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Farcaster
06-20-2007, 11:56 AM
The month long focus by Ask Wizards on Psionics has me wondering just how many people actually use psionics in their Fantasy games. I'm not sure why exactly, but psionics have never felt right in fantasy for me. In a more modern setting, or futurisitc, yes, D&D .. no. Perhaps this is because when I look back at all of the fantasy fiction I have watched or read, I can't really think of any memorable stories that featured psionic characters beyond basic soothsaying.

In my D&D games, I disallow psionics. Even for creatures such as the mindflayer, I use the magic equivelants.

What do you you think? Do you use psionics in your game? Do you like it?

Ed Zachary
06-20-2007, 12:22 PM
I've never used it in 3.5, and don't know how.

Sounds to me like another way to jack up a character's LA.

ronpyatt
06-20-2007, 12:23 PM
Oh, I love this argument!

From what I've seen, there are two kinds of psionics: Sci-fi and Fantasy versions.

The Fantasy version is just casting spells that work through the mind. D&D psionics is mystic mentalism and lacks what I'd call modern psionic sci-fi characteristics. The Wheel of Time series is a great example of the blending of mind and magic.

Does Dragons of Pern count?

The Sci-Fi version is common enough and has a scientific (biochemical/alien) slant that attempts to explain how psionics work.

If you use it in D&D, I'd suggest using the Fantasy version that works the same as magic. Treat it like psionics are done by the magicpoint spending spellcasters. When psionics are separate from magic you get an entirely different dynamic to game world interaction and more opportunities for players to take advantage of uncommon abilities (like giving a rouge a machinegun with a room full of orcs).

Skunkape
06-20-2007, 12:26 PM
Perhaps this is because when I look back at all of the fantasy fiction I have watched or read, I can't really think of any memorable stories that featured psionic characters beyond basic soothsaying.

I'm guessing you've never read Elfquest?

Since I've gotten inspiration for quite a few of my races from the Elfquest series, yes I use Psionics in my fantasy game. Love it, is too strong a phrase for me to use and I definately don't hate it! I'm guessing my vote will have to be doesn't do anything for me, but I do feel stronger than that.

I'm working on a 'Psionics and the Law' document/rules set for my current campaign world based on the 'Magic and the Law' document/rules set that I found at http://juergen.the-huberts.net/dnd/urbis/index.html

I can understand why people aren't to interested in using Psi as I can see abuse for it, but so far, I've kept it fairly well balanced.

fmitchell
06-20-2007, 01:49 PM
Perhaps this is because when I look back at all of the fantasy fiction I have watched or read, I can't really think of any memorable stories that featured psionic characters beyond basic soothsaying.

Apart from Elfquest, there's also Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series (how many books?) I read a few as a kid, and don't really remember them, so maybe that doesn't count.

I don't like the D&D psionic system precisely because it feels like a second magic system, not "classic" psionics as in most science fiction and science fantasy. Then again, psychic powers are really magic anyway ... but a stricter definition of categories like telepathy, telekinesis, ESP, and precognition feels different somehow. Maybe it's that, since only certain powers exist, "magic" is incredibly powerful in some areas and nigh-useless in others.

In fact, imagine a world where *only* psionics exist (or only a single category, like telepathy). A "wizard" without energy-projecting powers has to play with his opponent's minds ... if they have minds. A precog can see things coming, but then has to decide if and how to avoid them. A pyrokinetic can set things on fire, but that's not always productive.

Take a look at the True20 magic system, or if you can find it, its earlier incarnation in "The Psychic's Handbook" also from Green Ronin. Adepts have talents that encompass a range of effects ... but only a few of them.

starfalconkd
06-20-2007, 05:05 PM
I like using it now and then for some variety. But in general it's just another add on.

ronpyatt
06-21-2007, 12:07 AM
I don't like the D&D psionic system precisely because it feels like a second magic system, not "classic" psionics as in most science fiction and science fantasy.

Exactly. If you look at the 3.5 and 3.0 psionics books, many of the listed psionic powers are even referred to with a "As the spell ..." which is in the Players Handbook. (Teleport comes to mind.)

The bottom line is if you treat psionics like science fiction, then that's what it will be. If you treat it like fantasy then it works like fantasy.

Oh, oh, and Eragon has psionic magic as well.

