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    Default Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Ok, I've heard it ump-teen times. Psionics is less broken/bad than Vancian magic is, but enough threads have come up that I'm starting to become confused by that.

    Consider:
    1.I've never heard of any analog to Psionic's save-game trick in the Vancian system.

    2.I don't know of a single way to get infinite spells/day, and yet there's a thread right now listing at least two ways to get infinite PP/day.

    3.The tier list gives both as having a roughly equal spread through-out the tiers(I'm only counting classes with spells/day versus those from XPH and CP), but Vancian's outlier is the Paladin, who suffers from the standard 'melee sucks' issues of core as much as anything, while they really should've known better with Soulknife...

    4.Another abuse is the interesting tidbit that a L4 psion that's allowed access to a psycrystal and the leadership feat can literally have god-level characters as nth-level cohorts by RAW.

    So, what am I missing? And yes, I know about pun-pun, so no need to point me to individual builds that 'break' the game. Both psionics and vancian can 'break' the game, its just seems to be a matter of how they do it.
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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    I think the problem here is that Psionics themselves aren't inherently broken, just that people can, with the right feats and such, play them in horribly broken ways. And that's true with nearly every spell-casting class.
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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    There are more (far more) broken spells than broken powers, and spells auto-scale while powers don't.

    If Powers scaled automatically and psionics had as much splat support as magic, did, then yes, psionics would be more powerful. But it's not.

    A wizard can create simulacra of gods, gate in level 40 solars and cast shadow miracles out of his 4th-level slots. Psionics cannot compare to that.

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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Psions can break the game just as hard as Wizards. It just takes more work. Your average Psion is likely to be much less WTFBBQOMG than a Wizard. In TO, Wizard is more powerful, still, but Psions do hold their own extremely well. There is a reason they are high on the tier list.

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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    1. I don't know what that is, care to elaborate?

    2. Vancian casters don't need infinite spells to break the game, and the gate chain is what I would call the infinite use of casting, though it operates on another principle.

    3. I'm not so sure how this is an argument to brokenness.

    4. I'm not sure how this works either, so I can't comment on that.


    Most of the arguments I hear of people saying Psionics is broken are based on a misunderstanding of Augmentation. They think you can just spend all your juice and nova the hell out of the game, but it doesn't work that way as we all know and should know.

    Another is people thinking 3.5 psionics = 3.0 psionics, which allows you to use ANY ability score as your casting ability, if I'm not mistaken, making horribly SAD builds.


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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Because psionics has so many fewer powers/feats/item enhancements to keep track of than vancian, there are fewer abusive combinations to keep track of.
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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    To rephrase, psionics is generally more balanced than vancian spellcasting. So long as you shy away from the few broken tricks, you should have a much more positive experience with psionics overall.

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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by AslanCross View Post
    Another is people thinking 3.5 psionics = 3.0 psionics, which allows you to use ANY ability score as your casting ability, if I'm not mistaken, making horribly SAD builds.
    Not quite- each psionic discipline had its own manifesting stat. So.. you *could* make a Con-SAD psion.. if you didn't mind only having high level powers from Psychometabolism (to be fair, that covers the psionic versions of Polymorph and Shapechange, so you can be pretty awesome) but in practice you would be the most absurdly MAD character possible if you wanted any sort of versatility.

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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Toliudar View Post
    Because psionics has so many fewer powers/feats/item enhancements to keep track of than vancian, there are fewer abusive combinations to keep track of.
    Even core-only has considerably more insane abuses Vancian can use, and although psionics does have a few, Bruce Cordell and the other people who worked on the XPH did manage to weed out most of them.

    So no 36,000d6 points of force damage from dispelling a book full of explosive runes, or chain-gating solars, or getting infinite wishes at level 7 (or so), or having 20 or more no-save-just-die buttons on any given day.

    Part of core magic's problem is that nobody playtested the spells with an eye toward using imagination to catch obviously broken abuses, where psionics was.

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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    So, yeah. Psionics can, with extensive effort, break the game.

