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5E What's wrong with the psion in UA mystic 3

Coroc

Hero
Especially since the immortal, avatar and awakened subclasses fit perfectly to emulate a Psion (Metabolic, Kinetic and Telepath ) similar to the 2e Darksun class?

I know it might have been discussed before, but i wanted to start a counterthread to @WayOfTheFourElements thread and his- quite resonable- sorcerer quick fix for the missing psion. For all those who want a more HC solution, what is wrong with said UA resolve? I never got any info on that other than the polls for it were not good.
 

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M_Natas

Explorer
I have this mystic in the game I DM. The mystic is way overpowered. I would say it put outs double the damage any other character does (at the same level - all are lvl. 7 now). This campaign started as a One-Shot so I allowed UA Stuff, than we just kept going.
 

Sir Brennen

Adventurer
I have this mystic in the game I DM. The mystic is way overpowered. I would say it put outs double the damage any other character does (at the same level - all are lvl. 7 now). This campaign started as a One-Shot so I allowed UA Stuff, than we just kept going.
Same here. Running Princes of the Apocalypse and allowed a player to try it out. He basically recreated a 4E "sticky" fighter. Even the player acknowledged it's overpowered compared to the rest of the party.
 


Undrave

Hero
Especially since the immortal, avatar and awakened subclasses fit perfectly to emulate a Psion (Metabolic, Kinetic and Telepath ) similar to the 2e Darksun class?

I know it might have been discussed before, but i wanted to start a counterthread to @WayOfTheFourElements thread and his- quite resonable- sorcerer quick fix for the missing psion. For all those who want a more HC solution, what is wrong with said UA resolve? I never got any info on that other than the polls for it were not good.

It did too many things at once too well. It was like having a single class where its subclass were Wizard, Cleric and Fighter.

It was also ridiculously big, like 90 pages long?! It was like printing the entire Spell section of the PHB with the Wizard.

It was too much to learn, could do everything, and was too strong.

If they had broken it down into multiple classes it might have worked?
 

It did too many things at once too well. It was like having a single class where its subclass were Wizard, Cleric and Fighter.

It was also ridiculously big, like 90 pages long?! It was like printing the entire Spell section of the PHB with the Wizard.

It was too much to learn, could do everything, and was too strong.

If they had broken it down into multiple classes it might have worked?

Not really. Making 5 new classes within the class/subclass structure means that you will need to fill a lot of space.
Probably the subclasses don't have enough space in 5e is the problem. Otherwise you could have a very barebone class with very flashed out subclasses. In 6e or 5.5 it might be possible to reorganize a bit. That way you might be able to have even less base classes.
 

Undrave

Hero
Not really. Making 5 new classes within the class/subclass structure means that you will need to fill a lot of space.
Probably the subclasses don't have enough space in 5e is the problem. Otherwise you could have a very barebone class with very flashed out subclasses. In 6e or 5.5 it might be possible to reorganize a bit. That way you might be able to have even less base classes.

Please no. You cram too much into a single class and it becomes useless as a presentation tool. Too many things to absorb to choose what to play, too many things to balance and a lack of identity.

We don't need less base class with vague definitions, we need more classes that are more narrow and easier to explain.

anyway, my point was the 'Mystic' wasn't anything. It was a bunch of full classes that used Psionic all put under the same umbrella for no reason.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Its level 1-10 power curve is too steep, like a combo melee+caster; then its 11-20 power curve flattens, like a melee.

(Here, "melee" I mean "uses weapons for combat power", and "caster" I mean "uses spellcasting engine for combat power").

Psychic Focus is a floating decent feature, plus a channel-divinity thing.
Psi Points, at lower levels, is full caster spell points.

Then you have features like Mystical Recovery / Consumptive Power / Telepathy / etc. Which are solid.

Then you look at each discipline. Each of them is about half to 1/3 of a class's worth of abilities, and you have 5 of them by level 5.

While someone else needs to Paladin 2 to get smite, you just burn one of your 5 disciplines and and get psychic smite that is 80% as good. Or get a discipline that, starting at level 9, lets you cast a 5th level spell to let almost all of your allies make a full attack.

