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    Psionics question..
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:31 am  
    Psionics question..

    Hi..found your site by almost accident the other day. Gotta say i love it...i been playin greyhawk since i was 16yrs old and im 47 so you might say im old school :P

    But my question is...i like psions ...why are they so disliked in campaigns? i cant seem to get any dm to allow me to play one :( I have to run an npc or something in my campaign just to get them incorporated.
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:18 am  

    Ah...psionics, the ugly stepchild of D&D Sad
    IMO; most players are attracted to the game for the sword & sorcery aspects. Conan and JRR Tolkien... Psionics seems like its taken from a different genre. Wizards and clerics seem much more iconic to the medieval world.

    Add to this fact; that the psionic system was itself rather convoluted and random - a single roll. Most never bothered to understand it - much easier to simply dismiss it.


    Last edited by Crag on Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:08 am; edited 1 time in total
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:31 am  

    I think the simple answer is that most DMs/players don't want to be required to put in the time and effort to familiarize themselves with the whole psionic system for just one character, and so they just leave psionics out of their games.
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    GreySage

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    Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:54 am  

    Glad you found us, Kefrem! Be sure to introduce yourself more formally in the "Introduced Yourself" thread located on the "Welcome to Greyhawk!" forum. It is 7 (?) pages long, and still growing. Happy

    I can only speak for myself, and perhaps what I speculate, to answer your question, but I will agree with Crag on this one. Psionics seems less a 'medieval' style feeling in a world of magic, although Cebrion may have a point that maybe it is the mechanics of psionics that makes it further 'work' to understand.

    Personally, I have dodged running a psionic character, mainly for the former reason I outlined. My DM introduced an NPC psionic character rather well, but we've never had a long-term psionic PC or NPC in any game I have run or played in.

    However, don't despair, as there are some folks who LOVE psionics. I am sure they will make themselves present in time...

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    Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:21 pm  

    Welcome Kefrem!

    My point of view on psionics (certainly in AD&D) is similar to those already expressed in that a random dice roll determined ability and frankly, a successful dice roll seriously unbalanced a character. A magic user/wizard with psionics became enormously powerful effectively giving a PC two sources of power.

    I did not even look at the psionic systems in 2E and 3E as they seemed to be an additional complication I could do without. In 4E the system is much more similar to other power systems and, as with everything in 4E, the characters were balanced to other classes. For me, this made the 4E psionic system more workable but to a purist who enjoyed the older systems I could see how this could dilute the unique flavour of psionics.

    I have no objection to them per se from a genre point of view but they should be rare and the system needs to integrate well with the core rules. IMHO, this was never effectively done until 4E (albeit possibly at the expense of flavour as I've said above).
    Paladin

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    Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:18 pm  

    HERE HERE and WELL PUT Flint!

    I for one never embraced them except for the rare monster encounter. IMO they just never really "fit"... they seemed more aligned with the Spelljammer group... and my Campaign really just never ventured there in that manner.... I use Luna (and Other Celestial bodies) as alternate Primes to maintain the purity of "My Greyhawk".
    By accessing via gates, astrial projections, etc, I avoid the whole space travel element. SO, if and when I want, the PCs can experience something akin to Isle of the Ape or other such oddities and I don't have to contend with "balance" as much.
    IMO I think a GH campaign setting (which is predominantly Magic Based) benefits much more from the chance that the "evil psionic creatures" pose, than the advent of PCs with such abilities.

    My 2cp
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    Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:10 pm  



    Last edited by BlueWitch on Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
    CF Admin

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    Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:19 pm  

    We've been using psionicists in our game ever since the 2nd edition release of the handbook. Love the class.
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    GreySage

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    Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:43 pm  

    I'm afraid that I must concur with Cebrion. Cool

    Personally, I've always enjoyed 2e's Complete Psionics Handbook -- back at you Abysslin! -- the reading of which does require considerable time and effort. Even more so if you intend to DM such a character in your game.

    As for the Medieval aspect, has anyone every studied the Arthurian legends? As opposed to simply reading them as a story line? Ever really notice the things that Merlin does? If so, then you know why the AD&D publication Deities & Demigods, page 20, ranks him thus:

    14th level Druid
    5th level Magic User
    10th level Illusionist
    Psionic Ability 300 (Equates with a 21st level Psionicist)

    {Read "Psionic Ability" as PSPs and you have a 21st level Psionicist. Wisdom of 19 = base score of 28, with a modifier +4 = 14 PSP gained per level advancement}

    Yep! You got it! Some of the things that Merlin did can only be explained with . . . Psionics.

