5E Let's Build A Better Psion

NotAYakk

Adventurer
Instead of a pool of dozens of points, what about having 1 to 4? Make them like warlock spell slots, and refresh by meditating during a short rest.

That also cleans up the bookkeeping.

And for subclass, use a Psionic Discipline. To make them unique, give them more than one Discipline. The Disciplines can have features and cantrips etc associated with them.

The Mystic "Psionic Focus" is fun as well, a pseudo-concentration that lets you activate a Disipline-specific feature. You can release Focus for a kicker on an ability, and you can only Regain Focus by spending PP on that Discipline (that should keep it dynamic, but not free).

Existing spells can be converted to Psionic spells. They can add "Release Focus: EFFECT" (which has no impact when not cast psionically).

The idea that psions need to rest for 8 hours seems off. The short rest fits better.

---

A somewhat separate system for high level effects might be needed, but I don't want to copy warlock major arcanum. We could just have the Psion never have 7th+ level effects (make it a 2/3 caster or something).

Or we could make 6th+ level effects be features of your discipline that can be used once before taking a long rest. Not sure how to balance that so you don't have 4 disciplines that all provide 9th level effects? without having spell slots or similar.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Instead of a pool of dozens of points, what about having 1 to 4? Make them like warlock spell slots, and refresh by meditating during a short rest.

That also cleans up the bookkeeping.

And for subclass, use a Psionic Discipline. To make them unique, give them more than one Discipline. The Disciplines can have features and cantrips etc associated with them.

The Mystic "Psionic Focus" is fun as well, a pseudo-concentration that lets you activate a Disipline-specific feature. You can release Focus for a kicker on an ability, and you can only Regain Focus by spending PP on that Discipline (that should keep it dynamic, but not free).

Existing spells can be converted to Psionic spells. They can add "Release Focus: EFFECT" (which has no impact when not cast psionically).

The idea that psions need to rest for 8 hours seems off. The short rest fits better.

---

A somewhat separate system for high level effects might be needed, but I don't want to copy warlock major arcanum. We could just have the Psion never have 7th+ level effects (make it a 2/3 caster or something).

Or we could make 6th+ level effects be features of your discipline that can be used once before taking a long rest. Not sure how to balance that so you don't have 4 disciplines that all provide 9th level effects? without having spell slots or similar.
You grabbed my interest with "the short rest fits better." I've never read any of the Dark Sun books and I've never played a psionic character, so I don't really have a feel for how quickly the psion's battery should recharge.

There's nothing wrong with copying the warlock's Major Arcanum, in my opinion. I mean, we are already converting existing spells into psionic powers; converting the means of acquisition seems like the next logical step.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
In my past experience discussing what a psion in, this is the heart and sole of it. People who like psionics like power points, end of discussion. They can't pin down why a psionic isn't a type of a sorcerer or a type of wizard from the flavor perspective, but they can point to the mechanical distinction between the two.
Which is also the crux of the problem: Presentation Matters.
Psionic fans want it to feel different. The people who don't like Psionics don't like it because it feels different.

Because we know the systems are basically mathematically the same, all we have to do is present both systems at the same time. By giving the Slot System a mechanic where it can break up a slot into lower level ones on the fly, suddenly they use exactly the same math as filtered though divergent naming conventions.

I maintain it would be better to make the Points System option the variant. Mostly because it makes the Points system feel more exotic and "advanced" (despite being the exact same thing). It's the best possible setup to placate both sides.
 
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Enrico Poli1

Explorer
I agree with the idea that the Warlock class could be the best model for the Psionicist.

I've already posted my take on the Discipline Powers for Psychokinesis (they can also function with a Warlock model). In the next days I'll post the other disciplines.

I want to give the most 2e feel that it's possible to the class, for example with the names of the Powers.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Most of my experience with psionics is with 2e, and the complete book of said name. I found it enjoyable, but that probably is because it appealed to my powergamer self ;)

As a general big picture thing, initially I was leaning towards a point system. But after reading some of the comments here, I am really warming up to more of the warlock style than sorcerer style.

