Unearthed Arcana WotC Surveys: Implementation vs. Interest

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generic

On that metempsychosis tweak
TBH I didn't pay any attention to the mystic (and didn't vote in the poll for that matter). So I can't answer the question.

My point has been that everything you claim you want is either a variant rule or fluff. There are variant rules for spell points. I don't see how supernaturally bending the world to your will with your mind is not magic with a different label.
Why do you need a Sorcerer when you could easily use fluff or variant rules on the Wizard?
 

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Oofta

Legend
Why do you need a Sorcerer when you could easily use fluff or variant rules on the Wizard?

I could create a variant fighter called a warrior. But I would need a design goal for a warrior before it's worth publishing.

What would the design goal of a psion be that would differentiate it?
 

generic

On that metempsychosis tweak
I could create a variant fighter called a warrior. But I would need a design goal for a warrior before it's worth publishing.

What would the design goal of a psion be that would differentiate it?
Disciplines and psi-point-based abilities, go read the Mystic UA.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Then it's not people "keeping a psion from being developed". It's that nobody has come up with a clear picture of what a psion should be in 5E. Big difference.
Let me rephrase that then. I have seen a handful of people defending WotC's inability to come up with a clear picture for the Psion in 5e and using that as an excuse why the Psion should not be a class. No, I don't think that this is any anti-psion illuminati, but it does feel a lot like white-knighting WotC while also talking down discussion of how the psion could exist in 5e. And similar issues plagued both the chances of a revised Ranger and the creation of the Artificer class. Thankfully many of those same critics of the Artificer ("nobody knows what the artificer should be. LOL") are now mostly silent with the release of the Artificer in Eberron 5e.

So I'll ask my question again. What would a psion look like other than a sorcerer/warlock/wizard with different fluff?
The Wizard has a spellbook that empowers their versatility. They can potentially know all the arcane spells, but they can only prepare a limited number per day. The Sorcerer has a much smaller spell list and spells known list, but they (controversially) compensate this weakness with more cantrips and Metamagic points that allow them to augment their sorcery. The Warlock has Pact Magic, so they cast on an auto-scaling per Short Rest resource, but they have a lot of build diversity (on paper) by their ability to pick a Patron, a Pact Boon, and Invocations, including some at-will/per day abilities and things that expand/supplement their tool set.

So where could the Psion fit? Potentially a little bit of Column A, a little bit of Column B, and probably with some smatterings from the Monk. I am entertaining several ideas in my head, namely the Monk and Warlock as a base or possibly a mix between the two. It depends on what themes of the Psion you want to emphasize and what mechanics you think works best for the fluff.

Spell points? There's a variant rule in the DMG.
Ki or something like a Warlock's pact magic would work. This would put the Psion on a similar mechanic to one of two pre-existing classes. So either the monk stops being alone or the warlock stops being alone. This would amount to more than re-fluffing the Warlock since the Warlock has two decision points: Patron and Pact Boon. We can reduce this to just a single subclass option for the Psion.

What spells or powers would distinguish them?
Psychometabolism, astral constructs, additional mental spells, crystals, more spells that inflicted psychic damage, ectoplasm, etc.

What would the design goal of a psion be that would differentiate it?
That sounds like fluff, since we are talking about how the mechanics would reflect the fluff, aesthetic, or theme of the Psion. The Psion is less about educational book learning for mind over cosmic matter as per the wizard but more about the mind over matter as part of their mental mastery. In this respect, there is definitely overlap with the Monk, but the Monk wants to hone their martial skill and body, oneness with the universe and life. The Psion wants to hone and expand the powers of their mind, mastery of their own mind. Maybe it's innate? Maybe it's learned. Either way, it extends from the mastery of their own mind.

So for Psion I would probably prefer more at-will and per Short Rest mechanics than a traditional full-caster, since they will undoubtedly be working from a smaller spell/power list. A monk's Ki and a Warlock's Pact Magic are both on a per Short Rest mechanic, which is why both could work. Ki are more like Power/Spell Points and Pact Magic is a spell auto-boost mechanic.
 

