Unearthed Arcana 5E Psionics Alert! The Mystic Is Back In Unearthed Arcana

It's back! The long-awaited new version of the mystic - 5th Edition's psionic class - is here. "The mystic class, a master of psionics, has arrived in its entirety for you to try in your D&D games. Thanks to your playtest feedback on the class’s previous two versions, the class now goes to level 20, has six subclasses, and can choose from many new psionic disciplines and talents. Explore the material here—there’s a lot of it—and let us know what you think in the survey we release in the next installment of Unearthed Arcana." Click the image below for the full 28-page PDF!

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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English is hardly unique in an irregular copula. At least we have only one, unlike a lot of languages such as Spanish which possess two (or in some cases more!).
Yeah, that was kind of my point. There's a deeper pattern that copulas and other very common words tend not to follow patterns. Why is that? Much more interesting figuring that out than just saying, "The third-person singular form of the copula ought to be *bis!"
 

cbwjm

Legend
So, wait...Do we have to start saying "Athleticists," now?

Is "Diabetes" a psionic class or background?

I'm so confused.

Diabeticist. My psionic abilities include not drinking anything at least an hour before a movie so that I can get through it without having to do a toilet rush halfway through, and getting super shaky because I haven't eaten anything for a while and the sudden exercise of walking into town is causing my blood sugar to tank.
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
I like the way the Mystic class organizes powers into themes.

• A psionic "discipline" ≈ theme (a thematic cluster of spells) (taxonomy: family or genus)
• A psionic "order" ≈ a super-theme (a school of spells) (taxonomy: order)
• A psionic power (vague in the Mystic class as a "discipline" "action") ≈ a sub-theme (a spell) (taxonomy: species)

The discipline as a cluster of spells ensures a thematic esthetic, but is quite flexible. The Mystic can gain whichever thematic disciplines the player wants.

Also, this mechanic is freeform. So, it is easy for a DM to modify a discipline by converting a spell into a new psionic power and adding it into a psionic discipline, also by removing powers from a discipline, or to invent a new discipline that is a thematic cluster of spells that the DM is happier with for a particular setting.

I would be ok, if all spells for all classes organized thematically this way.
 
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cbwjm

Legend
Actually, thinking if the mystic disciplines and the DL Saga sorcery and mysticism has made me want to try out a free form spell creation system using certain parameters with point costs to create your spells. A sorcerer might have access to a few realms of sorcery to create their spells while being specialised in one which reduces the cost of spells of their specialty.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Psionic Mastery needs a rewrite that includes the ability to perform as a full caster.

There is a concern that the Mystic is substandard at higher levels.

Currently, the Mystic is a half-caster, or even a gimped full caster. The Mystic cannot do psionic powers that are equal to spell-slot level 6 spells (9 points), slot 7 spells (10 points), slot 8 spells (11 points), or slot 9 spells (13 points).

It seems to me the designers have gimped this Mystic class, similar to the way that designers gimped the 3e Sorcerer class and the 3e Bard class. The 5e versions of Sorcerer and Bard feel better as full casters, with normal access to spell slot level 9 spells. They work fine as full casters, and it was unnecessary to gimp them at upper levels.

Given the design philosophy of 5e, there are four categories of spell levels. Slot-levels 1 and 2 are apprentice spells. Slot-levels 3, 4, and 5, are ‘adventurer’ spells, like Fireball. The slot-levels 6, 7, and 8 are ‘master’ spells. And slot level 9 is legendary spells, like Wish.

The Mystic class handles the master and legendary levels separately, via the "Psionic Mastery" class feature. This feature supplies extra points buts gimps access to master and legendary abilities. I feel handling these higher levels by a separate feature is ok. But its current iteration has a number of problems, and the concern here is, it performs at a significantly inferior manner in comparison to other full casters. Psionic Mastery needs a rewrite that includes the ability to perform as a full caster.

The Mystic class lacks access to master spells (slots 6, 7, 8), and legendary spells (slot 9).

The thing is, a legendary Celerity Mystic should be getting Time Stop (slot 9, 13 points), and there is no reason to gimp the Mystic class.

And so on.
 
