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5E Brief Report on the Mystic


Sunday we wrapped up a 5 game set in Eberron that went from Level 1 to 11. I played a Mystic using WotC's playtest rules put out in 2017.


While 1 to 11th is technically only "half the levels", it covers the half that the vast majority of campaigns actually run in, so I think I gave the class a pretty good test run. I selected the Order of the Awakened as my subclass. By the time I retired the character at 11th level he had the following Talents/Disciplines

Mind Thrust
Mystic Hand
Mind Slam (Not sure I ever actually used this one as I didn't take it until level 10.)

Aura Sight
Mastery of Ice
Mastery of Water
Nomadic Step
Psionic Restoration
Psychic Assualt
Telepathic Contact

Note that I used the ability to switch out a Discipline upon level up liberally in early levels, so at various points in the campaign I tried out Mastery of Force and Psychic Disruption.

Overall, my DM declared that the Mystic was "Tier A, but not quite overpowered." I think I'd agree with that assessement.

One of the most powerful abilities the Mystic has is the ability to target Intelligence saves. Mind Thrust was my bread and butter early on, Psychic Assault came into its own with Ego Whip (a single target shutdown) and later Psychic Crush, and then the Telepathic Contact Discipline with a chain of Int-save based Paralyze or Dominate effects. Intelligence saves rather than Wisdom saves are so important because non-sapient monsters are going to be rolling with a -3 to their Int save, and there are a lot of big powerful, but non-sapient monsters in the DMG. Granted that might change from levels 11+ as non-intelligent monsters get thinner on the ground, but see my remark about where most campaigns spent their time.

The other ability I really have to single out is the Nomadic Step Discipline from Level 7 onwards.
  • Phantom Caravan (6pp): You + 6 willing creatures within 60 feet can teleport to a place you can see within one mile. (Or to a place you can't see within one mile if you dropped a Nomadic Anchor (1pp) power there within the past 8 hours.)
  • Nomad's Gate (7pp): Open a Gate between your current location and a location within one mile you've seen within the past 24 hours.

Yes, you never get the world-hopping ability of an Arcane caster's teleport circle, which is why the class is not quite overpowered, but Phantom Caravan is crazy. My character was able to grant the whole party enormous tactical flexibility and emergency escape whenever we needed it. We'd zip past obstacles, outpace enemies, and appear behind enemy lines. These are expensive powers, sure, so I couldn't just use them all the time, but there so many occasions when it came in handy:
  • Exploring the tunnels underneath Sharn? Having left a Nomadic Anchor behind, I just blipped out out when we wanted to leave.
  • White Dragon lair at the top of a nearly unscalable sheer cliff? I teleported us to the top. When we find the dragon, I bring the party fighter and paladin right up in its face rather that it being able to keep its distance.
  • Ambushed by Displacer beasts while traveling outdoors on plain? I teleport us a half mile away.
  • Assaulting a literal city of Fire Giants? I blip us straight to the foot of the tower where their king lives, we launch a lightning raid to steal precious artifacts, and then Nomad's Gate outside the city to flee.
Seriously, I've done some web searches on prior Mystic discussion and I don't think anyone understands the tactical flexibility of these one-action teleportation powers under Nomadic Step. Not quite as big a deal if you're fighting in cramped dungeon rooms (though it's still an escape button), but anywhere relatively open your Mystic can be saving the other PCs multiple rounds of positioning for only a fraction of his daily power points. And arcane caster would have to use teleport, a 7th level or higher slot, to do similar. It turned out to be by far my most powerful ability and one other characters could least duplicate.

Anyway, my understanding is that they're going to rewrite the whole Mystic pretty much from scratch, but it was definitely an interesting experience to play one. Careful power selection was able to cover for a lot of the class's weaknesses, but the power points led to a tendency to Nova that had to be carefully managed. The free Telepathy was all right too; even if the other PCs couldn't talk back I was able to give them information effectively on a number of locations.

Addendum: As far as Eberron-specific stuff, I took the "Aberrant Dragonmark" feat and eventually met up with the Aberrant refugee "House" in Sharn. Since my conceit was that my character's psionic abilities were being powered by his Aberrant mark, I started to train the other Aberrant Marked in how to use their own marks to power psionics and ended the campaign as basically "Aberrant Dragonmark Magneto". We agree that in our campaign this was the secret of the War of the Marked... a previous generation of Aberrant marked had learned how to use their marks to power psionics, meaning that they were able to field an entire army of Mystics and pose a realistic threat to the regular Dragonmark Houses.

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Good to see another Mystic player. I myself played the Soulknife for 2 years from level 5 to 13. Too many people simply label Mystic as OP without bothering to analyse it, just because it has 27 pages and a few stand out oversights (like their Darkness not having a duration).

Personally, i had a lot of fun with Mastery of Force, mainly the Telekinetic Barrier, which i use to make bridges, slides, ramps, or platforms. My DM also allows me to spring it as a barrier to let onrushing creatures crash into it. I also like Precognition to be a total boss at Initiative rolls.

Well, the thing with having "only a few things that actually break the game" you can be sure that there will be players who will deliberately select those things.

That's the thing with 27 pages of options - it's perfectly possible to create a well balanced functional fun character - but it's also possible to create a completely broken one.

I think the Mystic's main problem is that it tries to be all of the psionic archetypes at once, which leads to it being hard to balance because of the sheer amount of options you have at your disposal. I think that's getting fixed a bit with the new philosophy they have, (sharing archetypes among other classes, like Soul Knife being a Rogue subclass now) but there might be some other problems beyond that that I might just not notice for many reasons.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
It's been a while since I last looked at them, but one of the concerns I had about the mystic from reading it is that with judicious selection that they would be able to shine in just about every scene - stealing the thunder of characters who were each experts in a few non-combat types of challenges. In other words, being too well rounded so they always had something applicable.

But that's just theoretical. Having played the Mystic, do you feel this is a legitimate possibility is a player was trying to do that, or not?


But that's just theoretical. Having played the Mystic, do you feel this is a legitimate possibility is a player was trying to do that, or not?
Well there was also a druid in the party, so I'm going to say "less so than a druid can manage". Wild shape plus some of the lower level druid utility spells really are the swiss army knife of D&D....

There's normally something a Mystic can manage in any given situation, but the something they can do often won't completely solve the problem. Their out of combat abilities especially tend to be very specific.

Our party consisted of a fighter, a paladin, a druid, a sorcerer, and my mystic. (And technically a warlock who missed 80% of the game sessions.) It all worked pretty well. The fighter was constantly doing feats of insane athleticism because the player pushed for the character to do that. The paladin tanked and intimidated. The sorcerer lied and blasted and healed with that feat that lets you use a healing kit to heal. The druid healed and navigated and kept us on track. The mystic was the "smart guy" with the knowledge skills who did all the stuff I talked about in the first post.

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