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The tag has no tag info/wiki, but the tag currently appears on 8 questions. 6 of them are about Pathfinder (all but 1 of those are about the Psychic class, as far as I can tell), and 2 are about D&D 5e. One of those last two is about psychic damage; the other more recent question is apparently asking about psychics "like ones described in the expanded psychic handbook (D&D 3.5)".

There seem to be two other related existing tags, though neither are totally identical.

The tag info says:

For questions about psionics, a pseudo-scientific term referring to unnatural mental powers, including telekinesis, psychometry and telepathy.

The concept of psionics seems similar to the abilities used by the Psychic class in Pathfinder, but it seems like the Psion also exists as a separate class with its own abilities so I'm assuming it's different from psionics somehow.

And the tag info says:

The mystic, also known as the psion, is a class in Dungeons & Dragons that is able to harness innate psionic abilities. These abilities are often distinct from and less common than traditional spellcasting.

Again, the concept seems similar to that of the psychic, but I'm assuming there's some important distinctions. If so, it makes sense that should be its own separate tag.

What exactly should the tag be used for?

Is it distinct from and ? Assuming the tag should remain, should it just cover the Psychic class from Pathfinder (and classes in similar RPGs of the same name) - if not, what kind of questions should it be used for?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You should add your answer as an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Jul 12 at 22:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Akixkisu: The issue is, I don't know if that tag info really is what the tag should cover (and I'm not too familiar with Pathfinder myself). I suppose for now I'll just edit it out, and I can find it in the revision history later if people settle on wanting to keep the tag and keep it focused on the Pathfinder class. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 12 at 22:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ OK, at this point, I think we have pretty good consensus here. Is there any reason I should not go ahead on this? I plan on working on this tomorrow or the day after unless there’s some reason I should not. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 1 at 19:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan: Seems good. I've pinged the other mods to take a look and weigh in, but if that doesn't happen within a day or two I think there's a reasonable consensus around your answer to go ahead with it. The mods can handle the synonymization and tag merging easily, though the subsequent retagging as necessary will need to be done manually. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Sep 1 at 19:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan: I think you're in the clear to move forward on this if you'd like. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Sep 8 at 18:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Cool yeah, I assumed, but it’s been a bit crazy by me so I haven’t gotten around to it. Perhaps tonight or tomorrow. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 8 at 23:30
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History lesson:

  • D&D includes supplemental material detailing “psionics,” a form of supernatural power distinct from “magic.” Something along these lines appears somewhere in each numbered edition of D&D. Instead of Vancian spell slots, psionics uses a point-based system. Narratively, it is a much more “internal” form of power, projected from a mind into reality, which is backed up in various D&D campaign settings (e.g. manifesters in the Forgotten Realms project their own personal “mini-Weave” rather than use Mystra’s or Shar’s as spellcasters do).

    • Notably, “psychic” is often used as an adjective that is synonymous to “psionic,” as for example in the “psychic warrior” class that uses psionics to augment martial prowess.
  • D&D 3.5e releases most of the content from the Expanded Psionics Handbook under the Open Game License, and includes it in its System Reference Document. Being open-game content, psionics is thus opened up for third-party publications, e.g. Hyperconscious.

  • Pathfinder is also based on the open-game content of D&D 3.5e, but Paizo repeatedly states they are uninterested in psionics. Dreamscarred Press, whose founders had contributed to Hyperconscious and who had continued to produce psionics material for D&D 3.5e, switch to Pathfinder relatively early on, producing psionics material for that system in the absence of anything official.

  • Paizo releases Occult Adventures, which includes “psychic magic.” This was magic, not psionics, and there is a fair amount of internal consistency about that, however, the choice to name it “psychic magic,” rather than, say, “occult magic,” and the use of many psionic powers’ names for the psychic spells, produces a massive amount of completely-unwarranted confusion. Dreamscarred Press loses an enormous amount of business almost overnight, and spends a great deal of page-space across an entire line of publications trying to sort out and clarify the differences between the two. (Disclaimer: I contributed to DSP’s efforts to clarify the two.)

    • Occult Adventures also includes a class called the “psychic,” just to add another layer of confusion.
  • D&D 5e releases the mystic, Unearthed Arcana content that showcases how 5e might do psionics. It is again a point-based system, and again says “mystics shun the world to turn their eyes inward” and use “inner, psychic strength.” As Unearthed Arcana material, it is not “official” and psionics in 5e might end up very differently from the mystic as presented.

  • Pathfinder 2e is released, and the sort of magic previously referred to as “psychic magic” is now “occult magic.” The bard is a core occult-magic class, instead of an arcane class as in D&D and Pathfinder 1e.

Which basically explains the confusion we have in our tags: because Occult Adventures chose to confuse things and muddy the waters, it is very easy to misunderstand and misuse these tags. Perhaps worse, until recently we have been using for most of the psychic Pathfinder material, either alongside or instead of . In fact, questions tagged are actually referring to the class psychic.

It seems to me that the folksonomy is looking for four tags here:

  1. Something to refer to the psionics found widely in D&D and elsewhere.

  2. Something to refer to the psychic magic of Occult Adventures and the occult magic of Pathfinder 2e.

  3. Something to refer to the psychic class from Occult Adventures, and again possibly elsewhere.

  4. Something to refer to the mystic class from 5e Unearthed Arcana, and possibly elsewhere.

Both psychic and mystic run afoul of the same problems I raised for the Pathfinder magus, but worse since as a tag it’s not even clear that they are being used as classes, or even as nouns rather than adjectives. But as in that case, the only solution available seems to be to throw up our hands and bite the bullet on it. “Psychic” additionally runs into people mixing it up with “psionics,” since outside of Occult Adventures and the post-OA Pathfinder material, the two words are synonymous—as seen in the 5e mystic’s introduction quoted earlier.

