5E Let's Build A Better Psion

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Heads up, I created a Poll to help us decide on which template to use as a starting point. I'd like to invite all collaborators over to check it out and participate.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
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. ;)
So far less fixes, riffs, or opinions/ideas per post than on a thread about fixing the ranger? Gotcha.
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
I'd personally suggest using the Warlock as the template for the mechanics of the Psion, but I'd also suggest using sub-classes for specialty psionics like the soul knife and psionic warrior.

Class Features:

Hit Points:
Hit Dice: 1d8 per psion level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per psion level after 1st

Proficiencies:
Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Intelligence, Wisdom
Skills: Choose two skills from Arcana, History, Insight, or Perception

Devotion:
At 1st level, you have focused your mind one of the psionic devotions: Clarsentience (seeing at a distance), Psycokinentics (affecting things at a distance), Psychometabolics (affecting a body directly), Psychoportive (moving things across a distance), and Telepathy. Your choice grants you features at 1st level and again at 6th, 10th, and 14th level.

Pionics:
Your internal focus and knowledge has given you facility with spells. See chapter 10 for the general rules of spellcasting and below for the Pison Spell List.

Cantrips:
You know two cantrips of your choice from the psion spell List. You learn additional psion cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Psion table.

Spell Slots:
The Psion table shows how many spell slots you have. The table also shows what the level of those slots is; all of your spell slots are the same level. To cast one of your psion spells of 1st level or higher, you must expend a spell slot. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a short or long rest. For example, when you are 5th level, you have two 3rd-level spell slots. To cast a 1st-level spell, you must spend one of those slots, and you cast it as a 3rd-level spell.

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher:
At 1st level, you know two 1st-level spells of your choice from the psion spell list. The Spells Known column of the Psion table shows when you learn more psion spells of your choice of 1st level and higher. A spell you choose must be of a level no higher than what’s shown in the table's Slot Level column for your level. When you reach 6th level, for example, you learn a new psion spell, which can be 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level.

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the psion spells you know and replace it with another spell from the psion spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

Spellcasting Ability:
Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your psion spells, so you use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a psion spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spellcasting Focus:
You can use a psionic focus as a spellcasting focus for your psion spells. These include crystals, orbs, and totems. When you cast a spell, you may ignore any Verbal, Somatic, and Material components so long as you possess a Psionic Focus, except for Material components with a listed cost.

Psionic Sciences:

In your study of the mind, you've unlocked secrets that enhance your mental powers.

At 2nd level, you gain two sciences of your choice. Your science options are detailed at the end of the class description. When you gain certain psion levels, you gain additional sciences of your choice, as shown in the Invocations Known column of the Psion table.

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the sciences you know and replace it with another sciences that you could learn at that level.

Secondary Discipline:
At 3rd level, you've unlocked a lesser aspect of another Discipline. You gain one of the following features of your choice, but cannot choose the same Discipline as you took at level 1.

<insert half of discipline benefit from level 1>

Ability Score Improvement:
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability s cores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Metapsionics:
At 11th level, you've reached the point of working beyond the mere mortal mind, and can channel power from deep within. Choose one 6th-level spell from the psion spell list as this metapsionic. You can cast your metapsionic spell once without expending a spell slot. You must finish a long rest before you can do so again.

At higher levels, you gain more psion spells of your choice that can be cast in this way: one 7th-level spell at 13th level, one 8th-level spell at 15th level, and one 9th-level spell at 17th level. You regain all uses of your Mystic Arcanum when you finish a long rest.

Mind Master:
At 20th level, you can draw on your inner reserve of mental power. You can spend 1 minute in meditation to regain all your expended spell slots from your Psionics feature. Once you regain spell slots with this feature, you must finish a long rest before you can do so again.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Here is an Advancement Table without any empty levels. Each level offers about a feat worth of features.

(A feat is worth about two ability score improvements, or two half feats. A half feat is worth about, one slot level 2 spell per short rest, two cantrips, two martial weapon proficiencies, two armor proficiencies, one skill expertise, four skill proficiencies, or four tool proficienices.)

Notice there a five "zero levels" preceding a level 1 character, to build up race features and background proficiencies, plus basic class features.

The level 8 background feature relates to heading a local institution, such as founding a school to attract students, building a fortress to attract soldiers, or becoming the mayor of a small town whose population is less than 100,000. The level 16 background relates to becoming a globally powerful leader. The level 24 background relates to the immortal becoming identical with some cosmic phenomenon, such as gaining a domain within ones ‘portfolio’.

