Blog (A5E) Voidrunner’s Codex Playtest: Psion

Welcome to the first public playtest document for the Voidrunner’s Codex, Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition’s upcoming science fiction rulebook. This document includes a playtest candidate for our psion class, one of several new classes in the book.


The Voidrunner’s Codex is pure sci-fi—it contains no magic. The psion class (and one other class in the book) uses psionics to perform supernatural feats. However, this is fully A5E—it is 100% compatible with the material in the Adventurer’s Guide, so you can put your wizard on a starship if you wish, or mix and match for a universe of cosmic magic. However, the Codex itself is focused on the sci-fi.

If you remember the public playtests we held last year in the run-up to the Level Up Kickstarter, we’re following the same model this year—playtest documents, followed by surveys. There will be a Kickstarter later this year, so keep an eye out for that (and for the Dungeon Delver’s Guide and the To Save a Kingdom adventure path)!

We anticipate (and expect!) that our version of psionics will be polarizing, because we know that many people have their own specific ideas of how psionics should look in 5E, and many of those peoples’ ideas are different to each other. With that in mind, this is our initial take on a psion class. Take a look, and please do let us know what you think by taking the playtest survey:


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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Staffan

Legend
I haven't looked at it in enough detail to answer the survey, and nor do I know the peculiarities of Level Up to comment on balance and stuff like that, but at first glance this looks like the kind of thing I want in a psion.
 

Stalker0

Legend
My quick and dirty based on initial read:

1) Powerslide: A very cool mechanic, and I think captures a lot of the flavor people always feel is missing in dnd spellcasting, the ability to just "make stuff happen". I think the power cost seems reasonable with the failure chance, but I also appreciate it doesn't drop my action, I think that is critical to making this work.

My one beef, I think the percentile is backwards, we still live in the "higher is better" d20 mentality. Make it percentile + psion level > 50% (which is what you do with your "run on empty" ability later in the document). Its cleaner and more intuitive.

Also, I do think having both "powersurge" and "powerslide" is just phonetically too close, I can see people getting tripped up there. I would change the name of Powerslide, powersurge intuitively tells me its about powering up something, powerslide is more iffy.

2) Code of Consequence: Nothing mechanically wrong but the flavor here just feels weird to me.

3) Mental Discipline: Just checking, does this mean I can powersurge a power to maximum and its still free once per day? Or is it only the base point cost that is free 1/day?

4) Suspended Breath: Perhaps suffocation will come up more often in a sci-fi setting, but at first glance it seems weird I can only do this 1/long rest as compared to other abilities.

5) Seeker's Vision (Augur): Super cool, but I am worried about the narrative break here. Unlike divinations that have good tools that can block them, there doesn't seem to be anything that stops a simple 4th level augur from finding anything, anywhere on the planet. I feel this will disrupt a LOT of DM plans way too easily.

6) Deja Vu (Augur): Too complicated. WOTC nailed the diviner's power to be both flavorful AND extremely easy to use. In comparison this is incredibly clunky and slow, involving way too much tracking and work. It needs another pass.

7) Future is now (Augur): Not quite as clunky as Deja Vu but still could result in a lot of tracking and rework. Also....why does this ability require rest in a haven, nothing else seems to require that.

8) Bend Will (Mindshear): Just confirming, by the reading this ability is completely at-will. You can dominate two targets at-will, three at 13th level. Clearly this is the hallmark ability of the class, but at-will dominate seems awfully good.

9) Cognitive Dissonance (Mindshear): The confusion part is...well....confusing! So lets say I fail two saves. Am I confused for two minutes? If I pass the initial save but then fail the second, are they confused for two rounds, or 1 round and 1 minute?

10) Energization (Warstorm): Assuming a character has two attacks by some means, does this ability work on a single attack, or for 1 round?


Spells

1) Farsight: Seems awfully strong for a reflex, in an exploration focused game I can easily see a player spamming this all the time. DM: Alright you all see X. Player: I cast farsight, so what do I see? over and over and over again.

2) Telejump: The powerboost somewhat implies you get an "extra" action, and can still take your normal one. I assume the intent was you simply can take your normal action inbetween the jumps, otherwise that seems exceptionally good for the power cost.
 



Sepaulchre

Villager
There’s a lot of neat ideas in here, I really like it. One thing that stood out to me immediately: how much does it cost to levelboost a psychic reflex? The playtest document seems to suggest it is free (double the cost of zero is zero). But that seems to way, way too good, so I must be missing something.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I don't have much interest in a D&D/LU-based SF game, but since there's the possibility of using the class in a fantasy game, here are my initial thoughts:

I like that the amount in your reservoir is fairly low, because too much math is annoying. But it feels weird to me that you are using percentiles here. Unless all the classes in Voidrunner use a percentile for something instead of a d20, it seems like such a strange change. If you're not changing the basic DC formula (as evidenced by the psionic attack and save numbers), I'd say just have the DC be 10 + the manifestation rating, or twice that rating, with advantage or an expertise die if it's part of your chosen mental discipline.

I like the Code of Consequence, and I would like to see more abilities like "you gain X skill and one of these specialties" in other Level Up classes/archetypes.

Guarded Mind seems weak, like you should be able to ignore the condition PB/long rest, or 1/short rest.

Now I wonder what the capstone for this class should like in a fantasy game.

