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.“

F07971E8-C0BB-4025-A151-D48852409FCA.jpeg


 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Honestly I'm not sure who rolls the dice, and whether or not the group votes, changes the underlying argument. The DM could say, "You guys roll the dice" for the random treasure table. And it's not like there's going to be much debate about who gets the Holy Avenger. Yes, there are some functional differences between the two, but I'm not sure they matter in the context of the arguments being made here.

In any event, I was making the argument in your defense. @Chaosmancer seems to find it unacceptable that one character should be more powerful as the result of random dice rolls, and I was pointing out that random treasure does exactly that.
AH! Well, I appreciate the assistance! :)

Sorry, but when I am quoted and there is no statement acknowledging agreement (I agree, You have a point, etc.) it usually means I am being disputed. My bad.

As way of apology the odds of rolling a paladin using 3d6 in order (as Cavalier-Paladin), getting the right social class so you don't need a sponsor, then getting a sword, holy avenger, intelligent is about 1 in 71,168,969,697.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
Ah, I get the point.

That isn't quite where I was going with it, but I see the similarities.

Let us say for arguments sake that you need to roll a 10 or less on a 1d100 to be psionic.

For someone who doesn't want psionics on their character, it doesn't matter. They don't want it, so they won't roll for it.

For someone who does want it, they now have a 90% chance to not have the character they wanted. So, it ends up being more likely they either won't use the system, or they will just be given the abilities anyways, ignoring the roll.

But, because there was only a 10% chance of any character being Psionic, the game was built to allow Psionics to be unbalanced, with the theory that you can't really expect them to show up.


That all seems like a poor design though.

I find it better to design Psionics to be balanced, or have a cost that is balanced, from the beginning. Because the people who want it will likely get it anyways, and we don't need "but it isn't likely to happen" as a balancing act.

Magical Items are a bit different, in my mind, but I don't want to get bogged down in discussing them.

But isn’t that a LOT like magic items? “I want to play a character with a sentient sword” isn’t necessarily something you get to choose.

Now, I can understand a sentiment that psionics, like magic itself, should be something that you get to choose. But this might be a case of the designers having a different opinion, and categorizing the ability differently than you would prefer, not necessarily “bad” design.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
AH! Well, I appreciate the assistance! :)

Sorry, but when I am quoted and there is no statement acknowledging agreement (I agree, You have a point, etc.) it usually means I am being disputed. My bad.

As way of apology the odds of rolling a paladin using 3d6 in order (as Cavalier-Paladin), getting the right social class so you don't need a sponsor, then getting a sword, holy avenger, intelligent is about 1 in 71,168,969,697.

Hmm. Given that the prime factors of that number are:

3
7
7
53
9134767

I don't think so.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Ah, I get the point.

That isn't quite where I was going with it, but I see the similarities.

Let us say for arguments sake that you need to roll a 10 or less on a 1d100 to be psionic.

For someone who doesn't want psionics on their character, it doesn't matter. They don't want it, so they won't roll for it.

For someone who does want it, they now have a 90% chance to not have the character they wanted. So, it ends up being more likely they either won't use the system, or they will just be given the abilities anyways, ignoring the roll.

But, because there was only a 10% chance of any character being Psionic, the game was built to allow Psionics to be unbalanced, with the theory that you can't really expect them to show up.


That all seems like a poor design though.

I find it better to design Psionics to be balanced, or have a cost that is balanced, from the beginning. Because the people who want it will likely get it anyways, and we don't need "but it isn't likely to happen" as a balancing act.

Magical Items are a bit different, in my mind, but I don't want to get bogged down in discussing them.
It just depends on how you view psionics. I view them as an extra to the game. I don't want to play a psionicist but if I get them, cool. For me, by making them a possible standard feature, you are taking the fun out of them.

So, to me it is not poor design, it is just right. :)
 


Chaosmancer

Legend
But isn’t that a LOT like magic items? “I want to play a character with a sentient sword” isn’t necessarily something you get to choose.

Now, I can understand a sentiment that psionics, like magic itself, should be something that you get to choose. But this might be a case of the designers having a different opinion, and categorizing the ability differently than you would prefer, not necessarily “bad” design.

No, the "bad" part is making it more powerful just because it is random, which is historicallly the way things end up happening when an ability is gated behind a random roll.

But, you totally can play a character with a sentient sword, and choose that. Warlock, Pact of the Blade. Or even an Eldritch Knight if you want a stretch a little.

But, since those classes very specifically give you magical weapons bonded to your character, it is trivially easy to ask a DM to have them talk to you as part of that.

I'm stretching, I know, but "sentient" weapons don't by themselves give you any advantages.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
It just depends on how you view psionics. I view them as an extra to the game. I don't want to play a psionicist but if I get them, cool. For me, by making them a possible standard feature, you are taking the fun out of them.

So, to me it is not poor design, it is just right. :)

Making them a standard feature? I'm not sure the difference here, but if you want them to be extra special just because they are special, I also find that a poor design choice.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Making them a standard feature? I'm not sure the difference here, but if you want them to be extra special just because they are special, I also find that a poor design choice.
It isn't special if everyone can do it. It isn't a poor design to me, but poor is in the eyes of the beholder.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
No, the "bad" part is making it more powerful just because it is random, which is historicallly the way things end up happening when an ability is gated behind a random roll.

But, you totally can play a character with a sentient sword, and choose that. Warlock, Pact of the Blade. Or even an Eldritch Knight if you want a stretch a little.

But, since those classes very specifically give you magical weapons bonded to your character, it is trivially easy to ask a DM to have them talk to you as part of that.