This sort of brings me to ask the question about D&D magic. Haven't you noticed how "scientific" it is? I mean, the spells are testable, predictable, and repeatable, following the physical laws of game world reality. Spells go off each time in exactly the same way as it does for every spellcaster. It's not really the mysterious magic from the fantasy books I remember.

<perhaps crazy>
:confused: Hmmmm..... Perhaps it is D&D magic that needs to be disallowed.;) Yeah, now that I think about it. It seems right to ban magic from D&D. Psionics Rule! :D Can we get an official ruling on this? :eek: We can make arrangements with WotC and get them to recall all the player's handbooks and have them reprint the 3.0 and 3.5 versions? Or better yet, lets get a petition to have 4.0 rushed out with the magic removed?:cool:
Thank you for all your support.
<end crazy>

Grimwell
06-21-2007, 12:39 AM
It's never been "My kind of fantasy" for my gaming. I selected "hate it" because I never allow it in my games. It's just another system for me to mind instead of the story. That said, I don't feel offended if others have psionics in their games in the least.

Options are always good, in that you get to pick the ones that are right for your game. You don't have to allow an option when you are the guy running the game. ;P

PhishStyx
06-21-2007, 12:50 AM
Strictly speaking, it doesn't bother me in the slightest; however, most of the games where I might use psychic abilities, the crunchy bits are either identical or pretty similar, while the conceptual elements are varied from the other possible magical (in the general sense) effects.

fmitchell
06-21-2007, 02:38 AM
This sort of brings me to ask the question about D&D magic. Haven't you noticed how "scientific" it is? I mean, the spells are testable, predictable, and repeatable, following the physical laws of game world reality. Spells go off each time in exactly the same way as it does for every spellcaster. It's not really the mysterious magic from the fantasy books I remember.

I'm sure I've posted this before, but John H. Kim made the same point in "Breaking Out of Scientific Magic Systems" (http://www.darkshire.net/~jhkim/rpg/magic/antiscience.html).


<perhaps crazy>
:confused: Hmmmm..... Perhaps it is D&D magic that needs to be disallowed.;) Yeah, now that I think about it. It seems right to ban magic from D&D. Psionics Rule! :D Can we get an official ruling on this? :eek: We can make arrangements with WotC and get them to recall all the player's handbooks and have them reprint the 3.0 and 3.5 versions? Or better yet, lets get a petition to have 4.0 rushed out with the magic removed?:cool:
Thank you for all your support.
<end crazy>

I'm the same kind of crazy. As is Greg Stafford in Pendragon, (almost) Mike Mearls in Iron Heroes, and (sort-of) Fantasy Flight Games's Midnight.

I've posted some of my wacky alternate magic ideas before, but another one is simply to remove all the spellcasting PC classes (which leaves Fighters, Rogues, Barbarians, slightly depowered Rangers, and depending on definitions radically altered Monks). Magic would still exist, but not as a tactical maneuver; it would be a way of setting up a plot device, or defusing said devices.

Mechanically, magic would have Knowledge and Craft skills, and maybe one or more Feats. (How many depends on the modes of magic.) For example, following the Lovecraft/Howard model, magic might be a matter of finding/devising the right ritual, and surviving its performance. The powerful sorcerors of literature have merely done enough rituals to forge pacts with powerful entities, and to transform themselves into something other than human ...

QumullusTheNimblest
06-22-2007, 07:56 AM
We use a spell point system for D&D magic, so psionics isn't much different. I've only twice in 30 yrs of D&D had a player interested in playing a psionic. Why would I tell someone "no"...? It's no big deal. DM still has final arbiter status on whether something works or not.

Side note (on the Eragon having "psionic magic"): Of course it does - it's called the Force. After all, Eragon is just Star Wars wearing an Amulet of Alter Self...

Skunkape
06-25-2007, 07:15 AM
We use a spell point system for D&D magic, so psionics isn't much different.

Heh, that's probably why it isn't a problem in my campaign either as I use the spell point system as well!

Farcaster
06-25-2007, 11:56 AM
Although I certainly don't want to bother learning all of the psionic mechanics and figuring out the abilities, the reason I don't allow psionics in my games has more to do with the feel of it, not the system.

