5E 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

Lord-Archaon

Explorer
For a discipline that's supposed be mastery of the mind, there's a whole lot of body modification going on in some of these ideas. Not that that's bad, per se, but it's pretty out there as far as effects go. Growing to size large, for example, is pretty far afield and straying dangerously close to being magic. GASP! Kidding, but you see what I mean.

For a psychic warrior, why not start with metabolic control influencing speed, strength and healing? Using the model above you could start off being able to buff one, and then work up to all three. There are a ton if effects and whatnot that could be layered on too.

I feel like the ask on what psionics should look like seems really high in some of the examples we've seen here and in other threads. Some of the mechanics seem fine, just a little OP I the nuts and bolts.

And I still think the Warlock is the best 5e engine for a Psionicist.
Yep, wanted to show how far out were psionics in 3.x, regarding body modification. Of course that body melding thing should be more like a 3rd level spell in power, but wanted to give examples only.

Of course, Warlock is a better model than Wizard, just like Battlemaster, being short rest-based.

But if basing on Warlock, a big deal would be the cantrips and the "invocations" (whatever they would be called like) modifying them. The two slots per rest would probably be used as ways to overcharge these special cantrips, or for durable "state of mind" passive powers.
A cool dynamic would then be choosing if to have buffs by keeping these states, or going all in with a psychic overcharge, losing concentration and associated buffs.
 

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
That's pretty much how 3.5 handled it. The Psion specialized in a Discipline (Clairsentience, Metacreativity, Psychokinesis, Psychometabolism, Psychoportation, or Telepathy) which, in 5e, would be a subclass. Each Psion drew powers (psionic spells) from a base powers list and each Discipline had a list of powers unique to it (like a Cleric's Domain spells in 5e).

The Discipline subclasses would need a few extra feature thematic to that subclass, as is the case with Wizards, Sorcerers, etc.

Use Spell Slots and Spells Known, like a Sorcerer (but keyed off of Int) (point to the option of using Spell Points in the DMG for those that want it and default to Magical Transparency. Have psionic spells require no components, and Bob's your uncle. No new rules to learn.

Just give me the option of having psicrystals and astral contructsand such.
I agree except i always viewed psionics as more wisdom based. But I would play a psion like you describe it.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I agree except i always viewed psionics as more wisdom based. But I would play a psion like you describe it.
Common sense is a wisdom trait, and people with common sense don’t play psions. I kid! 😉

In all seriousness, I agree with you. Psionic ability seems more of a willpower thing to me, over a learning thing.

But for meta reasons, I understand why it would be INT
 

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
Common sense is a wisdom trait, and people with common sense don’t play psions. I kid! 😉

In all seriousness, I agree with you. Psionic ability seems more of a willpower thing to me, over a learning thing.

But for meta reasons, I understand why it would be INT
I’d like to see it implemented either way.
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
As someone who doesn't have the first clue where to look for Psionic feats from older editions, a quick summary of what some of those are supposed to do?
That's a lot of ground to cover—from smite-like attacks, to being able to walk on walls to being able to charge without moving in a strait line to empowering your attack with magic, etc.. The D20 SRD has the psionic feats listed (and explained), you can find it here.
 

Ashrym

Hero
Perhaps, but the subclass should have enough moving parts to be comparable to an Eldritch Kight or Battlemaster.
Definitely. More options than the UA and less than 3e. The trick is finding a good enough balance and the reality is that will still leave some fans unhappy.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
For a discipline that's supposed be mastery of the mind, there's a whole lot of body modification going on in some of these ideas
I would say that Psionics in the D&D archetype is more "mastery of mind over all matter" than just "mastery of the mind" as is common in more Sci-fi or Super's (telepathy/TK).

Psionics in D&D has always (readmy experience is only since 2e) had the ability to do all of these:
  • Telepathy: mind-reading, communication
  • Telekinesis: moving objects with the power of your mind
  • Psychokinesis: direct control of elements/energy with your mind (think Firestarter, either King's or Barrymore's :p)
  • Psychoportation: moving your or other's bodies through space more efficiently. Either through teleportation effects or things like levitate/flight/skate/etc
  • Psychometabolism: these are body modification effects. Using your mind to change your body or heal it. Alter self, Animal Affinity (2e), enlarge/reduce, cure wounds to self, etc.
  • Clairsentience: seeing/hearing things from far off or divination type effects
  • Metacreativity: creating things from no where.
So body modification has always been a staple since at least 2e. It was even a named power!
 
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Arnwolf666

Adventurer
I would say that Psionics in the D&D archetype is more "mastery of mind over all matter" than just "mastery of the mind" as is common in more Sci-fi or Super's (telepathy/TK).

