PDA

View Full Version : Psionic Bias?



Pages : [1] 2

Zergrusheddie
2010-04-02, 11:02 AM
It seems to me like there are a lot of people who are completely opposed to Psionics. People I have played with have had entire discussions on how Psionics suck/are overpowered/stole their laundry but they were talking about 2E Psionics. Looking through the great internets, I see that there are others who share this opinion; why is that?

Best of luck.
-Eddie

Yora
2010-04-02, 11:06 AM
It started once and got repeated since.

I think 3.0 psionics wasn't that great either, but 3.5e psionics is actually a very good magic system that some people like even more than the old spell slot system.

And then there's the thing that they decided for some reason to do all the psionic fluff with shaved heads, tatoos, crystal equipment, and ectoplasm and such, that really makes it hard it first to think of it as magic in a high fantasy setting. Once you got accustomed to the setting, you can play psionic characters exactly like bards and sorcerers, but I think the fluff in the XPH really is a huge distraction.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-02, 11:16 AM
2.0 and earlier psionics was overpowered. Well, technically, it was random so no control.
Then there were psionic classes making it less random, but still the fact that you could get Disintegrate at 1st with a slight chance of critical failing so you used it on yourself.
So it was dangerous, but overpowered if it worked.
Lots of headaches.

3.0 Psionics was weird. It was both under and over powered.
Psionic combat made it worse.
See monsters didn't have a PP limit so they used their psi combat/defenses for free. Meaning they could spam them making you waste yours.
You had to put up a defense or it got worse for you (bigger penalties).
Heck, the classic worry was a PsyWarr being chased by a brain mole: since they could just spam attacks and you kinda had to defend till you are drained.

You had to specilize but it came with good/bad things.
There were some cool things like making Con based Psion so bonus PP came from your Con. But you still needed decent stats for every ability score due to you needed the minimum to use that discipline (dumped stats meant can't use discipline).

3.5: people have trouble forgetting the past, not to go Godwin but Hitler nuff said.
So though 3.5 psionics is better balanced than Core-DMs are wary of it.

marjan
2010-04-02, 11:28 AM
And then there's the thing that they decided for some reason to do all the psionic fluff with shaved heads, tatoos, crystal equipment, and ectoplasm and such, that really makes it hard it first to think of it as magic in a high fantasy setting. Once you got accustomed to the setting, you can play psionic characters exactly like bards and sorcerers, but I think the fluff in the XPH really is a huge distraction.

Also some of art looks more like SF than fantasy.

Nidogg
2010-04-02, 11:29 AM
With core only+ expanded PH psionics are overpowered because thaere arent nearly enough spells that deal damage in the form that people want i.e there is no lesser acid orb where psionics gets Hammer. Once you expand the rules, psionics is incredibly unflexible and loses its advantage.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-02, 11:33 AM
Hammer is more like Chill Touch. They both deal a small amount of damage for more than 1 attack.
Chill touch is better that it also lowers Str with failed save.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-02, 11:36 AM
With core only+ expanded PH psionics are overpowered because thaere arent nearly enough spells that deal damage in the form that people want i.e there is no lesser acid orb where psionics gets Hammer. Once you expand the rules, psionics is incredibly unflexible and loses its advantage.No. Psionics does blasting reasonably well, whereas core doesn't. Doing something better than someone else who takes a bad option and does it badly isn't overpowered.

Unless you're just saying that psionics can't do ANYTHING better than magic (because magic can do anything, and should do it better than everyone else, all at the same time), which is a horrible position to take.

Yuki Akuma
2010-04-02, 11:36 AM
With core only+ expanded PH psionics are overpowered because thaere arent nearly enough spells that deal damage in the form that people want i.e there is no lesser acid orb where psionics gets Hammer. Once you expand the rules, psionics is incredibly unflexible and loses its advantage.

Yeah, but... psionics is better than magic at direct damage. Magic is better than psionics at other things, such as battlefield control. The two are not the same.

Zergrusheddie
2010-04-02, 11:38 AM
Alright, another question for the playground:

What makes Psionics more balanced than the Vancian Magic system used by Wizards? I am trying to compile a list for my group.

TheYoungKing
2010-04-02, 11:38 AM
I just found Psionics to be harder to wrap my head around and harder to integrate into my worlds. Beyond that, no one I know that plays uses Psionics, so....

Optimystik
2010-04-02, 11:43 AM
Alright, another question for the playground:

What makes Psionics more balanced than the Vancian Magic system used by Wizards? I am trying to compile a list for my group.

Why reinvent the wheel? (http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/18833134/Myth:_The_XPH_is_overpowered)

TheYoungKing
2010-04-02, 11:45 AM
Why reinvent the wheel? (http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/18833134/Myth:_The_XPH_is_overpowered)

What about bookkeeping? That has been my biggest issue reading the XPH- the powers look rather difficult to me, at least more difficult than most spells.

Optimystik
2010-04-02, 11:48 AM
What about bookkeeping? That has been my biggest issue reading the XPH- the powers look rather difficult to me, at least more difficult than most spells.

*Wizard starts the day*
"Let's see... I'll need two Glitterdusts, an SM3, Alter Self, Fly, a couple of invisibilities for myself and the rogue, one Extended Mage Armor, 2 Empowered Acid Orbs..."

*Psion starts the day*
*Erases current PP total. Writes in max PP total.*
"Who wants coffee?"

Starbuck_II
2010-04-02, 11:52 AM
What about bookkeeping? That has been my biggest issue reading the XPH- the powers look rather difficult to me, at least more difficult than most spells.

Isn't that basic math...?
It isn't algebra, geometry, trig, etc. You just add and subtract numbers. I mean, you could multiply but that is still just adding really.

InkEyes
2010-04-02, 11:56 AM
Alright, another question for the playground:

What makes Psionics more balanced than the Vancian Magic system used by Wizards? I am trying to compile a list for my group.

Psionic powers are less abusable. Many of the powers are directly lifted from PHB spells, then lightly tenderized with a nerf bat. It means that the powers aren't nearly as game-breaking while still scaling at a reasonable rate.

Psionic power points also have an edge over Vancian casting because it's basically the same system every computer and console RPG uses (i.e. a pool of mana/magicka/etc. that let you cast spells until you need to replenish them). It's difficult for new players to wrap their heads around the fact that 9th level casters don't get 9th level spells, but a Psion gets better powers simply by dumping more power points into one they already have.

The classes themselves are also more carefully designed than the Tier 1 casters of the PHB. The Psion is usually labeled as Tier 2 or 3, the Psychic Warrior is Tier 3, the Wilder is 3/4, and the Soulknife is... bad. When you combine less broken powers with classes that have reasonable limits placed on them by the power points system, you get the Expanded Psionics Handbook.

Yora
2010-04-02, 11:57 AM
Most time it is: I spend 8 pp, so the spell deals 8d6 points of damage.

Optimystik
2010-04-02, 11:58 AM
The Psion is usually labeled as Tier 2 or 3, the Psychic Warrior is Tier 3, the Wilder is 3/4, and the Soulknife is... bad.

The Soulknife isn't actually psionic. Nothing really ties him to the others. He's the Big Lipped Alligator of the XPH.

TheYoungKing
2010-04-02, 12:00 PM
Isn't that basic math...?
It isn't algebra, geometry, trig, etc. You just add and subtract numbers. I mean, you could multiply but that is still just adding really.

I find the points harder to keep track of, thank you. Not due to mathematical ability, but because I've always been bad at keeping track of totals like that. And having to deicde to augment or not, thus having a different cost each and every time. Add to that being the DM and trying to keep track of your Psionics.....

Having a qualitative system (spells) seems to me to be easier than a quantitative system (PP). Maybe that is just me, but whenever I've looked at Psionics, I have imagined it would be a mess (and when I did do Psionics in d20 Modern, it was.)

(Also, I and most people I know just construct set spell lists in advance. This is for Situation A, Situation B.)

The Big Dice
2010-04-02, 12:02 PM
My thing with Psionics is very simple. I don't see it as something that fits into a fantasy setting. To my addled way of thinking, Psi Powers belong in a modern or futuristic setting, rather than along side Wizards and Clerics.

Mechanically, the rules are fine, though a lack of fluff in the SRD is annoying. For me, it's more an issue of style and theme over the rules say I can.

JoshuaZ
2010-04-02, 12:03 PM
What about bookkeeping? That has been my biggest issue reading the XPH- the powers look rather difficult to me, at least more difficult than most spells.

The only bookeeping is subtraction and deciding how much to spend on augments when you have the options. The bookeeping in that regard is simpler than Vancian magic. A wizard needs to keep track of every spell they have still prepared and how many copies of it they have. A psion needs to only keep track of 1 number.

Catch
2010-04-02, 12:07 PM
My thing with Psionics is very simple. I don't see it as something that fits into a fantasy setting. To my addled way of thinking, Psi Powers belong in a modern or futuristic setting, rather than along side Wizards and Clerics.

Mechanically, the rules are fine, though a lack of fluff in the SRD is annoying. For me, it's more an issue of style and theme over the rules say I can.

I've never understood rejection based on fluff - for psionics, ToB, whatever.

Fluff is the easiest aspect to change in a system. You could just replace the word "psionic" with "magic" and "power" with spell and it would work, mostly. The rationale for psionics existing is only limited by your creativity.

Morty
2010-04-02, 12:14 PM
As far as I'm concerned, I see no reason to introduce psionics in my games or suggest doing that because I like neither flavor nor the mechanics very much, so there's no point in doing it. I'd comply if the majority at the table wanted to do that, but I'd vote against it.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-02, 12:15 PM
Why vote against it? I'm cool with you not entering it unless voted: seems reasonable.
But why the hatred of it? Why can't another use it?

InkEyes
2010-04-02, 12:16 PM
The Soulknife isn't actually psionic. Nothing really ties him to the others. He's the Big Lipped Alligator of the XPH.

It's psionic because it has a miiind blaaade oooooeeeoooh!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/SecretFinder767/mentok1.jpg


I find the points harder to keep track of, thank you. Not due to mathematical ability, but because I've always been bad at keeping track of totals like that. And having to deicde to augment or not, thus having a different cost each and every time. Add to that being the DM and trying to keep track of your Psionics.....

Having a qualitative system (spells) seems to me to be easier than a quantitative system (PP). Maybe that is just me, but whenever I've looked at Psionics, I have imagined it would be a mess (and when I did do Psionics in d20 Modern, it was.)

(Also, I and most people I know just construct set spell lists in advance. This is for Situation A, Situation B.)

Do you also have difficulty keeping track of HP, power attack, spells per day, AC, sneak attack, damage spells, attack rolls, spell duration, and skill checks? Because those all involve keeping track of total points per level too, and it's all core.

I can appreciate being alienated by other issues with Psionics, but Power Points is probably the easiest casting system 3.5 D&D has: you have a list of powers, you have a power point pool, the powers scale based on how many power points you dump in (up to the manifester's class level).

PS: (d20 Modern is already more cluttered, I mean, look at the skill list. :smalleek:)

sonofzeal
2010-04-02, 12:17 PM
My thing with Psionics is very simple. I don't see it as something that fits into a fantasy setting. To my addled way of thinking, Psi Powers belong in a modern or futuristic setting, rather than along side Wizards and Clerics.

Mechanically, the rules are fine, though a lack of fluff in the SRD is annoying. For me, it's more an issue of style and theme over the rules say I can.
Name aside, I recommend thinking of it like the Monk's ki. We all agree Monks can use meditation and mental discipline to achieve supernatural effects, right? I mean, six of their class abilities are (Su). I'd think of psi the same way. Psions and Psychic Warriors (and to a limited extend, Wilders) all use meditation and mental discipline to achieve supernatural effects, just like the Monk does. As a result, they're no more "sci fi" than Monks are.

It can help, though, to strike all instances of the word "crystal" and replace it with "gem".

Morty
2010-04-02, 12:18 PM
{Scrubbed}

Yora
2010-04-02, 12:18 PM
I actually use the psionic rules for all spellcasters and call it magic.

The Big Dice
2010-04-02, 12:20 PM
I've never understood rejection based on fluff - for psionics, ToB, whatever.

Fluff is the easiest aspect to change in a system. You could just replace the word "psionic" with "magic" and "power" with spell and it would work, mostly. The rationale for psionics existing is only limited by your creativity.

You could argue the same for energy weapons powered by magic, for cars with "infernal combustion engines" or anything else you want to refluff.

Fluff is more important than you might think. Without it, the SRD just isn't enough to run a game with, simply because most of the classes lack any kind of description for what they are. As opposed to what they do, which is covered in great detail.

I'm not saying OMGPSIONICSIZHAXURDOINITRONG! What I'm saying is, I don't feel it fits seamlessly into a fantasy game, and that's why I don't use it at my table.

Optimystik
2010-04-02, 12:23 PM
(Also, I and most people I know just construct set spell lists in advance. This is for Situation A, Situation B.)

See, in my opinion, that approach requires sacrificing too much flexibility in the name of standardization. If I'm in a pitched battle, I don't want to have to keep a running tally in the back of my head of how many Scorching Rays I have left (both metamagicked and not) so I know where I should be aiming them. Nor do I want to have to try and estimate the number of guards between me and the king so I know how many Charm Persons to prepare.

I'd rather just know that - I have plenty of PP left, cut loose; or, I'm running low, time to make my powers last.

Metamagic makes it worse. So the white dragon is on its last legs, and I have a Maximized Fireball left that I'd been saving, but the Paladin got off a critical smite. So yeah, I can fry it to a grease spot on my turn (what a waste of a 6th-level slot), or pass my turn and save the spell for a full-strength enemy our DM will probably drop on us on the way out - risking the Dragon chowing down on the party rogue nearby before it dies.

Meanwhile the Psion can just fire an Energy Ray and only augment it as needed. Say, up to 7 PP, or the equivalent of a 4th-level spell. I take out the dragon before he can get off a parting bite, and have enough juice left for future encounters, because PP have greater granularity.

TheYoungKing
2010-04-02, 12:30 PM
Do you also have difficulty keeping track of HP, power attack, spells per day, AC, sneak attack, damage spells, attack rolls, spell duration, and skill checks? Because those all involve keeping track of total points per level too, and it's all core.

Those are static, you'll note, or involve die rolls. There isn't another deductible and modular point system in 3.5, unless you count arrows with Multishot. (And this is why I stayed away from guns in d20 Modern and from bows in 3.5. I'm messy on keeping track of those non-static numbers.)



I can appreciate being alienated by other issues with Psionics, but Power Points is probably the easiest casting system 3.5 D&D has: you have a list of powers, you have a power point pool, the powers scale based on how many power points you dump in (up to the manifester's class level).

Which I find to be a lot more complex than just scratching fireball off your spell list and rolling for damage. Your damage rolls will be exactly the same for a fairly good period of time (levels) with fireball, versus a psionic power, where you'll roll differently and pay for it differently depending on how you augment it.

I don't see how you could say that is easier, either for the player or the DM (who has to watch for player fudges, something my DM kept catching me on with my Gunslinger.)


PS: (d20 Modern is already more cluttered, I mean, look at the skill list. :smalleek:)

No disagreement here. But luckily, those skill bonuses are static and you memorize the ones you use consistently. So, still not at all like PP.

EDIT: And I love how everyone is implying I'm an idiot who can't find the right dice size simply because I find power points to have more bookkeeping.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-02, 12:36 PM
{Scrubbed}

Isn't disliking the same as hating it?
Kinda philosophical, but still.

Morty
2010-04-02, 12:39 PM
Isn't disliking the same as hating it?
Kinda philosophical, but still.

Of course it isn't. I'm lost as to why you might think it is, really.

sonofzeal
2010-04-02, 12:50 PM
Those are static, you'll note, or involve die rolls. There isn't another deductible and modular point system in 3.5, unless you count arrows with Multishot. (And this is why I stayed away from guns in d20 Modern and from bows in 3.5. I'm messy on keeping track of those non-static numbers.)
Tracking hp is exactly the same as tracking pp. Harder, even, because it tends to go up and down throughout the day, while pp just goes down (short of massive hax). There's virtually no practical difference between "well this orc hit me for 5 and this ogre hit me for 13" and "I used 5 pp on Touchsight and 13 pp on Decerebrate", in terms of bookkeeping.


Which I find to be a lot more complex than just scratching fireball off your spell list and rolling for damage. Your damage rolls will be exactly the same for a fairly good period of time (levels) with fireball, versus a psionic power, where you'll roll differently and pay for it differently depending on how you augment it.

I don't see how you could say that is easier, either for the player or the DM (who has to watch for player fudges, something my DM kept catching me on with my Gunslinger.)
For the DM, magic has the same problem. Unless the DM is keeping very careful tabs on exactly how many spells of exactly which levels the Sorcerer is using, it's pretty easy to go over your allotment. Our DM doesn't even bother, he just leaves it to honour system, same with hp. If yours doesn't, just have the player tack pp-usage into his power calls. "Psionic Lion's Charge, 3 pp", "Energy Missile, 7 pp", "Decerebrate, 13 pp". That's no harder than reminding the DM what level each of your spells is.

And if you're using blasty psi powers, I think you'll find that most of the time you're fully augmenting and that it works pretty much the same as for Fireball. At 7th level you're usually spending 7 pp on Energy Missile and doing 7d6+7. At 9th level you're usually spending 9pp and doing 9d6+9. At 15th level you're usually spending 15pp and doing 15d6+15.

And since powers don't suffer from random caps like spells do (since you have to pay for that extra damage rather than get it for free), you'll often end up using a lot of your low-level powers through most of your career. They tend to scale much more smoothly and directly than Vancian magic, and a good power at level 5 is probably still a good power at level 15. This increases consistency, decreases memorization, makes the DM's job easier as he's more clear on what to expect, and I think is all around a good thing.

Alleine
2010-04-02, 01:06 PM
I think a lot of it has to do with familiarity. For example, lots of people don't bother adding a system like Incarnum to their games because they aren't familiar with it and don't know the rules as well as arcane magic. You'll have to constantly look up what things go where and do what. Its similar with psionics. People who don't know it will have trouble using it because they haven't learned it as well as the systems they ARE familiar with.

When I got my hands on the XPH, I read through it and learned it well because I found it an intriguing and easier option than magic because I didn't have to constantly prepare new spells every day and mark them off when I used them, erase then when I switched out new ones, etc. Instead I just write them down once, and keep track of my PP. This seems a lot more simple, especially as I went with blaster for my first psion and tended to augment everything to the fullest so every power had the same cost. The cost changed with every level, but its similar to having to remember how many more spells you get at the next level.

To me the difference is between having a massively smudged and difficult to read spell list and a massively smudge and difficult to read PP total. One is a huge list that demands changes whenever you level. The other is a small box of the same.

Optimystik
2010-04-02, 01:12 PM
Of course it isn't. I'm lost as to why you might think it is, really.

If the end result in both cases is "not at my table," then what functional difference is there?

Morty
2010-04-02, 01:32 PM
If the end result in both cases is "not at my table," then what functional difference is there?

There's probably little functional difference. But it doesn't matter, because the difference between hating and disliking is emotional. I don't hate psionics, I dislike them. Hating a D&D supplement would be beyound absurd.
As to the end result itself - are you implying being against introducing psionics - or any other subsystem - into the game when someone suggests it is somehow wrong or too extreme?

InkEyes
2010-04-02, 01:44 PM
Those are static, you'll note, or involve die rolls. There isn't another deductible and modular point system in 3.5, unless you count arrows with Multishot. (And this is why I stayed away from guns in d20 Modern and from bows in 3.5. I'm messy on keeping track of those non-static numbers.)

They're not absolutely static bonuses. Hit points function pretty much the same as power points, and power attack varies depending on on the level of the attacker and how much BAB/AC you dump in (and that's just as fiddly as augmenting powers). But really, all of these involve some math, and over time you might memorize how they change. The same thing happens with psionic powers. A 7th level psion puts 7 power points into Crystal Shard and gets 7d6 damage, that's the same as a fireball of that level. Some are a bit harder: +1 to AC and saves for one power point; +1 additional/3 power points, but we are all able to cope with odd scaling like that in magic missile or similar spells.



Which I find to be a lot more complex than just scratching fireball off your spell list and rolling for damage. Your damage rolls will be exactly the same for a fairly good period of time (levels) with fireball, versus a psionic power, where you'll roll differently and pay for it differently depending on how you augment it.