And, by the way, I'm probably one of the few gamers out there who didn't care for "The Wheel of Time." Perhaps I didn't give it enough chance, but I got one of those first-half-of-the-first-book promotionals and I read through it, and at the end of the book, I put it down glad that I hadn't bought the book. It just didn't do anything for me. Now, on the other hand, I recall a Clancy novel that I used as a natural sedative at night until I got past the first 500 pages. After that, I couldn't put the damned thing down. Admittedly, I didn't give Jordon's writing that much of a chance.

ronpyatt
07-06-2007, 12:36 AM
I just realized that although the word psychic is a relatively modern term (1800's, I think), before that psychics were called witches, oracles, and (as mentioned above) soothsayers. They were assumed to have some innate magical power, or they made deals with other-world beings, or they learned a little mage-craft or nature-magic.

Using the term psionics to describe psychic abilities does twist it to sound even more sci-fi and out of place in a classic fantasy setting. However, there are enough fantasy stories out there that hint at wide spread use of psychic power, but they just don't call them psionics.

Perhaps to bring out the fantasy flavor of D&D psionics, one should treat psions as if they were their original fantasy equivalents?
That might make an interesting way to convert or create a whole series of witch classes. (I like the witches.)

Ed Zachary
07-06-2007, 12:35 PM
I just realized that although the word psychic is a relatively modern term (1800's, I think), before that psychics were called witches, oracles, and (as mentioned above) soothsayers. They were assumed to have some innate magical power, or they made deals with other-world beings, or they learned a little mage-craft or nature-magic.

Did you watch History Channel last night, the show on 2012?

fmitchell
07-06-2007, 07:07 PM
Did you watch History Channel last night, the show on 2012?

I didn't, but when I searched Google this (http://www.alignment2012.com/historychannel.html) was the first thing that popped up.

I'm just sayin' ...

But yeah, the Mayan calendar completes a cycle on that date, and loops back to the beginning. Perhaps, as you suggest, in a near-future game world, something else returns on that date. (Not that Shadowrun didn't do that first, but someone else can do something less D&D-ish.)

Ed Zachary
07-07-2007, 01:31 AM
That author's main objection is the potential for renewal rather than just annihilation.

I noted a factual error. John the Apostle did not write the Book of Revelations, that was written by a different John.

Zorastor
07-08-2007, 07:56 PM
Have the books and read them..sounds pretty cool, but have never used them...hmmm now theres a thought...?

The_Shaman
07-18-2007, 06:34 AM
I mildly like it, and intend to take it for a spin sooner than later. Essentially, it is like magic, but with a slightly different feel and mechanics. It is an interesting way to provide slightly less, well, magical powers for characters - psychic warriors and rogues (web article) can bring some extra flavor and interesting crunch to old RPG concepts.

QZip
07-20-2007, 04:28 PM
I kind of want to use psionics, but I feel that all the classes seem a little under-powered. Psionic Warriors aren't very good at psi-stuff and aren't very good at warrior stuff. They don't even seem like a good balance between the two. Like 40% of each instead of 50%. I could give u more examples, but they're probably not true. I guess I'll have to try one for myself to see if and how they might be under-powered.

Like others have mentioned, they don't give me any 'cool' feelings. In fact, I would much rather that the wizard use a (ever so slightly modified) current system (like the article mentioned, put in the 'how well you know the target helps determine your chance to hit with spells'), the sorcerer use a system closer to the psionics, clerics use a much more mystical system (whether you can use a spell or not is based on your intentions, belief in yourself, and your religion rather than God being so fickle; "I need another cure light wounds spell... Hello?... God?... Damn it, I'm dying here... Come on! I thought you did miracles and stuff... Yeah, screw you. I never believed in you anyway."), and Psionics of themselves be an unlimited source of less powerful abilities (where your limits are focus, mind power, and time). Maybe add in some fatigue at some point...

Maybe I'll write specifics one day...

The Wandering Bard
07-21-2007, 04:29 PM
I completely agree with starfalconkd, Psiconics is great for diversity. Though i have to say that when it comes to monsters i use the magical equivalant of the mind power. But when using NPC's the character reaction between most players and a mind reader, or mindblade is incredable.

