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[3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

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[3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:21 pm

NOTE! This project is currently being maintained on Github and on GiantITP. This thread is preserved for posterity.

I am one of those who thinks the psionic subsystem is one of the most elegantly designed things in D&D 3.5. In many ways, I think it's how spellcasting should have been done in 3.5. And I'd like to use it for more things.

But when I try to replace the core vancian casting with psionics, I run into a couple of problems.

  • Options are missing. There are things the core classes can do that simply can't be faithfully replicated with psionics. The psionic system is powerful enough, no doubt about that. It can pretty much always get the job done. But if I wanted to, say, play a necromancer, I'd probably have to reflavor Astral Constructs as my zombies and some Stygian powers as my negative energy effects. Which works, but wasn't really what I was looking for in the first place. Which brings me to the second problem:
  • The flavor doesn't always fit. Now, I think it's cool - if viewed on its own terms. The crystals and tattoo theme the books have going on is a perfectly good way to look at magic, but in my experience, it doesn't always live up to people's ideas about what D&D magic "should" look like. DMs still ban psionics for "flavor reasons", or because it doesn't "fit their setting". Which, I must say, I understand perfectly.

So what can I do? Well, I devised a twofold solution to the twofold problem.
  • I translated the core spells and classes over to psionic mechanics.
  • As for the system itself (as well as some doodads like the basic magic items), I changed every reference to "power", "manifester", "crystals" and "psionic", and so on to... well, their arcane counterparts. In other words, when people say "just reflavor psionics to fit your setting/concept" - I'd like to think I did precisely that.

And here is the result. (.pdf, 2.7 MB) I suggest linking to this thread rather than hotlinking, I expect this thread to be rather more permanent.
It includes a complete conversion of the psionic base system, feats and fundamental items over to magical terminology, as well as, more importantly, translated classes to utilize the mechanics, and a relatively thorough conversion of the Sorcerer/Wizard, Cleric, Bard, Paladin, Assassin and Blackguard lists over to what 3.5 fans know as psionic mechanics. For the classes presented so far, it should be playable from 1-20.

Now, like all homebrewers, I hope that this is actually useful, and that I can get some feedback. But I don't expect anyone to just accept that the stuff I churned out is awesome enough to read the over 400 pages of it. Instead, I suggest that the potentially interested do the following:
  1. Download the document.
  2. If you know how psionics in 3.5 work, proceed to step 3. All you will find in the first few chapters is that this is a reprinting of the psionic mechanics, and that the Wizard works just like the Psion. If you don't, well, please read the Wizard class, and tell me whether it makes any sense to you! :smalltongue:
  3. Navigate to the "Spells" section (the pdf is thoroughly bookmarked). Find your favourite spell or two.
  4. Tell me what you think! You don't need to be a grandmaster of homebrewing to tell if I royally screwed something up, so please tell me if you find something odd, no matter how trivial or "just your opinion" you think it is.

For those that are still reading, I have a FAQ for you:
  • There's a spell point variant in Unearthed Arcana/the SRD, as well as about 500 homebrew versions. Why, oh why, Ernir, are you trying to invent the wheel?
    The primary difference between this project and every other spell point variant I have seen is simple - I rewrote the spells so that they take the system into account. No other spell point system I have seen has done this.
    In addition, this isn't really a new spell point system. This is the well known and researched psionic system, which we all know works. I just added a paint job and a new bell or two.
  • Did you fix magic forever?
    No, I didn't. My primary goal was to give the vancian flavor a better system, balancing it was not my primary concern. The Wizard class resulting from this is still exorbitantly more powerful than any "mundane" class in WotC D&D, if you ask me. That being said, I did rewrite all the spells, and of course I couldn't resist ironing out some of the kinks I know of. When it came to this, I concentrated my efforts on getting rid of the spells that have truly unbounded/uncontrollable consequences. Wizards can probably still solo most level appropriate encounters, but I hope they'll now run into trouble solo-ing some campaign settings.
  • Did you leave some spells out?
    Lots of spells weren't precisely reproduced. Most of those, however, I just merged with others. The augment system provided by psionics makes it particularly easy to merge spell chains (that is, spells that are just greater/lesser versions of other spells). In addition, I merged some spells that I knew would just never be taken as a spell known otherwise.
  • Did you add a lot of your own content?
    Mixing the core spells up with my own eccentricities was not my original intent. Nevertheless, I did eventually decide to make up quite a few spells of my own (and steal a few psionic powers), usually to fill in nearly-empty spell levels. These are marked as such in the spell listing.
  • Did you change the psionic base system at all?
    A few changes were necessary, for example, changing the discipline/subdiscipline arrangement to fit the school/subschool structure of traditional casting.
    But I did make some less trivial changes.
    • Most significantly, save DCs are now calculated using the number of spell points (power points) spent on the spell, rather than the level of the spell (power). Also, you can now spend more points on a spell than given in its spell points (power points) line, usually to increase the save DC (in other words, all spells now have a "null augment"). This is mostly because adding "Augment: For every 2 additional spell points you spend, this spell's save DC increases by 1." to every single thing was starting to look really ugly.
    • I added a "Polymorph" subschool to the transmutation school to contain the mechanics of my new Polymorph-ish spells.
    • I added a "minion" type of spells to put a cap on the number of will-less minions you can have. This is a recent addition, I have yet to do much with it.
  • Are you done working on this?
    Hell no. Next up is to update more magic items, finish the PrCs, and hack on some epic support. I'll be here for a while.
  • What are you working on right now?
    Minor details, really. Balancing the Cleric domains has taken up a lot of the project's time lately.
    You can see a snapshot of the very latest compilation of the document [url="http://dl.dropbox.com/u/19444168/VancianToPsionicsBleedingEdge.pdf"]here[/url] (bugs, half-completed content and plain errors all included).


