5e Psionics

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Coronoides
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5e Psionics

Post by Coronoides »

I’m asking here because Dark Sun makes extensive use of Psionics. Has anyone tried this DM’s guild title? A rebuild of the 2e Psionics system in 5e.
https://www.dmsguild.com/m/product/242474

Is it any good?
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Re: 5e Psionics

Post by Tim Baker »

Thanks for pointing this out. I'll keep an eye out for a sale. $17 for a 3.5-star, 129-page PDF, with no reviews is a bit too risky for my RPG budget. It might be absolutely worth it (I do love me some psionics in Dark Sun), but I'd want to hear that from someone I trust has similar tastes in gaming before I shelled out the cash for it.

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Re: 5e Psionics

Post by finarvyn »

Agreed. I might point out, however, that the four raters gave it stars of 5, 5, 4, and 1. (No idea why the page says 5 reviews but only shows 4 ratings.) No comments with the stars so I have no idea why the one guy rated it so low.

Bottom line is that I'm not going to gamble $17 on this one, either.
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Re: 5e Psionics

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Coronoides wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:32 pm
I’m asking here because Dark Sun makes extensive use of Psionics. Has anyone tried this DM’s guild title? A rebuild of the 2e Psionics system in 5e.
https://www.dmsguild.com/m/product/242474
:shock: :o That is freaking awesome. I really hope it becomes available to purchase in POD format.

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Re: 5e Psionics

Post by Coronoides »

finarvyn wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:44 pm
Agreed. I might point out, however, that the four raters gave it stars of 5, 5, 4, and 1. (No idea why the page says 5 reviews but only shows 4 ratings.) No comments with the stars so I have no idea why the one guy rated it so low.

Bottom line is that I'm not going to gamble $17 on this one, either.
I’m with you and Tim Baker. The whole point of this thread was to find someone who had been brave enough to be the canary for this coal mine. I’m interested because:
A) I thought the 2e psionics system was something like what the D&D magic system should have been.
B) Council of Wyrms has a psionic dragon kit I need to convert to 5e.

So anyone been the canary, bought this thing and used it at the table?
Last edited by Coronoides on Sat May 30, 2020 7:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 5e Psionics

Post by Coronoides »

Also the author’s writing when he responds to comments does not fill me with confidence eg.
“ Thanks again for you feedback.
I keep some lvl requirements but there shouldnt be any talents requirement. ”
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Re: 5e Psionics

Post by Tim Baker »

Matthew Mendoza had a short blurb about this book on Facebook:
Matthew Mendoza wrote: Read through....turns the Powers into a spell system. Turns devotions into cantrips, sciences into spells...
Not much to go by, I realize. I asked him if he'd drop by over here and provide us with some more details.

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Re: 5e Psionics

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Tim Baker wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:45 am
Matthew Mendoza had a short blurb about this book on Facebook:
Matthew Mendoza wrote: Read through....turns the Powers into a spell system. Turns devotions into cantrips, sciences into spells...
Not much to go by, I realize. I asked him if he'd drop by over here and provide us with some more details.
Sounds like a fit for the KISS ethos of 5e but also disappointingly would miss the point of what the 2e version achieved: a skill based system with a very different feel to spellcasting.
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Re: 5e Psionics

Post by KtA »

Yeah.

I do think the 2E approach would be very out of place in the 5E system though. It's certainly not something either of the 5E-playing groups I'm involved in would use (though we tend to be more casual rather than mechanics-heavy).

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Re: 5e Psionics

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KtA wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 11:58 pm
Yeah.

I do think the 2E approach would be very out of place in the 5E system though. It's certainly not something either of the 5E-playing groups I'm involved in would use (though we tend to be more casual rather than mechanics-heavy).
Yes a 5e version would have to be simpler/streamlined but to just turn them into spellcaster’s isn’t good enough if your claiming to have created a 5e version of the 2e psi (which the author does in his blurb). A simple uses per longrest and proficiency check to use might have been a start.
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Re: 5e Psionics

Post by KtA »

Personally I think the best "compromise" version between the 2E complex point system and simple spellcasting would be a system like the Way of the Four Elements monk, where you spend points to activate spell-type abilities, but aren't dealing with maintenance costs or large point pools.

