Thursday, March 16, 2017

Mystic (1st Looks, more detailed breakdown to come)

Hey Game Fans we’re back with another fun look at a new option (well, the third revision of a new option) for 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons.  Today’s hot new thing is the Mystic.  The Mystic uses psionics (the powers of the mind) in a very similar way that monks use Ki, and how most of the spell casters use arcane or divine magic.  Mystics are an interesting interpretation of a character idea that’s been a part of the Dungeons and Dragons game since its earlier days (Interesting Fact, you used to be able to tack psionics onto any class, depending on how you rolled on the table of psionic mischief {not it’s actual name}.).  As the game has evolved, it’s changed and morphed over the years until now it’s got a new presentation with a ton of different options.  Today i’m going to talk about some of those changes, and i’ll do a complete breakdown like i did on Artificer next week.  

So a Mystic has a couple of interesting ideas and class abilities that we haven’t seen before.  I think it has much more in common with the Monk than it does with other classes and that’s because it has a limited resource pool of points to power its abilities just like the monk, and it has a variety of features that are considered to be constantly active.  The primary difference is that the Mystic isn’t focused on unarmed combat, and instead focuses on psionics to do its heavy lifting and solve the problems that most adventurers need solved.  

So what are psionics?  Well, the short answer is Googly mind powers.  The long answer is mental powers that are cultivated through long hours of meditative study that defy the normal understanding of the universe’s immutable laws.  Psionics can read minds, move objects with the power of telekinesis, restructure their bodies, and perform a whole host of other tricks/powers that no one else can easily explain.  In Dungeons and Dragons, the people who utilize these amazing powers are Mystics.  Let’s break psionics down into its mechanics, and go over each one.  

Key Terms


A Catchall term to describe the powers (and the sources) that are available to Mystics.  Other creatures (namely Mind Flayers) have powers that are described as psionics, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they work the same way or are interchangeable.  The best thing to keep in mind as that most of the psionics rules don’t work with each other unless it’s specifically written in their description.  

Psionic Talents:

Psionic talents are minor psychic powers that a Mystic picks up throughout the levelling up process.  These don’t use Psi Points, and are interesting abilities that a character has acquired.  None of them are associated with specific Mystic Orders (more on those in a second), meaning that any given Mystic has access to the entire pool of Psionic Talents.  (These start on page 27 of the pdf file).  

Psionic Disciplines:

The Psionic Discipline represents an interconnected web of meditative and mental activities that produce specific effects when utilized.  Every Mystic starts with 1 Discipline, and throughout the course of their career, they will learn a few other disciplines. Each Discipline has a group of related effects that have an associated psi point cost, a benefit for maintaining psychic focus with that discipline, and an associated tradition.  Each of the related effects has a psi point cost, an effect, and a potential duration and the possibility for concentration.  

Psi Points:

These are the resources that a Mystic expends to power their Discipline based abilities.  Higher level Mystics have more resources to work with, and can power greater effects with them.

Psi Limit:

The more experienced Mystics are capable of pouring more energy into their effects than new ones.  The Psi Limit represents the maximum amount of Psi Points a Mystic can spend on a given Discipline ability.  

Psychic Focus:

Every Mystic has the ability to focus their mental energies on a specific psionic discipline, and this allows them to take advantage of a specific benefit associated with that discipline.  Activating this ability takes a Bonus action, and lasts until the Mystic is incapacitated or spends another bonus action at a later time to change Disciplines.  

Psionic Ability:

Psionics are powered by Intelligence, and the Mystic uses their Intelligence Modifier for Attack bonuses and Saving throws.  This looks like this:
  • Discipline Save DC = 8 + Mystic’s Proficiency Bonus + Mystic’s Intelligence Modifier
  • Discipline Attack Modifier= Mystic’s Proficiency Bonus + Mystic’s Intelligence Modifier

Mystic Order:

The Mystic Orders are the class Archetypes that go with Mystic.  Each one has a host of related disciplines and abilities that further refine that concept of how the Mystic interacts with the larger universe.  This is gained at 1st level, and in most cases offers additional bonus disciplines that are related to the core concept of each Mystic Order.  

Thoughts and Ideas:

Well, this is going to be a different sort of a class than we’ve seen so far.  WIth powers that operate at variable levels of effectiveness, and ambient powers that are always accessible, the Mystic provides a different play experience than most of the other classes we’ve seen so far.  I like what i am seeing in terms of how things work, and how all of the moving parts of the class operate.  I’ll have a full class review up next week, where i’ll breakdown the class features and mystic orders.  The week after that we’ll take a hard look at the Disciplines themselves and how they work mechanically in the system.  

Overall i’m intrigued by the possibilities that this offers for interesting roleplaying options.  LIke it’s cousin, the Artificer, this offers a new way of looking at how 5th edition works and the mechanical interactions of the system.  I like it, and i kind of want to see more about it.  I suspect that most folks will want to see more disciplines and options, but i like this as the starting point to build from.    

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