What's the big deal Psionics? - Page 2 - RPG Crossing
RPG Crossing Home Forums Create An Account! Site Rules & Help

RPG Crossing
Go Back   RPG Crossing > Feedback & User Resources > Gaming Advice > Game Rules
twitter facebook facebook

Notices

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
  #16  
Old Jan 11th, 2017, 05:06 AM
Peachyco Peachyco is offline
Great Wyrm
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Jul 4th, 2020
RPXP: 3701
Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco
Posts: 1,657
If you remove the tag words "Psionics" and "Magic", and put them all under the super-tag "Metaphysics", the arguments against psionics sound a bit more silly. Especially in games like 3.5/PF where Magic is further subdivided into their different sources.

Why is Metaphysics rising from faith (Divine) more acceptable than Metaphysics rising from the mind (Psionics)? Why is Metaphysics derived from blood (Sorcerer) more acceptable than Metaphysics derived from brain cells (Psionics)?
  #17  
Old Jan 11th, 2017, 08:53 AM
ruffdove's Avatar
ruffdove ruffdove is offline
Haroog!
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Mar 27th, 2023
RPXP: 28039
ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove
Posts: 6,186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peachyco View Post
If you remove the tag words "Psionics" and "Magic", and put them all under the super-tag "Metaphysics", the arguments against psionics sound a bit more silly. Especially in games like 3.5/PF where Magic is further subdivided into their different sources.

Why is Metaphysics rising from faith (Divine) more acceptable than Metaphysics rising from the mind (Psionics)? Why is Metaphysics derived from blood (Sorcerer) more acceptable than Metaphysics derived from brain cells (Psionics)?
Dunno, but for me that's the way it is. May have something to do with all the foolishness in the 60s-70s, but it just doesn't fit with my idea of fantasy. Neither do guns - I hate guns and gunslingers and don't allow those either. It's all subjective, but I'll point out a key quote from my earlier post:

Quote:
I think it's nice that they have fixed psionics in later editions to make them more playable... Just because I would never use them, I'm glad people who want to can.
  #18  
Old Jan 11th, 2017, 09:58 AM
Admin Dirk's Avatar
Admin Dirk Admin Dirk is offline
Methuselah of DnD
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Mar 28th, 2023
RPXP: 84307
Admin Dirk Admin Dirk Admin Dirk Admin Dirk Admin Dirk Admin Dirk Admin Dirk Admin Dirk Admin Dirk Admin Dirk Admin Dirk
Posts: 59,725
Thanks for the answer, RD... I was curious how you parsed your like/dislikes.

I have the same feeling about firearms in DnD... although I can look at them and say "is it really any different that this wand fires a magical bolt that does 1d6 damage every round, while this wand fires a bullet that does 1d6 every round", I agree with you that it feels weird to have them. But, I don't really care for crossbows all that much either.
__________________
Aside from RPG, I collect used postage Stamps, Some Coins (quarters), and 1/6th Scale military Figures. Let's talk!
  #19  
Old Jan 11th, 2017, 01:38 PM
GrazztTheDark's Avatar
GrazztTheDark GrazztTheDark is offline
One Man, One Vote
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Aug 31st, 2021
RPXP: 2425
GrazztTheDark GrazztTheDark GrazztTheDark GrazztTheDark GrazztTheDark GrazztTheDark GrazztTheDark GrazztTheDark GrazztTheDark GrazztTheDark GrazztTheDark
Posts: 2,198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peachyco View Post
If you remove the tag words "Psionics" and "Magic", and put them all under the super-tag "Metaphysics", the arguments against psionics sound a bit more silly. Especially in games like 3.5/PF where Magic is further subdivided into their different sources.

Why is Metaphysics rising from faith (Divine) more acceptable than Metaphysics rising from the mind (Psionics)? Why is Metaphysics derived from blood (Sorcerer) more acceptable than Metaphysics derived from brain cells (Psionics)?
It's not really a problem of acceptability. I think it is more that most settings treat psionics as something completely other. There is usually a reasonable amount of integration amongst divine and arcane magic (and subtypes thereof), and psionics is mostly an afterthought. Only fantasy setting I saw that really integrates them well while keeping them fairly distinct is Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar, where magic is actually a specific psionic power.

