Best psionics system for C&C

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mediapig
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Best psionics system for C&C

Post by mediapig »

I've read several threads about various options for using Pisonics in Castles & Crusades... everything from the old AD&D Complete book of psionics, to the 3rd party "Complete Book of the Mind", old Dark Sun material, and various fan made supplements... just curious, has anyone actually played a C&C game using these, and if so, what do people think would be the best choice?

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nwelte1
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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by nwelte1 »

Such pm Rigon. He did a C&C adaptation of the the Book of the Mind.

mediapig
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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by mediapig »

Ah, this looks really good... I'll have to read more closely when I get back from work. Does anyone know how this compares to "Complete Book of Psionics" ?

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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by Rigon »

I didn't know there was a "Complete Book of the Mind." I just did a conversion for all of the 2e AD&D psionics I could find (both CPH and DS). It can be found in my sig.

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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by REHowardfanatic »

Great stuff Rigon. Thanks.
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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by Rigon »

REHowardfanatic wrote:Great stuff Rigon. Thanks.
You're welcomed.

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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by Rikitiki »

Fuckin' psionics...how do they work?

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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by redwullf »

Rikitiki wrote:Fuckin' psionics...how do they work?
The same as magnets...
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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by Traveller »

What is the allure of psionics in a fantasy setting?

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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by Lord Dynel »

Traveller wrote:What is the allure of psionics in a fantasy setting?
I ask the same question. No offense to Rigon's work (it's very well done) but even back in the 1st Edition "headache" days of psionics, I've always viewed it more as a sci-fi aspect rather than a fantasy one. We're elves and dwarves running around and killing orcs and dragons, so little is out of the question, but it just hasn't ever had a spot in my campaigns. I had one psion character in a Third edition game, and that was it.
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Sir Osis of Liver
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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by Sir Osis of Liver »

redwullf wrote:
Rikitiki wrote:Fuckin' psionics...how do they work?
The same as magnets...
I was going to say opposite to the way celibate psionics work. :lol:

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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by finarvyn »

Random thoughts on psionics:

1. They are interesting, but in OD&D they always seemed like the least well written of all of the rules. Confusing.

2. They seem to fit well in modern and scifi settings, but not so sure about fantasy. Then I ponder ERB's Barsoom setting, which clearly makes use of psionics and I can't quite decide if it's fantasy or not. Tough call.

Overall I like the notion of psionics but it's hard to find rules that work well and seem well balanced. Otherwise the psionic characters take over and ruin the fun for everyone else.
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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by Rigon »

I usually don't allow psionics in my games, except for Dark Sun (which I love). That's the main reason I did a conversion in the first place.

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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by redwullf »

To echo the opinion of many others, a reading of the AD&D 1st Edition PHB and DMB (especially the latter) reveals what seems to be a collection of EGG's house rules to the original game. Sure, many of the mechanics are sacrosanct, and persist in later versions of the game (or existed in "Dungeons & Dragons" - OD&D and BECMI), but some of the mechanics read like they are suggestions more than rules, as if Gary was saying, "We liked these at our table, so let's call them "rules" or something." Since psionics existed in the appendix of the PHB, and were only mentioned in passing as some creature abilities in BECMI (and vanished altogether in core material of the latter versions), these powers were clearly something "cool" used at Gary's table, and worthy of an attempt at "official ruling."

To that end, psionics seem to be the feature players and DMs "love to hate." Some embrace them emphatically, and defend them as an important mechanic of the game, while many others simply wipe them out of their campaigns, pretending they never existed in the first place (or, at best, limiting them as powers available to a very small handful of alien creatures).

Personally, I've never had very strong feelings about psionics one way or another. They've always been a relevant feature of my campaigns, but they aren't prominent and rarely find their way onto a character sheet at my table.
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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by Traveller »

Well, just to pick nits, the psionics rules in the 1st Edition AD&D PHB were not the first appearance of psionics in the game. That honor goes to Supplement III - Eldritch Wizardry, for OD&D. The psionics rules in that book differed from the PHB mostly in that the psionic special powers (e.g. Molecular Agitation) available to the character depended on what class the character was. For AD&D this was changed into a single list of psionic special powers available to all characters regardless of class. The way psionic strength points were figured differed between the two editions, but the difference from what I recall wasn't that significant.

However, one cannot assume that just because Gary put the rules down to paper he actually used them. I believe he more than likely didn't use them, but the only people who would know for sure are those he gamed with, especially Frank and Rob. In any event, given their presence in a supplement and not the core rules of OD&D, they were intended to be optional. Given that Gary put together the AD&D books from at least three sources (OD&D plus supplements, Strategic Review 1-7, The Dragon - issues 1-14) if not more, the fact that psionics and bards appeared in appendices in the PHB only adds to the optional nature of the rules.

