The Power of the Mind – Psionics in AGE

While working through the AGE of Eberron modification (possibly to be renamed as Fourth AGE: Eberron!) I ran into the issue of psionics. Psionics are certainly a part of the Eberron setting—possibly more so than most other fantasy background. The Dal Quor, kalashtar, Inspired, etc are all psionic features. But as I was thinking about how to model that I realised that I certainly didn’t want to (or have the time for) replicate the entire 3.5/Pathfinder psionic system, which—to be frank—seems to be more like an alternate magic system, with dozens of powers (spells) and so on.

I remembered that the old Traveller RPG had a simpler psionic system, so dug the old books out of the loft and had a look. This is the result: the psionic talents give quite broad based talents, but I’ve added specializations based on the PF prestige classes like Soul Knife, Psion and so on. This is just version 0.1 – I’d love some feedback!

Power of the Mind – AGE Psionics v0.1

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8 Responses to The Power of the Mind – Psionics in AGE

  1. Dragon Son says:

    Hello there, I’m new to Dragon Age, actually just getting started on my first campaign, but I’ve been GMing for some years now.

    I must say that I really like your work on converting psionics to the AGE system, in a psionics heavy setting like Eberron though, I believe that it would be more appropriate as a separate power system, much like magic.
    The thing is that while I think that this approach would be better suited, I find your system much better. I like the fact that you work with thematic effectts based on central theme. Furthermore, the fact that the psionic disciplines works through talents, instead of individual spells, leaves plenty of room for improvization on behalf of the player, which I always believe to be a great addition in any system. Overall I’m really impressed! Good job!

    I also checked your other work, the Conan conversion, and I really liked it as well, the fact that you maintained the magic system based on effects, rather than specific spells, with various factors that decrease or increase the difficulty is nice once again, however I think that Conan is better suited to the pulp feel of specific spells than an effect based magic system, don’t get me wrong, the system is very nice, I just think that it does not fit so good to our barbarian friend and his brutal pulp world.

    Congrats man, keep up the good work! I would actually like to help you with rules hacks that you might have in mind, but I’d prefer if it had something to do with the AGE system, concerning Dragon Age in particular, I could also help with a DnD conversion to AGE that will use DnD 3.5 as its basis, as I have been GMing DnD for about 6 years.


    • Vaelorn says:

      Hi! Thanks for your kind words!

      One of the things that’s always bothered me a bit about a lot of psionic systems is that they come across as just another ‘magic’ system. And I really didn’t have time to redo a bunch of spells as psi-powers! Having said that I’m working on an update with some more powers and an experimental psion class, which is based around getting more psi-strength and psionic talents.

      The magic system in the Conan mod (which is not mine BTW!) is kind of a stop-gap measure until I can come up with setting specific spells and magic schools. As posters on Green Ronin’s forums have said, sorcery in the REH books is a matter of uncovering ancient learning and forbidden knowledge, which is difficult to do in an RPG unless that’s the entire focus of the game. The current system does at least make sorcery more personal to the individual mage. I have started converting the spells from the Conan RPG using that system but it’s slow going!

      This also applies to the Eberron/Dragon Hack mod, of course, where I’m looking at converting some of the Pathfinder spells. Also slow going!

      So if I can get some time I hope to push out a new version of the Conan mod (including alchemy, poisons, herbalism, more sorcery and some monsters) as well as the first pass of the Eberron mod (I’ve finally got a version of an Artificer specialization that I’m happy with!)

  2. Dragon Son says:

    To be honest I don’t think that one has to convert ALL the spells of Eberron/Pathfinder when using a different system to run these games. This is a herculean task and I don’t think that it is actually needed. One of the things that I really like about Dragon Age/AGE is it’s simplicity, overloading the game with spells, as in DnD products, would only make the game more complex in my humble opinion. Don’t let me discourage you from your task, that’s just my opinion, otherwise I actually believe that AGE is better suited to handle sword and sorcery than d20!

    • Vaelorn says:

      Oh I agree, and I don’t intend to convert all of them (there are over 600 in PF!). What I’d like to do is convert some of the more iconic ones so that the mod retains the flavour of D&D/PF. The DA spells are ‘targeted’ at the DA world and draw on the DA lore, but mechanically cover a lot of the same things as D&D/PF. Note that there is actually a lot of material out there for alternative DA spells. There was a posting on the Green Ronin forums (quite some time ago) that converted all of Green Ronin’s Blue Rose RPG’s spells to the DA format. And there was a Mystara conversion that also has some spells. In all I have 248 on my list – and that’s not counting the one’s introduced by the recent Midgard Campaign Setting.

      So much material, so little time!

  3. Dragon Son says:

    I’d also like to ask you a question. One of the things that kinda bother me with AGE, is that Magic as a basic ability, is next to useless for a non-mage, non-Templar. Seeing that you know AGE better than me, do you have a hack to propose in order to make Magic a bit more useful for non-mages? I don’t know if this has bothered you as well but I’d like to know your opinion on the matter.

    • Vaelorn says:

      I agree that Magic does seem like a ‘dump stat’ for all non mages, but I guess you could say that mages would not take Strength increases. I think there are some spells that can be resisted using Magic in the test (i.e. Magic -v- Spellpower). If you expanded upon that mechanism there would be more incentive for warriors to increase their Magic stat. There have also been some specialisations (I think the Midgard setting introduced one) that allow non-mages access to spells, so Magic would be important for that.

      I can’t say that it bothers me particularly, as there is a law of diminishing returns for ability increases. A mage could get a Magic score of 6 or 7, but that would cost them a lot of advancements. Remember that the test is rolled using a 3d6, so once you’re comfortably over the peak in the probability distribution (say at +3 or +4) any additional increases have a much smaller effect – relatively speaking.

  4. Hays McGee says:

    I really enjoyed this approach you took to a psionics system as it would be laid out for the Fantasy AGE Core system. It goes very well with the magic system they have in place. However that being said I personally prefer the approach used in the Dragon AGE system to individual spells rather than having magic based around talents. While one offers interesting mechanical diversity for improvisation, most players who are use to spell systems (IE D&D, Rifts, Pathfinder, Hackmaster, Numenera, etc.) that are more familiar, prefer that type of system. So it all depends on the all around feel your going for and what your goals may be. All in all I think you did a decent job with this and just a bit of play-testing would flesh it out and tell you where you would need the up the power or knock it back.

    On a side note, if you want to really capture the Conan feel with a particular game system that offers great customization, combat that is just as gritty with a stunt like system (As in the AGE system) and magic that is right on the mark for the world, look into RuneQuest 6th edition by The Design Mechanism. It’s a fantastic system (though it can be complex at first look) and it can offer some amazing gaming. You can pick up both the Essentials guide and the full books in PDF Format from or the physical copies from

    Roll well my friend!

  5. Vaelorn says:

    Thanks Hays! The psionics stuff was developed with the Dragon Age rules, not the newer Fantasy Age ones, so it’s possible that it would fit better into the newer format. The problem with psionics generally is that they end being “some other way” to do magic – hence the reason that the psi powers are talents rather than spells.

    I’m familiar with RQ but as I get older I’m moving towards simpler mechanics – I’ve come to the conclusion that *systems* don’t make great gaming and that a lot of the complexity in character design, magic, combat manoeuvres etc doesn’t really matter… Take a look at the new Conan games currently being develop, for example. It uses a “2d20” system which is meant to ramp up the risk/reward system and encourage players to act in a suitably heroic fashion – but my guess is it will be bogged down in excessive book-keeping…

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