Also, you're required to learn entirely new spell lists. While there is significant overlap between various divine and arcane casters, psionics are all completely original, even if the effects are similar. It's a bit of a chore, especially if you only have one player who wants to be a psionicist and no plans on incorporating any other psionics into your campaign. If they really want to play a point based caster, it would be easier to just come up with that sort of caster using existing spell lists and integrated mechanics.
__________________
Do you suffer from a lack of giant robots, heroic warriors, talking animals, and the power of friendship?

Then run with us...
  #20  
Old Jan 11th, 2017, 09:44 PM
ruffdove's Avatar
ruffdove ruffdove is offline
Haroog!
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Mar 27th, 2023
RPXP: 28039
ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove
Posts: 6,186
I will say that while I haven't played a sci-fi RPG in over three decades, psionics would not be as objectionable to me in such a setting...

...but divine or arcane magic would.

Weird how tastes work.
  #21  
Old Jan 12th, 2017, 05:25 AM
Peachyco Peachyco is offline
Great Wyrm
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Jul 4th, 2020
RPXP: 3701
Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco
Posts: 1,657
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffdove View Post
I will say that while I haven't played a sci-fi RPG in over three decades, psionics would not be as objectionable to me in such a setting...

...but divine or arcane magic would.
So, no Professor X (Psionic) and Doctor Strange (Arcane) in the same world, then? ^__^
  #22  
Old Jan 12th, 2017, 11:21 AM
ruffdove's Avatar
ruffdove ruffdove is offline
Haroog!
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Mar 27th, 2023
RPXP: 28039
ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove ruffdove
Posts: 6,186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peachyco View Post
So, no Professor X (Psionic) and Doctor Strange (Arcane) in the same world, then? ^__^
Not a comic book guy, but Marvel seems like it's got a pretty serious mishmash of stuff (I assume Dr. Strange is also Marvel).
  #23  
Old Jan 12th, 2017, 12:34 PM
Aeternis's Avatar
Aeternis Aeternis is offline
Ancient Azure Anathema
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Jan 23rd, 2023
RPXP: 22744
Aeternis Aeternis Aeternis Aeternis Aeternis Aeternis Aeternis Aeternis Aeternis Aeternis Aeternis
Posts: 10,488
My first RPG was 3.5e, and I learned pretty early on to ban psionics from my games for two reasons.

The first reason chronologically, but not the most important reason, is that the people who wanted to play them always seemed to be a subset of the people who wanted to be irrepressible munchkins. Psionics presented a mechanically different kind of magic with very little thematic difference, so players who thought they could get mechanical cheese out of them (including the old "Psionics work in antimagic fields" lie some people always tried to pull on new GMs back then) were the only people who even had them on their radar. People who were more interested in story than "the best build" usually didn't bother. I don't think in my years of playing 3.5e I ever saw a character designed with plot in mind use use any levels of a psionic class. Perhaps that's an indication that I was playing with "the wrong people", but that's the way it went.

The second reason is more pragmatic from a game design perspective, and more important. I do not run games in Forgotten Realms or other published fantasy settings, and I never really had Psionics on my radar when doing world design, so a whole system of psesudo-magic like psionics needs to be grandfathered into the world in order to allow them. I need to remember to include psionic monsters and enemies, psionic loot, masters of the psionic arts who the PC can learn from, etc, etc, etc. This isn't something I am going to do just for one character, unless I really like the character, and if that character is psionic mostly because regular magic is too mainstream, I probably don't like them enough to do any of that. Don't expect the GM to bolt psionics onto their game world just because you don't feel like tracking spell slots.

Now, if the world for the game comes with ready-built thematic psionic power support (Dark Sun for example), and the character with those psionic powers is actually plot-relevant, then I'm all for it, provided there's some minimal level of power parity with, say, a standard spellcaster.

[EDIT]: A simpler explanation would be, SleepsAlot, that you are asking the wrong question. If a lot of GMs and old-time players have a lot of hate for something, then the better question isn't "what is it about that thing which is so polarizing?" but instead "what have players who used this thing historically done with it to annoy GMs and/or the other players?" It's got nothing to do with how "powerful" a psionic class is (Wizard in 3.5e was as powerful or more so, but it was rarely if ever banned). It's got everything to do with past players training GMs to regret admitting psionic characters.
__________________
Adjusting to relocation and new job. I appreciate your patience.
--[ A Guide to Applications ]--

Last edited by Aeternis; Jan 12th, 2017 at 12:52 PM.
  #24  
Old Jan 14th, 2017, 08:54 PM
loki_ragnarock's Avatar
loki_ragnarock loki_ragnarock is offline
I'm really not that cool.
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Mar 14th, 2022
RPXP: 4706
loki_ragnarock loki_ragnarock loki_ragnarock loki_ragnarock loki_ragnarock loki_ragnarock loki_ragnarock loki_ragnarock loki_ragnarock loki_ragnarock loki_ragnarock
Posts: 8,189
"No Psionics."

