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    Canonfire :: View topic - githyanki, GH, and psionics
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    githyanki, GH, and psionics
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    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
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    From: brazil

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    Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:46 am  
    githyanki, GH, and psionics

    hi to all ;)

    im DMing ad&d (think is 85% 2ed, and 15% 1ed), and it comes to me whats the relation with GH and psionic powers.


    actualy, i dont like psiconicist, but i love the githyanki, but the rules for psi powers always look hard to me.

    anyone have experience with psionic and greyhawk?
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
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    Sat Jul 26, 2008 12:52 am  

    I've used psionics a bit in 1e/2e. The random rolls in 1e tended to be more annoying than anything, with charaters either getting nothing or something crazy, which simply served to imbalance the characters. After a brief time of that, I stopped using psionics for PCs altogether and relegated them to just monsters like mind flayers and Githyanki.

    With 2e and a much better, or actual psionics system, I decided that should somebody want to play a psionicist they could. I even prepared a couple of NPC psionicists that the PCs might eventually run into, but I never even used them. As to the Psionicist class, there were no takers, so the class pretty much languished. I did however make heavy 2e psionics during one adventure in particular that featured a Githzerai agent and a Githyanki outpost on the Astral Plane. That turned out to be a brutal adventure when a Githyanki lord with the "two minds" power(I can't remember the exact name of the power) was able to use a power and swing away at full attacks with a vorpal sword. He took the heads of two characters in the final battle while stepping in and out of solid walls to evade the PCs' full retribution. they took down the Githyanki Commander in the end, but the players had suddenly developed a very real fear of Githyanki. Even though they eventually overcame the entire Githyanki outpost, they will not soon forget the terrible mental powers of the Githyanki(and the power of their silver swords).

    After all of this, I have pretty much put psionics off in a corner of the campagin. I commented a bit on how I treat psionics on another thread about Monks. I treat psionics as a mystic discipline, similar to that of Monks, and psionic ability occurs more among cultures that have Monks. It is also not uncommon for a few of those Monks to have some psionic ability(just a small percentage though). Psionicists(in my campaign at least) in the Flanaess usually come from ancient Suel and Baklunish traditions, though there are cultures west of the Flanaess who may have higher concentrations of psionics users among them(though still not a lot of them in my view of things). I ahven't used any psionics in 3.5e yet. It just hasn't come up with regards to monsters or PCs/NPCs.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat Jul 26, 2008 4:40 am  

    thanks Cebrion, good insight.

    i will add anoher question. one that i had asqued at EN, but seems like things there are too 4ED now, so i got few (good) answers.

    "githyanki have plane shift at will, right?
    could anyone think of a reason to why and how would one of them (A 5 level fighter githyanki-i need his +1 two hand sword) be traped inside a room of a tower?

    if "by magic", could you think of one and why?

    what does cutting the silver cord does to him?"
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
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    Sat Jul 26, 2008 5:41 am  

    A permanent Dimensional Lock on the room would eliminate the githyanki's ability to Plane Shift.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Jul 26, 2008 4:08 pm  
    Re: githyanki, GH, and psionics

    rossik wrote:
    hi to all ;)

    im DMing ad&d (think is 85% 2ed, and 15% 1ed), and it comes to me whats the relation with GH and psionic powers.


    actualy, i dont like psiconicist, but i love the githyanki, but the rules for psi powers always look hard to me.

    anyone have experience with psionic and greyhawk?


    I hated Psionics in 1st. and 2nd Ed. Cebrion was certainly right about the 1st ed. stuff being practically useless. The bonuses were either negligible (99.9999% chance you got this one) or earth shatteringly over powerful and through game balance out the window.
    Sad

    2ed Psionics weren't much better in my opinion. Actually no. They were worse. WAAYYYYYY worse. Where as the 1st ed. Psionics stopped their place balance disruption at just over the windowsill, 2 ed. Psionics disruption factor went out the window, across the street, down the block and stopped somewhere over in the next subdivision.

