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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Mystery_Man Posted - 18 Nov 2004 : 13:59:37
Got psionics?

I don't use 'em, never will. Curious to see if there are others like me.
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
GRYPHON Posted - 31 Jul 2015 : 18:36:32
On occasion...
Wooly Rupert Posted - 14 Apr 2015 : 21:02:12
I had a lot of fun thinking up the Shrouded Academy when I was writing up my eidelar (the psionic warforged). I like the idea of a academy of psionics that can't be reached without the use of psionics.

I also had fun coming up with psionic heroes when writing that article; one of them is named after my son.
ZeshinX Posted - 14 Apr 2015 : 18:27:41
Always been a fan of psionics myself, though my own vision of them tends to give them a more Kara Turan flavor. Not exclusively mind you, as my own version of Thay has a current movement of psions seeking recognition there.

In the Kara Tur I run, a large center of psionic learning can be found in Kozakura, the Temple of the Sixth Ring. It is accepted as a center of learning, but practitioners are viewed with some suspicion, as many view psionics as a "selfish" art, one requiring a great focus on the self, which tends to lead to weighing self-interest over service to a lord or community.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 14 Apr 2015 : 18:07:51
quote:
Originally posted by Artemas Entreri

Whoa 3E psionics sounds pretty lame to me. I much prefer the 2E "subtle" psionics.



2E psionics had some flame-based powers...

And I'll also point out that there is a well-known depiction of fire-based psionics in popular culture: Stephen King's Firestarter. I don't recall much about the movie with Drew Barrymore (I don't think I've seen it since the early 90's), but in the book, her parents participate in a government experiment, and get psionic powers from it. Her dad winds up with a degree of prescience (in the form of very reliable hunches) and a kind of charm ability he called "pushing" someone. At one point, in the book, he hands someone a $1 bill and "pushes" the guy to think it's a $100 bill.

The mother wound up with a very limited telekinesis.

And the title character had the telekinesis, but it was accompanied by a very, very strong pyrokinesis. She had issues using the TK without the fire coming with it.
Artemas Entreri Posted - 14 Apr 2015 : 17:47:05
Whoa 3E psionics sounds pretty lame to me. I much prefer the 2E "subtle" psionics.
TBeholder Posted - 14 Apr 2015 : 17:45:58
quote:
Originally posted by eeorey

I prefer my psionics to focus on "mind to mind" mainly, not being another way to set everything on fire. I liked the subtlety 2E psionics offered, you could do SO much and it could all go unnoticed if done right.

BTW, in "Thieves' World" series there are AFAIK 3 different traditions (S'Danzo, Bandaran and barbarians), all of which fit into the world and works the way that could be described well via AD&D2 version.
quote:
Now you "summon" some giant ectoplasm monstrosity, throw fire and ice as well as any mage, heal yourself or assume the form of pretty much anything. You can play a psion without learning one single telepathic power.

"Magic, but on mushrooms".
eeorey Posted - 14 Apr 2015 : 16:48:42
I love psionics, especially in the realms, because they are so rare and offer something different. But i dislike some of the things done with them in 3E (and agree 100% that they can be vastly overpowered, in the sense that they allow one to do everything that magic can do but with less limitations, that is of course mechanically speaking).

In 3E you have a lot of powers that just plain don't feel like psionics but rather like magic, I get why they are there but I don't like it. IMHO psionics are FUN (again IMHO the most important thing) when they are different and offer something new. Having a psionicist who plays like a wizard just rubs me the wrong way, this is mostly coming from the kinetic powers where you can basically use fire, ice, lightning and sonic attacks in any of a number of ways (cone, ray, sphere etc.). I get the lightning part, yeah you can be like a sith lord and that's pretty cool but to have all these different damage types in one power is kinda silly to me at least. Also all the ectoplasm stuff kinda bugs me.