In short, Paizo has done us no favors here, and that’s reflected in the current confusion.

So then, proposals:

  • is created and added to questions asking about the psychic magic of Pathfinder 1e and the occult magic of Pathfinder 2e. Having be the main tag may help reduce the likelihood that someone referring to psionics will use it, and in any event since Pathfinder 2e uses “occult magic” this seems likely to be the official name going forward.

  • is created and synonymized with . This eliminates some of the discoverability problem that had, since someone typing in “psychic” will see it, possibly making Pathfinder 1e players more likely to correctly get on their questions even though that system doesn’t use that term.

  • is removed from relevant questions in favor of . The ultimate fate of may become the subject of a separate meta question if anything more seems to be necessary.

  • is renamed to . I don’t like this, but it seems to me that it’s the only way to clarify to readers that are unfamiliar with the Pathfinder situation that it refers to a class. This tag is removed from any mystic questions and replaced with . This tag is removed from any Pathfinder psychic/occult-magic questions not involving the psychic class, and replaced with .

  • is kept the way it is. Compared to psychic/occult magic, it has a longer history, a wider use outside of a single system (including non-D&D systems), and in any event, there isn’t a useful qualifier for it the way there is for “psychic magic” that clarifies the situation.

  • is kept the way it is. It could become , but I’d prefer to wait until it actually becomes a problem the way and have before doing that.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think making it synonymous with occult-adventures makes sense - that's the name of a specific sourcebook and psychic magic material has been published in other sources since then. It's like saying arcane-magic should be synonymized with core-rulebook. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jul 16 at 17:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk We do have precedent here, e.g. tome-of-battle (though I realize very little other material exists to extend the material in that book). And unlike the core rules, which define many, many things, just about everything in Occult Adventures defines something magical that’s called “psychic” in that book. It’s certainly not ideal, but I think it goes a long way towards making sure a psychic-magic tag doesn’t get misused, which I think is important. I could live with using psychic-magic as the main tag, but on the whole I think this approach is just a bit better. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 16 at 17:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that "mystic" is also a Starfinder class, among other things. \$\endgroup\$ – SirTechSpec Jul 22 at 0:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ This seems reasonable. If we do it, I'd want both psychic-class and psychic-magic to include right in the tooltip "This is about X. For other supernatural powers of the mind, use [psionics]." \$\endgroup\$ – SirTechSpec Jul 22 at 0:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @williamporter Updated my suggestion to no longer recommend occult-adventures for this purpose, instead favoring the occult-magic label used by PF 2e (and that should have been used in 1e). \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Aug 5 at 19:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd upvote, except I don't fully agree. I concur that psychic should be renamed to occult-magic and psychic-magic synonymized with it, I disagree that occult-adventures should be synonymized (or even exist). While yes, some of the content could fall under occult-magic, most content has better suited tags, such as kineticist, class, archetype, feats, spells, or rituals. Instead, the current occult-adventures tag should be merged with occult-magic, but not synonymized, as it may be needed for future use elsew. \$\endgroup\$ – william porter Aug 6 at 16:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @williamporter Synonymizing is one method to effectively prevent a tag from existing: instead of [occult-adventures], everything will be tagged [occult-magic]. If someone tries to use [occult-adventures], it will be converted to [occult-magic]. Since people tried to use it to mean what we mean by [occult-magic], it’s probably better to have them wind up with [occult-magic] than for them to recreate the [occult-adventures] tag. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Aug 6 at 16:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with @williamporter. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Aug 9 at 5:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @williamporter OK, removed the suggestion of synonymizing, that can, if anyone cares, be a separate meta discussion. Most likely no one will care unless or until someone recreates it. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Aug 17 at 15:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok cool thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Aug 17 at 16:48
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The tag is not being used for a specific class.

Instead, it seems to have been used for the psychic system of magic in pathfinder. Which means it should probably be renamed into . Of the 8 questions, only 3 have to specifically do with the psychic class (1 of which is a duplicate created by an impatient asker of one of the other questions).

Additionally, and are different.

In Pathfinder, Psionics refers to the third party set of alternative rules that is an updated version of Psionics from 3.5 for Pathfinder.

Psychic-Magic refers to another kind of magic, akin to arcane and divine magic.

On the subject of the tag.

The tag should not be synonymized with the tag. (OA) is a bad tag on it's own since as a source book tag it suffers from being simultaneously too broad while being too narrow. It's too broad since it has to cover the breadth of material introduced in the book (spells, feats, new magic system, rituals, classes, archetypes, etc), and it's too narrow because it restricts the questions to only ones about content from that book.

This means questions, like this one or this one which are related to material from OA, but not actually about OA content, will be made. Similarly, it means tags about material introduced in OA, like , will be made, because they are narrow enough, yet broad enough, to be useful as a tag, thus making the OA tag redundant on those questions. Similarly, question like this one don't fall under the OA tag, because despite being about a class that was released in OA, they do not deal with material from OA.

Finally, we shouldn't need a tag for a source book, instead questions about content in a source book should have tags related to the content they are asking about (eg. ). Sometimes this could even be the same as the name of the source book (eg. ). However, just like we don't need a or tag, we don't need a tag for each source book.

What should we do.

  1. Turn into , and update the tag wiki accordingly.

    • The tag excerpt for it should be something like "For questions about the Psychic magic ruleset used in Pathfinder. For questions about mental powers, or Psionics see the Psionics tag."
    • The wiki post should be something like "A Pathfinder ruleset introduced with the book Occult Adventures released in July 2015, the Psychic Magic rules provide an another form of magic designed to used alongside Arcane and Divine Magic."
  2. Burninate the tag, it's not useful.

  3. Leave and the way they are, no need for changes.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jul 17 at 20:48

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