Thanks for reading this far, please tell me what you think!
Last edited by Ernir on Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:55 pm, edited 16 times in total.
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby DragoonWraith » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:59 pm

Quick comments: Why ditching the Familiar for the Spellstaff? I mean, presumably this system could be used alongside actual Psionics, so it seems like it would be good to differentiate the spellcasters and the manifesters at least somewhat. I mean, I dunno, I expected the Wizard to be more than just Psion-called-Wizard.

Otherwise, it looks good. I skimmed the spells and didn't see anything amiss.
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:26 pm

And hmm, using it alongside real psionics. I gave the thought a passing nod, so far (I didn't remove Magic-Psionic transparency), but I imagined that the real difference between Wizards and Psions would be the Wizard spell list vs. the Psion power list. They are very different, even if they are using the same mechanics.

Part of the problem between making the two different now that they have the same underlying system is that the class chassis for the Psion and the chassis for the Wizard are nigh-identical. The only difference between them is, indeed, the familiar. (I also have specialist wizard ACFs on the to-do list. Telepathy, support for summons, stuff like that.)

But, you have a point. People will miss familiars, and the idea was to translate the system thoroughly enough to make people not miss anything about the old one (except for their spells auto-scaling and the metamagic not being stackable. HAH!). So, adapted Obtain Familiar feat coming up! :P

Now that I think of it. As it is in 3.5, Familiars are pretty much strictly less useful than Psicrystals. Any ideas on what kind of a niche Familiars can actually have to make them different?
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby DragoonWraith » Thu Dec 09, 2010 7:20 am

The various Familiar-improving spells do more than the Psicrystal-improving Powers, from what I remember. Imbue Familiar with Spell-like Ability, for one. Maybe give Familiars more independence?
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby peterpaulrubens » Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:37 pm

I briefly skimmed it, and it looks neat.

Can you give the Cliff's Notes version of how it's different from [url="http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/magic/spellPoints.htm"]the SRD Variant Spell Point system[/url], and what you found lacking with that variant?

When you hinted at this project on the BB, I thought you were "going the other way"... i.e. taking all references to "arcane magic" out in favor of "psionic power". I'm surprised to see Yet Another Spell Point system.
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:21 pm

Cliff's Notes: My version is a completely overhauled system, the SRD spell points are a tacked-on variant that has some horrible issues.

The longer version of the differences I see:
  1. The SRD spell points variant makes prepared casters explosively more versatile. They get their awesome spells known, combined with better-than-Sorcerous spontaneity. They become ridiculously powerful.

    What I did: The class (only one so far) has a fixed number of spells known. It would be relatively similar to the spell point Sorcerer (which is completely gimped compared to the spell point Wizard.).
  2. The biggest issue: the core spell list wasn't created with spell points in mind. They don't have augments. They have duplicate versions of one another (which only makes even the lick of sense it does make if spells of different levels go into separate spell slots, rather than being pooled together). They did remove the auto-scaling from damage spells, but that only means you're better off using spells that don't scale with damage dice. =/

    What I did: Rewrote the spells so that they are actually designed to work with points and augments.
  3. Metamagic under the spell point system is pretty nebulous. Multiple (three?) variants are suggested, some with more problems than others.

    What I did inherited straight from the psionic system: Metamagic is capped by both your caster level and the requirement of expending your Focus.
  4. Classes keep separate spell point pools under the spell point system. Not unique to spell points, multiclassing out of a casting class does pretty much invariably screw you over to some degree.

    What I did inherited: spell points are pooled together from all your spellcasting classes. You aren't completely screwed over by delaying your access to higher level powers as long as you keep your caster level up. (Augments duplicating higher level spell effects is if anything more prevalent in this document than it is in Psionics.)




Still thinking on the familiars. Familiar-only spells work, but it would be strange to have familiar-only spells, but not spellstaff-only spells.

Familiars do come with better mobility out of the box.
I should probably remove it entirely from the spellstaffs, while I'm at it. A flying spellstaff is a very funny image, but probably unnecessary.
Familiars get better senses too?
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby peterpaulrubens » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:09 am

Gotcha. Very cool. I'd missed the metamagic bit about Focus in my skim. Very nice.
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Xzoltar » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:43 am

I really like what you've done so far, I won't comment on the most of the mechanics since its a direct conversion of psionic to magic. However here's my various comment's (most are on spells)

I like that you force people to specialize as a Wizard, even if Im always a Generic Wizard usually. Because you let people have access to all school, just have few spells specialized enough to be restricted.

