This week the D&D team has given us the Mystic.
I’ve been waiting for it for quite some time and now it’s finally here. From its first Unearthed Arcana installment I was quite intrigued by this class and I almost immediately put it in my favorites list. This is the third, and hopefully final, version of the class. It goes up to level 20, has six subclasses, and a quite a few disciplines and talents. That’s why this Unearthed Arcana is a 28 pages long monster. But that’s enough rambling. It’s time to take a good look at it and see if it’s going to stay in my favorites list.
The installment opens with a few examples of what we should expect from the Mystic class. Moreover, we get a bit of lore on how Mystics master their powers. They either have to wander alone and away from civilization or stay under the strict tutelage of a master. Either way, their journey to become masters is not an easy one.
Eccentric Minds. In order to maintain their strict discipline, Mystics usually develop some quirks. There’s a list of 20 quirks to pick from and all of them are pretty fun. While they have no mechanical impact to the game, they could be used in role playing. I like it when we get things like that for a class. It adds a uniqueness to it which I enjoy.
The Mystic has a very good base which is complemented, power and flavor wise, by the subclasses quite nicely.
- Hit Dice. Like I’ve said before, the d8 is the safe choice.
- Armor. Light armor. It’s fine since the subclasses that could use heavier armor than that grant the proficiency themselves.
- Weapons. Simple weapons. The same with the armor.
- Tools. There is no special reason to give the Mystic proficiency with any tools.
- Saving Throws. You get proficiency to Intelligence and Wisdom Saving Throws. The first one is your Psionic Ability, while the second one, well it doesn’t really matter which is the second one and you will see why in a little bit.
- Skills. You can choose two skills from a very good list. Also they fit the flavor of the class quite nicely.
- Equipment. Nothing unexpected. The starting equipment is based on the proficiencies and the description of the class. I’d like to note that we’re provided with the option of getting gold and buying the equipment ourselves, instead of getting the standard set of items. That’s nothing new, since the starting gold for each class can be found in the Player’s Handbook(page 143). However, it’s the only time we get this detail in an Unearthed Arcana article.
- Psionics. Psionics is a form of magic but different from spellcasting. That’s why there are different rules that define its use.
- Psionic Talents. At 1st level you can pick a Psionic Talent. You can get more as you level up. These are more or less the Mystic version of the cantrips. More on them later.
- Psionic Disciplines. At 1st level you can pick a Psionic Discipline, and you get more of them as you level up. These are the equivalent of slot spells and pretty much the Mystic’s main arsenal. More on them alter.
- Psi Points. This is the equivalent of spells slots. You get a number of Psi Points and you spend them in order to use Psionic Disciplines. Like with spell slots, they are replenished after a long rest. You begin with 4 of them at level 1 and you get more as you level up.
- Psi Limit. As we will see later, you can spend different amounts of Psi Points on Psionic Disciplines, in order to get various effects. However, you can’t get any effect you want from the get go and that’s where the Psi Limit comes in. This is the maximum number of Psi Points you can use when you activate a Psionic Discipline. I consider this good design.
- Psychic Focus. Apart from spending Psi Points to activate Psionic Disciplines, you can use your bonus action to gain a specific benefit. You can have only one Psychic Focus activated at a time. It’s like the concentration mechanic, with the difference that it won’t break if you take damage. However, it’s important to note here that it doesn’t count as concentration.
- Psionic Ability. Your ability is Intelligence, which is pretty much expected. Like with spellcasting, you have a Save DC and an attack modifier, which are used when you activate Psionic Disciplines.
- Mystic Order. This class gets its subclass, which is called Order, at level 1. You can pick from 6 Orders and they are the Order of the Avatar, the Order of the Awakened, the Order of the Immortal, the Order of the Nomad, the Order of the Soul Knife, and the Order of the Wu Jen. Previously we had seen the Orders of the Awakened and the Immortal, which means we get four brand new Orders.