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Re: 5e Psionics

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KtA wrote:
Fri Apr 10, 2020 4:03 am
Personally I think the best "compromise" version between the 2E complex point system and simple spellcasting would be a system like the Way of the Four Elements monk, where you spend points to activate spell-type abilities, but aren't dealing with maintenance costs or large point pools.
Yep. Interestingly, (well to me but not anyone else) in my Council of Wyrms conversion I recommend the Monk as the best way of emulating the Dragon Psionist kit in the boxed set.
Last edited by Coronoides on Sat May 30, 2020 7:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 5e Psionics

Post by zontoxira »

So far, the closest version to 2e feel I've seen in Unearthed Arcana, is version 2 of psionics.
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Re: 5e Psionics

Post by Tim Baker »

zontoxira wrote:
Fri Apr 10, 2020 11:28 pm
So far, the closest version to 2e feel I've seen in Unearthed Arcana, is version 2 of psionics.
Was that the second take on the Mystic class in UA?

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Re: 5e Psionics

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Tim Baker wrote:
Sat Apr 11, 2020 5:55 am
Was that the second take on the Mystic class in UA?
First and foremost, it differentiates psionics from magic. Referencing Dark Sun (and to some extent, Eberron), it explains the existence of psionics in worlds that have had their realities twisted and/or ravaged by some catastrophic event. Mystics are people who had their minds somehow awakened by such events (mentioning the Far Realm and the cosmic entities that emerge from there as possible culprits - also a nod to Lovecraft) and form mystical orders to better grasp psionic powers and their potential. In "normal" worlds, mystics are extremely scarce, and more common in warped ones. They usually manifest their powers by some random happenstance, by reading an ancient tome of cosmic knowledge, or by being exposed to some other psionic power; it is in those blasted realms that mystic orders are often found, studying its powers. Psionic disciplines are divided into greater (sciences) and lesser (devotions). Mystic orders are limited to two, one that focuses on the mental aspects of the mystic, the other on the physical aspects.

Overall, I'd say this take feels like an attempt to present a distinct class from the rest, with its own mechanics and quirky backstory. Take three eschewed all its distinctiveness to tune it closer to 5e's basic mechanics and the design of core classes. Now psionics worked like magic and the mystic resembled a monk who studied psionics instead of martial arts in a secluded monastery, with each mystic order duplicating abilities from other classes, effectively making the class feel like the psionic equivalent of the other classes. By the latest version, this was extended to forfeiting the mystic class and instead having psionic subclasses of the four core classes.
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Re: 5e Psionics

Post by Tim Baker »

zontoxira wrote:
Sat Apr 11, 2020 1:26 pm
Mystics are people who had their minds somehow awakened by such events (mentioning the Far Realm and the cosmic entities that emerge from there as possible culprits - also a nod to Lovecraft) and form mystical orders to better grasp psionic powers and their potential. In "normal" worlds, mystics are extremely scarce, and more common in warped ones. They usually manifest their powers by some random happenstance, by reading an ancient tome of cosmic knowledge, or by being exposed to some other psionic power; it is in those blasted realms that mystic orders are often found, studying its powers.
I really enjoy this aspect of the lore around psionics. WotC started to build on this in 4th Edition, with psionics in the default Nentir Vale setting being mentioned from the very beginning of the game line (even though it wasn't fleshed out until PHB 3), and being described as the universe's way of protecting itself from incursions from the Far Realm. I thought this was a brilliant bit of explanation, and immediately made psionics feel like something belonged in the setting, rather than being tacked on. By the time PHB 3 came out, and psionics classes broke from the traditional at-will/encounter/daily power pattern, they also felt mechanically different from other casters. I was a big fan.

I agree with you on the latest presentation of psionics as merely subclasses. I hope they go back to the earlier iteration of the Mystic, and embrace a class that is unique and has a place in the fiction.

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Re: 5e Psionics

Post by Tim Baker »

This thread may be of interest, now that the latest psionics Unearthed Arcana packet dropped.