Psionic classes aren't very different from a sorcerer, is keeping a running tally of how many sorcerer spells used per day much harder than a running tally of expended power points? Wizards have a different challenge though, they have to dig through a massive book of spells every day and cherry pick the best ones for the situation, and then apply any meta magic they want to the spells. In a way, they're rewarded for their prep time with that quick check-off during combat. As a trade off, players of psions or sorcerers will probably become familiar with their dramatically smaller spell lists and won't need to spend as much time figuring out the effects of a spell. Sure, the best spells a Wizard will know will probably be the ones they prepare every day, but in the situations where they might need a very specific spell on their list they don't have to spend time wishing they'd prepared 3 Overland Flights rather than 3 Polymorphs that day.



I don't see how you could say that is easier, either for the player or the DM (who has to watch for player fudges, something my DM kept catching me on with my Gunslinger.)

I'm not entirely sure what you're saying here, but here's what I'm getting: your DM was correcting you when you did something wrong with a mechanic you were inexperienced in? Well, the DM is the rules arbiter so I guess he was doing a good job. I've had that happen with plenty of little quirks in the game. If a DM is not confident in his/her knowledge of the system I don't object to disallowing it. I do think that Psionics are easier to introduce a new player to than Vancian Casting.



EDIT: And I love how everyone is implying I'm an idiot who can't find the right dice size simply because I find power points to have more bookkeeping.

Now I'm really confused... your post is the only one I've seen that mentions dice.


I think a lot of it has to do with familiarity. For example, lots of people don't bother adding a system like Incarnum to their games because they aren't familiar with it and don't know the rules as well as arcane magic. You'll have to constantly look up what things go where and do what. Its similar with psionics. People who don't know it will have trouble using it because they haven't learned it as well as the systems they ARE familiar with.

It doesn't help that Incarnum mechanics are a bit convoluted. Fun, but troublesome.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-02, 01:49 PM
{Scrubbed}

sonofzeal
2010-04-02, 01:51 PM
{Scrubbed}
d12 vs d20, and d8 vs d10, seem to be the ones that give people trouble. Similar shapes are similar.

Optimystik
2010-04-02, 02:05 PM
There's probably little functional difference. But it doesn't matter, because the difference between hating and disliking is emotional. I don't hate psionics, I dislike them. Hating a D&D supplement would be beyound absurd.
As to the end result itself - are you implying being against introducing psionics - or any other subsystem - into the game when someone suggests it is somehow wrong or too extreme?

I wasn't 'implying' anything. I was trying to understand your position.

Why do you dislike psionics? Is there anything behind it besides sheer emotion?

Morty
2010-04-02, 02:08 PM
I wasn't 'implying' anything. I was trying to understand your position.

Why do you dislike psionics? Is there anything behind it besides sheer emotion?

Like many people, I dislike psionic flavor because I don't think it meshes very well with the fantasy settings I enjoy. It can be changed, but I'm definetly not a fan of the mechanic side of psionics either - I don't like per-day power points. I don't really get what you mean by "sheer emotion".

Optimystik
2010-04-02, 02:31 PM
I don't really get what you mean by "sheer emotion".

As you hadn't supplied your reasons, I assumed the dislike was emotional - "gut" if you will.

Anyway, you're entitled to your opinion.

Blackfang108
2010-04-02, 02:37 PM
d8 vs d10, .

I once did that for most of a session.

It was the first combat in the campaign in a LONG time (realtime), and I forgot that a Halberd isn't d8 damage.

For about half of the war.

Morty
2010-04-02, 02:48 PM
As you hadn't supplied your reasons, I assumed the dislike was emotional - "gut" if you will.

Anyway, you're entitled to your opinion.

Fair enough.

Kylarra
2010-04-02, 02:57 PM
Part of the bookkeeping is definitely familiarity. If you already know what all your spells do and have an idea of what you need, then deciding what spells you're going to prepare in the morning is easy, but it's almost certainly a daunting task the first time(s) you do it. Once you've done that, your bookkeeping for the rest of the day is a binary operation, either you have the spell or you don't.

For Psionics, it's reversed. You always have the same powers available, but you have to choose on the fly how much power to pump into them. It's actually kind of misleading to think of the flexibility as difficult bookkeeping, because, as mentioned earlier, for the most part, you'll either be hitting the minimum or maximum augments possible with your powers of choice. Yes, there are situations that may be better served by an in between choice, but for the most part, you can get away with the binary and still be decent. Familiarity with the system as a whole is obviously rewarded in pp efficiency, but the same can be said with magic and slot efficiency.

Since spells are more familiar to most people, it's easy to think of it as the way things have always been done, so the amount of choice you have when activating a psionic power seems more daunting when compared to spellcasting.

*Spellcasting in the above is obviously used to mean vancian spellcasting. Spont casters are a different matter.

lesser_minion
2010-04-02, 03:40 PM
The basic issue with the fluff is pretty simple:

How did this warrant a whole new system?

If they wanted to present a variant magic system, they could have done so.

Instead, they spent the whole edition subscribing to the myth that every meaningful piece of fluff has to be echoed in the rules.

As a system, it's nice, elegant, easy to use, and better balanced. Since it's here, it's worth keeping.

But the fluff behind it utterly fails to justify its existence.

Yes, you can re-write the fluff so that your psion is actually a sorcerer. But that's the biggest problem with the fluff. The fact that you can do that indicates that you've written two different systems to do the same thing.

Zergrusheddie
2010-04-02, 03:52 PM
I don't really see the arguments around the idea that the fluff does not support it's existence. What fluff supports the existence of the Gods? Did they create themselves or were they always there? What's the fluff behind Vancian magic?

Basically, from where I see it, it's DnD. Some much stuff is just handwaved that it is sort of pointless to argue against mechanics because of fluff. Just my opinion though.

Optimystik
2010-04-02, 03:54 PM
Yes, you can re-write the fluff so that your psion is actually a sorcerer. But that's the biggest problem with the fluff. The fact that you can do that indicates that you've written two different systems to do the same thing.

Why the heck would I rewrite the fluff? It's my favorite part. :smallconfused:

You can keep your breakdancing, poo-flinging wizards and their pet toads. I'll be over here with my pet rock, breaking the laws of physics by idly contemplating them.

And don't get me started on Vancian Alzheimer's, I've had numerous threads on that one already.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-02, 04:17 PM
Like many people, I dislike psionic flavor because I don't think it meshes very well with the fantasy settings I enjoy.Bending the universe to your will through the power of your mind isn't fantasy? I'm confused. :smallconfused:

Starbuck_II
2010-04-02, 04:18 PM
Bending the universe to your will through the power of your mind isn't fantasy? I'm confused. :smallconfused:

Needs moar bat poo. :smallwink:

Prime32
2010-04-02, 04:20 PM
A D&D wizard is more like the alchemists from FMA in flavour than most spellcasters (rather than raw willpower, to cast lightning bolt they have to create a spark through mundane means and amplify the reaction). And even they don't have that weird thing where they have to encode each spell and can only cast it a specific number of times. Seems almost like Magic From Technology (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagicFromTechnology) to me.

On the other hand, psionics has mechanics which work like every other implementation of magic ever in a system which isn't D&D. A character can make his fireball stronger by putting more force into it (rather than their strength following an exact formula). And they can just keep zapping a guy over and over until they're too tired to cast any other spells.

What's weird about using diamonds and rubies to store magical energy anyway?
http://fuc.wdfiles.com/local--files/rin/rin530.png

lesser_minion
2010-04-02, 04:21 PM
I don't really see the arguments around the idea that the fluff does not support it's existence. What fluff supports the existence of the Gods? Did they create themselves or were they always there? What's the fluff behind Vancian magic?

Those aren't exactly the same thing, are they?

The existence of gods is a fluff element. It's just there. The existence of psionic characters is a fluff element - it just so happens that there are psionic characters.

But those aren't rules.

Things that do need to be justified are complete new subsystems. Like psionics, like incarnum, and like binding.

The existing magic rules are not good rules, but they wouldn't be any worse at portraying psionics than they are at portraying magic. However, they would suck even more horribly at portraying a totemist or a binder.

That's why incarnum is justified in the fluff and why binding is justified in the fluff, but psionics aren't.

The psionics system works as a variant magic/psionics system, and it does it very well. But the differences between magic and psionics aren't significant enough to justify its existence.

Simply put, psionics and magic are similar enough that one subsystem could have been used for both, so using two is just bad design.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-02, 04:24 PM
Those aren't exactly the same thing, are they?

The existence of gods is a fluff element. It's just there. The existence of psionic characters is a fluff element - it just so happens that there are psionic characters.

But those aren't rules.

Things that do need to be justified are complete new subsystems. Like psionics, like incarnum, and like binding.

The existing magic rules are not good rules, but they wouldn't be any worse at portraying psionics than they are at portraying magic. However, they would suck even more horribly at portraying a totemist or a binder.

That's why incarnum is justified in the fluff and why binding is justified in the fluff, but psionics aren't.

The psionics system works as a variant magic/psionics system, and it does it very well. But the differences between magic and psionics aren't significant enough to justify its existence.I think psionics justifies its own existence simply by being a better system in every conceivable way (and I'm not the only one who thinks so, judging by half the board around here and elsewhere). The only reason it's not a replacement to Vancian magic is because people are used to it, and it's been a part of D&D from the beginning.

The Big V is a sacred cow.

What it needs is to be turned into holy hamburger.

Vizzerdrix
2010-04-02, 04:27 PM
Bending the universe to your will through the power of your mind isn't fantasy? I'm confused. :smallconfused:


Needs moar bat poo. :smallwink:


Ha Haa! Guys, can I sig this please?

lesser_minion
2010-04-02, 04:28 PM
I think psionics justifies its own existence simply by being a better system in every conceivable way (and I'm not the only one who thinks so, judging by half the board around here and elsewhere).

I'm not disputing that it's a superior system, or that it's worth keeping now that it's here. I'm pointing out that it's simply bad design to use two subsystems for what is basically one thing.

New rules for incarnum were worth the effort. New rules for binding were worth the effort. Psionics less so.

Note that there isn't even a problem with writing fluff to suit the needs of your crunch. Game becomes unbalanced if you can use true seeing through a crystal ball? Fine, make up some BS about True Seeing being at the pinnacle of mortal magic.

Morty
2010-04-02, 04:31 PM
:smallsigh: And this thread was going so well without "arcane magic is bat poo" arguments.

Tinydwarfman
2010-04-02, 04:31 PM
I'm not disputing that it's a superior system, or that it's worth keeping now that it's here. I'm pointing out that it's simply bad design to use two subsystems for what is basically one thing.

Better than just having one really bad system.

Prime32
2010-04-02, 04:32 PM
:smallsigh: And this thread was going so well without "arcane magic is bat poo" arguments.The fireball spell requires a ball of bat poo and sulphur to cast. In other words a psion channels raw energy, while a wizard relies on primitive gunpowder. Which fits better into a fantasy setting again?

Mark Hall
2010-04-02, 04:32 PM
Like many people, I dislike psionic flavor because I don't think it meshes very well with the fantasy settings I enjoy. It can be changed, but I'm definetly not a fan of the mechanic side of psionics either - I don't like per-day power points. I don't really get what you mean by "sheer emotion".

Actually, I think it goes back to choices made in the first iteration of D&D psionics, that continues to this day. Namely, the names.

In AD&D, starting fires with your mind is called "Molecular Agitation." Healing people was called "Cellular Adjustment." Seeing something at a distance was called "Clairvoyance." Seeing something before it happened was called "Precognition."

In Valdemar, a relatively standard-type fantasy setting, psionics is everywhere. It's called "Mind Magic". "Molecular Agitation" is called "Firestarting". "Cellular Adjustment" is called "Healing". "Clairvoyance" is called "Farseeing." "Precognition" is called "Foreseeing."

The names are a lot more fantasy in feeling, and fit in better with the usual pseudo-classical cosmologies of game worlds.

Morty
2010-04-02, 04:32 PM
The fireball spell requires a ball of bat poo and sulphur to cast.

And that justifies equaling all arcane magic with using bat extrement? Curious. Besides, if refluffing psionics is so easy, what's so hard about saying that arcane magic doesn't require bat poo?

Prime32
2010-04-02, 04:33 PM
And that justifies equaling all arcane magic with using bat extrement? Curious.Read my edit.

The fireball spell requires a ball of bat poo and sulphur to cast. In other words a psion channels raw energy, while a wizard relies on primitive gunpowder. Which fits better into a fantasy setting again?

And to prevent this being lost:

A D&D wizard is more like the alchemists from FMA in flavour than most spellcasters (rather than raw willpower, to cast lightning bolt they have to create a spark through mundane means and amplify the reaction). And even they don't have that weird thing where they have to encode each spell and can only cast it a specific number of times. Seems almost like Magic From Technology (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagicFromTechnology) to me.

On the other hand, psionics has mechanics which work like every other implementation of magic ever in a system which isn't D&D. A character can make his fireball stronger by putting more force into it (rather than their strength following an exact formula). And they can just keep zapping a guy over and over until they're too tired to cast any other spells.

What's weird about using diamonds and rubies to store magical energy anyway?
http://fuc.wdfiles.com/local--files/rin/rin530.png

Tinydwarfman
2010-04-02, 04:37 PM
And that justifies equaling all arcane magic with using bat extrement? Curious. Besides, if refluffing psionics is so easy, what's so hard about saying that arcane magic doesn't require bat poo?

I dunno, maybe because all of your 'psionics fluff is bad' arguments crumble when you have to refluff magic. (not that you say that, but it seems to be a popular argument)

lesser_minion
2010-04-02, 04:37 PM
And that justifies equaling all arcane magic with using bat extrement? Curious. Besides, if refluffing psionics is so easy, what's so hard about saying that arcane magic doesn't require bat poo?

It's just a bad joke that gets repeated over and over again by people who don't like the system. The fact that it isn't the whole system and that it isn't even compulsory isn't going to stop people, unfortunately.

See also virtually any person complaining about something they don't like, ever.


I dunno, maybe because all of your 'psionics fluff is bad' arguments crumble when you have to refluff magic. (not that you say that, but it seems to be a popular argument)

It's an absolutely tiny artefact from a time when somebody found it funny. It is not that important, and it certainly isn't crucial. You could easily ignore the line about what the components are and stick with how much they cost.

This is hardly something that breaks an argument, the bat poo element is virtually inconsequential. Like the drugs that teach people martial arts in Exalted.

Morty
2010-04-02, 04:37 PM
Read my edit.

Instead of directing you to my own edit, I ask the same question again: what's so hard about refluffing Fireball so that it doesn't require bat poo if refluffing psionics is so easy?


It's just a bad joke that gets repeated over and over again by people who don't like the system. The fact that it isn't the whole system and that it isn't even compulsory isn't going to stop people, unfortunately.

Too true.


I dunno, maybe because all of your 'psionics fluff is bad' arguments crumble when you have to refluff magic. (not that you say that, but it seems to be a popular argument)

Except you don't have to refluff magic because material components are a tiny part of it that noone even cares about.
Really, I get it that people prefer power points to spell slots and I don't care what others use in their games, I'm just tired of the "bat poo" arguments or blanket "psionics is Just Better, OK" statements.

tyckspoon
2010-04-02, 04:46 PM
Except you don't have to refluff magic because material components are a tiny part of it that noone even cares about.

Wanna test it? Propose replacing all the specific material components with generic "Material component: these are found in your components pouch. You must have a free hand to manipulate these components in order to cast your spell." Put a stopwatch to the time until somebody responds with a complaint that you are "removing the flavor and mystery from magic", nevermind that making the components generic makes waaaaay more sense than the infinite component pouch that contains everything from bits of amber to rare earths to, yes, bat excrement to live spiders..

Prime32
2010-04-02, 04:46 PM
Instead of directing you to my own edit, I ask the same question again: what's so hard about refluffing Fireball so that it doesn't require bat poo if refluffing psionics is so easy?Basically, Vancian magic (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/VancianMagic) makes very little sense to me unless there are justifications involving ancient technology being mistaken for magic (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagicFromTechnology) or the like. And that's not just flavour, that's the way the whole system works.

Morty
2010-04-02, 04:49 PM
Basically, Vancian magic makes very little sense to me unless there are justifications involving ancient technology being mistaken for magic or the like. And that's not just flavour, that's the way the whole system works.

Why not use the "you cast the spell during preparation and finish it during casting" explanation that's right there in SRD?


Wanna test it? Propose replacing all the specific material components with generic "Material component: these are found in your components pouch. You must have a free hand to manipulate these components in order to cast your spell." Put a stopwatch to the time until somebody responds with a complaint that you are "removing the flavor and mystery from magic", nevermind that making the components generic makes waaaaay more sense than the infinite component pouch that contains everything from bits of amber to rare earths to, yes, bat excrement to live spiders..

And how is that different from people who adamantly refuse use any fluff for psionics other than what's found in XPH and who are widely proclaimed as unreasonable?

Starbuck_II
2010-04-02, 04:49 PM
Ha Haa! Guys, can I sig this please?

Go ahead.
Morty:


Except you don't have to refluff magic because material components are a tiny part of it that noone even cares about.
Really, I get it that people prefer power points to spell slots and I don't care what others use in their games, I'm just tired of the "bat poo" arguments or blanket "psionics is Just Better, OK" statements.

I disagree, it is the rules for vancian world. The fact that Sorcerors innately know they need to eat spiders to climb walls is kinda freaky...
Remember these powers are spontaneously appearly in their youth: they would never know unless they ate a spider and suddenly climbed walls.
There is a fluff issue here that is really weird.

lesser_minion
2010-04-02, 04:55 PM
Wanna test it? Propose replacing all the specific material components with generic "Material component: these are found in your components pouch. You must have a free hand to manipulate these components in order to cast your spell." Put a stopwatch to the time until somebody responds with a complaint that you are "removing the flavor and mystery from magic", nevermind that making the components generic makes waaaaay more sense than the infinite component pouch that contains everything from bits of amber to rare earths to, yes, bat excrement to live spiders..

That doesn't make the named material components into a key element of the system.

And if somebody wants to have to eat a live spider to cast Spider Climb, then they still can.

Prime32
2010-04-02, 04:55 PM
Why not use the "you cast the spell during preparation and finish it during casting" explanation that's right there in SRD?I think you missed what I was saying.

It doesn't make sense that a guy can cast four 1st-level spells then not be able to cast any more, but still be able to cast 9th-level spells. And vice-versa and sideways.

Morty
2010-04-02, 04:55 PM
Go ahead.
Morty:

I disagree, it is the rules for vancian world. The fact that Sorcerors innately know they need to eat spiders to climb walls is kinda freaky...
Remember these powers are spontaneously appearly in their youth: they would never know unless they ate a spider and suddenly climbed walls.
There is a fluff issue here that is really weird.

It's just one line in the spell's description. Yes, I agree that Socrerers requiring magic components doesn't make much sense, but it's extremely easy to just ignore. You don't even have to houserule anything. I really don't get why people get so fixated on it.



It doesn't make sense that a guy can cast four 1st-level spells then not be able to cast any more, but still be able to cast 9th-level spells.

Why? He prepared them in the morning, they stayed in their mind until he cast them, then he has to prepare them again. He prepared the 9th level spells and they're also in his mind until he casts them.

Agrippa
2010-04-02, 04:55 PM
Basically, Vancian magic (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/VancianMagic) makes very little sense to me unless there are justifications involving ancient technology being mistaken for magic (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagicFromTechnology) or the like. And that's not just flavour, that's the way the whole system works.

Simple then, it's not ancient technology that's been mistaken for magic, it's ancient to modern technology that just happen to be a form of magic.

Prime32
2010-04-02, 04:58 PM
Why? He prepared them in the morning, they stayed in their mind until he cast them, then he has to prepare them again. He prepared the 9th level spells and they're also in his mind until he casts them.Why can't he just prepare 50 1st-level spells then with the same amount of energy? And why does he forget spells when he casts them? :smallconfused:

Seriously, it feels more like he's loading a bunch of guns than anything. When I tried to introduce some friends to D&D, the ones playing spellcasters kept getting confused or gave up because the way they used magic made no sense.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-02, 04:58 PM
Hmm, I've thought about it and it isn't really technology, but Techno magic-logy.
Lightning bolt uses Static Charges to shoot the spell.
Fireball uses a mini-dynamite charge.
Scry: archiac TV (no, really read the materials).

