Unearthed Arcana

Fighter – Psychic Warrior

With the amount of unearthed arcana coming out of the Dungeons and Dragons team over the past 3-4 months, I have pretty high hopes for a new book in 2020 that is filled with a variety of class options. We have covered quite a few on this site, but not nearly all of options put forth by the D&D team. However, there are two options that I missed over the holiday that I want to go back and visit.  Those class options are the Rogue Soulknife, and today’s article; the Psychic Warrior.

The Psychic Warrior is a subclass option for the fighter that infuses attacks with powerful telekinetic force, all while bolstering the warrior’s defenses barriers of the mind. Described as a power that awakens within the warrior and honed through discipline or under the watchful eye of a master, I can’t help but sense overtones of the Jedi. As a huge Star Wars fan, I’m pre-disposed to loving this character concept. Though, it’s often difficult to balance powerful spells/abilities with the fighter, as versatility is already a staple of the class. This Psychic Warrior uses Intelligence as their spell-casting modifier, so this will require the player to balance this new stat along with Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution depending on the type of build. Now, you are getting additional damage from your psychic attacks, meaning, you don’t have to pump everything into Strength. Maybe, even allowing room for a nimble Dex based fighter. I can see a few different builds, however, adding a third key stat could make it hard to specialize. I don’t see this being a huge issue, and that has to do with the new abilities open to tour-de-force warrior.

Starting at level three, when the fighter selects the Psychic Warrior as their martial archetype, the player is able to select whether to augment their defenses or strikes once per day:

  • Augmented Defenses. When you or a creature
    you can see within 30 feet of you takes damage,
    you can use your reaction to roll a d10 and
    reduce the amount of damage taken by the
    number rolled. When you reach 10th level in this
    class, the die changes to a d12.
  • Augmented Strikes. Once during each of your
    turns when you hit a creature with a weapon
    attack, you can also deal 1d4 psychic damage to
    that target. When you reach 10th level in this
    class, the psychic damage increases to 1d6.

This is an interesting choice that plays into the versatile nature of the fighter. At an early level, this option for increased damage will come in handy if the player chose to allocate more points to intelligence instead of just maxing out Strength/Dexterity. Of course, if the player did boost these combat stats, they can also double down on this aspect. Also at 3rd level, the fighter gets Mage Hand, which can be cast without components while also remaining invisible. Adding a bit of utility and role-play flavor as the a character can play with the telekinetic aspects of their abilities. Though, we really get to see the telekinesis shine at level 7, when the warrior gains the ability; Strength of Mind. As a bonus action, you can lash out at a creature within 20ft, causing the target to make a strength saving throw against a DC of 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Int modifier. On a failed roll the target takes 2d6 force damage and is moved forward or backward 15ft (player choice). Here we can see the character’s Intelligence starting to play a role in combat abilities. I do worry that since this doesn’t come into affect until level 7, that players will overlook their Intelligence stat during character creation. So, this character concept may need to be planned for in advance, but still provides a lot of fun and interesting game-play.

As we get into the higher levels, the versatility begins to shine. Telekinetic Bulwark, which is obtained at 10th level, allows the fighter to forgo one of their attacks in order to create a barrier of psionic force in a 10ft radius. All allies in this area gain half cover and advantage on Strength saving throws. Adding a bit of party support is a nice touch, and can be pretty strong against a slew of ranged attacks. Starting at level 15, the Psychic Warrior goes on the offensive with Agonizing strikes. Dealing an additional 2d10 psychic damage, and forcing the enemy to make a Constitution save (DC 8 + Proficiency bonus + Intelligence modifier), or falling prone in pain and taking disadvantage on ability checks until the end of the round. A powerful ability, however, creatures at 15th level or higher are going to have a good saving throw, requiring a decent Intelligence score to be effective. Finally, capping us off at 18th level is the ability Psychic Dreadnaught. After taking damage, you can activate one of the following affects that lasts 1 minute:

  • At the start of each of your turns, you regain
    10 hit points.
  • Your walking speed increases by 10 feet.
  • If you’re prone, you can stand up by spending
    5 feet of movement.

Once activated, you can’t use this ability again until you finish a long rest. Honestly, this ability felt like a letdown. The hit point regain is strong, but the other two are lack luster for a level 18 ability that can only be used once a day. Also, I would have liked for this ability to feed into the Psychic theme a bit more. Maybe some mind reading that allows you to pick up on how to best attack or how the enemy will attack you? It’s nice to have a choice, but the options just don’t fit for me.  With all of the Jedi-like powers the team could have borrowed from the movies, I just see a missed opportunity here.  Force choke? Lightning relaxes? I can think of several more.

I don’t want to end on a sour note though, because overall I really enjoy the character concept of the Psychic Warrior and the strong, yet versatile, abilities that come with it… except that last one of course.

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