Post 10, what you get is overlapping concentration as a replacement for 6th+ level spells. So no new mechanics. So in the back 10 (L 11-20), while you start from a high point (with like 3 classes worth of features welded together, all level 10), you don't scale like a full caster after it.

---

Design wise, the problem with the super-scaling abilities is that they lack some of the twists of spells.

Like, fireball -- great damage spell, often annoying to use. Your alternative is scorching ray, which does less damage often even on a single target, so sometimes you'll use it when it isn't optimal.

With a Mystic, this only happens if the Mystic didn't pick the other option. The damage abilities all scale per point spent.

They scale a bit too fast and stack too much.

As an example, inflict wounds does 2d10+1d10 per spell level. Beastial claws does 1d10 per PP. At level 1, wounds is 3d10 vs 1d10.

At level 1 it is 3d10 vs 2d10
At level 3 it is 4d10 vs 3d10
At level 5 it is 5d10 vs 5d10
At level 7 it is 6d10 vs 6d10
At level 9 it is 7d10 vs 7d10.

Looks fine, right?

Then you break it. You use a bonus action to Brute Strike (+1d6 per PP) before attacking, and on a hit also burn Knock back (+1d6 per PP).

Your tap is now 12.5 damage for 3 PP.
L 3: 37.5
L5: 62.5
L7: 75
L9: 87.5

And maybe you mix in another 1d8 by using the animate weapon instead of claws (1d8 damage class feature), and you have giant growth up for +2d6 per swing.

So at level 9 you can make a 99 damage strike.

And that wasn't me looking up broken combos, but just doing a quick "how hard can you hit with these abilities" while writing this post.

Now you did burn a lot of PP to do this. But you also have efficient options beyond this kind of nova.
 

Please no. You cram too much into a single class and it becomes useless as a presentation tool. Too many things to absorb to choose what to play, too many things to balance and a lack of identity.

We don't need less base class with vague definitions, we need more classes that are more narrow and easier to explain.

anyway, my point was the 'Mystic' wasn't anything. It was a bunch of full classes that used Psionic all put under the same umbrella for no reason.

In 2e rangers and paladins fell under warrior.
The question is how do you want to group classes. I think under the current rules it is the best to have one Psion class AND psionic subclasses for other classes. The psion can have 6 subclasses, one for each discipline. Psychic warrior should be a fighter subclass, psi blade a rogue one.

If you want more psionics in the rogue, maybe an alternate psionic feature instead of sneak attack would come in handy. You can easily replace it with once per turn, add 1d4 psychic damage to an attack. Same progression as sneak attack. It is more reliable than sneak attack, but deals lower max damage.
 

Undrave

Hero
The question is how do you want to group classes. I think under the current rules it is the best to have one Psion class AND psionic subclasses for other classes. The psion can have 6 subclasses, one for each discipline. Psychic warrior should be a fighter subclass, psi blade a rogue one.

agreed. the Mystic was trying to be EVERY type of Psionic classes at once instead of being the more caster type.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
In 2e rangers and paladins fell under warrior.
The question is how do you want to group classes. I think under the current rules it is the best to have one Psion class AND psionic subclasses for other classes. The psion can have 6 subclasses, one for each discipline. Psychic warrior should be a fighter subclass, psi blade a rogue one.

If you want more psionics in the rogue, maybe an alternate psionic feature instead of sneak attack would come in handy. You can easily replace it with once per turn, add 1d4 psychic damage to an attack. Same progression as sneak attack. It is more reliable than sneak attack, but deals lower max damage.
A class needs to be more unified than the mystic.

Someone who uses psionic power to create a blade of energy, teleports behind a foe, and then stabs the blades of agony through their skull is doing combat very differently than someone who meditates and mind blasts you. Someone who alters their body and grows their limbs, building claws and fur, disconnects their hands, and grows to giant size is yet another.

These aren't small tweaks on gameplay, but huge swings. In the mystic, they where subclasses.

They had a unifying mechanic, but they where far more different than a druid and a wizard. I mean, both use spell slots.

