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5E Let’s Build a Psion

Aldarc

Legend
Let's build a psion that uses spells. I know this breaks a cardinal rule for some psionic fans, but let's try to work within the 5e system and framework. What kinda neat tricks can the Psion do that distinguish them from other mages? (1) Psions can bypass VSM spell components. (2) Psions can play with the Concentration mechanic. We may also give them some other basic telepathic, telekinetic, or psionic ribbon abilities.

Hit Points: 1d6
Proficiencies:
  • Armor: Light
  • Weapon: Simple
  • Tools: None
  • Saving Throws: Wisdom, Intelligence
  • Skills: Choose two from Arcana, History, Insight, Medicine, Nature, Perception, and Religion. (Mystic list.)

Spellcasting
Spell Slots:
as a standard full caster. We could go the Warlock route with the short rest recharge mechanic, but let's keep it simple this first round. We could also include a side bar here about converting spell slots into spell points.
Spells Known: as a Bard.
Cantrips: Standard progression.
Spellcasting Ability: Wisdom. I'm gonna break tradition by going with Wisdom > Intelligence. But this puts the flavor more inline with being a "mystic," the monk, Extra Sensory Perception, willpower, intuition, etc.
Spell List: I'll put a tentative list in a separate post.
Ritual Casting: can cast ritual spells known as rituals.

Discipline (Subclass): may include Ardent (Empath), Awakened Mind, Shaper (Meta-Creativity), Nomad (Teleportation), Incarnate, Dreamwalker, Dread (fear!), etc.
Other psionic archetypes such as the Battlemind/Psychic Warrior, Soulknife, Wilder, etc. can be attached as subclasses to other classes.

Psionic Magic: No Material components for spells on the Psion spell list. While using a Spellcasting Focus, the Psion can choose to ignore either Somatic or Verbal components for any spell on the Psion spell list. At latter levels, the Psion loses the Verbal component and then the Somatic component. The reference back to the Psion spell list is a key point here. Psionic magic can't be used, for example, to bypass VSM for non-Psion spell list spells (e.g., Fireball, Magic Missile, Polymorph, etc.).

Telepathy (as per Mearls's Psion): At 1st level, your mind awakens to the ability to communicate via telepathy. You can telepathically speak to any creature you can see within 120 feet of you in this manner. You don’t need to share a language with the creature for it to understand your telepathic messages, but the creature must be able to understand at least one language or be telepathic itself.

Psychic Focus: The Psion can maintain Concentration on two different spells from the psion spell list. Losing Concentration while concentrating on two spells, pick one spell to lose. The Psion can use Wisdom for Concentration checks.

Breadth of Knowledge (as per Mearls's Psion): At 2nd level, you gain the ability to extend your knowledge. When you finish a long rest, you gain two proficiencies of your choice from tools, skills, or languages. This benefit lasts until you finish a long rest.

Ability Score Improvement: standard.

Psycho-Metabolism: One possible idea here is the ability to convert spell slots into HP and/or even HD into spell slots. Possibly either on a Short or Long Rest mechanic.

Psionic Body (as per the Mystic and Mearls's Psion): At 20th level, your mastery of psionic power causes your mind to transcend the body. Your physical form is infused with psionic energy. You gain the following benefits:
  • You grain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.
  • You no longer age.
  • You are immune to disease, poison damage, and the poisoned condition.
  • If you die, roll a 20. On a 10 or higher, you discorporate with 0 hit points, instead of dying, and you fall unconscious. You and your gear disappear. You appear at a spot of your choice 1d3 days later on the plane of existence where you died, having gained the benefits of one long rest.
 
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Aldarc

Legend
Spell List

Cantrips (12):

  • Control Flames
  • Encode Thoughts
  • Friends
  • Guidance
  • Light
  • Mage Hand
  • Message
  • Mind Sliver
  • Miner Illusion
  • Resistance
  • True Strike

* Psionic Prestidigitation/Druidcraft/Thaumaturgy: Wild Talent?

