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BadCatMan
Learned Scribe

Australia
335 Posts

Posted - 12 Dec 2017 :  02:00:59  Show Profile Send BadCatMan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Starshade

Bladelord? I had the impression the Lost Empires of Faerun book mentions a political role, not a D&D class per se. More, they is described as noble psions and psychic warriors forming a ruling body (s. 120). Any source for a class or prestige class, or hints of techniques?



Nope, there's no class or prestige class, the bladelords were just the political leaders, most of them psions or psychic warriors. The only distinction is that they favoured powerleech weapons (from Lost Empires, p.151), and Ed Bonny said they wore ornamental swords (in his Candlekeep responses).

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Bladewind
Master of Realmslore

Netherlands
1253 Posts

Posted - 12 Dec 2017 :  02:57:20  Show Profile Send Bladewind a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The rules for psychic warriors and psions that fit bladelords in my mind best are found on pg 24 in the 3.5 Expanded Psionics Handbook, and perhaps the wilders and soul knives from that book have a Jhaamdathi origin as well. This system did up the "flashy visual displays" of manifesting a typical psi power, though. You might need to houserule some visual and material displays away for that "invisible art" feel without the glowing green eyes and ectoplasmic residues.

The iconic psion in my mind is based of Dark Suns subtle the Will and the Way incarnation, but its mechanics of psionic mind battles are archaic in todays systems. It definately added a certain are flavor to its combat system, giving psionics a clear and distinct descriptive feel very much different from D&D magic, with a rock paper scissors kind of attack and defense resolution playing out in the psionic minds eye of combatants.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 12 Dec 2017 :  03:42:54  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I never understood why 3E decided to go the route of "all psionics have manifestations!" Not only did it violate the intent and feel of psionics, it was also a waste of print -- because they included one line somewhere that said manifestations could be suppressed. So they pushed this thing that ruined psionics while saying it wasn't really a thing.

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Bladewind
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Netherlands
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Posted - 12 Dec 2017 :  15:20:49  Show Profile Send Bladewind a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I can understand it from a balance perspective (it required a concentration skill check). Its an attempt to mod the psionics system to allow for headache free psionic vs arcane interaction and to classify psionic power aligned to the similar nine casting levels of other third edition casters.

To redesign the flavor they gave it the crystal focus and ectoplasmic material, smelly olfactory, basslike auditory, pitchlike mental and greylighted eye visual displays. I like all but the ectoplasmic astral leakage and the crystal theme of this; the mental high pitch screams and lowhummed vibrations I like to focus on more to give players some clue a psi power is being used. A mindflayers mindblast for example is recognizable as a low frequency humm generating a visual ripple of air that is followed by a head-splitting tinnitus during the stun.

N.B. The crystal themed flavor does work for me as a cultural element originating from the Jhaamdathi psiocracy, who perfected psicrafting crystal construct compagnons, dorjes, powerstones and eventually udoxia

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 12 Dec 2017 :  18:36:47  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I didn't like the displays because it meant that using a psionic ability meant you were announcing your presence to everyone, and letting them know psionics was in use.

It's like putting an automatic spotlight on a rogue when they try to pickpocket someone -- it nerfs them for no readily apparent reason.

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Markustay
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Posted - 12 Dec 2017 :  20:15:46  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You know whats weird? Despite having a golden opportunity (TWICE, now) of 'bringing back' some little piece of Jhaamdath, they haven't.

While a part of me thinks about "opportunities missed" - a city that was 'out of sync' with Toril by way of Psionic energies could have made a return - the other part of my brain thinks, "thank god they missed one". We still have one ancient, fallen empire that's staying dead.

Of course, that doesn't mean that some Jhaamdathi didn't get shunted to Abeir (by whatever McGuffin you want to insert) when the cataclysm struck. And that some of those may have returned... in secret. I'm not talking about a city or anything - perhaps just a small group with an agenda. I certainly wouldn't that as official lore, but it is an interesting idea for DMs to toy around with.

