Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nope, Not Gonna' Do It

I' ve decided against throwing psionics into my B/X Companion, intriguing as the idea may have seemed last week. There are three reasons for this:

- B/X monsters aren't psionically inclined...which means I'D feel inclined to include a whole slew of them in my Companion. Not only are there space considerations involved with such a thing, there is the potential pitfall of throwing psionics on monsters that wouldn't generally have them simply to include more critters that use the new rules. Quality over quantity, dammit!

- No ret-conned campaigns...people who've been playing B/X for years with nary a whiff of psionic activity and suddenly a bunch of psychic critters come out of the woodwork? No thank you. I hate this kind of thing.

- No ret-conned players...I hate THIS even more. When the Master Rules introduced weapon mastery the real bone wasn't the power-hog factor, it was the sudden retro-conning creating super-swordsmen out of high level characters. Same goes for the RC (and Gazetteer) introducing non-weapon proficiencies (i.e. skills) to the game system. Keep It Simple Stupid is Axiom #1.

So while I appreciate the illithid and would love to throw in some similarly psychic-types for my B/X rules, well...I'm gonna' pass. Maybe I'll introduce a half-squid monstrosity with mind-blowing powers in some future B/X module. Well, I guess there's already the kopru, right?

[hmm...this also means that any future B/X conversions of AD&D modules will be totally non-Psionic; kind of puts D1 on hold, huh?]


  1. I find psionics intriguing conceptual but problematic in practice. My experience with them was pre-AD&D when we were using Holmes Basic D&D and then purchased the 0e supplements. It didn't go so well.

  2. I was kind of hoping for psionics myself, but i can't argue with your reasoning.

  3. There's also Castle Amber's Brain Collector for your Illithid analogue needs.

    That said, Illithids would be a snap in B/X--what I like about B/X monsters is they simply have the ability to do whatever that monster is capable of, with no need to introduce new mechanics (unless you really want to, like an INT-drainging attack, or whatever).

  4. Monsters have all sorts of special abilities that players don't. Don't see why one couldn't use mind-flayers as the only "psionic". Just stat up a few abilities for them, mix with fluffy descriptions and bam, done!

  5. Agreed, I approve of the non-psionics route. And if you should happen to whip up a good non-technically-psionic Illithid-analogue, please share! I have been meaning to work on this one myself but it hasn't happened quite yet.

  6. Entirely agree with you on this.

    3E did non-psionic illithids by saying they used magic. I think you can use the Penny Arcade defence for reasoning.

  7. In one issue of Fight On!, James M. had a Brain Demon which was just a Mind Flayer with magic powers instead of psioncis. Works fine.

  8. @ Everyone...thanks for the vote of approval. Glad I'm not disappointing folks!

    RE: Illithids.

    I think the mind flayer is a great monster and a cool villainous species (as a plotting "master race" type group). I probably will work up my own version because a) I'm not sure I like the idea of flayers as magical (not "alien" enough for me), and b) because that's just what I do. So stay tuned, people!