Tuesday May 29 Happy Fun Hour with Mike Mearls - more psionics!

Per Twitter this morning:

https://twitter.com/mikemearls/status/1000619044146302978

"So, working on the concept of a shared pool of resources that psionic characters choose from. Making this work proved so obviously, stupidly easy that I am going to give you a preview of my next Happy Fun Hour. (1/2)"

"It’s a spell list that you gain access to only if you choose a psionic class. Non-casters pick up and use the cantrips. This class-less spell list can also be used by the mystic. It’s going to be fun diving in on Tuesday. (2/2)"

And further detail in the comments:

"Maybe this is clearer - imagine there’s a new school of magic called psionics. As a default, none of those spells appear on any class’s list. You have to choose a psionic subclass, and it tells you that you can now choose spells from that list."
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
I'd be a bit more impressed if the core of 2e and 3e psionics hadn't also been a long list of powers that was kind of like a spell list, but only psionic characters had access to it. :)
 
Mah... I don't understand why they had to start from scratch. To me the direction already taken by psionics in UA articles seemed very good. It actually made be interested in psionics for the first time ever!

I am not saying the new idea is bad, just that I don't see why throwing away all the work done, to what benefit? They already had the system in place, and 6 interesting subclasses. It was also certainly possible to create a psionic subclass of another class (fighter, rogue) with that system, if this is the reason for the change.
 

Coroc

Explorer
[MENTION=1465]Li Shenron[/MENTION] Maybe they were unsure if it did balance well or saw Balance Problems on higher Levels?

2nd ed psionics was interesting because it did have "attack" attributes of the psionic rather than saving throws of the target, but it was a complex additional mechanic to learn, maybe they just wanted to keep it simple this time.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
You can go both ways with it. With the "one class with half-dozen subclasses" route, you can design an entirely new game mechanic for psionic abilities that is different than the spellcasting mechanic system. Which is good for those players who want psionics and spellcasting to actually be two completely separate things. The downside though is that you need to figure out how to make "warrior" psychics, "rogue-like" psychics, "monk-like" psychics, "mage-like" psions and so forth, all using a single class as a foundation. And the question then becomes how different can you truly make them if they are all using the same foundation? They all would have the same hit die size, they would all start with the same proficiencies, they would all have the same "psionic" slot mechanic that they'd have to try and layer upon for those subclasses that would use more "castable" disciplines as opposed to buffing weapon use.

As opposed to what Mike seems to currently be working on, which is letting a Psychic Warrior start with being a standard Fighter (getting all the warrior stuff a Fighter gets) and then layering psionic ability on it. Same way with a Soulknife getting the standard Monk stuff and then psionic ability on top of it. Psion the same way with the Wizard foundation. It allows you to get the foundational feeling of the particular psionic class with psychic ability layered on top, rather than one single class that you then have to try and create all these various offshoots that feel different from each other.

I really don't know what is better quite honestly. I will say that I actually thought the "one class to rule them all" methodology of the Mystic was quite clever, and that the game could do with an entire different subsystem for psionics than using the spellcasting slot / spell point foundation. But I could certainly understand that if they've been working on Dark Sun right now and trying to figure out how to integrate this new subsystem into the game so that you could have things like "wild talents" (which quite a number of Dark Sun characters *do* have)... if there was no good way to use their new psionic subsystem and "hand off" some abilities to the other classes in a wild talent sort of way, then making psionics like spells would probably allow it to work better (since we already have the Magic Initiate feat to mimic.) Psionics-as-spells are easier to integrate into the game than a new subsystem. But a new subsystem would make psionics truly different and compelling.

The fact that that they have tried (or are trying) both ways to see what is better tells us that they haven't unlocked the answer yet, but also that they want to make sure whatever they come up with is the right call. And goodness knows that if they release this new system as a UA that Mike's been working on during his Happy Fun Hours... we'll all get a chance to comment on which of the two directions we thought worked better. And there's really no rush, since I suspect the soonest we'll ever see Dark Sun (and psionics) would be the Fall of 2019... but even that's possibly unlikely. Hints have seemed to indicate them going one new campaign setting at a time, and that Eberron being the next one up. Which means they could be Fall of 2019, and thus pushing Dark Sun and psionics back to Fall 2020.
 

gyor

Adventurer
Sounds promising. I could see a kind of Abberant Sorcerer origin that grants access to the Psion spell list being interesting.
 

SkidAce

Adventurer
I feel a little slow today...help me out.

What's new about this idea?

I mean, the wizard list is a restricted list that you can't get access to unless you take a class that allows access.

So its the same framework we have for all magic. Just in parallel ?

I'm missing something subtle.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
How can anyone be impressed with the glacial pace of content?

This is essentially him doodling - with zero accountability. Publish it in a hardback already!

How many years must pass before even simple things like a better Ranger Beastmaster class will become official?

I'm calling it: WotC is just stalling, happy to not release any major rules additions while sales are up, afraid that any crunch more involved than yet-another-subclass might jinx the edition for them.

I can't wait for Paizo to add some real competition. Not that I'm interested in a return to the bad old days of overwhelming minutae. But maybe the relase of PF2 will light a sorely-needed fire under MMearls behind.
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
Having it like that might make it easier for subclasses in other classes to integrate psionics. But I'm wondering what potentially distinguish a Mystic from a Wizard of Mentalism School (or whatever the subclass would be). I'm guessing the idea of power points to enhance those spells, but done in a way that's distinct from Sorcerer Spell Points.
 