I prefer my psionics to focus on "mind to mind" mainly, not being another way to set everything on fire. I liked the subtlety 2E psionics offered, you could do SO much and it could all go unnoticed if done right. Now you "summon" some giant ectoplasm monstrosity, throw fire and ice as well as any mage, heal yourself or assume the form of pretty much anything. You can play a psion without learning one single telepathic power.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 14 Apr 2015 : 15:45:21
quote:
Originally posted by Roseweave

i think people that dislike psionics over magic are a bit culturally biased since some aspects of supernatural powers from other cultures are better represented by psionics than magic.

the way i see it, psionics are more of a direct thing, using your brain & life source to manipulate stuff, whereas magic involves spells and reworking things in a particular way.

Like think of Dragonball and other anime with heroes using Ki/Chi etc., it seems simpler and more straight forward than magic. Magic still exists in those settings and is a bit of an unknown.

In general Psionics should be more predictable(except in the typical case of the escaped experiment gone wrong) and more "scientific", less reality bending.



The issue is that our speculative fiction generally focuses on magic for fantasy, and reserves psionics for science fiction. They are essentially the same thing, but for most people, magic is by definition scientifically implausible, while psionics carries at least a degree of scientific plausibility... So one works for fantasy, and the other is more suitable for sci-fi. Since psionics are more suitable for sci-fi and magic does the same thing in fantasy, there's no need for psionics in fantasy.

At least, that's the mindset, as I understand it. I like psionics, myself.
Roseweave Posted - 14 Apr 2015 : 14:27:50
i think people that dislike psionics over magic are a bit culturally biased since some aspects of supernatural powers from other cultures are better represented by psionics than magic.

the way i see it, psionics are more of a direct thing, using your brain & life source to manipulate stuff, whereas magic involves spells and reworking things in a particular way.

Like think of Dragonball and other anime with heroes using Ki/Chi etc., it seems simpler and more straight forward than magic. Magic still exists in those settings and is a bit of an unknown.

In general Psionics should be more predictable(except in the typical case of the escaped experiment gone wrong) and more "scientific", less reality bending.
Peter R Posted - 13 Apr 2015 : 11:09:17
This is quite interesting, as I do not use D&D, I have never even conceived that there is any kind of 'problem' with psionics. I work with three branches of magic. Essence manipulates the weave around you, Mentalism manipulates the weave within you using the powers of mind and Channeling simply channels the power through the caster from their deity or other exterior power.

In addition I have access to non-magical psionics that can be a part of any character, but the players have never asked for it, as an optional rule.
Lilianviaten Posted - 04 Apr 2014 : 05:58:59
quote:
Originally posted by Kilvain

Lisa Smedman's House of Serpents trilogy does a great job of exploring a variety of psionic abilities. Definitely worth a read.

And if I remember correctly Salvatore's Cadderly had psionic abilities too. It's been a while since I read those books, and since he was a chosen of his god I'm not sure if he is considered a typical psion. If your mind powers are divinely given do they still count as psionics, or would they be considered a form of priestly magic?



Cadderly does have some mental powers, but he's definitely a priest. When RAS writes about the priestesses of Lolth, he always mentions that they can read minds. And I know good aligned priests usually have spells to detect lies and read the alignments of others. So I guess gods can grant some magical powers that mimic psionics.
portose_sharpe Posted - 03 Apr 2014 : 16:57:52
always use them

they are great counter intel,

with their detect scrying, divert teleport, and the power cant remember the name, but it damages people who try and scry,

also with there remote view skill on a successful check they can actually see who is scrying them.

plus any other useful powers.
Kilvain Posted - 03 Apr 2014 : 11:15:05
Lisa Smedman's House of Serpents trilogy does a great job of exploring a variety of psionic abilities. Definitely worth a read.