    Druids accidentally break the game by existing.
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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Yeah...psionics is spell-casting's little brother, really. if you think spells are broken, the psionics are too, just less so. If you don't think spell-casting is broken, then psionics aren't broken either. Personally, I think the Psion/Erudite is broken, and the rest are probably alright.

    1. Rough analog to the save-game trick: Wish/Miracle for "Undo Misfortune". Spend the Exp, wish that an encounter never happened or the vital roll last round actually was a 20. Combine with loads of divinations, contact other plane, and time stop. Alternatively, Craft Contingent Spell along with Contingency and Chain Contingency. That's about 22 get-out-of-jail spells - enough that you should never need to "reset" your days' adventuring.

    2. Spellcasting Infinite spells/day: gain immunity to harmful effects of disease (cancer mage, disease domain, feat from Libris Mortis, etc), combined with the endless anger disease from BoVD that adds +2 strength per day, combined with illumian to make Str your stat to determine bonus spells. NI amounts of Strength = NI amounts of bonus spell slots. Doable from 2nd level or so.

    Alternatively, tainted sorcerer + undead for NI amounts of taint (easily gained just through spellcasting) + taint setting your ability score for bonus spells = NI amount of bonus spell slots.

    3. Yeah, who knows what they were thinking with soulknife? Battlemind in 4E isn't much better than 3.5 Soulknife, so they certainly haven't learned from their mistakes either.

    4. Interesting, but then again a level 4 kobold could be a sorcerer "7", or a level 6 kobold wiz/zhentarim skymage could have a balor as his pokemon. Nifty build but not a stand-out by itself (and who follows some guy's pet rock?) Leadership is already listed as "the DM is free to disallow this feat if it will unbalance his campaign" in the DMG anyhow.
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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by chiasaur11 View Post
    So, yeah. Psionics can, with extensive effort, break the game.

    Druids accidentally break the game by existing.
    And WHO just lost The Game, huh?

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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lycanthromancer View Post
    And WHO just lost The Game, huh?
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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by AslanCross View Post
    1. I don't know what that is, care to elaborate?
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=146470

    Quote Originally Posted by AslanCross View Post
    3. I'm not so sure how this is an argument to brokenness.
    Its not. Its an argument that Vancian magic isn't any less broken.

    Quote Originally Posted by AslanCross View Post
    4. I'm not sure how this works either, so I can't comment on that.
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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Ok. Most people agree that psicrystals were probably not intended to be able to take feats (although many play with them being able to do so). Second, the notion of leadership being able to be taken by someone who is following someone else is often considered unacceptable in general (Try to persuade your DM that when you take leadership your cohort can do so also).

    The save-game trick requires many different splat books and includes Sending Stones which are an arcane item. The save-game trick is by comparison more complicated than say level 1 kobold paladin entry into Pun-Pun.

    (Also you actually didn't include some of the worst tricks for psionics. There are at least three ways to get arbitrarily many power points (note that this is distinct from infinitely many. I'm not aware of any procedure that actually allows that)).

    This is distinct from with arcane magic which has so many problems it isn't funny. And even the ones that don't break the game in the sense of creating infinite or arbitrarily large quantities of something, they make the game ridiculous.

    But yes, you do need to rule out a handful of things that are silly in psionics. Just as you need to do so for a lot of silly arcane and divine tricks.
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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Godskook View Post
    3.The tier list gives both as having a roughly equal spread through-out the tiers(I'm only counting classes with spells/day versus those from XPH and CP), but Vancian's outlier is the Paladin, who suffers from the standard 'melee sucks' issues of core as much as anything, while they really should've known better with Soulknife...
    Pretty certain that when people say casters are broken, they're not talking about Paladins.

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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    infinite pp isn't that dangerous to begin with. yes you'll be a full power all day, but you're no more powerful in a given round or a given encounter than a comparably leveled wizard.

    if you spend any substantial resources on it you may as well be a mystic thurge.
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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Neither system is inherently more or less game-breaking than the other. With either system, it all comes down to what spells/powers, feats, classes, PrCs, and characters are involved.

    That said, it's not that weird to judge a game subsystem by the classes/characters that are most common from it.

