Saturday, October 8, 2011

Old School Psionics - the final word

As long time readers of this blog knows, I started a project to clone Supplement III since I am fond of psionics. I have reached the end of the road of that project, and it wont materialize as intended.

The fact is that when you delve deeper into Supplement III, you realize that this some of the worst written rules in the D&D canon. The editing is abysmal and the rules contradictory and clunky.

There are two ways to approach this, one is to rewrite it to conserve the feel or the other is to try to untangle the mess and present it the way it was intended. I had intended to do the latter, but I found it was way harder than expected. Partly I guess that comes from loosing all respect for the original after spending some time with it. I also felt the tug to just write my own, but then it would not be a clone.

But, after all those negative vibes I am happy to say that someone have managed to create a set of rules that have that old school feeling, preserve thrust of the original and are clear and lucidly presented. I direct you to the Retroroleplaying blog by Randall Stukey. Randall have written the very cool Microlite 74 and Microlite 75 rules, and those contain a very workable and excellently presented rules for psionics, in the spirit and style of Supplement III.

My project floundered, but at least someone managed to present something instead. My hat off to Randall for his great work.


  1. I agree that the Supplement III Psionics rules are a mess. However, when they came out, they were just what I needed to run a campaign in my Arn setting (originally developed for novels before I discovered I can't write fiction) as the Empire of Arn is ruled by folks with psionic abilities. Over the years, I managed to come up with a psionics system that worked and I included in "Microlite-ified" version of it in The latest version of Microlite74 -- those interested will find the optional psionics rules in the Microlite74 Companion Volume 1: Optional Rules book.

    Theses rules could be ported to any "old school" edition of the world's most popular fantasy RPG with a bit of effort. The effort would mainly come from reworking the extra XP per level psionic powers cost to match the desired system.

  2. Does this mean that your blog is shutting down?
    --I certainly hope that this is not the case.

  3. Randall,

    I'm probably going to do just that kind of "porting" myself. Now I only have to decide which version of the game to use...

  4. Timeshadows,

    Nope, just the cloning project. It does gives me a nice feeling of egoboo to hear I would be missed, though. :)

  5. ...come to think of it. I think I would use M74 as is instead of porting. Yes.


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