Sorcerous Origin: Psychic Powers

Sorcerous Origin: Psychic Powers

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Sorcerous Origin: Psychic Powers


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TOTALLY UN-PLAYTESTED -- be the first of your friends and family to try out this exciting new archetype!

My goal was to create a traditional psion using as few rules changes as possible. It turns out, this can be done as a sorcerous origin. It wound up more complex than most sorcerous origins, but still, anyone familiar with how sorcerers works should be able to immediately see how this new option fits into that framework.

This class follows the trend of recent Unearthed Arcana sorcerer options, by providing additional spells at certain levels, similar to a cleric domain, paladin vow, or druid circle of the land. I like this trend, because I think it shores up one of the sorcerer’s real weaknesses (severely limited spells known) without giving the sorcerer as much flexibility as other casters.

The intended role for the Psionic Talent is to have more breadth and utility than most sorcerers, at the cost of some combat capability. For example, compared to the Draconic Bloodline sorcerer, the Psionic Talent has lower armor class and hit points in exchange for Wisdom save and resistance to psychic damage (which is not a very common damage type, especially at low levels). Likewise, the Psionic Talent must spend at least one sorcery point in order to add their Int bonus to damage; Draconic Bloodlines can add their Cha bonus any time they cast a spell of the right damage type.

The 18th-level ability, Psionic Awakening, may be overpowered. No other class ever gains the ability to cast multiple 8th or 9th level spells in a day. This effect is balanced by the fact that it soaks up sorcery points like mad, creating tension between Psionic Awakening and Mental Attack. For example, spending 13 sorcery points to create a 9th-level spell means that there are 13 fewer times that you can use Empowered Spell and add your +5 Int bonus to damage.
  1. slightlyprime
    i really like it, not sure whether intelligence is more fitting than charisma as charisma is force of will, though it is understandable and kinda cool in my opinion.
    only one thing that is questionable is the lvl 18th abilility due to your extra possible casting of high lvl slots, though it is probs fine. personally i would have just given some at will spells such as telekinesis and something else that fits thematically though that might be more broken. overall seems nice thematically and there is nothing even close to breaking the game until maybe 18th lvl though i don't think it would cause problems though others might think so. good job, might try some day in the far future when i am not dm and after i have ticked off some other characters from my list of i must play this.
    thanks.
  2. Sadrik
    Neat. Conceptually I really like the idea of the sorcerer fulfilling the role of Psion. I would like a unique spell list though, or make this one change to sorcerers as a whole: no spell list, pick any spell and clear it by your DM to ensure it fits in you sorcerous origin theme. I would also like to see them all have the subtle spell metamagic and it costing 0 sorcerer points to use.

    Sorcerous Origin: Psionic Talent
    Level 1: Telepathy, Select telepathic or telekinetic: your damage spells do psychic damage or force damage and not their listed damage type and Psychic damage resistance or Force damage resistance. Mental Defense: gain Int and Wis save proficiencyAdded spells as you presented.
    Level 3: Metamagic change for this origin: Subtle spell metamagic costs 0 sorcery points to use.
    Level 6: Mental Attack: Add your Int, Wis, or Cha to your damage rolls, even non-spell attacks.
    Level 14: Mental focus: no change
    Level 18: Psionic awakening: no change

    New Metamagic option:
    Chromatic Spell: costs 2 sorcery point: deal damage of a different type for the spell.
  3. Fralex
    Neat. I, too, made a sorcerous origin for psionics. I'll probably just continue playtesting mine (so far it's worked quite well), but I suggest that if you change Charisma to Intelligence, you make sure Charisma is replaced by Intelligence in multiclass prerequisites, too.
  4. 77IM
    Thanks for your feedback!

    I had a brainstorm last night and added Wild Talent as a feat. Sorcerers can use it to expand their spells-known slightly, and non-sorcerers can get a few minor psionic spells. I tried to make it slightly more powerful than Magic Initiate, but also more limited (kind of fitting with the theme of sorcerers).
  5. 77IM
    Completely Revamped!

    I renamed this to "Psychic Powers" and took it in a slightly different direction. It's MUCH better balanced now; the psychic is more subtle and practical than other sorcerers, and has much better mental defenses, but doesn't really have much offensive oomph. I came up with a list of Psychic Spells but they are not restricted to that; rather, there are benefits to learning and using psychic spells. This lets you play a psychic who can still cast fireball if you want.

    I'm also portraying this more as "psychic" and less "psionic." I'm trying for a vibe that is more like the modern conception of psychic powers -- telepathy, telekinesis, and ESP -- and less of the traditional D&D grab-bag of powers. So old standbys like psychometabolism, psychoportation, and pyrokinesis are deprecated, and metacreativity is right out. (Although some of these things make a return as Wild Talents.) I'm tempted to make the psychic a full class, as it would allow re-introducing these sorts of concepts as subclasses.

    I added some new spells, mostly because there were certain low-level psychic effects that aren't well represented in the sorcerer spell list. I also put in a couple of new magic items. These are usable by all sorcerers but are geared towards psychics. They make up for some of the shortcomings of the sorcerer, contributing to the pragmatic approach of psychics.
  6. Bitbrain
    Dislike the Intelligence spellcasting, but I can ignore that part of it.
    Other than that, this fits perfectly into my Dark Sun-homebrew setting.
  7. Yaarel
    I wish, the core Players Handbook had already included the psion class instead of the sorcerer.

    The psion is distinctive and is a prominent D&D tradition. And covers the concept of ‘innate magic’, and encourages thematic magic. Its flavor and mechanics and tradition is better than the sorcerer. The psion should completely swallow up everything that the sorcerer has to offer. Elemental-kinesis replaces dragon bloodline, psychic healing replaces celestial bloodline, and so on.

    The sorcerer is such a redundant, unnecessary, class in 5e because now every spellcaster casts ‘spontaneously’. Stealing the access by the wizard to metamagic, is more an aggravation than a legitimate design space.

    But a psion. This salient and valuable.
  8. Yaarel
    @77IM

    I recommend my ‘psion spell list’ for your psion too. This spell list is divided up by themes (and by the spell level a spell is actually worth). Pick any two themes from the psionic spell list for your psion character. Maybe a third theme at the highest tiers (psion level 13).

    www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?637963-Psion-Wizard-Spell-List



    Personally, I would probably stick with Charisma because telepathic powers seem especially social.



    An other approach I am contemplating is using different abilities.
    • Charisma for mind themes (telepathy).
    • Intelligence for spirit themes (force telekinesis, or teleportation).
    • Strength for life themes (shapeshifting where animal forms tend to be athletic, or fighters tend to need healing).
    • Constitution for matter themes (aerokinesis, or pyrokinesis).

    Pick any two themes from the spell list, so it shouldnt get too MAD.
  9. Yaarel
    Quote Originally Posted by 77IM View Post
    I'm tempted to make the psychic a full class, as it would allow re-introducing these sorts of concepts as subclasses.
    I would like to see you go this direction. Let the psychic kill the sorcerer and steal its stuff.
  10. 77IM
    Quote Originally Posted by Bitbrain View Post
    Dislike the Intelligence spellcasting, but I can ignore that part of it.
    Other than that, this fits perfectly into my Dark Sun-homebrew setting.
    I'm glad you like it! And let me know how it works out, if you wind up play-testing it. The Charisma thing should be totally fine -- I only switched it to Intelligence for flavor reasons, not balance reasons. (In fiction, the psychic is far more likely to be the brainy one than the likable one. I could see a strong argument for Wisdom as the casting stat, but the game doesn't need any more Wisdom casters right now.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Yaarel View Post
    I recommend my ‘psion spell list’ for your psion too. This spell list is divided up by themes (and by the spell level a spell is actually worth). Pick any two themes from the psionic spell list for your psion character. Maybe a third theme at the highest tiers (psion level 13).

    www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?637963-Psion-Wizard-Spell-List
    I've been following along with this effort and I like where you're going with it. I'd probably do something similar if I made a full class.


    Quote Originally Posted by Yaarel View Post
    An other approach I am contemplating is using different abilities.
    • Charisma for mind themes (telepathy).
    • Intelligence for spirit themes (force telekinesis, or teleportation).
    • Strength for life themes (shapeshifting where animal forms tend to be athletic, or fighters tend to need healing).
    • Constitution for matter themes (aerokinesis, or pyrokinesis).

    Pick any two themes from the spell list, so it shouldnt get too MAD.
    3.0 tried this for Psionics, and it was painful. You either had a very restricted power selection or super bad MAD.

    I think you could make it work by subclass. E.g. if you're primarily into Telepathy, you use Charisma, most of your powers are telepathic in nature, you can pick up some number of other stuff (shapeshifting, telekinesis, what have you) and still use Charisma with them. But you'd get more telepathy powers, and your special abilities would only work in conjunction with telepathy abilities.

    The other thing I could see working, is each category uses the best of two abilities.
    Mind = Cha or Int
    Spirit = Cha or Wis
    Life = Wis or Con
    Matter = Con or Int

    This would allow limited mix+match without getting MAD. Basically if you pick "adjacent" categories you can use the ability they share; if you pick two "opposite" categories you have a MAD of 2 abilities; but picking any 3-4 categories you can still do with a MAD of only 2.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yaarel View Post
    I would like to see you go this direction. Let the psychic kill the sorcerer and steal its stuff.
    Sorcerer is an extremely broad concept that needs to cover a lot of characters. This is one of the reasons it's so hard to design a good sorcerer class. I think "psychic" or "psion" can be portrayed much more limited way, so that it sorta fits inside the sorcerer, which is what I tried to do here, but I'm not sure the reverse is true. I don't think most people would consider Elsa or Rand al-Thor to be psychics. And treating Jean Grey and Eleven as sorcerers is kind of weak, too; it only sorta works. In fact, the only reason to do it this way is in the interest of rules-minimalism: if somebody really wanted to play a psychic, this subclass is just an excuse for reskinning the sorcerer.

    If I were to do Psion as a full class, I would go in a very different direction: I'd make it as weird and sci-fi as possible. When I look at the older D&D use of psionics, especially 2E, I get a very bizarre, weird-fantasy feel, and that's cool. It's why it works in Dark Sun and why newer iterations try to tie it into the Great Old Ones or the Far Realm. (I personally don't like the Far Realm as I think it kind of waters down the existential horror to stick it all in a specific place.) This would bring a lot more to the game, for me.

    I guess I'd rather introduce new fluff to the game (psychic weirdness) using existing mechanics, than rehash old concepts (sorcerer) with new mechanics.

    Although... now that you've got me thinking about it... I may take a stab at a full class just to see if it can be done...

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