Using mind powers in the campaign

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Using mind powers in the campaign

Post by miller6 »

I run a kingdom of mind-powered people called "the Psychodominion" in my C&C campaign. All the adventures there involve creatures with mind powers. Normal classes are used. The mind powers are treated as specials. Does any one else use mind powers in their C&C game? I'm working on a mod based on a psionic culture and was curious if anyone finds use for mind powers in their own campaign or would like to see that type of material made available.

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Post by Combat_Kyle »

Ack psionics! Nope, never in a S&S game. But a pulp modern game or cyberpunk most definitely.
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Post by serleran »

I'm not a huge fan of psionicall-endowed characters, though a few creatures are ok. In a fantasy world, there really is no need for psionics, since its always just "magic done different."

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Post by miller6 »

serleran wrote:
In a fantasy world, there really is no need for psionics, since its always just "magic done different."



It's the cultural difference that fascinates me. Campaigning in a psionic realm is a unique experience...and something that puts fear in the heart of those without mindpowers. Admittedly, I don't run it all the time, but now and then it makes for a fantastic fantasy adventure!

Dispel magic on mind power? No good. It simulates spells but it's not magic-based.

Spell Resistance? No good. This is a world of shape-shifters that know you're every fear, flesh hungry beasites and creatures that will stalk you down to devour the knowledge in your brain.

And I've created a new nasty to rival the mind flayers (since they're property of WOTC). I call them mind eaters.

So nobody wants to adventure in this place eh? It's called Psychonel and the Temple of the Minds Eye. My wife Laura made the pic. I designed the mod. This is NOT one of my new mods by the way...just something else I created.

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Post by Maliki »

Really cool pic, but I avoid any type of psionics IMCs.
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Post by Omote »

Never liked psionics for some reason in my fantasy games. I liked DarkSun, but that game seemed far enough from traditional fantasy not to mind as much.

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Post by miller6 »

I should explain that in my campaign psionics are just the normal spells from the PH but they're cast using mind power instead of magic. Psychonelians, the "human psychic race" get 3 mind abilities each with each ability usable up to 3 times per day.

By using spells for mind abilities, psychic powers become easy to run mechanics-wise and require no additional learning on the part of the players or CK.

It works. I don't use it all the time, but a psychic adventure can spice up the campaign every now and then.

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Post by angelius »

I'm sorry d00d, but same here for me. I don't like psionics or even monks for that matter in my fantasy games.

I guess we're a bunch of inflexible old skoolers on this forum :p
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Post by DangerDwarf »

I'm not a big fan of psionics either. I may occasionally use them as extra abilities of a certain villain, but pure psionic classess just don't see use in my game.
Angelius wrote:
I don't like psionics or even monks for that matter in my fantasy games.

Monks have to be used right for me to like them in my campaigns.

Greyhawk, SB monks? Cool by me.

Switching up the "fluff" text of the class to fit a certain context works well for me too.

In one campaign I had a group of norse-type barbarians who were, mechanics-wise, monks. In their culture the hand to hand combat began as a way of conducting non-lethal challenges so that they wouldn't loose valuable warriors due to inter-tribal bickering. Lodges grew out of the fighting style, The Lodge of the Wolf, Bear, Eagle, etc.

Their fighting style wasn't all acrobatic ninja coolness but pure smashmouth hard knees and elbows and grappling style.

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Post by Omote »

Not to derail the tread, but I never liked monks either. Good point Angy.

Not to say that I'm totally against psionics, especially if it is a very campaign oriented point of the setting. Lets take the recent LOTR movies; many fantasy campaign world are kinda like the LOTR movies. To add psionics would seem... strange.

I have this image in my mind that if psionics are in a campaign, that would lead me to believe psionics would have always been part of a campaign setting. Humanity, elves, whatever always had these traits. This thing in the back of my mind tells me that a psionic world would develop differently then that of a normal world... how, I couldn't tell you because I never thought too deeply on the subject. I understad psionics supplants magic in your world, but for some reason it still is different to me. That is not to sall that miller6's world is bad, just not my cup of tea because I don't see psionics or magic as anywhere near the same thing.

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Post by meepo »

One more vote (and further derailment) on Monks: I'll pass. Reminiscent of a certain scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the guy with the funky flashy moves & kicks still gets shot with the crossbow.

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Re: Using mind powers in the campaign

Post by Jyrdan Fairblade »

Not as of yet, though I think your idea is clever, with most of the changes being flavor text rather than crunch.

When the WoHA psychics book comes out, I definitely plan on picking that one up. Until that point, I may use either the 2e psionics system or the psionics class that was posted on these boards, if someone expresses interest in playing a psionic character.

