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UA New Unearthed Arcana: Psionics!

There’s a new Unearthed Arcana article out, and it’s all about psionics! "Their minds bristling with power, three new subclasses arrive in today’s Unearthed Arcana: the Psychic Warrior for the fighter, the Soulknife for the rogue, and the tradition of Psionics for the wizard."

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In this 9-page PDF, there are also some new psionics-themed spells (including versions of classic psionic powers like id insinuation and ego whip) and two new feats.
 
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Comments

Raunalyn

Adventurer
No idea I got bored with UA years ago. I pay attention when the forums do.

I down loaded the Mystic for example, knew it would go nowhere and put it in the meh pile.

Lots of extra archetypes a few that probably won't go anywhere eh. Psionics I do look at because it's different.

I saw the 43 class variants and haven't even downloaded it let alone read it.
The 43 class variants, to me, was one of the best UA's in years. I liked that they were looking at new ways to use the 5E rules to create more customization for characters. I hope they continue with that line of thought.
 

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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Here's I think the big stumbling blocks Crawford et. al. are going to have to deal with after they start getting the surveys back, and will make them decide whether or not there needs to be a new class or not.

- People will say the psionicist can't be a Wizard subclass because they don't want a spellbook, and they want the character to have its abilities from Level 1.

- People will say the psionicist can't be a Sorcerer subclass because they want it to use INT rather than CHA.

- People will say the psionicist can't be a spellcaster at all, because they don't want to use spell slots for their abilities.

But when you look at it through that lens... it just means you are creating a class that uses the spell point option from the DMG, and is a sorcerer that uses INT.

Does that really warrant being an entirely "new" class... seeing as how it really isn't a "new" class at all? It's just a sorcerer that uses INT and the spell points option? From that point of view... they're going to have to decide if its worth using 4 to 5 pages in whatever book they put it in just to get those couple changed rules down on paper... as opposed to making it a Wizard subclass (for example) and just tell people "You can call yourself your subclass identity at Level 1 even if you don't get your first "unique" feature until Level 3, and all we need to do is give you a Variant Class Feature (a la that previous UA) that allows you to exchange 'Spellbook' for 'Psicrystal'."

And as far as the few spells that require GP spell components... if it matters that much to players they can just not take those spells and they never have to worry about the potential brain injury of having to question why a psionicist has to spend gold pieces to use their abilities.
 

Lucas Yew

Explorer
Psionics should never be limited by the availability of a *tongue and/or *fingers. That's their biggest aesthetic selling point, anyways, for me.

* (or other organs required for vocalizing sound based languages)
** (or other organs able to make weird complex movement in a spacial dimension)
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Psionics should never be limited by the availability of a *tongue and/or *fingers. That's their biggest aesthetic selling point, anyways, for me.

* (or other organs required for vocalizing sound based languages)
** (or other organs able to make weird complex movement in a spacial dimension)
Do you actually use spell components now? And if we assume that the psionicist ends up being a wizard subclass, aren't you going to just ignore the spell components then anyway? Does WotC really need to spend 15 to 20 pages on a new class and new psionic disciplines just to make sure the words "spell component" is not included in their descriptions?

At some point, WotC has to just decide whether or not some isolated players have to take their own personal responsibility to just ignore parts of the Player's Handbook they don't like, rather than try and re-write every single facet of the game so that it's written down on paper exactly the way those players need the rules to be.
 

dave2008

Legend
At some point, WotC has to just decide whether or not some isolated players have to take their own personal responsibility to just ignore parts of the Player's Handbook they don't like, rather than try and re-write every single facet of the game so that it's written down on paper exactly the way those players need the rules to be.
And the issue here as well is that according to Crawford the Psion as a class is very rarely used. I have personally never played with psionics in my D&D game and I started playing in the 80s.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
And the issue here as well is that according to Crawford the Psion as a class is very rarely used. I have personally never played with psionics in my D&D game and I started playing in the 80s.
I personally have played and LOVE psionics as a system distinct from vancian magic.

That said, I don't think we NEED a new class just to mimic the historic system types they used to use/have. I can use Spell point sorcerers and just change their stat to INT. I can use the other UA/published psionic options and make do.

The biggest thing missing is the upcasting with more point... oh wait they have that now for all casters. So now the only thing really missing are the power descriptions and their groupings under different Psionic Science/Devotion groupings
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
There needs to be a base class in addition to a bunch of subclasses in every other class for psionics.

So for know it's a wait and see about what they do. Mearls was playing around with the ideas for a Psion with a Telepath, Nomad, Kineticist, Shaper/Summoner and Metamorph subclasses. They were going to be a class that's like a Wizard with a focus on Cantrips that could be enhanced with spell slots. The Archivist Artificer had a feature just like that.
 


MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
I think they will eventually have a base psion class. I think it is easier (and works better) to go from simple (like the subclasses) and work up to something more complicated (a full psion class) then to start complicated and work down.

I would like the class to be something like a barbarian, in that you are more or less normal and then go supercharged (your brain instead of your body) for a short while. I think that gets to taping your internal reserves (and as you level up, "a short while" can increase in duration) and no other caster has anything like that, so that would also fit the "make it different from the wizard."
 


drl2

Explorer
I like the idea of psionic powers in general in a D&D setting, but back in my AD&D days (after which I took a 30ish year break and returned to 5e a year or so ago :p) they were a clunky optional add-on. Dragon Magazine introduced a Psionicist class back in the 80s, which looked fun, though I never had a chance to play one.

Not sure how I feel about adding them back in via sub-classes. Part of the appeal in the old days was that they were independent of class, so they offered some really interesting flexibility... but of course this method could introduce all sorts of balance issues, and I don't remember there being any down side to compensate for the added abilities. I suppose if I were to run a more old-school variation of Psi powers in a campaign these days, I'd introduce some in-world story elements to compensate: they're illegal in most places, for instance, and the penalties for getting caught using them can be pretty severe; or Mind Flayers are hunting the Psi-enabled and harvesting their brains. Psi powers are illegal most places because Mind Flayers have influenced legal authorities to co-opt them into helping in their brain harvests?
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I see a lot of comments about how WoTC gave up, or are too lazy, or are playing it too safe. None of those are reasons. Jeremy gave the reason, and it comes down to raw numbers. Not enough people played or used psionics in the past to warrant putting out a new system. That's not lazy, or too conservative, or giving up. That's a pure business standpoint.

I'd really like to see a shaman class with a spirit summoning totem mechanic, but if no one is going to end up playing with that, I can understand why WoTC wouldn't waste their time, energy, and money doing it. Especially when I can create it in 3PP if I really had to have it. Ideal? Of course not.
 

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
Psionic spells are not special, and that might not go over well with a lot of people. The special part comes from the class abilities so hopefully the final product works well in that regard.
If I adopt this approach, the new spells that are classified as psionics would not be freely available to other classes as a general rule.

When a "regular" bard say wanted one of those, we would discuss that fact that they are, at that time, gaining a psionic ability. (with rp and campaign considerations attached)
 




Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
This isn't psionics. Just magic hand waved with a different name
What is psionics then? What is missing exactly?

It’s always been magic waived with a different name and points Instead of spell slots. Is it a spell book that has you upset? Is it the continued use of spell slots?
 

No, sir, I don't like it. Any of it.

We went from the best UA last time around to now easily the worst since 5e started.

I'm fine with Psychic Warrior and Soulknife being Fighter and Rogue subclasses, respectively, but they are pretty boring and underwhelming as shown. And Psionics Wizard instead of a full-class Psion ... no. Just ... no.
 
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