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tglassy

Adventurer
That's actually similar to what a friend of mine and I are trying to create for our own RPG. A spell casting system where the magic user actually creates their own spells, by combining certain factors and effects.

For example, you'd have one effect, like ice manipulation. You can add a targeted effect, like Self, Single target, or AOE.

So a self targeted defensive Ice spell would be Ice Armor. A Self targeted Attack Ice spell might be an ice Punch, or adding cold damage to your melee attacks. You get the picture.

It could even work for Illusions. Self, target, or AOE, is the difference between Disguise Self, Silent Image or Major Image. Audio and Visual can be other aspects you could add to the spell.

As a Character grows in power, they get access to new abilities, and new forms of 'metamagic' since that's what it really is, but no ability can be used without at least one Metamagic, and you have to choose from the beginning how to use that.

Like, at level 1, you decide to pick Fire as a "spell effect". It states that a foe hit by a fire attack gets 1d8 worth of damage per level up to 10d8. But you can't access the "Target" effect until level 3, or the AOE effect until level 5, or something like that. So you can really only do touch attacks with it until you learn better shapes. Maybe by level 9 or something, you get the "Wall" shape.

But there is no "Fireball" spell. It's just the "Fire" spell, shaped as an AOE. And of course, whatever "Shaping" effects you add would increase the 'spell points' it requires, or whatever system you have in place.

Everything else, such as appearance of the spell or whatnot, is just fluff and up to the character. Like the skeletal hand of Chill Touch. Why a hand? Why not a tendril of smoke? That should just be fluff, and up to the player as to how it looks.

But you'd basically be mixing and matching effects with shapes and various other abilities, literally creating your own spells.
 

cbwjm

Legend
That's actually similar to what a friend of mine and I are trying to create for our own RPG. A spell casting system where the magic user actually creates their own spells, by combining certain factors and effects.

For example, you'd have one effect, like ice manipulation. You can add a targeted effect, like Self, Single target, or AOE.

So a self targeted defensive Ice spell would be Ice Armor. A Self targeted Attack Ice spell might be an ice Punch, or adding cold damage to your melee attacks. You get the picture.

It could even work for Illusions. Self, target, or AOE, is the difference between Disguise Self, Silent Image or Major Image. Audio and Visual can be other aspects you could add to the spell.

As a Character grows in power, they get access to new abilities, and new forms of 'metamagic' since that's what it really is, but no ability can be used without at least one Metamagic, and you have to choose from the beginning how to use that.

Like, at level 1, you decide to pick Fire as a "spell effect". It states that a foe hit by a fire attack gets 1d8 worth of damage per level up to 10d8. But you can't access the "Target" effect until level 3, or the AOE effect until level 5, or something like that. So you can really only do touch attacks with it until you learn better shapes. Maybe by level 9 or something, you get the "Wall" shape.

But there is no "Fireball" spell. It's just the "Fire" spell, shaped as an AOE. And of course, whatever "Shaping" effects you add would increase the 'spell points' it requires, or whatever system you have in place.

Everything else, such as appearance of the spell or whatnot, is just fluff and up to the character. Like the skeletal hand of Chill Touch. Why a hand? Why not a tendril of smoke? That should just be fluff, and up to the player as to how it looks.

But you'd basically be mixing and matching effects with shapes and various other abilities, literally creating your own spells.
Part of what I was thinking was also combining spell effects, for instance, allowing casters to create a spell that combines air and fire to create a burst of heated air that burns and pushes back creatures around the caster.

I may check out similar systems and see how they worked as and aid to adapting this system to 5e.
 

Chryssis

Explorer
I would argue that the Mystic is a more versatile, higher performing half caster. (at least immortal/soul knife) lvl 5 spells reached at same speed as a full caster, however while a full caster could cast 1 a Mystic could cast 8, this means they are perhaps overpowered in the 1-15 levels (the most common), even as progression continues the ability to cast up to 12 lvl 5 spells and unless i misread (I could have) twice as fast (action+bonus action) - more as a soul knife (and concentrate on multiple effects) is comparable until maybe those game breaking lvl 9 spells.
 