- Mystical Recovery. When you spend Psi Points on a Psionic Discipline, you can spend a bonus action and recover that many hit points. This is a feature that offers some kind of survivability. However, the healing isn’t that much, since it’s limited by the Psi Limit and the max Psi Points. Moreover, it’s not always worth spending your bonus action to recover a few hit points, especially when you can use it to change your Psychic Focus, which could prove to be more helpful in some situations. Nonetheless, it’s good to have it as an option.
- Telepathy. You can telepathically talk to other creatures within 120 feet of you. The only requirements are that you have to see the creature and it must understand at least one language(you don’t need to understand it yourself) or be telepathic itself. I don’t believe that it’s something overpowered or something that could be helpful very often. However, there are going to be times when you may have to talk to your allies privately or while trying to be as quiet as possible. The fact that you must see the creature is the limiting factor, I believe, otherwise you could act as the communications beacon for your party.
- Ability Score Improvement. Standard number of ability score improvements. Nothing special. Moving on.
- Strength of Mind. Starting at level 4, you swap your proficiency with Wisdom Saving Throws with any other ability Saving Throw you want. You can do that whenever you finish a short or long rest. That’s quite a handy feature and the key to its usefulness lies on the fact that you can swap the abilities when you finish a short rest. This means that, when you are in, let’s say, a dungeon and have had a taste of its inhabitants, you can try guessing what ability Saving Throw could come in handy. Of course, that possibly delves a bit into metagaming. However, I believe it fits the flavor of the class.
- Potent Psionics. That’s a good damage boost. You get to deal an extra 1d8 psychic damage each turn, when you hit with a weapon attack.That gets upgraded to 2d8 at level 14. That’s not bad, especially since psychic damage isn’t something a lot of enemies have resistance against. This feature also boosts your Psionic Talents, by letting you add your Intelligence Modifier to the damage rolls.
- Consumptive Power. You can sacrifice some of your physical durability in order to surpass the limitation of your Psi Points. Once every long rest you can activate a Psionic Discipline without spending Psi Points. Instead, your current and maximum hit points are reduced by an amount equal to the Psi Point cost of the Discipline you activate this way. The only way to get you maximum hit points back to normal is by having a long rest. This is a fun feature and also a gamble. It may save you because you get to use an extra Discipline but also reduces your hit points which may prove lethal.
- Psionic Mastery. That’s a fun but weird one so let’s look at it carefully. You can use your action and gain 9 special Psi Points, which you can spend on activating Disciplines that require either an action or a bonus action. Another limitation is that you can’t mix these special points with your regular ones, meaning you can’t activate a Discipline that costs 4 points by spending 2 of your special and 2 of your regular ones. That’s fine and all but up until now you just get 9 extra points. What’s special about them? Well, the special about them is that you can concentrate on as many Disciplines as you want, as long as you have activated them by spending points only from that pool. In other words, they let you bypass the whole “you can concentrate on one thing only at a time” thing. That’s actually pretty neat, right? Maybe a bit overpowered. Anyway, there are a few more limitations when using this feature. If you activate a Discipline, that requires concentration, this way, any effect that you were concentrating on previously ends. Moreover, if you start concentrating on an effect that you didn’t activate by using these special points, any effects that were activated using them and you’re concentrating on end. You can use this feature once every long rest but the number of uses increases by 1 at levels 13, 15, and 17. Finally, at level 15 the number of special Psi Points becomes 11. That’s quite a feature. It has a bit of complexity and also adds a resource that the player(and possibly the DM as well) has to track. Personally, I like this feature because, since 5th Edition came out, I’ve been thinking about ways to bypass the concentration rule.
- Psionic Body. This is a 20th level feature so it must be good, right. I don’t know if “good” is the correct word. More like insane. Anyway, you get four benefits.
- You gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage. I’d argue that three resistances are too much, but it’s a 20th level feature, these are the damage types you’d care less at that level, and there are classes that get resistances much sooner.
- You no longer age. It’s a nice little benefit but I doubt it would make any impact on that level, especially since you may be a god at that point already.