1st Level (12)
  • Catapult
  • Cause Fear
  • Charm Person
  • Command
  • Comprehend Languages
  • Detect Magic
  • Feather Fall
  • Jump
  • Mage Armor
  • Silent Image
  • Sleep
  • Tasha's Hideous Laughter

2nd Level (18)
  • Augury
  • Blindness/Deafness
  • Blur
  • Calm Emotions
  • Crown of Madness
  • Detect Thoughts
  • Enhance Ability
  • Enthrall
  • Hold Person
  • Levitate
  • Locate Object
  • Mind Spike
  • Mind Thrust
  • Mirror Image
  • Misty Step
  • See Invisibility
  • Suggestion
  • Zone of Truth

3rd Level (14)
  • Catnap
  • Clairvoyance
  • Counterspell
  • Dispel Magic
  • Enemies Abound
  • Fear
  • Feign Death
  • Hypnotic Pattern
  • Life Transference
  • Nondetection
  • Protection from Energy
  • Sending
  • Speak with Dead: if you wanna go for the spiritualism angle of psionics
  • Tongues

4th Level (9)
  • Arcane Eye
  • Charm Monster
  • Confusion
  • Dimension Door
  • Dominate Beast
  • Hallucinatory Terrain
  • Intellect Fortress
  • Locate Creature
  • Phantasmal Killer

5th Level (16)
  • Awaken
  • Bigby's Hand
  • Commune
  • Contact Other Plane
  • Dominate Person
  • Dream
  • Far Step
  • Geas
  • Hold Monster
  • Modify Memory
  • Rary's Telepathic Bond
  • Scrying
  • Seeming
  • Skill Empowerment
  • Synaptic Static
  • Telekinesis

6th Level (6)
  • Eyebite
  • Find the Path
  • Magic Jar
  • Mass Suggestion
  • Mental Prison
  • True Seeing

7th Level (7)
  • Etherealness
  • Mirage Arcane
  • Plane Shift
  • Project Image
  • Regenerate
  • Sequester
  • Teleport

8th Level (7)
  • Antipathy/Sympathy
  • Dominate Monster
  • Feeblemind
  • Maze
  • Mind Blank
  • Power Word Stun
  • Telepathy

9th Level (4)
  • Astral Projection
  • Foresight
  • Psychic Scream
  • Weird

105 Spells: does not include updates of classic psionic powers (e.g., Ego Whip, Id Insinuation, Intellect Fortress, Mind Thrust, Psionic Blast/Crush, etc.).
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
If we must go through the spells route, then the spells should be split into the 6 Disciplines.

Psions start with one discipline and gain a new one each tier and halfway point into a tier (levels 1, 4, 8, 11, 13, 17).
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
Looks good! I’d play it. The spell list looks spot on, and adding bonus spells can be a feature of several subclasses.
 


TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
Just some suggestions:

1).I might key more things of off psychic focus. Maybe make it a one minute casting effect to gain psychic focus, and then you can expend it to gain various effects. Expending psychic focus to succeed on a failed concentration check would be a good low level effect.

2) I’d move the double concentration effect up a few levels and call it “Schism”.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Nice work, but it won’t change anybody position in the actual debate.
Maybe not, but I'm less interested in trying to change the minds of those who have no intention of changing their set positions than those who are more open-minded.

Just some suggestions:

1).I might key more things of off psychic focus. Maybe make it a one minute casting effect to gain psychic focus, and then you can expend it to gain various effects. Expending psychic focus to succeed on a failed concentration check would be a good low level effect.

2) I’d move the double concentration effect up a few levels and call it “Schism”.
For the most part, I didn't put levels on the features as I was more interested in jotting the basic ideas down.

I would definitely like more things to key off Psychic Focus or even expand it. I mostly took it as it was from Mearls, but Mearls's version is spell-less.

In a past discussion on a possible psion, for example, I mentioned the idea of a psion being able to help allies with Concentration, being good at disrupting Concentration, or even stealing spells that enemies are Concentrating on. But Psychic Focus could certainly also be used to expand some of their class features. And some of this could also be moved to particular subclasses.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
Maybe not, but I'm less interested in trying to change the minds of those who have no intention of changing their set positions than those who are more open-minded.

For the most part, I didn't put levels on the features as I was more interested in jotting the basic ideas down.

