Dragon Magazine: Player Advice Collection (Part 5 of 6)

These are my reading notes of various Dragon Magazine articles. Learn more about the collection here.

This time the topic is Psionics. All articles bellow are from a Dragon Magazine #78 which dealt exclusively with Psionics in AD&D 1e.

Psionics is different... And that's putting it rather mildly

Author: Arthur Collins Issue: Dragon Magazine #78 Rating: ★★★★★

Arthur does a great job of explaining psionics, highlighting some issues, and offering potential workarounds. Authors often intertwine rules-as-written with their house rules, so I'm very grateful to Arthur for explicitly signposting what is RAW, what is his interpretation, and what is his proposed change.

Funny enough, his take on psionics is very much how I like to run things:

Let your player characters find out the hard way (if they ever do find out) that so-and-so is one of them. ... Let the possibility of psionics always be in the background, lurking around, waiting to surprise, horrify, and delight them.

This is a must-read for anyone interested in 1e psionics.

Overhauling the system: A three-part remedy for problems with psionics

Author: Robert Schroeck Issue: Dragon Magazine #78 Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

A title that oversells the content which ultimately boils down to three issues experienced by Robert. :

  1. Too strong level 1 characters » change psionic point acquisition.
  2. Psionic combat is black box to players » decide how much information to give based on the level of character with psionic talent.
  3. Player characters stop using psionic powers at higher levels » make their psionic powers atrophy when unused.

This is a brief two page article, but it just feel like filler compared to the comprehensive Psionics is different... by Arthur Collins.

Initially I ranked this one with two stars, but reduced it to one star because it introduces issues in one way (power, combat, non-use) and then solutions in different way (power, non-use, combat). Unforgivable.

And now, the pscionicist: A class that moves psionics into the mainstream

Author: Arthur Collins Issue: Dragon Magazine #78 Rating: ★★★★★

Arthur does it the second time in the same issue. Carefully thought out Psionicist class which can coexist with those who have psionic talents.

It is for those characters who want to dedicate themselves to mastering the Talent. In addition to fleshing out the class, it also introduces several new Minor and Major Disciplines, as well as completely new Grand Disciplines.

Six new magic items are offered as well: shiral crystal, jerraman crystal, merasha (potion), transfer portal, mind link medallion, and wards major matrix.

Although the class slots in nicely with AD&D 1e rules, I personally will probably use it to flesh out Psionicist NPC rather than giving it to the players. Either way. it is a ell written article that I'll definitely include in the final collection.

Spells can be psionic, too: How and why magic resembles mental powers

Author: Kim John Issue: Dragon Magazine #78 Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

“Mom, what does this mean?”

“Mooom, what does this meeeaaan?!”


Kim addresses why “spells resembling psionic powers” resemble psionic powers in six gruelling pages of dense, small three-column text.

Here, let me sum it up for you:

Characters and creatures who use psionic disciplines or related powers may not have the slightest inkling of the nature of the forces they're tapping; the important thing is that those forces obviously can be tapped and use for the benefit of the one who does so.

“Mom, what does this mean?”

“Mooom, what does this meeeaaan?!”


What, you want really detailed explanation for each damn psionic power that resembles a spell? Then go read the full article.

No, this one won't make it into the final collection.

Psionics: Sage advice

Issue: Dragon Magazine #78 Rating: ★★★★★

Great complement to two articles by Arthur Collins.

Questions answered are:

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