    True, Merlin's father was an Incubus but . . . so what? Since my "time," people have added Tieflings, Dragonborn, et al, as Player Characters. They've multiplied the distinctions between Sorcerers, Wizards, Witches and Wild Mages; the list of changes goes on. So a PC today can easily equal Merlin's parentage and abilities.

    Kefrem, should we ever meet-up in the Real World, you can play a Psionicist in my game. And no, you don't need to roll for the ability. You can have it "free of charge" . . . because there were Psionicists in the Medieval world. Wink

    Keep close count of your PSPs though! Because I sure will. Evil Grin

    Mwahahahahahahahahaha!
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    GreySage

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    Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:21 pm  

    I hate to be negative, but I dislike psionics in D&D for the same reasons mentioned previously. However, I know that some people call it fun and have no argument wtih that. Here are the problems I have with their inclusion.

    1) In AD&D, the mechanics weren't really all that difficult, but they were totally unbalanced. One round of combat equalled one minute, but each psionic power could be used once every 10 seconds. Thus, a psionic PC could make 10 attacks in the time any other PC or opponent could only make 1. Shocked

    2) Back then (early 80's for me), psionics seemed like science-fiction, not fantasy.

    3) I made up an NPC with psionic abilities and allowed one of my players to take control of the NPC once they had freed him. He wiped out every last bit of the opposition using that NPC's psionic abilities. No one else at the table had any fun.

    4) I allowed some college friends to make up powerful psionic PCs to adventure through Thunder Mountain from Dungeon Magazine - the one with all the mind flayers that introduced the Ulitharid. Of course, I used psionics for the mind flayers and the PCs were wiped out by the second encounter. Oh, and they never used any weapons or spells other than their psionics because it was a waste to get even four attacks with a sword when that same fighter could make ten psionic attacks in the same round. rolleyes

    So, every use of psionics was way over-powered compared to the mundane abilities of the character classes and it didn't feel like fantasy when every PC was running around like Carrie or a Jedi. Razz

    But, don't let that prevent you from enjoying the use of psionics in your own campaign, if you can find a rules system that isn't broken. Argon will probably give you lots of uplifting information on psionics in D&D when he gets here. Wink
    GreySage

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    Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:24 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:
    1) . . . but each psionic power could be used once every 10 seconds. Thus, a psionic PC could make 10 attacks in the time any other PC or opponent could only make 1. Shocked

    4) Of course, I used psionics for the mind flayers and the PCs were wiped out by the second encounter . . . that same fighter could make ten psionic attacks in the same round.


    I refuse to believe that a "proud" contributor to TPK Games would have a problem with a high level Psionic NPC. I mean it is your goal to "kill off" the entire party, isn't it? Evil Grin

    (Doh! You used Mind Flayers!)

    Hehehehehehehehehe

    Xaris, my Paladin buddy, I keep telling you, they're Guidelines! You need to make the needed adjustment for your game. Razz Laughing
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    Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:46 pm  

    Mystic Gurus don't fit in a D&D campaign. Psychic monks work easily. If you think of the class of monk in any edition of the game. Many of the powers can be deemed psychic in nature. Monk use mind over matter so psycometabolic powers work well with this class. I think the main problem with accepting psionics in a campaign, may have more to do with examples of psychic powers in fantasy literature.

    So I'll throw this link here to give all those opposed to psychic classes an idea on how to incorporate them into your campaign. http://www.netplaces.com/psychic/what-is-psychic-ability/early-psychics.htm

    Later

    Argon
    GreySage

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    Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:51 pm  

    Argon wrote:
    Mystic Gurus don't fit in a D&D campaign. Psychic monks work easily. If you think of the class of monk in any edition of the game. Many of the powers can be deemed psychic in nature. Monk use mind over matter so psycometabolic powers work well with this class.


    Told you he'd come. Wink

    I agree with the above. I simply change psionic powers for innate spell abilities. This seems to balance them well enough. Satisfied Mystic? Razz

    SirXaris
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    Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:55 pm  



    Last edited by BlueWitch on Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
    GreySage

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    Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:41 am  

    BlueWitch wrote:
    SirXaris wrote:

    1) In AD&D, the mechanics weren't really all that difficult, but they were totally unbalanced. One round of combat equaled one minute, but each psionic power could be used once every 10 seconds. Thus, a psionic PC could make 10 attacks in the time any other PC or opponent could only make 1. Shocked



    It's been a while since I've read the 1st edition rules on it. Does it really say each can be used once every ten seconds? If so, I think it was an oversight in the editing. As far as I know, a character can only use one ability per round, same as attacking or using a spell.