You could change the level of spells to instead of like Wizard 2 for Alter Self to Transmuter 2, so its easier to see restricted spells.

I think ALL spells should have at least one kind of augmentation possible built-in, for soem spells its really hard. Like Chill touch doing more damage to undead or scale to do more strength damage (with a maximum)

Clairvoyance : I would love to see mechanics like with the Crystal Ball that let you with augmentations be able to cast spell like detect magic, light..

Fireball: Look more like Scorching Ray than Fireball or change the fluff so that it explose in a fireball but only affect up to the numberof target and so dont damage allies and objects around.

Floating Disk: Should have another augment to increase capacity and/or increase the diameter

Glitterdust : The spell can be remove too easly and the duration is already not really long so mayb increase duration to minutes.

Gust of Wind: We should be able to have stronger wind effect with augmentation so it can affect bigger creature

Invisibility: There's a Superior Invisibility version (think its in Spell Compendium) the effect could also be add to the invisibility spell as a possible augmentation
Mental Link: Augmentation for Planar use, as adding a new spell just for this seem like counter-productive
Minor Creatuon: Why not just do Creation that act as the minor version but with augment for greater effect, you've done it for lot of spell, why not this one (maybe because they didnt do it with psionic)
Mount: This spell is not that strong even he it last for many hours, but having to cast this spell for each members of a group will take way to much of your energy for the day, a augmentation to be able to summon more mount would gladly be appreciated
Ray of Enfeeblement: A augmentation of 4 spell points to target mental score maybe ? instead of touch of idiocy..,.
Repair: Now this spell is amazingly useful
Read Thoughts: Formating problem here
Summon Monster: Much easier to balance, but a lot less fun, for combat it speed things, but you lack a lot of the versatility the normal spell was providing.
Thought Shield: This spell for a dration of 1 round only dosent help that much for the cost of casting it as its not all spells or powers that will be affected and you'r not sure you will resist the attack. But this is my personal opinion, this spell is just not worth it to take a known spells and also cost me Spell points to have a chance of maybe resisting a mental attack, provinding another save in case the first one fail seem like more appropriate, I know its a psionic power that already exist, but still same opinion about it
True Strike: Could maybe have a augmentation that cost a lot but let you use it for many attakcs or act as a wraithstrike spell
Unseen Servant: Increase the Strength with a augmentation will make it a lot more useful
Web: Should be statted that the DC increase also add to the Strength or Escape Artist check.

Arcane Mark: This spell was use a lot in our games, I still think it have a place, but can easly create it and add augmentation to act as a magic rune that could inflict damage instead of just a invisible mark.
Burning Hands: The spell effect is quite different thant Fireball or Scorching ray and could have is place as a level 1 spell, even if I never seen any of my player's or myself use it since 2nd edition... The same could be said about Flaming Sphere
Detect Scret Doors: Was also a spell we use a lot when not having people to do it for free (rogue, elf...), could add a augmentation to act as the Find Traps spell also.

This system seem te help a lot with new spell desing, instead of adding a new spell just for a npc, a wizard could easly research a additionnal augmentation for is existing spell, so he can do a couple of things other normally can't do. This is a mechanics I like and could work similar to researching new spell, mybe with a discount...

Can't wait until you finish them all :D

I didn't read it all but most of it in speed-reading mode, but continue to work on this, from I will use it in all my campaig, as soon as it will be done to at least level 5 spells...
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Draco Dei » Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:49 am

To me, half the challenge of AoE spells is figuring out how to make them effective without "Friendly Fire... isn't." coming up. I haven't looked at the actual document, but it sounds like you really took all the challenge out of fireballs.

As for familiars, they are generally considered useless (or at least at low levels) in baseline 3.X. I know of one or two things that change that, but that probably isn't relevant.
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Xzoltar » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:20 am

So far this is working really good, however now psionics is almost useless as its almost the same as a wizard, so now I need to either change psionic so they dont feel the same as the wizard (and eventually other caster) or just keep the wizard as it was...

We a long time ago had design the psion to work as in 2nd edition choosing Devotions and Science, the problem was to balance the character beeing able to manifest high level power at lower level, we have add power requirement to go to the highest power, however you have too much requirement and can't choose other powers so no freedom to customize or you can access to high level science too easly... This is off-topic, but what do you do in your campaign with pionic if you use this variant ?
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Sat Jan 08, 2011 7:32 pm

*Blamf*
Still working on this, for the record!

The document has now reached a length of 169 pages, and counting. Will post the second release once I've finished the fifth level spells (which I am working on right now) and the spellstaff/familiar changes.

Xzoltar wrote:I really like what you've done so far, I won't comment on the most of the mechanics since its a direct conversion of psionic to magic. However here's my various comment's (most are on spells)

I like that you force people to specialize as a Wizard, even if Im always a Generic Wizard usually. Because you let people have access to all school, just have few spells specialized enough to be restricted.

Yep. It's the way they did the Psion, which the Wizard class is, at this point, pretty much a carbon copy of. I'd feel more guilty about the "forced" specialization if there was actually a drawback to specializing. As is, specializing gives nothing but benefits.

Xzoltar wrote:You could change the level of spells to instead of like Wizard 2 for Alter Self to Transmuter 2, so its easier to see restricted spells.

