Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana Revisits Psionics

The latest Unearthed Arcana from WotC revisits some psionic rules! “Shine with the power of the mind in this installment of Unearthed Arcana! Today we revisit several psi-themed options that we released in the past few months. Studying your feedback on those options, we’ve crafted this new collection of subclasses, spells, and feats, found in the PDF below.“

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

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See, we are talking about different things now.

Spellcasting focuses only take a single hand, or a shield.

Paladin or Cleric? Sure, focus is on their shield, they might have trouble juggling a shield, torch and weapon, if they are in the dark and don't have darkvision. Of course, cleric's can just cast light on their shield, solving that issue.

Warlock, Sorcerer, Wizard, Bard, Druid, Ranger? Most of them don't have or don't use shields. In fact, for most wizards, sorcerers, bards and warlocks? The have a focus in one hand and nothing in their other, so they can easily carry a torch and cast.

And by 4th level, if you are a caster who has this problem, you usually take warcaster which allows you to cast while your hands are full.

So, we have to get fairly specific and in the weeds for this to ever come up needing
1) Multiple people without Darkvision
2) Using a hand-held light source to see in the dark instead of the variety of cantrips that do so
3) They must be wielding a shield, or commonly have a weapon other than a staff (which is an arcane focus) that they wish to hold while casting
4) Not have a feat, ability, or common magical item to counteract that handedness issue

Uh, thanks for explaining D&D to me. :-/

Yes, that was exactly the situation. We had a sword-and-board fighter (two of them, actually) holding torches when combat started. Not such an uncommon situation, I would think. Pretty sure that's why torches are an item in the game.
 

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Chaosmancer

Legend
I resolved that days ago.

Don't remember that getting resolved beyond "well, druids can wildshape" which doesn't really resolve anything.

Sure thing.

By the way, I was being sarcastic

1) Most player characters are Humans, and Dragonborn are quite popular (most popular after Humans, Half-Elves, Elves or Dwarves, actually)
2) only Light spell per PC who can do it, and most can't
3) admittedly I like my Gosh builds
4) Not everyone uses Feats, not everyone will have a given ability, magic items are not guaranteed

Honestly, it's not as much a corner case as all that: this stuff comes up all the time.

This is another exhibit in the case against Feats, right here.


Uh, thanks for explaining D&D to me. :-/

Yes, that was exactly the situation. We had a sword-and-board fighter (two of them, actually) holding torches when combat started. Not such an uncommon situation, I would think. Pretty sure that's why torches are an item in the game.

Look. I've got a DM using Roll20 who is also doing a lot with light sources. I get that it can happen, and that under this specific circumstance it did happen, but that does nothing about the point I am making.

Unless you are going to look at the entire list of all races (DDB lists 38 I could count, and 20 did not have darkvision) then you are usually talking about just the PHB and Volos. From there we have 21 races, 7 who do not have darkvision. That is 1/3 of all options.

Moving on from that, in terms of spellcasters, Wizards and Sorcerers have zero issues casting while holding a torch. Warlocks generally don't unless they are Hexblade bladelocks with a shield. Clerics only if they are melee with a shield and did not take the light cantrip. Druid only if they are melee and have a shield. Bards Only if you are a valor bard, and using a shield and a melee weapon.

And, I'm not sure why the love affair with torches, when a lantern is superior in pretty much every way. You could also throw alchemist fire and create a burning area that gives off light.

The point where light, darkness, torches and spell components meaningfully intersect just seems to be very minor to me. Especially since you keep mentioning "we only had one light cantrip", does everyone need their own light instead of relying on their teammates?
 


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Guest 6801328

Guest
Look. I've got a DM using Roll20 who is also doing a lot with light sources. I get that it can happen, and that under this specific circumstance it did happen, but that does nothing about the point I am making.

It shouldn't require roll20 with dynamic lighting. It should happen just as easily on a battle mat with dry erase markers, but probably doesn't because it's easy to forget about/overlook without the technology reminding you that you're standing in darkness.

Unless you are going to look at the entire list of all races (DDB lists 38 I could count, and 20 did not have darkvision) then you are usually talking about just the PHB and Volos. From there we have 21 races, 7 who do not have darkvision. That is 1/3 of all options.

As somebody mentioned above, actual race distribution is not even. Humans are dramatically overrepresented.

Moving on from that, in terms of spellcasters, Wizards and Sorcerers have zero issues casting while holding a torch. Warlocks generally don't unless they are Hexblade bladelocks with a shield. Clerics only if they are melee with a shield and did not take the light cantrip. Druid only if they are melee and have a shield. Bards Only if you are a valor bard, and using a shield and a melee weapon.