Problem was, powergamers saw the rules and drooled. It didn't matter that they were optional, and it didn't matter that the rules didn't really fit the setting. All that mattered was that they could kick ass and take names, without lifting a finger. I've played characters with psionics, and what should have been a very rewarding finish to a very difficult adventure turned into a laugh fest when I used psionics in an anti-climatic (though funny in a 15-year old's juvenile way) fashion to win the day.

From that point on, my characters did not have psionics. Gradually I came to the realization that they just didn't fit the game, just as bards don't fit in the game as a player character*. At that point, I stopped using both appendices in the PHB. I was happy that 2d Edition ditched psionics from the core, but then frowned when psionics returned in a splatbook. The situation hasn't improved much with WotC's d20 Fantasy and the Abomination, but I'm not the target audience for either game.

Anyway, psionics don't fit in the game, but as Rigon points out, there are exceptions. He mentions Dark Sun. Spelljammer would be the other exception. Dark Sun since it's pointed out in the backstory that, IIRC, psionics are commonplace on Athas. For Spelljammer, it's dwarves...in...space!

*I know there are a lot of bard lovers out there, but my stance on bards is well known to the long-time members. To everyone else, my stance on bards is this: they are only suitable as NPCs, and only exist to recount the tales of the characters, whether the characters survived or perished.

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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by redwullf »

Traveller wrote:However, one cannot assume that just because Gary put the rules down to paper he actually used them. I believe he more than likely didn't use them, but the only people who would know for sure are those he gamed with, especially Frank and Rob. In any event, given their presence in a supplement and not the core rules of OD&D, they were intended to be optional. Given that Gary put together the AD&D books from at least three sources (OD&D plus supplements, Strategic Review 1-7, The Dragon - issues 1-14) if not more, the fact that psionics and bards appeared in appendices in the PHB only adds to the optional nature of the rules.
Well, you make a good point. There's been some discussion in another thread about AD&D 2nd Edition, referring to Gary's article in Dragon #103. Naturally, I was inspired to go into the storage room, open the Fabled Box O' Old DnD Stuff, and find that issue (see here to marvel at the other wondrous items recently found in this box).

Gary had this to say about psionics:
Gargy Gygax, Dragon #103 wrote:Psionics . . . a subject I sidestepped in both commentaries on the expanded new editions. Quite frankly, I’'d like to remove the concept from a medieval fantasy roleplaying game system and put it into a game where it belongs — something modern or futuristic. That is not fixed yet, and it could go either way. The new Monster Manual will be the key. If there is nothing about psionics therein, then you can count on the whole being removed from the AD&D game system. If you find references to monsters with such ability, then it will remain in the Second Edition.
Emphasis mine. Sounds an awful lot like Gary wasn't a fan of psionics all along...

So, good observation, and good input. Personally, however, psionics have always existed in my campaigns -- usually on the periphery, and occasionally in the spotlight. Even now, in my "Big Game" (Pathfinder group of 6 players), I am allowing Psionics Unleashed and we have, in fact, one character from this supplement (a Soulknife).
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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by Lord Dynel »

redwullf wrote:Emphasis mine. Sounds an awful lot like Gary wasn't a fan of psionics all along...
I'd say that's an understatement. ;)
Gary Gygax wrote:Oh yeah. There's a number of things in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons that I never should have done. I shouldn't have put Psionics in there, but somebody talked me into it.
Source: here

Apparently, he was also quoted as actually saying he hated psionics, but I couldn't substantiate that. But I digress.

In the end, there isn't a "wrong" way to do it. I don't include it in my games anymore, mainly because I personally feel that it doesn't fit quite right in a fantasy rpg. I've heard of one CK who treats them just like spells and they're just "psionic" in nature. Others, like Rigon's stellar effort, make house rules or conversions. I'd even add one further to Traveller's (and Rigon's) example and say that Planescape, too, counted as a setting that could integrate psionics with little issue.

If you feel you need them, or that they play such an integral part of you game that you have to have them, or you just want them there as an option, then go for it. As long as you can work out a system and you're happy with it.
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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by serleran »

I have always liked using Metamorphosis Alpha (and later, Gamma World) as the basis for "psionic ability" treating the mutations as powers. Works pretty well, with some imposed limits. No lifting tanks at will... unless you're a demon.

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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by Dragonhelm »

finarvyn wrote:2. They seem to fit well in modern and scifi settings, but not so sure about fantasy. Then I ponder ERB's Barsoom setting, which clearly makes use of psionics and I can't quite decide if it's fantasy or not. Tough call.
There are plenty of instances in fantasy literature of people with mind powers. I don't think it's a stretch.
Overall I like the notion of psionics but it's hard to find rules that work well and seem well balanced. Otherwise the psionic characters take over and ruin the fun for everyone else.
That's the legacy of the 1e and 2e psionics systems talking. There have been much better psionics rules since.

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Re: Best psionics system for C&C

Post by Pilgrim »

Traveller wrote:What is the allure of psionics in a fantasy setting?
Same here, I just can't accept Psionics in my games, it just doesn't fit for my expectations of fantasy.
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