[3.5] Psionics, yay? nay?

vitus979

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Share your thoughts, please!
Psionics offers IMO a wider array of effects that go beyond the standards in the Pre-Spell Compendium Arcane and Divine magical abilities. Before the spell compendium there was nothing like Dimensional Twister or Etheral Abduction, which are both killer effects. The loss of a truly effective TK however is really annoying in 3.5 Psionics.

Psis also work better together than other casters thanks to powers like Metaconcert. This makes basing a campaign around Psions a more cohesive option than other "one trick pony" campaign ideas.

Finally, the augmentations make psis more flexible than similar spontaneous arcane & divine casters (sorcerer and favored soul).

One weakness is I always wish they would've made *some* rules for creating additional augmentations. Looking at D-Door in Complete Psi shows how many options and how varied the options can be for a single power.

Well, no. The rods allow you to use a metamagic feat for free. Despite the transparency, psions use different feat for their meta-stuff. You'd bump into an increase in "spell level slots" that simply doesn't apply.
This of course varies depending on what you view as "transparency" as well as the old faithful "rules as written vs. spirit of the rules" issue. Tranparency makes for weirdness and that's all there is to it. For example IMO the Psychic Vampire power should be able to suck spell slots in a transparent game.
 

Tranq

The last letter is a Q
I think many people would trade trade the ability to be of minor impact in combats all day long for being useful in the big combat for the entire combat.

A day's worth of encounters may include encounters where only one or two powers or spells are really necessary, but in those situations nova isn't an issue--they are over quickly before you have a chance to blow through all your spells or pps. But that day could also have the knock down, drag out, by the seat of your pants slugfest with the BIG BADDIE. The proposed system sidelines a psionic character pretty quickly.
I think a 9th Level psion with int 18 has 90 pp (it's easier to compare chunks of pp to other pp than to spells), so arriving at the final fight with effectively a third of your pp probably isn't unreasonable.

And I think that at 30pp/encounter, ie 7d6, 7d6, 6d6, 5d6, 5d6, out (for example) probably isn't a minor impact, especially assuming energy burst/bolt so hitting potentially several targets with each shot

Anyway, John_C asked for a shot at a fix for per combat balanced psionics where a psion wouldn't leave the rest of the party in the dust if there was only one combat a day, based on reducing the pp cap, but increasing the rate at which they return. As you've kindly pointed out, it's not quite right, but I haven't the time or the energy to put together anything more comprehensive, and my current players are idiots, so I doubt I'll get a chance to test it ever.

I consider what I've presented to be neither overly powerful, nor horribly nerfed in the abstract general case, or in the about 3 encounters a day case (I'm well aware that it'd be fairly easy to put together examples showing situations in which it looked to be one or the other). Hopefully it's something like John_C wanted.

-Tranq out.
 

Icon

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Anyway, John_C asked for a shot at a fix for per combat balanced psionics where a psion wouldn't leave the rest of the party in the dust if there was only one combat a day, based on reducing the pp cap, but increasing the rate at which they return. As you've kindly pointed out, it's not quite right, but I haven't the time or the energy to put together anything more comprehensive, and my current players are idiots, so I doubt I'll get a chance to test it ever.
Impose it on them. :p

I will note that given the nature of the design the psion doesn't leave the party in the dust in any given combat. . .until the rest of the party has consumed its resources. But that is quibbling.:eek:
 

Matsci

Magical Item like these are neat. I collect them.
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Yay on 3.5 Psionics.

Currently running 5th level klasatar seer in a Eberron game. I do the second least amount of damage in combat, but the information I provide can prove invaluable.
 

KoboldLord

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Well, no. The rods allow you to use a metamagic feat for free. Despite the transparency, psions use different feat for their meta-stuff. You'd bump into an increase in "spell level slots" that simply doesn't apply.
Metamagic rods do not increase "spell level slots". It isn't like a psionic character cannot take Maximize Spell and apply it to powers if that character can pay an increased spell level slot; it's simply the case that the typical psionic character has no means by which to pay the cost of Maximize Spell, which is (spell level slot += 3). Since metamagic rods do not alter the spell level slot, the psionic character attempting to use them never actually has to deal with its inability to pay spell level slots. The original spell level slot cost of using a power is none, and the metamagic rod does not change that value to anything.
 

Tranq

The last letter is a Q
Impose it on them. :p
I was going to make a witty comment about the improbability of introducing psionics to the supernaturally tainted modern campaign I'm currntly trying to run for them, but then I realised it would be an awesome plan.

Then I realised I'm not witty.

I'm just off to prune the powers list of all the flashy powers...
 