Feats are a free choice of feat. The feat can be used to improve two ability scores, or one ability score with a half-feat, or two half-feats without an ability score improvement.

Race are race feats, or with DM permission any comparable feat or feature that advances the themes of the race or subrace.

Notice, the class archetype is the subclass feature at level 1. At level 1, the player chooses what kind of Psion, such as Telepath or Telekinete, and can express this theme in a notable way.




LProfRACEFEATBACKGROUNDCLASSTIER
0a​
+0​
Race
0b​
+1​
Class ArchetypeBASIC
0c​
+1​
Feat
0d​
+1​
Class
0e​
+1​
Background
1
+2
Class Archetype
2
+2​
Feat
3
+2​
Class
4
+2​
Race
5
+3
Class ArchetypeEXPERT
6
+3​
Feat
7
+3​
Class
8
+3​
Background
9
+4
Class Archetype
10
+4​
Feat
11
+4​
Class
12
+4​
Race
13
+5
Class ArchetypeMASTER
14
+5​
Feat
15
+5​
Class
16
+5​
Background
17
+6
Class Archetype
18
+6​
Feat
19
+6​
Class
20
+6​
Race
21
+7
Class ArchetypeIMMORTAL
22
+7​
Feat
23
+7​
Class
24
+7​
Background
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
@Shiroiken - I like the Warlock as a template...the more I think about it, the better sense it makes to me. Quick question though: why does it have proficiency in Light armor? This seems like the sort of thing that should be dependent upon the subclass chosen (similar to the Hexblade) and not the default for all psions. Is this a balance issue?
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
@Shiroiken - I like the Warlock as a template...the more I think about it, the better sense it makes to me. Quick question though: why does it have proficiency in Light armor? This seems like the sort of thing that should be dependent upon the subclass chosen (similar to the Hexblade) and not the default for all psions. Is this a balance issue?
Because it was a copy/paste... I considered the skills, but didn't check the other stuff o_O
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
@Shiroiken - Ah, gotcha. ;)

Over in the Template poll, the Warlock and Sorcerer are in the lead (indeed, the only ones with votes), with the Warlock clearly the runaway favorite. What do you guys think about using a warlock as a template, but with replacing the Invocations and Arcanum with the psi equivalent of Sorcery Points and Metamagic abilities of the sorcerer?

Is that even possible?
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Regarding the Psychic Warrior. I prefer it to be more like the 4e Swordmage and less like the 5e Eldritch Knight.

The Swordmage is a full caster, with access to slot level 9 spells, but specializes in melee range magical effects − like telekinetic armor, force smites, slot 9 Foresight, etcetera.

By contrast, the Eldritch Knight is a half caster (actually a third caster) that specializes in nonmagical features and only dabbles in magic.

I prefer the Psy War to be a full caster, thus a specific kind of Psion who is also a full caster with a slot 9 spell.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Regarding the Psychic Warrior. I prefer it to be more like the 4e Swordmage and less like the 5e Eldritch Knight.

The Swordmage is a full caster, with access to slot level 9 spells, but specializes in melee range magical effects − like telekinetic armor, force smites, slot 9 Foresight, etcetera.

By contrast, the Eldritch Knight is a half caster (actually a third caster) that specializes in nonmagical features and only dabbles in magic.

I prefer the Psy War to be a full caster, thus a specific kind of Psion who is also a full caster with a slot 9 spell.
I do agree, a PsyWarrior should be more like a Hexblade than an Eldritch Knight: full weapon proficiencies, medium and light armor prof., summonable equipment.

That said, I think we should also create a psychic Fighter Subclass that uses our newly-crafted Psion in the same way that the Eldritch Knight uses the wizard. A PsyKnight, if you will. But first things first.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
I do agree, a PsyWarrior should be more like a Hexblade than an Eldritch Knight: full weapon proficiencies, medium and light armor prof., summonable equipment.

That said, I think we should also create a psychic Fighter Subclass that uses our newly-crafted Psion in the same way that the Eldritch Knight uses the wizard. A PsyKnight, if you will. But first things first.
Yeah, on both accounts.

Hex Blade Warlock as a mechanical template for Swordmage-like full caster Psychic Warrior is excellent.