    Confused

    I played in a couple of 2nd ed. games were the DM allowed Psionics and man was it a disaster. The party started out with one guy as a psionic and eventually the entire party except me (playing a wild mage) was playing a psion. When they discovered that you could use the detonate power on object that the target was wearing (like a HELMET) and it used the objects base save and not the person wearing it they were blowing heads off of NPC's faster then Pop Rocks and Pepsi.

    It didn't exactly help matters that the first guy was a really charismatic player with an evil character. Oh, it started out innocently enough alright. "Look, a bunch of orks! Get'em!" Mad

    But eventually "We shall not stand for this injustice" *Pop, pop, pop*.... Happy

    Turned to "You can't do that to us" *Pop, pop, pop*.... Smile

    Which became "You can't talk to me like that!" *Pop,pop,pop*... Confused

    Which turned to "This is what happens to people who cross me" *Pop, pop, pop*... Sad

    Tragically this would eventually turn to "Thats a mighty nice coat you got there" *POP* Shocked

    2ed Psionics had almost nothing that was balanced against it unless you were playing a Darksun game or you wanted to invent your own setting (or retroactively cram it into something else and basically design everything around it.

    3rd Ed. Psionics are a little bit better but while the powers are not nearly so overwhelming they still don't have much in terms of play balance. Because of the template system endemic to the 3rd ed it's a little easier to work with though.

    I think that in a 2nd Ed. game I would recommend that they stay laregly the preview of the DM or have everyone play a psionist and tailor the campaign that way.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
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    Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:34 pm  

    A plane-shifted Githyanki doesn' have a silver cord. Only an individual visiting the Astral Plane via the astral projection spell has a silver cord to be cut. Plane shift literally sends you to another plane physically, while astral projection merely sends your "spirit". Astral projection is usually safer, unless you run into something that can sever your silver cord.

    Other than dimensional lock, an older method of warding a room from teleportation, plane shifting, and ethereal creatures was to build the room using mortar that was infused with gorgon blood. This will not only keep such creatures out, but also keep such creatures in. I like these simpler types of effects, as it is easy enough to simply build the room using this mortar, while still being gangerous enough to get the gorgon blood in the first place.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sun Jul 27, 2008 6:09 pm  

    I have also long had the house rule that lead stops magic. No teleporting, scrying, or anything as long as the room is totally encased in lead. The poor man's way to stop wizards.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sun Jul 27, 2008 6:39 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    A plane-shifted Githyanki doesn' have a silver cord. Only an individual visiting the Astral Plane via the astral projection spell has a silver cord to be cut. Plane shift literally sends you to another plane physically, while astral projection merely sends your "spirit". Astral projection is usually safer, unless you run into something that can sever your silver cord.

    Other than dimensional lock, an older method of warding a room from teleportation, plane shifting, and ethereal creatures was to build the room using mortar that was infused with gorgon blood. This will not only keep such creatures out, but also keep such creatures in. I like these simpler types of effects, as it is easy enough to simply build the room using this mortar, while still being gangerous enough to get the gorgon blood in the first place.


    very nice, where did you read it?
    i mean, about the gorgon? (oh, sorry for this, but i coulnd find 'mortar" in the dictionay!)
    Master Greytalker

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    Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:58 pm  

    There are several meanings to mortar. The one he is using is the paste that one seals bricks and stone together when making walls.

    The gorgon blood thing wasn't a rule... it was an example given in one of first edition books on ways the DM might make castles more defensible in a world of magic. Essentially invent rituals and special procedures that didn't require an archmage to help out with.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Mon Jul 28, 2008 1:17 am  

    Yep, it's from a 1e book, though it also appears in the 2e monster manual: "Gorgon blood, properly prepared, can seal an area agaisnt astral or ethereal intrusion; their powdered scales are an ingredient in the ink used to create a protection from evil spell." I believe the lead/metal thing is from the 1e/2e detect magic spell. The mortar reference is from 1e, and mortar is similar to cement.