Oofta

Legend
Let me rephrase that then. I have seen a handful of people defending WotC's inability to come up with a clear picture for the Psion in 5e and using that as an excuse why the Psion should not be a class. No, I don't think that this is any anti-psion illuminati, but it does feel a lot like white-knighting WotC while also talking down discussion of how the psion could exist in 5e. And similar issues plagued both the chances of a revised Ranger and the creation of the Artificer class. Thankfully many of those same critics of the Artificer ("nobody knows what the artificer should be. LOL") are now mostly silent with the release of the Artificer in Eberron 5e.

The Wizard has a spellbook that empowers their versatility. They can potentially know all the arcane spells, but they can only prepare a limited number per day. The Sorcerer has a much smaller spell list and spells known list, but they (controversially) compensate this weakness with more cantrips and Metamagic points that allow them to augment their sorcery. The Warlock has Pact Magic, so they cast on an auto-scaling per Short Rest resource, but they have a lot of build diversity (on paper) by their ability to pick a Patron, a Pact Boon, and Invocations, including some at-will/per day abilities and things that expand/supplement their tool set.

So where could the Psion fit? Potentially a little bit of Column A, a little bit of Column B, and probably with some smatterings from the Monk. I am entertaining several ideas in my head, namely the Monk and Warlock as a base or possibly a mix between the two. It depends on what themes of the Psion you want to emphasize and what mechanics you think works best for the fluff.

Ki or something like a Warlock's pact magic would work. This would put the Psion on a similar mechanic to one of two pre-existing classes. So either the monk stops being alone or the warlock stops being alone. This would amount to more than re-fluffing the Warlock since the Warlock has two decision points: Patron and Pact Boon. We can reduce this to just a single subclass option for the Psion.

Psychometabolism, astral constructs, additional mental spells, crystals, more spells that inflicted psychic damage, ectoplasm, etc.

That sounds like fluff, since we are talking about how the mechanics would reflect the fluff, aesthetic, or theme of the Psion. The Psion is less about educational book learning for mind over cosmic matter as per the wizard but more about the mind over matter as part of their mental mastery. In this respect, there is definitely overlap with the Monk, but the Monk wants to hone their martial skill and body, oneness with the universe and life. The Psion wants to hone and expand the powers of their mind, mastery of their own mind. Maybe it's innate? Maybe it's learned. Either way, it extends from the mastery of their own mind.

So for Psion I would probably prefer more at-will and per Short Rest mechanics than a traditional full-caster, since they will undoubtedly be working from a smaller spell/power list. A monk's Ki and a Warlock's Pact Magic are both on a per Short Rest mechanic, which is why both could work. Ki are more like Power/Spell Points and Pact Magic is a spell auto-boost mechanic.


Not sure I agree (it's a personal taste thing since I don't really care for warlocks either), but I appreciate the response.
 

dagger

Explorer
I prefer the implementation in 1e. Its very alien to the core game and it takes special luck to get it, and that's assuming its even allowed. Then if you do get it, what you can do is dependent on good stats and some nice rolling.

Then do you even really want it? Fighting a Mind Flayer or Pit Fiend is a lot different if you have a psionic character, and you can be dead before the end of the first round thanks to Psionic combat.

The fact its so alien makes it complicated but that also it means it oozes flavor. At least to me.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Mod Note:

Everyone - we already had to do some policing on the subject of psionics. What goes there, goes here as well.

If you cannot be respectful, leave now, and go find some activity that doesn't bring out the worst in you.

After this, if you are rude, do not expect a whole lot of warning before you get removed from the discussion.
 

Celebrim

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

You would need to be seriously well versed in science fiction to have even encountered a science fiction story with actual psionics. I can think of one out of the 300 or so science fiction novels that I've read.

On the other hand, most people when they think of psionics are thinking of something like the old space wizard/knights that show up in space fantasy like Star Wars or Babylon 5, where it's all just magic with slightly different language - techno-wizards, psi-corps, dark lords, jedi knights, light sabers, and farm boys with hidden destinies. That sort of thing is just magic in space, often complete with space elves (Vulcans, Romulans, and Mimbari), space orcs, space demons, and space angels.

