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Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I have to say, I like the idea of having a '3rd' type of magic in my game. You can call it 'psionics', 'mind powers', 'astral bending' or whatever floats your boat. I've been working on a system of my own to define the abilities of what I'll call my Psychic class for Onn. Psychic powers aren't native to Onn, but rather the Astral Plane. A Psychic, instead of drawing on their Ethereal Field to produce effects, have either learned how to or natually tap the Astral Plane and draw power from it in order for their minds to affect reality around them.

Mechanically, it's no different than divine prayers or arcane magic, but the small bit of fluff on where it comes from can lead to some interesting role-playing for characters that are practicioners or knowledgable of its existance. Up til lately, I knew that I wanted to include the mind powers as a 3rd magic, but I wanted something that would either appeal or repulse players as well.

Implementation was the difficult thing. Using something similar to 'spell slots' would seem a bit too inorganic, while the point systems of games past and present make the player play a numbers game. I think I have a system now that divides powers into levels, much like spells, but has a check associated with it depending on the level of the character and level of the power, similar to Clerics Turning Undead. We'll see how well it functions soon.


Spiritual Guidance said...

I heard there are workshops that will open your mind through psychics.

Trey said...

Uh, yeah..Anyway, to the post. I think that's a good idea. Sort of replaces psionics and the psionicist. I think there is "real world" precedent for 3 different magical "power sources"--theurgy (power from the gods), thaumaturgy ("wonder working"), and psychic (which might be viewed as the cultivation of personal power).

Flynn said...

In my upcoming Hammersong's Legacy campaign setting, I am simply using a different spell list and new spells for the "mind-mages", but otherwise they work mechanically like Magic-Users. I'm not messing with new mechanics, and making the powers work like spells, simply for consistency with the underlying game engine and game experience. For me, the big question was: What does changing the mechanics buy me in terms of game experience? I couldn't come up with an answer that didn't boil down to being different for the sake of being different, and so I stuck with the rules as written.

This is also the approach taken by Savage Swords of Athanor.

Food For Thought,

James Bobb said...

@Trey: This is exactly what I'm going for. 'Psionics' is a word though, that conjures up dread in some old school gamers who looked at the AD&D Psionics rules, scratched their heads and disallowed them.

@Flynn: This is what I want to avoid. I want my psionics system to feel different and be different so it's not just another type of magic. If the player doesn't feel like his Psychic character isn't any different than the Magic-user character beside him, then why play it? Sometimes a simple change in mechanics can be a huge difference, not simply just to be different, but to add to the players' experiences.

YMMV, though and how similar/different treating of 'power sources' in each campaign setting sets its own tone.

I've been watching your Hammersong posts, there's some interesting stuff you're doing.

Jeffrey said...

So, when is the unveiling?

James Bobb said...

I dunno, I haven't a solid plan for introducing things yet. I have an idea, but no plan.