Unearthed Arcana WotC Surveys: Implementation vs. Interest

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Oofta

Legend
You answer your own second question here. For a number of fans of psionics, what that alternate source of magic represents is appealing because it has a different set of thematics and aesthetics than fireball-slinging wizards wielding cosmic powers, pious clerics drawing upon their gods, primal druids wielding nature, and bards singing their magic.

So have a warlock or sorcerer with a different patron.

Unless you come up with an entirely different spell list/system it just becomes a different power source with slightly different fluff.
 

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During the TSR days they pushed out a lot of material, a lot of which was of dubious profitability or popularity.
They managed to do it in 1st, 3rd and 4th editions, as well as the unprofitable 2nd.

Yes, or course the number of players wanting to do science fantasy or other crossovers, or get rid of the generic fantasy tropes are a minority. I think the issue for WotC is "how to cater to minority interests", because every player has a minority interest of one sort or another.

Personally, I think online only content is the way to go. If you keep production costs low it doesn't matter if only 20% of the market is interested.
 

Aldarc

Legend
So have a warlock or sorcerer with a different patron.
I suspect if we were being intellectually honest, we could recognize that the concept of a patron is not a good thematic fit for psionics.

Unless you come up with an entirely different spell list/system it just becomes a different power source with slightly different fluff.
Why wouldn't there be a different spell list? And what's wrong with having a different power source with different fluff and spell list when that's what we have for the wizard, sorcerer, cleric (and/or paladin), druid (and/or ranger), warlock, bard, artificer, and monk? It's not as if the psion is somehow the straw that breaks the camel's back here.
 

I suspect if we were being intellectually honest, we could recognize that the concept of a patron is not a good thematic fit for psionics.
I suspect people who aren't well versed in science fiction tropes may not have much idea what psionics should look like.
 


Oofta

Legend
I suspect if we were being intellectually honest, we could recognize that the concept of a patron is not a good thematic fit for psionics.

Why wouldn't there be a different spell list? And what's wrong with having a different power source with different fluff and spell list when that's what we have for the wizard, sorcerer, cleric (and/or paladin), druid (and/or ranger), warlock, bard, artificer, and monk? It's not as if the psion is somehow the straw that breaks the camel's back here.

There are only a handful of spells that are unique to a class; yes different classes have a handful of different powers but most of the spells are shared.

But it still seems like "fluff" and "no components" is the justification.

P.S. Don't justify your opinion by demeaning mine please. "Intellectually honest" seems to be just another way of "you're too stupid to understand".
 

I'm more interested in D&D tropes.
Psionics is a science fiction trope that D&D assimilated. If you want to find what psionics should be like you need to look at science fiction.

Talking of which I can think of a psionic warlock.
s4lyta2.jpg

Lyta Alexander, Babylon 5. Has her powers massively boosted by her Vorlon (AKA Great Old One) patron.
 

Oofta

Legend
I suspect people who aren't well versed in science fiction tropes may not have much idea what psionics should look like.

I'm quite familiar with the trope. If they came up with a sci-fi game or a D20 modern, some change to the look and feel of magic users might be appropriate.

But you could easily make clerics medics with nanotech and wizards psions.
 

I'm quite familiar with the trope. If they came up with a sci-fi game or a D20 modern, some change to the look and feel of magic users might be appropriate.

But you could easily make clerics medics with nanotech and wizards psions.
Psionic characters in science fiction do not throw fireballs.

I think that illustrates the key point: Even if psionics works just the same as magic, a psion needs it's own spell list, defined as much by what is NOT on it as what is. And in 5e to have your own spell list you need to be a class.
 

Aldarc

Legend
There are only a handful of spells that are unique to a class; yes different classes have a handful of different powers but most of the spells are shared.
Then use the spells that are appropriate for psionics and add new spells for them that are likewise appropriate. I don't see the big deal here. As a few others have floated, you don't necessarily need a new subsystem created, when psions could use something similar to warlock pact magic, autoscaling spells that recharge on a short rest.

But it still seems like "fluff" and "no components" is the justification.
So what? Why is this a big deal when "fluff" is a big justification for all of the classes?

