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Designed by: Anthony Joyce
Ah, fighters. Stalwart protectors. Can tank and dish out the damage and are BORING AS HELL. Sorry fighter fans. They even got shafted when it came to 5E subclasses, with Battle Master being the only real option (prove me wrong).
“Psyborg: Fighter Subclass” adds a crazy big new subclass for my poor fighter friends, one which instantly makes me sit up and take notice. You may be worried about adding cybernetic – sorry, “psybernetic” -enhancements to your player characters, but the designer smartly uses spells and spell-like abilities featured in other classes to make the Psyborg much more balanced, at the cost of making it a bit less original.
Upon reaching 3rd level a fighter can choose the Psyborg subclass. Several flavorful options are included to provide the Whys and Hows of your PC suddenly gaining a cybernetic arm or Darth Vader-esque breathing apparatus. I particularly like the wounded warrior backstory, basically turning your PC into Robocop.
Psyborgs get access to Sorcerer spells (with Charisma as your spellcasting modifier, limited to a school of magic depending on which implant you chose (arm = evocation, eye = divination), though you can also have more than one, up to your CON modifier.
The Psyborg also gains access to Psybernetic augmentations, which are basically Warlock invocations, as well as several abilities that utilize Hit Dice. I’ve never seen any other ability use hit dice before. It’s a clever way of using your own body to power your abilities. At 3rd level you can spend hit dice to regain a spell slot once per short rest (Warlock anyone!?) while at 15th level you can spend hit dice to cast spells at one level higher.
Augmentations are basically re-flavored Warlock invocations, though there are far fewer available for Psyborgs. They get the literal Hex Blade ability through their Psionic Weapons, and can eventually get access to their own version of Divine Smite. This subclass could’ve completely replaced my hex blade Warlock/Paladin in Storm King’s Thunder!
We’re also given 40 (!) new psychic spells. All of them are Sorcerer spells, though many overlap into other class spell lists. They’re obviously meant to tailor specifically to the Psyborg class, with spells such as Magnetism, Arcane Springboard, Force Push, Launch Ammunition, and Shockwave.
Like the augmentations, most of these are simply re-themed from existing spells. To be fair, there’s a lot of spells out there between the Player’s Handbook and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. But there’s definitely some clever stuff, particularly the cantrips like Catfeet (use a Reaction to gain resistance to falling damage) and Launch Ammunition (touch a piece of ammo and fire it as if you had the right weapon).
I like cybernetics a lot and the Psyborg class is a great example of how they can translate to a more fantasy-themed universe. Yet I also wish they weren’t beholden to a fighter subclass. Everyone should get a chance to use them! I also wish the designer had utilized their excellent “The Heir of Orcus” world design and provided a bit more fantastic pixel and retro video game art, instead of playing it safe with the layout.
- Well-balanced subclass that gives the Fighter spells and spell-like abilities.
- 15 psybernetic augmentations
- 40 psychic spells.
- The Psyborg is basically a Fighter with Sorcerer spells and Warlock invocations.
- Very little artwork.
The Verdict: “Psyborg: Fighter Subclass” smartly adapts cyberpunk features to D&D-appropriate spells and abilities.
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