". They might just be showing off telepathy (generally one of the two most classic disciplines). Between their names and effects I can recognize the old powers (Psychic Crush and Mind Thrust). The latter used to only penalize psychics so I'm glad I can see WotC making the power actually useful in a broad range of categories.

I do worry about Verbal Components (what?!) and, of course, we haven't seen the base class yet. I hope they don't try any horrible or complex psionic combat.
 

But what you describe is magic or supernatural power, you are just not calling it that. That has basically always been true of psionics. It is magic by a different name. There is close to 0 things a psion can do with its mental abilities that is possible in reality - it is magic.

There's been suggestions of remote viewing, telekinesis, people bending spoons & monks slowing down their metabolism to endure sub-zero temperatures, etc IRL. This to me is closer to psionics than calling it magic.

As far as I remember 5E doesnt use the supernatural designation anymore does it? Up until 3E Psionics were separated from magic, was its own system and added its own flavor to the game, thats why non-psionicists had very little defense against psionic powers.
 

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.
All the options presented by WotC have had receptions ranging from "pretty negative" to "extremely negative".
 

Super-happy that they're just folding this into the existing systems, rather than trying to make a new system. I never did care for it in the the many past iterations, and the prior attempts at the Mystic in UA did not exactly fill me with confidence that it wouldn't have been a broken mess.

These spells could be really effective when facing the less intelligent foes out there. Mind Sliver, with some good teamwork, could be used to great effect.
 

Being able to manifest such effect by your will is blatantly supernatural (people can't do that in real life) and by most normal definitions would be magic. The definition of psionics in D&D has always been an incoherent mess. Psionics is just a pseudo-scientific sounding term for magic.

Fine its magic, I concede.
 

There's already been numerous threads on the topic. But, in a nutshell, you have tons of psionic material from other editions that could be used to build a psion class and everything to go with it. My biggest gripe is that with things like conditions and exhaustion, psionics could utilize those. I started writing up a psion class over a year ago and incorporated conditions such as stunned, incapacitated, frightened, etc. as a result of failing against psionic powers.

My point is it could be more and it looks like they won't be doing much with it. But, as I said, I will reserve judgement and hopefully be pleasantly surprised. :)
But why? Why design a convoluted new mechanic for a thing we already have functining rules for? There already is a system for manifesting supernatural effects. It's not like every fighting class have their own separate rules for hitting things and they all pick their weapons from the same generic weapon list too.

And of course spells can impose status effects already.

I can fully understand that people who are interested in the game design side of things might find separate mechanics appealing, whilst majority of the players just want to use the framework they're already familiar with.
 

All the options presented by WotC have had receptions ranging from "pretty negative" to "extremely negative".

Maybe, but I've seen no evidence that "psionics as spells" is any more popular than the other approaches, only that it's more up the "extremely negative" end. I certainly don't believe it passes the 70% approval test (I'm sure no version of psionics does - but a lot of stuff wouldn't have passed the 70% test if added to the game after release - most caster classes wouldn't have, Warlocks definitely wouldn't have, and so on).
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Being able to manifest such effect by your will is blatantly supernatural (people can't do that in real life) and by most normal definitions would be magic. The definition of psionics in D&D has always been an incoherent mess. Psionics is just a pseudo-scientific sounding term for magic.
If psionics cannot be countered or dispelled, they are not magic. That is my view point on them.

This is where I think WotC went wrong and a lot of people just view psionics as another branch of magic (arcane, divine, "primal", and psionic?).

For example, this is from the Mind Flayer:
1600787454996.png

Clearly, this aspect is "magical" because they treated it as such since the beginning. These spells could be countered or dispelled, so they are treating this aspect as magical.

But...

1600787519093.png

Also from the Mind Flayer, cannot be countered or dispelled. It has no spell level equivalent. Yet, it is "magically" emitted, so Magic Resistance would still impact the Intelligence saving throw. If you take the word "magically" out of the description, it is no longer a magical effect, it becomes a "mental" effect.

So, IMO, WotC just handled it wrong from the beginning. We've had psionics since 1E and it doesn't have to be complex or difficult to use, but I don't think we'll see a non-magical psionics until 6E, unfortunately. :(
 

But why? Why design a convoluted new mechanic for a thing we already have functining rules for?

This is irrational.

There's no reason the system should be convoluted. You could easily have a pretty straightforward psionics system without making it spell-slot-based, and the idea that the current rules are great because they're "functioning" is the most pathetically low bar possible. The current magic system is bad. A somewhat different system could easily be better.
 

Maybe, but I've seen no evidence that "psionics as spells" is any more popular than the other approaches, only that it's more up the "extremely negative" end. I certainly don't believe it passes the 70% approval test (I'm sure no version of psionics does -
I'm sure it doesn't. I doubt any of the options WotC presented got even 50% approval. There have been too many versions of psionics in different editions for there to be any consensus about what it should be like. But they never directly asked "do you want psionic spells" so they can slip it past their line managers.
but a lot of stuff wouldn't have passed the 70% test if added to the game after release - most caster classes wouldn't have, Warlocks definitely wouldn't have, and so on).
Probably true. IMO WotC should have skipped UA with psionics and pushed ahead with their own ideas. As it is it became too late in the day for them to do anything other than a fast kludge so the didn't have to indefinitely postpone Dark Sun.
 