Argent
07-22-2007, 11:35 AM
I don't usually mix the two if I'm DMing, there is either magic or psionics, but not both. And mostly this is because sorcerers and psions are a little too close together in concept for me to see the point of having both in a campaign. The one exception was during a Forgotten Realms campaign I was running, when I initiated the Incursion campaign idea from Dragon/Dungeon. For those that might not remember, that was the campaign idea that had a Githyanki Armada invade your campaign world. I had the githyanki use only psionics, and no magic whatsoever. Made things a little interesting for the players.

As a player, I don't mind using psionics if it fits the setting. Right now I'm playing in a Planescape campaign, and my current character is a Soul Knife. For some reason psionics fit my idea of the campaign setting, so it feels right to use them.

But generally, I stick with magic.

Farcaster
07-23-2007, 12:07 PM
The one exception was during a Forgotten Realms campaign I was running, when I initiated the Incursion campaign idea from Dragon/Dungeon.

I ran that one for my players and they loved it. The especially loved the final epic dungeon crawl and battle with the Lich Queen.

Moritz
07-23-2007, 12:09 PM
Psionics always struck me as a Superheroic genre thing. With a bunch of wannabe Jean Grey's walking around pointing at each other saying, "Stand back, or I'll poke out your 3rd eye!".

Argent
07-23-2007, 04:27 PM
I ran that one for my players and they loved it. The especially loved the final epic dungeon crawl and battle with the Lich Queen.

Unfortunately we never got to finish it. But I would definitely pull it out and use it again. It certainly shakes things up for the players.

Kell Tainer
08-19-2007, 03:29 PM
I selected "Hate it" mainly because, like Farcaster, I don't think it fits well with the setting. I do not allow psionics in my campaigns mainly for that reason.

Moritz
08-24-2007, 08:08 AM
I didn't, but when I searched Google this (http://www.alignment2012.com/historychannel.html) was the first thing that popped up.

I'm just sayin' ...

But yeah, the Mayan calendar completes a cycle on that date, and loops back to the beginning. Perhaps, as you suggest, in a near-future game world, something else returns on that date. (Not that Shadowrun didn't do that first, but someone else can do something less D&D-ish.)

My last two games (one based in 2001 and the second was based in 2012 - linked together) were based on the 2012 prophesy of doomsday. But I utilized a lot of time/dimensional travel, loss and return of Lemuria, and other dark undertones to bring about the 2012 end. Sadly, the heroes of the game did not win and failed to stop the doomsday. So the game came to an abrupt end on Dec 23, 2012.

But it was one hell of a ride that lasted from 2000 to 2006 real time.

Digital Arcanist
08-26-2007, 01:31 PM
I don't allow the use of psionics in my campaigns because I don't like the system for them. I feel that it isn't balanced and there are too many ways to soak up damage and deal it, that a level 5 character has the abilities of a level 15 character.

I also agree with Farcaster, in that psionics don't really mesh with the D&D high fantasy feel.

I do allow Soulknives into my campaigns because they are balanced and their abilities can easily be altered to fit the fantasy feeling.

The Wandering Bard
08-27-2007, 03:16 PM
Though I normally don't play or use psiconics in my games. I have to say they make Awsome NPC's. nothing throws a party off balance like voices in there heads. Or damage that they can't see coming.

spotlight
08-27-2007, 04:46 PM
add another choide to your poll, please. Both hate it and love it!

I tried psionics years ago. Liked it and did not like how it changed D&D gaming.

Now ir it were Super D&D ... Now that would work. Maybe.

rabkala
08-27-2007, 06:43 PM
Though I normally don't play or use psiconics in my games. I have to say they make Awsome NPC's. nothing throws a party off balance like voices in there heads.

My players already have enough voices in their heads to deal with, thank you.

While I love the concept of psionics, it never seems to work well with the rest of things.

kavvov
11-30-2007, 11:11 PM
I personally like the current psionic system. I think it has a funky mix of flexibility (energy powers and extra powers for extra points) and specialization. If you have a clear plan before you go in I think you can make a very enteraining and playable character. As long as you keep magic and psionics transparent you really don't have too many extra rules to deal with.
I think how well it fits a fantasy setting is all in how you spin it. I think it is best described as a personal magic, as opposed to arcane or divine. In practice though I normally ignore it unless one of my players wants to play a psionic character (and an occasional thrall-herd NPC baddy)

Drohem
11-30-2007, 11:17 PM
I like psionics and the possibilities it presents in races, characters, and the game. I use the Expanded Psionics Handbook, and not the 3.0 version of the rules.