It really can come down to system mastery, honestly. The game is pretty complicated, and being a DM involves anticipating the capabilities of the various characters. With the multitude of options that already exist in vanilla D&D, adding a complication like chocolate can make for a very difficult proposition.

Metaphor:
A DM is to storytelling as a cook is to food. Often it is better that someone understand their ingredients and how to combine them effectively than it is for them to reach for more exotic ingredients. I can make you a piece of salmon that is better than adequate, but if you anticipate my one success with that specific seafood means I can properly prepare geoduck then we might have some different ideas of my capabilities. I'm not sure I can make that appetizing, it is simply too far beyond my experience to adequately anticipate. A cordon bleu could probably make it into something mindblowing, but they have a vastly superior understanding of how food works than I do.

Psionics are like that; if they are an ingredient that you're familiar with, or if you are a masterful and experienced storyteller, they can be incorporated into something palatable. But if it's outside your experience? Better to be avoided until such time as you better understand it.

EDIT
Especially if you expect a bunch of people to eat it.
__________________
I took the road less traveled now where the hell am I? (Thanks Jhulae)
"I suppose a good death is better then bad roleplaying."
-#577 From The Canonical List of Famous Last Words

Last edited by loki_ragnarock; Jan 14th, 2017 at 08:56 PM.
  #25  
Old Jan 14th, 2017, 11:03 PM
Peachyco Peachyco is offline
Great Wyrm
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Jul 4th, 2020
RPXP: 3701
Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco Peachyco
Posts: 1,657
Quote:
Originally Posted by loki_ragnarock View Post
Psionics are like that; if they are an ingredient that you're familiar with, or if you are a masterful and experienced storyteller, they can be incorporated into something palatable. But if it's outside your experience? Better to be avoided until such time as you better understand it.
And that's really at the core of the issue, I think: the GM's comfort level. Whether it be Psionics, the Aarakocra, Level-Adjusted Races, or whatever else, it all boils down to whether or not the GM is willing to tackle the additional complexity that is outside of the Core Rulebooks, or whether or not that particular game aspect fits into the GM's concept of the campaign world (e.g. low-magic or no-magic campaigns).
  #26  
Old Feb 1st, 2017, 08:51 PM
GallupsMirror's Avatar
GallupsMirror GallupsMirror is offline
A legend in my spare time
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Jan 18th, 2023
RPXP: 7022
GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror
Posts: 3,016
Quote:
Originally Posted by SleepsAlot View Post
So my main question is: why are psionics so polarizing? It seems like a really cool idea that seem to get allot of hate. PS. Mostly all of my experience is in 5e but I'm asking for all editions.
Here's my two cents.

North Pole: D&D gamers disdain psionics for the same reason they disdain laser pistols; neither fits the archetypal magic-oriented fantasy game setting, which is mostly Middle Earth. Mental abilities (and lasers) are the stuff of science fiction settings like Gamma World.

South Pole: D&D gamers like psionics because they feel unattached to the fantasy literature that inspired fantasy gaming, so anything fits. Even in Middle Earth, beings like Galadriel and Sauron have mind powers like telepathy, astral projection, mind reading and remote viewing, although these were magical, not really mental.

I think this touches one of the reasons that 4e sold so poorly: the fantasy world strayed too far from its inspirational roots. For instance, all of a sudden, elves have teleportation as a racial ability. Talk about a departure from the norm. Every one creates another set of poles, with some pleased and some not.
__________________
Tutorial: 3D Combat
Tutorial: MapTool Battle Grids
Cover Artist: Explosive Runes 25 & 31

