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D&D 3E
Magic/Psionics Transparency? 
22nd-Jul-2008 02:03 pm
Disney-Mermaid MythandMagic

I don't remember if I've asked this question before but if so it was several months ago, so here goes it again.


With the transparency rule between Magic and Psionics, it's laid out that spell resistance and power resistance are the same. The defenses against mind-affecting spells also protect against mind-affecting powers.


But what about knowledges and crafts?


Is knowledge(arcane) different from knowledge(psionics)?


Is Psicraft different from Spellcraft?


My tendency is to say that the knowledges are different but the crafts are transparent - if a spell is resistant to my powers, shouldn't I also be able to detect it using my psicraft ability?


Also, what about when a power indicates having an effect on psionics but doesn't mention spells? I've been assuming that that's a "be as specific as possible" policy when writing power descriptions, and that it is still subject to the transparency rule, but how do I know for sure? For example, the Psychic Reformation power allows the target to re-select their feats, skills and powers from the last level they took. If Magic and Psionics are transparent by our campaign rules, wouldn't that mean you can re-select your spells, too?


How do I know what's transparent and what's not?

22nd-Jul-2008 07:11 pm (UTC)
I think that is up to interpretation. My group usually played that there was a penalty when crossing between the two. So a Spellcraft check to detect a psionic power might have a 10 or 15 DC penalty. They're similar, but not exactly the same. Think of them as specializations of "magic". We used to do similar things with other skills: Profession, Craft, Knowledge. Herbology is a subset of Nature, stuff like that. You could specialize and get better bonuses, or go generic.
22nd-Jul-2008 07:23 pm (UTC)
I could be overruled by a GM, but I'm sure that the four pairs of skills are separate, considering that they are regarding the mechanics of the spell/power systems, and the Vancian magic system differs enough from the power point system.

As for powers having an effect on psionics, I really don't know, considering I don't have the book here. I'd probably allow the spell re-selection on grounds of "close enough".
22nd-Jul-2008 08:08 pm (UTC)
I think, if magic and psionics are being treated as the same thing, then they should be treated as the same thing in all cases. Spellcraft/Psicraft should be a single skill &c.

Of course, I've never actually played in a game that used psionics, so I have no idea if that would unbalance it, but it seems sensible.
22nd-Jul-2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
I just made EVERYTHING the same. Every other interpretation left me with too much work to do.

It's saner that way.
22nd-Jul-2008 08:30 pm (UTC)
This has come up in the past, and I've seen and played it both ways.

On the one hand, while they are similar they remain different enough that a special training in the specifics of psionics (or magic) can be required by a DM. Afterall, if you see somebody manifesting an energy ray, but you have no Psicraft, but Spellcraft, you can probably very easily tell that what they are doing is not magic. Assuming that psionics isn't being introduced world-wide (meaning it is/has been a viable path to power for some time), you should be able to say "Well, that isn't magic, it's psionics." Beyond that, should you really be able to say "Oh, I've never studied psionics, but in my study of magic that was mentioned as being Energy Ray."

Of course, like I said, I've seen and played it both ways. :] It's a DM's call, really, depending on exactly the level of transparency desired.

I'm sorry if that wasn't very helpful.
23rd-Jul-2008 01:57 pm (UTC)
I think I'm just adding to the rest of the comments here, but it really is up to the DM whether to treat magic and psionics as the same or different. I think that the default setting is that they are the same; however, there is a section somewhere in the Psionics Handbook that discusses specifically the implications of magic and psionics being different. I have read it, but I don't recall where it is in that particular book because I don't use psionics rules much at all in my campaign. Look for this section in the Psionics Handbook, and I think you'll find a lead to your answer.
23rd-Jul-2008 08:40 pm (UTC)
I see the skills and crafts as being different.

The reason the system makes mind saves and defenses the same for magic and psionics is a correction from earlier editions when there were no checks and balances on psionics. In the earlier editions, if you didn't have psionics, you were wide open to any kind of psionic attack.
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