    I admit, I was in high school when I was playing 1st ed./AD&D, so I may have misunderstood the psionic rules at the time. Neutral

    SirXaris
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:37 pm  

    Psionics is one of those things that we didn't really make use of back in 1E. It was only during the tail end of 1E that we sort of collectively got the idea to mess around with them. What we found out was pretty bad. We had a paladin character roll really, really good psionics. At 7th level, the paladin killed a Vrock in 6 segments psionically "fighting" it, with little effort so far as the use of psionic powers was concerned. Who needs a holy sword to kill demons when you have psioncis?! W00t! Razz Well, we found that situation laughable, and totally not about what we wanted our games to be like. After just that one incident, psionics took a back seat for good while we continued to play 1E.

    Then came 2E, and psionics were, fortunately, fundamentally altered to be presented much more like a spell system (i.e. more familiar to players). I really thought that, due to such a change, one of the players in my campaign just might be open to playing one, but nobody did. As the DM however, I made thorough use of the system for all 2E psionic creatures, most notably when the PCs made a foray into the Astral Plane and assaulted a Githyanki outpost. That adventure proved to be particularly brutal due to the combined warrior and psionic skills of the outpost's Githyanki Lord leader. Still, nobody ever came around to playing a psionicist, even after being shown what they were capable of. 2E is the game edition that we use the most psionics in; not particularly be design- it just turned out that way, but they worke really well and wre easy to deal with.

    Then came 3.X. Total system revamp yet again, but still roughly in line with a spell system. I think my players spent most of their time just getting used to the 3.X system, and if they didn't have time for learning psionic rules before, they really had no time now. But they were mostly just casual gamers who only really played D&D, not really like me who will play anything at least once, let alone buy rulebooks just to read them. So, no psionics, ever. Even the adventures we played didn't feature psionics critters, so even I never used psionics in 3.X. The opportunity just never presented itself.

    I will say that I am not all that keen on the trend to assign sensory elements to most psionic powers. Powers of the mind should very, very rarely have sensory elements.

    DM: "You detect a somewhat....farty, woodsmokey smell. Shortly thereafter, you notice that the wooden beams of the inn's ceiling are smoldering, and, right before you eyes, they burst into flame!"

    Player: "Hmmm. A 'farty, wood-smokey smell', eh? Either Tim's mage ate too many beans and broccoli, or we've got a hostile psion on the loose!"
    Razz

    Overall, laziness, or the feel that psionics add to the game, is ultimately why they are not used.
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    Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:33 pm  

    Holy active topic replies! lol..thanks for all the feedback. Myself..i got two very favorite game genre/worlds. One is greyhawk..the other is dark sun.


    I appreciate all the feedback though. As a note..i will be running a greyhawk campaign just as soon as i get my pc reshipped to my new abode here. Ill be using teamspeak and/or ventrilo and this online tabletop

    http://www.epicalonline.com/index.php

    When the system is finished of course. Im a forum moderator there :P
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    Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:26 pm  

    Argon wrote:
    Mystic Gurus don't fit in a D&D campaign.

    Shocked I ... I ... I just don't know what to say to that. Except: Go to your local library, right now, and read Katherine Kurtz' Deryni Chronicles. Every last damned one of them. Period.
    Smile Happy Smile

    No .. I kid a little there, but, seriously - The Deryni novels are basically set in the Middle Ages, in a very realistically believable world, and there's no magic - per se - but there's psychic stuff all over the place. And while the manifesting of powers in early books is very magic-y, the further the books develop, it gets more and more psion-like. There's essentially the Catholic Church (though it's only ever called "The Church"), and there's a Patron Saint of Psionics!!

    The series was begun way back a long time ago when scifi didn't even exist as a genre, and Kurtz just wrote what she thought sounded cool. Imagine this: Star Wars hadn't even been written yet! So, for me, personally, there's a whole lot of psionic stuff in fantasy, because I liked psionics early on.
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    Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:41 pm  

    Well to coin in again....how i got into psionics long ago was when one new player sat down at my table ...browsed the books and said...*id like to try a psionicist*

    I swallowed hard(as i had never ran one in my world before) and informed them i had never done such a thing before..but if they researched it for the next session i would do some info diggin as well and let them try one.

    I never regretted it...the player really did his homework and while initially the other players were put off by it..once he started gettin really into the character roleplay the other players actually began to request he play his psionicist over his other rogue character.