Wait...why do wizards and sorcerers have zero issues casting while holding a torch? In my experience a lot of them have magic staves and/or magic wands. Wand in one hand, torch in another....no hand free for casting.

And, I'm not sure why the love affair with torches, when a lantern is superior in pretty much every way.

WTF? What does that have to do with the topic? Sure, a lantern. What "love affair"? And how is does it have any effect on the discussion about free hands? Other than the fact that if you drop it in order to draw a weapon it will break?

You could also throw alchemist fire and create a burning area that gives off light.

...

The point where light, darkness, torches and spell components meaningfully intersect just seems to be very minor to me.

My point was just that it comes up, and people who ignore minor rules are not encountering the times when it matters.

Especially since you keep mentioning "we only had one light cantrip", does everyone need their own light instead of relying on their teammates?

WTF^2?
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Wait...why do wizards and sorcerers have zero issues casting while holding a torch? In my experience a lot of them have magic staves and/or magic wands. Wand in one hand, torch in another....no hand free for casting.

Because the rules state you use the hand holding your focus to do the Somatic components, so casting with a focus only requires a single hand? If you don't realize that is the rule, it might explain how it comes up more often for you than it does for others.



WTF? What does that have to do with the topic? Sure, a lantern. What "love affair"? And how is does it have any effect on the discussion about free hands? Other than the fact that if you drop it in order to draw a weapon it will break?

Sorry, I've been in like 7 different threads about encumberance and handedness and everything else, and everyone always talks about torches, while lanterns are lighter, last longer, and give more light.

Also, Lanterns can be set on the ground and pushed with your feet, or simply tied to your belt with a rope. Freeing your hands if you are truly desperate.


My point was just that it comes up, and people who ignore minor rules are not encountering the times when it matters.

Or we are ignoring the minor rules, because they would only every encounter a time when they actually mattered once or twice a campaign, because most of the time they don't matter.




I was responding to both you and Parmandur, who kept mentioning that their group only had one individual with the light cantrip. But also this applies to the following scenario.

The fighter is holding a shield and a sword, so they can't hold a torch right? But the Rogue is only holding a rapier, so they can hold the torch and provide light for the fighter, so it doesn't matter that the fighter can't hold a torch.

So why does it matter that "only one of them had the light cantrip" one of them is enough to give one person without free hands a light source. And the majority of classes would have at least one free hand.
 

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Guest 6801328

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Because the rules state you use the hand holding your focus to do the Somatic components, so casting with a focus only requires a single hand? If you don't realize that is the rule, it might explain how it comes up more often for you than it does for others.

Honestly, I didn't realize you could make a magic wand that you find as your focus. Turns out you can.

In any event, I didn't say it comes up often. It came up this past Monday, and it was the sword-and-board fighter.

My point still being that if these rules were ignored, the combat would have been easier.

This thing about hands being full and torches is just one illustrative example of the sorts of things that arise when supposedly minor rules get hand-waved away.

Also, Lanterns can be set on the ground and pushed with your feet, or simply tied to your belt with a rope. Freeing your hands if you are truly desperate.

True, but setting something on the ground requires your Free Action, which leaves you without one for drawing a weapon.

Again, these little tiny rules matter.


Or we are ignoring the minor rules, because they would only every encounter a time when they actually mattered once or twice a campaign, because most of the time they don't matter.

Yes, it's true, most of the time they don't matter. But they also don't consume any mental resources when they don't.


I was responding to both you and Parmandur, who kept mentioning that their group only had one individual with the light cantrip. But also this applies to the following scenario.

The fighter is holding a shield and a sword, so they can't hold a torch right? But the Rogue is only holding a rapier, so they can hold the torch and provide light for the fighter, so it doesn't matter that the fighter can't hold a torch.

So why does it matter that "only one of them had the light cantrip" one of them is enough to give one person without free hands a light source. And the majority of classes would have at least one free hand.

We actually had a light spell and two torches. It was a large group (7+) in a dungeon with lots of small rooms and many doors and corridors, and the goblins kept scampering around and attacking from behind, etc..

Earlier in the dungeon, when rooms were larger, we just had the light spell and it seemed to work fine.

There seems to be a subtext to most of your responses that goes something like, "If only you were better at playing D&D this wouldn't be a problem."
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
We actually had a light spell and two torches. It was a large group (7+) in a dungeon with lots of small rooms and many doors and corridors, and the goblins kept scampering around and attacking from behind, etc..

Earlier in the dungeon, when rooms were larger, we just had the light spell and it seemed to work fine.

