Unleash the Unknown: Wecome to the Psychic Playtest


Psychic Class

Paizo Employee Designer

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Welcome to the Dark Archive playtest for the psychic class! I'm so excited to see everyone put this class through its paces and to see what feedback you come up with from your game tables!

To make it easier for Mark and I to find all the feedback both here and in other spaces, I'd like to request two things. First, before you post some feedback, try to see if a thread for it already exists and join that discussion so there aren't as many to sift through. Second, try to recognize if a thread is back-and-forthing about a topic where everyone seems to have made all their points, it's okay to bow out. I promise I will read everything in all three of these forums, this is just to keep it a little easier for me to draw out the feedback.

Lastly, remember we're all here to make both of these classes the best they can be, so please treat your fellow posters with kindness and mutual respect. We all just want to play weird paranormal characters, so we're all on the same side ^_^!

Thanks for taking the time to check out the playtest and give your feedback. Now, go make some psychics!


The fabled 2/3rd caster.

Looking forward to testing it.


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Absolutely adore everything I’m seeing here. I don’t play casters, but I’m dying to get a Psychic to the table.


So far, seeing no problems oher than Somatic components somehow lingering to the very end. >:(

BTW nice touch there with amped up cantrips as in the Other Edition...


Starting with 2 Focus Points instead of a well-rounded 3 feels weird, especially since there's already a restriction on refocusing in conjunction with other classes.


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First impressions upon initial read-through:

I feel like y’all could easily implement a third Subconscious Mind to allow psychics to have Wisdom as a key ability score, because the Wisdom-based casters are becoming scarcer and scarcer.

I’m a bit confused by the granted spells of the Conscious Mind; it seems to me that it ends up such that a psychic will have more spells of a particular level in their spell repertoire than spell slots for that level (e.g. at level 1 having 2 1st-level spells in their repertoire but only having 1 slot). Every other spontaneous spellcaster has had a number of spells in their repertoire equal to the number of slots of any given level (barring weird circumstances from particular feats/features), so it seems weird to diverge from that now.

Having one fewer spell slot per level feels like a huge downgrade. I don’t 100% feel like the quirkiness of the psi cantrips really make up for this. But I haven’t properly playtested this, so I’m just going off what I see.

Psychics can’t get a 3rd Focus Point without multiclassing, which makes Deepest Wellspring kinda useless. They could use the oracle treatment of getting a third Focus Point at level X keyed into the psi cantrips and amps class feature.

Was initially really confused about telekinetic rend’s amp effect, wondering why anyone would use it, only to just now realize that it’s because the amp is listed as essentially a separate spell; leading me to ignore the amp heightened entry and just think “so a 10th level telekinetic rend would only do 2d6 damage when amped?!” It would probably benefit from some clearer wording or setup (or I’m just being scatterbrained, which is entirely possible).

Amping detect magic seems…lackluster. I’ve yet to have someone use that spell in-combat, and this incentivizes using two actions AND a Focus Point to just get a small-ish bonus to saves? Also, wouldn’t you also guarantee the bonus past level 1, since the spell says that you can CHOOSE to ignore magic effects that you are aware of? Just seems…real weird to me. I know I’d rather do a telekinetic projectile for potential damage than get a bonus that doesn’t stack with, say, heroism.

For mental scan: what does the psychic roll for the Aid that it provides to an ally?

Not sure if it’s a mistake, but the amp heightened entry for shatter mind has +1, while the regular cantrip does +2. Doubling or quadrupling the area seems like a drastic enough amp effect, almost doubling the damage output just seems like an editing oversight. I feel like it should still be heightened +2 for the amp.

For Strain Mind, I personally would make it deal mental damage and add in a clause about the psychic being unable to reduce the damage from resistances and such, though that’s just me.

I actually like Unleash Calculated Reasoning upon thinking about it more. The lack of a drawback is flavorful, and the benefit isn’t so overpowered that its lack of a drawback is amazing. That said, using the benefit actually results in less damage than rolling. (e.g. an agonizing despair would deal an average of 14 damage, while with this feat active it would deal 12 damage). Though I’m sure this was taken into account, as it’s getting slightly less damage as a trade-off for an assured number (similar to using Assurance being lower than rolling a 10 on the die).

Mesmerizing Gaze is deceptively good, as it can force using a reaction that could be used on something else (like AoO).

Why does Autonomic Telepathy have the linguistic trait? The telepathy monster ability doesn’t.

Dual Amplification says “focus cantrip” when I’m pretty sure it means “psi cantrip.”

