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5E Psionics in Tasha


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AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
Since there is something of a 3-ish year cycle of “... Everything” books (3-ish years after core books comes Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, then more 3-ish years after XGtE comes Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything)

I would not be surprised to see Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything have a mental-theme Sorcerer archetype, but fall short of a psionicist role. But then a Dark Sun book, like 5e Eberron with the artificer, have the more complete psionicist class with a few archetypes and optional wild talents. Maybe a psychic combat option that uses bonus actions and reactions.

Then 3 years after Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything the psion class gets rolled into the next “... Everything” rule book.
 

Eric V

Hero
Wizards copying spells from any source as long as the spell is also on the wizard list (you know, the biggest list) is a big indication that Minigiant's observation that magic is formulaic in DnD. So is the idea that one needs the same material components, regardless of power source.

The idea that somehow psionics gets written down on paper, then ends up in a wizard's book is just too nuts. I know it's nuts that it already happens with cleric spells, but I don't see the need to compound the mistake...
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I haven't played a PF psionic game, but I always kind of liked their description of 'psychic magic' in Occult Adventures from 2015. Even if it's called magic, it felt to me like it was getting at several of the wants:

"Psychic Magic

Wizards study ancient tomes to unlock arcane secrets of the universe, and clerics pray to distant deities to grant them divine power. Yet there is a third, more esoteric kind of magic, connected to every creature’s composite being, from the conscious mind to the deepest desire, from the life force to the spirit, from the very soul to the cosmic self. This third type of magic is psychic magic.

A psychic spell largely functions like any other spell. It’s another type of magic, similar to arcane or divine magic—in fact, those who use psychic magic are easily mistaken for practitioners of arcane and divine traditions. Metamagic feats and any other rules that alter or trigger from spells can usually be used with psychic spells (though see the Components section below for a few exceptions). Psychic spellcasters aren’t affected by effects that target only arcane or divine spellcasters, nor can they use arcane or divine scrolls or other items or feats that state they can be utilized by only arcane or divine spellcasters.

Components
Psychic magic originates from the distinctive qualities of the caster’s composite being, rather than through arcane formulae or rote supplication to divine entities.

Therefore, psychic spells never have verbal or somatic components, and have only expensive material components. Psychic spells are purely mental actions, and they can be cast even while the caster is pinned or paralyzed. Focus components work the same way with psychic spells as they do with other spells.

When a spell calls for an expensive material component, a psychic spellcaster can instead use any item with both significant meaning and a value greater than or equal to the spell’s component cost. For example, if a spiritualist wanted to cast raise dead to bring her dead husband back from the grave, she could use her 5,000 gp wedding ring as the spell’s material component.

Instead of verbal and somatic components, all psychic spells have components related to the caster’s inner being. The two psychic components are called emotion components and thought components. If a spell’s components line lists a somatic component, that spell instead requires an emotion component when cast by psychic spellcasters, and if it has a verbal component, it instead requires a thought component when cast by psychic spellcasters. Psychic spells cast by non-psychic arcane and divine casters use any listed somatic and verbal components as normal.

Emotion Components: Emotion components represent a particular emotional state required to cast the spell.

A psychic spellcaster marshals her desire in order to focus and release the spell’s energy. It is impossible to cast a spell with an emotion component while the spellcaster is under the influence of a non-harmless effect with the emotion or fear descriptors. Even if the effect’s emotion matches the necessary emotion to cast the psychic spell, the spellcaster is not in control of her own desires and animal impulses, which is a necessary part of providing an emotion component.

Thought Components: Thought components represent mental constructs necessary for the spell’s function, such as picturing a wolf in vivid detail—down to the saliva dripping from its jaws—in order to cast beast shape to transform into a wolf. Thought components are so mentally demanding that they make interruptions and distractions extremely challenging. The DC for any concentration check for a spell with a thought component increases by 10. A psychic spellcaster casting a spell with a thought component can take a move action before beginning to cast the spell to center herself; she can then use the normal DC instead of the increased DC.

Just as spell-like abilities never require verbal, somatic, or material components, these abilities also don’t require thought or emotion components. A psychic spellcaster can replace verbal and somatic components with thought and emotion components only for the purposes of the spell components themselves, not for the purposes of any other rules elements that relate to verbal and somatic components. She can’t use Silent Spell to ignore the thought component of a spell, for example. The new feats Intuitive Spell and Logical Spell serve a similar function for these new components."
 


SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
The holes are filled by lore and text commonly shared by the community.