Ooo, great idea. Should have done that from the start.

Xzoltar wrote:I think ALL spells should have at least one kind of augmentation possible built-in, for soem spells its really hard. Like Chill touch doing more damage to undead or scale to do more strength damage (with a maximum)

I've been... trying. Those that don't have augmentation options right now don't have them because I haven't been able to think of any. :lol:
Xzoltar wrote:Clairvoyance : I would love to see mechanics like with the Crystal Ball that let you with augmentations be able to cast spell like detect magic, light..

Hmm, that's essentially Greater Scrying. Should work.
Xzoltar wrote:Fireball: Look more like Scorching Ray than Fireball or change the fluff so that it explose in a fireball but only affect up to the numberof target and so dont damage allies and objects around.

Fireball has been bothering me for a while. As is, it's pretty much a copy of the Energy Missile spell, which is really good (which I wanted the iconic spell to be), but yes... it doesn't fit the explosive sphere of fire image as well as I would like.
I am thinking of just changing it back to a good-old fashioned burst, and call it a day. At least it scales as high as you can spend on it now.
Xzoltar wrote:Floating Disk: Should have another augment to increase capacity and/or increase the diameter

Sure.

Xzoltar wrote:Glitterdust : The spell can be remove too easly and the duration is already not really long so mayb increase duration to minutes.

Would make it a bit more useful at low levels. Will think about it.

Xzoltar wrote:Gust of Wind: We should be able to have stronger wind effect with augmentation so it can affect bigger creature
There's already no cap on how big a creature it can affect, big creatures just get a bonus on the strength checks. Do you mean an augment that can counter that?

Xzoltar wrote:Invisibility: There's a Superior Invisibility version (think its in Spell Compendium) the effect could also be add to the invisibility spell as a possible augmentation

Heh. I considered it, and decided against it. Mostly because I don't think Superior Invisibility is very... fair. It's "have True Seeing or be completely screwed against me", which I don't like. =/

Xzoltar wrote:Mental Link: Augmentation for Planar use, as adding a new spell just for this seem like counter-productive

Good idea. Will add.

Xzoltar wrote:Minor Creatuon: Why not just do Creation that act as the minor version but with augment for greater effect, you've done it for lot of spell, why not this one (maybe because they didnt do it with psionic)

That's what I've done in the latest (currently unreleased) edition. I just forgot about it until I actually hit Major Creation on the spell list.
Xzoltar wrote:Mount: This spell is not that strong even he it last for many hours, but having to cast this spell for each members of a group will take way to much of your energy for the day, a augmentation to be able to summon more mount would gladly be appreciated

As is, it's duplicating the effects of Phantom Steed, which is generally considered a very good spell. But yes, spellcasters won't have the endurance to spam utility stuff like this every day without thinking twice, so yes, getting cheap extra Mounts wouldn't be out of place. Will add.
Xzoltar wrote:Ray of Enfeeblement: A augmentation of 4 spell points to target mental score maybe ? instead of touch of idiocy..,.

I kind of like having touch of idiocy as a separate spell, though. Ray of Enfeeblement making someone stupid doesn't sound right somehow. =/
Xzoltar wrote:Repair: Now this spell is amazingly useful

Yep. More of a gimme when there's a Warforged or something in the party than I'd like, but I hope it covers enough niches now to be worth it as a spell known sometimes.
Also gives me justification for not changing Disjunction too much. :twisted:
Xzoltar wrote:Read Thoughts: Formating problem here

Fixed now.
Xzoltar wrote:Summon Monster: Much easier to balance, but a lot less fun, for combat it speed things, but you lack a lot of the versatility the normal spell was providing.

It wasn't a very easy decision, but doing it the Psionic way sounded right.
These aren't quite carbon copies of Astral Constructs, by the way - most glaringly, the type is different.
Adding more monster-y menu abilities is on the distant to-do list, too. But it should be usable as-is.
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Sat Jan 08, 2011 7:33 pm

Xzoltar wrote:Thought Shield: This spell for a dration of 1 round only dosent help that much for the cost of casting it as its not all spells or powers that will be affected and you'r not sure you will resist the attack. But this is my personal opinion, this spell is just not worth it to take a known spells and also cost me Spell points to have a chance of maybe resisting a mental attack, provinding another save in case the first one fail seem like more appropriate, I know its a psionic power that already exist, but still same opinion about it

I've actually removed it in the latest version. More due to me feeling guilty about padding the spell list with psionic copies, but it's gone.

Xzoltar wrote:True Strike: Could maybe have a augmentation that cost a lot but let you use it for many attakcs or act as a wraithstrike spell

This is one would be difficult, since True Strike scales so well anyway. A quickened full-round True Strike would be completely crazy for gishes, for instance...
Xzoltar wrote:Unseen Servant: Increase the Strength with a augmentation will make it a lot more useful

Good idea. Will add.
Xzoltar wrote:Web: Should be statted that the DC increase also add to the Strength or Escape Artist check.

That wasn't intended. Should it? I would be inclined to lower the base DCs if it were so...