Neither the class nor the subclass answered "why are you adventuring". They where both "here is how you fight and do things". This meant that the class is very thin, it lacks meat. It is little more than a bunch of similarly theme'd mechanical systems glued together.

I mean, you can do this, but it means you gotta work harder to make your class/subclass "thicker" elsewhere.

---

Suppose you made 3 psychic classes.

The Psion, the Immortal and the Soul Knife.

Then we break down the existing subclasses and pass them out (in some cases, make a new one based on abilities that are there/themes that are there but there isn't a subclass for yet).

Psion has subclasses Awakened and Wujen
Immortal has subclasses Avatar and Metamorph
Soul Knife has subclasses Nomad and Leech

The Psion becomes a full-psion caster based off the Mystic.

The Immortal and Soul Knife are half-psion-casters.

Immortal is the fighter-leaning one, and Avatar is warlord-esque while Metamorph changes itself into a monster.

Soul Knife is the skirmisher leaning one. Nomad is teleporation, while Leech is a thief of psychic energy.

They all use similar mechanics (psychic focus, pp, disciplines, talents) to unify them.

Each class has a core discipline, a subclass discipline, and maybe picks 1 out of 2 other disciplines from their class list. The Psion gets 1 or 2 more disciplines. Awakened might get to steal a single Immortal or Soul Knife discipline; Wujen steals some wizard spells.

The combinatorial problem goes away.


---

We can then attach plausible "why"s to each.

Psion(Awakened) seeks to transcend the physical body.
Psion(Wujen) seeks to unify magic and psionics.

Immortal(Avatar) seeks to become a perfect self for all situations.
Immortal(Metamorph) seeks to perfect itself to each situation.

Soul Knife(Nomad) wants to transcend location, be everywhere.
Soul Knife(Leech) wants to become all by eating it.

If you have a "why" adventure, you can now iterate back and tweak the definition of the subclass/class to support not just combat/psionic mechanics, but mechanics that tie it to the world.

(An example of this is the assassin disguise stuff; that isn't "kill people better". It comes from the fact that the class is "why?" "sneak up to guarded people and kill them unaware". To do that "why fight", you need to be able to seem harmless until you strike; hence, mechanics that aren't "kill more gud").
 
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Vael

Hero
The Mystic needs work. Some of the initial concepts are ... pretty interesting, I like packaging abilities into Disciplines, Psychic Focus is pretty flavorful, the power point progression up to level 10 is functionally just the spell point system from the DMG, so it's reasonably on par with other full casters ...

But as noted, it has a fairly powerful Nova capacity, and if built for melee, can dominate the game. I also find the Psionic Mastery feature inelegant, as in it's just written poorly and I doubt will play well, tracking this "special" pool of points. Because it's kinda a full caster that doesn't get 6th level or higher spells, just more lower-level abilities, you do end up with a muddy class.

I think it's fixable. Drop most of the stuff that's clearly for Soulknives and Psychic Warriors and push them to a d6 hit die. Add more telekinesis, it's the one main Psionic feature that is sorely lacking, and rework their progression for level 10 and higher. Psionic Mastery is a mess, kill it and find another way for it to have higher level abilities.
 

Inchoroi

Adventurer
I've been toying with rewriting the Mystic. To fix it, I'd have to redesign its themes: the Mystic should be summed up as, "Mind over ____". There would be four subclasses: the Awakened (Mind over Mind, including your own mind); the Egoist (Mind over Body); the Shaper (Mind over Energy); the Nomad (Mind over the Fabric of Reality).

I'd probably make it all magical; no reason to make it a separate "power source," which I think would just add in more things to worry about as both a DM and a player. Instead, its like this:


What is magic? If it arcane formulae and ritual, then what are divine miracles, like like a cleric's healing powers? Magic is not limited to those blessed by the Gods or those who painstakingly memorize arcane sigils. There are those who wield magic that defies the normal rules that others follow. It is these individuals that are called mystics.