EDIT:
And now I am thinking maybe some surviving Jhaamdathi did create a new kingdom in Abeir - something along the lines of Sarlona in Eberron. Like I said, nothing IN the Realms, but something usable that may have found 'a way in' post-Spellplague. Considering the lack of godly and arcane magic, psionics would be kind of a big deal on a world like that (and now this has me thinking about Athas again).



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Edited by - Markustay on 12 Dec 2017 20:20:39
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Zeromaru X
Master of Realmslore

Colombia
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Posted - 12 Dec 2017 :  20:41:46  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
According to Psionic Power (a 4e sourcebook) psionics became quite widespread after the Spellplague, with lots of people born with the talent. By the current year, psionics is as common as the monks from Kara-tur (so, not numerous like a wizard, but not a one-of-kind stuff it was before). Some scholars believe it was you said. Abeir has plentiful of psionic energy and brought a bit of it back to Toril during the exchange of lands in the Wailing Years. However, other scholars point out that:

1. In Laerakond there is not much people with psionic talents.
2. Psionics in dragonborn society are so rare that, when one dragonborn is born with the talent, they believe its a mental disease.

They use those points to present a counter theory that postulate psionics were as common in Abeir as they were in Toril before the Spellplague (so, pretty rare).

There are other theories as well, but none has hard evidence to be proved as the truth.

Long ago, in the distant past, they fell into decay. The philosopher’s path... The river of glory... Even the saints resting in the darkness rise up without response and block the way...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 12 Dec 2017 20:45:49
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Markustay
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Posted - 12 Dec 2017 :  21:08:08  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, if we go back to one theory I had concerning Abeir itself - that it is a planet literally split into two hemispheres, with some sort of 'impassable' terrain down the middle (Edgar Rice Burroughs imagined just such a world - one with Zero axial tilt, so the equator became an impassable hot zone around the planet). 'The Grand Line' in One Piece is another (rather ridiculous) example.

I pictured one half of the world covered with that protective 'silver sky', which keeps things cool. The planet itself is much closer to the sun than Earth or Toril. In the other hemisphere, we have the 'hot zone' where its like the tropics all the time, and the closer you get to the equator (borrowing ERB's thing about Zero axial tilt), the more impassable it becomes (several hundred degrees at the equator itself - the ocean literally boils-way and there is a perpetual bank of steam-fog for hundreds of miles). Dragons would be the only things that could get across, if the so desired.

So the northern hempispher is like our traditional (but little-known) Abeir with the silver sky, and is otherwise similar to Toril. That's the place I would stick the Birthright setting (Aberynis) and perhaps the Dragon Blood islands from Council of Wyrms. Both are great fits.

In the south - where its insanely hot (except near the arctic, where it would be temperate... I'll get to that) would be Athas. Athas isn't a planet, as previously thought - its a continent. A continent on Abeir. Any continent in the south would be brutal places to live.

Except if we add Ansalon. That could easily fit in the south, connected to the antarctic ice (that's how it is in its own canon anyway). And its tiny, and its 'draconic leanings' fit well with my vision of Abeir. Why wasn't Tiamat very involved with Toril until quite recently? Because she was too busy being Takhisis over in Abeir.
The one BIG caveat to that is that we know Ansalon is on Krynn, and we also know of one other continent (we could always steal that too), but placing that setting on Abeir would completely annihilate know Spelljammer lore (which is why I would place it on Abeir - the rest can fit just fine - they never had placements in SJ).

And if we were just going to ignore previous (mostly SJ) lore, I think WotC should have put ALL D&D settings within the same Crystal Sphere, just to make things easier. Put the Flanaess (Greyhawk) over where Anchormé is, and its all good. I think they didn't go nearly far enough with this FR reset - they need to reboot the whole 'D&D thing'.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 12 Dec 2017 21:22:39
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 12 Dec 2017 :  21:21:54  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Markustay


And if we were just going to ignore previous (mostly SJ) lore, I think WotC should have put ALL D&D settings within the same Crystal Sphere, just to make things easier. Put the Flanaess (Greyhawk) over where Anchormé is, and its all good. I think they didn't go nearly far enough with this FR reset - they need to reboot the whole 'D&D thing'.