Xzoltar wrote:Arcane Mark: This spell was use a lot in our games, I still think it have a place, but can easly create it and add augmentation to act as a magic rune that could inflict damage instead of just a invisible mark.

I think I'll just make it a magic item of sorts. It's what I have been doing with the Symbol line of spells, which make a bit more sense to me that way...
Xzoltar wrote:Burning Hands: The spell effect is quite different thant Fireball or Scorching ray and could have is place as a level 1 spell, even if I never seen any of my player's or myself use it since 2nd edition... The same could be said about Flaming Sphere

Burning hands I thought about adding. The thing is just that it's so... bad. Having it scale as high as you want it to doesn't really help that much when it's a tiny cone that deals little damage.

I still can't think of a way to make Flaming Sphere less clunky, which is why that one hasn't shown up yet.
Xzoltar wrote:Detect Scret Doors: Was also a spell we use a lot when not having people to do it for free (rogue, elf...), could add a augmentation to act as the Find Traps spell also.

Really? People used it? Oh, well, better put it in again, then. Divination needs more spells, anyway...
Xzoltar wrote:This system seem te help a lot with new spell desing, instead of adding a new spell just for a npc, a wizard could easly research a additionnal augmentation for is existing spell, so he can do a couple of things other normally can't do. This is a mechanics I like and could work similar to researching new spell, mybe with a discount...

Can't wait until you finish them all :D

I didn't read it all but most of it in speed-reading mode, but continue to work on this, from I will use it in all my campaig, as soon as it will be done to at least level 5 spells...


Glad to hear it. :D

The 5th level spells should come online in the next few days, stay tuned. :)
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Sat Jan 08, 2011 7:38 pm

(Sorry for the triple-post, but I was running into post length limits, it seems.)

Draco Dei wrote:To me, half the challenge of AoE spells is figuring out how to make them effective without "Friendly Fire... isn't." coming up. I haven't looked at the actual document, but it sounds like you really took all the challenge out of fireballs.

As for familiars, they are generally considered useless (or at least at low levels) in baseline 3.X. I know of one or two things that change that, but that probably isn't relevant.

I did take the challenge out of fireballs, indeed. As I mentioned above, it works similar to Energy Missile right now. But as I mentioned above, I'm considering changing it back, precisely because it isn't very... fun.

Xzoltar wrote:So far this is working really good, however now psionics is almost useless as its almost the same as a wizard, so now I need to either change psionic so they dont feel the same as the wizard (and eventually other caster) or just keep the wizard as it was...

We a long time ago had design the psion to work as in 2nd edition choosing Devotions and Science, the problem was to balance the character beeing able to manifest high level power at lower level, we have add power requirement to go to the highest power, however you have too much requirement and can't choose other powers so no freedom to customize or you can access to high level science too easly... This is off-topic, but what do you do in your campaign with pionic if you use this variant ?


So you have been playtesting it? :o

Can you elaborate on how the Psion has been rendered useless? Yes, the mechanics are nigh-identical, as is the chassis (at least the one you are looking at right now), but the powers should with few exceptions still be unique. Do you mean that you have found this class to be simply much more powerful than the Psion is?
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Xzoltar » Sat Jan 08, 2011 8:09 pm

Ernir wrote:GUST OF WIND: There's already no cap on how big a creature it can affect, big creatures just get a bonus on the strength checks. Do you mean an augment that can counter that?
I mean that the spell knock down Tiny creature, I want a augment that affect tiny and small, then tiny to medium, etc... So the wind is stronger and have greater effect on creature bigger than just tiny[/quote]

Ernir wrote:INVISIBILITY: Heh. I considered it, and decided against it. Mostly because I don't think Superior Invisibility is very... fair. It's "have True Seeing or be completely screwed against me", which I don't like. =/
There a lot of way to bypass invisibility, its only a penalty you have while fighting a invisible creature, you have lot of spell like See Invisibility, Glitterdust, Faerie fire, Dispel Magic, Fireball (invisible creature that cath fire is still visible), you can throw flour at the target to see where he move by the foot prints or just the ust on the creature, by raw even Darkvision could see the invisible creature, you have skill tricks, spot check to pinpoint, tremorsense, ... but I understand your concern

Ernir wrote:WEB: That wasn't intended. Should it? I would be inclined to lower the base DCs if it were so...
Its normally easy to escape a web spell, half class have either skills points in Escape Artist of a Strength high enough to escape a web easly, you can cut even burn it if you really need to get out (taking a couple of damage if often better than standing still)

Ernir wrote:DETECT SECRET DOORS: Really? People used it? Oh, well, better put it in again, then. Divination needs more spells, anyway...
A good reason why lot use it in my game is we tend to have more caster than rogue, so they must do the rogue job and also its a innate spell Elf have in my campaing world instead of beeing able to auto-spot hidden doors.

Ernir wrote:Can you elaborate on how the Psion has been rendered useless? Yes, the mechanics are nigh-identical, as is the chassis (at least the one you are looking at right now), but the powers should with few exceptions still be unique. Do you mean that you have found this class to be simply much more powerful than the Psion is?
The Wizard by doing this is from our experience so far, more fun maybe a little stronger because you have a little more freedom however that's not a problem in our campaign anyway. Its not tat the Psion is underpowered compared to the Wizar, more that he dont have anything unique anymore, he can manifest almost the same way the wizard cast now, but wizard have way bigger list of spells to choose from than the Psion have for Powers. Psion look just too much like a Wizard (or should I say the Wizard look too much like the Psion...), in our game everbody like having things unique about their classes no other can usally do or at least not the same way... Freedom, Versatility and Originality are our credo.