Psionic powers are very old school, in my opinion; just look at the number of Conan yarns that feature hypnotism or some form of mind control.
miller6 wrote:
Normal classes are used. The mind powers are treated as specials. Does any one else use mind powers in their C&C game?

Brian Miller

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Post by angelius »

(Sorry for the slight hijacking)

I know that I have an irrational dislike for psionics and monks. But I guess it is also partly the fact that I'm asian and I see the monk class being derived from oriental adventures, that was really to capitalize on the whole ninja thing from the 80's. You know when ninjas were cool and what not. Spawning a bizillion ninja movies.

Like I said, its irrational but I keep trying to rationalize it. I guess it just doesn't feel right for me.

Same with psionics, I feel like its been put in the game for the sake of "coolness" without regard if it makes sense. Maybe it does to some, but it doesn't to me. Like many others, Tolkien's works are the reference to what is high fantasy and Howards S&S stuff, although was influenced by Lovecraft somewhat doesn't really have psionics in it.

JF: If there are "psionic" effects, usually you can classify it as magic anyways in Conan stories. i.e. Mind control can be some form of "suggestion" or even "charm"? See mind control and what not is fine, I'm just thinking 3rd ed psionics.... psychic shields and blades and all that frazzle dazzle.

I know its not a good excuse, but I'm been brainwashed maybe by classic high fantasy and s&s that I can't see it any other way.

... then that's that silly class called the "Wizard" that should really be "Magic-User" but thats a whole different debate!
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Post by miller6 »

Keeping the psionicists in check in the campaign is easy...I made them all xenophobic. Think about it. Those without psionics would tend to be paranoid of anyone with mind powers so they'd wanna drive them away, and vice versa, the people with mind powers know that so they stay away from everyone else...in their own little corner of the world.

For my "Mythery" campaign, I have separate kingdoms with each one representing a different genre. There's some overlap but mostly, the large concentration of creatures in each kingdom is enough to keep those from other kingdoms away. (i.e. one kingdom is mostly faerie kin, another mostly undead, another mostly psionicists, another mostly barbaric tribes and clans, etc.)

In fact, LOTR was the same way. Each land had its own look and feel and was inhabited by different types of creatures, humanoids, humans or demi-humans with little overlap until the war.

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Post by angelius »

Miller,

What kind of psionics are you talking about? What degree?

Are they just telepaths or can they create psyhic shields and blades and blast people with psychic fury?

There is quite a range of "psychic powers". Some powers I can "buy" in a fantasy campaign others I can't unless its in Cyberpunk or something.
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Post by miller6 »

Man, you guys are one tough crowd. lol.

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Post by angelius »

We're just a bunch of grumpy old schoolers...
I wouldn't take it too seriously, I mean it depends on what direction you want to take your material right? Think of this as a free focus group.

If you're trying to sell your idea to peeps like us, grumpy old men that love their old school classic gaming to bits, you're going to have to deal with our prejudice and biases.

I would think that your idea would fly a lot of easier without resistance in a 3.0 , 3.5 forum!
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Post by Omote »

angelius wrote:
You know when ninjas were cool and what not.

*way off course* [insert car wreck sound effect]

Are you telling me Ninjas arn't cool anymore. Let me tell you somthing... "Ninjas are so cool I nearly crapped my pants."

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Post by miller6 »

angelius wrote:
Miller,

What kind of psionics are you talking about? What degree?

Are they just telepaths or can they create psyhic shields and blades and blast people with psychic fury?

There is quite a range of "psychic powers". Some powers I can "buy" in a fantasy campaign others I can't unless its in Cyberpunk or something.

At present, I limit psionics as abilities that mimic spells of 3rd level or less (though some monster may get a higher level spell-like mind power thrown in there). The class of the spell is randomly determined as is the level and is set for life.

i.e. so a psychonelian might be a 4th level human fighter with standard fighter abilities and mind abilities of: detect magic, levitate and cure light wounds, each useable 3 times per day. No point system. No psychic blasts (unless you count a mind-based lightning bolt). No barriers (though you might find a magic item with mind shielding). None of that fancy or confusing stuff. Just spells which aren't magic-based (so they work in a DMZ).

As mentioned before it's more of a cultural/flavor thing than a change in the way you game since the mechanics are still the same with no new additions. The only difference really from normal gaming is 3 bonus abilities per character.

In addition, children don't have mind powers in my campaign. They develop them as they physically maturity. Otherwise, the little spuds would be using them on their parents, and we can't have that. lol.

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Post by angelius »

LOL!

Ninjas are cool still ... www.askaninja.com rocks! But you know what I meant!