underdarkshark
01-23-2008, 11:52 AM
i watched the show on 2012 it was kinda cool and freaky, my wifes professor an ordained minister actually warned against the use and dabbling of the book of secrets, i think thats what it was called , some book written and used in China a long long time ago. At first all i could think of was Harry Potter , but the more i viewed the more it freaked me out and intrigued me at the same time.
However...back to Psionics, Personally i have always used it. Infact i remember my first charictor that had the Psionic ability, My warrior was prone, and stuck in webs, i had rolled two 1's in a row and my swords were laying about 20 feet from me, being helpless, i took a sip of my sierra nevada, looked my best friend in the face and said "well since im EDIT i'll just will my swords to my hand" he being the DM asked for clarity by saying "huh?" i said i'm going to strech out my hand and just WILL my swords to me. My DM best buddy is one of those open minded People so he gave me dice and said, (after draining his beer) roll these two 10 siders and if ya get a 01 we will talk. I did, and i did roll a 01. The swords came to my hand and i was then a wild talented Psionic that later went to a monistary and became a multiclassed fighter/psionic it was great fun. Psionics are cool. In my experiance they are either too powerful or lame, but with a good circle of players and an openminded DM it can be tweeked and fun. We allowed saving throws for MR against it because it could be hairy if there was no protection against it at all and vise versa with magic against psionic wards. D@D too me was always a work in process, as i have said in other threads we used the rules as a guide not as rules set in stone, with that mindset i believe we got more out of the game and less headaches.
just my opinion.

Underdarkshark

upidstay
01-23-2008, 01:41 PM
Never used psionics myself in my D+D campaigns, from 1st to 3 1/2 editions. Found them to hard to adjudicate.

Anaesthesia
01-23-2008, 03:58 PM
I don't use it, nor have I had any DM use it in their game. I'm not counting on reading Complete Psionics any time soon.

russdm
01-23-2008, 05:28 PM
Always seemed too sci-fi to me.

MortonStromgal
01-23-2008, 10:21 PM
I hate the name for historical/fantasy. Just call it another type of magic. I doubt in a magical world they would draw a distinction.

Drohem
01-24-2008, 01:23 AM
I hate the name for historical/fantasy. Just call it another type of magic. I doubt in a magical world they would draw a distinction.

QTMFT

Grinnen Baeritt
01-24-2008, 03:23 AM
I feel the Psionics should just be treated as any other form of magic.

The problem arises when the core rule books do not include the rules for them...They are treated as a bolt-on rather than a integral part of the system.

There should be three types of magic, currently there are two (Divine and Arcane)... some systems, specifically Rolemaster, have a third, Mentalism (Psionics, by any other name.)

The basis for the types comes for the source of the power, Divine (externally given..or channelled), Arcane (Gathered from the enviroment) or Mentalism (fuelled by willpower).

AD&D (1st Edition) characters all had a rather small chance of having them, those that did tended to be overpowered.

AD&D (2nd Edition) Psionic characters were classed, but the class was a bolt-on and the system (although reasonable) wasn't balanced.

I feel those DM's with experience of the above two were bound to be biased against the introduction of Psionics altogether, and as such, didn't again make the cut into the core system.

As a result the Psionics remains a bolt-on...:(

tesral
01-24-2008, 03:32 AM
I also don't use the Lizards psionic system, but one I developed myself for the flavor of psionics I want in my game. AD&D psionics was unplayable, always unplayable. 3e is a vast improvment, but not the flavor of Psionics I want. In effect they have make psions another "caster" class.



I feel those DM's with experience of the above two were bound to be biased against the introduction of Psionics altogether, and as such, didn't again make the cut into the core system.

Agreed. That is why when I did the massive rewrite I didn't "bolt on" psionics. I built it in. Everyone has an MD (Mental Defense) score that fuctions exactly like armor class. All creature hanve a Psionic ability score.

What I do differ is in how it is added to a character.

Grinnen Baeritt
01-24-2008, 04:12 AM
Having thought about it, the Sorcerer and Bard are effectively Psionic in nature (Both use CHR, spontaneously cast and have limited spell selection). There seems to be little distinction between the ways that they use thier magic only the types of spells that they cast. In someways perhaps it would make more sence that THEY should use a power point system similar to the psionicist.