I would definitely like more things to key off Psychic Focus or even expand it. I mostly took it as it was from Mearls, but Mearls's version is spell-less.

In a past discussion on a possible psion, for example, I mentioned the idea of a psion being able to help allies with Concentration, being good at disrupting Concentration, or even stealing spells that enemies are Concentrating on. But Psychic Focus could certainly also be used to expand some of their class features. And some of this could also be moved to particular subclasses.
If I was feeling more ambitious, I’d make some more psion only spells and give them a built in augment if you expend psychic focus.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Pretty cool, I'd play it without hesitation. I'd maybe go with d8 for HD though.

The only thing missing is my favorite Time Bender 4e's paragon path! Some of the spells from Wildemount would be spot-on if you like the time/space theme for the Psionic (which I personally do).

Also, maybe an archetype for the self-morphing psion/egoist psion/psycho-metabolism, gaining things like Primal Savagery cantrip, alter-self, shapechange etc?

Oh, and a Firestarter or Anathema psion, disolving matter with fire or pure entropy!

EDIT: I'm not sure making Concentration based on a save that is A) the same as the main stat for the class B) a strong save for the class, is a good idea. I would let it be Concentration, with maybe a change to Int for the Awakened Mind.
 
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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
If I was feeling more ambitious, I’d make some more psion only spells and give them a built in augment if you expend psychic focus.

If you're going in that direction, I'd go with the Warlock format (I think the short-rest spells add a lot of ''weirdness'' to the spellcaster theme) and have Augments be the equivalent of a Invocation that you add to your spell when you use psychic focus. Some kind of ''spellcasting stances'' you enter by concentrating on it.

  • Invisible spell-> As long as you are concentrating on that stance, your spell are invisible and cant be counterspelled.
  • Entropic spell-> As long as you are concentrating on that stance, you can change the damage of your spell to Acid or Necrotic
  • Mind-crushing spell ->As long as you are concentrating on that stance, a creature failing a save against your spells take WIS mod Psychic damage if the spell do not already deal damage.
  • Burning Flux-> As long as you are concentrating on that stance, after casting a spell, any enemy that start within 10 ft of you take half-level in fire damage.
  • Ectoplasmic surge-> As long as you are concentrating on that stance, a creature failing a save against your spells has its speed reduced by 10 ft.

etc
 

Aldarc

Legend
Pretty cool, I'd play it without hesitation. I'd maybe go with d8 for HD though.
I also thought about that. But this is a rough draft.

The only thing missing is my favorite Time Bender 4e's paragon path! Some of the spells from Wildemount would be spot-on if you like the time/space theme for the Psionic (which I personally do).

Also, maybe an archetype for the self-morphing psion/egoist psion/psycho-metabolism, gaining things like Primal Savagery cantrip, alter-self, shapechange etc?

Oh, and a Firestarter or Anathema psion, disolving matter with fire or pure entropy!
There are a LOT of potential archetypes or subclasses that could be applied, but there will always be a limited amount of space. The Artificer only came with three subclasses in Eberron. So I imagine that a new class would probably have to pick an initial set of 3-4 subclasses that encapsulate common/popular archetypes.

EDIT: I'm not sure making Concentration based on a save that is A) the same as the main stat for the class B) a strong save for the class, is a good idea. I would let it be Concentration, with maybe a change to Int for the Awakened Mind.
Possibly not, but I was going for a "pain is an illusion" or "mind over matter" for that ability. I would honestly, possibly move it to a later level. So there would be a potential trade-off between whether one invests in Constitution saves for the early career or wait for this ability to kick in.
 

Coroc

Hero
Let's build a psion that uses spells. I know this breaks a cardinal rule for some psionic fans, but let's try to work within the 5e system and framework. What kinda neat tricks can the Psion do that distinguish them from other mages? (1) Psions can bypass VSM spell components. (2) Psions can play with the Concentration mechanic. We may also give them some other basic telepathic, telekinetic, or psionic ribbon abilities.

Hit Points: 1d6
Proficiencies:
  • Armor: Light
  • Weapon: Simple
  • Tools: None
  • Saving Throws: Wisdom, Intelligence
  • Skills: Choose two from Arcana, History, Insight, Medicine, Nature, Perception, and Religion. (Mystic list.)