    I wouldn't worry about the Detonation psionic effect. It has its clever uses, but it only does 1d10 damage, so I wonder how it became a campaign breaker for manus-nigrum. 2e psionics work well enough.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:57 am  

    I always thought Xan Yae and Zuoken begged for psionics with the whole mental/physical mastery thing, so I have them as part of the ancient Baklunish culture - think of Tibetan monks melting the snow around them by generating intense heat or Indian yogis walking across hot coals, etc. I also have a few higher ups in the scarlet bro use them, but they are at a more primitive level of development, and don't do anything showy. All NPCs so far, and none of the PCs have ever had any direct contact with psionics except through monsters like mind flayers.

    I disliked the 3rd ed treatment of psionics as just like magic. That made it seem less alien and threatening. I like potential surprise in psionics being able to bypass magical defenses.

    Don
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:17 pm  

    I used psionics quite a bit during second edition and included them in my long running Temple of Elemental Evil Campaign. In the Complete Psionics Handbook they state that psionics were taught to the people of Oerth by spelljamming Mind Flayers - this is the explanation that I used to include it in the campaign, but looking back its not a very good one. At the time I didn't really know much about the GH gods, but I like the idea of having Clerics of Xan Yae or Zuoken being Psionocists (it fits more with the mental power and discipline thing better than Spheres and Spells do).

    If you are going to let PCs be Psionocists (one of my players was), than you have to make sure you include Psionic opponents for them (evil Psionocists or use the psionic versions of standard creatures). I found Psionic combat really fun, and the different system for resolving it made Psionics seem exotic and cool. Without psionic opponents you don't really get to see the full breadth of a Psionocist character.

    I do agree with Cebrion, I'm not sure what house-rule Magnus-Nigrum's DM was using, but detonate by-the-book cannot blow people's heads off (unless I guess they are only 1 hit die). I played second edition with psionics for five years and didn't find that the system was broken at all.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:38 pm  

    i do not intend to use psionics as players, just as monsters (gith family).

    DMed once 2ed (the forgotten relams 2ed revised box adventure), and the psi was "teleporting" (or something) enemies to hot lava!
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:37 pm  

    Restricting the use of psionics to only monsters makes things much easier. A lack of interest on the part of my players in 2e psionics resulted in only the psionics monsters using it, and it worked fine.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:33 am  

    I always justified a lack of psionics in my campaigns by saying that, after seeing the devastation wrought through magic in the Invoked Devastation and Twin Cataclysms, the gods decided not to teach the people of the Flaeness anything about psionics. There's the odd psionic creature, and elsewhere on the world, there's lots of psions.... but not in the Flaeness. I have also toyed about having the Scarlet Brotherhood arriving in the Flaeness after being cast out from another society because of their LACK of psionics.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:13 pm  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    There are several meanings to mortar. The one he is using is the paste that one seals bricks and stone together when making walls.

    The gorgon blood thing wasn't a rule... it was an example given in one of first edition books on ways the DM might make castles more defensible in a world of magic. Essentially invent rituals and special procedures that didn't require an archmage to help out with.


    You can use a lot of sources from mythology as well. You know the Edgar Allan Poe story about the guy that gets bricked ionto the wall because he made the mistake of slighting his friend, an emotionally immature socialite? Well there was a old tradition tradition in Europe that I know pops up among the Slavs but may have Roman roots originally wherein while setting the corner stone for a building a small animal, usually a cat or a chicken would be bricked inside it as a sacrifice. The spirit of the animal was supposed to protect the building.

    Ravenloft took this to a (predictably) much more gruesome place in the novel "Carnival of Fear" and the (unrelated) darklord "The House of Lament" in which a girl named Mara was subjected to the same form and reasoning of sacrifice.
    Cebrion wrote:
    I wouldn't worry about the Detonation psionic effect. It has its clever uses, but it only does 1d10 damage, so I wonder how it became a campaign breaker for manus-nigrum. 2e psionics work well enough.

