Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Psionics and the Dilemma

I've been working on a Science Fantasy supplement for one of the retro-clone rules.  As I talked a little about here, I'm going to include a psionicist as one of the character classes.

First, a little about what I was planning:

As far as the mechanics are concerned, the psionicist (perhaps just psion) would effectively be another spell casting class.  The psionic abilities (talents) would follow a Vancian system whereby the character can only cast (invoke) a set number of talents per day.  That number, and the relative power of the talents, would increase as the character advances in level.  However, whereas "true" Vancian magic limits spell use based upon the ability of the magic user to memorize those spells, the rationale for the psion is that the character is limited by the mental stamina necessary to cast that number in a given day.

However, if the limit is not based on the ability to memorize specific spells but merely the number of times per day that a talent of a given power level could be invoked, the class becomes much more flexible in how it can expend its adventuring resources in a given day.  [In magic user terms, the 1st level MU would not have to worry about whether he should memorize sleep or magic missile with his one slot, because if he knows both, then he can cast whichever he deems most appropriate at the time.]

The challenge then becomes how to restrict the abilities of the class.  Still working on that.  I have some ideas, but I'm not sure which I like the most.

I think that the talent list would borrow from the other spellcasting classes a fair bit, especially those spells that closely mimic what we would consider psionic-type abilities.  I would then create new talents to fill-in the holes that I see.

Those are just some rough thoughts that are guiding the thought process for the design of the class.  Now on to the dilemma:

So today after reading through My Daily Read, I head on over to RPGNow to take a look at the latest offerings and I see this--a psionics class (and entirely new psionics system) for OSRIC.  What is an aspiring game designer to do?  Did these people read my mind?  So now the conundrum: Do I purchase their product, take the bits that I like, and go on from there?  Do I ignore it and pretend that it didn't come out?  Do I immediately decide that the science fantasy supplement on which I am working absolutely NOT be for OSRIC, so as to not risk being accused of stealing their IP?  [I haven't yet decided which retro-clone the supplement was going to support, but this goes a long way in my mind of ensuring that it won't be OSRIC.]

I need to think about this.  I'm really not sure what to do.

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