And if I remember correctly Salvatore's Cadderly had psionic abilities too. It's been a while since I read those books, and since he was a chosen of his god I'm not sure if he is considered a typical psion. If your mind powers are divinely given do they still count as psionics, or would they be considered a form of priestly magic?
TBeholder Posted - 03 Apr 2014 : 09:16:36
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Again, I was referring to how the rules for psionics have been integrated into existing rules and settings. Aside from Dark Sun, psionics has always been kind of a "oh, yeah, we gave you an integrated system for magic and swords -- now we're throwing something that's kinda sorta just like magic but really different into the mix!"
Well, sort of. Not too hard to fix, though. The only really bad problem with AD&D2 version is telepathy, and it can be fixed by taking a few tips (like untrained defence) from Dark Sun and tweaking contact mechanics toward strong profiling of tangent cost, along the lines of ~ Int * HD or ~ Int*2^(defender.size-attacker.size) - as in, "you contacted Zaratan... what was even the point?" - all 3 parameters are given in MM, after all. Other cool stuff mostly is too expensive and/or functionally not so different from magic that it won't have specific countermeasures by effect (telekinetics, scrying, translocation, etc) already.

quote:
Originally posted by Lilianviaten

I agree with that point. I'm not too familiar with Dark Sun, but psionics are indeed shoehorned into FR.
Why? I don't see this.

quote:
Originally posted by eeorey

The way I've seen psionics in the realms has always been that they are different from magic. For instance:
1. Psionics can have a deeper effect, wheres magic has a wider one. [...] They can effect each other in different ways, but always with limitations
IMO the best approach is to follow the generic trend set by the definitions, that is to consider implications of the difference between internal and external powers.
Then psionics can be more useful for working with things closer to the nature of the power source (mental effects / lifeforce / control of oneself), but generally weaker, as it's self-powered rather than backed by the Weave (thus area effects are few and expensive) yet more flexible and interactive (thus it sometimes allows contest checks where magic is flatly blocked). Of course, more direct action with feedback is not always an advantage and may lead to potential problems (mainly in counterattacks and identification areas). Kind of like working with bare hands instead of power tools: either approach has inherent limitations, these are just different limitations.
quote:
4. Psionics are very DIFFERENT from magic. They can effect each other in different ways, but always with limitations, in the expanded 3.5ed book, psions were able to manifest rays, bursts, cones and whatnot of a type of energy,
3e version is "yet another magic, but more loonie" - up to what those things were... crystals with legs as familiar? And gone from peppered with random freudisms to new-age derp all over.
quote:
I feel like a wizard shielding himself from magical/normal fire will be shielded from a psionically manifested one as well, however there are few spells that can shield his mind from a psionic attack. The same goes the other way around, a psion can raze his resistances to the elements, but cannot defend him/herself from a purely magical attack like way magic missile.
Magic missile counts as force effect back from mid-2e age, which is why it's stopped by Shield, etc. In this interpretation, anything that suppresses telekinesis or perhaps interaction with lifeforce (since it's creature-only) would get a contest vs. magic missile. How cost-efficient this will be is another question, of course.
quote:
5. Psionics are little or outright unknown, they are something most people living in the realms would only associate with mind flayers and aboleths.
Most people living in the realms aboveground have a very vague idea of mindflayers and none of aboleths.
quote:
However a wizard can summon just about everything, wheres a psion only haves the astral construct and psicristal.
If we'll go with The Will and The Way model (IMHO the best - and the last before MTHAC nonsense), psionics allows planar manipulations - very crudely. Ethereal and dreamscape travel or Wrench (throttle extraplanar connection) are very useful, yes. Powers that imitate magic, not so much. Summon Planar Energies makes a quick breach to elemental plane and leaks through it e.g. a fairly weak blast of fire, medium-ranged and not very cost efficient - that's about it. Summon Planar Creatures allows to "summon" creatures, except without built-in safeguards of magical summoning it's much more situational (i.e. usually is a bad idea).
eeorey Posted - 03 Apr 2014 : 00:53:28
The way I've seen psionics in the realms has always been that they are different from magic. For instance:

