DMs Guild Review – Psionics

Includes a new psion class, as well as new subclasses, feats, spells, magic items, and adventure hooks.

dms guild review

A review copy of “Psionics: A Supplement for 5E was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Bardic-Inspired DM

The Psion was a popular “DLC” class in previous editions of Dungeons & Dragons. It also added a lot of balancing and mechanical problems. Psions are noticeably absent from official books in Fifth Edition, but that’s not going to stop the community from trying to bring the mind-warriors to the modern era.

The psion class presented in the Psionics supplement is a disappointingly re-themed wizard, but the supplement also includes a huge amount of pisonic-related content to make up for it, including feats, spells, magic items, and an entire Gith empire to adventure in.

The Psion class has a d6 hit die, uses INT instead of DEX for AC, and has a number of Psionic Points equal to their level plus their INT modifier. Psionic points are used to cast spells (er, spell-like abilities that are functionality identical to spells) instead of spell slots.

At first level Psions know a few cantrips as well as Command, Jump, Shield and Unseen Servant. At second level they choose a subclass, their Psionic Specialization, which grants new spells.

The Enhancer focuses on buffing and defense, the Influencer on mind-controlling and illusions, and the Manipulator with telekinesis.  There’s a total lack of flavor text for the specializations. They feel more like different skill trees in a video game than a true DnD subclass.

While wizards choose new spells every level, the Psion gains specific spells depending on their specialization, making them very restrictive and rigidly defined. The Psion gains a few flavorful abilities, like a 5-ft repulsion or the ability to super-charge your mage hand, but otherwise it’s mostly just casting wizard spells at about the same rate as a wizard. Arcane Recovery has been placed by Limit Break, which involves rolling a die and incurring Exhaustion to regain Psionic Points in between Long Rests.

Nothing about the Psion is interesting enough to make me play it over a re-themed wizard, and the Psionic Points feel like more trouble than their worth. A 10th level Psion has 13 points versus the wizard’s 15 spell slots, but the psion has to spend 5 of those points to cast a single 5th level spell! I get not wanting to over-tune the Psion but here it just feels like a slightly worse wizard.

dms guild review

Thankfully the supplement is much more than the single class. If, like me, you’re keen on psionics but not liking the full class, there are three subclass options for fighter, monk, and wizard. Ironically the fighter and monk’s added psionic abilities are a bit more interesting, but the School of Psionics wizard eventually gets their own Psionic Points at 10th level to cast specific spells from.

The new spells take advantage of force damage and knocking enemies back, while the feats divvy up many of the psion’s traits as a la carte abilities.

I was most impressed with the Gyanie Empire, an all-psionic empire of Gith that settled on the Material Plane. We’re treated to information on their culture, government, and technology, as well as two separate campaign adventure hooks – one for working with the current empire to establish a link to the Astral Sea (with disastrous consequences) and another with finding ancient relics from the long-gone empire and preventing a conqueror from trying to release an ancient evil (with disastrous consequences).

The adventure hooks are only a single paragraph for each tier, but they’re very well written and present some killer ideas. Give me that campaign!

It’s a shame that the primary focus of the supplement, the psion class, is relatively disappointing. The entire supplement provides a large amount of quality content that otherwise provides the complete package for psion fans.

Pros:

  • Six feats, six racial variants, seven psionic “spells,” eight magic items, nine NPC statblocks, and three subclasses.
  • Psionic subclasses are a great way to re-theme existing classes.
  • Gyaine Empire includes lore, adventure hooks for current and fallen eras, and NPC statblocks.

Cons:

  • The Pison is a middling combination of Wizard, Warlock, and Monk with few class-defining qualities of its own.
  • No art.

The Verdict: The Psion class is little more than a strictly themed wizard, but the supplement makes up for it with new feats, spells, magic items, subclasses and story hooks surrounding an intriguing psionic empire.

A review copy of “Psionics: A Supplement for 5E was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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