Spellcasting
Spell Slots:
as a standard full caster. We could go the Warlock route with the short rest recharge mechanic, but let's keep it simple this first round. We could also include a side bar here about converting spell slots into spell points.
Spells Known: as a Bard.
Cantrips: Standard progression.
Spellcasting Ability: Wisdom. I'm gonna break tradition by going with Wisdom > Intelligence. But this puts the flavor more inline with being a "mystic," the monk, Extra Sensory Perception, willpower, intuition, etc.
Spell List: I'll put a tentative list in a separate post.
Ritual Casting: can cast ritual spells known as rituals.

Discipline (Subclass): may include Ardent (Empath), Awakened Mind, Shaper (Meta-Creativity), Nomad (Teleportation), Incarnate, Dreamwalker, Dread (fear!), etc.
Other psionic archetypes such as the Battlemind/Psychic Warrior, Soulknife, Wilder, etc. can be attached as subclasses to other classes.

Psionic Magic: No Material components for spells on the Psion spell list. While using a Spellcasting Focus, the Psion can choose to ignore either Somatic or Verbal components for any spell on the Psion spell list. At latter levels, the Psion loses the Verbal component and then the Somatic component. The reference back to the Psion spell list is a key point here. Psionic magic can't be used, for example, to bypass VSM for non-Psion spell list spells (e.g., Fireball, Magic Missile, Polymorph, etc.).

Telepathy (as per Mearls's Psion): At 1st level, your mind awakens to the ability to communicate via telepathy. You can telepathically speak to any creature you can see within 120 feet of you in this manner. You don’t need to share a language with the creature for it to understand your telepathic messages, but the creature must be able to understand at least one language or be telepathic itself.

Psychic Focus: The Psion can maintain Concentration on two different spells from the psion spell list. Losing Concentration while concentrating on two spells, pick one spell to lose. The Psion can use Wisdom for Concentration checks.

Breadth of Knowledge (as per Mearls's Psion): At 2nd level, you gain the ability to extend your knowledge. When you finish a long rest, you gain two proficiencies of your choice from tools, skills, or languages. This benefit lasts until you finish a long rest.

Ability Score Improvement: standard.

Psycho-Metabolism: One possible idea here is the ability to convert spell slots into HP and/or even HD into spell slots. Possibly either on a Short or Long Rest mechanic.

Psionic Body (as per the Mystic and Mearls's Psion): At 20th level, your mastery of psionic power causes your mind to transcend the body. Your physical form is infused with psionic energy. You gain the following benefits:
  • You grain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.
  • You no longer age.
  • You are immune to disease, poison damage, and the poisoned condition.
  • If you die, roll a 20. On a 10 or higher, you discorporate with 0 hit points, instead of dying, and you fall unconscious. You and your gear disappear. You appear at a spot of your choice 1d3 days later on the plane of existence where you died, having gained the benefits of one long rest.
good approach that takes elements from both worlds. But some minor criticism:
Main stat should really be Int. Wisdom is associated with will, but wisdom is also experience, and while the first is associated with psionics, the second isn't.
Also many psionic abilities should target Int as an (so far underused) saving throw, no matter which mechanical concept we use.
Add power word kill to the 9th level list.
 

Aldarc

Legend
good approach that takes elements from both worlds. But some minor criticism:
Main stat should really be Int. Wisdom is associated with will, but wisdom is also experience, and while the first is associated with psionics, the second isn't.
Also many psionic abilities should target Int as an (so far underused) saving throw, no matter which mechanical concept we use.
Add power word kill to the 9th level list.
I'm aware that I am breaking with tradition, but I still think that Wisdom makes for a more sensible stat for psionics. Experience is a perfectly compatible concept with psionics. It's one reason why the monk likely became a psionic class in 4e.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
I think you have a good start here. I'd personally want it to be an Int class, for tradition and because we only have one int full caster. Going spells is fine, as long as you wrap back in and give them their iconic spells.

I'd also go with power points from the get go. That's been a hallmark of Psionics for a while. Stick with it.