Drohem
01-24-2008, 11:55 AM
Everyone has an MD (Mental Defense) score that fuctions exactly like armor class.

hehe...it does my heart good to see old GW stuff still in action! :cool:

tesral
01-24-2008, 02:22 PM
hehe...it does my heart good to see old GW stuff still in action! :cool:

It might have similar names, but I've never used Game Workshop rules.

Drohem
01-24-2008, 03:08 PM
It might have similar names, but I've never used Game Workshop rules.

GW = Gamma World :)

tesral
01-24-2008, 03:29 PM
GW = Gamma World :)

Those either. I'll post a link in the Campagin resources area.

Drohem
01-24-2008, 04:08 PM
Those either. I'll post a link in the Campagin resources area.

umm ok....Gamma World had MAC (Mental Armor Class) just like you described...it sounded similiar to me, that's all :)

tesral
01-24-2008, 10:20 PM
umm ok....Gamma World had MAC (Mental Armor Class) just like you described...it sounded similiar to me, that's all :)

In that respect it likely is simlar. I'm starting from a seperate set of assumptions.

nijineko
01-28-2008, 01:50 PM
I feel the Psionics should just be treated as any other form of magic.
The problem arises when the core rule books do not include the rules for them...They are treated as a bolt-on rather than a integral part of the system.
There should be three types of magic, currently there are two (Divine and Arcane)... some systems, specifically Rolemaster, have a third, Mentalism (Psionics, by any other name.)
The basis for the types comes for the source of the power, Divine (externally given..or channelled), Arcane (Gathered from the enviroment) or Mentalism (fuelled by willpower).
AD&D (1st Edition) characters all had a rather small chance of having them, those that did tended to be overpowered.
AD&D (2nd Edition) Psionic characters were classed, but the class was a bolt-on and the system (although reasonable) wasn't balanced.
I feel those DM's with experience of the above two were bound to be biased against the introduction of Psionics altogether, and as such, didn't again make the cut into the core system.
As a result the Psionics remains a bolt-on...:(

actually, rolemaster has a separate psionic system - psi law. but mentalism is pretty much mind oriented magic. which to most people is the same as psionics. but, it is for their spacemaster series, so it's sci-fi-ish.

i've played psionics in d&d in all it's versions. and i enjoyed them. i've never had a problem with handling them in a game, as i always keep tabs on what the characters can do, and plan challenges accordingly. and when the player pulls a fast one on me, i congratulate them, award them with bonus xp, and adjust my plans to take it into account. overuse of a particular combo or tactic or power results in xp award reductions-they aren't learning anything new.

in d&d 3.0, they tried to update the psionics, but in my opinion, fell short as they kept too many of the idiosyncratic features of the previous systems. in 3.5 it is now harmonized with the rest of the system. however, it also functions mechanically much like the rest of the magic system. some effort was made to keep it unique: cheaper meta-effects, a few unique powers that cannot be accomplished magically, distinct lack of healing, augmentations, and so forth. on the other hand, all the effects that had a near magic equivalent now work exactly the same as the magical counterpart.

i have also played psi-only games and enjoyed them a lot. but then, i actually like the concept of psionics better than those of magic.



(warning: brief aside into the world of nijineko's opinions!) in my reading and research i've made the following observations: in all games that use some sort of "powers beyond those of mortal ken (as compared to real life, anyway)" system-be it magic, psionics, mutations, alien or deific bloodlines-they are grouped according to some kind of theme.

take magic, for example. say magic as used in d&d, palladium fantasy, and rolemaster (among others). each of the magic systems is grouped around a theme. for the most part, this consists of "words of power" frequently in a lost, forgotten, or little known language; mystical gestures which consist of symbols defining relationships between the forces that comprise the universe and the real-world analogs; and items or artifacts which have significance due to being ritually enchanted and/or being composed of rare and unusual materials.

wagner's neiblrung featured a ring which would make one invisible. (frodo anyone) later it became a veil, but that's besides the point.

then you have divine stuff. miracles, blessings, curses, endowments and other bestowal of powers and abilities. all of these are pretty much just handed to you for some reason by some really powerful being, either good or evil. it might even be for a good reason.