If one were to question a mystic, however, that mystic is just as likely to reveal that there is no secret. They perform magic with solely the power of the mind, creating magic from nothing at all save thought. A mystic is an odd one among other magic users. They memorize no spells; instead, each mystic develops a series of thought exercises which, when held perfectly within their mind, create magical effects. If a mystic cannot hold these multiple streams of thought together simultaneously, the magic collapses.


I'd probably use the psionic talent die + psi points; it'd have its own series of "spells," although no idea if I'd call them that. I never understood why the spell point variant uses such odd numbers, so I'd probably have to simplify that (1 psi point = 1st level slot, for example).
 

Coroc

Hero
I have this mystic in the game I DM. The mystic is way overpowered. I would say it put outs double the damage any other character does (at the same level - all are lvl. 7 now). This campaign started as a One-Shot so I allowed UA Stuff, than we just kept going.
Oh please, elaborate a bit more, what campaign is it? I asumed that it might be pretty powerfulespecially against single targets but i haven't tried out yet.
 

Coroc

Hero
Its level 1-10 power curve is too steep, like a combo melee+caster; then its 11-20 power curve flattens, like a melee.

(Here, "melee" I mean "uses weapons for combat power", and "caster" I mean "uses spellcasting engine for combat power").

Psychic Focus is a floating decent feature, plus a channel-divinity thing.
Psi Points, at lower levels, is full caster spell points.

Then you have features like Mystical Recovery / Consumptive Power / Telepathy / etc. Which are solid.

Then you look at each discipline. Each of them is about half to 1/3 of a class's worth of abilities, and you have 5 of them by level 5.

While someone else needs to Paladin 2 to get smite, you just burn one of your 5 disciplines and and get psychic smite that is 80% as good. Or get a discipline that, starting at level 9, lets you cast a 5th level spell to let almost all of your allies make a full attack.

Post 10, what you get is overlapping concentration as a replacement for 6th+ level spells. So no new mechanics. So in the back 10 (L 11-20), while you start from a high point (with like 3 classes worth of features welded together, all level 10), you don't scale like a full caster after it.

---

Design wise, the problem with the super-scaling abilities is that they lack some of the twists of spells.

Like, fireball -- great damage spell, often annoying to use. Your alternative is scorching ray, which does less damage often even on a single target, so sometimes you'll use it when it isn't optimal.

With a Mystic, this only happens if the Mystic didn't pick the other option. The damage abilities all scale per point spent.

They scale a bit too fast and stack too much.

As an example, inflict wounds does 2d10+1d10 per spell level. Beastial claws does 1d10 per PP. At level 1, wounds is 3d10 vs 1d10.

At level 1 it is 3d10 vs 2d10
At level 3 it is 4d10 vs 3d10
At level 5 it is 5d10 vs 5d10
At level 7 it is 6d10 vs 6d10
At level 9 it is 7d10 vs 7d10.

Looks fine, right?

Then you break it. You use a bonus action to Brute Strike (+1d6 per PP) before attacking, and on a hit also burn Knock back (+1d6 per PP).

Your tap is now 12.5 damage for 3 PP.
L 3: 37.5
L5: 62.5
L7: 75
L9: 87.5

And maybe you mix in another 1d8 by using the animate weapon instead of claws (1d8 damage class feature), and you have giant growth up for +2d6 per swing.

So at level 9 you can make a 99 damage strike.

And that wasn't me looking up broken combos, but just doing a quick "how hard can you hit with these abilities" while writing this post.

Now you did burn a lot of PP to do this. But you also have efficient options beyond this kind of nova.

Thank you for this thorough analysis, it makes me reconsider using a sorcerer approach instead. I am glad i did this thread now, because i was really convinced that this UA would be the thing.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Why those spell point values?

Well, the points of a spell is the level you get to first cast is as a full caster.

If you define the power of a characters action to be roughly B + L*K, where B is the base value of the action, and K is the amount it increases per-level, then the power output of a spell fueled by a certain number of spell points that uses an action is then proportional to Spell Points + B.

For spellcasters, you can only do this a certain number of times per day; but still, the max power per action should be bounded by a similar value.

We can step back to the rogue. Its DPR with 50% accuracy works out to (roughly) 6.5+1.5*L (dual shortswords with an ally adjacent to target).