Double concentration is a neat idea to base the class around. I'd go with that. Is make losing concentration cost them both spells, though, for balance. Letting them expend their psionic focus to only lose one spell would be a neat feature.

I'd also make them a short rest recovery class. Depending on how you want to handle level 6+ spells, your power point progression from levels 1 through 10 can be a simple 2 points per level and that would work out rather smooth and fairly close to warlock progression.
 

Aldarc

Legend
In the spirit of 5e, I think that it's easier to have the more familiar sub-system (i.e., spells) be the default from the get-go. If I used "power points," I would probably recommend that it be subsumed by chi points, as that would at least tie the power points into another sub-system (i.e., monk chi).

I had considered making them a short rest recovery class, as per the warlock, but a full caster is the most familiar model for spellcasters.
 



Let's build a psion that uses spells. I know this breaks a cardinal rule for some psionic fans, but let's try to work within the 5e system and framework. What kinda neat tricks can the Psion do that distinguish them from other mages? (1) Psions can bypass VSM spell components. (2) Psions can play with the Concentration mechanic. We may also give them some other basic telepathic, telekinetic, or psionic ribbon abilities.

Hit Points: 1d6
Proficiencies:
  • Armor: Light
  • Weapon: Simple
  • Tools: None
  • Saving Throws: Wisdom, Intelligence
  • Skills: Choose two from Arcana, History, Insight, Medicine, Nature, Perception, and Religion. (Mystic list.)

Spellcasting
Spell Slots:
as a standard full caster. We could go the Warlock route with the short rest recharge mechanic, but let's keep it simple this first round. We could also include a side bar here about converting spell slots into spell points.
Spells Known: as a Bard.
Cantrips: Standard progression.
Spellcasting Ability: Wisdom. I'm gonna break tradition by going with Wisdom > Intelligence. But this puts the flavor more inline with being a "mystic," the monk, Extra Sensory Perception, willpower, intuition, etc.

As far as I'm concerned Wisdom is following tradition.

Spell List:
I'll put a tentative list in a separate post.
Ritual Casting: can cast ritual spells known as rituals.

Discipline (Subclass): may include Ardent (Empath), Awakened Mind, Shaper (Meta-Creativity), Nomad (Teleportation), Incarnate, Dreamwalker, Dread (fear!), etc.
Other psionic archetypes such as the Battlemind/Psychic Warrior, Soulknife, Wilder, etc. can be attached as subclasses to other classes.

Psionic Magic: No Material components for spells on the Psion spell list. While using a Spellcasting Focus, the Psion can choose to ignore either Somatic or Verbal components for any spell on the Psion spell list. At latter levels, the Psion loses the Verbal component and then the Somatic component. The reference back to the Psion spell list is a key point here. Psionic magic can't be used, for example, to bypass VSM for non-Psion spell list spells (e.g., Fireball, Magic Missile, Polymorph, etc.).

I know it would make psions more powerful, but I think they should drop somatic and verbal components.

Telepathy (as per Mearls's Psion):
At 1st level, your mind awakens to the ability to communicate via telepathy. You can telepathically speak to any creature you can see within 120 feet of you in this manner. You don’t need to share a language with the creature for it to understand your telepathic messages, but the creature must be able to understand at least one language or be telepathic itself.

IMO this should be a subclass power. I don't see why someone who is a master of Mind over Matter needs Telepathy.

Psychic Focus:
The Psion can maintain Concentration on two different spells from the psion spell list. Losing Concentration while concentrating on two spells, pick one spell to lose. The Psion can use Wisdom for Concentration checks.

I have only played a 5e fighter, so I don't know how this works, but IMO this shouldn't be a psion's power. People will call it overpowered as well. I don't see any need for this level of power when they get to ignore VS component (and their crystalline focus, because it has to be crystalline, negates material components).

Breadth of Knowledge (as per Mearls's Psion):
At 2nd level, you gain the ability to extend your knowledge. When you finish a long rest, you gain two proficiencies of your choice from tools, skills, or languages. This benefit lasts until you finish a long rest.

This needs flavor to support it. Maybe seers need this, but not most psions.