While I really like the Seeker's Vision, it also seems weak. Maybe half your PB/long rest. After all, a spellcaster can cast any of those locate whatever spells as many times as they have spell slots, if they want to. I also find Beginner's Luck hilarious. This is especially odd when the Mindshear can apparently use their dominate ability an apparently unlimited number of times for free. Sure, Bend Mind is higher-level, but it's a bit more powerful.

All-in-all, I like this class a lot. I think it does a great job of not feeling like spells while seemingly being nearly as easy to use as spells (it's still point based, ergo math, though). There's room for expansion (psychic vampirism, probability manipulation, creating psychic doubles/tulpas, etc.) without feeling incomplete as is.
 


Staffan

Legend
But it feels weird to me that you are using percentiles here. Unless all the classes in Voidrunner use a percentile for something instead of a d20, it seems like such a strange change. If you're not changing the basic DC formula (as evidenced by the psionic attack and save numbers), I'd say just have the DC be 10 + the manifestation rating, or twice that rating, with advantage or an expertise die if it's part of your chosen mental discipline.
Agreed. I'm assuming Voidrunner will still have a proficiency bonus that goes up at a rate of +1 per 4 levels. That's quite close to the +5% per 5 levels you get on the percentile rolls, so I'd just make them be d20+proficiency bonus vs 11, and adjust other similar mechanics appropriately.
 

dave2008

Legend
You know how bad WotC has fallen being too busy making MtG and Mercer D&D books instead of Psionic books and so other companies have to do it instead. Curious how this class would work in a D&D 5e game standalone.
Personally I am 100% fine with WotC not making a psionics. D&D rising IMO. However, I am completely OK with 3PP jumping to those psychic waters
 

Von Ether

Legend
You know how bad WotC has fallen being too busy making MtG and Mercer D&D books instead of Psionic books and so other companies have to do it instead. Curious how this class would work in a D&D 5e game standalone.

Frankly, their 3e take on psionics wasn't that impressive since they were specifically designed to be second fiddle to magic and healing. Careful what you wish for.

we know that many people have their own specific ideas of how psionics should look in 5E, and many of those peoples’ ideas are different to each other. With that in mind, this is our initial take on a psion class. Take a look, and please do let us know what you think.

Back in the 3e day, I was looking for something to replace spell slots and holy healing, so I've learned to embrace 3pp takes for many years.

With several different 5e classes with different takes, a reskin was tempting, but I then found a great sci-fi 5e game that takes it to the next level so I am spoiled at this point.
 

johna_thr33

Explorer
Personally I am 100% fine with WotC not making a psionics. D&D rising IMO. However, I am completely OK with 3PP jumping to those psychic waters
I’m with you, with how much of a mess the Unearthed Arcana for Mystic was, I’m happy with WotC letting psionics rest in the few subclasses we’ve gotten through Tasha’s.
 

Like many commenters here, haven't had the time to go really in-depth or play this in a game, but just reading through I generally liked what I saw.
Got mildly weirded out by being able to use any mental score as your psionic ability score since I tend to associate Intelligence with psionics, but it's also not a breaking point. Now I can just keep using Intelligence as my go-to dump stat.
 


Larnievc

Adventurer
Welcome to the first public playtest document for the Voidrunner’s Codex, Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition’s upcoming science fiction rulebook. This document includes a playtest candidate for our psion class, one of several new classes in the book.


The Voidrunner’s Codex is pure sci-fi—it contains no magic. The psion class (and one other class in the book) uses psionics to perform supernatural feats. However, this is fully A5E—it is 100% compatible with the material in the Adventurer’s Guide, so you can put your wizard on a starship if you wish, or mix and match for a universe of cosmic magic. However, the Codex itself is focused on the sci-fi.

If you remember the public playtests we held last year in the run-up to the Level Up Kickstarter, we’re following the same model this year—playtest documents, followed by surveys. There will be a Kickstarter later this year, so keep an eye out for that (and for the Dungeon Delver’s Guide and the To Save a Kingdom adventure path)!

We anticipate (and expect!) that our version of psionics will be polarizing, because we know that many people have their own specific ideas of how psionics should look in 5E, and many of those peoples’ ideas are different to each other. With that in mind, this is our initial take on a psion class. Take a look, and please do let us know what you think by taking the playtest survey:


View attachment 153934
I like it. This would work for me and my game. I’m only a bit cagey about multiple concentration effects.
 

Stalker0

Legend
I like it. This would work for me and my game. I’m only a bit cagey about multiple concentration effects.
I use multiple concentrations in my game as a houserule for normal spellcasting. Generally I really have not found any abuses for it, and the fact you lose all spells with a single failed roll has kept things in check as well as ensuring we aren't making too many rolls.
 

Larnievc

Adventurer
I use multiple concentrations in my game as a houserule for normal spellcasting. Generally I really have not found any abuses for it, and the fact you lose all spells with a single failed roll has kept things in check as well as ensuring we aren't making too many rolls.
I didn’t think about it that way. I guess I need to give it a go to see properly 👍
 



dave2008

Legend
You know how bad WotC has fallen being too busy making MtG and Mercer D&D books instead of Psionic books and so other companies have to do it instead. Curious how this class would work in a D&D 5e game standalone.
It seems odd to call a company "fallen" when they may be producing the most successful version of D&D ever. Personally, I have no need for psionics in my D&D and am quite happy that WotC has left this segment for 3PP to cover.
 

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