Multifaceted Psyche says it’s a level 18 feat, but it’s listed with the level 20 feats.

Overall, pretty good and flavorful class, but does have a few kinks to iron out.


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I thought it was fair to compare the oracle to the cleric, since both are dedicated divine spellcasters, so I think it is fair to compare the psychic to the bard, since both are dedicated occult casters (and both are occult).

In this case, the psychic is so much worse. The psychic has a far worse chassis (6 hit points and shabby proficiencies) and 1 less spell per day per level compared to a bard, and the psychic's amps are on the mediocre side. This is an underwhelming class. It has some cool ideas and I liked the psychic for 1e but seriously it needs at least three spells per day or a big boost to their unique cantrips.

Also the psychic's perception doesn't scale. Is that an oversight?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Obviously we'll try to hammer out the fine tuning here, but man I'm loving how this class looks. You can't fine-tune flavor, but you knocked it out of the park!


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
KingTreyIII wrote:


I’m a bit confused by the granted spells of the Conscious Mind; it seems to me that it ends up such that a psychic will have more spells of a particular level in their spell repertoire than spell slots for that level (e.g. at level 1 having 2 1st-level spells in their repertoire but only having 1 slot). Every other spontaneous spellcaster has had a number of spells in their repertoire equal to the number of slots of any given level (barring weird circumstances from particular feats/features), so it seems weird to diverge from that now.

Summoners have 5 spells for 4 slots too.


Squiggit wrote:
KingTreyIII wrote:


I’m a bit confused by the granted spells of the Conscious Mind; it seems to me that it ends up such that a psychic will have more spells of a particular level in their spell repertoire than spell slots for that level (e.g. at level 1 having 2 1st-level spells in their repertoire but only having 1 slot). Every other spontaneous spellcaster has had a number of spells in their repertoire equal to the number of slots of any given level (barring weird circumstances from particular feats/features), so it seems weird to diverge from that now.
Summoners have 5 spells for 4 slots too.

So they do. I stand corrected. Still feels weird, though.


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T0kume1 wrote:

I thought it was fair to compare the oracle to the cleric, since both are dedicated divine spellcasters, so I think it is fair to compare the psychic to the bard, since both are dedicated occult casters (and both are occult).

In this case, the psychic is so much worse. The psychic has a far worse chassis (6 hit points and shabby proficiencies) and 1 less spell per day per level compared to a bard, and the psychic's amps are on the mediocre side. This is an underwhelming class. It has some cool ideas and I liked the psychic for 1e but seriously it needs at least three spells per day or a big boost to their unique cantrips.

I feel that in terms of chassis, the Psychic also needs to be compared to an Occult Sorcerer. After all, both are 6HP/level spontaneous casters with certain spells locked into their repertoire.

Sorcerers get 4 spells/level, some solid focus spells, and some small riders on certain spells.

Psychics get 2 spells/level, no focus spells, and better cantrips about three-quarters of the time.

This comparison makes it very clear that the Psychic needs its Amp effects to be seriously boosted. A Sorcerer has enough fuel in the tank between slots and focus that they almost never need to cast cantrips, meaning that they're operating at 75%-100% impact for almost the entire fight.

A Psychic, on the other hand, has a severe lack of slots, meaning that they're operating at anywhere between 50%-100% impact, and more frequently the former. At the moment, the Amps feel like they're bringing that up to 60%-100%.


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One thing I noticed too is that Psychic action economy is worse than sorcerer and specially than bard.

Mostly sorcerer focus spells is 1-action, helping the caster to complete it's action economy once the mostly spells and cantrips are 2-actions. Also having a greater number of spells slots helps the sorcerer to use some of them as 1-action or 3-action or cast a sustainable spell using better his action economy.

The bard is even better as 3º action economy usage because it can spawn his 1-action composite spells during almost entire encounter while casts others 2-actions spells and cantrips.

The psychic lacks this mostly, once the only exclusive spell it has is Mental Scan that's is fair good against hidden opponents but it's also situational so mostly cases lefts only to psychic rise a shield/cast shield or move.

Dataphiles

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
YuriP wrote:

One thing I noticed too is that Psychic action economy is worse than sorcerer and specially than bard.

Mostly sorcerer focus spells is 1-action, helping the caster to complete it's action economy once the mostly spells and cantrips are 2-actions. Also having a greater number of spells slots helps the sorcerer to use some of them as 1-action or 3-action or cast a sustainable spell using better his action economy.

The bard is even better as 3º action economy usage because it can spawn his 1-action composite spells during almost entire encounter while casts others 2-actions spells and cantrips.