Sage Genesis

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Metamagic rods do not increase "spell level slots". It isn't like a psionic character cannot take Maximize Spell and apply it to powers if that character can pay an increased spell level slot; it's simply the case that the typical psionic character has no means by which to pay the cost of Maximize Spell, which is (spell level slot += 3). Since metamagic rods do not alter the spell level slot, the psionic character attempting to use them never actually has to deal with its inability to pay spell level slots. The original spell level slot cost of using a power is none, and the metamagic rod does not change that value to anything.
Ack! Double negatives are not My Friend. Please try to re-word.
 

KoboldLord

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Ack! Double negatives are not My Friend. Please try to re-word.
I'll try.

Any character can take metamagic feats, and there is no difference between metamagic and metapsionic feats in terms of who can take them. As long as you can pay the cost and have a spell or power to apply them to, they work.

The reason a psion cannot use, say, Maximize Spell, is not because powers can't be maximized, but rather because the psion can't pay a spell slot three levels higher than a null slot, any more than a wizard can't pay a spell slot three levels higher than its highest slot. If you consider a different feat that does not change the spell slot required, the psion starts out needing a null slot and end up needing a null slot.

Consequently, if you have an item that lets you use the part of Maximize Spell that helps you without making you pay a cost in spell slots that you cannot pay, you can use the item without difficulty. This is the same whether you're a wizard or a psion; if you don't have to pay the increased slots there is no problem.
 

Sage Genesis

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I'll try.

Any character can take metamagic feats, and there is no difference between metamagic and metapsionic feats in terms of who can take them. As long as you can pay the cost and have a spell or power to apply them to, they work.

The reason a psion cannot use, say, Maximize Spell, is not because powers can't be maximized, but rather because the psion can't pay a spell slot three levels higher than a null slot, any more than a wizard can't pay a spell slot three levels higher than its highest slot. If you consider a different feat that does not change the spell slot required, the psion starts out needing a null slot and end up needing a null slot.

Consequently, if you have an item that lets you use the part of Maximize Spell that helps you without making you pay a cost in spell slots that you cannot pay, you can use the item without difficulty. This is the same whether you're a wizard or a psion; if you don't have to pay the increased slots there is no problem.
Ah.

Except this isn't true. Check the rules on magic-psionic transparency on page 55 of the XPH. It doesn't extend to feats.

People who say that Maximime Spell (or any other metamagic feats) can be applied to psionic powers, even if there's no spell slot increase needed, are basically pulling a rule out of thin air by expanding on an existing one.
 

Jon Chung

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d20 3.5 SRD said:
Psionics-Magic Transparency

Though not explicitly called out in the spell descriptions or magic item descriptions, spells, spell-like abilities, and magic items that could potentially affect psionics do affect psionics.

When the rule about psionics-magic transparency is in effect, it has the following ramifications.

Spell resistance is effective against powers, using the same mechanics. Likewise, power resistance is effective against spells, using the same mechanics as spell resistance. If a creature has one kind of resistance, it is assumed to have the other. (The effects have similar ends despite having been brought about by different means.)

All spells that dispel magic have equal effect against powers of the same level using the same mechanics, and vice versa.

The spell detect magic detects powers, their number, and their strength and location within 3 rounds (though a Psicraft check is necessary to identify the discipline of the psionic aura).

Dead magic areas are also dead psionics areas.
d20 3.5 SRD said:
Empower Spell [Metamagic]

All variable, numeric effects of an empowered spell are increased by one-half.

Saving throws and opposed rolls are not affected, nor are spells without random variables. An empowered spell uses up a spell slot two levels higher than the spell’s actual level.
d20 3.5 SRD said:
Empower Power [Metapsionic]

You can empower a power. All variable, numeric effects of an empowered power are increased by one-half. An empowered power deals half again as much damage as normal, cures half again as many hit points, affects half again as many targets, and so forth, as appropriate. Augmented powers can also be empowered (multiply 1½ times the damage total of the augmented power). Saving throws and opposed checks (such as the one you make when you manifest dispel psionics) are not affected, nor are powers without random variables.

Using this feat increases the power point cost of the power by 2. The power’s total cost cannot exceed your manifester level.
d20 3.5 SRD said:
Metamagic Rod, Empower

The wielder can cast up to three spells per day that are empowered as though using the Empower Spell feat.
Emphasis mine.

Note the wording on the feats: empower a spell, empower a power. Empower Spell does absolutely nothing applied to Energy Missiles. Empower Power does absolutely nothing applied to Fireball... because the only things that work with transparency are spells, spell-like abilities, and magic items.

The metamagic rods apply a metamagic feat to a spell. A power is not a spell, and a metamagic feat is not capable of working on a power.

Kobold, transparency doesn't mean spells are equal to powers in every way. :)

Edited: for clarity.
 
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