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Why psions are so rare in RPG's?

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Meredoth, Aug 24, 2021.

  1. Meredoth Arcane

    Meredoth
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    I just don't get why. We got a lot of AD&D/2E adaptations in 90s and the unique CRPG which allow psion PC's is the Dark Sun games(Shattered Lands/Wake of the Ravager which is a bit underrated imo). None of the 3rd edition D&D adaptations from 00s allow psion PC's. Temple of elemental evil, nwn1, nwn2(...) none of then allow psions. Except if you mod the game. The PRC mod for NWN1 adds the following classes :
    • Psion
    • Psychic Warrior
    • Soulknife
    • Wilder
    Other game which is not a D&D product but is heavily influentied by D&D which offers psionics is the KoTC2. Psionic powers are vstly different than spells mechanic wise. I always preferred arcane casters, play every game except those who lacks magic, like Kingdom Come, Mount & Blade and Fallout: New Vegas as one. However, in Pillars of Eternity 1/2 I played as Cipher. Exactly because the normal wizard of the game is just a lackluster ultra nerfed version of infinity engine magic users. Cipher in other hands, has a lot of cool stuff to do. Dominating enemy minds is extremely powerful. Mainly in a very low lethality game.

    In my topic about low lethality, some people argued that OHK spells are "win buttons"(which I disagree). However, dominating an enemy is essentially the same of OHK a enemy and reanimating him to fight the previous enemies. Much more powerful effect. Whisper of Treason and Puppet Masters are amazing powers in Pillars IMO.

    Pathfinder: Wrath of The Righteous will have 25 base classes with literally hundreds of subclasses. No psion. Like P&P has.
     
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  2. Pink Eye Monk Patron

    Pink Eye
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    Colony Ship has psions. There are mutated creatures who can use such attacks on you. Sadly you can't use them. However. Its sequel, if the game sells well, will allow the player to use psionics. Though these abilities are gained through genetic engineering and mutations. Meaning only specific party members can use them. Rather than everyone having innate psionics al la Dark Sun. Still I think that's pretty cool!
     
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  3. mondblut Arcane

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    "Psionics" are magic for science fiction settings. They are thematically unfit and absolutely not needed in fantasy games which already have spellcasting wizards and clerics.
     
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  4. Meredoth Arcane

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    Strongly disagree. Psionics are the manipulation of "inner forces", magic of "outer forces". The difference between a psion and a wizard is akin to the difference of a wizard and a cleric.
     
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  5. Aarwolf Learned

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    I don't mind psionics, if there are people who want to play as such let them be. But I never felt the urge to play them and never in my life had the feeling that yeah, psion is someone who would be really needed now.

    I also didn't care for PoE's ciphers, they were just different skinned casters, much as psions are in most iterations known to me.
     
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  6. Vlajdermen Self-Ejected

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    Dark sun had prominent psionics and it came across as just a different type of magic, it wasn't a game-changer but it did add some substance to the combat, and that's still welcome.
     
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  7. JamesDixon Arcane Patron

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    Once you wrap your head around "Everything is a special effect" can you grasp what mondblut is saying. The only difference between the two is how it works and appearance of it working.

    In D&D/AD&D they implemented psionics that broke the system conventions that other classes followed. I remember watching a Tim Kask interview saying that he didn't like how they implemented psionics in D&D/AD&D. He wished to do it again.

    As for why they never appeared in later editions is due to WotC not liking them I suppose.
     
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  8. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Except it is a D&D product, it uses the OGL 3.5 ruleset. It's not an officially licensed D&D product but it uses the open source ruleset. It may add some homebrew elements to the rules but it's still D&D, in fact it's the most faithful implementation of the D&D 3.5 ruleset ever seen in a computer game, more faithful than either ToEE or NWN.
     
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  9. mondblut Arcane

    mondblut
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    Semantics. You could just as well separate elemental spells from the rest, call them "Sorcery" and use mana system for it instead of vancian, likewise handwaving it with some arcanebabble one-liner.

    Point being, when you hear "psionics" (well, maybe not you specifically, but definitely most of us), you hear Star Trek, not Lord of the Rings or Conan. And that's exactly why they forced the psionic meme into Dark Sun with its oh-so-alien-and-quirky gimmick. Halflings are cannibals! (and former builders of all civilization) Elves are thieving gypsies! Everyone can do telekinesis and telepathy!

    If you think "telekinesis and telepathy" are the words we want to encounter in our good ole medieval fantasy, read the room.
     
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  10. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

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    Since you mention "sorcery", D&D already has the difference between wizard = book-smart spellcaster vs sorcerer = innate spellcaster so psionics just become this weird additional thing.
     
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  11. Reality Learned

    Reality
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    I think Psionics are probbably best in a low-combat "social Tabletop RPG" kind of thing.