    They told me after a long 3 month run that playing with his psionicist along(they werent called psions then) that it was one of the most unique and enjoyable campaigns they ever played in.(imagine goin thru lost caverns of tsojcanth with a psion/telepath with psycometry)

    So i say this..dont knock it until youve tried it..either playing it or dm'n it...currently i have a player running a shaper(metacreativity discipline) making all kinds of ectoplasmic pets to aid the party. They are always wondering what form of pet he will make next lol.
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    Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:59 pm  
    Re: Psionics question..

    Kefrem wrote:
    But my question is... [...] why are they so disliked in campaigns?

    Kefrem -
    As you already know, there's just a whole lot of people that just don't "get it". And this thread has already thrown out every standard "explanation" of why they don't like psionics ... and, like you, I still can't figure out why not. There are more people that are okay with a spaceship crashing in the Barrier Peaks than are okay with psionics.

    Personally, Katherine Kurtz' series, The Deryni Chronicles, firmly set psionics thickly in the midst of fantasy for me. It wouldn't be until years and years later that I would ever even see it in scifi. So, I often feel like the exact opposite of many people.

    But. at any rate, if you've been playin' Greyhawk for a while, and love psionics, you may already know - but the Complete Psionics Handbook has this to say:
    Complete Psionics Handbook wrote:
    WORLD OF GREYHAWK® game setting. Psionics is an old and established facet of life on Oerth. Presumably it was brought there when an illithid spacecraft crashed on the planet ages ago. Psionicists are by no means common, but most people are at least aware of the existence of psionics and often consider it to be just another mystical pursuit, little different from magic. Psionic guilds and secret associations can be found in major cities.

    While that's the "official" word, I have to admit that I am the only DM that I have ever known personally that actually runs it that way. Most I've ever known simply ignore it. I've never met one who actually contradicted it, or changed it, but - that doesn't precisely make PCs wanna jump straight to it, now does it?
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    GreySage

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    Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:14 pm  

    Right, Icarus. I remember the Deryni Chronicles. The only one I ever read was Camber of Culdi (I remember the name - alliteration is such fun! Happy ). Kurtz did make it work well in fantasy, but it seems to make magical spellcasting redundant and even clumsy with all the necessary verbal, somatic, and material components. Why be a wizard if you can simply be a psion and dispense with all the component worries?

    SirXaris
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    Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:27 pm  

    BlueWitch wrote:
    It's been a while since I've read the 1st edition rules on it. Does it really say each can be used once every ten seconds? If so, I think it was an oversight in the editing. As far as I know, a character can only use one ability per round, same as attacking or using a spell.


    1e Dungeon Master's Guide, in the Psionic Combat portion of the combat chapter.

    "...psionic combat takes place very quickly - in segments rather than rounds - and is usually over in a very short time."


    Regarding 3E psionics, I recall a comment from Elan the bard in one of the bonus strips in the Order of the Stick book "Snips, Snails, and Dragon Tales".

    In speaking to Psteve the Psion:
    "We desperately need your ultra-special brand of abilities that are totally not just a type of magic with different descriptive text."
    GreySage

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    Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:09 am  

    SirXaris wrote:
    Told you he'd come . . . Satisfied Mystic?


    Implying that you prophesied that I'd "come," are you, ole' Paladin of Heironeous? I would have thought that such an action would require a Prophet of Istus! Razz

    Icarus wrote:
    I have to admit that I am the only DM that I have ever known personally that actually runs it that way.


    Please see "above." I'm right there with you Icarus. Wink

    In fact, a Psionicist will be making an appearance in my "That Infamous Key" story. And it should be noted that this thread did not influence that; it was always my intention. I like Psionicists.

    As I said earlier, Cebrion got it right. Most DMs simply don't know how to play/manage the character, so they don't want to use them. It's enough just trying to keep track of the never-ending rules of "regular" game play.

    But the powers of a Psionicist need not be "overwhelming," only the power of a "God" is overwhelming. I ignore the "he can use 10 powers in one round" thing because the vast majority of mortals don't have that kind of concentration. Not even Psionicsts.

    "Okay. I'm going to hit him with Ballistic Attack and follow that with Control Body, then I'm going to . . . "

    "GRENADE!"

    Tsk! Complete loss of concentration!

    Add to that the fact that "Complete Psionics Handbook," Chapter 2, page 22 states: "In general, a character can initiate only one psionic power per round. There are two key exceptions:"

    So what is really being discussed is the fact that a Psionicist can maintain certain powers while initiating others. Wizards do much the same thing when they cast a spell that has a duration of multiple rounds.