Let us know when you update your document and I will then be able to give you more feedback about the actual playtest. My players like that I bring new things to playtest every sessions from different sources (a good part of it come from Giantitp (at least one or two classes per PrC contest), but im starting to very like Competitor games)
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:40 pm

Alpha 2 is up!

Familiars are back in, the document now contains the first five spell levels, and there has been a lot of general cleanup.
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Xzoltar » Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:56 am

Animate Dead: really not sure about the xp cost, I value my xp way more than spending few gold on animating deads that can be easly killed. Its true that 5 XP per Hit dice is small enough, just dont like losing xp in general, but losing that few won't be gasme breaking for any Necromance out town.

Baleful Polymorph: Was thinking of a augment to target Inncorporeal creature [non-undead] and another augment for Shapechanger, will probably not be use really often, but still not sure Shapechanger and Incorporeal should be affected...

Dimension Door: A augment to be able to take action after using dimension door.
Forms Spells: I like what you did with theses spells. Could be nice to have the ability to spend mana points while you are in this form to use a breath weapon dealing damage base on the amount of mana point you spend.

Gentle Repose: Nice Lich-like augment (effective spell lvl 7, in our campaign we have this spell as level 9, but dont cost any xp), seem fine as it is.

Hall of Mirrors: Nice new spell

Mage Private Sanctum: I can see many wizard casting this daily on there tower, nice augment too, however I think the caster should be able to teleport if he wish to.

Resilient Sphere: Not sure about the No Save augment, and there'S also Telekinetic Sphere or something like that that let you move the sphere and the creature within, could be a nice augment (probably not with the no save option)

Sepia Snake Sigil: Augmented to No Save for a spell that let you unable to act for 1d4+lvl day... Of course its level 7 with the augment and comparable to Disintegrate or Finger of Death, but at least does allow a save. Your player will hate you if you have a trap like this with no save, I can assure you :P

Shadow COnjuration/Evocation: Different concept, but help a lot speed things, the caster not having to check in every book, what spell is the best... but remove some of the versaility of the spell.

Shadow Warriors: Another spell that will certainly see some use in my game. They may be a little strong even if just doing AoO, will have to test them to know.

Teleport: Possible augment to increase your maximum weight limit.

Tiny Hut: Possible augmentation, from outside you can't ear any sound from the hut, could also have a augment to increase radius
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:11 am

Animate Dead: The thing is that since I killed off material components, the spell was missing a cost. XP is the way it is handled in psionics.
Also, the spell is still just as powerful as it used to be, only now you need to kill people to get more XP rather than buying an onyx mine to fuel your necromancy habit. Sounds OK to me. :P

Baleful Polymorph: Thought of it too, but I think the spell is plenty useful as-is.

Dimension Door: I think it's fine as-is, really. With the move action augment, you have lots of flexibility in how to use it, and the Psionic equivalent is certainly good enough.

Forms Spells: Thanks, those were... difficult to hammer into shape. As for breath weapons and such - this is actually what I had in mind for Shapechange. Shapechange, as I have it on the drawing board, will allow you to switch between all Form of the X spells you know as a free action once per round for the spell's duration, and give you one extra Supernatural something for each form to boot (so yes, the Form of the Dragon would get its breath weapon).

Gentle Repose: It should be a level 8 equivalent (5 base + 10 augment = 15), but yes, that was the intent.

Hall of Mirrors: Thanks, I rather like it. It wasn't the original intent to get too deeply into introducing my own homebrewed spells, but some spell levels just need padding.

Mage Private Sanctum: Ooo, teleporting within the spell's area, that's an augment idea.

Resilient Sphere: The no save augment is there to replace Forcecage. I'd be more worried about it if there weren't 50 different ways to get through a wall of force at that level (13). Forgot about Telekinetic Sphere (always thought it was kind of useless...), that augment should be there.

Sepia Snake Sigil: The augment requires a 15th level caster, at a level where Freedom of Movement has been around for a long, long time. Also, anyone with Dispel Magic can free the victim. It really does cramp the style of solo Rogues, though, should I perhaps explicitly define a Search/Disable Device DC?

Shadow Conjuration/Evocation: Yeah, in the end, I thought this was the best way to handle it... they are still very versatile, just a lot easier to use.

Shadow Warriors: Tell me when or if you use it. This is... pretty much stolen from a similar PHB2 spell, although that spell is simply missing the info on what the soldiers are actually supposed to do.

Teleport: Ooo, good idea.

Tiny Hut: Good ideas, will implement. I had been wondering about how to augment that spell.
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:02 pm

Just popping in on this thread to say that I haven't dropped this. At all.

