Psychics vs Psions (3.5e Variant Rule)
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Psychics vs Psions
Psychics are similar in some respect to psions from the Psionics Handbook. However, there are some significant differences between the two classes, perhaps more depending on how psychic abilities are treated in the campaign.
Psychic talents are based on and work like skills whereas psionic powers are more like spells. A psychic generally has fewer psychic skills than a psion has psionic powers, but a psychic’s skills improve over time, whereas a psion’s existing powers don’t change, the psion simply learns new powers or acquires improved versions of existing ones. Psychic skills are also generally broader than psionic powers, capable of many different tasks or effects.
Psychic skills are often situational, with their effects determined by the character’s skill rank, the result of the skill check, and the conditions under which the skill is used. Psionic powers tend to be more dependable and predictable, having the same effect every time they are used. An individual psionic power may have some variability to it, but its overall effects are always the same. Psychic skills can vary greatly in both difficulty and effect depending on how they’re used and how skilled the psychic is in their use.
Psionic powers have certain visual, auditory, and other noticeable effects associated with their use. Psychic powers, by contrast, tend to be quite subtle, virtually invisible, and undetectable except to characters with the appropriate psychic senses.
Perhaps most importantly, psions have a pool of power points they draw upon to fuel their psionic powers. Psychic skills are tiring to use and cause strain to the user in the form of nonlethal damage. A psion with no power points remaining cannot use any psionic powers but is otherwise unaffected. A psychic with too much nonlethal damage is severely fatigued or unconscious. This generally means that psychic skills are more of a strain on the user than psionic powers. Gamemasters who want to change any of these assumptions should consult Customizing Psychic Abilities for ways to modify psychic skills to make them more or less like psionic powers and spells.