    So the claim that Psionics is less broken than Vancian casting is really just a paraphrase of the statement that Psions and Psychic Warriors are lower-Tier than Clerics, Druids, Wizards, and Sorcerers.
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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    You forgot to mention Affinity Field (replace 'you' with 'psicrystal') + Synchronicity + Share Powers to get NI standard actions in a single round. Though you could also cast Genesis to create a pocket plane where one day there is one round on the material plane, and at the start of every fight cast Gate to make a portal there, step through, rest and prepare all the right spells to beat the encounter, and then stand at your Gate portal (whose duration is measured from the material plane) and cast spells at your opponents on the material plane for over nine thousand rounds before they even get a chance to take any actions.

    In any system where there are lots and lots and lots of options, you're going to be able to combine certain abilities in a way that break the game. Psionics is no exception to this, but that does not mean the entire system is broken or overpowered. In actual play, psionic characters have powerful abilities, but spellcasters also have powerful abilities. It just so happens that the spellcasters' powerful abilities and synergistic builds are far superior to the psionic equivalents. I hope that answers your question.

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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Godskook, since no one else has really said this straight-out yet, the reason behind why psionics are perceived as "less broken" than more standard Vancian-esque casting is due to amount of material. Psionics have their tricks, yes, but in general, the limited amount of material means that there are simply LESS tricks and that they tend towards being harder than arcane/divine magic tricks are. As they say, options lead to variety, and variety means something somewhere will break down.

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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lycanthromancer View Post
    And WHO just lost The Game, huh?
    Dammit...


    1.I've never heard of any analog to Psionic's save-game trick in the Vancian system.
    But you've heard of Pun-Pun, right? Guess what? Prior to FC1, the fastest build to achieve that power was a Wizard, not a Psion (though the Psionic version was possible, it was not usable until 11th level whereas the Wizard could pull it off at 5th).

    2.I don't know of a single way to get infinite spells/day, and yet there's a thread right now listing at least two ways to get infinite PP/day.
    Rope Trick. Gate to a Demiplane with a faster time trait (preferably a custom-made one using Genesis, something Psionics can't do), Echo Spell, Tainted Scholar (not so much infinite so much as absurd amount), there's several.

    3.The tier list gives both as having a roughly equal spread through-out the tiers(I'm only counting classes with spells/day versus those from XPH and CP), but Vancian's outlier is the Paladin, who suffers from the standard 'melee sucks' issues of core as much as anything, while they really should've known better with Soulknife...
    What?

    4.Another abuse is the interesting tidbit that a L4 psion that's allowed access to a psycrystal and the leadership feat can literally have god-level characters as nth-level cohorts by RAW.
    And Wizards could do that with Chain Spell (Dominate Person lasts for a long time...).

    Hell, you could do this with Core only just by using the effing Leadership feat (just have your followers take it).

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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Godskook View Post
    3.The tier list gives both as having a roughly equal spread through-out the tiers(I'm only counting classes with spells/day versus those from XPH and CP), but Vancian's outlier is the Paladin, who suffers from the standard 'melee sucks' issues of core as much as anything, while they really should've known better with Soulknife...
    Okay, since a lot of people seem to be not getting this complaint, my interpretation is "Vancian's worst is worse than Psionics' worst." That doesn't seem like a great argument for anything, but, well, whatever.

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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by arguskos View Post
    Godskook, since no one else has really said this straight-out yet, the reason behind why psionics are perceived as "less broken" than more standard Vancian-esque casting is due to amount of material. Psionics have their tricks, yes, but in general, the limited amount of material means that there are simply LESS tricks and that they tend towards being harder than arcane/divine magic tricks are. As they say, options lead to variety, and variety means something somewhere will break down.
    So, in other words, Psionics is only less broken because there is less of it? Gee, that fills me with confidence.
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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    It's much harder to break psionics than it is to break core casting. Psionic characters have to try to break stuff; where core casting does naturally (Example: Wall of Iron creates roughly 2700gp worth of trade goods for 50gp material components). Psionics has more limiters and inhibitors to what they can do. If you compare Core Psionics (in the SRD / Expanded Psionics Handbook) to Core Magic (in the SRD / PHB), Psionics is better balanced.