    The problem wasnít only with the Detonation power, that was really only the beginning of the end for us and really the most amusing example of the abuses heaped about by the rogue psions. It was the whole play balance thing. The detonation power wasnít being used directly on the target, it was detonating things that they were carrying. The problem was really that the DM wasnít prepared for what Psionics could do to the game. Like it or not, adding psionics to a game greatly changes it. 2nd Ed. Psionics have potentially a hugely imbalancing effect on the game if not properly roped in. Psionics are not like Arcane magic in any D&D edition. There isnít anything inherently unbalancing about Mages or Wizards because they fit neatly into the core rules set and therefore all of the antagonist themes that sets the overall scope of the game. I was hoping with 4th ed that psionics are made into a core class so that these effects will not be as pronounced. I havenít got the books as of yet so I still donít know but that takes me away from the orignainal argument.
    In my experience, Psionic characters had a huge advantage over non-psionic characters. This is exacerbated by having a mixed party where psionic antagonists against non-psionic characters, but this is coming from games I played 10 or more years ago. The whole sstem seemed poorly planned out. Not saying it canít be fun, but you have to devote an extensive amount of resources to the psionic character. If you are going to allow them, you would be best off running an all psionic game.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:32 pm  

    Ah, I see. Yes, using the 2e psionic system requires as much familiarity as does the arcane or divine magic systems in the game(which is why my players didn't really warm up to it I think). Any DM who wants to make any great use of psionics should be prepared to learn what is in effect a 3rd sytem of "magic" for their game, and psionics sytem is a bit more complicted to boot(though it is still fairly simple). Even if only being used as a side thing, as rossik plans to do, it is still important to know exactly how the psionics system works.

    In 4e, if there are psionicists(which I expect there will be), powers and their effects will be similar to spells for wizards and clerics, such that they are level dependent with fixed effects and therefor easy to balance and control. Psionics ought to be a breeze in 4e. I also expect they would have some form similar to ritual spells to represent psionic abilities that take some time to make use of.
    GreySage

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    Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:32 am  

    I also remember a rule that ethereal travel couldn't bypass living things, so an issue of Dragon Magazine suggested covering buildings with creeping vines to make them impregnable by that method.

    The "exploding heads" problem seems more a difficulty with D&D's abstract combat system than psionics as such. It makes sense that an explosion concentrated around someone's head would kill them instantly, regardless of the damage it does - but any attempt to make the combat system less abstract will break it. It's like the "called shot" system from 2e, which my players often abused to kill opponents instantly by calling a shot to a vital organ (like the head) instead of slowly whittling them down as in standard D&D combat (yeah, it wasn't supposed to work that way, but I was new). It's times like this that the DM just has to put his or her foot down and say, "No, Detonation only does 1d10 points of damage regardless of whether or not their helmet is exploding."

    The Greyhawk Player's Guide identified Delleb as another god with interest in psionics, so Oeridian-descended psionicists are another possibility - though this risks making the system seem less "exotic" and more a mundane part of the mystical traditions of the Flanaess.

    Dragon #281 (and Complete Psion) included a psionic human race called the Talaire, supposed to come from a parallel world destroyed by the illithids. I once considered having them blend with the Oeridian tribes during the Great Migrations, creating a new "Oeridian" tribe with a secret tradition, their "Divine Light" religion disguised as a church of Delleb. It was just an idea; I never did anything with it.

    There's an article on Planewalker.com called Ilsensine: Psi and Omega that suggests the illithid "god" Ilsensine is the final stage of illithid evolution, which will only exist in the far future but somehow empowers illithid psionics even today. It suggests darkly that perhaps all psionics comes from this source. Alternatively, humans could have their own "omega point" - Xan Yae, the ultimate evolution of humanity as a psionic powerhouse who reaches across time to gift some of her ancestors with psionic powers with which to fight the illithids and perhaps alter the ultimate destiny of the multiverse.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:35 am  

    I don't know about making it less exotic, but I do think that it adds to the flavor a bit in a direction that I hadn't really considered before and yet seems rather obvious in retrospect. What it does is show a big difference in the observances held by practitioners of different lines of faith. Under the Cleric system where a cleric, is a cleric, is a cleric, is a cleric you don't get to much variation, but this I like. In my game Monks of the non-scarlet variety are followers of XanYe anyway. I pictured them like Shoalin monks, being very contemplative, but by adding the psion classes adds a Shangrala/Hidden Valley feel to it I hadnít really considered before.