Morty
2010-04-02, 05:01 PM
Why can't he just prepare 50 1st-level spells then with the same amount of energy? And why does he forget spells when he casts them? :smallconfused:



Once a wizard prepares a spell, it remains in her mind as a nearly cast spell until she uses the prescribed components to complete and trigger it or until she abandons it. Certain other events, such as the effects of magic items or special attacks from monsters, can wipe a prepared spell from a character’s mind.

It's in the SRD. A wizard doesn't "forget" a spell. It's cast during preparation and finished during the actual casting.
Now, I want to make one thing clear - I'm not saying you should like Vancian casting because I tell you to. I leave it to those people who tell others they should like psionics because of how obviously superior it is. But I will argue that it's somehow nonsensical, "not magic" or objectively worse.

lesser_minion
2010-04-02, 05:04 PM
I think you missed what I was saying.

It doesn't make sense that a guy can cast four 1st-level spells then not be able to cast any more, but still be able to cast 9th-level spells. And vice-versa and sideways.

Because he had already expended the juice to cast the spell when he prepared his spells. He could have prepared more 1st level spells if he was willing to allocate more juice to them.


Why can't he just prepare 50 1st-level spells then with the same amount of energy? And why does he forget spells when he casts them?

He could use the same energy to prepare 1st-level spells, just not that many. The workings of spell slots are bizarre, arcane, and insane. They aren't an integral part of Vancian magic, and they bear little relation to how magic worked in the Dying Earth series.

Basically, don't ask, and don't blame Vance for something that wasn't his fault.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-02, 05:20 PM
Ha Haa! Guys, can I sig this please?Uh...yes? Stupid text limit.

lightningcat
2010-04-02, 05:47 PM
This is just how I see the differences.
Psionics use internal energy. This internal energy supply is increased by training. (This is the form of magic used by most fiction and video games. D&D calls it psionics to separate it from D&D's magic.)
Arcane magic uses the ambient energy of the world. This is where the sympathetic connection of material components comes from. Preparation-based casters (such as wizards) cast the spell ahead of time, except for the last bit and lose all of that prework when they actually “cast” the spell. Hence the losing of the spell.
Divine magic uses magic from an external source. Each divine spell requires a specific ritual to be performed when memorized, and when cast they need to repeat that ritual before being given that spell again.

I don't have a good way to explain spontaneous casters. They just work, kinda like magic.:smallbiggrin:

nightwyrm
2010-04-02, 05:48 PM
As an aside, does any fantasy literature beside the original Jack Vance stuff and D&D books use vancian spellcasting?

shadow_archmagi
2010-04-02, 05:48 PM
Seriously though, arguing that psionics is too much bookkeeping is lolwut.

It's tiny numbers. Subtracting seven from twenty is not arduous.


Personally, I've been playing a Psion for all of one session and I already like it a great deal more. The flexibility, combined with the lack of verbal and somatic components really make it feel a lot more like magic.

AslanCross
2010-04-02, 06:05 PM
I like both Vancian arcane/divine casting and 3.5 Psionics, and they coexist rather peacefully in my campaigns.

And I've a feeling this is going to turn into another one of those ToB threads.

lightningcat
2010-04-02, 06:07 PM
As an aside, does any fantasy literature beside the original Jack Vance stuff and D&D books use vancian spellcasting?

The High Magic of Mercedes Lackey's Obsidian Mountain Trilogy and Enduring Flame Trilogy. It can be used as either vancian or as an incantation type style of magic. The other two types of magic are definably not vancian.

lesser_minion
2010-04-02, 06:10 PM
As an aside, does any fantasy literature beside the original Jack Vance stuff and D&D books use vancian spellcasting?

The Discworld series. The fluff for casters and psykers in Warhammer and 40k could have been handled this way in some cases as well - particularly the Eldar seer runes and the WFB casters.

A few JRPGs as well - djinn in Golden Sun have elements of Vancian magic.


Personally, I've been playing a Psion for all of one session and I already like it a great deal more. The flexibility, combined with the lack of verbal and somatic components really make it feel a lot more like magic.

How do verbal and somatic components make something feel less like magic...?


(This is the form of magic used by most fiction and video games. D&D calls it psionics to separate it from D&D's magic.)

Actually, it isn't. At-will, consequence-based, and ritual-based are all far more common outside of games.

Films generally portray magic as consequence-based (which fits better with Vancian than spell points, in that you can view the 'preparation' as coming up with a way around the consequence).


And I've a feeling this is going to turn into another one of those ToB threads.

Hopefully not.

shadow_archmagi
2010-04-02, 06:12 PM
How do verbal and somatic components make something feel less like magic...?


I...

Don't know.

Knaight
2010-04-02, 06:15 PM
Like many people, I dislike psionic flavor because I don't think it meshes very well with the fantasy settings I enjoy. It can be changed, but I'm definetly not a fan of the mechanic side of psionics either - I don't like per-day power points. I don't really get what you mean by "sheer emotion".

I'm not going to argue that it meshes well, but I will make a quick point about settings you enjoy. Read some of the Deryni books. They are damn good, and do have psionics to some extent, unless I'm getting them mixed up with something else. And they feel like fantasy.

On an unrelated note, I wouldn't say the psionics powers have any right to be anywhere near a sci fi setting. Space opera yes, space fantasy yes, but sci-fi? No. Plus, the names could be pushed a lot further towards that side of the spectrum. Psionic imitators of Shadow Evocation or similar really need to be called Placebo.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-02, 06:19 PM
The Discworld series.To be fair, this was parodying D&D. As awesome as Discworld is, I'm not sure this counts.


The fluff for casters and psykers in Warhammer and 40k could have been handled this way in some cases as well - particularly the Eldar seer runes and the WFB casters.

A few JRPGs as well - djinn in Golden Sun have elements of Vancian magic.Quite probably stemmed straight from D&D as well.


How do verbal and somatic components make something feel less like magic...?It feels artificial. Not artificial in an alien sort of way, but like the password required to enter your Facebook account.

Really, most spells feel like this too. They feel far more tech-like than magical, whereas psionics feels organic, like magic ought to, IMO.

Then again, it's definitely a subjective quality.

lesser_minion
2010-04-02, 06:31 PM
I...

Don't know.


It feels artificial. Not artificial in an alien sort of way, but like the password required to enter your Facebook account.

Really, most spells feel like this too. They feel far more tech-like than magical, whereas psionics feels organic, like magic ought to, IMO.

Then again, it's definitely a subjective quality.

But strictly regimented magic has been a part of fiction for a lot longer than 'organic' magic. Vancian magic is a very recent example, but arbitrary requirements on magic have been around for centuries. Superstitions stem from people's beliefs about how magic works.

And to an extent, magic should feel like technology. You're taking an established law of the universe and turning it to your advantage in both cases.

I don't find Vancian magic to be a bad idea, I just think it's not something that should be in a roleplaying game on its own - in the same way as full-blown ritualists who can only cast spells by dancing around naked under an open sky wouldn't be suitable.

shadow_archmagi
2010-04-02, 06:51 PM
I don't find Vancian magic to be a bad idea

Oh, me neither. I've played plenty of wizards and enjoyed them.



But strictly regimented magic has been a part of fiction for a lot longer than 'organic' magic.


When I think of magic with rules, I think of things like "And the man was told he would have victory in battle if he killed the first living thing he saw when he returned, but when he came back from the battle his loyal wife was standing right there so he killed her maid instead but that was not good enough so he went blind"

lesser_minion
2010-04-02, 06:57 PM
When I think of magic with rules, I think of things like "And the man was told he would have victory in battle if he killed the first living thing he saw when he returned, but when he came back from the battle his loyal wife was standing right there so he killed her maid instead but that was not good enough so he went blind"

I don't really find requirements like that to be any less weird than having to speak an incantation and being forced to not repeat that incantation until you next go off and make an offering to the spirits or whatever.

Or, for that matter, only being able to cast spells under the full moon, or not being able to change shape in sunlight, or having your spells lapse every winter solstice.

Tiki Snakes
2010-04-02, 07:10 PM
I do, occaisionally, (especially with the 3.5 emphasis on the necessity of verbal componants), feel the need to ask;

"Okay, so...who are you actually talking to?"

I'm pretty sure it reminds me of something from a David Eddings series, where 'magic users' are actually just petitioning spirits and/or gods/etc to intercede.

lightningcat
2010-04-02, 07:24 PM
Most of the time verbal components are intended to be mental triggers. Kinda like mnemonics for spells. Same for somatic compontents.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-02, 07:37 PM
Most of the time verbal components are intended to be mental triggers. Kinda like mnemonics for spells. Same for somatic compontents.Does that mean I don't have to Thriller-dance when I cast animate dead? :smallfrown:

Yuki Akuma
2010-04-02, 07:41 PM
Except in the case of Bards, where the verbal component is actually magical music.

Edit: I didn't say somatic at all. Nope.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-02, 07:45 PM
Except in the case of Bards, where the somatic component is actually magical music....Really now.

PersonMan
2010-04-02, 07:52 PM
...Really now.

Hey, you can make music my moving around. Well, your vocal cords, at least...

lesser_minion
2010-04-02, 07:54 PM
...Really now.

You don't talk to musical instruments much.

AstralFire
2010-04-02, 07:54 PM
Give me an hour with you and we'll make plenty of music moving around.

Oh baby.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-02, 08:08 PM
Most of the time verbal components are intended to be mental triggers. Kinda like mnemonics for spells. Same for somatic compontents.

How does armor block mental triggers? I'd understand if magical armor did, but mundane?

TheYoungKing
2010-04-02, 08:11 PM
How does armor block mental triggers? I'd understand if magical armor did, but mundane?

You ever worn armor?

It hugely constrains your movements, and its hard to exactly replicate something you do unarmored. (Yes, even what the game calls light armor.)

Now, training in armor for the movements, that's where certain classes come in.....

Starbuck_II
2010-04-02, 08:13 PM
You ever worn armor?

It hugely constrains your movements, and its hard to exactly replicate something you do unarmored. (Yes, even what the game calls light armor.)

Now, training in armor for the movements, that's where certain classes come in.....

He said mental: that meands armor messes up mental triggers. He didn't say muscle triggers.
You literally have trouble thinking while wearing armor he implied.

I have no clue how that makes sense.

Yuki Akuma
2010-04-02, 08:17 PM
The mnemonic gestures used by wizards are very precise, obviously.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-02, 08:20 PM
Give me an hour with you and we'll make plenty of music moving around.

Oh baby....Wait. I always assumed you were a girl...

AstralFire
2010-04-02, 08:23 PM
...Wait. I always assumed you were a girl...

Transgender ftw. Though that was a bit left-field of a response.

Alleine
2010-04-02, 08:30 PM
Give me an hour with you and we'll make plenty of music moving around.

Oh baby.

So we're going into the BoEF now? Fun times. :smallbiggrin:

lesser_minion
2010-04-02, 08:31 PM
How does armor block mental triggers? I'd understand if magical armor did, but mundane?

I have to admit, I find ASF bizarre.

Warhammer explained it as "both getting in the way of his conjurations and setting up magical disharmony". The only functional armour in the game was made of metal, apart from shields, so that worked pretty well as an explanation.

Personally, I either rule that all spellcasters suffer ASF in metal armour (but not padded, leather, or dragonhide), or that all spellcasters suffer ASF in armour in which they aren't proficient (and still get a break for padded and leather armour).

Prime32
2010-04-02, 08:49 PM
I've seen at least one place justify it as "armour blocks the magical energy from getting in". Druids have some of this going on, what with worked metal armour apparently blocking nature (same reason fey are vulnerable to iron).

lightningcat
2010-04-02, 08:51 PM
I see nothing wrong with giving ASF to unproficient armor use to all casters, including psions.

shadow_archmagi
2010-04-02, 08:52 PM
I see nothing wrong with giving ASF to unproficient armor use to all casters, including psions.

To be honest I'm not really sure psions casting in full plate is all that amazing and wonderful that they need a nerf.

I'd let everyone cast wearing armor, to be honest.

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-04-02, 08:54 PM
I would just like to point out one thing, as I do in every Vancian vs. psionics thread I come across:

Vancian magic originates from the Dying Earth series which, as one might guess from the title, has a post-apocalyptic setting. Magic in that series comes from a bunch of semi-sentient spells in the far future that resemble primitive AIs just as much as they do primitive spirits--and people say psionics is too sci-fi...? Naming conventions do not a genre make; Vancian magic's telekinesis, clairvoyance, pyrotechnics, and Rary's mnemonic enhancer (and more) are just as Greek-sounding and pseudoscience-y as psionics' temporal acceleration, matter agitation, synesthete, and decerebrate (and more).

Disliking the flavor of psionics is just fine and dandy (I personally think they overdid the whole crystal fetish in 3.5 psionics), but saying it's "too sci-fi" is like calling ToB "too anime" (and we are not going to get into that here, are we?) in that it may sound like a perfect encapsulation of your arguments to you, but to a third party (A) it isn't an accurate descriptor and (B) it stops discussion because it's hard to quantify what makes it "too X" accurately.

Greenish
2010-04-02, 09:12 PM
I see nothing wrong with giving ASF to unproficient armor use to all casters, including psions.Psions can manifest their powers while bound and gagged (or paralyzed etc.), how is wearing armour going to bother them?

lightningcat
2010-04-02, 09:18 PM
To be honest I'm not really sure psions casting in full plate is all that amazing and wonderful that they need a nerf.

I'd let everyone cast wearing armor, to be honest.

Giving the unproficient ASF no more gimps them then applying the Armor Check Penalty to attack rolls. If they want to cast wearing armor, they spend the feats.


Psions can manifest their powers while bound and gagged (or paralyzed etc.), how is wearing armour going to bother them?

A fact that just annoys me. That seems so wrong.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-02, 09:28 PM
Giving the unproficient ASF no more gimps them then applying the Armor Check Penalty to attack rolls. If they want to cast wearing armor, they spend the feats.



A fact that just annoys me. That seems so wrong.Is having a rope tying your hands and your mouth full preventing you from thinking?

Some people actually like that kind of thing.

Seriously, there are lots of casters that can do magic while in armor. Take divine casters, for instance. Or casters that have spells without somatic components.

Just give all casters the ability to cast in armor and be done with it.

Also, wizards can cast while bound and gagged too. They just need the right spells and/or feats.

Coidzor
2010-04-02, 09:30 PM
Giving the unproficient ASF no more gimps them then applying the Armor Check Penalty to attack rolls. If they want to cast wearing armor, they spend the feats.

So you force divine casters to take Arcane Spell Failure?

PersonMan
2010-04-02, 09:36 PM
So you force divine casters to take Arcane Spell Failure?

Don't most(or all) of them get armor proficiencies? So that wouldn't make a difference really...

Coidzor
2010-04-02, 09:38 PM
Not all levels of it though.

And the fact that it's, I dunno, Arcane spell failure.

It is an amusingly silly thing to me.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-02, 09:40 PM
Not all levels of it though.

And the fact that it's, I dunno, Arcane spell failure.

It is an amusingly silly thing to me.But not all arcane spellcasters have arcane spell failure.

Just like psionicists don't have arcane spell failure.

Mostly because they're neither arcane, nor do they cast spells.

And it wouldn't apply anyway, because it only applies to spells with somatic components.

Which psionics doesn't have.

PersonMan
2010-04-02, 09:45 PM
And it wouldn't apply anyway, because it only applies to spells with somatic components.

Which psionics doesn't have.

Yes, it does. Cellular movement inside the brain is somatic, and a component of psionics.

On a more serious note, I agree.


Not all levels of it though.

And the fact that it's, I dunno, Arcane spell failure.

It is an amusingly silly thing to me.

Well, there's divine metamagic.

Nobody wants the divine casters to be left out of the fun of arcane spell failure!

The Big Dice
2010-04-02, 11:00 PM
<snip> psionicists <snip>

That word is reason enough to want to stay the heck away from psi powers. Though this song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOFskGbakYA) is a good reason to think they're cool.

Personally, my opinion on psi in RPGs is heavily coloured by Julian May's Saga of the Exiles. In those books, psionics are called metapsychic abilities, are heavily codified, and used six million years in the past by sorta space elves and kinda space dwarfs. Who have a crazy battle religion and are also heavily based on Celtic mythology. With humans stuck in the middle, of course.

And the whole thing feels like magic, even though it isn't magic at all.

And the way psionics act like magic, do many of the same things as magic, but aren't magical is why I don't feel it belongs in the same setting as magic.

It's got nothing to do with rules, book keeping or any of that stuff. It's simply because it doesn't feel right in the same way as blasting diminished arpeggios over a low tempo quick change 8 bar blues doesn't feel right.

Yuki Akuma
2010-04-02, 11:04 PM
Psionic powers are magical. They don't work in dead magic zones.

Touchy
2010-04-02, 11:06 PM
Psionic powers are magical. They don't work in dead magic zones.

If the psionic-magic transparency rule is in effect.

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-04-02, 11:08 PM
If the psionic-magic transparency rule is in effect.

Which it is by default; the nontransparency variant is just that, a variant.

Touchy
2010-04-02, 11:23 PM
Which it is by default; the nontransparency variant is just that, a variant.

He is still partly wrong, even with the default ruling, they both just work on the same "channel".

Yuki Akuma
2010-04-02, 11:24 PM
If the psionic-magic transparency rule is in effect.

So, you mean... if you play by the rules in the book?

Well, what do you know!

Touchy
2010-04-02, 11:27 PM
So, you mean... if you play by the rules in the book?

Well, what do you know!

Thanks, I only need one person to correct me.

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-04-02, 11:28 PM
He is still partly wrong, even with the default ruling, they both just work on the same "channel".

In fact, under Psionics is Different, dead magic doesn't affect psionics:


Dead Magic/Null Psionic Areas: Antimagic field does not hinder psionics, nor does null psionics field disrupt or suppress magic within its area.
Diminished Effect: Alternatively, psionics have a chance to be hindered in an area of dead magic, and vice versa. Each round, an opposing effect has only a 50% chance to remain unhindered. If hindered, it is considered suppressed for 1d4 rounds, then it becomes unhindered for the remaining duration of the power.

Touchy
2010-04-02, 11:30 PM
In fact, under Psionics is Different, dead magic doesn't affect psionics:

Well unfortunately, they had already pointed out transparency is default, so it more depends on the DM if it does or does not.

sonofzeal
2010-04-02, 11:31 PM
In fact, under Psionics is Different, dead magic doesn't affect psionics:

Errr.... but then there's this.

Though not explicitly called out in the spell descriptions or magic item descriptions, spells, spell-like abilities, and magic items that could potentially affect psionics do affect psionics.

When the rule about psionics-magic transparency is in effect, it has the following ramifications.

Spell resistance is effective against powers, using the same mechanics. Likewise, power resistance is effective against spells, using the same mechanics as spell resistance. If a creature has one kind of resistance, it is assumed to have the other. (The effects have similar ends despite having been brought about by different means.)

All spells that dispel magic have equal effect against powers of the same level using the same mechanics, and vice versa.

The spell detect magic detects powers, their number, and their strength and location within 3 rounds (though a Psicraft check is necessary to identify the discipline of the psionic aura).

Dead magic areas are also dead psionics areas.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-02, 11:36 PM
Thing is, science fiction is extrapolating stories from what could very easily happen as a result of improvements of technology in the real world.

Fantasy is stuff that is completely fictional, and will probably never ever happen unless the rules of reality are completely changed.

In other words, sci fi is what we think might happen, whereas fantasy is what we wish would happen (but probably won't).

Psionics is purely in the realm of fantasy, since people can't pull ectoplasm from another dimension to create matter, nor can they fire heat-rays from their eyes. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it's magic, even if it isn't called as such. It's magic in the same way that Superman or Peter Pan flying around sans wings is magic.

Or are you saying that you're capable of mind-control, pushing around objects with your mind, divining the future by thinking real hard, or teleporting from place to place? Because I sure can't, and I don't know anyone who does.

Telling people it's 'too sci fi' is doing the phrase a complete and total disservice, thank you very much.

tyckspoon
2010-04-02, 11:38 PM
Errr.... but then there's this.