both of these concepts of magic come from the various religions, philosophies, legends, myths, tall tales, fairy tales, and some historical events and practices that have existed in our world at some point in time. flame strike spell-sodom and gomorah, or the prophet isaiah and the false priests of ba'al-take your pick. rainbow spell-noah's ark. part water spell-moses and the children of israel. animate tree-enoch. hammer of thunderbolts-thor's hammer. another example is the philosopher's stone. or aaron's rod which bloomed. excalibur. the sword, mirror, and (nuts, i forgot the third one) of japan. there are many many more examples.

now psionics is an interesting case. as a distinct form of power, it seems to have arisen from the times of the elizabethan and victorian eras, and was further refined around the time of freud. as people became aware that there were things which were claimed, or in some cases occured, that did not fit in with their "new elightened science", much time and effort was (and is) devoted to prove or disprove, and categorize it.

hypnotism was becoming recognized in the west, exploration of many new cultures and weird events were taking place. i suspect that it was hypnotism that tripped the critical boundary into the development of psionics. "magic" still has the trappings of animal body parts, weird invocations in strange languages, with gestures and grimoires of how to do stuff. but hypnotism could be done by almost anyone. you could implant commands and then trigger them later. it dealt almost exclusively with the mind.

then the era of pulp fiction. the shadow "who had power to cloud men's minds". biofeedback was recognized as something that had actual measurable effects. electricity was coming into vogue. people were aware that they didn't know much. tesla was making electricity crawl around on his hand like a little animal. new discoveries happened almost weekly. captain nemo's "atomic powered nautilus was sinking ships". jules verne invited the maritan's over and explored the center of the earth. imagination jumped into the gap of what people didn't know.

from this era came psionics. the powers of the mind. many scientists were making astounding discoveries about the capabilities of the mind and body that refuted what was believed before. sensationalists added their bits of imagination to the fray. from this came the theme that is prevalent with psionics: telepathy, empathy, clairvoyance, clairaudiance, telekinesis, teleportation, astral projection, other forms of matter and energy manipulation, precognition, psychometry, and so forth. basically, these are all forms of extended senses or action. seeing, hearing, touching, thinking, and so forth. i mean-look at the names! every single one a coined word that didn't exist prior. no wonder that psionics dosen't "feel" fantasy.

ah, speaking of which, check out steven brust's vlad taltos novels for a very fantasy form of psionics.

now as for myself, i really like psionics, as i've mentioned. i have a campaign utilizing both the "psionic-magic transparency" and "psionics-are-different" concepts at the same time. the basic idea is that the world has both magic and psionics, but the psionics are 'tainted' or 'blended' with magic, hence the transparency. also they tend to be less common and slightly looked down upon as being a "lesser" talent. enter a new lineage of psionics from another world/dimension. these users are not 'transparent' to mages, but the native psionics interface normally with the alien psionics. the campaign usually turns into one of two things. big war with lots of combat, or big rp diplomacy sessions with major intrigue. lotso fun. =D do the native psionicists ally with the newcomers and throw off their second class status? do they defend their homeland against the invaders? do they try to make peace with the newcomers? and who is behind the scenes of it all? ^^

at least as far as the 3.5 rules go. it's not hard to learn. the rules have been simplified, and meshed to a great degree with the magic system anyway. but in any case, it's really about what's fun for everyone. psionics can be made very fantasy if one wishes to put in the work to do so. but it's fun without it as well. i'm for it, but it's not for everyone. =D play it your way, right?

Count Arioch
02-01-2008, 12:02 PM
I like psionics and allow it in my games.

Only problem is that psionic characters are weaker than wizards, clerics, and druids. Also, soulknives are pretty close to worthless.

TAROT
02-01-2008, 11:56 PM
I don't like psionics in my fantasy.

However, given the right setting, I don't have any problem with mind-magic, mentalism, hypnosis, mesmerism or qi powers.

nijineko
02-02-2008, 07:45 AM
the problem with soulknives is that they pretty much don't multiclass well at all. unless your goal is simply to have a weapon that is hard to lose. if you stick with a soulknife through to the end, it's actually a competent combat class. myself personally, i use the alternate feat from the epic section of the expanded psionics handbook instead of wild talent for the soulknife's 1st level feat. i forget the exact name, but it gives a bit more variety. i also added a power point or two every level just so they could use thier powers. ^^

the two exceptions to the multiclass bit are soulbow and ilumine soul.