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Thoughts on Mind Stuff: Who's your Psychic?

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
Still on hiatus from my usual in person group (thanks COVID). So, I've been working on, picking at, revising and revising, and revising my homebrew world and accompanying game: world specific classes, species (nee "races"), diving deeper into some legends, cultures, and societies I hadn't detailed much before, and so on.

Long story short[ish], working on my Psychic class (which has been in the setting and game from the get go), and waxing nostalgic for my first PC with the group, who plays Pathfinder 1e, and so my first foray into PF and first PF character (who was a Psychic). I enjoyed the character thoroughly, but always felt like the "psychic powers feel" was secondary to the "magic/spell caster" feel.

So, I was just wondering, for folks hereabouts...

What is your favored style, type, game, system, setting, mechanics, etc... for characters with psychic/psionic/mental powers?

Go.
 

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John Dallman

Explorer
I've played fantasy games with psi powers, but as you say, they seemed like "another kind of spell caster." My most successful game with such powers was set in a variant of 1960s England, where powers were suddenly breaking out and rapidly becoming involved in crime, the Cold War, and so on. Campaign web page here.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
What is your favored style, type, game, system, setting, mechanics, etc... for characters with psychic/psionic/mental powers?

Setting: Katherine Kurtz's "Deryni" books. The characters in the works don't think of it as "psychic/psionic/mental" - it is just their form of magic. And it is the only magic in the world. But, as a reader who gets the descriptions, that's how it comes across to me.

Game/mechanics.. I really want to see it done with some form of spell-points mechanics, but they all seem to fall a little flat.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
I was always enchanted by the Psionics Handbook of AD&D 2e, with its own psionics rules, but I never got to use them. Then I was excited when they came back in 3e, using the same rules as the magic rules, if I recall correctly. The Soul Knife was cool, but yeah, it was "magic/spell caster feel."

I'm excited to try a psionics module for my game, in which characters have mental resources that are separate from their magical resources, but yup, the trick is to make psionics that aren't just Other Magic . . .
 


Drazen

Arch-Villain
I was always enchanted by the Psionics Handbook of AD&D 2e, with its own psionics rules, but I never got to use them. Then I was excited when they came back in 3e, using the same rules as the magic rules, if I recall correctly. The Soul Knife was cool, but yeah, it was "magic/spell caster feel."

I'm excited to try a psionics module for my game, in which characters have mental resources that are separate from their magical resources, but yup, the trick is to make psionics that aren't just Other Magic . . .
Ah! I loved how they did Psionics with PSI, Thacos, and whatnot.
I really believed it separated magic from psionics.
Nowadays, the line between them is a little blurred.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I loved the complete psionics handbook, though I do like the various systems they've created for 5e. The mystic was cool. The psi dice are pretty cool as well. I was thinking of creating a psychic using the warlock as a base, invocations as psionics powers could work quite well I think.
 


MGibster

Legend
Setting: Katherine Kurtz's "Deryni" books. The characters in the works don't think of it as "psychic/psionic/mental" - it is just their form of magic. And it is the only magic in the world. But, as a reader who gets the descriptions, that's how it comes across to me.

The Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan are like that. The description of how the One Power works seems more like a form of psychic power than your traditional fantasy spells.

When I think psychic I think science fiction or modern horror. Spock has some psychic powers and so did Stephen King's Carrie.
 

It's a tie between Athena Asamiya and Bison. Both make heavy use of short-range teleportation, bright pink energy barriers, and projectile orbs.

Coincidentally, Bison's power source is known as "Psycho Power"; while Athena is a member of "Team Psycho Soldier."
 

Eltab

Is this a moon, or is it a space station?
Reading: Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series defined 'mind powers' for me. When I look at new rule systems I still compare them to her novels' descriptions.

Gaming: Gamma World earlier editions (especially 1980s and 1990s publishing dates). The Mental Mutations were psionics under a different name.
 

zarionofarabel

Adventurer
I would totally Google it if I could even come up with the basics of the title but I don't remember it at all. Anyway, there's these high school kids that find a deep hole in the ground. They go in an a glowing rock zaps them, then they discover they got TK powers. Then the one kid goes psycho and the other kid gets killed, then the other kid saves the day. Anyway I doubt it won any awards but I loved the overtones in the story and the way it was presented. Shit! Now that I think about it it was a superhero origin story!!! Yeah, awesome show!

Also, most systems just handle psionics like it's magic and I don't like that. Same as how Star Wars changed The Force from being limited PSI powers in the original trilogy to full blown magic with lightning storms and resurrection and other epic magic stuff. I really liked it when it was just limited TK and Telepathy and the trick with the Jedi was how they used it.

Keep it limited I guess is what I like, anyway, that's probably alot more than you were looking for but I typed it all so...
 

Shroompunk Warlord

Archdruid of the Warp Zones
Supporter
I don't know how to make this sound more like praise than complaints... but I actually think that WotC has the right idea with the psychic subclasses in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything.

Use the standard spell slots, use the standard spells (as much as possible), the Knack dice... and focus the more iconic powers through your class and subclass abilities than through the spells. It's gorgeous, the design principles are genuinely elegant, and everything negative I have to say about it is... merely more of my general complaints about the entire game.

I wish we'd gotten a dedicated psychic class with its own spell list. I wish the psychic subclasses had been thirds-casters. I wish their subclass abilities had been designed better. But the actual underlying concept of the psychic magic system in 5e is the best that D&D's ever had and could be massively improved with a relatively small amount of work.
 


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