Deities grant cleric magic.
Wizards use complex rituals, gestures, and words to activate their magic.
Wizards don't need to speak the language of wizards they copy spells from so the language of wizards is universal.
Power Word Kill
In a lot of my campaigns, magic is more of the mysterious sympathetic magic, it works because of its association with things.

More mysterious and equally valid.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
@Minigiant the stuff you talk about is fluff and might very well massively vary from setting to setting and your interpretation seems to have a liberal dose of headcanon in it. Which is fine, but it is unreasonable to except WotC design their mechanics based on your headcanon. It is actually better if they leave some things open to interpenetration so that people can use their preferred fluff.

All I am saying is that Spells all use the same interface.
But making Psioinic use spells, it now uses the same interface as the Arcane and wizards can write Id Isinuation, Cthulhu's Brainmelt, Force Backflip, Zen Headbutt, the Phoenix Force, and Wowowonanana in their spellbook.

I really don't think it is any weirder than them being able to copy priestly prayers in their spellbook and have them work just fine. Which, I admit, is weird. I'd be perfectly ok if wizards could only copy scrolls made by other wizards. But it is understandable that the default rules don't have such a limitation as they don't want to have to specify the source of every scroll.

aka Ease of Use making the lore nonsenisical
 

Mirtek

Adventurer
I actually like the idea, as mentioned before, Counter Spell having Disadvantage against Psionics. So Magic Resistance, Dispel Magic, Counter Spell, and what not should have Disadvantage when rolling against Psionics.
I would excempt the magic resistance to avoid any balance issues with existing monsters and future monsters, but could live with the diasadvantage of the explicit countering spells.

Of course the their psionic equivalents should suffer the same disadvantage when trying to counter magic (no more of that earlier editions "psions ### mages because those do not know how to deal with their powers nonesense)
 


My alt take on magic, and something I've been using since the 1980s: Magic spells come down to two elements: The formula and the power source. This idea has evolved and been revised through the editions, but the core idea has remained the same.

This is all really cool, and I like a lot of it.

But then we hit this

Psionic PCs (including monks) generate thir own power. It does not come from the arcane weave, from Deities/powers, or from the Lifeforce - they learn to create power within and use it to make magic happen. This self reliance makes their powers immune to dispel magic, anti-magic zones, dead magic zones or other magics/effects that cut off access to the weave. Each psonic being's magic takes the form they develop, sometimes mimicing the spellcasters that draw upon the weave, while at other times being very foreign. The Far Realms and abominations from it use this type of magic.

And we have a balance problem.

Magical Resistance? No
Dispelling effects? No
Curing effects with Lesser or Greater Restoration? No
Anti-Magic? No
Protection spells? No

By saying Psionics isn't magic, and works differently from magic, and can't be affected by magic, you are making a system of effects which are inherently far more powerful than every similar spell in the PHB.

In fact, let us take a very basic level 1 spell. Sleep.

Elves are immune to magical sleep. That is a limit on the spell.

They are not immune to Psionic sleep though, so a Psion under this set of rules innately has a more powerful version of sleep. It also can't be countered or dispelled, it works in an anti-magic zone. It is simply more powerful.

Which is a balance problem. And it will lead to more. What if a player argues that Succubi are immune to charm, but that is magical charm effects, not Psionic charm effects? Rakshasa and Globe of Invulnerability aren't immune to Psionic abilities. A wall of force can't stop the line of effect from a Psionic attack (after all, Psionics and magic don't interact, they aren't the same type of thing)

It goes too far. For no good reason.


Haven't read the thread or followed Psionicsgate closely, but it really seems like there's no point in adding--and calling it--"psionics" if it is just more spells, albeit of a psychic nature. Why not just add psychic-flavored spells to wizards or, better yet, sorcerers?

On the other hand, a multi-faceted approached could be taken, each as rules options:

*A "mind mage" wizard and/or sorcerer sub-class (this is the easy but blandest route they seem to be taking with Tasha's).
*A "mystic" or psion new class, with an entirely different sub-system that makes psionics feel and play differently.
*A AD&D style sub-system in which PCs of any and all classes can have "psychic abilities."

So there you have it: mind mage, mystic/psion, and psychic abilities. Best of all worlds, and all optional.

I am honestly baffled why it has been so hard for WotC to figure this out. These folks do game design as a full-time vocation. I know you can't please everyone all of the time, but there does seem to be general consensus that psionics should look and feel differently than other forms of supernatural power. To quote the Great French One, "Make It So."