Psionics in D&D has always (read since 2e) had the ability to do all of these:
  • Telepathy: mind-reading, communication
  • Telekinesis: moving objects with the power of your mind
  • Psychokinesis: direct control of elements/energy with your mind (think Firestarter, either King's or Barrymore's :p)
  • Psychoportation: moving your or other's bodies through space more efficiently. Either through teleportation effects or things like levitate/flight/skate/etc
  • Psychometabolism: these are body modification effects. Using your mind to change your body or heal it. Alter self, Animal Affinity (2e), enlarge/reduce, cure wounds to self, etc.
  • Clairsentience: seeing/hearing things from far off or divination type effects
  • Metacreativity: creating things from no where.
So body modification has always been a staple since at least 2e. It was even a named power!
1E PHB and earlier.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
My take on a simple Psychic Warrior/Battlemind (I'm partial to the 4e name, personally)

3 Psionic rush:
If a creature you attacked on your last turn move on its own turn, you can use your reaction to teleport next to it. Your next attack against this creature deals +1d6 psychic damage. Increases to 1d10 at level 14.

Meld Armament:

As an Action, you can fuse you 1 armor or shield and 1 weapon with you, becoming one with your body. As a Action you can make your items reappear on you.

7 Psionic leash:
On your turn you can forgo an attack to force a creature within 20' to make a Con save vs Int DC. If it fails, you can pull it 15'.

10 Kinetic Surge:
When you use Action surge, your speed increase by 20 ft and you can you gain the ability to move along vertical surfaces and across liquids on your turn without falling during until the end of your turn. At 17th level, you also have a flying speed equal to your current walking speed. This benefit works only in short bursts; you fall if you end your turn in the air and nothing else is holding you aloft.

15 Unconquerable Mind
When you are subjected to a Wis, Int, Cha save, the enemy provoking it takes half your level in psychic damage. If you use your Indomitable feature on this save and succeed the save, you instead deal your level in psychic damage and the enemy falls prone.

18 Psionic Drive
When you take the Dash action, you can make an attack as a bonus action. You can also unleash the accumulated kinetic energy of your movement to project a psionic field. If the attack granted by this feature hits, the enemy must make a STR save vs Int DC or is pushed 10 ft away from you and held 15 ft aloft in the air until the end of its next turn. You can use this feature a number of time equal to your Int mod/ per long rest.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
I'm not suggesting that body alterations arent part of what Psionics has looked like, obvioulsy that was the case, only that it isnt necessarily a front and center core idea. It was only ever part of a sub discipline, and even then not necessarily the largest part. People wanted rational progression here, and I was indexing a different set of rationales. If we want it to feel less like magic, maybe not jumping right in to spell xeroxing is the right approach. Just a thought.
 

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
It is hard to create spells that do psychic damage. They are generally wisdom saves which are hard to pass. If the spell did 1d10 damage like firebolt it would most likely be too powerful. I think vicious mockery is a little low. I would love to see more psychic attacks. Just not sure how to balance it. They could easily become a barbarians worse nightmare. Which may not be a bad thing.
 

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
I'm not suggesting that body alterations arent part of what Psionics has looked like, obvioulsy that was the case, only that it isnt necessarily a front and center core idea. It was only ever part of a sub discipline, and even then not necessarily the largest part. People wanted rational progression here, and I was indexing a different set of rationales. If we want it to feel less like magic, maybe not jumping right in to spell xeroxing is the right approach. Just a thought.
Yeah. I would have preferred to see less imitation of magic spell. I think IMHO that leaving psycho metabolism to things like biofeedback and controlling your bodies processes would have been better than increasing mass and shape changing. Not because they are too powerful necessarily but to make the psionicist feel different than the wizard in what they are trying to accomplish. I really see ki and psionics being the same thing. Sorry to step on toes on this one. But the monastic and ascetic setting to develop psionics just seems fitting to me. Not that I don’t also like using the sorcerer class to model those abilities. Makes me curious to see how these concepts get developed.
 

Lord-Archaon

Explorer
Body alteration in the sense of melding with objects and other bodies is not something spells currently do, and it has its place in Psionics probably because of Akira's anime movie and related Japanese body horror (and their close relationship with psychic powers).
 

Lord-Archaon

Explorer
Body alteration in the sense of melding with objects and other bodies is not something spells currently do, and it has its place in Psionics probably because of Akira's anime movie and related Japanese body horror (and their close relationship with psychic powers).
Not that is a part of Psionics I like, I did it just because it's easy to represent. (Although the part of poison/necrotic being anathema to it was just a weird thing that came to my mind)
 

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
Not that is a part of Psionics I like, I did it just because it's easy to represent. (Although the part of poison/necrotic being anathema to it was just a weird thing that came to my mind)
necromancy is tricks. There is definitely a place for psionic that can see and speak with the dead. People like mediums and seers that can sense and communicate with the afterlife. As well as doing psychic battle with such entities.
 

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