A good question to ask is if the there is any real difference between having psionic powers and psychic powers. If there isn't, you've really just got space witches and warlocks.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Psionic characters in science fiction do not throw fireballs.

Sure they do. Ever seen Stephen King's Firestarter? Pyrokinesis is a thing.

Quite the contrary, you'd be hard pressed to find a wizard in fantasy that casts fireballs prior to D&D inventing the trope. Gandalf is far and away one of the flashiest wizards in fantasy prior to D&D and he's the original inspiration for the fireball and in part the original inspiration for the non-occult wizard, but even he doesn't actually cast a fireball at any point in the story. As with many other Tolkien inspired tropes in gaming, the 'fireball' has a complex history of simplification and misinterpretation or mis-remembering of the actual text.

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.

While a custom spell list is easy, you are going to find that what needs to go on it is highly subjective. Even if you go back and look at what D&D has historically allowed the classes to do there is going to be a lot of subjective opinions about what should be on the list.
 

Celebrim

Legend
@Aldarc: I honestly don't care if WotC publishes a psion class or not. I have no stake in there not being one and no stake in their being one. If I had control of the brand, I'd create one and introduce it in an appropriate setting for it, one where magic was quite different than stock D&D and psion was expected to be the primary caster.

But I also think that the psion has so much in common with the sorcerer that it could easily be a subclass of sorcerer with a slightly tweaked spell list.

The Sorcerer has a much smaller spell list and spells known list, but they (controversially) compensate this weakness with more cantrips and Metamagic points that allow them to augment their sorcery.

Which is exactly where I'd would be starting with my Psion, not only because it fits mechanically but also because it fits in flavor - both are magic wielding metahumans that derive their power from some innate gifting at birth. Actually, I would have started out with Sorcerer's having more built in diversity to their blood lines than they do, and then it would have been easy to add a couple of new blood lines to extend the class to cover different sorts of psychics, but it's a bit late for that.

Psychometabolism, astral constructs, additional mental spells, crystals, more spells that inflicted psychic damage, ectoplasm, etc.

Most of that is just fluffing of existing abilities - cat's grace, haste, bull's strength, etc could suffice for psychic feats of physical skill. A few additional spells to fill in things like psionic blast, psychic crush, body weaponry, ego whip (probably a cantrip), and other things that people will be expecting as names for historical reasons and I think you'll be good.

The Psion is less about educational book learning for mind over cosmic matter as per the wizard but more about the mind over matter as part of their mental mastery....The Psion wants to hone and expand the powers of their mind, mastery of their own mind. Maybe it's innate? Maybe it's learned. Either way, it extends from the mastery of their own mind.

I've never understood this distinction because "mastery of their own mind" and "mental mastery" is exactly the description of the fluff of a wizard in my game. Any non-occult wizard, that is any wizard who does not have like a warlock powers granted through an occult pact with some supernatural being (see also witch, shaman, obeah, and any other traditional occult magic user based on real world magical practice), has the fluff that they are developing the "mastery of their own mind". Ever since the D&D wizard fully divorsed itself from the occult after the Satanic scare, it's fluff has been exactly the fluff you are subscribing to the psion. Which again, is why I have never understood why people try to distinguish between "psionics" and "magic" in D&D. They are the exact same thing
 

Quite the contrary, you'd be hard pressed to find a wizard in fantasy that casts fireballs prior to D&D inventing the trope. Gandalf is far and away one of the flashiest wizards in fantasy prior to D&D and he's the original inspiration for the fireball and in part the original inspiration for the non-occult wizard, but even he doesn't actually cast a fireball at any point in the story.
Not really disagreeing, but...

In Harryhausen's 1973 Golden Voyage of Sinbad, the evil Prince Koura - a wizard, who, among other things, makes a bat-winged 'homunculus' (nothing like the classical fetus-like thing of Paracelsus), but very much like the illo of the '77 AD&D MM and sees through its eyes, animates statues, and suffers aging side-effects for casting spells - also, off screen, sends a 'great ball of fire' to incinerate a room of the sultan's palace, burning off a character's face.
 

phoffman

Explorer
My vision of a psion, doesn't use verbal or somatic components in their powers. Psion's don't have to use a point based system, and may be made much simpler with spell slots for higher level abilities.

