D&D General what is the difference between magic and psionics?

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IMO, they should be different. In flavor and mechanics. In RPGs, I'm not sure I've ever found a system that does well distinguishing them.


In D&D there seems to be two camps on psionics. One treats it as a whole different system and not relatable to 'normal' magic and the one cannot affect the other with countering and prevention. The other camp looks at it as another type of magic and both can influence the other.

Myself, I never liked they since the 2e days when Dark Sun came out.


Paionics is space or otherworldly magic. In past editions of D&D its been kind of all over the board as far as implementation for PCs.

Problem is that if you want to differentiate it from regular spells, it tends to bypass some of the drawbacks of spells while doing much the same thing as spells, often more effectively. It's fine to say that we should have a different system, but a lot of people feel that past implementations missed the mark.


One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Psionics to me have always been sort of the psychic powers mental alternative to ki, power that comes from the self and the self alone, magic on the other hand no matter what shape or form that you access or obtain it, worshipping the gods, understanding through research or by being born with it as part of your bloodline magic is still part of a greater independent whole.

Magic exists regardless of if there is anyone to harness it but psionics is produced actively and exclusively from a living creature’s consciousness-slash-life force.

The premises of magic and psionics function on two entirely separate basis, you cant power psionic abilities by magic the same way you can’t get a plant to grow on electricity by hooking it up to an power outlet, they’re not just ‘brain magics’, that is why I believe there should be entirely separate mechanics from how they are used,

But that’s just my interpretation of the whole matter.
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I very strongly disliked psionics as they existed in AD&D for a few reasons:

1. They were implemented as an extremely powerful bonus for the occasional lucky player, making their character instantly far more powerful than others.

2. They felt out of genre, like 70s soft sci-fi getting stuck into fantasy. That just wasn't to my taste.

3. IRL, the notion of psychic powers generally irks me because there are too many people who insist that they are real, and I didn't like all that pseudo-science getting stuck into my pastime. Few people insist that magic is real, but call it telekinesis or whatever and suddenly a surprising number of folks take it seriously.

They don't bug me as much in other settings - like a science fiction one.

In terms of game design, I don't really love having a whole other system for something that is just another flavour of magic. That said, if it is limited to one class, like ki points, then it's not as big a deal.

Overall, I do not prefer psionics muddying up the core rules, but could see them as a setting specific thing, like for Dark Sun.

Addressing the OP: for practical purposes, they just seem like magic from a different source, which the current rules handle just fine (c.f. clerics, wizards, sorcerers, etc.) so I'm not sure why they would require a new system. We already have plenty of "psychic" spells in the game.

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