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.“

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Sure. And a magic sword is something you wear on your belt, while psionics exist in your mind. A magic sword is detectable by detect magic; psionic abilities are not. You can use your magic sword to open a beer bottle, but psionics...hmm, maybe that's not a good example.

In any event, we can think of endless ways that a magic sword is not 1e psionics, but the similarity relevant to the point being made remains: they both are powerful character features that you can't choose; they are the result of random dice rolls. The 1e version of psionics is not unique in this way.

And if you don't like the magic sword example, there's randomly rolled ability scores. There's also HP. There's Deck of Many Things.

Again, I think the difference is that WotC, and some posters, think (or once thought) that psionics works well in the same category as magic items. That is, as character boosts that you can't really plan for or control for.

Other people think it should be more like choosing your class or subclass or feats: if you want it, you should be able to choose it.

Neither opinion is right or wrong. It's a difference of opinion about the design of the game. But recognizing/acknowledging that difference may help illuminate the source(s) of disagreement.
To clarify: I am specifically discussing the suggestion of psionics being something randomly assigned in 5e.

I am aware how it used to work, but agree with the poster earlier in the conversation who pointed out that that doesn't fit so well with 5e sensibilities.
 

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Could be interesting to give them a base ability, and allow them to power it up by downgrading the die, instead of having abilities that downgrade it automatically
Generally the die allows you to power up an ability by rolling the die and using the result to power it up, with the risk or a high roll giving you a good result on that ability but tiring out out for when you ant to roll the die again. Or to activate a power by an automatic downgrade.

Having an ability that you can use normally, but that you need to power up with an automatic downgrade is a 3rd psi die mechanic with a power level in between the two. I'm not sure it would be necessary, but I'll wait and see what sort of ability it would be used for before making up my mind.
 

Goemoe

Explorer
Don't like in in many ways. The talent die is a board game feature but we talk about role playing. Two identical charakters could end up with one char always roling 5, 20-30 fights in a row, the other roling a 6 and a 4 in two fight, being powerless thereafter. (And using the talent die and roling a one is in now way saving up to get a bigger die. It is using it. Saving up would be not using psionics. The whole system is merely flipping coins)

Other than that, the system lacks true psionic classes. A true mindmage, focusing purely on psionics, studiying them like a wizard does magic is totally different from a sorceror weirdo with some psionic talent.

For the fighter and the soul knife the system feels somewhat right, for the rest it doesn't.
 

Remathilis

Legend
To clarify: I am specifically discussing the suggestion of psionics being something randomly assigned in 5e.

I am aware how it used to work, but agree with the poster earlier in the conversation who pointed out that that doesn't fit so well with 5e sensibilities.
Agreed. 5e has no place for randomly assigned power. It barely had room for it before.


I make a subtle distinction these days; character design should not be random, but what happens to the character in play can be. For me that means:

Fixed:
  • Ability score points
  • Hp
  • Race/class/background
  • Automatically granted spells
  • Alignment and personality
  • Starting gear and gold

Random:
  • Treasure, including magic items
  • Found spells
  • Action rolls (attacks, skills and saves)
  • Death saves

Now, where psionics fit depends on when you get them. If it's when you generate your PC, it's a fixed choice. If it's an occurrence in the game (if you roll a natural 20 against a mind flayer) than it's random.
 

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