There seems to be a subtext to most of your responses that goes something like, "If only you were better at playing D&D this wouldn't be a problem."

I don't intend that to be a subtext at all, and I apologize if it is coming across that way.

I just tend to get a vibe from these conversations like "If you actually followed the rules you'd see the true complexity of the game" and it gets me to want to point out that the rules are generally not that hard, just tedious to care and follow in the majority of cases.
 

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Guest 6801328

Guest
I don't intend that to be a subtext at all, and I apologize if it is coming across that way.

I just tend to get a vibe from these conversations like "If you actually followed the rules you'd see the true complexity of the game" and it gets me to want to point out that the rules are generally not that hard, just tedious to care and follow in the majority of cases.

And I certainly didn't mean it that way, either. It's not like the game suddenly becomes 3D chess if you start tracking encumbrance. But those little rules do, or can, add something to the decision-making, for not much added effort, and in my experience make combats more complex. Sometimes.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I don't intend that to be a subtext at all, and I apologize if it is coming across that way.

I just tend to get a vibe from these conversations like "If you actually followed the rules you'd see the true complexity of the game" and it gets me to want to point out that the rules are generally not that hard, just tedious to care and follow in the majority of cases.

No badwrongfun from my end: it's important when I've played, but the rules are there to be used or ignored as desired to have fun.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
It's not like the game suddenly becomes 3D chess if you start tracking encumbrance. But those little rules do, or can, add something to the decision-making, for not much added effort, and in my experience make combats more complex. Sometimes.
As a DM, I pulled out "can you see in the dark?" when the PCs first went into an unlit dungeon, to get them thinking about two hands and sword / shield / torch /
component pouch - aha Light cantrip*! The next dark place I just asked "Can you see...?" and they said "We'll do like last time." (My goal was to get them - and me - familiar with the rules for visibility. Not cheat them into a sticky trap.)

I am going to run a Dark Sun campaign; for the first trip away from the cities, encumbrance and supplies will be a big deal. Once the players have a feel for what they can normally carry, I'll let it drop to background prep. Again, because I want all of us to have some experience using those rules, not to trap them in the desert with no water.

* and Darkvision. Characters with darkvision don't have to worry about torches so much.
 

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Guest 6801328

Guest
* and Darkvision. Characters with darkvision don't have to worry about torches so much.

Honestly there are too many damned races with Darkvision. Addressing only the PHB races, If I had my druthers:
  • Elves and Half-elves would be able to see in outdoors at night (normal darkness) as if it were daytime.
  • Dwarves and half-orcs would get double the benefit of any light sources when underground. That is, a 30/60 light source would become 60/120.
  • Drow and Tieflings would (maybe?) get actual Darkvision.

I think it's fun to have to figure out light sources, and to occasionally lose them in mishaps.
 


So you wouldn't have a problem renaming the fighter class from fighter to wizard? I would. I think most other people would as well. Names have strong meaning. They aren't simple fluff.
You can say "I like the idea of this class that wears armour and hits monsters with a sword, but I don't think "wizard" is the best name for it" or you can say "a wizard who hits things with a sword is a terrible idea with no merit whatsoever".

It's the difference between constructive and destructive criticism. One gets you what you want and the other gets you nothing at all.
 


Thoughts on how this could be used, or more realistic examples?

Ok Full Disclosure.....I am not following this thread.
(The Buzz from it seems akin, to an Angry, hornets nest🌼)

Your math checks out to me, (and I as well), think this is an awesome use of psychic power.

Terrain, plays a large role in my game. Being able to jump, can sometimes be the only means to get to the fight....or get away from it.

The amount of feet that Psi-Powered leap adds to one’s High Jump is amazing. Quite literally Awesome.

A 19 Strength Fighter can do a standing High Jump of three feet. (Half of [Str modifier + 3])
Psi powered leap in your example is adding 15’ to that.👍

A 19 Strength Monk, using Step of the Wind, can standing high jump 6’.

I’ve seen monks in 5e jump to the top of a 20’ tall building, and then jump into the air and stunning blow a flying creature.

The Psi Knight can Jedi Jump, and then Action Surge.

The ability should be renamed, Murder Jump. That is how it will be used.🥳
 

I don't think it makes you immune to falling damage, so it would be leap 20' into the air, hit the flying dragon with action surge, than take 2d6 damage when you hit the ground.
 


Just realized that these rules don't allow you to start playing as a psionic character unless you're a sorcerer. This is more a problem of the subclass system, though. Still, no 1st level psychic warrior/soulknife.
 



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