|Hi David, Everyone.|
I confess, that the word "classic" in the original subject line gave me
pause. I didn't consider the psionics from early D&D to be classic at
The questions you ask David, I have grappled with a bit while I have
wondered about putting psionics into TFT.
Why add psionics to TFT?
1) If you are doing a high tech version of TFT, (zombies, traveller, etc.)
you may want "high tech magic". Psionics is basically magic, for SF.
2) I think both are very similar. Both are examples of magical thinking.
I define magical thinking as people who expect reality to be what they
want, rather than what it is. Much of literature is wish fulfilment & power
fantasies. Wouldn't it be cool if I could cast a lightning spell? Wouldn't
it be cool if I could bend spoons with my mind? I think that they are
simular since they spring from the same desires from storytellers &
3) Many stories have psionics. That is reason enough to include them,
if you want to do similar stories or settings.
4) The drama of mind to mind combat. (e.g. the ending scene from
5) If psionics is rare (it normally is considered to be), then defenses
against it are likewise rare or unknown. This gives low level PC's poorly
defended ways to attack the man. It also allows power over those who
lack defenses. "These are not the droids you are looking for. Move on."
You could make psionics a subset of TFT spells. So same rules, as
magic but these spells are magic, and those are psionics, as David
suggests. However, I've never seriously considered this.
Why not make psionics a subset of TFT spells?
1) I feel that two different things, (magic and psionics) should have
differing rules to reflect the differences between them. Now magic
varies from fictional universe to fictional universe (ficton). And
psionics varies from ficton to ficton. So it is hard to be dogmatic about
what is & is not in each set. (They are both fuzzy sets in mathematical
terms.) But I do feel that they have differences.
2) TFT magic rules are 'industrial magic', with predictable effects and
magic items. Psionics (at least at TFT tech level) does not have
psionic magic items. In psionic combat, it is raw skill, not who has the
biggest bank account, who will win.
3) If you have two different systems, they require more rules (which is
bad). But they give more interest and texture to the campaign (which is
good). The trick is to make sure that coolness is more than the cost.
4) In TFT, you need all three attributes. But psionic characters want
just IQ and (maybe) psionic power. They can use ST and DX as dump
stats, except that they have to live in the real world. This suggests that
psionic users will play differently from most TFT characters, which is a
Odd thoughts on the subject:
I think that the reasons for including psionics is stronger than the
reasons for making them not a subset of magic.
I expect that there will be overlap. A seer makes a prediction of the
future. Did she use...
-- A divination spell? -- OR --
-- The Clairvoyance psionic discipline? -- OR --
-- A vision granted by a god?
Magical thinking wants to know what is coming. Gods and spells
were the traditional way of getting around physics. Psionics is the
early 20th century version of wistful thinking. (Back when people
really hoped there was something to it.)
The early D&D psionics had a combat module for psionic combat
and a bunch of cool powers (which played like spells). In fact, several
of these powers said, "See this spell for how it works". If they stuck to
the spell like effects, I do not think that the D&D psionic rules would
have generated so much heat. (Most people hate them or love them
with the majority hating them. That said, the majority of DM's I played
with never used them.)
If you wanted to make a psionics system which was simply a sub-set
of the spell list, I wouldn't criticize. You will be using a solid system,
and the work is done.
But I think that psionics has its own 'style' that is different than magic,
and I would like to have rules that would support that.
Warm regards, Rick.
On 2016-10-18, at 8:04 AM, David Bofinger wrote: