Psionics are different in that they’re more self contained.
In fantasy, depending on the magic system, as soon as there’s a wizard, his magic, and the nature thereof, may or may not hog the plot, as needy as a primadonna. In sci-fi, a psychic’s abilities may be used as a convenient plot device on occasion, but besides that, their only plot importance is ‘DAMN! THEY’RE SCARY!’ because they can do things others can’t, and even this is usually only when they or their powers(if they come into having this powers after they’re introduced) are introduced.
In settings where magic is all dependent on one force or ‘everything is dependent on everything else, always’ is applied to magic(I generally hate this kind of magic system), magic tends to hog the plot because this kind of magic generally permeates/is centered on the world in which the plot takes place.
The kind of magic system I like is where wizards and the like behave like psionics do in sci-fi. They have their own power, create their own energy(applying the laws of thermodynamics to the supernatural world is ghey), and shape it by their own power. I additionally have gripes about the right name being used for specific types of spellcaster based on the archetypes, for instance if you have a type of spellcaster whose magic is hereditary, whose main means of using it involves emotions and/or very little actual thought process, and who see magic as a surrogate for intelligence/wisdom/knowledge, and then call that type of spellcaster a wizard, Bikie Wars - I'm Gonna Fucking Kill You - YouTube
I know everyone’s system is their own, but people should at least try to make sense with which names they pick for their different types/kinds of spellcaster. Witches and warlocks should generally be more sinister/wild, sorcerers should be ‘natural’(not as in getting their powers from the natural world, but rather as in using their powers with the same ease as you’d move a part of your body), and should be based around power above knowledge, oracles should be connected to something higher, even if their powers are their own, clerics should either not have their own power but borrow their god’s, or have their own power fueled by their faith in their god. The list goes on and on.
In my own magic system, I started out with mages and sorcerers. Mages draw fundamental energy of reality from their soul through their consciousness, and shape it with their mind, while sorcerers create and shape energy with their heart, broadly creating a thought/emotion dichotomy. However, since they weren’t technically just separated by this dichotomy, I made a more direct mental counterpart to the sorcerer, aptly named the psychic. I then used ‘psionic’ as the term for someone with both types, representing one with the power of the undivided psyche.
I have to admit, my magic system is kind of like ‘implied billiard balls’ with heavy emphasis on the ‘mages are just supernatural scientists’ thing, which, to be fair, I think is the whole point of mages. However, the general ‘billiard balls’ thing is mitigated by the fact that the complexity of the whole multiverse and everything in it makes knowing everything to the point where everything feels mechanical is more or less impossible for any in-universe character. In addition, while wizards and mages know everything about their magic, it’s not all explained piece by piece on an atomic level within the narrative, making arcane magic(that is to say, mage/wizard magic) something like a more believable version of cartoon science. I say more believable because it makes more sense for something magical to do something magical, rather than our realm of dusty old atoms to give rise to a machine that can be used to displace oneself in time(which I believe to be outside of space).
I guess I mainly am of the opinion that, while non-mechanical spirity stuff beyond comprehension has its place in fantasy, I also like ‘non-material physics’, that is, mechanical, controllable supernatural parts of reality that don’t require ‘reverence’ because they aren’t gods, just stuff that you can control or even create, that aren’t bound by the laws of physics, even though they can interact with the material world.
Well…that’s definitely given me a lot to think about.
Thanks, I think?