- You gain immunity to disease, poison damage, and the poisoned condition. Immunities are always a problem when it comes to giving them to players. Especially, since the poisoned condition can make a difference even at higher levels. That’s a powerful benefit.
- And here comes the benefit I enjoyed the most. When you die, you have a 50% chance to instead drop to 0 hit points, fall unconscious, and just disappear from the plane of existence you are in for 1d3 days. After that, you appear at a location of your choice, having the benefits of a long rest, like nothing happened. This is fun. Again, there’s gamble in it but it actually reduces the chances of dying by half. And, most importantly, it takes you(and your gear) out of harm’s reach.
Overall, the core features of the Mystic class are above average, in my opinion. They provide some survivability, adjustable defenses, damage, and the ability to bypass game rules with various ways.
As mentioned before, the Mystic has now six orders. The core features are powerful but generic. The Orders come now to add their uniqueness to the class.
Order of the Avatar
Mystics who are members of the Order of the Avatar are masters at controlling the emotions of others. This way they can strike fear into the hearts of their enemies as well as bolster their allies. This could possibly make them good commanders.
- Bonus Disciplines. You learn two extra Psionic Disciplines but they must Avatar Disciplines. Just a heads up, this feature is going to come up in almost all of the Orders.
- Armor Training. Proficiency with medium armor and shields. So these Mystics could indeed be commanders on the frontline.
- Avatar of Battle. If you’re not incapacitated, any ally within 30 feet of you that can see you has a +2 bonus on their initiative rolls. Well, that’s pretty much the Warlord’s Combat Leader feature from 4th Edition, and bonuses to initiative are always helpful.
- Avatar of Healing. Another aura with the same requirements. This one does extra healing to any ally that regains hit points through a Psionic Discipline. The extra healing is equal to your Intelligence Modifier. The more I read about this Order, the more it reminds me of the Warlord. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it as a class, and extra healing is always nice.
- Avatar of Speed. This aura lets any ally inside the aura take the Dash action by spending a bonus action.
I believe that Order of the Avatar is heavily influenced by the Warlord. To be honest, though, it feels a bit lacking.
Order of the Awakened
This is one of the old Orders. It was my favorite of the two, to be honest. Members of this Order focus on unlocking the potential of the mind. They excel in controlling the mind, read their surroundings, and also unleash powerful psionic attacks.
- Bonus Disciplines. You get to learn two extra Awakened Disciplines.
- Awakened Talent. You gain proficiency in two extra skills among Animal Handling, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Perception, and Persuasion. This list fits the flavor of this Order perfectly.
- Psionic Investigation. This feature lets you read objects. You can concentrate on an object for ten minutes and learn facts about it like the creature who held it last in the past 24 hours. You can also learn about the events that happened the last hour from the object’s perspective. Finally, it lets you put a tracker on an object and know its relative location as well as see through it. It fits the flavor of the Order quite nicely but it’s a feature that messes with the DM’s plans and that makes me not like it that much.
- Psionic Surge. You sacrifice your Psychic Focus in order to impose disadvantage on an enemy’s saving throw against one of your Disciplines or Talents. You can’t use your Focus again until you finish a short or long rest, so you’d better choose wisely. To be honest, I don’t really know if losing your Focus is worth it but I guess it could be a last resort solution.
- Spectral Form. You pretty much turn into a psionic ghost. By spending an action you can transform into a ghostly version of yourself and you gain resistance to all damage, move at half speed, you can pass through objects and creatures, and generally do what psionic ghosts do. It has a rather long duration for something that gives you resistance to all damage, but it can only be used only once per long rest.
Overall, the Order of the Awakened is fine. My biggest concern is the Psionic Investigation feature and the possible problems it could create, especially to inexperienced DMs.
Order of the Immortal
Members of this Order focus in honing their bodies, instead of their minds, using psionic energy. In another universe I’m sure they’re called psionic bodybuilders. Wait, could this be the infamous muscle wizard?
- Bonus Disciplines. You get to learn two extra Immortal Disciplines. As I said, this comes up a lot.
