The last time I dealt with the psionics system was 40 years ago. I never had anyone play a psionic character when I GMed, but I played a psionic magic-user when my friend GMed. Since, for some reason, my friend only GMed one-on-one sessions with me vs. the larger number of players when I GMed, psionics turned out to be crucial to my character’s survival. Psionic Blast saved my bacon on solo encounters vs. some tough random monsters. I enjoyed my psionic experiences, but although the OD&D and AD&D rules aren’t unplayable, they are really much too clunky, which is why I’ve previously tried to rewrite the system.
But there are a couple things I’d keep, at least conceptually:
- The different feel of psionics for each class (Fighter/Thief psionics are considered yoga in OD&D, for example)
- The rarity of psionic characters
- Slower progression or reduced power in the main class
- Differences in effectiveness of attack modes vs. defense modes
- Very quick psionic combat (multiple attack/defense exchanges in first round)