Dragonlance was the reason for the existence of crystal spheres. The TSR designers thought about putting everything closer together, but then realized that DL's disappearing/reappearing constellations were an issue. The easiest fix was isolating the solar systems from each other.

(Oerth being the center of its solar system was also an issue, though it wasn't the issue the constellations were)

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 12 Dec 2017 21:22:43
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Markustay
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Posted - 12 Dec 2017 :  21:23:52  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Damn Dragonlance and its funny ways...

Still not as bad as Eberron. Even the designers had no idea how to make that work with SJ.

Oerth would have been a fairly easy - albeit weird - fix. ThE sun revolves around Oerth, and the other planets revolve around the sun. A binary system, but where the other singularity was another planet. Scientifically I don't think I could make that work*, but... "Its magic!"

Hell, they got people traveling through SPACE in open-air sailing ships, and they have a little problem with physics?


*You could theoretically have a 'dead sun', where its become a red dwarf or some-such, but it would still have an insane amount of gravity, so no-one is walking around on it... in a RW scenario. If I were a astrophysicist, I might be able to come up with a working model where the actual binary was an invisible neutron star, and Oerth actually orbited THAT, but because the sun (Oerth's real sun) was in a binary orbit around its sister-star, it would appear - from the Oerth - that the sun was revolving around it. Complicated, and highly theoretical, and now I need some sugar because my head hurts. Or coffee... yeah... its always time for more coffee (then I should draw some coastlines - that's my secret, you know. Shaky hands make for realistic coastlines.).

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 12 Dec 2017 21:35:13
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7437 Posts

Posted - 13 Dec 2017 :  02:28:20  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Markustay


And if we were just going to ignore previous (mostly SJ) lore, I think WotC should have put ALL D&D settings within the same Crystal Sphere, just to make things easier. Put the Flanaess (Greyhawk) over where Anchormé is, and its all good. I think they didn't go nearly far enough with this FR reset - they need to reboot the whole 'D&D thing'.



Dragonlance was the reason for the existence of crystal spheres. The TSR designers thought about putting everything closer together, but then realized that DL's disappearing/reappearing constellations were an issue. The easiest fix was isolating the solar systems from each other.

(Oerth being the center of its solar system was also an issue, though it wasn't the issue the constellations were)



Huh... I didn't know that, but damned if it doesn't make some kind of sense.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
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Posted - 13 Dec 2017 :  19:35:36  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So back to psionics - according to ZeromaruX's History of Nentir Vale (which is actually also the history of the D&D universe, now - at least the first half of it) I see that Ioun actually created the psionic disciplines, which strikes me odd since she is associated with magic (but not so odd, given some of my theories, and queries to Ed regarding the connections between the two). Turns out three Gods peaked through The Living Gate - which I presume leads to The Far Realms - and are all changed by it. Ioun learns psionics because of it (Tharizdun was another, and Pelor was the third. I understand Tharizdun, but Pelor? Perhaps that's when the Sun gained a two-aspected duality? A bringer of life and warmth, and a merciless {and vengeful} spirit of burning punishment?)

The whole 'Living gate' thing sounds a lot like what I did with Erebus (he is THE guardian at the Wall between reality and the Far Realms). The Living gate sounds more like an oozing wound in the fabric of reality - perhaps that's the point at which the Shard of Pure Evil was pushed into the universe? Its not gate-sized at all - its dimensions are measured in eyelashes.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 13 Dec 2017 19:36:09
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 13 Dec 2017 :  22:14:16  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't know about 4E or 5E, but the 3E FR approach to psionics was that it was basically another flavor of magic; it just had a purely internal source. Perhaps this was carried forward?

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Zeromaru X
Master of Realmslore

Colombia
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Posted - 13 Dec 2017 :  22:24:29  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In 4e Psionics are a power source that comes from the mind, unlike Arcane, that comes from the very foundation of the cosmos, or the Divine, that comes from gods. So, yeah. I guess that the flavor was carried over.

Long ago, in the distant past, they fell into decay. The philosopher’s path... The river of glory... Even the saints resting in the darkness rise up without response and block the way...
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sleyvas
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Posted - 14 Dec 2017 :  00:20:26  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, I'd stick with that idea. BTW, I see several people have taken a stab at psionics in DMs Guild. Anyone review any of them?