- Immortal Durability. The first part of this feature boosts a little bit the hit points of the Mystic. The second one is simply the Unarmored Defense of the Barbarian. An important difference is that you can’t use a shield.
- Psionic Resilience. At the start of your turn you gain temporary hit points equal to your Intelligence Modifier. The minimum is zero and you must have at least 1 hit point to gain the benefit of this feature. Since the members of this order will probably go to into melee a lot, boosting survivability is always good.
- Surge of Health. This is another “exchange your Focus for something” feature. This time you can halve the damage of an attack. As I said, I’m really not sure if it’s worth sacrificing your Focus but I believe this is better that Psionic Surge. At least in this case you don’t gamble. In Psionic Surge the enemy may succeed even with disadvantage.
- Immortal Will. This pretty much throws you back into the fray. For a mere 5 Psi Points, if you are at 0 hit points at the end of your turn, you can gain hit points equal to your Mystic level + your Constitution Modifier. The only question now is if you’ll make it until your next turn, when the self buffing kicks in. I should also mention that there’s no “only once per short or long rest” rule, which means you can keep getting back as long as you have enough Psi Points.
Overall, the Order of the Immortal is definitely a fun one. It definitely has features that make a good tank. A problem I see is the need to have at least three good stats, which are Constitution, Dexterity, and Intelligence. Otherwise, if you want to play a badass and hard to kill Mystic, this is your choice.
Order of the Nomad
Members of this Order seek knowledge and to unravel the mysteries of the multiverse. They’re pretty much lore junkies.
- Bonus Disciplines.You get to learn two extra Nomad Disciplines.
- Breadth of Knowledge. After a long rest, you gain proficiency with two tools, two skills, two languages, or a combination of the above. Personally, I like features like that and I don’t think they hurt the game. Also, it fits the flavor of the Order perfectly.
- Memory of One Thousand Steps. That’s a pretty useful and fun feature. So, if you are successfully hit by an attack, instead of taking damage you teleport to a place you occupied since the start of your last turn. I like that it’s not one of the “decide if you’re going to use it before you know the result” ability because now you know it’s not going to be wasted.
- Superior Teleportation. Teleportation using Disciplines has its range increased by 10 feet. Recently, we’re seeing more teleportation abilities in Unearthed Arcana. This one doesn’t grant an ability but upgrades one.
- Effortless Journey. You can teleport instead of walk. Well, it has its advantages, for example you don’t provoke any attacks of opportunity. The only limitation is that you can use this feature once per turn. Also, take a note here that Superior Teleportation doesn’t affect this feature.
Overall, the features of the Order of the Nomad, pretty much describe what the members of this Order do. It has a good defensive feature, and two that boost mobility quite a lot.
Order of the Soul Knife
Members of this order focus on creating and honing their Soul Knives.
- Martial Training. Proficiency with medium armor and martial weapons. This means another close combat Order.
- Soul Knife. You pretty much create a pair of psi-blades that are mounted on your fists. They have the light and finesse properties and deal 1d8 psychic damage on a hit. You can also use them to prepare parry, which is translated to spending your bonus action to get +2 to your AC. That’s actually not bad. And since you create one blade on each hand, you can attack twice thanks to the properties of the weapons. However, you won’t be able to parry if you choose to attack twice per turn.
- Hone the Blade. By spending Psi Points you can boost your knives. Depending on the amount of Psi Points you get a bonus that’s applied on the attack and damage rolls, and lasts for ten minutes. I believe the amount of points you can spend on this feature isn’t limited by the Psi Limit, which means on level 3 you can have a pair of +4 Soul Knives.
- Consumptive Knife. When you kill an enemy with a Soul Knife you get 2 Psi Points back. That can turn out to be quite powerful. Combining it with Hone the Blade it could lead to an almost endless supply of Psi Points. Well, theoretically that’s true but I’m sure it’s easier said than done.
