WORMSKIN

11/11/2013

Psionics-v-Magic

The Psionics rules published in AD&D (both 1st and 2nd) are almost completely compartmentalized and set apart from the rules covering magic and spell-usage, presumably in order to keep them an optional element in the game. The "mechanical distance" between these sub-systems suggests by way of analogy that the inner-workings of the metaphysics of the campaign setting itself also divide Magic and Psionics into distinct realms governed by different pseudo-scientific laws as well as operating through completely unrelated supernatural mediums.

This scenario is illustrated by Fig. a below.


Fig. b represents my current approach to the relationship between these two phenomena. The core of psionic and magical power is identical -- each are expressions of the same ur-force, though sometimes covering widely different areas. The blending can even be taken further -- elements of the magic-user's repertoire might be converted to psionic displines, eg. astral travel, telepathy, telekinesis, illusion, etc. I'm considering building a psionic system that would be completely magical -- a subset of abilities available to any character but especially magic-users. The goal would be to make Psi and Magic complimentary -- no longer competing but growing from the same source.

3 comments:

  1. i have psi rules - just made spell list with most psi like spells from cleric and wizard added some extra - bam a mentalist spell list and now just another magic system - simple, works, more compatible than any published system http://elfmaidsandoctopi.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/psionics-and-sorcery-mentalist-spell.html first part with two classes to use in following parts

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  2. Prof. Barker did this with EPT then really upped it a few notches in Swords & Glory. that's one of the few systems that really and elegantly does what you are proposing; it's worth taking a look. Too bad the basic mechanics haven't been made available as an open game license...

    FWIW, Magic & psychism of various sorts are fully integrated in the stuff we run and write about. The 'accepted schools' of whatever flavor or creed tend to dogmatize and overlay the real operative mechanics with doctrines, philosophies, rules, injunctions and strictures. similarly, mentors and instructors tend to pass along their own foibles, flaws, limitations and things that they approve of or accept as 'real,' and a student must then sift through this to pick out the good bits from the inherited garbage. Oh and there's the pacts and bonds, geases, curses, inheritances and so forth to consider while we're at it...

    You are certainly on to something with this, there's plenty of room for all sorts of approaches and directions, none of them wrong, only some more approved of or sanctioned by whatever authority has the most weight to through around. Or marketshare. As usual...

    Astral Projection is one of those things that is usually included in both systems, but it never really gets to feel like something a character could develop apart from becoming a full spell-caster, or through some kludgy deal with a otherplanar power or suddenly shifting into superhero mode. We've approached this from a number of directions in the past, some more successfully than others. It'll be interesting to see what you come up with!

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    Replies
    1. I will have to read over those S&G sorcery rules -- and yes your stuff definitely exemplifies the "psychic occult" flavor that I try to create.

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