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Unearthed Arcana Why UA Psionics are never going to work in 5e.

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Most of the pupils of Arcanix do not have the capacity to become wizards. They will learn the rituals that allow them to make a living casting magic as a profession. These Magewrights make up Eberron's wide proliferation of magic, but the ability to learn many spells and cast them out of personal power requires something that most NPCs in Eberron don't have.
Gonna need a source on that. IIRC, low level wizards aren’t actually rare. The minority of spellcasters, maybe, depending on the DMs wishes for that, but certainly not super rare.
 

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Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
I want to build on this a little bit, because there is a mirrored design here that I think is important to address.

People don't like rolling the maximum result leading to the die downgrading. They feel it takes away from the "joy" of rolling a high number. But, there is only one other place in the design to put the downgrade, and that is rolling the lowest number, which I feel is worse.

To throw out some quick examples involving the Psi Knight using their damage shield, 1d6 and can upgrade.

Current Rules:
You roll a 6. You have blocked the maximum amount of damage, but your die drops to a d4 for next round.
You roll a 1. You have blocked the minimum amount of damage, but you die upgrades to a d8 for next round.

My use of "but" here is important. The two sides of the sentence are opposed. One is a "good" thing the other a "bad" thing.

Mirrored rules:
You roll a 6. You have blocked the maximum amount of damage, and your die upgrades to a d8 for next round.
You roll a 1. You have blocked the minimum amount of damage, and your die drops to a d4 for next round.

And here we have higher highs, but also lower lows. You failed to make an impact and weakened yourself in the process. That feels far worse than making the biggest impact possible and then weakening yourself.

This is why I like the Psi Die design, very few mechanics work to make rolling 1's suck less. I mean, how many times have you seen a battlemaster roll that die and get a 1? Or roll a 1 on bless when it was the only number that wouldn't help? 1's are feel bad numbers in the game, and this takes them and gives you a boost when you get them.
The part about the psi die rules that models the opposite of how it feels like it should go is that the higher "energy" die stick around a lot longer than the lower ones do because of simple statistics.

It makes more sense to have the low level of power, d4, also the most stable and least likely to drop level of power. Instead a couple lucky rolls bumping your dice up early in the day result in a MUCH longer period of time you are adding good numbers. Conversely, an unlucky first couple rolls is going to eat into your one special ability and potentially turn it off after just a short time.
 

The part about the psi die rules that models the opposite of how it feels like it should go is that the higher "energy" die stick around a lot longer than the lower ones do because of simple statistics.

It makes more sense to have the low level of power, d4, also the most stable and least likely to drop level of power. Instead a couple lucky rolls bumping your dice up early in the day result in a MUCH longer period of time you are adding good numbers. Conversely, an unlucky first couple rolls is going to eat into your one special ability and potentially turn it off after just a short time.

I'm not sure, maybe it is a poor analogy, but let us consider exhaustion.

The more tired I am, the more likely I am to get exhausted, because I'm losing energy when I have less energy to lose. But, if I am well-rested, I can do more before getting exhausted because I have more to give.

Now I think it is a fair point that a few "bad" rolls can end this ability. But the only way to avoid that is to avoid the die changing when you roll it and instead add some other trigger, which I think could get more complicated than we would want to deal with.
 




So, kind of an obvious question, but:
What settings is psionics important in?

I mean, I know Dark Sun is basically based around it. Eberron has Sarlona, and FR the Gith, but is there any other setting in which psionics is important?
 


Shroomy

Adventurer
So, kind of an obvious question, but:
What settings is psionics important in?

I mean, I know Dark Sun is basically based around it. Eberron has Sarlona, and FR the Gith, but is there any other setting in which psionics is important?

While it's been present in pretty much all of them, it's really only intrinsic to Dark Sun.
 

SkidAce

Hero
So, kind of an obvious question, but:
What settings is psionics important in?

I mean, I know Dark Sun is basically based around it. Eberron has Sarlona, and FR the Gith, but is there any other setting in which psionics is important?
My setting.

If I have to wait much longer, I will just build psionics myself.
 



So, kind of an obvious question, but:
What settings is psionics important in?

I mean, I know Dark Sun is basically based around it. Eberron has Sarlona, and FR the Gith, but is there any other setting in which psionics is important?

Really only Dark Sun. Sarlona in Eberron was designed to compartmentalise psionics and make them optional. And most people play Gith sans psionics.
 


Yeah, but Planescape is more of a Forgotten Realms thing, and the Gith are the main source of psionics as a player race in Forgotten Realms.

When you say "more of a Forgotten Realms thing" what are you contrasting it to? Planescape is just playing the D&D multiverse that includes Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Spelljammer, Dark Sun, Birthright, etc, but focusing on Sigil and its own cultural feel. There is no closer connection between FR and Planescape than there is between Greyhawk, Dragonlance, or Spelljammer and Planescape. (Technically that's also true with Dark Sun and others, but they got less connections in published products so I can understand not seeing them as closely related.)

I'm zooming in on this point because I don't know what perspective you in particular are coming from, but there are some misconceptions that seem to have arisen in the past few years and they irritate me enough that I address them when I see them.
 

I mean, Forgotten Realms is the main D&D 5e campaign setting. The others to come out are Ravnica, Theros, Eberron, and Wildemount, of which I believe only Wildemount has the same cosmology. Sure, you can journey to the planes from a lot of campaign settings, but Forgotten Realms is the base one. IIRC, the most recent cosmology was specifically created because of the Forgotten Realms. The Spellplague messed things up cosmologically, and then the Second Sundering made the Great Wheel be the cosmology again.
 

TheSword

Legend
I mean, Forgotten Realms is the main D&D 5e campaign setting. The others to come out are Ravnica, Theros, Eberron, and Wildemount, of which I believe only Wildemount has the same cosmology. Sure, you can journey to the planes from a lot of campaign settings, but Forgotten Realms is the base one. IIRC, the most recent cosmology was specifically created because of the Forgotten Realms. The Spellplague messed things up cosmologically, and then the Second Sundering made the Great Wheel be the cosmology again.

Not quite accurate actually. The Forgotten Realms had a unique cosmology. It was well detailed in the 3.0 forgotten realms campaign setting (though it may have been detailed before) it is based on the gods homes rather than alignment based planes. It also doesn’t form a wheel around the outlands (and sigil) but actually planes surround Toril.

This is acknowledged in the 5e dungeon masters guide when it says there is a vision of the cosmology that differs in the Forgotten Realms under the section World Tree. It acknowledges that in FR planes are divided into celestial and fiendish rather than following the rule of 3.

Then again it’s all metaphysical, planescape is all about making sense of the unfathomable - if you were a Guvnor that is. The Doomguard would probably disagree and the Signers definitely would!
 

That's a D&D multiverse thing, not specifically a Forgotten Realms thing. You could call it a Planescape thing, but it predates Sigil by quite a bit.
This is correct, Gith where introduced in the Fiend Folio (1981) as a psionic race. Planescape was not published until 1994.

Gith do have a track record of showing up in Forgotten Realms CRPGs though. They where in Baldur's Gate 2, have a major role in BG3, and feature prominently in the plot of NWN2.
 

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