For my opinions, I'd like to be as close to an existing framework as opposed tot having a brand new system. It's easier for players, and easier for DMs, rather than have to learn yet another set of rules. so the question is, how do you do that while including everything you want? Goes back to the warlock and short rest mechanic, I think.

I'd also like to see 3 subclasses, rather than 2, based on the core archetypes: combat, skill monkey, and full on mind "wizard" (excuse that term) or mentalist. For mentalists, not just things like telepathy, or attacking a mind with psychic damage, or control, but also things like prediction. Maybe something along the lines of portent.

A skill monkey could be focuses on material manipulation and telekinesis. More of transformation things, like shapeshifting on various levels.

Combat would be self explanatory: psychic weapons and armor, direct mind attacks, etc
 
I don't think all Psionic fans want to feel different to such a degree as being parroted here. At the end of the day, a lot of old school psionics mimic spells.

I think the important thing, more so than making all these sciences and stuff, is to make the class mechanics feel good beyond just the spellcasting-esque abilities and look to the actual abilities and how the class works. Stuff like the Bard's cutting word, the Sorcerer's metamagic, the Warlock's invocations. What's the core sauce of the Psion?

EDIT: In a few days, maybe a week, I'll be posting up my own mock-up of a Psion class with some of my thinking, but I'm hoping these questions can generate some interesting ideas for others.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
In a world of vancian spellcasting, spell points mattered.

But now in 5e, spontaneous casting is just simpler and better than spell points. Spell points are just unnecessarily complex in comparison.

The 3e Psion (XPH) makes it crystal clear that the Psion is casting normal spells. Giving spells Greek names, doesnt disguise the fact that they are spells. The 5e Mystic is likewise casting normal spells. Clustering groups of spells together, doesnt disguise the fact that the psionic class is casting normal spells.

I feel it is important to embrace the Psion as a spellcaster. And work from here to make it a more mindful spellcaster.

The 5e Warlock class seems a decent model mechanically. It has abilities that are always on − so it feels like innate spellcasting, somewhat like more potent cantrips. Its spells recharge per short rest − so it is more about personal stamina. And the choice of spells known come with strongly organizing themes. And the Warlock is a full caster that can cast slot level 9 spells.
 

Raunalyn

Adventurer
I was thinking about the Concentration mechanic from previous UA articles; I remember liking it because if felt different than your typical spell-casting class. This got me to thinking about some of the classic Psionic defenses from previous editions (mainly Mind Blank, Thought Shield, and Intellect Fortress).

What if we made those part of the concentration mechanic? While you are "focused" you gain a static benefit that mimics one of the effects. At higher levels, you gain further options while you are focused. Perhaps a DC for the concentration check to see what type of effect you receive?

Just brain-storming here.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Psionic Themes:

• Telekinesis, fly, force, force constructs
• Telepathy, enchantment, charm, frighten, domination, phantasm

• Prescience, divination, time, luck/fate
• Teleportation, clairvoyance, outofbody projection, planar travel

• Shapeshifting, healing, psychometabolism, incorporeal form, phase thru objects

• Air-Water, weather
• Earth-Fire, forge, stone construction, crystal, metalworking
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
I was thinking about the Concentration mechanic from previous UA articles; I remember liking it because if felt different than your typical spell-casting class. This got me to thinking about some of the classic Psionic defenses from previous editions (mainly Mind Blank, Thought Shield, and Intellect Fortress).

What if we made those part of the concentration mechanic? While you are "focused" you gain a static benefit that mimics one of the effects. At higher levels, you gain further options while you are focused. Perhaps a DC for the concentration check to see what type of effect you receive?

Just brain-storming here.
That’s pretty slick. That could be a major feature of the class, especially if you have some psionic cantrips that require concentration.
 

Stormonu

Hero
I agree in feeling a Psion fits better working closer to a Warlock than a Wizard with spell points.

I would also offer that the possibility of dividing abilities or subclasses into three groups - each one keyed to one of the three “mental” stats.