The downside though is that you need to figure out how to make "warrior" psychics, "rogue-like" psychics, "monk-like" psychics, "mage-like" psions and so forth, all using a single class as a foundation.
Why does psionics need to do all those? Magic (spells) does already do a little bit of everything, and yet we didn't really need to have an Eldritch Knight and Arcane Trickster, granted we got them in the PHB, but multiclassing would have sufficed. Why can't multiclassing also be enough for psionics?
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
I feel a little slow today...help me out.

What's new about this idea?

I mean, the wizard list is a restricted list that you can't get access to unless you take a class that allows access.

So its the same framework we have for all magic. Just in parallel ?

I'm missing something subtle.
Nothing, really. Defining special effects, whether they be magic, psionics, or whatever else, as a long list of discrete, restricted abilities with gated access granted by level and class is pretty much a D&D hallmark. Making them available via subclass would be the change for 5e, since 5e uses the subclass concept.
 

Eltab

Villager
I've usually thought of "psionics" as "thought-reader and emotion-manipulator". (See for instance the Darkover novels.)
Then again Jedi Knights look like psionics to the uninitiated (in the Force). So psionic characters have to be combat-capable too.
In effect, WotC is up against expectations to design a class or mechanic that lets you dabble in most of the classes already out there.

Psionics is a necessary prerequisite for Dark Sun*, and I always knew it would take a while. I'm glad to see they are working on it, taking it seriously, and the wait will not be 'forever'.

* and Gamma World, which needs high-tech rules too - and therefore is wa-a-a-ay down the to-do list. -sigh-
 
I don't like it. People keep saying it's easier this way, but that's a bit silly.

Why not just make all Ki powers of the monk spells? And Barbarian rage? And Druid wild shape? And channel divinity? Why not just make everything supernatural into a spell since that is easier for people to understand and requires no real work?

Oops. Reinvented 4e.
 

Jester David

Adventurer
I don't like it. People keep saying it's easier this way, but that's a bit silly.

Why not just make all Ki powers of the monk spells? And Barbarian rage? And Druid wild shape? And channel divinity? Why not just make everything supernatural into a spell since that is easier for people to understand and requires no real work?

Oops. Reinvented 4e.
There’s a bit of a difference between barbarian rage, driuid wildshape, and psionic powers.
Pionics very much *are* spells. The psion/ psionicist/psychic knows a certain number of powers chosen from a list that they cast a certain number of times per day.
They can be mechanically different with psi points and ability checks to activate and overchannelling and all kinds of other differences. Or they could be psionic magic that’s just different in origin, like divine and arcane. Making them different doesn’t make them more useful or fun... it just makes them different.

I tend to think the simplicity is just easier. Why reinvent the wheel when you can just give the telepath detect thoughts and the pyrokinetic fireball? Why redesign the psionic powers needlessly? That content is already in the game, and people know how it works.
Psions as spellcasters just makes them easier to balance, and easier to play. And there’s already spell point optional rules in the DMG for people who like that variant.
 
Jester, I only half agree. I half agree because Ki powers are still a thing. Ki powers are lot more closer to how I imagine psionics than random fireballs and fingers of death. And with spells like Zephyr Strike, I can easily see something like FLurry of Blows being a spell too--yet its not.

Why?

Because it feels more enjoyable and fulfilling to play a monk as someone who is unique to their class as opposed to playing another caster (be it 1/3rd, 1/2th, or full). You're right that being different doesn't make them fun. That doesn't mean that being different isn't apart of the fun.

And your why reinvent the wheel argument is already disproven by 5E class design. Why invent the wheel with superiority dice? Why reinvent the wheel with Smite and Lay on Hands? These are all abilities you could EASILY make spells, and that would make the game even SIMPLER for people to pick up.

The Paladin and Ranger are even already half-casters. Why not just bite the bullet and turn their features into spells?

There has to be some reason, right?
 
Or Warlock evocations? Why not just have a list of spells you can pick from and cast without a spell slot and add the ones you can cast with a spell slot to the Warlock list?
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
Mah... I don't understand why they had to start from scratch. To me the direction already taken by psionics in UA articles seemed very good. It actually made be interested in psionics for the first time ever!

I am not saying the new idea is bad, just that I don't see why throwing away all the work done, to what benefit? They already had the system in place, and 6 interesting subclasses. It was also certainly possible to create a psionic subclass of another class (fighter, rogue) with that system, if this is the reason for the change.
From his videos, Mearls sees this as a halfway point that lets you have psionic flavour without having to learn a fully new system. He likened it to 3 dials: 1 has no psionics, 2 has the psionics system he is currently working on, 3 has the mystic version of psionics. So it sounds like the mystic is still going to be put together but these subclasses might suit some players better.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
Would bardic magical secrets be able to pick up psionic spells?
I think they wouldn't with a strict reading of the ability which requires the spells to come from a class list. Psionic spells will be it's own list that only specific subclasses could take. But really, I doubt it would matter to give your bard a bit of psionic flavour.
 

Advertisement

Top