I like the idea of a psion, mechanically having all of their powers being essentially 'cantrips'. which each of those powers being at will abilities, while having the ability to be "cast at a higher level" which increases the effect and potentially adds additional effects at certain levels.

I feel that psionic powers with duration should be balanced to use concentration or have a 'focus' mechanic that limits the psion to a maximum of two such effects.

In previous iterations psionic's hasn't had verbal or somatic components for their abilities.
 

Hussar

Legend
One thing that came to mind today with regards to the new psionics UA, is that WotC surveys seem to do a really bad job of allows us to express the difference between our level of interest in certain features versus our satisfaction with the implementation.

For instance, they gave us several UAs with a new Mystic/Psion class. The last iteration (months ago, not the subclass thing today) was a lot different than the previous ones, and they haven't done much with it in a while.

Apparently they kept changing it because none of the particular implementations were satisfying for a large enough percentage of people. That's good.

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 mean, maybe they just scour Reddit and stuff looking for discussions to determine the level of interest. But wouldn't it be nice if we had some way to directly let them know whether we like a particular implementation as well as our level of interest in the concept?

Since I don't run their survey department, I can't just add those questions to their surveys, nor can I expect someone else to. So how can we do our small part in the feedback voting community to make sure we give them valuable feedback on both implementation and interest?

[Edit: I want to clarify that I'm using the psion as an example, but I'm addressing the general concept. There are plenty of other surveys that could have benefited from the distinction.]


They are asking for our feedback. They want to know what we want them to make. But they aren't asking that one really important question.

I have an issue with your premise. I asked how often people saw psions played in their games, and about half of respondents said never or at least rarely. The other half saw them played, but, even then, it wasn't terribly regular. I'm not sure you can say that there is a high level of interest. You CAN say that some people are VERY interested in it, but, how many of those people there are, we're not sure.
 

Hussar

Legend
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.

Ahem.

512BFHPFT8L._SY445_.jpg
 

Hussar

Legend
Why do you need a Sorcerer when you could easily use fluff or variant rules on the Wizard?

You'll get no argument from me. The sorcerer is largely superfluous. But, you're conflating two arguments.

"We don't need a sorcerer" doesn't mean that we do or don't need a psion. A sorcerer is found by players to be different enough to justify it being a different class, and, let's be honest, that's largely a legacy issue where sorcerer started out as very different from wizard. 5e sorcs and wizards aren't that far apart with the new casting system. It's more about versatility and the fact that sorcs get meta-magic. Plus the bloodline traditions. It's not like your average wizard sprouts wings. And, aberrant mind sorcs already get psionic powers.

We HAVE a psionic sorcerer already.

But, what it comes down to is the psions just don't have enough traction among the greater fandom to justify an entirely new class. And that's the long and the short of it.
 

Eric V

Hero
Why do new classes need to be "justified" but subclasses or feats or whatever don't? I legitimately don't get the big deal.
 


SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
There really ISNT a lot of interest in a psion.
It’s always just been magic with different fluff.
I don't feel its magic, and neither has it been treated that way in my campaign since 1st edition.

An example...Spock is a psionicist, not a wizard.
 

SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
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.

This is why I usually dont try to explain why psionics is different from magic.

Every example that gets brought up is shot down.."Oh yeah but you could" or "Its just like etc etc, I dont see the problem".

I have a long history of psionics and magic being different. In my opinion at least, its obvious...can they do some of the same things? Sure, but that doesn't make them the same. The stories are different.

But it's like art, I know it when I see it, but its not the same for everybody.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
LOL. Nobody is "keeping the psion from consideration as a class". The devs tried a few options, none was popular enough to make it into a publication yet. That may or may not change.

There is no anti-psion illuminati.

That's just what the Illuminati want you to [fnord] think.
 

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