    It's awesome. Officially, I have to steal this idea.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:41 am  

    OleOneEye wrote:
    I have also long had the house rule that lead stops magic. No teleporting, scrying, or anything as long as the room is totally encased in lead. The poor man's way to stop wizards.


    I seem to remember something in Vault of the Drow or one of the Giant series that had magic items stored in a lead box as some means of preventing detect magic from picking up the items in the box, or maybe it was just to "lock in the magic freshness!" Smile
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:06 am  

    As far as using psionics with Githyanki in a 1e/2e campaign I think the easiest way to handle it may be something similar to what 4e has done. All you need to do is decide on a few Special Attacks you want to add to the githyanki. Telekinesis you can easily add by duplicating the spell of the same name and limiting it to once a day. You can do the same thing with other psionic powers that duplicate or are similar to spells. If you want some githyanki psionicists who can use a psionic blast you can just make it up as a Special Attack. Just have it do something like 1d8 psychic damage with a save versus petrification (or whatever save you want to use) and have it be usable only a certain number of times a day. Just think of psionics as something like a medusa's gaze or dragon's breath weapon.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:35 pm  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    As far as using psionics with Githyanki in a 1e/2e campaign I think the easiest way to handle it may be something similar to what 4e has done. All you need to do is decide on a few Special Attacks you want to add to the githyanki. Telekinesis you can easily add by duplicating the spell of the same name and limiting it to once a day. You can do the same thing with other psionic powers that duplicate or are similar to spells. If you want some githyanki psionicists who can use a psionic blast you can just make it up as a Special Attack. Just have it do something like 1d8 psychic damage with a save versus petrification (or whatever save you want to use) and have it be usable only a certain number of times a day. Just think of psionics as something like a medusa's gaze or dragon's breath weapon.


    thanks everybody!


    i really like your idea. i will use it Happy
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:42 pm  

    Cool!

    One more idea. If you get a chance, before any of your players get to encounter the githyanki you have added psionic powers to, use their character sheets to run the party through a couple of combats by yourself. This is to make sure it will be a good encounter. I've used this method before when introducing homebrewed monsters or npcs that I'm not sure will be a good power level for the party. If they're too much of a pushover you can adjust the number of githyanki or increase the effects of the psionic blasts and other powers.

    Good luck and let us know how it turned out.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Aug 04, 2008 2:15 pm  

    oh, i didnt test it, but already played..ehehe

    here how things went:

    the brave warrior, a knight wanna-be, rescued the fool dwarf who was unconcious after a flying rock throw from a giant. (the giant was forced to work for bandits, kind like the trolls in the LOTR movie). the enemy was attacking a tower, and the PCs were traped inside!

    the rock opened the locked door for the traped githyanki.

    the githyanki fought his way thru the warrior, as he whanted to go to a place where he could plane shift.

    using a telekinesis, he made the warrior fall downstairs over the cleric.
    the second warrior, a spearfighter, went in combat but got beat up .

    githyanki got lost, but psionic blasted the unlucky fat/old/bald thief who bumped him.

    after finding a clear window, the knight wannabe sotped in front of the window, challenging the creature for a combat. so, it was clear to me that i could teleknisis his shinning armor a** through the window...but...the spy finaly got into the room and backstab the githyanki.

    all players were freak out , not knowing that it was a githyanki, as i described him in a "shadow" way. and the powers? "this is no magic!
    what is going on here!"

    i used magic rules for psionic powers, and it worked great ;)
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Aug 04, 2008 7:08 pm  

    That sounds like a great encounter. Glad it worked out so well. There's nothing like a surprise to keep the party on their toes. Smile
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