There is a pretty big difference between a Dead Magic Zone and an AMF/Null Psionics Field. Dice's quote seems to mean primarily the latter while confusingly labelling itself as talking about the first.

sonofzeal
2010-04-02, 11:42 PM
Thing is, science fiction is extrapolating stories from what could very easily happen as a result of improvements of technology in the real world.

Fantasy is stuff that is completely fictional, and will probably never ever happen unless the rules of reality are completely changed.

In other words, sci fi is what we think might happen, whereas fantasy is what we wish would happen (but probably won't).

Psionics is purely in the realm of fantasy, since people can't pull ectoplasm from another dimension to create matter, nor can they fire heat-rays from their eyes. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it's magic, even if it isn't called as such. It's magic in the same way that Superman or Peter Pan flying around sans wings is magic.

Or are you saying that you're capable of mind-control, pushing around objects, divining the future by thinking real hard, or teleporting from place to place? Because I sure can't, and I don't know anyone who does.

Telling people it's 'too sci fi' is doing the phrase a complete and total disservice, thank you very much.
Well..... as a slight counterpoint, I've always liked to think that Psi talent traces back to the Mindflayers, in the same way that some trace back sorcerous talent to draconic ancestry and/or influence. And if Mindflayers are from the far future as LoM suggests, then there is a kind of futuristic sci-fi element, albeit a pretty wicked-awesome one that I totally wouldn't mind having in any of my games.



...this, of course, involves ignoring that Aboleths are technically psi-based too, and are one of the first mortal lifeforms on the Prime Material according to LoM. YMMV.


(edit)

There is a pretty big difference between a Dead Magic Zone and an AMF/Null Psionics Field. Dice's quote seems to mean primarily the latter while confusingly labelling itself as talking about the first.
Still covered. "Spells... that could potentially affect psionics do affect psionics." Also, "all spells that dispel magic have equal effect against powers of the same level using the same mechanics, and vice versa." The first one gives RAW, the second one gives RAI support (though technically AMF is different than dispel).

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-02, 11:50 PM
Well..... as a slight counterpoint, I've always liked to think that Psi talent traces back to the Mindflayers, in the same way that some trace back sorcerous talent to draconic ancestry and/or influence. And if Mindflayers are from the far future as LoM suggests, then there is a kind of futuristic sci-fi element, albeit a pretty wicked-awesome one that I totally wouldn't mind having in any of my games.



...this, of course, involves ignoring that Aboleths are technically psi-based too, and are one of the first mortal lifeforms on the Prime Material according to LoM. YMMV.Future =/= Sci fi.

The key word in 'science fiction' is 'science'. Unless it involves technical advancements extrapolated from real-world technology (even if that extrapolation is on a huge order of magnitude), then it's not sci fi.

Unless the fluff of psionics is that it's nanites generating energy that the mind directs, or that it's cybernetic implants that extrude energy from your surroundings, then science it ain't.

And it ain't.

sonofzeal
2010-04-03, 12:04 AM
Future =/= Sci fi.

The key word in 'science fiction' is 'science'. Unless it involves technical advancements extrapolated from real-world technology (even if that extrapolation is on a huge order of magnitude), then it's not sci fi.

Unless the fluff of psionics is that it's nanites generating energy that the mind directs, or that it's cybernetic implants that extrude energy from your surroundings, then science it ain't.

And it ain't.
Well, I do agree. I generally prefer to differentiate between "sci-fi" and "space adventure", and it's the latter I mean here. Evil aberrations from the end of time, opening giant portals to the present in order to escape the end of the universe, definitely smells strongly of "space adventure" to me even if there's no space travel involved.

And I think it's what people are talking about when they claim psi is to "sci-fi", too. I mean, there's zero actual science given here, so clearly that's not quite what they're talking about. But saying it has a "space adventure" feel, well, that seems to capture their meaning pretty darn good. And at that point, I think it does connect with the Mindflayer narrative.

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-04-03, 12:04 AM
Errr.... but then there's this.

Keep in mind that I was talking about the Psionics is Different variant. Note part of what you quoted:


When the rule about psionics-magic transparency is in effect, it has the following ramifications.

When using the default rules, dead magic = null psionics. When using Psionics is Different, dead magic =/= null psionics. Now that we've cleared up that using Psionics is Different is a really bad idea, let's get back to the main issue.

[/tangent]

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-03, 12:08 AM
Well, I do agree. I generally prefer to differentiate between "sci-fi" and "space adventure", and it's the latter I mean here. Evil aberrations from the end of time, opening giant portals to the present in order to escape the end of the universe, definitely smells strongly of "space adventure" to me even if there's no space travel involved.

And I think it's what people are talking about when they claim psi is to "sci-fi", too. I mean, there's zero actual science given here, so clearly that's not quite what they're talking about. But saying it has a "space adventure" feel, well, that seems to capture their meaning pretty darn good. And at that point, I think it does connect with the Mindflayer narrative.But that still doesn't address why manipulating magical energies with the mental might alone doesn't seem like magic.

Since it is, y'know, magic.

sonofzeal
2010-04-03, 12:16 AM
But that still doesn't address why manipulating magical energies with the mental might alone doesn't seem like magic.

Since it is, y'know, magic.
The name, mostly, I think. "Psi" has heavy Space Adventure connotations, while I don't think it comes up as such in that much fantasy. You might have a "Psychic" in the more modern sense of a fortune teller, but it's relatively rare to have "psionics". People are more likely to think of this (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u262/drascin/poster89753659.jpg) or this (http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll80/llamamushroom/Psionics.jpg), or this (http://www.comicbookmovie.com/images/users/uploads/8073/AKIRA5A.JPG) (disclaimer: that last one's a bit disturbing, though still probably SFW). As far as I can tell though, that's as far as it goes - word association.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-03, 12:22 AM
The name, mostly, I think. "Psi" has heavy Space Adventure connotations, while I don't think it comes up as such in that much fantasy. You might have a "Psychic" in the more modern sense of a fortune teller, but it's relatively rare to have "psionics". People are more likely to think of this (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u262/drascin/poster89753659.jpg) or this (http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll80/llamamushroom/Psionics.jpg), or this (http://www.comicbookmovie.com/images/users/uploads/8073/AKIRA5A.JPG) (disclaimer: that last one's a bit disturbing, though still probably SFW). As far as I can tell though, that's as far as it goes - word association.If that's true, then it's a less-than-intelligent reason to dislike something, frankly.

It's like saying you don't like finger sandwiches because you don't like eating fingers.

sonofzeal
2010-04-03, 12:27 AM
If that's true, then it's a less-than-intelligent reason to dislike something, frankly.

It's like saying you don't like finger sandwiches because you don't like eating fingers.
Well.... let's say someone in your very serious and gritty game wanted to play a character named "Sephiroth", claiming they're pulling it from the Quabbala, not the Final Fantasy character. Still, you and everyone else in your group is going to be thinking of white-haired emo bastards with unreasonably-long katanas every time they hear the name. You feel it'll hurt immersion, and undermine the gritty realism and tension you've been trying to build. Is that a "less-than-intelligent" reason to dislike the name?

Math_Mage
2010-04-03, 12:35 AM
Well.... let's say someone in your very serious and gritty game wanted to play a character named "Sephiroth", claiming they're pulling it from the Quabbala, not the Final Fantasy character. Still, you and everyone else in your group is going to be thinking of white-haired emo bastards with unreasonably-long katanas every time they hear the name. You feel it'll hurt immersion, and undermine the gritty realism and tension you've been trying to build. Is that a "less-than-intelligent" reason to dislike the name?

Heck yes. I refuse to let Final Fantasy dictate how I connect names to character concepts. You should too. :smallwink:

The Vorpal Tribble
2010-04-03, 12:40 AM
Y'know, I think I'm going to have to write up a general, all encompassing post everytime one of these pops up.

Psionics and Magic are very different in fluff and yet both fit in a fantasy world. It just depends on your fantasy. Magic to my mind makes less sense than psionics easily... but it can be anything, BUT it is not coming from YOU.

Psionics is an inner ability. You have an extra sense, a limb, a mode of seeing the universe and manipulating it. BUT, and here's the kicker, in psionics you cannot make something from nothing.

Magic lets you just summon things, produce items and effects that are simply not natural. Psionics is completely natural. Never really does it seem to in any way actually break the laws of physics as it were. A psionicist cannot just produce a horse to carry you and then said horse disappears into nothingness. You can craft something from ectoplasm, though frankly I always thought metacreativity was the least psionic of all the disciplines.

Mystics, mentals, fakirs... all are much more psionic based than magic. Aboriginal stories and practises including the Dreaming and Walkabouts, etc are much more psionic in nature than magic.

Just like much of oriental powers are more druidic, having to do with elements and spirits.

Psionics are only sci-fi like if that is the only source from which you have to draw. It's just scientifical magic. Get out of that mindset and you'll do a lot better.

Psionics also has disciplines because it's fluff encompasses so much more than just 'magic'. It just splits them up more easily than a cleric from a druid from a wizard.

Telepath - You might have an incredibly complex brain, perhaps evolved past normal consciousness. You may think on a completely new level, as far from humans as humans from apes. You are sensitive to other's thoughts, and receive everything around you and can then broadcast as well. Maybe you are like a psychiatrist, knowing every twist and turn of the psyche and the id. You simply GET what makes a personality do what it does.

Egoist - As a telepath knows the mind, so does an egoist know the body. The brain controls all its functions, even without you consciously directing it. Otherwise you'd have to concentrate on heart beating and lungs breathing. An egoist can alter these functions, enhance them, redirect them. He can alter the very genetic make-up by releasing a toxin here, a chemical there. His body is its own shop. Where do they come from? Perhaps the body needs to adapt to an environment, or to a disease, or to something outside its normal functions. Those that adapt survive. The apex of this function is the Egoist.

Nomad - There has been mind and body, but now we go outside, to the dimensional structure of the self. A nomad has a feel for how things move and are composed. They sense the underlying structure of reality. This insight alone may grant them knowledge to manipulate it, move around it. We know there are more than 3 dimensions, but we simply do not know how to move along the others. A nomad knows what way to maneuver, how to twist along these roads.

...and that's just a few. Why can't this be worked into fantasy? There is nothing inherently era-based about it, future, past or present.

Philistine
2010-04-03, 12:41 AM
Well.... let's say someone in your very serious and gritty game wanted to play a character named "Sephiroth", claiming they're pulling it from the Quabbala, not the Final Fantasy character. Still, you and everyone else in your group is going to be thinking of white-haired emo bastards with unreasonably-long katanas every time they hear the name. You feel it'll hurt immersion, and undermine the gritty realism and tension you've been trying to build. Is that a "less-than-intelligent" reason to dislike the name?
And the answer is: If you seriously think your game is going to be disrupted by the name a player chooses for his or her character, then probably you and they don't really belong in the same gaming group in the first place. Because the name is likely to be the least of your disagreements concerning "The Right and Proper Way to Play D&D."

sonofzeal
2010-04-03, 01:05 AM
And the answer is: If you seriously think your game is going to be disrupted by the name a player chooses for his or her character, then probably you and they don't really belong in the same gaming group in the first place. Because the name is likely to be the least of your disagreements concerning "The Right and Proper Way to Play D&D."
Possibly. Still, I can see names, and word-association in general, as a potentially valid reason to dislike something. I'd also never advocate kicking someone out of your group for something like that, or for banning psi content. D&D is a group game, and you have to compromise sometimes. But I can at least understand the dislike.

absolmorph
2010-04-03, 02:07 AM
...Wait. I always assumed you were a girl...
Personally, I don't see how that's relevant.
Woohoo :smallcool:

On-topic (and a more serious note), I really like psionics. It's way simpler to say "I have X power points, know [powers] and can spend Y points max on a power" than "I have these spells prepared".

Yora
2010-04-03, 04:34 AM
If that's true, then it's a less-than-intelligent reason to dislike something, frankly.

It's like saying you don't like finger sandwiches because you don't like eating fingers.
The funny think about dislike is, that you don't need reasons for it. :smallwink:

To fit the XPH rules into a high fantasy setting you have to ignore most of the fluff and replace it with analogous stuff from the setting. And while reading an entire book, that's actually quite annoying. Took me years to ignore the crystal and ectoplasm stuff to see the nice magic system behind it.

Math_Mage
2010-04-03, 04:55 AM
The funny think about dislike is, that you don't need reasons for it. :smallwink:

<snip>

Reminds me of something Louis Sachar wrote in Sideways Stories for Wayside School: "You don't need a reason to be happy, you need a reason to be sad."

But that's neither here nor there. Carry on.

Saph
2010-04-03, 05:01 AM
The real problem with psionics is that they're a fifth wheel. They do almost exactly the same thing that arcane magic does, but in a slightly different way. In fact, about a third of the psionic powers are just arcane spells with the serial numbers filed off, and items such as dorjes and psicrowns are just wands and staffs with their name changed for no good reason.

So there's not much reason to have both arcane magic and psionics in your game - what one can do, the other can do. There are also practical issues with having both, which I noticed the last time I ran a magic/psionics campaign. Even with psionics/magic transparency, there are still barriers between the two - you can't analyse one with the other, and you can't use the items of one with the other. The party psion can't use Psicraft on magic auras, and the party rogue can't UMD dorjes. It means you have to have one set of things in the game for the magic-using characters, and a second set of things in the game for psionic characters, which is a hassle.

It's just generally easier to only have one or the other, and taking arcane magic out of D&D is far more work than leaving psionics out (since one is in the Player's Handbook and one isn't). There's also vastly more material out there for magic.

It also doesn't help that the fluff for psionics is fairly uninspired. It feels like they were trying to do a weird blend of high fantasy and X-Files-modern, and in my opinion they didn't do a great job of mixing it.

Zergrusheddie
2010-04-03, 05:14 AM
And I've a feeling this is going to turn into another one of those ToB threads.

Not quite there and it was not my intention of making a thread that revolves around "Psions r teh suxxur."

From reading these posts, there are a few things it comes down to:

1. The mechanics are different than what people are used to. People know the Vancian system, so they are comfortable with it and anything that works like it but in a different way is bad because of non-familiarity.

2. The fluff isn't there. I never liked the notion of fluff being used to override mechanics because fluff is so easy to create or distort. It's like saying that "My warrior is really fast so he should be able to attack twice a round at level 1" to get a benefit.

3. Imagery seems to be a problem. I guess a lot of people think of the stereotypical 'New Age' dude with a bald head, a tattoo of an eye on his forehead, and enough crystals bury a small child. Thinking of this guy might make people think "That's not DnD. DnD is magic and stuff."

4. Pseudo-Complexity. When I first heard of Psionics, my brain nearly exploded. "Psionic Focus, Power Points, Egoists, Telepaths, Manifestor Levels, what the hell is this stuff?!" But once I started actually reading it, it came out as an extremely interesting and not overly complex system.

Volkov
2010-04-03, 08:44 AM
Psionics is infinitely better at time travel than magic. Even epic magic can only pull a copy of you from one round in the future. Psionics lets you go backwards in time.

The Vorpal Tribble
2010-04-03, 10:43 AM
To fit the XPH rules into a high fantasy setting you have to ignore most of the fluff and replace it with analogous stuff from the setting. And while reading an entire book, that's actually quite annoying. Took me years to ignore the crystal and ectoplasm stuff to see the nice magic system behind it.
Though it's not the best fluff, I never really saw the problem. So what if it has much to do with crystals? I kind of liked it myself for no particular reason.


The real problem with psionics is that they're a fifth wheel. They do almost exactly the same thing that arcane magic does, but in a slightly different way.
I disagree. The XPH was the first 3.5 book I ever bought, it was after I read it that I got interested in 3.5. I remember reading the Player's Handbook and trying to even figure out the various magical systems, and I was fluent in psionics.


In fact, about a third of the psionic powers are just arcane spells with the serial numbers filed off
Which means 2/3 are still fresh and new. That seems better than almost every other alternative system.

lesser_minion
2010-04-03, 11:37 AM
1. The mechanics are different than what people are used to. People know the Vancian system, so they are comfortable with it and anything that works like it but in a different way is bad because of non-familiarity.

For some people, I guess.


2. The fluff isn't there. I never liked the notion of fluff being used to override mechanics because fluff is so easy to create or distort. It's like saying that "My warrior is really fast so he should be able to attack twice a round at level 1" to get a benefit.

When you make a fluff change, you have to consider its impact on the rest of the game - including whether or not it requires new mechanics, and whether or not those mechanics are acceptable and fair. You can't change one without at least going back and reviewing the other.

If a character's concept doesn't match up to the mechanics they can ascribe to their character, then why are you accepting it?

The important thing here, however, is that psionics is a case of the designers forgetting that not every difference between two characters needs to be expressed through mechanics. They've explained why psions are different to wizards, but nowhere in the fluff is there anything to say "and this is why we couldn't use the existing magic rules".

Mechanics for mechanics' sake is a bad thing.

Terazul
2010-04-03, 11:38 AM
I don't get why people are so put-off by the crystal thing.

Incarnum goes on about Sapphire like no tomorrow.
Divine Magic uses Diamonds for just about everything.
Arcane Magic has a similar relationship with Pearls and powdered other gems.
To a lesser extent, Adamatine for Martial Stuff, Ivory for Natural Weapons.
Everything has a "thing" it's commonly associated with. It's all over D&D (Cold Iron for "resistant" to magic, with Obsidian being the equivalent for Psionics).

Like, yeah. It's not that big a deal. Change "Crystal Shard" to "I throw a knife" and you're set, if it really bothers you for Psi, but not for everything else for some reason. The fluff isn't that difficult. Wizard uses formulae, memorization, and ambient magical whozawhatsit to shoot a Scorching Ray at a dude. Psion thinks really hard about shooting that guy with a flaming laser. Same result.

Tinydwarfman
2010-04-03, 11:44 AM
Future =/= Sci fi.

The key word in 'science fiction' is 'science'. Unless it involves technical advancements extrapolated from real-world technology (even if that extrapolation is on a huge order of magnitude), then it's not sci fi.

Unless the fluff of psionics is that it's nanites generating energy that the mind directs, or that it's cybernetic implants that extrude energy from your surroundings, then science it ain't.

And it ain't.

I think some people just see psionics naming powers with slightly more complex words (Deceleration instead of slow, Biofeedback etc.), and think "OMG teh science!!1!"

Yora
2010-04-03, 11:49 AM
The point is not that psionics is science fiction, but that the fluff of 3rd Edition psionics is very similar to the fluff of psionics you find in science fiction works.

Terazul
2010-04-03, 11:50 AM
The point is not that psionics is science fiction, but that the fluff of 3rd Edition psionics is very similar to the fluff of psionics you find in science fiction works.

And the fluff of magic you find in fantasy works.

The Vorpal Tribble
2010-04-03, 11:54 AM
*grins at Terazul and inclines his head*

SSGoW
2010-04-03, 11:54 AM
4e psionics so far from what I've seen got the system right and the others are a bit odd. (I have yet to download the newest DDI so bare with me)

Psionics gives you at-wills and dailies that you can boost with power points, once these power points are drained you can no longer boost your abilities but can still use them. Makes more sense than how the other cources work. With other sources even if you are to tired to perform your encounter powers (you expended them) you can use a daily that is more powerful and more taxing on the character than the encounter powers.

I would love to see a write up of 3.5 magic using the pp system (or 4e's other sources working more like the pp system)


Fluff doesn't really matter that much, you can easily change the fluff to fit the mechanics. I just hate when they use fluff then put a mechanic behind it that doesn't fit no matter how hard they want it to. Its annoying but it can work.

lesser_minion
2010-04-03, 12:28 PM
4e psionics so far from what I've seen got the system right and the others are a bit odd. (I have yet to download the newest DDI so bare with me)

<snip>

Makes more sense than how the other sources work. With other sources even if you are to tired to perform your encounter powers (you expended them) you can use a daily that is more powerful and more taxing on the character than the encounter powers.

The problem here is that you're thinking of encounter powers in terms of fatigue, when that isn't the only thing at work - or even a particularly important element.

All encounter powers say is "you can't do this over and over again".

The reason they don't make much effort to tie it to any one explanation (aside from the 'fudge' where encounter powers are regained by taking a tea break) is that representing everything that's at work would make for a broken and unplayable mess, and would be potentially "too random". And focusing on one thing to the exclusion of all else would be weird.