Charisma-based Psions use the force of their personality to access, alter or control other people’s mind or their own (Domination, Biomancy, Self-Healing)

Intelligence-based Psions use their superior intellect to access hidden information and manipulate items with their mind instead of their muscles (Telekinetics, Mind Reading, Telepathy)

Wisdom-based Psions are tuned into the mental energies that exude from all things and harness that external power to fuel their own abilities (Abjurations, Animal Friendship/Kinship, Object reading, Clairvoyance, Astral Travel, Healing others)
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
speaking of using existing rules, and just tossing this idea to the ether, but what about giving some powerful nova abilities tied to exhaustion?
 

Stormonu

Hero
Excellent idea, but I feel tying exhaustion to nova abilities should be an optional feature tied to certain play styles/campaigns, and not a basic built in ability. Maybe a feat ?
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
So far in these two pages of 35 posts we've seen 35 different opinions and ideas of what the Psion needs to be.

And we wonder why what WotC presented didn't work for anyone. Because no one can agree on what Psionics should be, what they should do, and how they should do it. Not so surpringly... the exact same rigamarole we saw four years ago when people kept trying to create a Warlord for 5E. Every single idea got crushed into paste.

I think this is why WotC went with the "conservative" route... because anything they do will be decimated on the boards by 95% of the players anyway who don't actually know what they want. So why bother? Just like with spell components, they give us a very bland, hand-wavy, easily-understood default, under the expectation that everyone who is that fanatical about it is going to jerry-rig their own version of it regardless (like you all are trying to do now.)

Just remember as you do though... we've had several dozen attempts at creating Warlords in 5E over the years and I don't know of a single one that has actually gained any traction with even the EN World community, let alone the general gaming populace. And you're probably going to find the same thing happening here. Because no one is going to agree on how it should be done.
 

MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
I would do something based on the druid's wildshape/barbarian's rage where you enter a heightened mental state for X minutes a day, Y times a day.

When you aren't heightened, you get to be a half caster like the artificer, but with a psychic themed spell list (like the one conveniently provided in the UA). At least for the big combat of the day, heightened mental state is assumed.

When you are heightened there are a couple of options (I haven't decided which I prefer):

Straightforward barbarian comparison: You add psychic damage (equal to the barbarian's rage damage) to any spells that do damage. Maybe add some kind of defensive ability (like attackers need to make an int check to determine where you are) that could very by subclass.

The Firestarter/paladin option: You get some kind of overpowered big psychic power that you can feed spell slots into.

More Mystic-al: you cast spells as normal, but you ignore concentration requirements (I might make this one be a 2/3rds caster).

Even more Mystic-al: you get psychic points you can feed into some kind of overpowered big psychic power.

Straightforward druid comparison: you transform into (or are surrounded by an aura that looks like) some representation of your psyche (this is where the big fiery bird comes in).
 

NotAYakk

Adventurer
So far in these two pages of 35 posts we've seen 35 different opinions and ideas of what the Psion needs to be.
Well, we've definitely seen someone who hasn't read all 35 posts, or whose measure of different is pretty wide. Upwards of 50% are saying that the Warlock would work really well, with people throwing around riffs on it.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Well, we've definitely seen someone who hasn't read all 35 posts, or whose measure of different is pretty wide. Upwards of 50% are saying that the Warlock would work really well, with people throwing around riffs on it.
Yeah, different riffs. :)

But hey, if you want numbers more in line... then we've seen 38 posts with *27 different methods and ideas for how psionics needs to be.

* do not take 27 as a factual number, but merely as illustration of the point. ;)
 

Stormonu

Hero
Another idea just occurred to me...

A lot of the psion’s abilities are clearly going to mimic existing spells, so I think it would be wise to give them an X number of known spells/powers (of up to Y level), and then a pool of psi points that are expended to cast it at a specific level (ex., 2 psi points to use invisible, for the purposes of example, if the psion had “psionic [magic] Missile”, they would expend 1 psi point for a 1st level version, 2 for a 2nd (+1 Missile), 3 psi points for a 3rd level version (+2 missiles), etc.)
 

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