In fact, I'm getting closer and closer to completing it. Working on the 8th and 9th level spells now. At the moment, it's the Shapechange spell that's on the table.
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby DragoonWraith » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:43 pm

Hah, good luck with that!`
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Xzoltar » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:56 pm

Nice to know your still working on this. Here some more comments :

Antimagic Field: I like the augmentation to make it static and for sure a increase inraduis could provide useful when adventuring.

Chain Lightning: Why a fixed amount of target ? Anyway you will augment this spell most of the time so you will get more target if you really need and most of the time if there's more than 1- target to hit, just Fireball it...

Crushing the Essence: I dont like flat immunities, but I also dont really like things that remove immunities also. But still really helpful to any Enchanter and as as Restricted lvl 9 spell, fair game. You really need a augmentation so you could have the spell last longer than 1 rd.

Deadly Fright: Weird spell, you die but for 1 rd/lvl ???

Disintegrate: I think on a fail save you should take 25% dmg instead of a flat 5d6 Dmg, but that's just me. however I sue this spell on object more than creature so a augmentation to destroy more than 10ft cube will be greatly appreciated. Oh and bad formating on the spell

Transmute Flesh to Stone: Maybe the spell should be restricted in size of creature it can affect with a augmentation that increase the size and the size of the cylinder

Freezing Sphere: Just to remain consistant change 11d6 to 12d6 so its always double on Water creature.

Halt Undead: No level, Components, Casting Time (few other spells have same problem)

Instant Summon: Maybe a augmentation for bigger and heavier target ?

Irrisistible Dance: Still no save with a augmentable duration, outch, at least its a high level restricted spell.

Magic Disjunction: Spell is already strong, but as a restricted spell a augmentation to increase raduis won't be that bad

Mage Sword; Nice spell, possible augmentation to increase dmgg from the sword or to have a bigger enhancement than +3

Meteor: 1d6 miles radius is maybe too random to have any use for any non totally evil PCs...

Power Word: You combine them all, but still not sure, there'S a lot of other power words , why not included them also, dont know If I prefer a single spell for this one of multiple spell, this one however give more freedom for a limited spell selection

PRecognition: Would be nice if you could predict more than 1 target by spending more mana

Prismatic Spray: The augmentation is mostly useless, maybe something like +10% Effect on the 3 first color and +1 DC on other or anything else than just beeing able to blinded more creature, I dont think its the primary use of this spell...

Reality Veil: Like that it can be use on 1 person or a group, but sometime I could use this spell to create a "matrix" style world for my target and try to gain information from her and so I dont want her to die from thirst... but still very potent spelll

Reverse GRabitiy: I really want a augmentation to target a zone rather than a creature, more fun with traps

Shapechange: Great job, now limited to the form you know seem less of a headaches, even if its a lot less power for the mage

Simulacrrum: No casting make this lot less desirable but as you can have multiple simulcrum at the same time...Does the augment also increase the max hd or it remain to 13 ?

Spell Turning: I dont see the number of spell points of spell you can turn in the spell description, just in the augmentation
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:27 am

Xzoltar and I are referring to the latest sub-version of the document. It has quite a few unfinished spells and TeX-bugs, but that's what we're discussing. :P


Chain Lightning: I fixed the number of targets just to make it not auto-scale, really. Although I guess there's still a bunch of spells that do auto-scale with respect to the number of targets... hmm.

Crushing the Essence: I put it there because a) Mind Blank exists, and b) so that Enchanters can finally stop crying whenever a zombie shows up. I don't exactly like the blanket immunity/hard counter design philosophy either, but it would take some fundamental changes to remove the immunities. =/

Deadly Fright OOPS, that should have been Instantaneous! Good catch. :mrgreen:

Disintegrate: Maybe. Still, this is how psionics handled the spell too, and I don't see much reason to change it. I've been trying to avoid changing things on a whim. :S
And err, yeah, I fixed the formatting on that one just after I sent it to you. You're looking at a very not-proofread copy. :oops:

Transmute Flesh and Stone: Hmm. How about extra targets/more volume on an augment? By the time the spell gets out there, non-medium sized creatures are so common that requiring an augment to get them would be kind of crippling...

Freezing Sphere: You're right, that's a much prettier way to handle it. /changed

Halt Undead: Intentional. That's the usual way to handle a spell that references some other spell. But yes, it was missing a level, which was an error. Were there others, you say?

Instant Summons: Sounds good.
I was really at a loss when it came to this spell. It's just... bad.

Irresistible Dance: Yep, pretty much what it used to be.
Should I perhaps shorten the base duration down to 1d4 rounds? I suppose the spell could do with a bit o' nerfing.

Mage's Disjunction: Would that be useful? It's already a 40' radius burst! :P
Besides, I'm not sure all the 9th level spells need their augments - you only have 3 pre-epic levels to play with augments on those spells anyway.
Scaling everything up indefinitely would be cool, though...

Mage's Sword: Ooo, good idea.
Not my idea, though. It's actually one of those forgotten core spells.

Meteor: Hehe. You're looking at what I came up with one night after thinking "OK, what should this spell do?". Right now it's not good for much besides nuking something from orbit, but at least it has a niche.
You think fixing the radius (that is, making it constant) would improve it? Just having a hard time envisioning trick shots with this spell. :P

Power Word: Problem is that the other PW spells aren't OGL content. =/
Not that there's a copyright on the concept of lower level PW spells, but I couldn't copy them, at least.