EDIT: looks like they updated their idea for the mystic for their unearthed arcana article. Worth a review.

2nd EDIT: hmmm, they built something VERY similar to what I was thinking. Screw me recreating the wheel. They get a few less "cantrips" than I'd like (they call them psionic talents), and they still use psi points, but their psionic disciplines seem to only do the equivalent of up to about 5th level effects. I may actually have to include a mind mage group while over in Abeir.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 14 Dec 2017 00:38:13
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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 19 Dec 2017 :  09:49:36  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It doesn't help that most people won't discern between Invisible Art and Art, but there's more.
There are 3 other important sides in Vilhon Reach: elves, yuan-ti and Emerald Enclave.

Now, let's for a minute put ourselves in the shoes of locals who happen to be heirs to the psionic traditions of Jhaamdath.
Nobody in this position seeks the glory too much. For one, those who were warlike mostly have died with the rest of mercenaries, and the few survivors who didn't have enough moved on to some other war - while those who were more level-headed had apprentices. Then had to wait out all this noise about the wizards, without volunteering to be on the wrong end of torches and pitchforks.

With the yuan-ti it's fairly clear. For them, everyone who is on to their tricks is a potential threat, whom they therefore are likely to subvert or destroy - if they notice.
A shadow war?

The elves... in general, they didn't like anything linked to Jhaamdath OR humans having enough of power to be more than punching bags. Doubly so in an area where humans may well surpass the elves. And knowing the elves, probably some of them have acted on this, contributing to extinction of Jhaamdath traditions.
Luckily, they are not a problem any more... right?

What do we see around now? That's right, Emerald Enclave assassinating the wizards. Even those reputedly friendly to their cause. Hmm.
Does EE consist of the superstitious fools? Nope, far too competent for this.
Is EE friendly to the locals? Nope, they massacre the local people, taking the side of shrubs against humans.
Also, they don't seem to be bothered by the yuan-ti much, never mind that the nature of Hlondeth rulers is an open secret. And even if it wasn't, they evidently spy around a lot.
How will EE react if the elves return tomorrow? Obviously, it will support the elves! Against the humans, when there will be conflict (and there will be, of course). And there's a rumour they have an elven representative in their council.
Huh, we may be onto something here.
Maybe these guys always tried to do this and now only dropped the mask - at least halfway? And are we even sure wizards are actually to blame? After all, anyone versed in magic lore can find out that inflicting a disease is known to be priestly magic, rather than arcane... huh.
How the elves will look at the humans being not powerless and moreover, heirs to Jhaamdath legacy? Not very hard to imagine.
And given what EE does now, why would it not just expand the list of targets? It may well start hunting down anyone with psionic ability and cover it with some stupid false pretext, like being supposedly tainted by yuan-ti.

Does it sound like a great idea to expose oneself to EE now?
Or shall anyone in this situation assume "we are on a territory occupied by the enemy", and act accordingly?
Because even a shadow war on two fronts sounds better than open war on two fronts against the superior forces.

quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

I have two opinions on this.

The first is that the psiocracy of jhaamdath was not a nice regime at the end. It was at odds with its own people and its neighbours. Also the tsunami was catastrophic enough to wipe out two whole nations (with only a small remnant of jhaamdath remaining in the mountains in the north). I think the capital was right in the middle of the tsunami so it was likely annihilated.
I think it likely that psionics was concentrated in the nobility and nobility concentrate in the capital so when the tsunami hit psionics was mostly wiped out.

As jhaamdath was an oppressive regime it is likely the psions were not well liked by the survivors.

More the other way around, exactly because it was "at odds with its own people". Jhaamdath suffered a military coup breaking their traditional psiocracy. Thus probably almost anyone with power to speak of was either for it or against it - but psiocracy itself should have become the "good old times" before the dastardly putschists took away the public's toys.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch

Edited by - TBeholder on 19 Dec 2017 09:57:17
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sleyvas
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Posted - 19 Dec 2017 :  14:02:16  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So, you would propose that the EE possibly engineered a plague to knock off humanity, possibly in coordination with elven high magic? That would be insidious and not altogether hard to believe... especially if the chondalwood wild elves had a group of eldreth veluuthra.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

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Markustay
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Posted - 19 Dec 2017 :  20:14:15  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is a brilliant train-of-thought. Kudos.