1. Psionics can have a deeper effect, wheres magic has a wider one. (I mean a psion just cannot wreak as much havoc as say a wizard of the same level of skill, that is just not how psionics work. If an archwizard wanted to wipe out a settlement he can do that quite a bit faster with destructive magic. A psion on the other hand has to influence the minds of those living there one by one and slowly work his way to achieving his goal.)
2. Psionics are rare, I know there are some elves in Evereska, a guild in Tethyr and there probably are some more drow houses like Oblodra. But that is it. Oh and the people around Hlondeth ofc.
3. Psionics is sort of a lost art in Faerun. The above mentioned I imagine are nowhere near the level of skill that the mentioned practitioners in Kara-Tur or the ancient Jhaamdathans were.
4. Psionics are very DIFFERENT from magic. They can effect each other in different ways, but always with limitations, in the expanded 3.5ed book, psions were able to manifest rays, bursts, cones and whatnot of a type of energy, I feel like a wizard shielding himself from magical/normal fire will be shielded from a psionically manifested one as well, however there are few spells that can shield his mind from a psionic attack. The same goes the other way around, a psion can raze his resistances to the elements, but cannot defend him/herself from a purely magical attack like way magic missile. In my eyes a psion may have an advantage against a magic using enemy, but cannot deal with numerous enemies as well as a wizard.
5. Psionics are little or outright unknown, they are something most people living in the realms would only associate with mind flayers and aboleths. And would likely presume a psion manifesting a power is a wizard or a priest.
6. Psionics are as diverse as magic but in a different way, a psion can heal him/herself and his/her allies, not as well as a cleric but still it offers something a wizard can't. However a wizard can summon just about everything, wheres a psion only haves the astral construct and psicristal.

This is the way I have seen psionics in the realms. As something entirely of their own, and not a type of magic. So what do you guys think, am I hitting close to home or am I getting something terribly wrong?
The Sage Posted - 02 Apr 2014 : 04:09:32
quote:
Originally posted by Lilianviaten

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Lilianviaten


If you haven't yet, read "Venom in her Veins". It has a powerful psion as a supporting character, and it deals with the criminally underused yuanti.



Again, I was referring to how the rules for psionics have been integrated into existing rules and settings. Aside from Dark Sun, psionics has always been kind of a "oh, yeah, we gave you an integrated system for magic and swords -- now we're throwing something that's kinda sorta just like magic but really different into the mix!"




I agree with that point. I'm not too familiar with Dark Sun, but psionics are indeed shoehorned into FR. They are used so little in novels and adventures, that I don't expect any effort toward making psionics fit better.

In terms of the D&D rules for psionics, yes, I'd agree. But there's nothing shoehorned about the Invisible Art in terms of it's actual ability. It's long had a place in Ed's Realms.

In Edís *home* Realms, for example, " ... psionics doesnít work through the Weave, and therefore stands apart from magic, can work in dead-magic zones, etc." [src: So Saith Ed July '04]

That's pretty much how I've always handled, as well.
Lilianviaten Posted - 01 Apr 2014 : 22:19:35
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Lilianviaten


If you haven't yet, read "Venom in her Veins". It has a powerful psion as a supporting character, and it deals with the criminally underused yuanti.



Again, I was referring to how the rules for psionics have been integrated into existing rules and settings. Aside from Dark Sun, psionics has always been kind of a "oh, yeah, we gave you an integrated system for magic and swords -- now we're throwing something that's kinda sorta just like magic but really different into the mix!"




I agree with that point. I'm not too familiar with Dark Sun, but psionics are indeed shoehorned into FR. They are used so little in novels and adventures, that I don't expect any effort toward making psionics fit better.
Lilianviaten Posted - 01 Apr 2014 : 22:10:16
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


A lot? Hmm, not really. Off the top of my head, I can only recall Mags and the Sojourner.



Yeah, but Mags and Vhostym are both very prominent characters.
Plus, ancient Netheril's sentient mythallar is a major plot point in the Erevis Cale trilogy and the Twilight War trilogy. And as I recall, Rivalen mentions Jhaamdath (the ancient psionic empire) to Tamlin Uskevren.