The core issue seems to be "Psionic-magic transparency"

If they are both "Magical" then why make a new sub-system to achieve the same result. And if they are not magic, then you get some of the problems I went into above.

In addition, WoTC has gotten feedback that people don't like new sub-systems for abilities at the moment (the Psionic Die was not well-received) so there seems to be little incentive to make new, official sub-systems.


It was right up until the edition that ruined all that lore.

You can have that opinion.

But, "I don't like the changes they made" doesn't magically mean that those changes were not made. 4e is part of the Official DnD canon. If you can cite AD&D as precedent, then someone else can cite 4e as precedent. Both are official DnD editions, and their canon is equally valid in the discussion.

Even if you hate it and think it is stupid, and a horrible mistake that should vanish into the bowels of history... it was still an official edition of the game. And hating it doesn't change that fact.
 

Shardstone

Adventurer
So, gathering the good ideas from this thread so far:

  • Psionics class focused on Attack/Defense modes as core feature.
  • Cantrips that you put psi points into in order to increase their effects.
  • Psi points that can be spent to cast normal spells (maybe replacing their components with Thought/Emotions?).
  • Counterspell has disadvantage against spells cast with psi points.
Something I think is interesting too: what if, when a psi point-fueled spell is unleashed, it is ALWAYS concentration, even if the normal duration is Instantaneous? This is a mental, concentrating effect after all. This would give some more room in the power budget for psionic class features, because it means that casting any spell turns off your previously activated concentration spell.

Might just add a lot of bad bookkeeping though. Thoughts?

EDIT: If this creates a unified vision of psionics, I'd like the people who keep saying "there is never a unified vision" to at least say Enworld managed to do it for itself, lol
 

Remathilis

Legend
[QUOTE="PointOfIsnpiration, post: 8097223, member: 6807784] It boggles me that people are SO against a Psion class, and why WotC has only playtested 2 out of their 3 attempts, the 3rd one (Mike Mearls Happy Fun Hour) being the one with the most promise but that never saw the light of day.[/QUOTE]

At the risk of derailing this thread utterly, I sometimes wonder what psionics would have looked like if Mearls wasn't persona non grata and was allowed to still be a forefront designer.
 


Shardstone

Adventurer
[QUOTE="PointOfIsnpiration, post: 8097223, member: 6807784] It boggles me that people are SO against a Psion class, and why WotC has only playtested 2 out of their 3 attempts, the 3rd one (Mike Mearls Happy Fun Hour) being the one with the most promise but that never saw the light of day.

At the risk of derailing this thread utterly, I sometimes wonder what psionics would have looked like if Mearls wasn't persona non grata and was allowed to still be a forefront designer.
[/QUOTE]
Me too. That's part of the reason why I want to do the cantrip idea; it was a really good idea, fits psionics, and its a shame that apparently we'll just never be allowed to see it officially.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
At the risk of derailing this thread utterly, I sometimes wonder what psionics would have looked like if Mearls wasn't persona non grata and was allowed to still be a forefront designer.

About the same.
WOTC knew that casual 5e fans didn't want to learn additional subsystems ontop of old classes.
But they made psioinics in the mystic very complex and added fiddly bits to psionic fighters and rogues.

Nothing Mearls could do to change that if they weren't willing to make a simple psion or a seperate psionic book.
 



So, gathering the good ideas from this thread so far:

  • Psionics class focused on Attack/Defense modes as core feature.
  • Cantrips that you put psi points into in order to increase their effects.
  • Psi points that can be spent to cast normal spells (maybe replacing their components with Thought/Emotions?).
  • Counterspell has disadvantage against spells cast with psi points.
Something I think is interesting too: what if, when a psi point-fueled spell is unleashed, it is ALWAYS concentration, even if the normal duration is Instantaneous? This is a mental, concentrating effect after all. This would give some more room in the power budget for psionic class features, because it means that casting any spell turns off your previously activated concentration spell.

Might just add a lot of bad bookkeeping though. Thoughts?

EDIT: If this creates a unified vision of psionics, I'd like the people who keep saying "there is never a unified vision" to at least say Enworld managed to do it for itself, lol


Honestly. this is sounding a lot like Kibbletasty's Psion (which I am currently playing)

I like it a lot, and if you are looking for a good homebrewed option, I'd check it out. 5e - Psion (KibblesTasty) by KibblesTasty
 

Shardstone

Adventurer
I've read it! I like it, but as a designer myself, I often feel the need to make my own materials. The Kibble version is really good though, and captures a lot of what the UA Mystic wanted to be.
 

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