What if the EE was subverted, a long time ago? It has only recently become more overt (4e/5e using it as one of the main factions) because the elves have finally fully taken over? In other words, they've been slowly replacing the human 'higher ups' with their own people... covertly... and are now making major moves. Its not so much a 'shadow war' anymore, but a cleverly disguised genocidal agenda.

And who would be better to 'see through' powerful elven illusions? Someone who could 'read minds', of course. Psionicists would be able to penetrate their disguises, and thats why they've become a primary target.

On the other hand, Hlondeth (and nearby Surkh) are both scalykind settlements. And the Serpent Holding (lands to the west of the Nagawater) just to the south is as well - the whole western end of the Vilhon is scaly-controlled, right on into The Deepwash. So maybe this is one of those odd situations where a 'bad guy' becomes the good guy - the Yuan-ti (and others) would not want a war, or anything else that would disturb the 'status quo'. They've been surreptitiously replacing people with their own for centuries in the region, and their slow, methodical plan for the region could easily be disrupted now that they elves have begun to set their own stratagems into motion. There is a Graphic novel (series, I think) about vampires becoming the 'saviors of humanity' from the Zombie Hordes, because they have to protect their food-source. I'm thinking that's a role the Yuan-ti may have found themselves falling into; it could be that the real 'shadow war' is taking place between the Yuan-ti and the Elves, who may have been very quiet enemies for untold millennia.

I could see Hlondeth sponsoring a 'school of psioncs' just to (covertly) help protect the burgeoning 'truth-see-ers' survive. Maybe call it the 'House of Horuspex' (a cool word I just found in the thesaurus when I looked up 'Mentalism').

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 19 Dec 2017 20:16:27
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Bladewind
Master of Realmslore

Netherlands
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Posted - 20 Dec 2017 :  15:25:56  Show Profile Send Bladewind a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think the Emerald Enclave (particularly the circle of Planes) would look at the Jhaamdathi legacy and see a potential world ending scenario similar to what happened on Athas. The psions of that world are highly suspect and part of the cause of the slow death of Athas. Some had future visions of the coming cataclysm but a cabal of the most powerful mindmages bend the doomsayers mind.

Athas was changed when Rajaat, after a centuries long study of both the highest levels of transmuting power in both psionics and the arcane, promised the powers of dragonform apotheosis to fifteen humans if they enabled his genocidal schemes. The (then yellow) Sun was channeled into his champions with the psionic artifact the Dark Lense and created the eventual Sorcerer Kings who began the change of what used to be a green world filled with life into the post apocalyptic world under a Dark Sun we all know.

I think in D&D that high magic worlds with competing societies that embark on psionic arms races tend to end up with so many destructive avenues to power that it requires only a few bad choices to violently upset the balance of nature. If the temptation of reality altering powers is not easily policed, intentional and unintentional use of psionics and its invisible nature make keeping track of who has mastery over it problematic, so forbidden or undesirable psionic powers are very hard to suppress.

Compare psionic mastery with a savant of the arcane and one can see the fear the arcane community would have for mindmages that aspire to their own organisations. So I don't think the Emerald Enclave is alone in their mission to suppress psionic developements from becoming too organised. Most wizard schools would want to know everything any wielders of the Invisble Art know, and would kill for a look into their minds, sometimes literally.

EDIT: corrections

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Edited by - Bladewind on 20 Dec 2017 16:14:04
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 20 Dec 2017 :  15:41:26  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On a lot of fantasy worlds -- not just D&D -- it's magic that's the greater threat.

I honestly don't see anyone in the Realms thinking that a few unorganized psions here and there would be any kind of a collective threat -- especially since individual wizards and arcane cabals both have been a consistent, proven threat.

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Bladewind
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Netherlands
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Posted - 20 Dec 2017 :  15:47:48  Show Profile Send Bladewind a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think you would agree that once you combine the two at the highest levels things start to get scary. My argument is that on worlds that have both, things get ugly at the higher levels real fast.