In addition, the ‘Psy Knight’ really does make a decent ‘Jedi’.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
For the Psy Knight, I was also entertaining the idea of a Psionic Paladin subclass, substituting force damage for radiance, and having telekinetic spells and so on as part of the Oath spells. Such a Psionic Paladin might also be the main ‘psychic healer’.
 

Tallifer

Adventurer
I have not yet read through the thread, but I am looking for a Bene Gesserit, which is what the Mystic partly gave us. A monk with flashier mental powers and a lot of flexibility.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I have not yet read through the thread, but I am looking for a Bene Gesserit, which is what the Mystic partly gave us. A monk with flashier mental powers and a lot of flexibility.
That sounds like as good a place to start as any, and it sounds pretty interesting. Would you like to spearhead the write-up for a Monk-esque build?
 

Zardnaar

Hero
@Shiroiken - I like the Warlock as a template...the more I think about it, the better sense it makes to me. Quick question though: why does it have proficiency in Light armor? This seems like the sort of thing that should be dependent upon the subclass chosen (similar to the Hexblade) and not the default for all psions. Is this a balance issue?
Psions had lt armor in 2E.

I would keep it simple and focus on a single archetype. If you use the warlock we know the hexblade exists so we can use that as a psychic warrior.

I wouldn't worry about soulknikes, wilders etc keep it simple. For the wilder you have the wild sorcerer as a template.

If you get the 1 Psion archetype right first you can use it with things like multiclassing to duplicate psychic warriors. Fighter 1/psion xyz can be used.

Warlocks modular as well, if anyone else complains they can just design the relevent powers and not invocations themselves.

Saves con and int IMHO. Best save, worst save. Wouldn't worry about wisdom and charisma based variants yet. We don't really need any more charisma based classes anytime soon.

I can copy and paste my warlord and make the changes so already gave that.
 
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.
My issue with this take is that if there was no Ranger or Paladin or Berserker, there'd be just as many attempts at those classes too. Psion is not unique in this aspect.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
I would strongly avoid technobabble.

These are perfectly good Greek and Latin words that are appropriate to a medievalesque setting. Nevertheless, they sound too ‘sciency’ to modern ears.

Instead of words like ‘sciences’, use words like ‘knowings’, or maybe even ‘kennings’, or ‘instincts’, ‘impulses’, ‘insights’, ‘habits’, or so on, with words that sound as if medievalesque.

Even tho the Warlock template is excellent, its flavor is unsuitable and it has mechanical problems seeming underpowered compared to other casting classes. So, Warlock is useful for mechanical inspiration, but it is better to refer to it loosely for inspiration.
 

TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
Given the flavor and the history of the class in previous editions, the psion seems like a natural place to let the player choose the key ability score for casting. Perhaps with a modest benefit to add some spice to the choice. Not like full subclasses, more like fighting styles.

Spitballing ---

Esper. You take a rigorous approach to unlocking the power of your mind. Your spellcasting ability is Intelligence. Your number of psionic powers known is increased by X.

Mystic. Your path to psychic understanding is introspective and intuitive. Your spellcasting ability is Wisdom. You get a bonus spell slot of Xth level.

Wilder. You bend reality through sheer force of personality. Your spellcasting ability is Charisma. X times per rest, you can increase the level of a spell slot you are casting a spell with to the highest level of slot you have.

Basically: versatility versus endurance versus power.
 
The core class should use slots as normal, but have an extensive sidebar (filled with Tables and Multiclass Rules) that details the spell points optional rules...
the Psion has a higher chance of being accepted by the population at large, by making integration into existing games and adoption by new players much easier
If anything, spell points are slightly less whack and inaccessible than spontaneous slot-casting, especially neo-Vancian prep-and-cast-spontaneously. (I mean, 'slot' itself, is pretty counter-intuitive as a resource that powers spellcasting.
while purposely drawing attention to an idea that will placate the existing Fanbase. Yes, power points would be an "Optional Rule" at that point
The Psion is going to be an 'optional rule,' anyway, it's not in the PH, it's in the option ghetto.
 

Eric V

Adventurer
My issue with this take is that if there was no Ranger or Paladin or Berserker, there'd be just as many attempts at those classes too. Psion is not unique in this aspect.
Heck, the ranger is an official class and there are still more takes on it than the psionic.

The idea that Wizards didn't release something "because it would get torn apart on the boards" is preposterous.
 

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