    Because of the ability to "maintain" certain powers, the Psionicist appears to be "hitting" someone with three or four powers "all at once." However, because of spell duration, the Magician can also be said to be "hitting" someone with three or four spells all at once. It's simply a matter of perspective.

    So, it all boils down to this: Some DMs simply don't like Psionics and other DMs just don't want to be burdened with learning a whole new "book" of rules for just one player.

    And I can't blame them for that. Learn another rule system for one character? A character that might be played once and then never again? That's asking a lot of the DM. Wink
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    Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:04 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    I ignore the "he can use 10 powers in one round" thing because the vast majority of mortals don't have that kind of concentration. Not even Psionicsts.

    "Okay. I'm going to hit him with Ballistic Attack and follow that with Control Body, then I'm going to . . . "

    "GRENADE!"

    Tsk! Complete loss of concentration!

    Add to that the fact that "Complete Psionics Handbook," Chapter 2, page 22 states: "In general, a character can initiate only one psionic power per round. There are two key exceptions:"



    In 1e, it was exclusively the five psionic attack modes that could be used once per segment. Other powers were still limited to one per round.
    Since four of the five attacks were completely useless against an opponent who didn't have psionics himself, it wasn't that big of a deal.
    GreySage

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    Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:54 pm  

    Thanks, Armitage! Happy

    I'm a 2e guy myself and was speaking from that perspective. But you've given us another reason why a Psionicist need not be such an "over-powering" character in the game.

    Especially since -- as you point out -- much of his psionic power/ability is designed to be used against another Psionicist. Cool
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    Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:56 pm  

    This is part of the whole problem ... it's viewed as a different system.
    For the most part, in 3rd edition (and more so the revision of 3rd), there was so little different about it, it was ridiculous. It basically used all the same terminology, stats, ranges, etc. as spellcasting did. It just replaced "casting" with the word "manifesting" and made one or two mostly cosmetic tweaks, and it wasn't reated any different than another source of mystical power.
    I would never say "I don't wanna use divine casters, because it's such a different system of magic." .. or wizards and no sorcerers ... priests but no druids ... what have you.

    Essentially, to me, instead of saying it's all just different "types" of magid, they ought to say that they are all different types of "powers" or something that doesn't connotate their being compared to one another.

    What's psionics like, Bob?
    It tastes like chicken.
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    GreySage

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    Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:08 pm  

    Icarus wrote:
    What's psionics like, Bob?
    It tastes like chicken.


    Laughing

    Honestly, I have always disliked sorcerers for the same reason - they are just wizards that don't have the handicap of needing a spellbook, nor do they need to choose which spells to memorize each day. I know they don't get higher level spells until a level after a wizard has access to them and they don't have many spells to choose from, but they also get to cast more spells per day than a wizard! Phah! You brought it up, Icarus. Now, look at what you've done. Razz

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    Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:23 pm  

    Welcome Kefrem!

    I actually love psionics and play 1E (with some 2E for good measure). If you're going to use them I would highly recommend the 2E Psionics Handbook previously mentioned. That would be the best place to start and with a little tweaking, you can have them in your game, if your DM (or you) or the players want to have them. Since the late 80s, I have only had a grand total of 3 players play a Psionicist. I don't allow magic-users, priests or clerics (except if their deity allows it) have psionics beyond a wild talent. For magic-users in particular, I basically say that they spend all their mental ability on shaping magical energies. Basically, work with your group, you'll find them very rewarding.

    I do agree with many folks here that they don't quite fit but they can! Head into the Bakluni empire and let'em rip I say :D
    Paladin

    Joined: Sep 07, 2011
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    Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:04 am  

    *SOAP BOX RESPONSE WARNING*

    SirXaris wrote:
    Icarus wrote:
    What's psionics like, Bob?
    It tastes like chicken.


    Laughing

    Honestly, I have always disliked sorcerers for the same reason - they are just wizards that don't have the handicap of needing a spellbook, nor do they need to choose which spells to memorize each day.
    SirXaris

    Gotta say I'm with you on this SirX.
    Further, Icarus and Big C are also correct in saying its a different system mechanic (depending version) and most DMs don't want the extra baggage or feel its simply "magic" in a differing wrapper.
    Not to drift to far off topic, but I think it helps to understand the communities embrace (or lack of in this case) additions to the game and the realm we all support.
    IMO, there has always been a progressive toward the "one character fits all"and a Psionicist was the first step. I am one that does not believe the "casting times" of a segment were an "oversight"in editing, I'm pretty sure the rational was thought was quicker than somatic gestures is what drove it. While that my be "real world" true, it is not game world balancing. I further think the inclusion was but an attempt to appease a sub-group. I would speculate, in the early days of TSR, it was a means to appease to the Sci-fi (and later Gamma World enthusiast) as a form of "inclusion" & to fuel "unique" module ideas in some cases.

