• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is LIVE! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

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.“...

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


 

log in or register to remove this ad

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
Ah yes, I have fond memories of blowing all my PSP to disintegrate the BBEG at 6th level. Couldn't do much the rest of the season but fire a crossbow, but the look on the DM's face when his main story bad guy was atomized in one round was priceless.
I think like half of people's memories about 2E psionics are the low level disintegrate. Hardly ever worked, but amazing when it did.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

I think like half of people's memories about 2E psionics are the low level disintegrate. Hardly ever worked, but amazing when it did.

Yeah, it wasn't even that good, but it sure was flashy. People remember every time the villain got atomised, even if him failing a save against Hold Person (or the like) and then being chopped up unceremoniously was just as deadly and claimed far more victims. Man, now I think about it, rather a lot of 2E human/demihuman villains I had died whilst Hold Person'd. The penalty to save if you only targeted one creature was VILE.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Absolutely there is. I know you've been on a kick lately about "only the roleplay matters" and "people worry too much about the combat minigame" but for a lot of us, the mechanics of how the game plays matters a lot.
If I didn't like the mechanical aspect of the game, I'd just play Dungeon World instead.
Fair enough... using mechanics that are fun and interesting indeed do make the game part of D&D more enjoyable to play. If the dice-rolling kinda sucks, then using the dice rolling is a hassle or an out-and-out failure.

But I still do question though whether specific mechanics actually feel like what they're meant to represent? Or is it just that our coloring of said mechanic with a name thereby gives it said "feel" in our heads? Like if you were to remove the identifier from the mechanic, would any of us be able to tell what the mechanic actually "feels" like it is doing?

Case in point, there are what... dozens of different features that give advantage on a roll? None of us can say that advantage "feels" like any of them. It's only when we layer on top of it the roleplaying identifier (or fluff) of "This advantage comes from the person getting lit up like a Christmas Tree due to this Faerie Fire spell that was cast on it" that we in our minds associate the feel of the Faerie Fire spell to the mechanic of advantage. Or like I said above... does rolling an extra +2d6 damage "feel" specifically like getting in a really good shot in under the target's chin or around it's armor in a manner the target didn't see coming... as opposed to say rolling an extra +2d6 damage due to calling down the power of your divine oath to smite the unbeliever? (And yes, I realize DS is +2d8 not 2d6 but the point's the same.) It's only because we call one set of bonus damage "Sneak Attack" that the mechanic acquires the "feel" of getting in a really good shot in under the target's chin. But without saying "this is a Sneak Attack", the mechanic wouldn't "feel" like anything specific other than bonus damage.

And that's really my point of the Psi Die-- it doesn't "feel" like psionics because no one has actually used it yet. We haven't associated the mechanic to the name in our minds yet. But I would bet that once people started actually playing with the mechanic and having a character that used the mechanic... eventually the mechanic would come to "feel" like psionics because you'd be identifying it as such. Just like adding a +2 to damage and resisting BPS damage "feels" like going into a murderous thundering rage.

But hey... that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. :)

(EDIT: Now if you want to say that the Psi Die just doesn't feel like a fun dice mechanic to actually play in of itself... then that's a whole different story, and I can understand someone's distaste for it and my point above doesn't apply.)
 
Last edited:

Remathilis

Legend
I think like half of people's memories about 2E psionics are the low level disintegrate. Hardly ever worked, but amazing when it did.
It was the fact the loophole existed that allowed a single 6th level spell effect to be done at the time most mages had 6d6 fireballs that was exciting. It was a failure of relying solely on cost to regulate effect power, and it is why 3e psionics opted to use "spell level" as a guardrail to prevent it. It's what most people cite as a classic example of broken usage.

Another good example; we had a group with a dwarf psionicist and a half-ogre fighter. Both had high strengths (half-ogre had a 19, dwarf 16). The psionicist would routinely use share strength on the half-ogre, which allowed the dwarf to sacrifice strength points 2:1 to give to the half-ogre. So the dwarf would drop his strength 12 points to a 4, while the half-ogre would boost his to 25 (+7 hit, +14 damage). Not much survived that in melee.

Yeah, 2e is not where I want psionics to go back to.
 





Remathilis

Legend
Again, until there's psionics in an official book there just isn't any psionics in 5th Edition.

It's been five years. Still no psionics.
I assume you mean a unique, PC-based psionics system, as the mind-flayer has been in the Monster Manual since day one.

To be perfectly honest, a new, spell-point based caster class with a unique spell list and some discipline-based subclasses would be fine. Allow them to ignore VS components, add a few class features like telepathy, and a few new spells. Basically, the 3.5 psion class redux. It would be safe, boring and work fine for most purposes. The biggest problem is WotC wanted to reinvent the wheel and make it unique rather than go with the obvious system.

Might be time to work on my own variant...
 

ccooke

Adventurer
I've been thinking about the Soul Knife - specifically some concepts for using it. I agree, there needs to be some feedback that as written it needs some more opportunities to roll the Psychic Talent die. However... That Psychic Whispers power seriously has some legs. Here's three concepts for using it that aren't suggested in the rules (... please don't use the third one):

One: Party face.
Note that Psychic Whispers does not need to target a Willing creature, and it enables communication even if you don't share a language. Need to talk to that NPC? Sure, a caster might be able to do it with Comprehend Languages, but in most cases that will take 10 minutes, definitely use up a daily resource or not allow the speaker to be someone with access to Expertise in social skills

Two: Playing with the enemy
Psychic Whispers also has no saving throw. Open up a connection to several of the enemy at the start of the combat - maybe with a readied action. Use your cunning action to hide. Attack every round with advantage and sneak, and then telepathically taunt them about it. Telepathy is silent and directionless, so it won't give you away.
thunk "Didn't see me that time, huh? Maybe you'll guess better next time."
Edited to add an important point I left out: The target can cancel the link. With an action. That would definitely count as 'winning', I think.

Three: Don't do this. Please
1) Take the Actor feat, as roleplaying justification
2) Speak a language that is rare
3) Forge a telepathic link with the people you want to talk to
4) As you speak to them telepathically, mime speaking the words in your rare language, so it looks like you're being dubbed
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top