Last edited by GallupsMirror; Mar 4th, 2017 at 10:25 PM.
  #27  
Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 01:40 PM
Tarien Tarien is offline
Wyrmling
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Feb 25th, 2017
RPXP: 50
Tarien
Posts: 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peachyco View Post
And that's really at the core of the issue, I think: the GM's comfort level. Whether it be Psionics, the Aarakocra, Level-Adjusted Races, or whatever else, it all boils down to whether or not the GM is willing to tackle the additional complexity that is outside of the Core Rulebooks, or whether or not that particular game aspect fits into the GM's concept of the campaign world (e.g. low-magic or no-magic campaigns).
I really think that this is the central question. A good example might be Donaldson's The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. It's not traditional fantasy, but neither is it sci-fi. What it is is an example of a specific writer's interpretation of a story, wherein the author determines what is legitimate in their constructed world. Roleplaying, at its essence, is simply interactive, shared storytelling, wherein the author invites others to assist in the development of the narrative. Rules and editions can serve to assist in addressing specific expectations that most participants might expect to encounter in those narrative sessions, but most editions are careful to emphasize that the final arbitration of what is considered "acceptable" lies in the hands of the chief narrator. Thus, psionics, or the development of external mental activity, is just another mechanism for explaining the phenomena that manifest within the scope of the story. One isn't more right or more wrong than another, as long as the mechanics that warrant the explanation are consistent and internally valid. If lasers are present in a fantasy story, the responsibility of the DM is to explain their existence to the players in such a way as makes sense to them. If this explanation allows the players to suspend their disbelief, the game works. If it doesn't, the player will often seek to resolve the dissonance, or leave the game. But trying to impose external restrictions on such an effort doesn't really make sense.
  #28  
Old Mar 15th, 2017, 03:37 PM
Acathala's Avatar
Acathala Acathala is offline
His divine shadow
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Mar 28th, 2023
RPXP: 7996
Acathala Acathala Acathala Acathala Acathala Acathala Acathala Acathala Acathala Acathala Acathala
Posts: 21,238
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirkoth View Post
Thanks for the answer, RD... I was curious how you parsed your like/dislikes.

I have the same feeling about firearms in DnD... although I can look at them and say "is it really any different that this wand fires a magical bolt that does 1d6 damage every round, while this wand fires a bullet that does 1d6 every round", I agree with you that it feels weird to have them. But, I don't really care for crossbows all that much either.
I personally think Psionics should really be in in a Sci-Fi setting, though I have no objection to using them in a fantasy setting. You can make an argument for guns in a late fantasy setting though.
__________________
Quia iocari libet mihi
  #29  
Old Mar 16th, 2017, 11:39 AM
Grievier's Avatar
Grievier Grievier is offline
Juvenile Dragon
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Jun 22nd, 2017
RPXP: 53
Grievier
Posts: 26
I found this thread extremely interesting, I'm very new to D&D and table top RPG's in general. I started off by wanting to play and began building a campaign for my friends. From inception psionics were in my world and always intended to be.

When I casually mentioned this to one player (who had been playing D&D for much longer) he flipped his lid. "Psions are Op" he told me and should be banned. I hadn't seen this reaction at all, not had I expected it. We ended up having a long talk about it and the conclusion we came to is that like a lot of the higher tier classes they are "abusable" but then so are Wizards, Clerics & Druids.

So I had the opposite experience where the DM was all for Psions but the player was dead set against it.

In terms of theme, I personally don't see them as a problem in a fantasy setting. In fact it makes more sense to me that they exist in an area where perhaps Magic can't be used Psions would be the default magic users E.G underwater vocal components might be impossible. I do think Psions should be rare though.
  #30  
Old Mar 16th, 2017, 12:09 PM
GallupsMirror's Avatar
GallupsMirror GallupsMirror is offline
A legend in my spare time
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Jan 18th, 2023
RPXP: 7022
GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror GallupsMirror
Posts: 3,016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acathala View Post
You can make an argument for guns in a late fantasy setting though.
I think the gunslingers in Stephen King's The Dark Tower fantasy novels were the inspiration for the Pathfinder class of the same name. The titular character of The Gunslinger, in the first novel, used twin revolvers forged from the metal of Excaliber and fired them with supernatural speed and accuracy.

Most of the classes in D&D have roots in that sort of popular fantasy literature. Barbarians are based on Conan the Barbarian, for instance. I'm pretty well read in the fantasy genre and when it comes to psionic characters I don't think the inspirational well is very deep, so the neither is the fantasy-psionics association.
__________________
Tutorial: 3D Combat
Tutorial: MapTool Battle Grids
Cover Artist: Explosive Runes 25 & 31
Closed Thread

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:44 PM.
Skin by Birched, making use of original art by paiute.( 2009-2012)


RPG Crossing, Copyright ©2003 - 2023, RPG Crossing Inc; powered by vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2023, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd. Template-Modifications by TMB