It's far easier to just write the rule and let the DM decide which factor is in play, when, and how, as she would do when narrating hitpoints.

One of the biggest factors is actually the separation of player and character knowledge - simply put, your character knows nothing of hitpoints. What you see as an awesome crit, your character sees as a failure. She hasn't slowed her opponent meaningfully in the slightest, and she's not necessarily going to be enthusiastic about trying that Mysterious and Exotic Technique again.

There's also opportunity - the situation isn't always going to be nice enough to let you try one specific Mysterious and Exotic Technique.

Finally, there's composure. It's not easy to concentrate on your Mysterious Exotic Technique while standing in a room with something that's adamant that it doesn't want you alive any more.


I would love to see a write up of 3.5 magic using the pp system (or 4e's other sources working more like the pp system)

It's been done, but it was never finished, and they didn't think it through properly. Basically like the arcane swordsage, except they pretended that it was finished.

DSCrankshaw
2010-04-03, 01:19 PM
Psionics gives you at-wills and dailies that you can boost with power points, once these power points are drained you can no longer boost your abilities but can still use them. Makes more sense than how the other sources work. With other sources even if you are to tired to perform your encounter powers (you expended them) you can use a daily that is more powerful and more taxing on the character than the encounter powers.


The problem here is that you can use a psionic daily even after you expended all your power points too. The power points do not affect your daily usage.

The way I look at the whole recharge mechanic is that some powers require an exertion that you cannot do every six seconds. Let's take martial, since it's the hardest fluff-wise. Encounter powers require you to use muscles which you don't usually use. Performing the encounter strains those muscles, so that in order to do it again, you need to stretch out and "recharge" those muscles. Dailies are even greater exertions. After doing it once, you've made yourself so sore that you can't use those muscles again until you get a good night's rest. You can still do easy stuff (at-wills), or even hard stuff depending on other muscles, but you can't repeatedly do something that difficult.

Yeah, it's not a perfect fluff explanation, but with a bit of hand-waving it works pretty well. That's why during my short rests my characters don't just sit there... they stretch out and practice moves (martial), or pray (divine), or meditate (psionic/arcane), or study spellbooks (wizard), or sing (bard). Whatever's the appropriate recharge for their powers.

Coidzor
2010-04-03, 01:26 PM
The point is not that psionics is science fiction, but that the fluff of 3rd Edition psionics is very similar to the fluff of psionics you find in science fiction works.

So you're saying it's too much like magic for sci fi and too much like sci fi for magic.

*facepalm*

Kylarra
2010-04-03, 01:50 PM
So you're saying it's too much like magic for sci fi and too much like sci fi for magic.

*facepalm*It may not necessarily be most applicable here, but that phenomena of being too much like A for B, but also too much like B for A, is actually fairly common.

shadow_archmagi
2010-04-03, 01:56 PM
It may not necessarily be most applicable here, but that phenomena of being too much like A for B, but also too much like B for A, is actually fairly common.

I'm too warm to survive on an ice planet, but too cold to live on the surface of the sun

DiscipleofBob
2010-04-03, 02:05 PM
My problem with Psionics in 3.5 was both fluff and crunch-related.

My problem with the fluff is purely a personal opinion. I just always thought they felt out of place in the campaigns I ran/I was in. Their background always involved cthulu-esque horrors that just seemed to be out of their element in a sword and sorcery world. I do like what I've seen for their fluff in 4e so far, but then again I haven't read the stuff in the PHB3 yet.

As far as crunch, I've played alongside every base Psionic class from 3.5 at least one time or another, and said Psionic class would always, ALWAYS be horrendously overpowered compared to the rest of the party. The absolute worst case scenario was one particular psion who I was temporarily controlling since the player had to leave early. All I needed was I think a 3rd-level power that was save-or-kill-yourself, and the DC could be augmented so high that nothing the DM had could hope to save against it, and the power could be used EVERY turn with maximum power points for an entire session without even coming close to running low. Meanwhile, both of our Arcane casters had 1, maybe 2 castings of 3rd level spells, neither of which were insta-kill, and the saves for said spells were low enough that enemies could make them if they rolled above a 14 or 15, so reasonable. The augmented Psion's DC couldn't be beat unless the DM rolled a nat 20 every time.

Now, with 4e, Psionics still look pretty powerful with all the extra at-wills, but so far less objectionable, and I actually look forward to playing a Battlemind or Monk.

TheThan
2010-04-03, 02:11 PM
I find the points harder to keep track of, thank you. Not due to mathematical ability, but because I've always been bad at keeping track of totals like that. And having to deicde to augment or not, thus having a different cost each and every time. Add to that being the DM and trying to keep track of your Psionics.....


Jelly beans. keep a small container of jelly beans at your table, equal to the number of PP your character has. When you use a power, eat that amount of jelly beans, when you run out you know you need to rest. Then when you rest, refill your container from the bag. With the appropriate amount of jelly beans.

you can use beads or buttons or something, but they don't taste as yummy.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-03, 02:16 PM
Jelly beans. keep a small container of jelly beans at your table, equal to the number of PP your character has. When you use a power, eat that amount of jelly beans, when you run out you know you need to rest. Then when you rest, refill your container from the bag. With the appropriate amount of jelly beans.

you can use beads or buttons or something, but they don't taste as yummy.This is akin to manifesting death urge. On yourself.

TheThan
2010-04-03, 02:22 PM
This is akin to manifesting death urge. On yourself.

whats a matter, don't like jelly beans?

Starbuck_II
2010-04-03, 02:24 PM
As far as crunch, I've played alongside every base Psionic class from 3.5 at least one time or another, and said Psionic class would always, ALWAYS be horrendously overpowered compared to the rest of the party. The absolute worst case scenario was one particular psion who I was temporarily controlling since the player had to leave early. All I needed was I think a 3rd-level power that was save-or-kill-yourself, and the DC could be augmented so high that nothing the DM had could hope to save against it, and the power could be used EVERY turn with maximum power points for an entire session without even coming close to running low.

There is no kill yourself power. There is attack yourself power. Which can cause death technically...

Can you name it.


Meanwhile, both of our Arcane casters had 1, maybe 2 castings of 3rd level spells, neither of which were insta-kill, and the saves for said spells were low enough that enemies could make them if they rolled above a 14 or 15, so reasonable. The augmented Psion's DC couldn't be beat unless the DM rolled a nat 20 every time.

Now, with 4e, Psionics still look pretty powerful with all the extra at-wills, but so far less objectionable, and I actually look forward to playing a Battlemind or Monk.
So why did the caster not have good DCs? Were they trying to be unoptimized?

The Vorpal Tribble
2010-04-03, 02:24 PM
@DiscipleOfBob

This smells of the age-old psionic rule ignorance.

You can't spend more power points on a power than your manifester level.

You therefore cannot augment any power more than the highest level power you already know.

So you have a 7th level power (or augmented equivalent) and an Int of 20. A DC of 22 is the highest you can ever make it. With the right feat combinations you could possibly get it as high as DC 24.

That isn't exactly impressive, and certainly no more impressive than what any wizard can do.

Can the psion work more high leveled powers than a wizard? Yes, because he is basically burning half his low-leveled powers to fuel it. So after that, he's toast while a wizard could still teleport away, cleric heal himself, etc. It's a trade off.

lesser_minion
2010-04-03, 02:29 PM
As far as crunch, I've played alongside every base Psionic class from 3.5 at least one time or another, and said Psionic class would always, ALWAYS be horrendously overpowered compared to the rest of the party. The absolute worst case scenario was one particular psion who I was temporarily controlling since the player had to leave early. All I needed was I think a 3rd-level power that was save-or-kill-yourself, and the DC could be augmented so high that nothing the DM had could hope to save against it, and the power could be used EVERY turn with maximum power points for an entire session without even coming close to running low. Meanwhile, both of our Arcane casters had 1, maybe 2 castings of 3rd level spells, neither of which were insta-kill, and the saves for said spells were low enough that enemies could make them if they rolled above a 14 or 15, so reasonable. The augmented Psion's DC couldn't be beat unless the DM rolled a nat 20 every time.

Now, with 4e, Psionics still look pretty powerful with all the extra at-wills, but so far less objectionable, and I actually look forward to playing a Battlemind or Monk.

Firstly, it's a 4th-level power, and secondly, the situation you describe doesn't sound like anything that can happen while playing by the rules. Period. It costs four points to increase the save DC by 2, which is equivalent to manifesting a power two levels higher.

So what were your casters' 6th-level spells like? Or 8th level?

In all honesty, it sounds to me like someone made a mistake. Possibly worse considering how many power points this psion supposedly had.

Yora
2010-04-03, 02:34 PM
As far as crunch, I've played alongside every base Psionic class from 3.5 at least one time or another, and said Psionic class would always, ALWAYS be horrendously overpowered compared to the rest of the party. The absolute worst case scenario was one particular psion who I was temporarily controlling since the player had to leave early. All I needed was I think a 3rd-level power that was save-or-kill-yourself, and the DC could be augmented so high that nothing the DM had could hope to save against it, and the power could be used EVERY turn with maximum power points for an entire session without even coming close to running low. Meanwhile, both of our Arcane casters had 1, maybe 2 castings of 3rd level spells, neither of which were insta-kill, and the saves for said spells were low enough that enemies could make them if they rolled above a 14 or 15, so reasonable. The augmented Psion's DC couldn't be beat unless the DM rolled a nat 20 every time.
Do you remeber what power that was and what level the characters had?
This sounds like death urge, wich is 4th level and requires at least character level 7th. And to augment the DC by +2 would require the character to be at least 11th level. At that point clerics can cast slay living and harm. And when you use heighten spell on slay living, at exactly the same DC as the psion.
This doesn't sound quite right.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-03, 02:42 PM
My hypothesis:

a. Player cheated
b. DiscipleofBob is misinformed
or
C. DM has some pretty freaky houserules.

The fact that DM let the player cast/manifest a power above his level should be the 1st warning sign.
Remember, kids you can't augment the highest power you know: you have to be past the minimum level to do that (barring Wild Surge/Overchannel).

Nero24200
2010-04-03, 02:43 PM
Meanwhile, both of our Arcane casters had 1, maybe 2 castings of 3rd level spells, neither of which were insta-kill, and the saves for said spells were low enough that enemies could make them if they rolled above a 14 or 15, so reasonable. The augmented Psion's DC couldn't be beat unless the DM rolled a nat 20 every time.
Something is definately amiss here. The DM required natural 20's to overcome some powers but could easily pass spells from the arcane casters? Even when augmented to full (and even then, only some powers have increased DC from augmentation) the DC's cannot be higher than spells. A psionic power costing 9 power points (the amount of base 5th level powers or powers augmented up to that level) cannot be higher than a spell of 5th level.

Are you sure the psionic player didn't simply play a more optimised character? Are you sure he understood the commonly overlooked "cannot spend more points than your level on any one power" rule? Something has to be up if theres a 5-6 point gap in the DC range.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-03, 02:46 PM
It doesn't matter what player knew: Bob was the one playing the character wrong I think.

Remember, he never played them before (it sounds like) so he likely didn't know the rules. He was playing another player's character of as class he doesn't use much.

Although, since we don't know if this was Bob's error or the Player's error till Bob tells us what level Power he means (unles this is memory issue and he confused 4th lv with 3rd level power)

So, how did anyone overlook that a 5th lv manifester can't choose a 4th level power. It has to be 5th because a 6th level wizard has more than 2 3rd lv spell/day (as he mentioned in his example they did at max).
Wait, a 16 Int Wizard at 6th lv also only has 2 3rd lvs but that is very unoptimized (he should have bought a headband of Int +2 or at least have 18 Int).

So something seems off.
Even if he somehow did get access to a 4th lv power at 5th lv (What?) that is 7 PP. He can't augment at all.
He shouuld have 25 Base + 7 (16 Int)= 32 pp. He can't do that more than 4 times before he tapped out (7 x 4 = 28).

Coidzor
2010-04-03, 03:01 PM
It may not necessarily be most applicable here, but that phenomena of being too much like A for B, but also too much like B for A, is actually fairly common.

Indeed. Makes one wonder where psychics belong.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-03, 03:44 PM
whats a matter, don't like jelly beans?Nope. I'd rather have fresh fruit. :smallcool:

Coidzor
2010-04-03, 03:56 PM
I'm confused, have we taken a turn for the saucy or not?

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-03, 03:59 PM
I'm confused, have we taken a turn for the saucy or not?Only if you define 'we'.

Philistine
2010-04-03, 04:18 PM
Actually, given that: "I've played alongside every base Psionic class from 3.5 at least one time or another, and said Psionic class would always, ALWAYS be horrendously overpowered compared to the rest of the party," it sounds like it was not only every single person who ever played a psionic character at DiscipleofBob's table, but also every single DM who ran a game that included psionic characters at that table, who did not grok the psionics rules.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-03, 04:22 PM
Actually, given that: "I've played alongside every base Psionic class from 3.5 at least one time or another, and said Psionic class would always, ALWAYS be horrendously overpowered compared to the rest of the party," it sounds like it was not only every single person who ever played a psionic character at DiscipleofBob's table, but also every single DM who ran a game that included psionic characters at that table, who did not grok the psionics rules.And you know, all things considered, I really don't think that was sarcasm.

Maybe they all played with the Psionics Is Different variant, and possibly had a bevy of houserules that just happened to throw a wrench into the works?

DiscipleofBob
2010-04-03, 04:54 PM
A bunch of stuff.

To make things clearer...

I believe the ability was called Death Urge, and it basically made the target coup-de-gras itself. We were either level 6 or 7 (according to some of the people here it's a 4th level power, so I guess 7). I'll admit this game was a while ago, and I have since pushed the details out of my mind, but I will not forget how broken the psion in the party was.

We were obeying the Power Points rules, ie. not spending more than your manifester level, etc. The DC was still at least 25 while the wizard, sorcerer, and cleric were occasionally able to break 20. I should point out that NO ONE at the table was optimized, not even the Psion himself (at least to the level that people on this board seem to think is normal) This wasn't due to any obscure combination of feats, this was all in the text of ONE power and the Psion's given class features.

The only houserules we had were unrelated to the spellcasting or psionic mechanics (The changeling had a feat that let him gain stuff like the ability to shapeshift into a small creature or to get natural armor from turning into a lizardfolk, etc.)

I wouldn't be able to tell you if the classes balanced each other out at higher levels, because said game never got higher than 10th level.

The player did not cheat, as I subbed in for his character at one point, and read the ability out of the book. We had no houserules related to psionics or casting, and we were well aware of the cap power points you could spend on a power.

Even though I really didn't know how to play Psionics at the time, there were three other people at the table, including the DM, who knew Psionics well.

And while this was definitely the worst case in my experience, this wasn't the only experience of a psionic breaking the game. My first game in my area, the person playing the psion didn't really understand the character, but when the basics were pointed out to her, she was outclassing everyone in terms of damage and one-shotting whatever we went up against (granted, there wasn't an arcane caster except for the bard in that party.) There was the crit-tastic Soulknife who could change the shape of his weapon or something I still don't know how to explain. Oh, and the pyromaniac Wilder who would explode NPC's because they stole a couple of gold pieces from him.

Yeah, at the risk of flaming, I have to laugh when people on this board claim that 3.5 Psionics "aren't that bad" when I've been in at least 5 separate games that prove otherwise. I've given Psionics more than enough chances in games, and each time they never fail to outclass all the players and anything the DM can throw at them.

I will admit, however, that 4e Psionics look promising and I can't wait to try one out.

EDIT: Also, they were different DM's and different players each time, ranging from complete newbie to experienced but new to psionics to seasoned veteran since second edition, and each time one of these classes would get ridiculously powerful (all the time) the rest of us would look up the rules and try to find something that they were doing wrong. They weren't.

The Vorpal Tribble
2010-04-03, 04:55 PM
If you haven't already, scan it, embrace it.
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/18833134/Myth:_The_XPH_is_overpowered

Tavar
2010-04-03, 05:07 PM
How was he getting DC's of 25? That means he had a PM ability of 33-28, depending on feat selection. Yeah, Save or Dies are pretty powerful if you have that, but so are a wizards/clerics/whatevers.

The Glyphstone
2010-04-03, 05:43 PM
Well, to start with, you read the power wrong (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/powers/deathUrge.htm). Death Urge only forces the target to make 1 attack which auto-crits, not a coup de grace. It's single target, and mind-affecting, which means it's worthless against groups of enemies, can't hurt undead/constructs/plants/oozes, and unless it's a humanoid with a high-crit weapon, it's not really doing anything except wasting its turn giving itself minor injuries...monsters with a single, powerful natural attack are relatively rare compared to ones with a multiattack routine.

DC25 on a 4th level power means +12 from stats/feats, because he can't augment it at all yet. If he spent his move action every single turn on Psionic Meditation to recharge Greater Psionic Endowment to spend on Death Urge, he still needs an Int stat of 30+ to reach DC25+. That Int 30 also happens to be giving him 35 extra power points, almost as much as he gets from his class levels alone.

Psions don't have class features, only bonus feats..and stretching to meet what you said was the minimum DC, I've spent 60% of the character's entire feat allotment (50% if human). Wilders are sorcerers who stab themselves in the face more often as they gain levels, and soulknives...yeah.

At the risk of exaggerating slightly, you're telling us that every time you've seen someone drive a sports car, they managed to hydroplane it all the way across a lake. While this is theoretically possible, it's far more statistically likely that your case is exceptional than that all sports cars can routinely drive across lakes and we're all just driving wrong.

DiscipleofBob
2010-04-03, 06:28 PM
Look. I don't have the kind of photographic memory to reproduce someone ELSE'S character build from a game several years ago, not that I would insist on looking at their entire build anyway.

It doesn't really matter that much, it's just my experience. I don't expect to play any more 3.5 D&D anyway, and if I do, I can just pick out the Psionics like nuts in ice cream.

If Psionics work for you, great. They've never worked worked much too well in any game I've ever been in, and despite numerous attempts from the very same friends who played said Psionic characters to give them another chance, every single time they've managed to break the game. 1 or 2 times I could attribute to someone going overboard with their character or a misinterpreted rule, but 5 separate times with separate classes, players, and DM's each time?

Anyway, I've spent a little too much time in this thread reminiscing about the parts of old games I wish I could forget, so I'm done here. Hopefully, playing a 4e Battlemind/Monk will redeem psionics in my eyes.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-03, 06:33 PM
Look. I don't have the kind of photographic memory to reproduce someone ELSE'S character build from a game several years ago, not that I would insist on looking at their entire build anyway.

It doesn't really matter that much, it's just my experience. I don't expect to play any more 3.5 D&D anyway, and if I do, I can just pick out the Psionics like nuts in ice cream.

If Psionics work for you, great. They've never worked worked much too well in any game I've ever been in, and despite numerous attempts from the very same friends who played said Psionic characters to give them another chance, every single time they've managed to break the game. 1 or 2 times I could attribute to someone going overboard with their character or a misinterpreted rule, but 5 separate times with separate classes, players, and DM's each time?

Anyway, I've spent a little too much time in this thread reminiscing about the parts of old games I wish I could forget, so I'm done here. Hopefully, playing a 4e Battlemind/Monk will redeem psionics in my eyes.Except psionics doesn't work like that. It's not the system's fault that someone is either Doing it Wrong or has an Intelligence score somewhere in the mid-30s.

alisbin
2010-04-03, 06:37 PM
i suspect that the psion was using the 3.0 feats psionic focus and greater psionic focus which, as far as i'm aware are not 3.5 legal. with those you would get a +4 total to all powers from one discipline. but even then it would hard to get such a high dc. at 7th level at best you might have is a 21 int if you started with an 18 and grabbed a +2 headband, its a 4th level power so total of 23 dc there (10+5int+4power+4greater psionic focus), hell assume a +2 int race and you can push it to 24. however, this is using a broken, non legal pair of feats and super optimized for DC. that same 7th level psion with the +2 int race would have 67 power points which means approximately 10 fully augmented powers a day, which is good, but that would it, 10 rounds of combat and you useless. sorry dude, but i seriously suspect that someone was playing fast and loose with the rules or just didn't understand something. with very exceptions the dc for almost any power is 10+ability bonus+(pp spent minus 1 divided by 2), there are VERY FEW feats that increase dcs and pretty much all of the 3.5 legal ones require expending psionic focus which in turn requires an additional feat if you want to use it every round (and a good concentration too since the dc to regain focus is 20).

i'm playing a relatively well made psion with a less broken, house ruled version of normal psionic focus (+2 to dcs of 1 discipline, but must permanently bar 2 disciplines) and the best DC i'll be able to manage at level 7 will be 21 in my chosen discipline and 19 in others.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-03, 09:14 PM
Look. I don't have the kind of photographic memory to reproduce someone ELSE'S character build from a game several years ago, not that I would insist on looking at their entire build anyway.