    I try looking at things from two perspectives when it comes to all things GH,
    ONE
    Why would TSR and now WOtC modify, make or add a spell, class, ect.

    At the dawn of the industry it was a "game" without borders, and in some cases even without end. For the companies that supply those materials, they had, at first, a great wealth of possibilities to range from... Meaning we started with Fighter, Wizard, Priest, Thief..... that progressed and expanded to the multiple variants. After 39 years of expansion, the universe (IMO) has reached saturation in some areas. Many of the additions and expansions to appease the masses as to their particular style, or flavor for the game.

    As a whole I'm good with this.. a collaborative of minds is always the best means to round-table ideas. BUT remember, the companies first devotion is not to the game and the world they created and we embrace, it is to revenue. Not to say they don't care, they should, lack of consistency in canon can be a ravine in this type of market. But to increase revenues, some offerings were, shall we say, short sighted. This is why some offerings are incompatible without modification and in some cases omitting.
    The part I enjoy reading, are the means by which all of you may take what doesn't "fit" and make it work. It is that creative element that will make this forum and this game endure time.

    TWO
    How do the above decisions effect my campaign

    Unlike the companies,as a community, our first devotion is to our campaigns, followed closely to canon to maintain that "feel". We interpret, ingame so to speak, ie how this rule or that addition effects our own campaign.

    Don't misunderstand me, no method is incorrect, they are simply differences in play style. Some choose to have great detail, while others don't worry with "spell components". IMO though, diversity within the PC Party is good, I like that my wizards have to study, that my fighters have to train, etc. Because not ONE PC has multiple abilities causes them to come together to overcome the challenges I put before them. If a single PC is a master of magic, a slayer with a sword, and a bishop of the local canon, why does he need anyone else?

    From a gaming table perspective, a "one PC does All" runs the chance of one player dominating the "spotlight" all the time. I try to place elements in every game that only one of the party is the key to the success, thus giving all table time. This is of course IMC, because I have 8 players. In Lanthorn's the same may not apply depending on how many PC characters and NPCs he has as support.
    For me, by maintaining psionics (and sorcerers for that matter) as encounter challenges only, it maintains the ESSENCE of the game play, cooperation and comeradery to overcome things that threaten their world. Again IMC

    To circle back to Kefrem and others on the psionics aspect, it is you and your party alone that must decide the flavor for your game. My way/ Your way does not equate "wrong" way, just consider how it will effect your GH down the road, not just in the today but in the future.

    And I must say that is why I appreciate ALL of you so much, you help me maintain my rudder and I no longer have to pilot the GH waters alone.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:13 pm  

    I think, at this point in the thread, it's more interesting (to me, anyway) to suggest what exactly is involved in incorporating psionics into a Greyhawk campaign. The "this is why I don't like psionics"/"this is why you should totally like psionics" debate seems to have been pretty thoroughly discussed.

    For those who do want to include psionics in Greyhawk, what's needed? Some elements are already provided:

    - Xan Yae and Zuoken are gods of psionics. Delleb was also identified as a possible patron of psionicists in the Greyhawk Player's Guide. Lydia might be a logical choice for psionicists of a more Suloise background, and the "Psychic Sun" theology mentioned in the Lodge Luminous from Complete Psionic (which I mention again below) might be a logical outgrowth of Lydia's portfolio, interpreting psionics as a kind of metaphorical inner light.

    - Beginning in Eldritch Wizardry, monsters were created that specifically target psionic characters, and of course many have been created since then. They have to be fit onto random encounter charts, and some thought about how they fit into Greyhawk's ecology might be nice.