Psionics is a science fiction trope that D&D assimilated. If you want to find what psionics should be like you need to look at science fiction.
And psionics is a fantasy trope that science fiction assimilated, but I am more interested in how it exists in D&D much as how most people prefer wizards as they are understood in the context of D&D than in the context of the wider fantasy fiction.
 

Oofta

Legend
Psionics is a science fiction trope that D&D assimilated. If you want to find what psionics should be like you need to look at science fiction.

Or Obewan waving his fingers and saying "these are not the droids you're looking for". Which sounds a lot like verbal and somatic components to me.

Just depends on which fiction you follow.
 



Oofta

Legend
Exactly. In 5e to have a different spell list you need to be a different class.

But then it's just a sorcerer/wizard/warlock with a limited spell list. Maybe they effectively get silenced and stilled spells for free if you aren't modeling Star Wars psionics.

There's not a lot of distinction other than no components. As far as wands and component I've also read stories about having and object that help focus energy.

Psionics is just space magic when the authors didn't want wizards.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
However, it appears they may have abandoned the idea of a full Psion class for the same reason. This is not good. Because there is a lot of interest in a full Psion class. If there was not, they would seen the tumbleweeds and abandoned it long before taking 3-4 full UA attempts at it.

I don't think there is a lot of interest, to be honest. Not just with the recent surveys with the mystic, but Jeremy's comments the other day were telling. How in every past attempt at them in every edition, hardly anyone used those rules or that class. There's enough interest to have them look at the idea, much like the warlord or other classes, but I don't thing there is "a lot" of interest.

That said, IMO, much like the warlord, I think there is room for it in the game, I've been telling people they don't have to accept the warlord if they don't want it, so it would make me a hypocrite to say that we shouldn't have the psion in the game at all.

Speaking of hypocritical positions, I do find it interesting that the responses to @jasper are what they are. It seems the same people who argued that we need the warlord in the game because it's important to have it official so they can play it in AL games regardless of what the DM wants are now saying that it's wrong to try to deny a class you don't want official because you can just ignore it.

I wouldn't vote it down because I'm meh. But people are allowed to vote against things they don't like, and for for things they do like. that's how voting works. If you were only to allow votes from those who support it, the survey would be worthless and inaccurate. If everyone had to follow what you're telling jasper, then we'd have damage on a miss in the core game, despite the majority really not liking it, for example. And the core ranger would never have been fixed.
 
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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
The thing about psionics which I think is what causes questions is the fact that the "spell list" (for lack of a better term) of a would-be psionic class has just been subsumed by arcane casters to the point where there isn't enough obvious differentiation.

If you look at the three traditional main caster classes in D&D (the wizard, the cleric, the druid)... each of them have spell lists that are very different from each other in terms of what they do and what their focus is on. Much of of the druid/ranger lists are nature and exploration related--- ways of dealing with animals, ways of dealing with plants, moving across the landscape, etc. Much of the cleric/paladin lists are related to protection, healing, defending and helping others, and dealing with the undead. Most of the arcane source is about destruction, instantaneous communication and transportation, and deliberate confusion and control.

And that list of arcane abilities? They all overlap with what a psion would be intended to do. I mean we just need to look at all the primary foci of traditional psychics and psionic power and we see that the arcane power source already does all of it.

Psions read minds. So do Wizards. Psions can move things with their minds. So do Wizards. Psions can see into the future. So can Wizards. Psions can control other people's thoughts. So can Wizards. Psions can walk through walls. So can Wizards. Psions can attack other people's minds to cause them physical pain and suffering. So can Bards (Hi Vicious Mockery!)

What else does the psionic power source have for spells/disciplines/whatever that is different than the lists of the arcane, divine, and primal sources and can separate them to warrant the need of its own thing? As far as I personally can tell... very little (if nothing at all.) The Arcane source has beaten psionics up and stolen its stuff. And that's why so many people question the need for psionics in the first place (and most especially the belief that psionics is somehow different than magic.) If you can use the Wizard class and through a carefully curated selection of "traditional psychic ability" spells create someone who does practically everything you'd expect your "psionic character" to do... then all that's different are the fluff ribbons of the class that don't fit. If you then just wipe away the need for spell components and the spell book... what do you have that can't be considered a psionic character?