I'm stretching, I know, but "sentient" weapons don't by themselves give you any advantages.
If you want to refluff those class features to meet the spirit of what I was intending, then I will refluff sorcerer metamagic to meet the requirements for psionics that you are describing. Fair?
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
I mean, if you don’t like the sentient sword example, let’s just use the time-honored tradition of rolling for stats. Some people get lucky, roll better, and are more powerful.

You don’t have to use it, or like it. And clearly WotC sees limitations with that model. But it’s hardly some strange anomaly that exists only in old versions of psionics.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I really strongly dislike the talent die. It's...just bad?

I can't see an upside to it, at all.

Psions are all amateurs with little control over how much power they use? No thanks.

Cool mechanic for a wild talent or as a replacement for the wild magic surge mechanic. Bad mechanic for literally anyone else.

Ditching a bunch of spells to gate their effects behind specific subclasses is garbage, IMO.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
I really strongly dislike the talent die. It's...just bad?

I can't see an upside to it, at all.

Psions are all amateurs with little control over how much power they use? No thanks.

Cool mechanic for a wild talent or as a replacement for the wild magic surge mechanic. Bad mechanic for literally anyone else.

Ditching a bunch of spells to gate their effects behind specific subclasses is garbage, IMO.
As I wrote elsewhere, I’d like to see a mechanic where you can downsize your die in order to avoid some randomness.

although, for the record, I don’t interpret the mechanic as meaning “amateur”. I read it as “this is crazy difficult and exhausting”.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
If you want to refluff those class features to meet the spirit of what I was intending, then I will refluff sorcerer metamagic to meet the requirements for psionics that you are describing. Fair?

Yeah, I am just against design by gating behind randomness. That is the only point I have been trying to make.

I mean, if you don’t like the sentient sword example, let’s just use the time-honored tradition of rolling for stats. Some people get lucky, roll better, and are more powerful.

You don’t have to use it, or like it. And clearly WotC sees limitations with that model. But it’s hardly some strange anomaly that exists only in old versions of psionics.

Sure, but it isn't binary.

If you roll a 10 you get psionic powers. If you roll anything else, you get nothing.

But rolling stats you always get something, it could be good or bad, but it is never nothing.

It isn't special if everyone can do it. It isn't a poor design to me, but poor is in the eyes of the beholder.

Sorry, nothing is special then.

Magic and being chosen by the Gods to fulfill a higher purpose are just mundane every day occurrences.





I really strongly dislike the talent die. It's...just bad?

I can't see an upside to it, at all.

Psions are all amateurs with little control over how much power they use? No thanks.

Cool mechanic for a wild talent or as a replacement for the wild magic surge mechanic. Bad mechanic for literally anyone else.

Ditching a bunch of spells to gate their effects behind specific subclasses is garbage, IMO.

I'd have to work with the fiction, perhaps, but I like the psi die overall. It is different and with a tiny tweak it has just as much chance to go up as to go down. I also like the idea that rolling the lowest value on the die gets a rider that you want. Usually a bad roll just sucks, but a bad roll that increases your die size for the next time is more interesting.


And I'd prefer some things be subclass abilities rather than spells. Everything being spells is just being a wizard. And at that point, we don't need to design anything new, we just need to add more spells to the game.
 


DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Sure, but it isn't binary.

If you roll a 10 you get psionic powers. If you roll anything else, you get nothing.

But rolling stats you always get something, it could be good or bad, but it is never nothing.

Neither is having psionics (again, referring to 1E). Having it can be good or bad, just as not having it can be, it depends on the situation. Not having psionics means you are not vulnerable to certain attacks that having them would make you vulnerable to. Thus, in many cases you are better off without them.

Sorry, nothing is special then.

Magic and being chosen by the Gods to fulfill a higher purpose are just mundane every day occurrences.

You're right. WotC already made a lot of things not special anymore but overlapping spells and/or magical features into so many subclasses it is ridiculous. Every class has either spells or features that are mystical or magical in nature. BORING! A lot of people have complained about the crazy amount of over lap.

Even some classes used to be special because of ability score requirements. "Nah, let's just get rid of those, too." Everyone can do everything now! YEAH! We can all hold hands and be happy.

(Sorry, I think the shut-in is getting to me... stir crazy )
 



Weiley31

Legend
Unsure of what a psionic focus is
A Psionic Focus would be something like a Psi-Crystal, a weapon made outta Crysteel, or something like an Ioun Stone.

Heck, they could being back/reflavor the Illumians from 3.5 and have the glowing letter sigils that float around their heads be the Psionic Focus for em.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
As I wrote elsewhere, I’d like to see a mechanic where you can downsize your die in order to avoid some randomness.

although, for the record, I don’t interpret the mechanic as meaning “amateur”. I read it as “this is crazy difficult and exhausting”.
In play, I doubt it’s gonna come across as anything but not being good at control.
 

dave2008

Legend
I really strongly dislike the talent die. It's...just bad?

I can't see an upside to it, at all.

Psions are all amateurs with little control over how much power they use? No thanks.

Cool mechanic for a wild talent or as a replacement for the wild magic surge mechanic. Bad mechanic for literally anyone else.

Ditching a bunch of spells to gate their effects behind specific subclasses is garbage, IMO.
I actually like the concept, but I don't expect it to survive in its current form. As @Elfcrusher suggested I think something you have more control over, or always gives better results (like superiority dice) is more likely in the end. I do like the idea that the abilities are exhausting and representing that with dice, which is what I think this is going for.
 

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top