It doesn't really matter that much, it's just my experience. I don't expect to play any more 3.5 D&D anyway, and if I do, I can just pick out the Psionics like nuts in ice cream.

If Psionics work for you, great. They've never worked worked much too well in any game I've ever been in, and despite numerous attempts from the very same friends who played said Psionic characters to give them another chance, every single time they've managed to break the game. 1 or 2 times I could attribute to someone going overboard with their character or a misinterpreted rule, but 5 separate times with separate classes, players, and DM's each time?


It just seems impossible. Like those who claim monks are overpowered.
Either the guy waas optimized while the rest of the party wasn't or there is no way he had that high of DCs.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-03, 09:32 PM
Lessee...He would've been about 7th level, so let's see how far the DC for death urge can be pushed with rather silly amounts of optimization for one single power.

14 (base DC) + 9 (Starting Int 20 + 1 lvl + 3 age + 4 animal affinity) + 1 (Illithid Heritage + Illithid Compulsion feat) + 2 (Psionic Endowment + Greater Psionic Endowment) + 1 (telepathy psionatrix).

That equals a DC of 27, and it's as high as I can get it without going way outside a 7th level character's reach, basically pouring the entire character's resources into it.

If that's what he did, this was NOT low optimization.

Wizards can do worse, since by that level they can basically castrate you with no save at all. At least a nat 20 (and protection vs mind-affecting) can save you from death urge. Then again, it's a single weapon attack. Unless you can throw yourself over a cliff/in lava/in acid, it's likely you'll survive.

Optimystik
2010-04-03, 10:29 PM
How do verbal and somatic components make something feel less like magic...?

Perhaps you should ask WotC themselves, In the Lost Empires novels, true magic (i.e. learned from the Nether Scrolls) works without components of any kind.

In fact, the fluff is that the various components - and even Vancian forgetfulness! - were instituted by Mystra to purposefully limit mortal magi.


1 or 2 times I could attribute to someone going overboard with their character or a misinterpreted rule, but 5 separate times with separate classes, players, and DM's each time?

How would we know? You can't even remember exactly what the player(s) in question did.

sonofzeal
2010-04-03, 10:38 PM
It's also a sad fact of life that the players most likely to explore Psi are the players most likely to overshadow their peers no matter what they play, because they're the ones, y'know, exploring options and using splatbooks and teaching themselves the rules behind things.

It's easy to find Wizards played by people who have no clue how to make a good Wizard, but players who crack open psi are more likely to really use it well. This may contribute significantly to perceptions of overpoweredness.

absolmorph
2010-04-03, 10:40 PM
Lessee...He would've been about 7th level, so let's see how far the DC for death urge can be pushed with rather silly amounts of optimization for one single power.

14 (base DC) + 9 (Starting Int 20 + 1 lvl + 3 age + 4 animal affinity) + 1 (Illithid Heritage + Illithid Compulsion feat) + 2 (Psionic Endowment + Greater Psionic Endowment) + 1 (telepathy psionatrix).

That equals a DC of 27, and it's as high as I can get it, basically pouring the entire character's resources into it.

If that's what he did, this was NOT low optimization.

Wizards can do worse, since by that level they can basically castrate you with no save at all. At least a nat 20 (and protection vs mind-affecting) can save you from death urge. Then again, it's a single weapon attack. Unless you can throw yourself over a cliff/in lava/in acid, it's likely you'll survive.
Wait, what?

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-03, 10:43 PM
Wait, what?The +9 is the bonus from a high Intelligence, which started at 20, with +1 from level-ups, +3 from age, and +4 from animal affinity. Ergo, an Int score of 28, with a +9 modifier (which is what was added).

Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Reverent-One
2010-04-03, 10:56 PM
The +9 is the bonus from a high Intelligence, which started at 20, with +1 from level-ups, +3 from age, and +4 from animal affinity. Ergo, an Int score of 28, with a +9 modifier (which is what was added).

Sorry if that wasn't clear.

I believe his disbelief stemmed from the fact that somehow animal affinity helps boosts the save DC for a psionic power, as mine does.

Yuki Akuma
2010-04-03, 11:00 PM
I believe his disbelief stemmed from the fact that somehow animal affinity helps boosts the save DC for a psionic power, as mine does.

Why shouldn't it? +4 Intelligence is +4 Intelligence.

tyckspoon
2010-04-03, 11:04 PM
I believe his disbelief stemmed from the fact that somehow animal affinity helps boosts the save DC for a psionic power, as mine does.

It does when you're using it to sub for a Headband of Intellect, exactly as a Fox's Cunning would, since a +4 item is very nearly all of a level 7 character's standard wealth.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-03, 11:05 PM
From animal affinity (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/powers/animalaffinity.htm):

"If you choose to increase the ability you use to manifest powers, you do not gain the benefit of an increased ability score long enough to gain any bonus power points for a high ability score, but the save DCs of your powers increase for the duration of this power."

Tavar
2010-04-03, 11:05 PM
The confusion is over the fact that the power has the same name as Animal Affinity (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/feats.htm#animalAffinity), which is one of the skill feats in the PHB. It also is a psionic power that boosts ability stats.

absolmorph
2010-04-03, 11:07 PM
The +9 is the bonus from a high Intelligence, which started at 20, with +1 from level-ups, +3 from age, and +4 from animal affinity. Ergo, an Int score of 28, with a +9 modifier (which is what was added).

Sorry if that wasn't clear.
When I saw "Animal Affinity", I though of the feat (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/feats.htm#animalAffinity), rather than the psionic power (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/powers/animalAffinity.htm). I just checked the SRD, and noticed it.

EDIT: I got ninja'd explaining my own statement. Woah.

Yuki Akuma
2010-04-03, 11:08 PM
...People use the skill feats in the PHB?

absolmorph
2010-04-03, 11:08 PM
...People use the skill feats in the PHB?
I happen to like screwing around with Handle Animal.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-03, 11:09 PM
...People use the skill feats in the PHB?Yes, this confuses me also.


I happen to like screwing around with Handle Animal.Oh deer dear.

Kylarra
2010-04-03, 11:11 PM
I happen to like screwing around with Handle Animal.Red Mage, is that you?

Tavar
2010-04-03, 11:11 PM
...People use the skill feats in the PHB?

If you want CR 16 dino's as pets at level 3? Yes, yes you do.

Plus, I've always overlooked that power, and the feat is in the PHB, so simply by virtue of me looking through that book more, I know it better. I had a moment of confusion as well when I saw that.

absolmorph
2010-04-03, 11:13 PM
Yes, this confuses me also.

Oh deer dear.
I see what you did there ;)
I had a link to Bubs the Commoner (by sonofzeal) in my signature for a while, because it was my favorite kind of optimization: the kind that involves dinosaurs is just kinda silly and not "let's break the game!" Although, involving dinosaurs was a nice bonus...


Red Mage, is that you?
... Do you mind if I sig this?

Ashiel
2010-04-04, 01:14 AM
I love how every person that ever comes and says "Psionics are overpowered" always conveniently forgets everything about psionics because "it was such a long time ago, in a galaxy far away" or something. It's like the friend of a friend stories; you know which ones I'm talking about?

I had a guy in OpenRPG proclaim 3.5 SRD/EPH to be the hax. He kept demanding they were broken. Couldn't explain why. In fact, I haven't seen anyone who adamantly opposes them actually explain why. This is DOUBLY so in the case of people making claims such as "they powerfully overshadow everyone" or "are unbalanced next to wizards and sorcerers" and so forth.

I've debated it on the Paizo forums before as well. It was just a few people that adamantly shouted that Psionics were broken/overpowered and just expect people to take their word for it. Then when people who actually know what they're talking about because they weren't playing it a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away but in fact regularly playing with this rule system; who then proceed to show the math behind not only why their claims are impossible, but actually show just how far they can go; only for them to suddenly butt-hurt about someone showing evidence.

But yeah, until someone can actually come show me how their friends or neighbors, or great uncles, aunts, DMs, friend of a friend, that guy down the street who doesn't talk much, or anyone else actually does these game-breaking un-stoppable things; I'm going to assume they're lying; because all evidence I've seen suggests the opposite and they're still not producing counter-evidence.

=====================================

As to the rest of the topic...

Mechanics for mechanics sake is in fact very worth it. Mechanics are there for the fluff - not - the other way around. If a mechanic works better for something that that mechanic was worth making. Why continually try to patch something to force it to do something, when you have a better system? Why try to make a cube roll when you could use a wheel?

Fluff-wise, the 3E/3.5 psionics never bothered me. Crystals are to real-life psions as magic-circles are to real-life mages. To be more precise; in real life people have or do believe that you can draw a magic circle and call forth a spirit or demon, bind it within a triangle so it cannot merely leave the circle and go back whence it came, and engage in a contest of ego to force the entity to serve you. D&D be damned; because that's actually accepted in a number of esoteric circles and has roots in real life belief.

(Whether you can or cannot do those things is irrelevant, merely that it is/was believed that was how it worked and it was used to flavor our RPGs.)

Psionics? Well, check this out. A lot of "real-life Psions" (like there were real-life sorcerers, diviners, and so forth), regardless of the existence of their abilities or not, believe that crystals (especially quartz) is capable of holding psionic energy, imprints, mental programs or constructions, emotions, and so forth. They can be used as meditation tools, or batteries, or tools to focus your abilities or power.

Humorously, such things tie into magic as well. For example, different types of gemstones in esoteric traditions have different traits which assist in magical workings, or psionic focus, or whatever. Also wood. For example, in some traditions, Oak is considered to have healing properties, while other types have other uses. Both magic and psionics both discuss ethereal/astral travel or out-of-body consciousness or awareness.

Diviners, sorcerers actually (if memory serves), often used rocks and crystals to use their divining magic; or throwing bones or dice or other exotic tools; or let themselves gaze into something that distracts or dulls the physical senses; such as a crystal ball, a pool of water, or a black mirror.

Effectively, the fluff for psionics in 3.x is fluff based on esoteric traditions in real-life; just as magic in D&D is based on esoteric traditions, stories, legends, and beliefs. Thus they never bothered me before; and I didn't consider it to be some sort of weird fetish. Less so than Incarnum actually (a great excuse for using blue ink-cartridges almost exclusively when printing their book :smalltongue:).

Then again, as noted, fluff is entirely mutable and changeable. One of my favorite aspects of the psionics system is actually because of how versatile it is and how it can be used to describe such a wide range of abilities.

The DMG itself discusses re-fluffing magic items and the like; using enchanted fruit, tablets that you break, or balms you apply instead of potions for example. As long as the mechanical aspects remain the same, there is no problem. One could have a carved oak necklace that functions as a cognizance crystal (3 PP), or pearl of power (2nd level).

The psionics rules can equally be used to describe a monk's Chi/Ki/Qi/Prana; a sword-mage's magic while wielding a sword and a shield; a telepath touching the minds of those around him; the destructive power of a sorcerer's wrath; and so on and so forth. The system doesn't limit players in their creativity.

The fact you don't have to produce some bat poo to fling or similar thing allows you to fluff your own stuff like you want it. Sure, you could re-fluff material components but you can't remove them without changing the way the core magic system works. You have to jump through hoops to make core-magic fit different concepts that you can splash psionics into and run with it.

The psionics system is simpler to learn. I've got players who've been playing 3.5 for at least 3 or 4 years each. They still get mixed up with stuff like bonus spells, or dealing with spells per day, and so forth; and explaining it to newbies is always a fun little exercise in patience.

Whereas in Psionics, it is incredibly easy to understand. You have a single number (your power points) which you spend on your powers (costs 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17) to manifest. Bonus points? Oh, you get 1/2 your key modifier * level. So if you're a Psion with a +2 intelligence, you get +1 PP/level. Done.

Learning to augment? Well, that too is easy. Augmenting is optional, but it's something you should learn if you're playing with the system (unless you want to play characters more like warlocks with near-infinite lesser powers - which is actually do-able and is nice in lengthy games). Most powers that augment increase the power similar to rising in caster level, and follow standardized formulas (most of the fireball style powers scale at 1d6/PP, and the DCs increase by 1 every 2 PP). Ultimately, learning how to augment your powers takes all of 5 minutes tops and can usually be taught during play. Finding out more unusual augments (such as psionic charm's ability to affect more creature types for more power) is given in the power description, and is no more complicated than getting an extra scorching ray at X level.


Example: 2nd Level - DM "Well, since you're 2nd level, you can spend 2 PP to deal 2d6 damage if you want to." - Player "Oh really? Sweet!". 3rd Level - DM "Well since you're spending 2 more PP, you get to increase the save DC by 1." - Player "Oh really? Sweet!", 10th level - Player "OK, I'll spend 9pp to manifest for 9d6, and it's a DC 18 save for half." - DM "Sounds good. Ok, roll that beautiful bean footage."


=====================================

Ultimately I love these conversations. Somehow I never tire of them. I've yet to see anything to the contrary that I can put stock into. It's fun to talk about anyway though. Best wishes to all. :smallsmile:

absolmorph
2010-04-04, 01:22 AM
Yeah... What Ashiel said.

Kylarra
2010-04-04, 01:26 AM
... Do you mind if I sig this?
Go for it.

Lycanthromancer
2010-04-04, 01:28 AM
<On the offensive>*Ashiel strikes for massive damage!

*It's super-effective!

absolmorph
2010-04-04, 01:29 AM
Go for it.
Sweet, I got rid of that big empty white space, and replaced it with a quote that highly amuses me.

PhoenixRivers
2010-04-04, 01:32 AM
Well, to start with, you read the power wrong (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/powers/deathUrge.htm). Death Urge only forces the target to make 1 attack which auto-crits, not a coup de grace. It's single target, and mind-affecting, which means it's worthless against groups of enemies, can't hurt undead/constructs/plants/oozes, and unless it's a humanoid with a high-crit weapon, it's not really doing anything except wasting its turn giving itself minor injuries...monsters with a single, powerful natural attack are relatively rare compared to ones with a multiattack routine.

Well, in fairness, Death Urge does the following:

1) Damages an enemy
2) Prevents an enemy from damaging allies
3) Prevents an enemy from hindering allies

As for DC 25, you only need 11 from stats/items at level 7. If you can boost ML to 11, you need 9. Not easy, but not impossible.

Kylarra
2010-04-04, 01:33 AM
didn't olo once obliterate himself involving aptitude shenanigans because of death urge?

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-04-04, 01:35 AM
didn't olo once obliterate himself involving aptitude shenanigans because of death urge?

Yep (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=6968457#post6968457).Additional text.

Kylarra
2010-04-04, 01:38 AM
Yep (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=6968457#post6968457).Additional text.I knew I remembered seeing it somewhere. Thanks. :smallsmile:

ironically involving the poster who posted above my original post. I CALL SHENANIGANS

absolmorph
2010-04-04, 01:45 AM
The best part is that he reflected it on himself :smallamused:
Also, that's a lot of bullets.

PhoenixRivers
2010-04-04, 01:57 AM
Ah, yes. That was a fun match.

lesser_minion
2010-04-04, 03:45 AM
Mechanics for mechanics sake is in fact very worth it. Mechanics are there for the fluff - not - the other way around. If a mechanic works better for something that that mechanic was worth making. Why continually try to patch something to force it to do something, when you have a better system? Why try to make a cube roll when you could use a wheel?

I'm talking about volume of mechanics - as far as quality is concerned, yes, it's worth re-writing a system that's bad. But writing a whole new system just to sit alongside the existing system and make it look bad is not good design (or good marketing).

It's not even "trying to make a cube roll" - spell slots don't fit D&D psionics any worse than they fit D&D magic. The meaningful differences are:

Foci and components are gone, with the exception of XP costs. Could fit with the existing system (spells can have a blank component line if desired).
In place of having a chain of spells, you have one power that can be augmented to do what you want (a spell could be cast using a slot of your choice) Psionic powers have been adapted to be balanced under a points system, whereas spells haven't been. This wouldn't have needed duplicating. Metapsionic use is limited. Not difficult to duplicate ("you may only apply a single metamagic feat to each spell, but doing so does not increase the casting time.") No counterspelling. Which isn't that significant.

The only thing redeeming psionics here is that it's a functional replacement for the magic system. That was not the stated intent behind the XPH. And using two magic systems when one system would handle both tolerably is not smart.

The only reason to use 3.x-style spell slots for anything is more 'political psychosis' than anything else. But unfortunately, it's also a "you make your bed, you lie in it" deal, unless you happen to have a really good excuse.

PhoenixRivers
2010-04-04, 05:07 AM
I'm talking about volume of mechanics - as far as quality is concerned, yes, it's worth re-writing a system that's bad. But writing a whole new system just to sit alongside the existing system and make it look bad is not good design (or good marketing).

It's not even "trying to make a cube roll" - spell slots don't fit D&D psionics any worse than they fit D&D magic. The meaningful differences are:

Foci and components are gone, with the exception of XP costs. Could fit with the existing system (spells can have a blank component line if desired).
In place of having a chain of spells, you have one power that can be augmented to do what you want (a spell could be cast using a slot of your choice) Psionic powers have been adapted to be balanced under a points system, whereas spells haven't been. This wouldn't have needed duplicating. Metapsionic use is limited. Not difficult to duplicate ("you may only apply a single metamagic feat to each spell, but doing so does not increase the casting time.") No counterspelling. Which isn't that significant.

The only thing redeeming psionics here is that it's a functional replacement for the magic system. That was not the stated intent behind the XPH. And using two magic systems when one system would handle both tolerably is not smart.
Depends on whether or not you like variety.

Such a principle could be used to justify using just the generic classes. After all, if a "Spellcaster" base class would handle divine, arcane, and what have you, and you insist on seperating it out into "wizard", "sorceror", "cleric", and "druid", isn't that "not smart"?

Variety for variety's sake. If it's not smart, so be it. I prefer to cater to my players. Some like one, some like the other. So both are allowed.

lesser_minion
2010-04-04, 05:22 AM
Depends on whether or not you like variety.

Such a principle could be used to justify using just the generic classes. After all, if a "Spellcaster" base class would handle divine, arcane, and what have you, and you insist on seperating it out into "wizard", "sorceror", "cleric", and "druid", isn't that "not smart"?

Again, that's different. You can have a whole pile of magic classes, and you'll notice that all of those classes have differences. It's the differences that make the character classes.

But what they all have in common is the magic that they use, and the fact that they all use the same system for that magic.

If you look at psionics, you'll notice that they aren't made different enough to justify a new magic system. So the end result is that people have to learn two sets of rules which, to all intents and purposes, both do the same thing.

Binders aren't something that can be handled using spell slots. That's when it's OK to write a new set of rules. But writing a system based on spell slots and then using a points-based system for characters who:

Could quite easily have used the existing magic system
Didn't need to be like that.

Is a mistake.

Saph
2010-04-04, 05:23 AM
Variety for variety's sake. If it's not smart, so be it. I prefer to cater to my players. Some like one, some like the other. So both are allowed.

As mentioned before, though, there are practical issues with having both.

You can't analyse psionics with Spellcraft and you can't analyse magic with Psicraft. So if you put any magical/psionic effect in front of a mixed party, only half of the caster-types will be able to study it. In practice, since magic-using things are much more common than psionic things, the psion is unlikely to get much use out of his Psicraft skill unless you specifically go out of your way to throw psionic effects at him.

Likewise with magic items - dorjes, powerstones, and psicrowns are completely useless to non-psionic characters. Contrast that to something like a wand of cure light wounds, where most characters in the party are likely to be able to use it one way or another (in the Test of Spite game I'm running, everyone in the party can use wands). This means that if you want to get items for the party psionicists, you can't use the standard random treasure tables - you have to pick out items for them. And if the party psion's away that session, any psionic items are just blunt objects until he gets back. Similarly for item creation - a normal party only needs a single high-level magic user to make any item they'll need. A mixed magic/psionic party needs two, so when building your world you have to set up two parallel magic-using structures instead of just one.