    - We don't have much in the way of official psionic guilds and organizations in Greyhawk, and these would seem to be a pretty essential thing for providing psionic PCs with appropriate mentors/allies/rivals and making them really feel like they fit into the setting. Dragon #281 introduced a psionic organization called the Splintered Mind that concentrated on opposing the Scarlet Brotherhood, and as such feels like a logical and natural part of the setting. The same article provided details on Scarlet Brotherhood psionicists, and I could see an entire campaign dedicated to the occulted Cold War machinations between the Splintered Mind agents and their evil Scarlet Brotherhood counterparts. Oerth Journal #3 introduced the "Order of the Inner Flame" in Tusmit, which might have chapters in large eastern cities. Maldin created a Greyhawk School of Psionics descended from an abandoned guild in Melkot. Complete Psionic included two psionic guilds, the Diamond Knights and the Lodge Luminous, but it's left to the individual DM where these guildhouses might exist on Oerth (or any other campaign world), and what influence they have in local politics. The Lodge Luminous would actually be a pretty good model for the Order of the Inner Flame, if one replaces the phrase "Psychic Sun" with "Inner Flame" and assumes that Zuoken himself is the One Mind of the Lodge's prophecy. The Greyhawk School seems more practical than philosophical, but the School seems to have its enemies in distant Melkot (and/or possibly other planes of existence) who might become involved later in the campaign. Fitting the Diamond Knights into Greyhawk seems more challenging, but they might establish themselves as orders within the Knights of the Watch, the Knights of Holy Shielding, or other existing knightly orders, relying on the support and influence of those groups for patronage and legitimacy among the feudal lords of the Flanaess.

    - Complete Psionic included a Deryni-like race of psionic humans, the Talaire (originally introduced with more detail in Dragon #281), who don't really have a firm place in Greyhawk, but could be given one; they supposedly fled from some parallel world conquered by illithids, but someone who wished to use them would have to decide when they entered Oerth's history and how their presence has influenced it (and if their ultimate enemy is really the illithids). I thought perhaps they could have joined the Oeridian tribes during the confusion of the Great Migrations and introduced the worship of Delleb to them; there are few other periods in history where a large influx of alien humans might incorporate themselves into society unnoticed. Perhaps they came to live in the ancient Suloise Empire during some long-forgotten war between the Suloise and the mind flayers of the Hellfurnaces. Part of the point of them is that although they identify as a separate ethnic group, they have to be similar enough to existing ethnic groups that others don't realize they exist. Likely they have to pose as Oeridians, Suloise, or some combination thereof, though (if you changed their appearance) they might work as part of traditional Flan society, perhaps in the Duchy of Tenh or Geoff, or as secret tribes within the Rhennee.

    - The Deryni themselves were detailed for first edition in Dragon #78.

    - Lords of Madness included two organizations, the Topaz Order (dedicated to Heironeous) and the Order of the Sanctified Mind (dedicated to St. Cuthbert) who concentrate on opposing various evil aberrations, and these would be very decent societies for psionic characters to belong to. Again, it would have to be decided where their guildhouses are located, how they're involved in local politics, and exactly who is aware of and working against them. Geoff and Sterich, and probably the Yeomanry, would be obvious places for them to concentrate their efforts, but any place menaced by aberrant monsters would work, and they would have logical reasons to send their members far afield. A campaign with PCs who belong to an aberration-fighting guild obviously should be one in which aberrations play a fairly significant role, at least for as long as the character is played.

    - Dragon #245 included a dwarven organization (for 2nd edition) called the Caradhaker (mindstalkers), a group of illithid-hunters who learned techniques from a rescued githyanki long ago. This became the illithid slayer prestige class in the Expanded Psionics Handbook.

    - Dragon #255, again for 2nd edition, included a variety of kits for psionicists designed for settings with a more medieval European theme. The Charcoal Burner's Guild is an order of psionicists who disguise themselves as a charcoal burner's guild, which they might do as much to protect themselves against rival psionicists who might steal their secrets as they do to protect themselves from an intolerant or suspicious culture. That's my favorite society from that article, and it's easy to see how a branch of the Order of Inner Flame might change their name to protect themselves not just from outsiders but from their own former guild members. The Charcoal Burners keep psionics hidden and medieval-feeling, which is potentially a good thing if you don't like the standard psionics flavor. The Janissary psionicist is another appropriate one; they might easily be mercenaries from Baklunish lands, or from the lands beyond the Baklunish nations such as Komal, Mur, or Suhfeng. Other groups, like the gatekeepers, militant psionicists, mind mages, mind monks, paranaturalists, pioneers, specialists, and Voices, are usable in Greyhawk to varying degrees. The Voice is a member of an order that has to be relatively well-known in its setting so that they can offer themselves as real-time psychic emissaries of distant employers. The presence of a Voice guild changes a setting in ways that other secretive or foreign orders do not, so they might work better as representatives of a specific distant culture or as a group known only to a specific elite in one city. On the other hand, a version of Greyhawk where psionics are sufficiently common for Voice chapters to exist in most major cities is certainly possible, and wouldn't break anything. The Paranaturalist, by contrast, is intended for a setting in which psionics are a forgotten art remembered mainly in dusty tomes; perhaps psionics died out in the Twin Cataclysms, but a few rare copies of Baklunish and Suloise texts still circulate in deep dungeon troves, mystic bookstores, and esoteric libraries. The Mind Mage is a psionicist in disguise as a wizard in a campaign setting where psionics are unknown or hidden; they try to pass off their powers as magic spells. This helps address how psions and mages might interact in a setting, though it doesn't explain why anyone in a society full of magic cares that some powers come from unusual sources. Perhaps mages and others consider them a threat, especially in games where magical protections don't work against psionics, or in regions in which wizard guilds are particularly powerful and controlling. The Pioneer, who specializes in advancing the study of psionics, makes the most sense in a setting where there are other, less innovative psionicists to contrast with. They could be a faction within a guild or a separate guild opposed to more conservative, secretive groups like the Charcoal Burner's Guild or the Talaire.

