- July 8, 2020
- Last Update July 5, 2020 10:32 am
If you’ve ever ventured into any thread that either talks about new Dungeons and Dragons releases or reports on what has been announced, you have likely seen many fans of the D&D clamoring for a setting called Dark Sun.
Especially when there is even a hint of anything that smacks of ‘psionics.’ Today, I will talk about why the recently released (read: re-released) Unearthed Arcana D&D 5e Psionics options are stoking the flames of the burned desert setting hype once again.
I didn’t immediately see anything that fired up this hope for me with the most recent revisions to the Unearthed Arcana psionic options, until our friends at ComicBook mentioned that Athas – the fabled desert homeworld of the Dark Sun setting – was brought up several times in the Unearthed Arcana 5e release this week. It was mentioned three times, but specifically in the flavour text for each of the three sub-classes presented:
“In the world of Athas, renowned gladiators in the arenas of the Sorcerer-Kings are often Psi Knights…”
“… and in the world of Athas, a Sorcerer-King often turns to a Soulknife to eliminate an enemy…”
“… and in Athas, more sorcerers are born with a Psionic Soul than with any other source of power.”
To be fair, these passages also mentioned Eberron and other psionic-wielding lore cues in-stride. Like many D&D players of a particular vintage, I have a soft spot for the DnD 2e desert apocalypse setting, Dark Sun. As such, I think players like us are pining for anything that might herald the coming of the Dark Sun setting to 5e, much like the fandom that welcomed the recent addition of Eberron to the 5e family.
With psionics, playing such an important role in the Dark Sun universe, there was a popular sentiment that we would need to see the introduction of psionics before we’d see any real movement towards Dark Sun; however, psionics also plays a pretty important part in Eberron. Either way, we will likely see more playtest options and testing with psionics in the next little while.
My Two Copper
Firstly, I thought it very interesting that Wizards had completely removed the Wizard options, and even the mention, from the previous release and cited that psionics is a manifestation of the mind rather than a power that comes from external influences.
Based on what we’ve seen so far, and the fact that the first addition to official classes in 5e only came five years after launch with the official Artificer in Eberron, I think we can safely assume that 5e will follow suit. Everything we’ve seen relating to psionics in 5e are subclass options and now even the abilities rolling up under the spell schools and catalogue of magics.
I believe psionics is and should be treated as its own unique system. I’d be willing to bet that on its current path, however, that we will likely see psionics treated as subclass, feat and spell options under existing core classes in 5e, rather than a release of its own core class option with subclasses and mechanics – at least for now.
Nonetheless, it presents an exciting new avenue that opens up a lof of player options and campaign or story avenues for the future of new releases for D&D 5e and I (like many others, I’m sure) will keep my fingers tightly crossed!