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Markustay
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Posted - 20 Dec 2017 :  16:31:03  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've asked Ed questions in this regard, and he's said - as mysteriously as possible - that there IS a synergy between psionics and magic, and that's why Elminster is what he is. Khelben was literally 'the better wizard' (I believe he was even higher level in 1e), when it comes to studying spells and magic, but Elminster sees magic. He can do things not even the other Chosen can comprehend. And he's a natural-talent psionicist (which they've down-played since 1e... but he IS).

And if we go back to the most basic premise of Vancian Magic from Jack Vance's books, what Wizards are actually doing is commiting extremely complex, super-dimensional 'patterns' to memory - 'matrixes' within the mind, that unlock certain back-door 'cheats' in the universe. Sounds to me like thats some next-level psychic abilities right there (like GOD level psionics). So it stands to reason that people who are naturally gifted psionically would have more magical potential than someone without. In fact, I'd rule (IMG) that a sorcerer could choose 'psionic' as his bloodline - we have those Incipient Clans from SotM, and Ed's answer to my query along those lines was something like, "You are definitely on to something".

@Wooly - I was thinking more like a plot-McGuffin here. That these (Elven) Druids have managed to come up with some sort of magical ritual (probably circle-magic) that allows them to perform disguise magic that is 100% impenetrable to arcane magic. It would be able to obfuscate any sort of detection spells (and even misdirect with a pre-programed 'response', like to a know alignment spell, etc.) However, since its wholly magic, and working within the confines of (Weave/Arcane) magic, it is only 100% proof against that - its specifically designed to counter any sort of divination magic. Like any 'super ability' (device, critter, etc.) it has one flaw/weakness - and that would be psionics, which doesn't access magic at all to work.

quote:
Originally posted by Bladewind

I think the Emerald Enclave (particularly the circle of Planes) would look at the Jhaamdathi legacy and see a potential world ending scenario similar to what happened on Athas. The psions of that world are highly suspect and part of the cause of the slow death of Athas. Some had future visions of the coming cataclysm but a cabal of the most powerful mindmages bend the doomsayers mind.

Athas was changed when Rajaat, after a centuries long study of both the highest levels of transmuting power in both psionics and the arcane, promised the powers of dragonform apotheosis to fifteen humans if they enabled his genocidal schemes. The (then yellow) Sun was channeled into his champions with the psionic artifact the Dark Lense and created the Dragon Kings who began the change of what used to be a green world filled with life into the post apocalyptic world under a Dark Sun we all know.

I think in D&D that high magic worlds with competing societies that embark on psionic arms races tend to end up with so many destructive avenues to power that it requires only a few bad choices to violently upset the balance of nature. If the temptation of reality altering powers is not easily policed, intentional and unintentional use of psionics and its invisible nature make keeping track of who has mastery over it problematic, so forbidden or undesirable psionic powers are very hard to suppress.

Compare psionic mastery with a savant of the arcane and one can see the fear the arcane community would have for mindmages that aspire to their own organisations. So I don't think the Emerald Enclave is alone in their mission to suppress psionic developments from becoming too organised. Most wizard schools would want to know everything any wielders of the Invisible Art know, and would kill for a look into their minds, sometimes literally.
This I am not really seeing - magic destroyed Athas, or rather, careless use of it. Thats why they only have psionics now. I don't see how psionics can be blamed at all (unless those original, world-destroying Defilers were super-Mages due to their high level of psionic potential, as I've outlined above). I'm talking Elminster-class mages here.

I think of people like that like Engineers on the Enterprise, except instead of a 'Warp Core', they have Magic/The Weave to play with. They can divert power from system 'A' to system 'B', but that weakens system B. And the more power you divert from those other systems, the more chance you have of a cascading, catastrophic failure (so in magical terms, ecosystem collapse). So perhaps a latent, planet-wide penchant for psionics DID create more Elminster-class mages - guys that could 'see' the magic, the way Neo could see The Matrix, and manipulate it directly.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 20 Dec 2017 16:34:51
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The Masked Mage
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Posted - 20 Dec 2017 :  18:27:50  Show Profile  Send The Masked Mage an AOL message  Click to see The Masked Mage's MSN Messenger address Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This plays well into the whole psionic enchantments thing from Dark Sun though. Where high level mage/psionicist can create magical effects like 10th+ level spells that others are unable to tap.
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Bladewind
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Posted - 21 Dec 2017 :  18:12:02  Show Profile Send Bladewind a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Aye, defiling magics drained the lands directly and were ultimately the major factor in the desertification of Athas. But Dark Suns fate was changed before by nature benders, a psionic group splintered away from the nature masters of the Blue Age. Those pyreen psion-druids had shaped the world for the worse before, creating a thing called the Brown Tide when attempting to harness the power of the massive oceans of their age. They then erected the living iron psionic artifact the Pristine Tower and changed the Sun yellow and heralded the Green Age by cleansing the Brown Tide again but the athasian pantheons wanted to prevent any such iron towers to be erected again so then changed the iron core of Athas to obsidian.

There is a theory that this removal of the Iron Core of Athas planet removed its magnetic field too, which then allowed proliferation of psionics among the evolving populations on the world. The later gradual lack of resurfacing molten iron gradually starved the ecosystems of its iron. Life and blood needs iron, but on Athas iron is linked to channeling magic as well, so as the metalline iron count in the world depletes, magic manipulation becomes more and more dependent on calling on the metals in creatures and plants.

Rajaat then first studied magic manipulation theories and when the surface iron levels were suddenly becoming increasingly scarce introduced preserver arcane magic to the populace of Athas, making defiling available to only a select few. Until Rajaat had unlocked the highest levels of magic power, he allowed this to continue, but when he started to notice he defiled larger and larger swaths of land he needed to pursue a plan to reduce the overall use of magic. By hunting down all preserver mages with his defiler adepts he could harness more magic for himself.

But even higher levels of power could be reached if he used the Pristine Tower and a psionic magitech device of his own making, the Dark Lens, to device spells beyond the powers of the ancients perhaps even the lost gods. These epic spells used by Rajaat and his champions are arcane, and require proficiency in 20th level psionic and magic casting, a thing Rajaat could grant through the ritual channeling the arcane energies of the sun into the living metal tower and into his subjects.

Curiously, the great cleansing initiated by Rajaat's human champions was punctuated near the end by a period where the psion-druids of Athas were all hunted down. This sudden aggression did tip the champions to Rajaat's hidden intentions to eventually wipe out humans as well, and they started their covert rebellion of their own.

_____


Perhaps iron has a similar role on worlds such as Toril, where Torils molten iron core generates a magnetic field that positively influences the flow of Magic and lowers the chance of Emergent Psionics. If large amounts of Iron gets concentrated the natural weave and magnetic fields start interacting in weird ways around that area, causing other areas leached from iron to become favorable to psionics.

Wasn't there a discussion of the lack of surface iron in the reach because of the bronze imaskari empire? Did the Jhaamdathi favor bronze too?

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Markustay
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Posted - 22 Dec 2017 :  03:03:16  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hmmm, that doesn't gel well at all with some of my theories (and I mesh my gaming theories with my RW theories, so I won't alter them easily). For example, I think psioncs would work far better in a 'charged' atmosphere (like during a lightening storm) - strong magnetic fields can act as 'signal boosters' for the brain. But thats quite the opposite of what you said happened on Athas.

Also, I assume that a magnetic field is complimentary (necessary) to maintain the magical (leylines) field around a planet. They are both there to balance things out, spiritually and mentally. Perhaps the two are one and the same - that might work. Then I could just take my stuff about 'Tech vs. magic' (ideas I've had for awhile but are strongly implemented in the Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura computer game) and assign it to polarity. Would work for D&D game-theory, but it really messes up a story idea I've had kicking around for some 25 years (that a world normally has four poles, and two are responsible for magic - but on Earth the two mana-poles were destroyed when Atlantis & Lemuria sank).

Too bad it says the gods transformed the iron - if it was just 'missing', I could have had a lot of fun with that ('Hollow World', a solid iron moon, etc.)

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

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