Hi David, everyone.
If anyone were to take psionics I would have to write up some of the
disciplines and sciences which would make psionics more flexible &
useful. These rules just worried about the combat side of things.
(On my list of things to do is writing up some psionic monsters.)
My goal in making these rules was to 'fix' the 1st edition AD&D
psionic rules, while still keeping the feel of them. Central to that
system was choosing attack mode and defence mode and indexing
them. I think I have succeeded, my rules are FAR more playable
As for permanent brain damage, it was not too difficult for a psion
in D&D to permanently lose their powers. If you think about my
rules, permanent brain damage is on the tables, but in practice it
will come up very, very rarely. Given that people start with a max
IQ 45 or so, and your max IQ has to reach your current IQ before
there are any severe effects, then for 99% of characters, this won't
impact their characters - and never quickly.
I think that permanent damage will be less crippling than in the
regular D&D version. However, the fact that bad results can
attrition you, adds a dark spice to the system.
If you feel that in combat a psion is too weak at low levels, you are
free to cast spells or hit people with your shortsword. It is kinda like
D&D wizards. At low level they were very, very weak. But the party
carried them because eventually they would become very, very
powerful. My system is not so extreme. However, even if people
never take a second psionic talent (gaining a second transfer mode),
situations will come up, where the prep time will be not a problem.
I do think that you would like to use pPSI (power Psionic super-
script), as it gives you a way of quickly increasing your psychic pool.
(In D&D this was a crap shoot, and if you started out weak, you
STAYED weak, which I think is no fun.) The only purpose for the
pPSI is to increase the size of the psionic pool. Putting 2 attributes
into pPSI gives you 6 extra points in your pool, which is a pretty
big increase, (almost doubling it for the suggested character you
were thinking about). I would expect most psions to fairly quickly get
a +12 or +15 pPSI. After that, concentrating on other things (IQ,
PSI or better talents) all start to look more attractive.
Warm regards, Rick.
On 2016-11-09, at 4:06 AM, David Bofinger wrote:
I was looking into Rick's psionics and thought I'd investigate what a starting psionic character looks like. A 32-point character in TFT is of typical experience for a typical group, neither the most callow nor the most capable, and should IMO be both playable and a natural path to more powerful psions. In fact even a less capable character, representing green recruits, should be playable, just like 11-11-8 swordsmen, 12-9-9 crossbowmen, 9-12-9 archers and 8-11-11 wizards.
Buying IQ 16 would preclude being an actual psion so the character will have ST 8, DX 8, IQ 12 (allowing Psionics 1 talent) and 4 points left for psionics attributes.
I read Rick's posts but I'm unclear what non-superscript PSI can do that superscript PSI can't so I'm not sure what the correct split between them would be. Maybe Rick will point out the bit I missed.
Huge issue: Psionics 1 means it takes three turns to enter and leave trance. So most combats will be approaching over before the psion takes a role. Unless the psion spends most of his operational life in trance and is carried everywhere (a padded stretcher dropped as combat erupts? a goblin in a dwarf's backpack?) which may not be believable in very many circumstances. I think this is a really bad feature of the system, it makes playing a starting psion not a lot of fun. Imagine if starting wizards could only cast spells after several turns of taking no part in the combat other than as an unwilling and passive target, they'd be a lot less fun. Instead, make the convenient, fun attack modes accessible to weaker characters - preferably even to, say, a 30-point character, let alone a 32-point one. The levels of Psionic talents should be useful/necessary/desirable for some other reason.
If the character is in combat then he will presumably be using psychic blast most of the time, since that seems to be the standard against non-psions and presumably that's what most enemies will be. It's reasonably effective: most 32-point opponents, smacked with a psychic blast, will most likely be pretty much crippled afterwards. Admittedly how they will be crippled will be a complete lucky dip which I find a bit odd but they probably will be. So it's a reasonably effective attack, probably better than anything any non-wizard in the party will have, but it is only going to last a few attacks before the psion runs out of puff. Its range of 4 hexes is respectable but not awesome. The fact the character is fixed in place and needs to be completely protected is a major tactical nuisance.
The whole system leaves me a bit cold, too many cards for something that should be a minor sideline to the real battle, too much "roll on the wombat exfiltration table with a +3 modifier" but a lot of D&D makes me feel that way.
Any attack that permanently reduces a PC's attributes is nastier than I want to have in my game. Where's the fun in it?