Granted, the House of Serpents trilogy gave psionics the most extensive treatment. We got to see how somebody with psionic potential develops their abilities, and we got to see a variety of psionic powers. But that dealt with the yuanti, so psionics was to be expected.

I don't want to forget RAS, because he uses Kimmuriel and the illithid race frequently. But in his books, they pretty much use the same 3-4 powers all the time. I do love how he emphasizes the rarity of psions, though.
Mournblade Posted - 01 Apr 2014 : 14:58:17
In NIght of the Hunter Matron Quenthel calls the Oblodra (sp?) psionics mind magic.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 26 Mar 2014 : 05:12:50
quote:
Originally posted by Lilianviaten


If you haven't yet, read "Venom in her Veins". It has a powerful psion as a supporting character, and it deals with the criminally underused yuanti.



Again, I was referring to how the rules for psionics have been integrated into existing rules and settings. Aside from Dark Sun, psionics has always been kind of a "oh, yeah, we gave you an integrated system for magic and swords -- now we're throwing something that's kinda sorta just like magic but really different into the mix!"
Dennis Posted - 26 Mar 2014 : 04:47:41

A lot? Hmm, not really. Off the top of my head, I can only recall Mags and the Sojourner.
Lilianviaten Posted - 26 Mar 2014 : 04:05:55
Also, I forgot to add that Paul Kemp's books about feature a lot of psionics. If anybody knows of other FR books dealing with psionics, please let me know.
Lilianviaten Posted - 26 Mar 2014 : 04:04:24
quote:
Originally posted by Thauranil

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Thauranil

I think psionics are pretty interesting. It would be great if we got to read more about them.



I'm sure that a couple years after 5E is intro'ed, we'll get another doesn't-quite-fit version of psionics shoehorned in. I'm a fan of psionics, but other than Dark Sun, WotC (and TSR before them) has never done a good job meshing psionics with everything else.



If you haven't yet, read "Venom in her Veins". It has a powerful psion as a supporting character, and it deals with the criminally underused yuanti.
Psionics , when done well, can be very intriguing in any world I mean look at Warhammer 40k. It would not be half as interesting with all those psychers running around.
As far as FR goes we hardly get any mention of them aside form Kimmuriel and in the House of serpents trilogy. Which I quite enjoyed.

Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Mar 2014 : 14:11:15
quote:
Originally posted by Thauranil

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Thauranil

I think psionics are pretty interesting. It would be great if we got to read more about them.



I'm sure that a couple years after 5E is intro'ed, we'll get another doesn't-quite-fit version of psionics shoehorned in. I'm a fan of psionics, but other than Dark Sun, WotC (and TSR before them) has never done a good job meshing psionics with everything else.



Psionics , when done well, can be very intriguing in any world I mean look at Warhammer 40k. It would not be half as interesting with all those psychers running around.
As far as FR goes we hardly get any mention of them aside form Kimmuriel and in the House of serpents trilogy. Which I quite enjoyed.



I agree that they can be intriguing -- my love of psionics should be self-evident, with my psionic Lord of Waterdeep and my psionic version of warforged. That said, in D&D, psionic rules are usually a bolt-on, and don't integrate well into any of the settings (again, except for Dark Sun) or into the existing ruleset.

It's not a criticism of psionics, it's a criticism of their implementation.
Thauranil Posted - 25 Mar 2014 : 12:50:13
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Thauranil

I think psionics are pretty interesting. It would be great if we got to read more about them.



I'm sure that a couple years after 5E is intro'ed, we'll get another doesn't-quite-fit version of psionics shoehorned in. I'm a fan of psionics, but other than Dark Sun, WotC (and TSR before them) has never done a good job meshing psionics with everything else.



Psionics , when done well, can be very intriguing in any world I mean look at Warhammer 40k. It would not be half as interesting with all those psychers running around.
As far as FR goes we hardly get any mention of them aside form Kimmuriel and in the House of serpents trilogy. Which I quite enjoyed.

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