Xeviat

Hero
Mystic is the same as a warlock in their Spell access. Psionic Mastery just needs to be revised and each discipline needs a 9 and 11 pp power.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Actually, thinking if the mystic disciplines and the DL Saga sorcery and mysticism has made me want to try out a free form spell creation system using certain parameters with point costs to create your spells. A sorcerer might have access to a few realms of sorcery to create their spells while being specialised in one which reduces the cost of spells of their specialty.
A cautionary note: I would recommend against allowing characters to do this on the fly. It's annoying having to wait for the sorcerer player to cook up a new spell and calculate its cost every round. Let them "practice" their spell-forms on a short or long rest.
 

There are a number of games where you can cook up a spell or power on the fly, even as a matter of course - Ars Magica, Mage, Champions! VPPs, etc - it's not so crazy.
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
The Mystic needs access to 13 pp powers, to function as a normal full caster.

We know from design experience of the 3e Sorcerer, "the red-headed step child", that spamming low-level spells never equals access to the highest level spells of a full caster.

Mystic is the same as a warlock in their Spell access. Psionic Mastery just needs to be revised and each discipline needs a 9 and 11 pp power.
 

JValeur

Explorer
I'm seeing my first Mystic in play today - I'm quite excited. The most immediate balance fix we made was to limit the number of Disciplines slightly, so that your subclass grants you only 1 discipline, instead of 2, and you gain new disciplines at levels 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 - meaning you will wind up with 8 disciplines instead of 10. At least half your disciplines must be from your subclass - further limiting the diversity of the class slightly, since I suspected that might irk some of the other players. This of course creates some imbalance with the Soul Knife, but since that won't feature in our game at the present, I'm not concerned about that. As for disciplines, the only one I've banned is the Diminution one. It seems gamebreaking at a glance, to me.

We're picking up at level 8, but I would definitely make some higher 'mysteries' to mimic spell levels 6 through 9, that can each be cast once per day, and remove the weirdly confusing (and likely gamebreaking) psionic mastery. But I'll look into that as we go along.
 

Grakarg

Explorer
Wierd.
Why does the Avatar have access to do bonus healing when psionic healing is done, but none of the Avatar disciplines do any healing?
Why does the Soul Knife gain access to martial weapons? The whole point of that class is to use the psi-blades it gives you- not being able to wield a maul, halberd, greataxe, or something.

Overall I like it, it seems like it adds some cool ideas. But it still needs some work as there are clearly some things that don't really synergize with how the subclasses seem like they are supposed to work.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
The Mystic, via the current iteration of Psionic Mastery, lacks access to 6th-level spells and up.

As it is now, the Mystic has moreorless fullcaster access until 5th level spells (7 points). But from then on, the Mystic is severely gimped, and has no access to spells of 6th and up.



Keep in mind the equivalent nomenclature for tier, level, power point cost, and spell slot level.

Code:
[B]Tier             Class Level    Power Point Cost    Equivalent Spell Level Slot[/B] 

Adventurer Tier        Level 5        5 Point Power        3rd Level Spell Slot
                       Level 7        6 Point Power        4th Level Spell Slot
                       Level 9        7 Point Power        5th Level Spell Slot

Master Tier            Level 11    [COLOR=#0000CD]   9 Point Power[/COLOR]        6th Level Spell Slot
                       Level 13       [COLOR=#0000CD]10 Point Power[/COLOR]       7th Level Spell Slot
                       Level 15       [COLOR=#0000CD]11 Point Power[/COLOR]       8th Level Spell Slot

Legend Tier            Level 17       [COLOR=#0000CD]13 Point Power[/COLOR]       9th Level Spell Slot
 
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cbwjm

Legend
A cautionary note: I would recommend against allowing characters to do this on the fly. It's annoying having to wait for the sorcerer player to cook up a new spell and calculate its cost every round. Let them "practice" their spell-forms on a short or long rest.
Ideally, I think I would ask players to create some preferred spells to speed up play coming up with a response to specific encounters when necessary. If they create them during the turns of others it shouldn't be too bad but the proof would be in testing it.

Actually, creating a "spellbook" of preferred spells could make those spells cheaper to use. I think this was an option in DL Saga.
 

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