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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!

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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plisnithus8

Adventurer
Ah, but look at normal weapons in the PHB. They are listed as "1d8 Slashing" or whatever, same as the soul knife is listed as "1d8 psychic". The bit about adding stat damage to weapon attacks is not in the weapon description itself, but in the combat section as a special general rule for all attacks with weapons. And the soul knife is very specifically "a martial melee weapon". So yes, you add your Dex (or strength I guess) mod to damage.

What you say is what I thought, yet Jeremy's answer in Sage advice seems to say that isn't the case for soul knife for some reason.
 

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plisnithus8

Adventurer
Has it been clarified as the intent? Because the Mind Meld feature doesn't state that the creature can respond. Would make much more sense if that were the case, but RAW it's just as one-way as Telepathy.

From Sage Advice:

"Jeremy Crawford [MENTION=4036]Jeremy[/MENTION]ECrawford
Telepathy in the MM (p. 9) says a creature can respond to a monster's telepathic communication. The mystic's Mind Meld doesn't say that"
 


Azzy

ᚳᚣᚾᛖᚹᚢᛚᚠ
I have many thoughts on the new mystic, but I’ve reached a point of contention that’s causes me some consternation.

I'm curious as to why the wu jen is being stuffed into the psionic class—it's pretty out of nowhere and no basis in the game's history. In fact, "wu jen" literally means "magic person" and was a term coined for the 1e OA, and loosely inspired by Taoist wizards in Chinese folklore. Magic. Not psionics.

In 1e OA, the wu jen was essentially the 1e magic user, with a different spell list (divided up between the five Chinese elements), the ability to add +3 to his initiative roll once per day, the ability to cast a lower-level spell (must be three or more levels less than the wu jen's level) at maximum effect once per day, and the ability to gain mastery of the elements (if you know all the spells of a level you’re capable of casting of an element, your spells of that element are −1 harder to save against and do +1 damage, and you gain a +1 to saves against spells of that element).

Why they didn’t make the wu jen a wizard subclass stupefies me. This psychic wu jen is hardly even similar thematically or ability-wise to the former class—it’s like randomly taking a name and applying it to something unrelated. This discontinuity affects the published setting of Kara Tur as it requires PCs and NPCs to be altered to fit the change. At this point, it would be better not to have a 5e wu jen at all (and make previous wu jen characters simply wizards) rather than shoehorn it into an unrelated class.

Still, if there’s serious intent to bring the wu jen to 5e, just make it a wizard archetype, and convert some (read: all) of the old wu jen spells.
 

Mastery of Weather..."Your mind reaches into the sky, reshaping the stuff of storms to serve your needs"...and they're saying this is not magic? Because that sure sounds like magic to me!
"Psionic disciplines are magical and function similarly to spells." on page 9 under "Using a Discipline"
 

After getting a chance to review it a little, that was my take away as well. There's some interesting and well thought-out design, but on a fundamental level I couldn't make sense of the story behind the class. Then again, D&D has historically embraced psionics with a "kitchen sink" feel, so this feels in line with that.

For example, the three character snippets in the first section ("A human clad in simple robes walks along a forest path", "The militia forms in ranks to prepare for the orcs’ charge", "Baron Von Ludwig was always proud of his grand library") left me uninspired and without a sense of what a mystic is supposed to be.

Order of the Avatar...why does someone need to pursue study of psionics to lend hope, ferocity, and courage to others?

Mastery of Weather..."Your mind reaches into the sky, reshaping the stuff of storms to serve your needs"...and they're saying this is not magic? Because that sure sounds like magic to me!

I think they are saying psychic stuff is magic (http://www.sageadvice.eu/2017/03/14...idered-to-be-dependent-on-the-weave-of-magic/), just magic that you control psychically instead of with spells. I am not quite sure how that is different from what sorcerers are supposed to do (I mean descriptively instead of mechanically). Honestly except for the int part, I think the mystic makes a better sorcerer then the sorcerer does.
 


Mercule

Adventurer
I'm curious as to why the wu jen is being stuffed into the psionic class—it's pretty out of nowhere and no basis in the game's history. In fact, "wu jen" literally means "magic person" and was a term coined for the 1e OA, and loosely inspired by Taoist wizards in Chinese folklore. Magic. Not psionics.

....

Still, if there’s serious intent to bring the wu jen to 5e, just make it a wizard archetype, and convert some (read: all) of the old wu jen spells.
This caught me by surprise, as well, and my gut reaction is similar to yours.

I realized, though, that I have no idea of the origin of the term "wu jen" and whether it even existed prior to the 1E OA. If psionics is now ki, and ki is the Eastern mystical life energy, then I can see where using the term for a sort of psion/Mystic focused on more "flashy" powers makes some sense.

Now, that said, I'm still amazed by just how varied they managed to make the Mystic sub-classes. That one class has what, in former editions, were a handful of very different classes: a warrior, an assassin(ish), and a couple different kinds of specialist mages. It's very impressive that the 5E class system is that flexible, but I find myself wondering if the Mystic isn't a bit too broad. It's almost like a gestalt class that's separated by power source instead of role (combat, skill monkey, caster). I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or not, but it does make me wonder if 6E* could be made to look a bit different, with Rogue, Ranger, and Barbarian rolled into sub-classes of Fighter (or Warrior or whatever) that has its own, robust mechanic that all the classes could draw from to blend skills, combat maneuvers, etc. Likewise, Paladin and (maybe, but probably not) Druid could go under Cleric (or Channeller, etc.) with a similarly coherent mechanic to interact with divine powers that is different from the way arcanists do. It's an interesting idea, but I don't think I'd want to see it play out beyond the pages of a UA/DMs Guild article.

* I'm not speaking about a literal 6E. Instead I'm just giving a name to a hypothetical gestalt-by-power-source structure. I'm also not advocating for it, just leaving some brain droppings.
 

mellored

Legend
I'm not sure I understand why people are concerned with the "bossy" parts of the Ardent's (ahem, Avatar) discipline. Do you play with a bunch of jerks? *I* play with a bunch of loudmouths, and even they wouldn't take the "you chose the target/path" part of the discipline seriously. Sure, it means the Ardent psychically showed the character what to do (or possibly even downright mind controlled them) but every player I have ever played with would more likely play it as "Do you want to hit that guy?" (Player nods) "Okay, hit him!" or "Would it be good if you moved over there?" "Yup, I sure would like to be over there." "Okay, I move you over there." rather than "Mwuhaha! Your characters are my playthings!" That would get a player thrown out of any game I've ever played, including AL, so fast, that no one in their right mind would ever do it. Even if they mistook that it was supposed to WORK that way, they would be politely corrected very, very quickly.
Also keep in mind you can only do that to "allies". Which strongly implies willing target. (And explicitly did in 4e)

PCs have been known to change allegiance at the drop of a hat. Paticularly if they are being abused.
 

bganon

Explorer
What you say is what I thought, yet Jeremy's answer in Sage advice seems to say that isn't the case for soul knife for some reason.

I have to assume that Jeremy misunderstood or was just wrong. Without a stat mod to damage, the soul knife would be a worse weapon than even a dagger, and I find it hard to believe that's the intent.
 

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