- July 8, 2020
- Last Update July 5, 2020 10:32 am
This week, Wizards of the Coast (WotC) launched the first iteration of Unearthed Arcana that specifically calls out ‘psionics’ – bound to stir up conversation in the tabletop community. I was, honestly a bit disappointed, however, to find that it’s primarily a re-publish of previously released ‘psionic-like’ class features now officially flying the psionics flag.
Psionics in D&D is the telepathic/telekinetic discipline to exact a whole new library of spell-like, supernatural abilities, without actually following the convention of typical spellcasting practices. The power of the mind, if you will. Psionics feature heavily for some notorious enemies, like the Illithid or Mind-flayer, which has clearly shot to the forefront over things like Volos Guide to Monsters and the upcoming Baldur’s Gate 3 video game from WotC and Larian Studios.
In this release of Unearthed Arcana, Dungeons and Dragons 5e gets the ‘mind-bullets’ of psionic power in the form of a few different playtest options, including:
- Fighter – Psi Knight: A Martial adept with special telekinetic capabilities
- Rogue – Soulknife: An assassin-flavoured with psionic talents and self attack buffs
- Sorcerer – Psionic Soul: A sorcerous origins to take the place of Wild Magic etc with more mechanics-based psi abilities
The UA compendium also includes a small collection of new psionic-modeled spell options for the Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock and Wizard
My two copper:
I was really excited to see the term ‘psionics’ used, without dancing around calling these things what they were. A lot of pre fifth edition players are keenly interested in the evolution and implementation of psionics in 5e because it is heavily woven into some of most beloved experiences of old school versions of the game, like Dark Sun and just the unique mechanics of psionics as a separate discipline.
I was a bit set off by the fact that as I got further into the release I realized that they had really just re-published a lot of the ‘psionic-like’ class options that came out earlier this year, but also that the more we see from ‘psionics’ in 5e, the more they clearly seem to be just different spell and casting options. The real magic of psionics in previous editions of D&D came in the form of it being a completely different discipline or practice with its own unique mechanics and I’m worried that we’re going to lose that in 5e Dungeons and Dragons.
Grab the new release of the Psionics Revisited Unearthed Arcana 5e PDF here and let me know what you think!