It's funny cause my sister's been taking military ninjitsu for a long time now and I always bug her about her "ninja" status! lol
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Post by angelius »

miller6 wrote:
At present, I limit psionics as abilities that mimic spells of 3rd level or less (though some monster may get a higher level spell-like mind power thrown in there). The class of the spell is reandomly determined as is the level and is set for life.

i.e. so a psychonelian might be a 4th level human fighter with standard fighter abilities and mind abilities of: detect magic, levitate and cure light wounds, each useable 3 times per day. No point system. No psychic blasts (unless you count a mind-based lightning bolt). No barriers (though you might find a magic item with mind shielding). None of that fancy or confusing stuff. Just spells which aren't magic-based (so they work in a DMZ).

As mentioned before it's more of a cultural/flavor thing than a change in the way you game since the mechanics are still the same with no new additions.

Brian Miller

How do you balance those characters like the fighter (or more like hand out XP)? Is he a "crunch wise" a multiclassed fighter and cleric or something? Cause with levitate and CLW he has both arcane and divine abilities? Just asking.
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Post by miller6 »

Balance?...Not an issue. Dude, we're talking 3 lousy innate abilities here per character. Even a first level wizard or cleric starts with more than that. Besides, it's no different than walking around with 3 extra magic items which any class can do. The only major difference it makes is when you're up against the likes of a prismal eye since the mind abilities still work.

The psionics I use aren't part of a character's class so experience points aren't divided.

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Post by miller6 »

So there's no mistake, I should clarify that this psychic setting stuff isn't a change in the direction of my writing. It runs parallel with my pure fantasty stuff. I thrive on variety so I write all sorts of different materials. As I mentioned, the psychodominion is but 1 out of a couple dozen different kingdoms in my campaign. And I write my material so it can be inserted in any campaign without raising issues.

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Post by miller6 »

Concerning resistance to new ideas on the forum. I'd expect as much since I'm dealing with a bunch of CK/DMs, each of whom envisions their own ideal gaming world with no two being exactly the same.

If you don't wanna use the material, no prob. The stuff I write is always play tested in my campaign and I go with anything my gamers find enjoyable or "refreshing" (since alot of us have been gaming for most of our life).

I feel that keeping an open mind is important in RPG gaming. i.e. If something playtests like crap then it's crap, but there's no harm in trying things once (i.e. I tried 3rd edition ONCE...didn't like it for a number of reasons).

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Re: Using mind powers in the campaign

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Jyrdan Fairblade wrote:
Psionic powers are very old school, in my opinion; just look at the number of Conan yarns that feature hypnotism or some form of mind control.

I completely agree there. Look at Wilderlands as well. Good uses of psionics in a fantasy context.

Part of the resistanc to psionics comes from the craptacular way both TSR and WotC handled it though. That's my guess at least.

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Re: Using mind powers in the campaign

Post by angelius »

DangerDwarf wrote:
I completely agree there. Look at Wilderlands as well. Good uses of psionics in a fantasy context.

Part of the resistanc to psionics comes from the craptacular way both TSR and WotC handled it though. That's my guess at least.

Completely agreed with over here. I still haven't seen a system that handles it well in a fantasy setting.
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Re: Using mind powers in the campaign

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angelius wrote:
I still haven't seen a system that handles it well in a fantasy setting.

Gotta pimp one of my favorite games.

Talislanta. The order of Mysticism is what psionics should be.

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Post by eibon »

Talislanta/Alantis does have a good system via mysticism, I agree there and I use the old Mystic school for psionics.

Being interested in the weirder sword & sorcery authors, there are occurences when psionics are evident, particulary with Clark Ashton Smith and A. Merritt. Instead of psionic characters, though, I rather the powers being used by alien [I use this word in the context of "not like the others"] creatures like mind flayers, gith races, intellect devourer and others of their ilk. When psionics happen, everyone should shiver at the weirdness and the unnatural abilities of these monsters.
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Post by angelius »

Yeah but that was then. I don't think psionics really have the same impact as they do today. But I know where you're coming from. One of my favourite authors has always been Lovecraft. And my home campaign certainly has a lot of Lovecraftian feel to it. Perhaps, its just the way psionics has been handled lately in RPGs. It loses that sort of mystical and mysterious feel to it.
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Post by Treebore »

My problem with psionics is that I closely identify it with sci-fi, not fantasy. So i have always seen it as too close to magic to bother with having two such similiar ideas that so closely mimic the end result.

The only time I ever used psionics in D&D is in 1E, where it was just a random "wild" ability. I had 3 people randomly roll to get it. Heck, even the 1E psi combat eventually made sense to me, and it worked well enough.

So if I was to ever use psionics in my C&C it would have to be the 1E way for me. Otherwise lets play Traveller and roll up a psionic.

Just occurred to me, the system I like you get random powers, no selection, no givens, totally random as to what powers you get. Maybe that is the element that has to be there to work for me.
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