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Old Nov 14th, 2017, 10:57 PM
TheGoshDarnDM TheGoshDarnDM is offline
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Just want to echo what everyone has said about 2e; they were really that bad. But it was more than that, they were just out of balance in a way that made the entire concept feel out of place with the way the game played.

The other part lots of ppl forget is 3.0

If you followed to 3rd edition from 2e (before 3.5), the first 3.0 psionics and their web enhancements (WotC website was regularly updated with web addons to books back in early 3rd into middle 3.5), left too many open hole and things broken. They 'could' play well with others but had open spots for abuse left and right and all along the way.

3.5 XPH addressed a lot, and brought a lot of balance but if its used with anything 3.0 the wheels can quickly come off the bus. So you not only have to learn a new magical system but a timeline, and then you're back to the 'out of place' with gameflow and having to check if something is 3.0 or 3.5. Yes 3.5 over 3.0 applies to everything, but everything else has a lot more source material, psionics only has a few books and some web splat material - so omitting even a couple books can cut a character's options in half or less... and just starts arguments no one wants to deal with (because we have in the past).

Last edited by TheGoshDarnDM; Nov 14th, 2017 at 11:00 PM.
Old Nov 15th, 2017, 07:32 PM
TheGoshDarnDM TheGoshDarnDM is offline
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cont... (more context)

To expand on what i was trying to say yesterday, from 2e (2e psionics) until middle-3.5(xph) was in the 9+ year range. Almost a decade of broken or wonky psionics that required players who would just willingly not abuse the rules (or DM denying and house overruling certain rules). All the arguments and disagreements over that long of a period, both small and big - for an optional system - just left A LOT of people not wanting to bother.

There used to be a megathread on WotC forums called 'The XPH is not overpowered' or something like that. The thread quickly debunked most of the anti-psionics superstition about the XPH, and then spent most of its time debating how far outside you could go without breaking the game; the answer is, unfortunately, not far. Even some of the psionic Web Enhancements tagged 3.5 quickly run away into munchkiny trouble. As a replacement for everything psionic before it the XPH is fine, but its one book in a system of a million rulebooks.
Old Nov 24th, 2017, 03:54 PM
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Speaking as a DM who is running a campaign that allows both magic and psionics, I've not personally had a problem with it as a player or DM. I started on 3.5e, so that explains why I don't have some lingering distaste. That said, I can see the exploitation potential as well as the flavor problems. My own mentality on it, however:

1) Flavor.

>>>Really, this doesn't click the way it does for some people. Sure, psionics are form the mind, but there are many fantasy characters with mental powers. Having spoken with friends (though not a consumer myself of this material), Asian fantasy tends to cover more of this than Western (again, that's second hand info). That said, Greek Mythology and the like could ostensibly reflect psionics much of the time as well as normal divine magic based on the style of usage. Still, in my mind Psionics is not just another magic. I do run transparency, but I see Psionics and Magic as both reflections of some kind of greater Supernatural element of the fantasy world.

2) Exploitation

>>>Psionics has exploits. Then again, literally everything else in 3.5e has exploits too. In fact, I would say that after a point in studying resource books you realize that there are ways to break just about anything. I mean, play a Druid. Wildshape into an Elder Viper Tree. Cast Venomfire on yourself. You can now personally deal around 1500 max/750 average damage per round with melee only, and each round you can increase this too. Or pretty much any class with enough mixing of PrCs, feats, items, etc. Builds that are casting 9th lvl spells by lvl 11 are totally possible too. I mean, can Psionics users exploit things? Sure. Any more than any other DnD class? Probably not. Even in book limited campaigns, there are work-arounds that many classes have (book limited usually favors arcane casters).
Old Dec 4th, 2017, 11:03 PM
TheGoshDarnDM TheGoshDarnDM is offline
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I always liked psionics, and tend to allow it 99% of the time, but I just wanted to frame it for those fortunate souls that started in 3.5 and don't understand the lingering distrust.

XPH and beyond - its fine and works. Before that it was very wonky and bolt-on. I never understood the 'flavor' argument against, like they just get their 'magic' from a different source - lets do it. That commoner or noble or BBEG doesn't care, they got other stuff to think about rather than the nuances of this one dude's spellcraft. The lore even says that like characters do the same magic differently, thats why wizards have to study and make a check to learn a new spellbook.