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Re: 5e Psionics

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Tim Baker wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:54 pm
This thread may be of interest, now that the latest psionics Unearthed Arcana packet dropped.
In keeping with this thread’s discussion of how well 5e versions of Psionics (WOTC and unofficial) emulate the AD&D era... At first I was sceptical about the newest version of Psionics but having read it I’m coming around. It does capture the feel of Psi in 1e AD&D DMG. However, the earlier version with the Mystic class was closer to the 2e Psionist class that I really liked. I think that the ultimate version for me would be a an official book (because WOTC playtesting and development is very rigorous) that includes both a version of the Mystic class and psionist feats for everyone else. THe Archtypes are good but I feel going down that route diverges too far from a 1e and 2e emulation in keeping with the goal of my first post.
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Re: 5e Psionics

Post by Tim Baker »

I would like to see both supported as well. Unfortunately, the intro to the latest Unearthed Arcana states that the Mystic class has been abandoned by the design team.
Last edited by Tim Baker on Fri Apr 17, 2020 2:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 5e Psionics

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Tim Baker wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:54 am
I would like to the both supported as well. Unfortunately, the intro to the latest Unearthed Arcana states that the Mystic class has been abandoned by the design team.
Ah well, that’s why the universe evolved fans :D
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Re: 5e Psionics

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Coronoides wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:33 am
At first I was sceptical about the newest version of Psionics but having read it I’m coming around. It does capture the feel of Psi in 1e AD&D DMG. However, the earlier version with the Mystic class was closer to the 2e Psionist class that I really liked. I think that the ultimate version for me would be a an official book (because WOTC playtesting and development is very rigorous) that includes both a version of the Mystic class and psionist feats for everyone else. THe Archtypes are good but I feel going down that route diverges too far from a 1e and 2e emulation in keeping with the goal of my first post.
My sentiments, exactly. Would be awesome to have a book on psionics, mystic class and psionic subclasses, feats, and worldbuilding. Maybe name it "Astral Traveller's Guide to Eldritch Cosmos" and present the Astral Plane, more on the denizens of the Far Realm and the githyanki race, have some locales, points of interest, even hooks, adventure ideas and plots to be unveiled. A complete sourcebook for one wishing to run a psionic-powered, eldritch horror-themed campaign in the Silver Void.
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Re: 5e Psionics

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zontoxira wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 1:23 pm
Coronoides wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:33 am
At first ... I think that the ultimate version for me would be a an official book (because WOTC playtesting and development is very rigorous) that includes both a version of the Mystic class and psionist feats for everyone else...
My sentiments, exactly. Would be awesome to have a book on psionics, mystic class and psionic subclasses, feats, and worldbuilding. Maybe name it "Astral Traveller's Guide to Eldritch Cosmos" and present the Astral Plane, more on the denizens of the Far Realm and the githyanki race, have some locales, points of interest, even hooks, adventure ideas and plots to be unveiled. A complete sourcebook for one wishing to run a psionic-powered, eldritch horror-themed campaign in the Silver Void.
Great idea, let me know when you’ve written it ;)
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

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Re: 5e Psionics

Post by KtA »

I think a subclasses approach with mechanics not too different from the rest of 5E would be easier to use for my group.

There honestly probably is a place for both versions since Psionics (IMO only) should be a setting-specific thing, like the Artificer for Eberron. I really don't see psionics as being a terribly good fit for your "standard" medieval-fantasy campaign (including Dragonlance and Greyhawk etc.) There's really no reason why Eberron psionics would need to be the same mechanically as Dark Sun psionics, since they have very different functions in those worlds.*

I am reluctant to add new core classes to 5E though... 3E and Pathfinder really suffered from class bloat IMO.

*I actually don't think the 2E mechanical version of psionics was a terribly good fit for Dark Sun, as odd as it may be to say that... I feel like Dark Sun would have been better off with psionics as weird, specific, and limited powers - "mutant powers" basically - rather than a Psionicist class and a known and well-understood "Way" with formal schooling, etc. IE, Wild Talents but no actual Psionicists - nobody would have more than one or two powers, and they wouldn't be something you were trained in, just random things that people had as a result of living in a world where the essence of life has been severely warped.

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Re: 5e Psionics

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Coronoides wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 2:24 am
Great idea, let me know when you’ve written it ;)
The thought crossed my mind, albeit for a brief moment :lol:
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Re: 5e Psionics

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KtA wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:37 am
*I actually don't think the 2E mechanical version of psionics was a terribly good fit for Dark Sun, as odd as it may be to say that... I feel like Dark Sun would have been better off with psionics as weird, specific, and limited powers - "mutant powers" basically - rather than a Psionicist class and a known and well-understood "Way" with formal schooling, etc. IE, Wild Talents but no actual Psionicists - nobody would have more than one or two powers, and they wouldn't be something you were trained in, just random things that people had as a result of living in a world where the essence of life has been severely warped.
This is pretty much how the setting worked. Everyone on Athas had a wild talent. Only a few actually focused on psionics enough to become psionicists.
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