    - The same issue also contained 2nd edition details for psionic ninja who might come from Oerth's exotic Occident, be Baklunish worshipers of Xan Yae, or be special agents of the Scarlet Brotherhood.

    - Other psionic races the DM wishes to allow have to be incorporated into Oerth.

    It becomes clear why some DMs think coming up with all this world-altering detail is more trouble than one PC is worth (though personally I think most campaigns should be built around the backgrounds and aspirations of the PCs). Another concern is that if the psionic PC dies or is otherwise retired, a campaign that's already built up psionics as a major theme has to abruptly change tacks. At the same time, a lot of the work has been done and is incorporated into Greyhawk to varying degrees, and it can certainly be interesting if you're into that sort of thing.
    Paladin

    Joined: Sep 07, 2011
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    Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:51 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    I think, at this point in the thread, it's more interesting (to me, anyway) to suggest what exactly is involved in incorporating psionics into a Greyhawk campaign. The "this is why I don't like psionics"/"this is why you should totally like psionics" debate seems to have been pretty thoroughly discussed.

    Agreed, and was not my intent to redirect.... THANKFULLY the Grey Sage comes bearing belated needfest gifts!!! Happy Happy
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
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    Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:18 pm  

    Awesome, Rasgon!

    I feel a story coming on! Evil Grin
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:42 pm  
    Re: Psionics question..

    Everything has already been said, but I'll just say a few pointers (from my point of view):
    1. In AD&D (1e and 2e), psionics for PCs have always been either an unbalancing random bonus ability with no downsides or simply a horrible broken mechanic. Maybe AD&D is not the only reason why psionics got a bad reputation, but it certainly is one of the reasons.
    2. In people's minds, psionics usually is the same thing as having magical powers without any of the negative and balancing factors of magic, such as waving your hands and speaking.
    3. In 3.5, psionics suffer a little bit from a power creep. It's not so much about the powers themselves but more about the feats. Psionic feats such Psionic Shot and psionic power with casting time 'swift' have both advantages compared to core spells and feats.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:04 am  

    Right after converting from OD&D to AD&D1 in pre-Greyhawk days, I randomly rolled a psionic PC. He was a paladin, and the INT + WIS + CHA added up (yes, the CHA was with 3d6 Laughing ). Now, I forget the details, but he had very few points, so at 1st level, he could only use it against other psionicists, which would have been bad, since his points were so few (it never came up).

    Cebrion wrote:
    I think the simple answer is that most DMs/players don't want to be required to put in the time and effort to familiarize themselves with the whole psionic system for just one character, and so they just leave psionics out of their games.


    -Lazy DM Syndrome.

    I think one reason is the one I mention above: It just didn't come up very often, and after a while, everyone just forgot (a subset of Lazy DM Syndrome Laughing). Of course, Grey Oozes had psionic powers, which I thought was odd, but so be it. When I converted Keep on the Borderland to AD&D1, I had to convert them, too.

    Crag wrote:
    ...most players are attracted to the game for the sword & sorcery aspects. Conan and JRR Tolkien... Psionics seems like its taken from a different genre. Wizards and clerics seem much more iconic to the medieval world...


    -Icarus already brought up the Dernyi, which I've never read, but heard of. There was an article on them in Dragon back in the 80s (I forget when, exactly).

    Currently, I'm still converting stuff to D&D 3.5. I'm on the verge of using the village (hamlet) of Garrotten, and one of the major NPCs there is a psionicist. I'm thinking of using the hamlet as a base (the L2 adventure can come later). I originally considered converting him to a sorcerer, but have decided to invest in the psionics books when I get around to it.
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