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I’ve been reading the forums and I’ve seen two complaints over and over
1) Not enough spell slots
2) poor man’s Bard, Sorcerer, Witch
I’m going to address both of these with a simple but dynamic change to the class. DUMP THE SPELL SLOTS. About 80% of the occult spell list doesn’t fit the theme of the psychic. The name says it al psychic not spell caster make it it’s own thing
My suggestion is use the wonderful frame work that is focus spells to their best. Expand the focus cantrips, we already know this will happen just add a few more. Give the psychic feats to get leveled Focus spells that fill in the gaps in casting. Finally give them a class feature at 6th level: the psychic get a additional focus point and their focus point maximum is increased to 4 give them the same bonus at 12 and 18 level that way in the end they will have a possibility of 6 focus points. But keep the focus recovery feats limited to 3 this will keep the psychic from just burning all their focus in the first combat round because they would be limited to three for the next round. Build the class feats around this new concept. This would give you a unique class that really feels like a psychic instead of just another Occult caster.
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Focus spells generally are limited to durations of around ten minutes, so Sorcerer would be better at charming someone- starting at seventh level, they can keep a lower level person charmed forever on a crit fail, if they keep sacrificing a slot. You couldn't just make an exception for Psychic, because of multiclassing.
And the thing is, Psychic should be able to charm people, to read minds, to lift heavy objects with their mind, to make it so nobody can notice them, to speak telepathically, to protect themselves with psychic/telekinetic force, and to force someone to obey their order. Most of what Psychics should be able to do are already spells. So you'd have a dozen focus spells of existing spells.
The reason I'm annoyed at Sorcerer having so many more slots isn't "Psychic feels like a knockoff Sorcerer", it's "Sorcerer does a better job of being a Psychic because of its slots, and the amps aren't making up the difference". If they doubled down on the focus caster thing, they would have some serious work cut out for them to make up for what spells are doing.
Yeah, getting a dedicated focus caster would be a cool class. It'd be more unique than getting another spellcaster. But I don't think Psychic is a good place for that. (At the same time, I also don't think Psychic is a good place for stuff like bonus damage on slotted occult spells.)
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I continue to be of the opinion that Paizo is taking this one carefully... and they're right to. The psychic concept works fine as a "you have slots, but not that many" caster. They just didn't give them enough beef in the focus spells to make it worth the trade, and the playtest will help them dial that in. We only get one playtest per class (due to limitations on both Paizo resources and playtester resources). The Psychic that results from tweaking the power up based on the playtest will be a better psychic than the one they'd get if they tried to throw it away and rebuild from the ground up now.
...and then they'll get lessons from that. So when they come along later and give us the playtest for our real slotless caster, it'll be better tuned... and then the class that results from that playtest will be better still.
Then, once they have that one up and running well, eventually we might see them circle back around and look at how a slotless class archetype for psychic might be made to work... and if they do, then I guarantee that the result will be a (significantly) better slotless psychic than the one you'd get now, if they tried to dash for it straight out of the gate.
Heck... some day we might see slotless archetypes for Magus, Summoner, Bard, Witch, and/or Druid. That's likely to be a while, though, and probably not all at once. (Wizard, Sorcerer, and Cleric get too much of their identity from their nature as slotted-spell casters for that to work.)
For my personal read on each of these (and remember that it's going to be a long time coming regardless)
- Summoner feels most likely/soonest. Thematically, you don't play a summoner for the spell slots. You just don't. Also, they're going to want a synthesist class archetype at some point in the not too distant future, and synthesist doesn't necessarily mesh all that well with spell slots. I just hope that they have a path to non-synthesist slotless summoners.
- Psychic/Bard/Witch feel like they're all about the same level of likelihood. Pychic as above. Witch because people already generally go into Witch for the focus spells, and because "lots of little magics" is actually pretty witchy, conceptually speaking. Bard because the class is thematically all about the composition spells already.
- Druid is the obvious pick if they decide that they do want to give us a "form spells martial" character to play with, but pretty low likelihood otherwise.
- Magus honestly feels least likely, if only because "spellstrike with an awesomely powerful spell" feels like it's such a core part of the Magus idea