Looking at the Unleash options

Psychic Class

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Lots of the discussion about psychic focuses on the amps, and they are a big deal, but Unleash Psyche is also a big deal for the class so here's my take on the various Unleash Psyche stuff.

To start: the basic benefit all of them share, 1 free amp per turn for 3 turns that cannot be stopped, is about as good as the amps provided. Effectively lets you cast 5 focus amps per fight (assuming you can refocus after every combat), pretty cool overall. But if your amps aren't impressive, this benefit isn't that impressive either.

Unleash Focused Intent: You meet the requirements automatically, which is pretty good if you have trouble with other options or are uninterested in other psyche feats. Bonus to spell slot damage is fine but a bit odd that it doesn't synergize with psi cantrips. The drawback is steep, a big AC penalty that stacks with everything on a low armor low HP class is going to hurt. It feels like it pushed the class towards blaster options a bit, since if you don't do spell-based damage options (or don't have any at first level when you know 2 spells) it's big benefit does nothing.

Unleash Self-Defense: The benefits are decent, better saving throws and more AC is good, nonlethal damage is only a problem in a few fights. It does feel small though. Drawbacks seem pretty rough though, another untyped penalty that stacks with everything and it applies to several of the psi cantrips, and psychic isn't exactly a damage dealing powerhouse in the first place. If leaning hard into support or non-damage spells it's a decent pick.

Unleash Calculated Reasoning: Not much to say. Not much of a benefit, but no drawback and easy requirements makes it a nice enough option. Might not be worth grabbing over something like Parallel Breakthrough, but a psyche that isn't going to hurt anything is nice. I also like that this and the next one give different feels to the subconscious minds.

Unleash Soaring Passions: Requirements can be met without spells using emotion effects like Demoralize, that's neat. My concern with both the benefit and drawback of the spell is how late it applies in the fight. The round you unleash you need to do something to the target before you get either benefit or drawback, so you probably don't encounter it until around round 4. For a support psychic the drawback might never apply, and that's neat.

Unleash Dark Persona: Looks good in single-creature fights if you can take the 2 hits to meet the requirements. Benefit like Unleash Focused Intent, but applies to psi cantrips too. If you're a blaster it might not be a problem that you can't cast beneficial spells on your allies, and the penalty only applies if you stop focusing fire to target someone else. Low HP on psychics means taking damage twice in a single creature fight might be dicey, and I don't love that the enemy has agency over when this triggers rather than the psychic. But if you are going for a blaster, it seems could be a solid tool to have on-hand.

Unleash Reflexive Sustainment: I have another thread about this one, but TL:DR; it feels weird and kinda bad. Only benefits for 2 rounds of the psyche and it doesn't give as much as it takes away.

Unleash Instant Gratification: If you really need the free amps this is nice I guess, like if you couldn't refocus or you have multiclass focus points that dropped your refocus ability. Though I'd rather wait for Unleashed Focused Intent requirements to be met than take Stupefied 1, the flat check chance of losing your spells is a big deal.

Unleash Poltergeist Phenomena: A blaster option that gives you a telekinetic zone hurting everyone around you including yourself. I doubt psychics have the HP to be damaging themselves, especially not every round for 3 rounds, and it makes it actively punishing for allies to get closer to you to give you any beneficial effect (like touch-range buffs or potions or whatever).

Multifaceted Psyche: As capstones go, this one doesn't impress me. Taking twice the drawbacks is a bit of a non-starter for me, plenty of them are severe enough on their own. Not many of the benefits seem especially worth double drawbacks unless I'm missing an incredible combination somewhere.

Overall thoughts: Like a lot of psychic, super cool and flavorful but a bit undertuned as a whole. A few seem fine, not many seem great. If psi cantrips get a lot stronger, maybe many of them are fine. I think it overcompensates for how much the basic benefit of 3 free psi amps really gives to the class.

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Unleash psyche is undoubtedly a very big aspect of the class, and i agree with your assessment, it's currently kinda awkward and unwieldy to enter into them.

I think that having them add damage to an Occult spellcaster is not the way to go, since the occult list is light on damage compared to others, and the fact psychics only have 2 spells per level is also a counterintuitive. Psychic should not be blasters, when a sorcerer will do that job so much better.

Psychic should be pushed in another direction, and the unleashed psyche should support that. When I think psychic i think mind affecting, yet none of these abilities help them there. One ability I'd like to see is perhaps a psyche that helps get around the incapacitation limit, which would also help give the psychic a stronger identity than worse sorcerer.

I think perhaps a different direction would be to add to the base unleash ability, rather than be forced to choose one per combat and that's it. I'd like to see the base ability change to a free action, and you can then spend an action, after meeting the requirements, to gain additional benefits and drawbacks from feats. Thematically, having a class with a lot of drawbacks is super interesting.

However, having drawbacks should necessarily improve the abilities you get. I'd like to see a system where the penalty you take conversely improves the opposite. So for example, taking a -2 penalty to AC you get a +2 to hit with spells. Since casters struggle with hitting, and since amps can't use Metamagic, i.e. the shadow signet ring which lets other casters target a save instead, i believe this wouldn't break game balance. Every caster in all my 2e games shy away from spell attack rolls because they fail more often than not, and don't have any effect on a failure.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / Dark Archive Playtest / Psychic Class / Looking at the Unleash options All Messageboards
Recent threads in Psychic Class