What is that psionic spell list going to have that does not make it look like an arcane spell list with just the names all different? That's the real issue.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
And I don't want to single out Psions here, because I see the same issue with a lot of other would-be classes that get bandied about. People talk about the need for an Elementalist and a Summoner too... despite that the arcane classes all already do what those two classes are focused on. The only difference is that I think the proponents of those classes (and I would imagine the Psion) want them to be their own classes so that their feature list has already been curated to only have those "spells" that are directly related to said theme. They don't want a Summoner Wizard, because they (probably rightly) believe that any player who plays a Summoner Wizard will be unable to resist the lure of spells that are "off-theme".

That's why many people hate the UA's Mentalist Wizard, right? Because it doesn't in any way prohibit a player from taking non-psionic spells? And it just doesn't feel right for a psionic character to even have the opportunity to throw Cones of Cold, even if the player who uses the Mentalist subclass would never actually take the spell. Just the fact that the player could is what makes the Wizard subclass an untenable proposition. Same way a Summoner Wizard or Elementalist Wizard just wouldn't be satisfactory to those players who want them as their own classes.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
However, it appears they may have abandoned the idea of a full Psion class for the same reason. This is not good. Because there is a lot of interest in a full Psion class. If there was not, they would seen the tumbleweeds and abandoned it long before taking 3-4 full UA attempts at it.

How do you know there is a lot f interest in a full Psion class? I don't necessarily want one. I am not sure there is a lot of interest in a full class instead of a sub-class. Testing it a few times does not indicate they were seeing interest - it may well indicate they wanted to make it it's own class but eventually had to admit they just were not seeing enough interest despite several attempts.
 

Oofta

Legend
The thing about psionics which I think is what causes questions is the fact that the "spell list" (for lack of a better term) of a would-be psionic class has just been subsumed by arcane casters to the point where there isn't enough obvious differentiation.

If you look at the three traditional main caster classes in D&D (the wizard, the cleric, the druid)... each of them have spell lists that are very different from each other in terms of what they do and what their focus is on. Much of of the druid/ranger lists are nature and exploration related--- ways of dealing with animals, ways of dealing with plants, moving across the landscape, etc. Much of the cleric/paladin lists are related to protection, healing, defending and helping others, and dealing with the undead. Most of the arcane source is about destruction, instantaneous communication and transportation, and deliberate confusion and control.

And that list of arcane abilities? They all overlap with what a psion would be intended to do. I mean we just need to look at all the primary foci of traditional psychics and psionic power and we see that the arcane power source already does all of it.

Psions read minds. So do Wizards. Psions can move things with their minds. So do Wizards. Psions can see into the future. So can Wizards. Psions can control other people's thoughts. So can Wizards. Psions can walk through walls. So can Wizards. Psions can attack other people's minds to cause them physical pain and suffering. So can Bards (Hi Vicious Mockery!)

What else does the psionic power source have for spells/disciplines/whatever that is different than the lists of the arcane, divine, and primal sources and can separate them to warrant the need of its own thing? As far as I personally can tell... very little (if nothing at all.) The Arcane source has beaten psionics up and stolen its stuff. And that's why so many people question the need for psionics in the first place (and most especially the belief that psionics is somehow different than magic.) If you can use the Wizard class and through a carefully curated selection of "traditional psychic ability" spells create someone who does practically everything you'd expect your "psionic character" to do... then all that's different are the fluff ribbons of the class that don't fit. If you then just wipe away the need for spell components and the spell book... what do you have that can't be considered a psionic character?

What is that psionic spell list going to have that does not make it look like an arcane spell list with just the names all different? That's the real issue.

Better stated than I did. The whole concept of psionics has always been a bit fuzzy to me. They're magic users that don't use magic to justify their power.

How different is a psion from a wizard with the school of divination? For that matter, how often to verbal and somatic components come into play? Replace somatic components with eyes glowing funny or going black or minor gestures. Depending on depiction, there's already verbal components, or replace it with an audible hum or crackling of power.

As far as never casting damaging spells ... that's problematic in a game like D&D. Some people may enjoy it, but it's going to be a minority of a minority. But again, various depictions show psions doing damage to others, it's just a matter of description and fluff. Cone of Cold? Your psion uses their power to stop the movement of atoms instantly lowering the temperature in a set area for a moment. What is ... random spell ... chromatic orb but gathered energy hurled at the enemy?

None of this requires any new rules or classes.
 


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