Psycho-Metabolism: One possible idea here is the ability to convert spell slots into HP and/or even HD into spell slots. Possibly either on a Short or Long Rest mechanic.

This was always a power or feat in previous editions. This was the kind of thing that made GMs leery as well.

Psionic Body (as per the Mystic and Mearls's Psion):
At 20th level, your mastery of psionic power causes your mind to transcend the body. Your physical form is infused with psionic energy. You gain the following benefits:
  • You grain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.
  • You no longer age.
  • You are immune to disease, poison damage, and the poisoned condition.
  • If you die, roll a 20. On a 10 or higher, you discorporate with 0 hit points, instead of dying, and you fall unconscious. You and your gear disappear. You appear at a spot of your choice 1d3 days later on the plane of existence where you died, having gained the benefits of one long rest.

Turning into an archon is kind of cool. :)
 

Spell List

Cantrips (12):

  • Control Flames
  • Encode Thoughts
  • Friends
  • Guidance
  • Light
  • Mage Hand
  • Message
  • Mind Sliver
  • Miner Illusion
  • Resistance
  • True Strike

* Psionic Prestidigitation/Druidcraft/Thaumaturgy: Wild Talent?

1st Level (12)
  • Catapult
  • Cause Fear
  • Charm Person
  • Command
  • Comprehend Languages
  • Detect Magic
  • Feather Fall
  • Jump
  • Mage Armor
  • Silent Image
  • Sleep
  • Tasha's Hideous Laughter

I am not taken with some of the very specific powers, such as Hold Person and Tasha's Hideous Laughter. I don't see why you need to replicate so many spells. For the illusion spells, for instance, those should be "purely mental" (phantasms rather than glamers) which means new "spells".

2nd Level (18)
  • Augury
  • Blindness/Deafness
  • Blur
  • Calm Emotions
  • Crown of Madness
  • Detect Thoughts
  • Enhance Ability
  • Enthrall
  • Hold Person
  • Levitate
  • Locate Object
  • Mind Spike
  • Mind Thrust
  • Mirror Image
  • Misty Step
  • See Invisibility
  • Suggestion
  • Zone of Truth

For any power where the flavor is not immediately obvious, it needs that description. Generally purely mental stuff is obvious.

Blindness/Deafness should be described as something mental (changing the spell) because it's not shriveling the target's eyes or anything like that. That probably changes the saving throw category too.

Mirror Image is not a phantasm. I don't see why psions would specifically have See Invisibility but they did have powers such as See Sound (the equivalent). Zone of Truth is pretty weird for a psionic power. When you can read someone's mind, I don't see why you need a strange power.

3rd Level (14)
  • Catnap
  • Clairvoyance
  • Counterspell
  • Dispel Magic
  • Enemies Abound
  • Fear
  • Feign Death
  • Hypnotic Pattern
  • Life Transference
  • Nondetection
  • Protection from Energy
  • Sending
  • Speak with Dead: if you wanna go for the spiritualism angle of psionics
  • Tongues

Some of these powers I'm not familiar with, but I have to say Hypnotic Pattern doesn't suit the power's flavor.

4th Level (9)
  • Arcane Eye
  • Charm Monster
  • Confusion
  • Dimension Door
  • Dominate Beast
  • Hallucinatory Terrain
  • Intellect Fortress
  • Locate Creature
  • Phantasmal Killer

5th Level (16)
  • Awaken
  • Bigby's Hand
  • Commune
  • Contact Other Plane
  • Dominate Person
  • Dream
  • Far Step
  • Geas
  • Hold Monster
  • Modify Memory
  • Rary's Telepathic Bond
  • Scrying
  • Seeming
  • Skill Empowerment
  • Synaptic Static
  • Telekinesis

I think I'll stop here as I'm repeating myself, but I don't understand the summoning powers, and this includes Arcane Eye.

A lot of psionic powers were never given equivalents in previous editions, both ways. Some of these spells could be dropped, and some new ones written. I have general familiarity with 2e to 4e psionics, plus WotC's Alternity ruleset, and I generally lean on those for flavor (even though 2e psionics was just broken; I always wanted to see a lot of those powers written in a way that won't break GM's minds).
 

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