My two favorite characters to run are straight-wizard and straight-druid, they're just a good time. Anything with 9th level spells, even at the proper levels, can get out of hand - but then again everything at lvl 17+ can get ridiculous real fast. I always liked the psion, just never got to run one in a long campaign.
Old Dec 8th, 2018, 12:26 PM
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I get the flavor aspect. For some people it's like bringing a gun to sword brawl.
Advanced psi research is something you can only imagine in a sci-fi world. Advanced magic research is not. The occasional true telepath in fiction has either been part monster, or it's played only a minimal part of their character.
They also break flavor by seeming video-game-ey, because most mechanics follow a system similar to mana, vs spell levels. (You can use all your psi points on level 3 spells, instead of being stuck with lower power level 1 and 2)

That ability to somewhat ignore spell levels and cast all of one type of spell means they should be more specialized than a sorcerer (wizard>sorcerer), but they're not. Add in the fact that they can augment their abilities easier than a sorcerer, (if not necessarily quite to the same degree) and you end up with a caster that's both easier to manage and more flexible than its magic counterparts.

Edit: I feel the same way about monks, but to a lesser degree. They're slightly out of place in a fantasy. They at least have the excuse of being from a distant land, where it's more commonplace.
To be fair, I'm not saying psionics shouldn't be played, but the campaign needs to adjust either to having more similarly themed stuff like mutants, old gods, maybe a half illithid race as the source.

Last edited by loganic; Dec 8th, 2018 at 12:45 PM.
Old Feb 7th, 2019, 05:42 PM
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BlitSnax BlitSnax is offline
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The main reason I ban psionics is because they feel redundant. As a general rule a psion is a mage by another name, they do the same thing fill the same role, just with a different source.

Almost everyone I've met who wanted to play a psionic character (including my younger self) did so because they wanted to be different. As I've matured as a role player and DM, I've learnt that a drive to be mechanically 'special' often leads to boring characters.
Old Feb 16th, 2020, 02:47 AM
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As others have stated, I feel that psionics are more suited to Star Trek than D&D. This has led me to ban psionics in my previous games, as well as participate in games that don't include them. In my case, I can pin-point the reason that I feel this way.

I used to play a lot of StarCraft back in the day, before being exposed to D&D. As some of you may know, one of the major characters in that game is really defined by her psionic abilities (I am of course, referring to Lieutenant Kerrigan). After this got me used to the idea of Psionics being a sci-fi thing, discovering psionics in 3.5 D&D was a jarring experience; it completely ruined my suspension of disbelief. Much like the time that Soulcalibur brought in Star Wars characters like Yoda and Darth Vader, it just felt extremely weird.

Lately I've been re-thinking my stance on this though (call it maturing as a gamer or getting soft in my old age, as your own optimism permits). I'm actually warming up to the idea that psionics is it's own thing, completely seperate from magic. In fact, I might also make more of an effort to differentiate divine magic from arcane magic too. It could be neat that an antimagic field wouldn't interfere with psionics or divine magic. I'll have to think on it more (I typically do a lot of thinking and not a lot of acting).
Old Feb 16th, 2020, 04:19 AM
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Telcontar Telcontar is offline
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There are two reasons I'm opposed to psionics in a fantasy game:
1. It's really just magic by another name. You might as well make them spells, and save yourself the trouble of additional game mechanics.
2. Broad psionic abilities, as opposed to spells with limitations, are potentially game-breaking. They can eliminate mystery. They can make investigation and social interaction too easily and quickly resolved. I've played in games with broad psionic abilities. In every single one, it has been a hot mess. (Same with divination magic, temporal magic, and prophecies. They sound cool, right until they swing through your game like a wrecking ball.)
Currently on a leave of absence from RPGx.

Last edited by Telcontar; Feb 16th, 2020 at 04:20 AM.
Old Nov 21st, 2020, 05:13 PM
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TADHG TADHG is offline
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Obviously, I'm late to this discussion, but are there any opinions on how psionics relates to ki points or sorcery points?

Yes, in first edition, I actually did manage to get a psionic. As I recall, they weren't easy to get and extremely limited.
It doesn't even matter.
Old Nov 29th, 2020, 06:20 PM
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OP has been gone a couple years. Presuming their questions were answered, going to go ahead and close this thread.
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