    For example; there are strict limitations on how much meta-magic a psion can pump into something. Psions have to pay for increasing power for their abilities. Psions tend to have less powerful powers than magic has spells (while they have stronger blasting spells, blasting is underpowered in core magic, while they don't possess stuff like Black Tentacles or a lot of save or dies, so you end up with good on both sides - and that's coming from someone who loves playing a SoD caster).

    Wizards have their ways of gaining near infinite spells. A very effective way is a wand of menmonic enhancer. A psionic equivalent exists, but it cannot be placed into a magic/psionic item per the description of the power. Effectively, a wizard can drop some gold on a wand or two and say "Ok, I feel like 18 extra disjunctions, gates, shapechanges, and wail of the banshees today."

    Psionic tricks for regenerating PP are few. They exist but obvious care went into making that very difficult to do within the core psionic rules. The most famous psionic stuff that is broken comes from the Complete Psionic. Ever notice that no one ever mentions the Psion as being so incredibly busted, but that one class is. That one with the spell-to-power option especially.

    All in all, the Psionics system is just a better system than Vancian casting for a lot of reasons; and in 3.5, balance is actually a pretty good reason. The other reasons tend to be:

    1) It's more conceptual and multi-class friendly to fulfill a variety of character concepts. You don't have to deal with being able to hold bat poo and waggle your arms, and what-not.

    2) It's more fluid. You can either play your Psion more like a sorcerer or more like a Warlock. You choose how much power you go with. You can either have lots of steady power over a long time, or more power in short bursts.

    3) It is more "magical" in the mechanics than core magic is. Core magic requires wizards to study for hours over books and various formulas, combine various ingredients and such, and memorize and forget different spells. Psions meditate and draw their power from within, and they use that to shape the world around them with the power of their will. Manifesting powers can even hurt the Psion for pushing themselves too far (see Overchannel and Body Fuel feats) beyond their limits.
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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Psionics are more broken due to the existence of the Spell to Power Erudite. The OP is hence right. But when people say "psionics isn't broken", they're not talking about the StP Erudite.

    The reason XPH is less broken is a) because all the classes in it have a hard cap on powers known, b) because there's less support for psionics in other books, c) because metapsionics can't be abused the way metamagic can.
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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    I think people thinks psionics is broken because it's easy to optimise. I think alot easyer then most full casters druid being exception to that of course.
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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by magic9mushroom View Post
    Psionics are more broken due to the existence of the Spell to Power Erudite.
    Which is itself broken by spells, e.g. Mental Pinnacle. If you have an StP Erudite that doesn't actually convert any magic, he won't be any more broken than a Psion.

    So magic is still the bigger gamebreaker.

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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by RagnaroksChosen View Post
    I think people thinks psionics is broken because it's easy to optimise. I think alot easyer then most full casters druid being exception to that of course.
    How is it easier to optimize? Because you have less options?
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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Godskook View Post
    2.I don't know of a single way to get infinite spells/day, and yet there's a thread right now listing at least two ways to get infinite PP/day.
    Cataclysm Mage from Eberron. Has a class feature that allows you to spend an action point to get (class level) levels of spells back. There's a 3rd or 4th level spell that grants you multiple action points.

    There are some broken tricks with Psionics, but there are much less broken actual powers than there are broken spells, even if you ignore the larger amount of material available for spellcasters.

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    Default Re: Explain Psionic's non-brokeness to me.

    The argument that psionics is less broken than spellcasting isn't based on TO. You can TO almost anything to the point of brokenness - see the Jumplomancer, the Ubercharger, and other TO builds that don't require any casting or manifesting at all.

    Psionics is less broken than spellcasting at the practical, game-table level because it has fewer overtly overpowered abilities, there are more practical caps on powers known (barring erudite) that restrict you from doing everything ridiculously well, and generally speaking you have to pay for more of the things that you get. Even infinite PP combos, which are on the border between practical and theoretical optimization, often require enough actions or time commitment that there are practical costs to doing them.

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