These are real issues. They're not impossible to solve - you can fix all of them. But it's extra work, and it's questionable how much payoff you get for it. In my opinion psionics works better as a replacement for magic rather than as a supplement for it.

shadow_archmagi
2010-04-04, 06:10 AM
i don't suppose there's any chance someone could explain to me what happened to Olo? Why did he have guns? How did he do so much damage?

Yuki Akuma
2010-04-04, 06:58 AM
He had guns because he wanted to have guns. He did so much damage ebcause he was using Lightning Mace and Aptitude weapons.

Lightning Mace lets you attack again each time you score a critical hit.

Death Urge causes you to perform a critical hit on yourself.

Therefore, he kept critically hitting himself until he ran out of bullets.

If he'd actually been using a melee weapon he would have caused infinite damage to himself...

shadow_archmagi
2010-04-04, 07:53 AM
Hmmm.

1. Animate entire planet
2. Give planet lightning mace feat
3. Give planet mace
4. Use death urge

Philistine
2010-04-04, 07:54 AM
The extra work required to say, "In this game, Psicraft is Spellcraft is Psicraft, and UPD is UMD is UPD, and a dorje is a wand is a dorje, and so on," is trivial, and fixes most if not all of the stated ills of the system. And while I agree that you shouldn't even have to do that much, is anyone at this late date surprised that WotC didn't think things (psionics/magic transparency, in this case) through to their logical conclusion?

Yora
2010-04-04, 08:12 AM
Lightning Mace lets you attack again each time you score a critical hit.

Death Urge causes you to perform a critical hit on yourself.
Lightning Mace allows you to make an additional attack, but you are not forced to make it.
Death urge forces you to make a single attack.

I'd say even in RAW this doesn't work.


Binders aren't something that can be handled using spell slots. That's when it's OK to write a new set of rules. But writing a system based on spell slots and then using a points-based system for characters who:

Could quite easily have used the existing magic system
Didn't need to be like that.

Is a mistake.
I don't think so. It's an optional variant that may be used in addition to or in place of other magic systems. And so far, a great deal of people had great fun with it. So why is it a mistake to offer this option?

shadow_archmagi
2010-04-04, 08:17 AM
Rules as written:

"If armed, the subject attacks itself as a full-round action."

Doesn't specify that you only get one hit. Also, if you have the OPTION to take extra hits, and you're feeling suicidal, then you would indeed take extra hits.

Yora
2010-04-04, 08:23 AM
But it says attack as a full round action, not "full attack".

NEO|Phyte
2010-04-04, 10:13 AM
He had guns because he wanted to have guns. He did so much damage ebcause he was using Lightning Mace and Aptitude weapons.

Lightning Mace lets you attack again each time you score a critical hit.

Death Urge causes you to perform a critical hit on yourself.

Therefore, he kept critically hitting himself until he ran out of bullets.

If he'd actually been using a melee weapon he would have caused infinite damage to himself...
As I pointed out back when this event first happened, Lightning Maces gives you an extra attack on a critical THREAT. Since Death Urge autocrits, no threat ever occurs, so Lightning Maces doesn't trigger.

Ashiel
2010-04-04, 12:07 PM
As mentioned before, though, there are practical issues with having both.

You can't analyse psionics with Spellcraft and you can't analyse magic with Psicraft. So if you put any magical/psionic effect in front of a mixed party, only half of the caster-types will be able to study it. In practice, since magic-using things are much more common than psionic things, the psion is unlikely to get much use out of his Psicraft skill unless you specifically go out of your way to throw psionic effects at him.

Likewise with magic items - dorjes, powerstones, and psicrowns are completely useless to non-psionic characters. Contrast that to something like a wand of cure light wounds, where most characters in the party are likely to be able to use it one way or another (in the Test of Spite game I'm running, everyone in the party can use wands). This means that if you want to get items for the party psionicists, you can't use the standard random treasure tables - you have to pick out items for them. And if the party psion's away that session, any psionic items are just blunt objects until he gets back. Similarly for item creation - a normal party only needs a single high-level magic user to make any item they'll need. A mixed magic/psionic party needs two, so when building your world you have to set up two parallel magic-using structures instead of just one.

These are real issues. They're not impossible to solve - you can fix all of them. But it's extra work, and it's questionable how much payoff you get for it. In my opinion psionics works better as a replacement for magic rather than as a supplement for it.

It's worth noting that the Magic Item Compendium calls out that psionic characters may craft magic items and vice versa; noting that the they may be used interchangeably and the nearest equivalent spell/power be used in their place (meaning a psion can craft a necklace of fireballs by substituting an energy spell like energy burst).

Additionally, effects such as detect psionics can read magic as well, and by default identifies it as the nearest equivalent. That being said, it's incredibly easy to include Psi/Spell-craft and Detect Psionics/Spells under the transparency rules and call it a day. In my tabletop game, we have always done pretty much that. If someone casts Wish for example, they can mimic psionic powers with it (using the option to copy divine spells).

The act of saying "Spellcraft and Psicraft may be used interchangeably, as well as Use Magic and Use Psionic Device; finally if you detect Magic / Psionics, you determine the school or discipline strait out" is incredibly easy. That was very easy. If you come across something that isn't specifically called out in the rules (such as the aforementioned Wish example) is just a simple matter of common sense.

It's easier than trying to work the existing magic system to fit as many options for characters that the Psionics system can provide. The extra option for play-style and character customization is, I believe, entirely worth extending transparency to include more stuff (since it's virtually effortless).


Again, that's different. You can have a whole pile of magic classes, and you'll notice that all of those classes have differences. It's the differences that make the character classes.

But what they all have in common is the magic that they use, and the fact that they all use the same system for that magic.

If you look at psionics, you'll notice that they aren't made different enough to justify a new magic system. So the end result is that people have to learn two sets of rules which, to all intents and purposes, both do the same thing.

Binders aren't something that can be handled using spell slots. That's when it's OK to write a new set of rules. But writing a system based on spell slots and then using a points-based system for characters who:

* Could quite easily have used the existing magic system
* Didn't need to be like that.


Is a mistake.
The different system justifies itself. As I pointed out before; some people just prefer the feel and fun they can have with the magic system and some just prefer the feel and fun they can have with the psionics system. Interestingly, the psionics system can emulate core casting but not the reverse; at least not without jumping through a lot of hoops.

Binders can be played with the same mechanics with x/day magic. Technically you can planar binding creatures - particularly fiends - and have them possess you as part of your pact, while allowing you to be in control, to give you special magical powers from having stuff like succubi inhabiting your body. However, they're more fun with a different system.

I absolutely hate trying to pull of a telepath with standard magic. You have all vocal components, somatic hand-waving, and material-components that just totally kill it for me. The reverse is much easier; since you can entirely add in all the hand-waving, poetic words, and stuff optionally; or just enjoy the lightshow that accompanies psions who don't suppress their displays.

All the components and what-not also interfere with making more versatile characters. Multi-classing casters and other classes presents annoying hurdles such as being unable to wield weapons in your casting hand, or dealing with arbitrary spell-failure, and so forth. If I wanted to make a mage-knight who self-buffs or casts offensive spells like fireball now and then, I'd take Fighter/Psion any day over Fighter/Wizard; because it work better by default.

You see, the beauty of the system is it can enable so many types of concepts other than what is specifically spelled out. The system is designed to make for great psionic flavored characters; but it's versatile enough to build everything from Paladins, to the cast of Naruto*, to mystic monks who throw bursts of energy from their fists and jump through space, to classic sorcerers, to more exotic concepts that you think up on the fly.

The humorous thing about binders is that it's the perfect system for binder fluff. It is however incredibly difficult, nearly impossible even, to use the binder rules and mechanics for different types of characters; so its a very good but very limited system. Psionics does what it intends very well, and is also versatile enough to fit with countless other options.

Coupled with the previous points as to how Psionics is incredibly easy to manage and deal with, as well as being incredibly easy to re-fluff into a variety of concepts and arch-types. This is why fans of psionics love it so much...

It's not just because of Mind Bullets. :smallamused:

*: Making characters based off the cast of Naruto isn't really my thing, or the thing of anyone in my group to my knowledge; but it was done back on the WotC boards.

Yora
2010-04-04, 12:13 PM
As I pointed out back when this event first happened, Lightning Maces gives you an extra attack on a critical THREAT. Since Death Urge autocrits, no threat ever occurs, so Lightning Maces doesn't trigger.


The attack automatically succeeds and deals damage as a critical hit.
Which explicitly says that it is not actually a critical hit.

PhoenixRivers
2010-04-04, 12:22 PM
Rules as written:

"If armed, the subject attacks itself as a full-round action."

Doesn't specify that you only get one hit. Also, if you have the OPTION to take extra hits, and you're feeling suicidal, then you would indeed take extra hits.


You plant a hidden death-urge impulse
in the subject’s unconscious. On the subject’s next turn, it looks for
the quickest method to end its life and attempts to do so. The subject takes no
other action on its turn except attempting
to harm itself.
If armed, the subject attacks itself
as a full-round action. The attack automatically succeeds and deals damage as a critical hit. If unarmed, the subject moves adjacent to the nearest enemy and provokes an attack of opportunity, offering its opponent an opening, which the opponent may or may not choose to take advantage of. If the subject is unarmed and no enemy is nearby, the subject simply does nothing at all. At the Dungeon Master’s option, a subject close to an immediate and lethal hazard such as a cliff or a fire might hurl itself off the cliff or into the fire instead of striking itself with a weapon.

Emphasis mine. It points to a single attack which automatically crits.

As I pointed out back when this event first happened, Lightning Maces gives you an extra attack on a critical THREAT. Since Death Urge autocrits, no threat ever occurs, so Lightning Maces doesn't trigger.
Depends on your interpretation. If you assume that this crit follows all the standard rules for critical hits, and merely automatically succeeds (circumventing the need for a roll), then there is a threat. There is certainly nothing in the power description to contradict this interpretation.

Then, if you assume that the Death Urge allows the target to mystically attack its innards, circumventing the standard attack, then your interpretation could be valid.

It's up to each person to interpret how the rules are applied. If you give precedence to the standard rules for critical hits, and only alter them where explicitly instructed to, then you're absolutely wrong. If you consider it a magic attack, on par with magic missiles, then hey, you have a point.

Oslecamo
2010-04-04, 12:35 PM
The different system justifies itself. As I pointed out before; some people just prefer the feel and fun they can have with the magic system and some just prefer the feel and fun they can have with the psionics system. Interestingly, the psionics system can emulate core casting but not the reverse; at least not without jumping through a lot of hoops.

Really?



Binders can be played with the same mechanics with x/day magic. Technically you can planar binding creatures - particularly fiends - and have them possess you as part of your pact, while allowing you to be in control, to give you special magical powers from having stuff like succubi inhabiting your body. However, they're more fun with a different system.

I still cannot use psionics to call a succubi, put her a leash and make her follow me. I could create a doll that looks like a succubi, but it would just be that: a doll.



I absolutely hate trying to pull of a telepath with standard magic. You have all vocal components, somatic hand-waving, and material-components that just totally kill it for me.

Professor Xavier and all the telepaths that make weird gestures when using their powers would like to have a word with you. Also, metamagic reducer and eschew materials. There's your component free caster.



The reverse is much easier; since you can entirely add in all the hand-waving, poetic words, and stuff optionally; or just enjoy the lightshow that accompanies psions who don't suppress their displays.

By that argument, pun-pun is the only viable build, because pun-pun can do everything, and then you add/remove stuff optionally.




All the components and what-not also interfere with making more versatile characters. Multi-classing casters and other classes presents annoying hurdles such as being unable to wield weapons in your casting hand, or dealing with arbitrary spell-failure, and so forth. If I wanted to make a mage-knight who self-buffs or casts offensive spells like fireball now and then, I'd take Fighter/Psion any day over Fighter/Wizard; because it work better by default.

Psion-fighter is just a little better than wizard fighter, since both are losing caster levels. On the other hand, wizard has more gish prcs and special options to get to cast in armor that you can point a stick at.

Cleric-fighter works even better. Or just cleric.



You see, the beauty of the system is it can enable so many types of concepts other than what is specifically spelled out. The system is designed to make for great psionic flavored characters; but it's versatile enough to build everything from Paladins, to the cast of Naruto*, to mystic monks who throw bursts of energy from their fists and jump through space, to classic sorcerers, to more exotic concepts that you think up on the fly.

You can't be a healer before lv5. You cannot summon stuff from the end of times(or from any place actualy). Your "familiar" is a rock with rock traits that you cannot get rid off, like don't being able to see anything behind 40 foot. And where's my polymorph any object? Shrink object? All the weird spells to mess up with physics and kill catgirls? Or tome of battle wuxia? When I want some crazy kung-fu, I pick up the book of nine swords, not a psion.



Coupled with the previous points as to how Psionics is incredibly easy to manage and deal with, as well as being incredibly easy to re-fluff into a variety of concepts and arch-types. This is why fans of psionics love it so much...

Funny you say how easy it is to use, because from my experience most people fail to understand the psionic rules by themselves, leading them to discard the system, even when they knew how to run core magic. Or end up running psionics wrong and claim they love psionics whitout noticing they actualy aren't using psionics.



*: Making characters based off the cast of Naruto isn't really my thing, or the thing of anyone in my group to my knowledge; but it was done back on the WotC boards.
Funny thing, they did it as well with arcane classes. Considering that at least the arcane Naruto was a human, while the psionic Naruto was some kind of psionic construct, I say the arcane version was better.

Optimystik
2010-04-04, 12:41 PM
If you look at psionics, you'll notice that they aren't made different enough to justify a new magic system.

The fact that so many people disagree with you, and in fact love psionics as a system far and above vancian magic, proves you utterly wrong.

krossbow
2010-04-04, 01:18 PM
There was the crit-tastic Soulknife who could change the shape of his weapon or something I still don't know how to explain.



Oh god... HAHAHAHA. LOOK OUT! HIS CLASS FEATURE GIVES HIM A WEAPON!

lesser_minion
2010-04-04, 01:21 PM
The fact that so many people disagree with you, and in fact love psionics as a system far and above vancian magic, proves you utterly wrong.

Erm... what?

Your post doesn't even make sense.

Not only is the number of people who take a position utterly irrelevant to how right or wrong that position is (i.e. your post failed before it even started), but the popularity of something has no bearing on whether or not it was the right thing to do.

At no point have I said that psionics is a bad system. What I have said is that using two systems instead of one is bad design. So the one good point you might have made there... has no relevance whatsoever to this discussion.

There is no "you're either with psionics or against it" here. I like the system. What I don't like is the bizarre reasoning that led to its creation as written.

Optimystik
2010-04-04, 01:27 PM
Erm... what?

Your post doesn't even make sense. Not only is the number of people who take a position utterly irrelevant to how right or wrong that position is (i.e. your post failed before it even started), but the popularity of something has no bearing on whether or not it was the right thing to do.

At no point have I said that psionics is a bad system. What I have said is that using two systems instead of one is bad design.

It's not about popularity. It's about you being unable to make sweeping statements about anything unless there is consensus.

Which, by the way, you're still doing. "X is bad design" is your opinion, and needs to be qualified as such.

By the way, magic can easily be adapted to a points system (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/magic/spellPoints.htm) as well. If you don't want to use two systems... don't?

Tavar
2010-04-04, 01:33 PM
Really?
I think the better statement is that you can easily have psionics act like regular magic without mechanically changing it. To do the same with Core casting requires you to get rid of all component beyond XP, which would significantly change some things. Plus, you still don't have the flexability that Psionics gives you with it's augment system and power point system.



I still cannot use psionics to call a succubi, put her a leash and make her follow me. I could create a doll that looks like a succubi, but it would just be that: a doll.
So? That's not his arguement. He's saying that you can play binders with the core magic rules. Not exactly as they are presented, but with the whole making pacts with extra-planar creatures and the like, and getting powers from them.



Professor Xavier and all the telepaths that make weird gestures when using their powers would like to have a word with you. Also, metamagic reducer and eschew materials. There's your component free caster.
Professor Xavier doesn't make weird gestures. At most he concentrates, which is something Psionics does too. Compare with the spell detect thoughts, which has verbal and somatic components, as well as a focus.

As for metamagic reducers, they're almost always banned due to power, and didn't really come into play for quite some time. I mean, the only ones I can think of that's in a book is Arcane Thesis, which applies to one spell, in the PHB2 and in Metamagic School Focus, in Complete Mage(I think this had a Per day restriction, but I'm not sure). So, for almost the entirety of 3.5's in print stage, you couldn't do it out side of Psionics.



By that argument, pun-pun is the only viable build, because pun-pun can do everything, and then you add/remove stuff optionally.

Strawman/completely misses the point. His point that it's easy to add fluff, but changing mechanics is much harder, and generally creates unforseen problems in balance.

You can't be a healer before lv5.
So, one concept that you can't really do before level 5. And the Wizard can do this any time he...oh wait. He can't. Huh. So, classes are limited in some ways? Imagine that!

You cannot summon stuff from the end of times
Neither can any type of Vancian magic I've seen. What's the point?

Your "familiar" is a rock with rock traits that you cannot get rid off, like don't being able to see anything behind 40 foot.
As opposed to the Familar/animal companion list which is entirely customizable....Oh, wait. It's not. Yeah, it has limitations, but so does any type of formal list.

And where's my polymorph any object? Shrink object? All the weird spells to mess up with physics and kill catgirls?
You mean the ones that are crazy broken? Well, they were trying to make a more balanced system. Plus, those don't really match with the theme of Psionics, which is more on self-manipulation. And they do have crazy powers, just different ones from Vancian casting. Again, what's your point?

Or tome of battle wuxia? When I want some crazy kung-fu, I pick up the book of nine swords, not a psion.
So, because you can do something with one set of rules invalidates any other set of rules that can do the same thing?

Also, again, ToB came out very late in 3.5's print cycle. What would you have done before that?

Funny you say how easy it is to use, because from my experience most people fail to understand the psionic rules by themselves, leading them to discard the system, even when they knew how to run core magic. Or end up running psionics wrong and claim they love psionics whitout noticing they actualy aren't using psionics.
This is actually because they don't read the rules. I mean, when I read the book, the rules on manifesting are very clearly spelled out in their own chapter, and from what I remember, very well formated. People just don't read the chapter on manifesting, and then complain when weird stuff happens. I've had people mess up the spell casting rules(2nd level spells at first level, core only). Is that because the system is difficult, or that they didn't read the material on their class?


Funny thing, they did it as well with arcane classes. Considering that at least the arcane Naruto was a human, while the psionic Naruto was some kind of psionic construct, I say the arcane version was better.
Why? If one of the versions more accurately reflects what he can do, and how he does it, why does being the same race as the original make the other better? Especially since claiming he's human is questionable. I mean, he's some combination of demon, that's supposedly changed him on a fundamental level.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-04, 01:35 PM
You can't be a healer before lv5. You cannot summon stuff from the end of times(or from any place actualy). Your "familiar" is a rock with rock traits that you cannot get rid off, like don't being able to see anything behind 40 foot. And where's my polymorph any object? Shrink object? All the weird spells to mess up with physics and kill catgirls? Or tome of battle wuxia? When I want some crazy kung-fu, I pick up the book of nine swords, not a psion.


Complete psionics says you should read it again.
1st lv power Touch opf health heals 2 hp (4 if expend focus) in Life mantle.

You can summon stuff:
1) Elemental Steward (decent at low lvs)
2) Larval Flayers
3) Planar Champion: calls a Sibyllic Guardian or a Celebrilith
4) Shadow Eft

Ashiel
2010-04-04, 01:40 PM
Really?
Yep.


I still cannot use psionics to call a succubi, put her a leash and make her follow me. I could create a doll that looks like a succubi, but it would just be that: a doll.
Maybe you misunderstood my point; or you are intentionally bending my words. I'll assume the former out of good faith. I never claimed psionics can fill in for a binder. I was pointing out that the argument could be made that Binders shouldn't exist because you could already create some sort of work-around using magic (which does everything); but that doesn't stop Binders from being lots of fun and worth playing.