The psychic lacks this mostly, once the only exclusive spell it has is Mental Scan that's is fair good against hidden opponents but it's also situational so mostly cases lefts only to psychic rise a shield/cast shield or move.

Hmm? You have 5 focus spells per combat, you can easily be doing Spell + Amp'd Mental Scan/Message every round for the entire combat (except when you need to unleash to get more amps).

If anything it suffers the bard problem of wanting to do the same actions all the time.


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They are very good when amped but you can only Unleash only 1 cantrip per round so you have to trade it off with other amp or use a focus point (but you probably already used the focus point before enter in unleash state).


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Playtesting still needs to be done, but by reading and analyzing it for a day, I agree with the general sentiment. Cool ideas, but the current power level for the Psi stuff is too low, even with how spammable it is. Especially so for the damaging ones (what's up with the scaling on these?).


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I just love what you have created here. I have some issues with the balancing, but the design and flavour are just on point, which is the far more important part!


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I really love the flavor and mechanical niche of the class, James, good stuff! I need to play around with it but my gut reaction would be making one of two possible changes

1)buff the impact of amped psi cantrips

OR

2)increase health/armor and add 3rd spell slots

also, don't neglect the shield cantrip!


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The skeleton of the class is excellent. I don't think it needs any changes. While I've seen other suggest it be shifted to a focus-only caster or wave caster, I think those design spaces are best explored with other classes, such as the Kineticist (which could combine the Psychic Amp stuff with a Burn mechanic similar to the Oracle's Curse).

However, the power of existing options leaves much to be desired. Numbers could be tweaked, either by giving more spells, making the psi cantrips and amps stronger, or both. It's rather behind on the power budget compared to other casters.

Plus additional options like a Wisdom Subconscious Mind (should have a harsher penalty than the others due to Wisdom being a stronger stat) and more Conscious Minds such as energy manipulation, time manipulation, or space manipulation would add excellent flavor and mechanics to the class to support more concepts which currently have poor support.


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Amps need a boost in power for sure, since psychic loses a lot of spells per day vs other casters, their amp boosted cantrips need to be just as strong as other high level spells. They basically are trading versatility for consistently strong but narrow cantrips.

The unleash mechanic is cool, but probably takes too long to come online, i would probably knock it down to two rounds instead of three

Even so, i love the concept and the direction so I'll be playing it as soon as my group starts a new AP


Frozencaveman wrote:

Amps need a boost in power for sure, since psychic loses a lot of spells per day vs other casters, their amp boosted cantrips need to be just as strong as other high level spells. They basically are trading versatility for consistently strong but narrow cantrips.

The unleash mechanic is cool, but probably takes too long to come online, i would probably knock it down to two rounds instead of three

Even so, i love the concept and the direction so I'll be playing it as soon as my group starts a new AP

An alternative solution to the Unleash mechanic might just to make it a free action.

Or it has a variable number of actions depending on how many times you've fulfilled its condition, like 2 actions for no fulfillment, 1 action for one fulfillment, and a free action for two fulfillments.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I really like the class at first glance. I think I agree with most in saying a Wisdom based Subconscious Mind would be appreciated. Call it "Enlightened Tranquility" and fluff it as gaining your powers through enlightenment and peace of mind or something. Given it's use, maybe the drawback from it could be something like a penalty to Will saves under certain conditions.

I'd also would really like to see the addition of a Mesmerist based Conscious Mind. Maybe call it something like "Hypnotic Will" or something to that effect, with Mesmerizing Gaze reworked as it's Unique Psi Cantrip. With the Feats focus on Enchantment, Daze seems better suited for it than for Silent Whisper potentially; which I'd suggest could maybe get Ghost Sound instead (making ghostly whispers). I'm not sure on the second Standard Psi Cantrip here, since the examples used are strictly from the CRB; otherwise Infectious Enthusiasm sounds like a good option.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I also agree that a Wisdom option to go along with the other two would be appreciated, and think that a spiritual 'enlightenment' seeking Subconscious Mind would be a good way to do it.

One of my players actually has the feedback that they'd like enough of the power budget to be invested in the cantrips and amps that they'd prefer the class to lose the actual spellcasting completely, but at the same time I personally feel it adds some solid utility to the class as a whole and fits in without damaging the psychic flavor too much.

That said I think the cantrips and amps could use a boost, I'd be willing to accept wave casting to make that happen, they should want to mainly use those in combat-- its a really cool mechanic, so I'd like for it to be stronger for sure.

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