    Psionic quannitity of the setting is also a consideration -

    Few Psionics - kinda lends itself to horror style campaigns or the a varaiant of "wizards should be gods/warlords over everyone else" Most of the time it should be a bad guy mechanic.

    Many Psuibucs - if everyone has it then nominally, Most mind-reading is out, and thus it kind of gets deatched from really being "mental" as kinesis etc becomes the most used power, and in short order you get something that just feels like a flavor of combtat magic.
     
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  12. JamesDixon Arcane Patron

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    The first instance psionics was that module for AD&D 1E that put in lasers and a crashed spaceship. Psionics as implemented used points instead of slots. That made psionics better than magic as high intelligence characters had far more points to allow them to use their psionics way more than clerics and wizards could cast spells.
     
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  13. JamesDixon Arcane Patron

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    Sorcerers weren't introduced until AD&D 2E as a wizard kit way after psionicists.
     
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  14. mondblut Arcane

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    I know that psionics predate Dark Sun for years (hey, I've read "Intercontinental Union of Disgusting Characters" before I've read Player's Handbook), but nice pointing out that they arrived alongside lasers and spaceships ;)
     
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  15. dacencora Augur

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    I do think Psionics are very fun to play, but they definitely work better in Underrail than in fantasy stuff. Still fun to play in KOTC2, however.
     
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  16. mondblut Arcane

    mondblut
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    Nah, lots of different overlapping systems are alright. Just keep the words and themes that don't fit into my western medieval fantasy out, 'k? No "psionics", no "ki", no "ooga-booga".
     
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  17. Reinhardt Arcane

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    This part is true.
     
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  18. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

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    Idk, for a campaign heavy on social manipulation I played an illusionist wizard once and that worked very well. Don't see how you need psionics for it because wizards have the same abilities depending on which spell school you focus on.
     
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  19. SoupNazi rial billionaire Patron

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    I was always interested in having a telekinetic/telepathic psion type of class that essentially isn't "magic", but just someone manipulate objects at a distance, communicate without speaking, etc. Could easily have a level progression, too - early levels, you can't implant thoughts, just talk and at a short range. Mid-levels you can maybe implant thoughts when they're sleeping, bigger range, cross-country if you're somehow linked or related to the person, etc. And when you're a legend you snap you turn people crazy by talking in their heads, and if you know where someone is and have something of theirs, you can implant thoughts across continents.

    Same with telekinetics. You can start off with being able to bring yourself a mug of coffee from a table without getting up, get to being able to slow down / stop incoming projectiles or weapon attacks, ripping doors from its hinges, or pulling a single brick out o a wall with some effort. Legendary status, you can even manipulate people, lift them up in the air, Force Push / Pull, take their weapons, completely stop a hail of arrows coming at you ala Neo in the Matrix, launch boulders at castles like a far more effective and mobile catapult, etc.

    No magic though, no components, it's just something you do and there's no spectacle. For some of the stronger stuff maybe you need to use gestures, but to float a coin in mid-air, unless someone's very keen-eyed, they don't even see you doing shit.

    Would love to see something like that.
     
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  20. Meredoth Arcane

    Meredoth
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    Not all RPG's needs to be medieval fantasy.

    If mindflayers exists in your ficional world, psionics should exist too.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but sorcerer in 1E was a "magic user title", At lv 11 they get the Wizard tile, then high wizard and finally archwizard and the sorcerer kit existed for 2E on complete wizard handbook was called amazon sorceress. Is this truth? I'm not sure.

    Enchantment is also a amazing school for highly social campaigns.
     
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  21. mondblut Arcane

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    Yes, psionics make perfect sense in a sci-fi setting.

    An ability to attack minds with psychic energy does not have to be tied up with new age ESP crap.
     
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  22. Alex Arcane

    Alex
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    I am not a big fan of psionics either. But they can work in fantasy; just not typical medieval fantasy. I think both Darksun and Spelljammer settings are examples of places where psionics can work alongside magic.

    edit:

    Fair enough... but then again, you could just as well argue that the ability to sling fireballs does not have to be tied up with new age wicca crap.
     
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  23. JamesDixon Arcane Patron

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    You're welcome. I remember the name of the module. It is Expedition to Barrier Peaks.

    All it was is a title, so it was still a wizard. In The Complete Wizard's Handbook it was a kit that used the current system of Charisma affects amount of spells. It was mechinically different.
     
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  24. Gregz Arcane

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    I never cared for psionics, especially in fantasy settings.
     
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  25. mondblut Arcane

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    That's what I said. Dark sun goes out of its way to show how "alien" it is, and Spelljammer is literally Star Trek meets D&D.

    Wizards in fantasy canon predate Gardner by many years. Blame sir Thomas Mallory.

    Homer had his opportunity to introduce psionicists via Circe, but he never watched Trek and blew his chance.
     
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