I'm not sure how you failed to understand that, unless I just expressed it very poorly. I hadn't even mentioned psionics in regard to that.


Professor Xavier and all the telepaths that make weird gestures when using their powers would like to have a word with you. Also, metamagic reducer and eschew materials. There's your component free caster.
Yeah, I'm a huge X-Men fan too man. Total geek about it. I stand by what I said. Charles Xavier routinely speaks telepathically to people and doesn't make a lot of weird hand gestures to do stuff, nor does he chant vocal components, nor does he have to produce some sort of magic dust or something. In fact, the closest he comes to making somatic gestures is occasionally touching his head with his hand while concentrating (which people often do without it being supernatural); and he doesn't do such "gestures" all the time - nor are they required.

You also just pointed out that you need to spend lots of feats to force standard magic to fit into different concepts; and trying to work through system mastery and many more splat-books to make it do what you want it to. In other words: Jump through hoops. You can't do it out of the box.


By that argument, pun-pun is the only viable build, because pun-pun can do everything, and then you add/remove stuff optionally.
Are you serious with this comment? Seriously?

No, by that argument Pun-pun is not the only viable build. It's true that you could use "pun-pun" to mechanically represent virtually anything; unless you wanted to flavor your character as something other than a character (Paladin preferably) who sold their goodness to Pazuzu for godly powers and what-not. Also, Pun-pun is not a system; Pun-pun is an theoretical abuse of a lot of different rules and optional material.

In fact, I wasn't arguing over builds or anything of the sort. I was merely showing that for a variety of character concepts psionics can in fact mimic large portions of magic, and can be used to deal with a wide variety of concepts without needing the aforementioned hoop jumping. You're arguing nothing, and nothing is what you're arguing against.

You're taking it out of context. Bring it back into context then debate it if you wish, but don't pull BS like that because it's just foolish. Common sense man.


Psion-fighter is just a little better than wizard fighter, since both are losing caster levels. On the other hand, wizard has more gish prcs and special options to get to cast in armor that you can point a stick at.

Cleric-fighter works even better. Or just cleric.

Yep, lots of ways to twist the system to make it work for you. Mithril armor, spending feats or using prestige classes to cast in armor, or entering into a variety of prestige classes from different splat-books and so forth.

Again, you're also arguing something I'm not. I never suggested that a fighter/wizard or fighter/psion was even on equal terms with a strait-wizard or strait-psion (well, especially not a strait wizard). I was pointing out that you don't have to spend lots of feats and resources to succeed at being weaker. Instead, you can make a better mage-knight.

Also, cleric-fighter has lots of synergy, but also requires you to hold your holy symbol and be a cleric (with everything that comes with). It also doesn't do much if you want to throw around fireballs and similar things; or pull off cool magic-tricks beyond personal buffs, self-heals, or various save-based spells. Though truthfully if I was discussing builds, I'd skip fighter altogether and just be a cleric.

Or I could just play a Psychic Warrior and be a default-gish. Alternatively, I'm fond of Psion 8 / Ranger 2 / Slayer 10 for a BAB +16 gish with decent saves and solid casting/manifesting. But I'm speaking in terms of what we can do here with this system; not specific builds.


You can't be a healer before lv5. You cannot summon stuff from the end of times(or from any place actualy). Your "familiar" is a rock with rock traits that you cannot get rid off, like don't being able to see anything behind 40 foot. And where's my polymorph any object? Shrink object? All the weird spells to mess up with physics and kill catgirls? Or tome of battle wuxia? When I want some crazy kung-fu, I pick up the book of nine swords, not a psion.

Yep. You're correct. Since I was never suggesting anyone throw the core magic system out the window, I'm not sure what you're arguing here. Core magic does different things. That's not really much for how the system works but for what they are better at. The Psionics system was designed to be better at some things and weaker at other things. If psionics by default had everything core-magic does, then people would complain.

People would complain Psions can be the party's cleric and wizard at the same time. People would complain that it makes little sense for psions to be walking around manifesting psionic animate dead for flavor reasons. It was designed this way because it wasn't intended to be a replacement for core magic but another option for playing a different type of character.

That being said, it would be entirely possible to completely trash core magic and add new psionic powers (using the psionic system guidelines) to create psionic versions of spells like animate dead or polymorph any object or cure wounds. Such things were left out for specific reasons, but could be added to the system in one afternoon.

However, that's irrelevant for the most part because I was discussing the benefits and strengths of the system. How it can define a lot of arch-types. I never suggested it could fill ALL arch-types. You want to turn rocks into people? You play a wizard. You want to animate a legion of undead and be a competent warrior? Be a cleric or maybe a Dread Necromancer. You want to heal people? Play a cleric or bard or ranger with varying degrees of specialization or magic items. You want to play a spell-sword without jumping through hoops? Play a X/Psion; or a Psychic Warrior. You want to play a blastey caster who doesn't suck by default (but is limited in cheese), play a Psion or Wilder.

Yes, if you remove core casting completely, then you would need to add more powers and options into the Psionics system. It can in fact handle such options very effectively; whereas the reverse is not as true.


Funny you say how easy it is to use, because from my experience most people fail to understand the psionic rules by themselves, leading them to discard the system, even when they knew how to run core magic. Or end up running psionics wrong and claim they love psionics whitout noticing they actualy aren't using psionics.

That's funny indeed because I just pointed out the entire gist of the psionics system in my previous posts. Also, this friend of a friend arguments amuse me. Lots of people screw up using magic too. I've had people accidentally have too few spells per day, or too many. Or people who think you get 2nd level spells at 2nd level and 3rd level at 3rd. Mistakes are made everywhere.

There are lots of people who forget that you need cover and concealment to Hide. GMs and players alike I have seen make this mistake; then turn and say rogues are unbalanced because they have what amounts to instant non-magical invisibility.

I'd like you to explain to me how it's harder to learn, since I just summed up the system in my previous post. I explained your bonus spell/PP, your resources, and how you use them in a single paragraph; then gave an example of the learning curve following it.

At the very least, it's not harder to learn that standard magic; and in my experiences has been infinitely easier to teach new players than standard spell-casting. One player in my group loves playing barbarians and psions; hates wizards and clerics. Is in the middle with bards and sorcerers. He despises preparation based casting, and when he doesn't have the option for psionics generally just plays a warrior or maybe a bard. He finds them too confusing and convoluted, lacking in sense, and annoying. Another at our table, who loves Wizards endlessly and has never played a Psion at all, hates the way sorcerers cast spells almost like wizards. He hates that they're supposed to be drawing their power from a raw source, not just memorizing it or having "spontaneous memorization". He says Psions are better sorcerers.


Funny thing, they did it as well with arcane classes. Considering that at least the arcane Naruto was a human, while the psionic Naruto was some kind of psionic construct, I say the arcane version was better.

Hmmm. I didn't remember Naruto being a construct, but I'll take your word for it. Rock Lee was human if I recall though. What's better though? Technically wizards can do everything that everyone can do ever; but how easy is it to make it work? What's your idea of better?

Ashiel
2010-04-04, 01:43 PM
<Stuff that explains my position better than I did.>

Thanks Tavar. :smallbiggrin:

lesser_minion
2010-04-04, 02:13 PM
The different system justifies itself. As I pointed out before; some people just prefer the feel and fun they can have with the magic system and some just prefer the feel and fun they can have with the psionics system. Interestingly, the psionics system can emulate core casting but not the reverse; at least not without jumping through a lot of hoops.

Binders can be played with the same mechanics with x/day magic. Technically you can planar binding creatures - particularly fiends - and have them possess you as part of your pact, while allowing you to be in control, to give you special magical powers from having stuff like succubi inhabiting your body. However, they're more fun with a different system.

Perhaps. I imagine that you would make the individual vestiges into something akin to spells.

However, it would take a lot of effort to make such a system balanced - at least enough effort that you could have written a completely new system from scratch.


I absolutely hate trying to pull of a telepath with standard magic. You have all vocal components, somatic hand-waving, and material-components that just totally kill it for me. The reverse is much easier; since you can entirely add in all the hand-waving, poetic words, and stuff optionally; or just enjoy the lightshow that accompanies psions who don't suppress their displays.

All the components and what-not also interfere with making more versatile characters. Multi-classing casters and other classes presents annoying hurdles such as being unable to wield weapons in your casting hand, or dealing with arbitrary spell-failure, and so forth. If I wanted to make a mage-knight who self-buffs or casts offensive spells like fireball now and then, I'd take Fighter/Psion any day over Fighter/Wizard; because it'd work better by default.

But those components are not appreciably harder to remove. The rules already support spells without components.

WotC wouldn't have needed to do much to get psionics working under a spell slot system - there are a few minor differences in rules (such as components), and a whole pile of content (which, in many cases, only needed re-writing because of the decision to use points).

My point is that it was a bad idea for WotC to write psionics the way they did from the outset. It might have had a positive ending, but it was still a mistake.


You see, the beauty of the system is it can enable so many types of concepts other than what is specifically spelled out. The system is designed to make for great psionic flavored characters; but it's versatile enough to build everything from Paladins, to the cast of Naruto*, to mystic monks who throw bursts of energy from their fists and jump through space, to classic sorcerers, to more exotic concepts that you think up on the fly.

Scarily, there wouldn't be much effort required to adapt the existing magic system either. You'd have to remove a few rules, but nobody misses rules that are inconsequential.


The humorous thing about binders is that it's the perfect system for binder fluff. It is however incredibly difficult, nearly impossible even, to use the binder rules and mechanics for different types of characters; so its a very good but very limited system. Psionics does what it intends very well, and is also versatile enough to fit with countless other options.

Being able to use other fluff isn't really important. Being able to do what it does well is important, and it being difficult to cannibalise an existing system is important.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-04, 02:21 PM
My point is that it was a bad idea for WotC to write psionics the way they did from the outset. It might have had a positive ending, but it was still a mistake.


You do realize Wotc didn't invent psionics as a point system...that was TSR. WotC just continued the trend.

Tavar
2010-04-04, 02:25 PM
But those components are not appreciably harder to remove. The rules already support spells without components.

WotC wouldn't have needed to do much to get psionics working under a spell slot system - there are a few minor differences in rules (such as components), and a whole pile of content (which, in many cases, only needed re-writing because of the decision to use points).
Actually, they kinda are. There are many spells and rules that are balanced due to difficult to acquire components. Need we remind you why the Spell-to-power Eurdite is considered so broken?

Plus, yes, if you change the mechanics, you can do a lot. But it's very hard to change meaningful mechanics without careful consideration. On the other hand, it's very easy to do this with fluff, and thus it's much easier to modify Psionics(you only have to change fluff, you can change mechanics if you want to) as opposed to Vancian(need to change both)

And this is only dealing with components. The fact of the matter is that Psionics is more fluid in how they cast, something that can only be approached by spontaneous casters, and even they are stuck in a spell slot system.


My point is that it was a bad idea for WotC to write psionics the way they did from the outset. It might have had a positive ending, but it was still a mistake.
Why?



Scarily, there wouldn't be much effort required to adapt the existing magic system either. You'd have to remove a few rules, but nobody misses rules that are inconsequential.
Spell Slots. There's an almost insurmountable problem right there(high powered shadowcraft gnomes get around it by shadow miracle abuse, but that's not really relevant).


Being able to use other fluff isn't really important. Being able to do what it does well is important, and it being difficult to cannibalise an existing system is important.
What do you mean "difficult to cannibalize"? And how does psionic fail either part of the equation?

Ashiel
2010-04-04, 02:43 PM
Perhaps. I imagine that you would make the individual vestiges into something akin to spells.

However, it would take a lot of effort to make such a system balanced - at least enough effort that you could have written a completely new system from scratch.

But those components are not appreciably harder to remove. The rules already support spells without components.

WotC wouldn't have needed to do much to get psionics working under a spell slot system - there are a few minor differences in rules (such as components), and a whole pile of content (which, in many cases, only needed re-writing because of the decision to use points).

My point is that it was a bad idea for WotC to write psionics the way they did from the outset. It might have had a positive ending, but it was still a mistake.

Scarily, there wouldn't be much effort required to adapt the existing magic system either. You'd have to remove a few rules, but nobody misses rules that are inconsequential.

Being able to use other fluff isn't really important. Being able to do what it does well is important, and it being difficult to cannibalise an existing system is important.

You're correct. The Tome of Magic actually warns against trying to create new vestiges and instead suggests re-flavoring existing vestiges for balance concerns. I believe it is possible to create additional balanced vestiges, but that it would indeed be very difficult to make them good. Making them around spell-casting seems even more daunting a task. :smalleek:

As to the slot vs PP system concerns; frankly I don't think offering options is ever a bad design, unless the options are horribly unbalanced. For the same reasons as listed before, the Psionics system is in fact a beautiful gem. It would loose all of its mechanical value if it used the same x/day system that core magic uses. Some players don't like x/day magic, but can play a caster with psionics and be happy. That is good design. This is one of the major problems with 4th edition for a lot of people - the lack of variety. All the classes use the same mechanics, so if you don't like those mechanics, then you're out of luck. It's not that the 4E system is a bad system, but if you don't like the at-will/encounter/daily power system, then there's not much for you.

I've heard that the 4E psionics is making it a bit more interesting by giving more at-wills that you can spend points to improve like Encounter/Daily powers; and that sounds pretty cool. I don't know much about it though, but at least it offers some different options.

That's not a design flaw. That is a design feature. That is in fact a measure of good design. Far from the opposite. You're providing an alternative way to do something out of the box in a way some people prefer. If the party wants a nice sorcerer like character but someone dislikes playing a sorcerer, they might prefer playing a Psion. Since it's balanced, there's not a problem with this. Some people prefer to play intricate multi-class combinations of warrior/mage/divine classes, some people prefer Bards.

You could remove spell components and convert it all to XP costs; remove somatic and vocal components from spells; convert existing magic into a pool-based system instead of x/day to make it more attractive to people who prefer such a system; remove arcane-spell failure; and then make sure that the system is balanced; while leaving people who like those things and the x/day system with nothing.

OR you could just make the EPH/SRD psionics available, and be able to cater to both types of players without a lot of terrible imbalances, an even wider range of character options, and without all the legwork.

Yes, I still don't believe that even the plan for the EPH was a bad design decision. In fact, it seems like a truly brilliant one.

Saph
2010-04-04, 02:52 PM
Additionally, effects such as detect psionics can read magic as well, and by default identifies it as the nearest equivalent. That being said, it's incredibly easy to include Psi/Spell-craft and Detect Psionics/Spells under the transparency rules and call it a day. In my tabletop game, we have always done pretty much that. If someone casts Wish for example, they can mimic psionic powers with it (using the option to copy divine spells).

The act of saying "Spellcraft and Psicraft may be used interchangeably, as well as Use Magic and Use Psionic Device; finally if you detect Magic / Psionics, you determine the school or discipline strait out" is incredibly easy. That was very easy. If you come across something that isn't specifically called out in the rules (such as the aforementioned Wish example) is just a simple matter of common sense.

Sure. I could do the work to make psionics and magic effectively the same system, and rewrite the fluff appropriately, and explain these houserules to all my players. Or, I could only use one or the other.

As a general rule, I'm not a fan of altering the mechanics and fluff of a system unless there's a very good reason for doing so. In this case, fitting psionics in with arcane magic would give players slightly more options, in exchange for more work and adjudication on my part. At which point the question becomes "are the extra options significant enough to be worth it?"

And in my opinion, the answer's no. If I had a group who were real fans of psionics, I'd do it, but I don't. Furthermore, a significant fraction of the psionics fans I've met like psionics specifically because they're NOT arcane magic, so they probably wouldn't be happy with anything that made the systems interchangeable anyway.

Tavar
2010-04-04, 03:02 PM
How is it really more work? "These skills are the same."

There. You're done. And you aren't making them interchangeable, you're making them... I don't know, Interactable? They're still distinct.

And the fluff doesn't even to be changed; they're no fluff reason why Psionics and Arcane/divine don't interact. In fact, the defalut assumption is that they do.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-04, 03:04 PM
I never really understood why UPD and UMD are distinct.

Heck, according to Magic Item compendruim: Psionics can make any magic item. So Vice Verse should be able to do the same.

Ashiel
2010-04-04, 03:06 PM
I never really understood why UPD and UMD are distinct.

Heck, according to Magic Item compendruim: Psionics can make any magic item. So Vice Verse should be able to do the same.

I've always believed it was because people may choose the psionics are different option, despite being very, very, very emphasised in the book itself that that's a very large hassle; but included them for completion's sake.

The Big Dice
2010-04-04, 03:08 PM
As to the slot vs PP system concerns; frankly I don't think offering options is ever a bad design, unless the options are horribly unbalanced.

Don't you think that offering wildly different sets of rules within the confines of the same game, with the same end result, is bad design?

Under the regular magic rules you have four basic categories, Arcane and Divine casters, Spontaneous and Prepared casters. Then WotC came out with a few other systems, other solutions to the same problem. That's offering choice. Though I do think that sometimes too much choice is a bad thing in game design. Especially when, like the EPH, it's simply carrying on legacy concepts from earlier editions and not particularly well supported in other material. The bad part is people assuming that because the material is there, they have to use it.

There's a reason core is called core. It's because that's the assumed default, the framework that the game hangs on. There's a core mechanic in D20 and there's two core approaches to casting. Psionics isn't one of them. Even the iconic creatures in the core rules that use Psionics, Aboleths and Illithids, don't have their abilities referred to in terms of psionic powers. Instead they get the Special Abilities of Psionics (Sp). Which are then given spell effects. And both have a higher CR variant that uses magic as described in the PHB. And there's no suggestion in the core rules that any other option is there for them.

Which tells me that the EPH is an optional add-on. The only support it gets is itself. Even Lord of Madness only mentions the EPH in side bars. Which again tells me that WotC didn't regard that book as paticularly important.

alisbin
2010-04-04, 03:10 PM
i don't see how theres any real work to do saph...
here, i'll give you a paragraph that will make magic and psionics completely compatible.
"psionic characters use the magic that comes from their own bodies to manipulate themselves and the world around them, what they do is still magical, but psionic creatures have created a culture that has endowed such abilities with a different terminology. beyond name, any skills or abilities that effect spells or magic also effect psionics or vice versa, unless specifically stated in the rules."

there, no change to your game in any way except now you can use psionics if someone would like to. the fluff has been unified and all you've done is speak for 30 seconds.

Saph
2010-04-04, 03:13 PM
I've always believed it was because people may choose the psionics are different option, despite being very, very, very emphasised in the book itself that that's a very large hassle; but included them for completion's sake.

I'd say it's because they wrote 3.5 psionics effectively as a replacement for arcane magic. If they'd wanted them to fit comfortably together they wouldn't have copy-pasted half the Magic section of the 3.5 SRD.

There's no reason to have UMD and UPD and Psicraft and Spellcraft unless you want it to be a hassle to use the two systems interchangeably. This suggests to me that they were specifically trying to make them less compatible with each other.

Tavar
2010-04-04, 03:14 PM
Um, there's aren't 4 different mechanics in the PHB, there's one, with a slight subcatagory. Arcane and Divine don't offer different mechanics, not really. And Again, spontaneous is a subcategory of a unified mechanic, not a different mechanic altogether.


I'd say it's because they wrote 3.5 psionics effectively as a replacement for arcane magic. If they'd wanted them to fit comfortably together they wouldn't have copy-pasted half the Magic section of the 3.5 SRD.

There's no reason to have UMD and UPD and Psicraft and Spellcraft unless you want it to be a hassle to use the two systems interchangeably. This suggests to me that they were specifically trying to make them less compatible with each other.

Except that they have the optional variant to have them be different and not interact. One that they specifically warn against due to possible problems, but one that they acknowledge exists.

Plus, you're basically saying that "If I start by houseruling that they're different, then I have to do a lot of work in order to make them fit". Why not just not make the houserule in the first place?

Optimystik
2010-04-04, 03:20 PM
Psionics is worse at: Illusion, Necromancy, some Conjuration (Healing and Calling.)

Psionics is better at: Evocation (multi-use powers), Transmutation (Bonus Actions, shapeshifting - objects as well as creatures), Divination (multiple ways to defeat anti-scrying measures), some Conjuration (transportation - especially via time).

I'd say that's different enough for psionics not to be just "componentless magic."