On the Mental Incongruity

I got into a discussion the other day where someone was asking for a simple psionics system.

What's funny about this, is the simplest system for psionics ever produced was in 1st edition. The vast majority of people believe that it's the most complicated, when in fact it is the simplest.

Here is how you resolve a psionic combat in first edition.

Declare attack power,
Opponent declares defense mode,
Find result on chart,
Subtract points,
Repeat until defeat,

No die rolls. Just superfast look-up. It is substantially more complicated in 2nd edition and 3rd edition.

So why is the belief that the 1st edition system is the most complex? Two reasons. Special cases and the fact that the system is spread out over 3 books.

If you're at all interested in psionics, then you should check out my free psionics download. It is, at its core, styled heavily after the 1st edition system. That is to say, fast, flavorful, and providing powers that are unique and not magical. If you like it, you should spread the word!

What are my favorite things about it?

  1. Flavorful combat. In 2nd/3rd/4th edition when you use psionic powers to kill an opponent, they die. Here, you confuse them, feeblemind them, turn them into a robot, or wound their minds forever.
  2. Simple Power Selection. Playing a psionicist? Pick two powers. No picking a specialty or complicated chains of requirements.
  3. Simple Power Activation. Declare Power, Pay Cost. No roll under system here.
  4. Creative Balanced Powers. I've had power gamers play with this system try to break it, and mostly they discover, psionicists are only as good as the creativity of the person playing them.
  5. Added Value. Of course it has rules. And dozens of powers. And a class. And a selection of kit's/packages. And a Background table. And Items. And Encounter guidelines. And a Combat quick reference sheet.
  6. It's Free!
What are you waiting for! 


  1. I think the title of the "simplest" would have to go to Geoffrey McKinney's Carcosa OD&D supplement. Chances for psionics is about the same as standard D&D. Uses per day start at 1 for level 1-2 characters and increases to 5 times/day for levels 9+. And the powers themselves are a simple list - clairaudience, clairvoyance, ESP, mental blast, mind control, precognition, telekinesis and telepathy. And that's that. Ignore the random element he throws in and it's the most simple psionics system I've seen in any version of D&D.

  2. Of all the systems every officially produced by the copyright holder of D&D. Obviously there are dozens of unofficial variants.


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