- Phantom Knife. As an action you make one attack against an enemy, treating their AC as 10. Note number one. Because you use your action, you can’t make an off hand attack. Note number two. You get this feature at level 14. This means that if you have activated Hone the Blade at its maximum power, you only need to roll a 2 to hit. A 1 would be fine as well if it wasn’t an automatic miss.
Overall, I like Order of the Soul Knife. I believe it has a fairly good damage output. I’d like to see it multiclassed with Rogue. Also, psi-blades. However, I believe that there are many options that will need your bonus action and that can lead to a problem.
Order of the Wu Jen
Members of the Order of the Wu Jen are true masters when it comes to controlling the elements and even reality itself.
- Bonus Disciplines. You get to learn two extra Wu Jen Disciplines.
- Hermit’s Study. You gain proficiency in two extra skills among Animal Handling, Arcana, History, Insight, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Religion, or Survival. This feature doesn’t really fit the description of the Order but I guess it’s always good to have extra skill proficiencies.
- Elemental Attunement. If the damage of a Discipline against an enemy is reduced because of a resistance, you can spend 1 Psi Point to ignore that resistance. That’s not a bad feature, and especially for its level. However, take a note that if the extra point would make the Discipline impossible to activate because of the Psi Limit, then you can’t use this feature. So, for example, if your Psi Limit is 2 and you have spent 2 Psi Points to activate a Discipline, this means you can’t use this feature.
- Arcane Dabbler. That’s a rather weird feature that increases the complexity of the class. You can spend a bonus action and Psi Points in order to create spell slots. When creating spell slots the Psi Limit must be taken into account. You also learn three Wizard spells, which you can swap when you level up. It’s a fun feature because it gives you a lot of freedom. However, as I said the complexity increases. There will be a lot of managing of the Psi Points which could possibly slow the game down.
- Elemental Mastery. So this one gives you faux immunity to a damage type. The requirement is that you already have resistance to that type, which makes it a little less powerful. The immunity lasts until the end of your next turn. I think I like it more than straight up granting immunities.
I believe the Order of the Wu Jen has the most complexity of all the Orders. Is this complexity worth it?
Psionic Disciplines and Talents
There are a few details about Disciplines and Talents which I’m not going to go into since they are simple. A very important note, however, is that spells and Disciplines are different so their effects overlap. Now, I’m going to go quickly over the Disciplines and the Talents.
- Adaptive Body. It’s fine until you hit the immunity.
- Aura Sight. I have some doubts about the hit point part of Asses the Foe but otherwise it’s fine.
- Bestial Form. We’ve got damage dealing and also an AC boost which is a really good thing for the Immortal for the reasons I gave above.
- Brute Force. It’s pretty good, especially the Knock Back.
- Celerity. Another good one. Lots of good options.
- Corrosive Metabolism. Various ways to deal poison or acid damage and also applying the poisoned status effect to enemies.
- Crown of Despair. A little bit of psychic damage and control.
- Crown of Disgust. More psychic damage and some ways for the Mystic to protect themselves. Visions of Disgust looks fun.
- Crown of Rage. I don’t really like this one.
- Diminution. You can turn into a very small size in order to get some defensive bonuses and maybe some stealth ones as well.
- Giant Growth. The opposite of Diminution. This is about being big and aggressive.
- Intellect Fortress. Some very good defensive options.
- Iron Durability. Defensive options against physical attacks.
- Mantle of Awe. Various ways to charm the enemy.
- Mantle of Command. More Warlord stuff. Movement, extra attacks and advantage on attack rolls.
- Mantle of Courage. Even more Warlord stuff.
- Mantle of Fear. A few ways to cause fear. Incite Panic is quite good.
- Mantle of Fury. The best part of this is one is the Aura of Bloodletting because advantage is very powerful.
- Mantle of Joy. It kinda tries to be the healing/restoring option for the Avatar but doesn’t do that great.
- Mastery of Air. It’s a multitool. Damage, defense, mobility, and you even get to summon an Air Elemental.
- Mastery of Fire. A lot of damage, fire resistance, and you can summon a Fire Elemental.
- Mastery of Force. That’s classic telekinesis along with an option to gain armor.