Someone casting inflict wounds using a top-level spell slot and 50% accuracy does 6+3*L.

Now, using inflict wounds with a L6+ spell slot doesn't make much sense; for L 1-5 slots, you start off with 2 slots of that level, for 6+ you start off with 1. Spells of those levels are more powerful per slot.

---

Bringing this back to the Psion;

Psionic Focus: Powers in your discipline you are focused on is 1 points cheaper (this is basically the "B" factor above), but never down to free.
Psionic Points: You can spend up to your level in additional psionic points on a power.

Going back to the above math, each PP is "worth" about 3 delivered damage (after accounting for accuracy).

Similar to spells, if you use a Psionic Power as an action you cannot also use one as a Bonus Action, and vice versa.

---

I originally thought you could give focus "proficiency free points", but while this works reasonably well for damage, it breaks healing and utility abilities.

---

A 50% accuracy cantrip (free spell) is 1d10 to 4d10. 3 DPR at level 1, 6 DPR at level 5, 9 DPR at level 11 and 12 DPR at level 17.

This is worth (in terms of PP) 1 @ 1, 2 @ 5, 3 @ 11 and 4 @17.

Maybe you can take some Powers as a Talent, and get to use it at these levels "for free" (or for trivial cost). (not all, again, because of the utility/healing problem).

Still it might work:

Psionic Focus: You can enter into Psionic Focus on a discipline, or switch which you have focused, as an action.

When in Psionic focus, powers from the discipline are 1 PP cheaper. They never cost 0 PP unless they are maked as a (Talent).

At level 5 powers become 2 points cheaper, 3 at level 11 and 4 at level 17. Unless the power is a (Talent), it cannot have its cost reduced below 1.

Disciplines also have a passive Psionic Focus effect you gain while you hold that focus.

Psionic Points:
You have a number of Psionic Points as indicated on the advancement table.

You can spend up to your level in Psionic points on a given power at once. If you spend Psionic Points as part of a bonus action, you cannot spend them as part of an action, and vice versa.

---

This in effect gives you cantrips (attack and utility) with each Discipline. Anything that wouldn't be abused if free can be marked as a (Talent).
 
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For me, one thing that is really essential that hasn't been brought up is that it completely lacks high level capabilities. You can't travel through the astral plane, for instance. A psion needs to have equivalently high-leveled things to spellcasters in that regard.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
I'd probably use the psionic talent die + psi points; it'd have its own series of "spells," although no idea if I'd call them that. I never understood why the spell point variant uses such odd numbers, so I'd probably have to simplify that (1 psi point = 1st level slot, for example).

The points track partially with the damage scale of spells. By having 1st level spells cost 2 points, and having cost jumps at 3rd and 6th level, is where spells tend to have a big jump in power.
 

The Mystic is versatile, fun, and distinctive. It's a very nicely built, attractive class which adds something to the game instead of rehashing the same mechanics over and over again.
Most people who have playtested it claim that it is overpowered, which is a problem (a class should not be a jack-of-all-trades and a heavy hitter at the same time, in my opinion), but balancing it should not be too hard.
 

Someone who uses psionic power to create a blade of energy, teleports behind a foe, and then stabs the blades of agony through their skull is doing combat very differently than someone who meditates and mind blasts you. Someone who alters their body and grows their limbs, building claws and fur, disconnects their hands, and grows to giant size is yet another.

These aren't small tweaks on gameplay, but huge swings. In the mystic, they where subclasses.
I don't see why that is a problem. It's not as if the same character could do all those things, you still had to choose. So far as I can see it makes no difference if you make that choice at "choose a class" or "choose a subclass" level. Mechanically, the outcome is the same, and it cuts down on repetition. You only have to explain psi points once rather than copy-paste it into several classes.
For me, one thing that is really essential that hasn't been brought up is that it completely lacks high level capabilities. You can't travel through the astral plane, for instance. A psion needs to have equivalently high-leveled things to spellcasters in that regard.
Pretty sure the Mystic did have access to Astral projection.
 

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