Precognition: More of my 'brew here. High-level divinations sorely need fleshing out. :(
Good idea. Will implement.

Prismatic Spray: It's not just more creatures, it's more powerful creatures. And those are blinded without a save, which is useful.
The DC augmentation is inherent in the spell, too. Basically, save DCs always increase with augments. See page 21 of the PDF I sent you (2.6.10, under "Saving Throw Difficulty Class:"). Buried system change. Got to make a note of these...

Reality Veil: Hehe, this one is effectively the Microcosm power.

Reverse Gravity: Would an augment to include more targets do the trick? Less changes that way, going from a "target" spell to an "area" spell is kind of awkward.

Shapechange: Thanks! Took a bit of thought to integrate that with the new Polymorph subschool spells.
Now it's just the %/&()& Polymorph Any Object spell...

Simulacrum: The augment increases the maximum cap. Is there another cap it could refer to?
And yes, it's still an infinite-minion type spell.
I've actually been considering creating a group of spells (or a descriptor, or what-have-you), and gathering all those pesky minion creating spells under that one, which would have a shared control limit.

Spell Turning: Ah, right, that one. I recently changed it to function more like Reddopsi, but I forgot to remove the augment.
I think Reddopsi handles the effect much more neatly than the core Spell Turning does, but, yes... I have no idea what the augment should then do. Thoughts?
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Draz » Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:45 am

Someday, I intend to have time to look through this project thoroughly. So i'm glad it's still going! :)
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:37 am

Read through the whole thing? That's a bit much. It's 233 pages today. :P

I appreciate the sentiment, but I think a more realistic goal would be to just read your favorite spells (or those spells that are generally a hot topic in 3.5 discussions) and telling me what you think of those. Getting a bit of feedback on individual spells could be just as useful to me as a comment on the system as a whole.
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:27 pm

Something crazy just happened.

I finished it. This project should now be playable from 1-20.

So with no small amount of pride, I give you: Beta 1.
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby DragoonWraith » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:51 pm

That is awesome. Congrats, dude!
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Draz » Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:48 pm

Nice! I'm excited to get a chance to read through it.
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Fax » Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:50 pm

Ernir wrote:Part of the problem between making the two different now that they have the same underlying system is that the class chassis for the Psion and the chassis for the Wizard are nigh-identical. The only difference between them is, indeed, the familiar. (I also have specialist wizard ACFs on the to-do list. Telepathy, support for summons, stuff like that.)

If this is the case, why are they differing classes?
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:44 pm

Thanks, everyone.

Beta 1.01 is up. And it includes what you have all been waiting for - the Sorcerer class is back in! (Even if it's kind of sparse.)
Fax wrote:
Ernir wrote:Part of the problem between making the two different now that they have the same underlying system is that the class chassis for the Psion and the chassis for the Wizard are nigh-identical. The only difference between them is, indeed, the familiar. (I also have specialist wizard ACFs on the to-do list. Telepathy, support for summons, stuff like that.)

If this is the case, why are they differing classes?

At that point, mostly because they reference(d) mechanics that don't have the same names. The RAW wouldn't have been coherent.

Since then, my Wizard class has had a few changes to it, notably that the Familiar really is back in.
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Mon May 09, 2011 2:33 am

Draz74 wrote:Ah. A noble cause ... somehow I was under the assumption that this system was intended to be used in a setting that didn't have psionicists anymore.

I still might prefer switching this with Summon Monster. Fixing the scaling on Summon Monster wouldn't be too hard -- just eliminate the lowest-order beasties from the equation. But hey, that's a change that's easy enough to just make myself if I ever DM 3.5e again.

EDIT: Hmmm, I probably should be commenting over on Competitor Games instead of here ... just because that Forum's been so sadly dead lately. :smallfrown:

All the standard rules of power/spell interactions are still there/here, so having both this and Psionics shouldn't cause any huge problem.
(Having both this and Vancian, however, would create about 500 multiply-defined-name errors in the rules text. Literally.)
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:44 am

Just to make sure it's known - I'm still updating this. Uploaded the latest version today.
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:50 pm

Boink up for update to Beta 1.06!

The Bard is in, as well as a line of fluff for each spell, and five hundred minor changes, as usual.
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby DragoonWraith » Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:12 pm

Awesome.
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:59 am

Bump for update. It's kind of big. To quote from the (far from thorough) changelog:
The Ranger class and its spell list added. The Arcane Archer, Blackguard (including its spell list), Eldritch Knight, Heirophant and Loremaster prestige classes added. Stick figure drawings (by yours truly) added at random places in the document. The Sun domain added, completing the main list of SRD domains. Many magic items updated. The document has been changed to a two-column layout, and as a result, is now down to 315 pages.
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Re: [3.5] Psionic Mechanics, Arcane Flavor.

Postby Ernir » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:54 pm

Since it has been more than a year...

This project is currently being maintained on Github and on GiantITP.

Sorry to say, unless a miracle happens, this post is likely to be the last one I make in this thread. I thank those who contributed here while it lasted, sorry to see it go this way.
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