- Mastery of Ice. A very good set of offensive and defensive options.
- Mastery of Light and Darkness. You can play with the light, do some damage, and summon Shadows.
- Mastery of Water. This one may not be able to do as much damage as others, but it has more options on controlling the enemy. Also, Water Elemental.
- Mastery of Weather. Good damage and utility.
- Mastery of Wood and Earth. There’s a lot of variety in this Discipline. You get damage, control, the ability to change someone’s armor class, and of course you can summon an Earth Elemental.
- Nomadic Arrow. That’s a powerful Discipline. You can ignore disadvantage on ranged attack rolls, do extra attacks, and reroll the ones you miss. Also, that’s a hint on how the Nomad should be played.
- Nomadic Chameleon. This one gives you Stealth options, for you and your allies.
- Nomadic Mind. You get some cool Divination options. I like utility and this one provides a lot of that.
- Nomadic Step. That’s a lot of teleportation options. I like that there are defensive teleportation options as well.
- Precognition. I like this implementation of Precognition. This doesn’t mess with DM knowledge and also give a lot of good benefits.
- Psionic Restoration. A lot of good healing options. It even has Greater Restoration and Revivify.
- Psionic Weapon. These are some good options for the Immortal and the Soul Knife.
- Psychic Assault. Up until now we’ve seen some good damaging options for the Mystic. And now, here’s Psychic Assault with a toolbox full of pain. There’s a boosted Magic Missile, control and really good Area of Effect damage.
- Psychic Disruption. While less powerful than Psychic Assault, this one has some good options as well.
- Psychic Inquisition. A bit of Inception mind probing with a hint of damage. It’s fun and the way it’s built makes be believe that it won’t be that easy to create problems for the DM.
- Psychic Phantoms. The way it works reminds me of the Avatar’s Disciplines. The Awakened has definitely better options than that.
- Telepathic Contact. I like this one. It has some good combat options. Also, it’s interesting that it says if you don’t have the Telepathy feature from the Mystic you gain it while focusing on this Discipline. I wonder how this is going to be relevant in the future. The only answer that comes into mind is the psionic flavored Fighter Archetype Mike Mearls had mentioned on twitter some time ago.
- Third Eye. It offers good utility options in the form of improving your vision.
That was a lot of Disciplines. It’s obvious that some of them are too good compared to others. I also like that there are a lot of utility options for in and out of combat.
Now let’s take a quick look at the Talents, which are pretty much the Mystic’s Cantrips. Thankfully, they aren’t as many as the Disciplines.
- Beacon. It’s the Light cantrip.
- Blade Meld. I doubt this will be helpful. I don’t think a monster would try disarming you, at least not as often so that you pick this Talent.
- Blind Spot. You become invisible for one enemy. Like I said before, I’d like to see a multiclass between the Soul Knife and the Rogue.
- Delusion. It’s the Minor Illusion cantrip.
- Energy Beam. It’s a damaging effect with the type of damage of your choice. It’s okay for a Talent.
- Light Step. A small speed boost, with the bonus that when you have to stand up you don’t spend any movement.
- Mind Meld. There are much better Disciplines that could do that. Not really worth it.
- Mind Slam. Damage with a chance of knocking the opponent down. It’s not bad.
- Mind Thrust. That’s the Fire Bolt cantrip, but with psychic damage.
- Mystic Charm. It’s a short duration charm effect. Could be useful, I guess.
- Mystic Hand. It’s the Mage Hand cantrip.
- Psychic Hammer. It’s like Mind Slam, but with greater range and it can push the target instead of knocking them prone.
My final verdict for this Unearthed Arcana is that it’s good. There are certainly parts that need some changes but overall I believe it’s ready. I don’t think we’re going to see another Unearthed Arcana about the Mystic. Instead, we are going to see it in a book, which I really hope it’s going to be about Eberron. I’m also looking forward to seeing psionic flavored subclasses for other classes. We know there’s at least one, for the Fighter, but I’d also like to see one for the Rogue.
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