If psionics cannot be countered or dispelled, they are not magic. That is my view point on them.

This is where I think WotC went wrong and a lot of people just view psionics as another branch of magic (arcane, divine, "primal", and psionic?).

For example, this is from the Mind Flayer:
View attachment 126573
Clearly, this aspect is "magical" because they treated it as such since the beginning. These spells could be countered or dispelled, so they are treating this aspect as magical.

But...

View attachment 126574
Also from the Mind Flayer, cannot be countered or dispelled. It has no spell level equivalent. Yet, it is "magically" emitted, so Magic Resistance would still impact the Intelligence saving throw. If you take the word "magically" out of the description, it is no longer a magical effect, it becomes a "mental" effect.

So, IMO, WotC just handled it wrong from the beginning. We've had psionics since 1E and it doesn't have to be complex or difficult to use, but I don't think we'll see a non-magical psionics until 6E, unfortunately. :(
I think they did it absolutely right. It would be absurd to have actual magic and then a separate sort of magic that is just not called magic, and these two would not interact with eachother yet produced similar effects.

If the logic is that the psionic magic uses the caster's innate power, arcane magic channels ambient power of the world and the divine magic borrows power from some mighty being then the distinction is at least semi-sensible. (This would probably mean that ki is psionics.)
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Being able to manifest such effect by your will is blatantly supernatural (people can't do that in real life) and by most normal definitions would be magic. The definition of psionics in D&D has always been an incoherent mess. Psionics is just a pseudo-scientific sounding term for magic.
Yes it's supernatural. Yes it can be considered magical. No it's not magic in the same way as the other classes use it to cast spells.
 



6ENow!

The Game Is Over
I think they did it absolutely right.
Then the new material should be good for you--it just isn't for me and others. Which is why psionics has long been a heated issue when it comes to design space.

It would be absurd to have actual magic and then a separate sort of magic that is just not called magic, and these two would not interact with eachother yet produced similar effects.
But, again, it doesn't have to be magic in the same sense that arcane and divine are. Sure, people thought "science" was "magic" when they didn't understand it, etc.

No, the should not directly interact with each other IMO--this isn't WotC's choice obviously, but would have been mine.

How many similar effects they have should be limited. But "similar effects" is pretty broad. I mean, I could climb a cliff or levitate up it, both have the same effect of reaching the top. Would you have magical Telepathy and non-magical Telepathy for example? Sure. We already do.

If the logic is that the psionic magic uses the caster's innate power, arcane magic channels ambient power of the world and the divine magic borrows power from some mighty being then the distinction is at least semi-sensible. (This would probably mean that ki is psionics.)
First, there would not be "psionic magic"-- it is just psionics. They use mental training and techniques to alter themselves and reality. Are its effects similar to some magical spells? Sure. But they could be distinct. Not allowing them to interact is what would make them different. To me that should be the feature, not a bug. And yes, ki would be better represented by psionics than "magic" IMO.

Look, it isn't going to happen for 5E, we already know that. The point is it didn't have to be this way, and regardless of which approach WotC went with, we already know 1/3 of the people won't like it, 1/3 of them will, and 1/3 of them simply won't care either way (because they don't want it or are happy with either approach).
 

It can be third form of magic, yes. But still magic and can still use the same system. Arcane and divine are separate types of magic yet use the same base system.

Agree, it can use the same "base" system as long as it doesnt use components, cant be dispelled and isnt called a spell. As clunky as the 1E & 2E psionic systems were, they felt totally different because of the mechanics they used. Its all about the flavor of the class and its powers. If theyre just magic it another magic using class then I think its a missed opportunity.
 


Agree, it can use the same "base" system as long as it doesnt use components, cant be dispelled and isnt called a spell. As clunky as the 1E & 2E psionic systems were, they felt totally different because of the mechanics they used. Its all about the flavor of the class and its powers. If theyre just magic it another magic using class then I think its a missed opportunity.

Jedis use verbal (These arent the Droids you're looking for) and somatic (hand waving, forceful hand thrusts etc) components.

Weirding way above uses verbal components.

I'm not seeing anything wrong with a Psionic creature having to wave their hands, or channel their psionic might via a word to be that problematic.

Looks like the main Psionic class will be a Sorcerer anyway, and they can silence those powers anyway (likely via class feature other than Silent spell which is always an option in any event).
 

But, again, it doesn't have to be magic in the same sense that arcane and divine are. Sure, people thought "science" was "magic" when they didn't understand it, etc.

How many similar effects they have should be limited. But "similar effects" is pretty broad. I mean, I could climb a cliff or levitate up it, both have the same effect of reaching the top. Would you have magical Telepathy and non-magical Telepathy for example? Sure. We already do.

First, there would not be "psionic magic"-- it is just psionics. They use mental training and techniques to alter themselves and reality. Are its effects similar to some magical spells? Sure. But they could be distinct. Not allowing them to interact is what would make them different. To me that should be the feature, not a bug. And yes, ki would be better represented by psionics than "magic" IMO.
I'm sorry, but I find this logic painfully nonsensical. 'It's not magic, I just use mental techniques to levitate things.' That's bloody magic, mate!
 
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