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Unearthed Arcana: The Mystic Class (5e)
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Unearthed Arcana: The Mystic Class (5e)

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Unearthed Arcana Update

Over the past few months, we’ve delivered a stream of new content via the Unearthed Arcana column. Some of that content will show up in future products. Other pieces, having been found lacking by the open playtest process, will drop from our development plans. A few things will follow a third path.

The subclasses we’ve created have fallen into two categories. Some have proven to have mechanics or story concepts that players have embraced. These subclasses have moved on to deeper design and editing passes and further playtesting. We’ll have news soon about where they might turn up next.

Other subclasses were not embraced. Some had mechanics that were dull or confusing. Others’ concepts were too niche, stepped on the toes of other classes, or just didn’t resonate. Our plan is to either redesign these subclasses from the ground up in a future design cycle or push them aside in favor of new concepts.

We have already rereleased a few subclasses for further comment. You’ll see a few more revised subclasses in the June installment of Unearthed Arcana.

We feel confident that the Unearthed Arcana process gives us the feedback needed to develop a subclass into something worthy of publication and official status. Complete new character classes are a different story.

We debuted two new classes via Unearthed Arcana, the mystic and the artificer. Both have received positive feedback, to the point that we are going to commit more time and energy to refining them for official publication. However, the process for completing a new class requires more resources than a subclass. Here is our plan for completing these classes.

Starting today, we are adding both the mystic and artificer to the DM’s Guild. They are both resources you can use to create your own material to share and sell on the Guild. We are also going to release additional surveys to delve deeper into the classes and identify headaches. Between watching the design work done on the DM’s Guild and monitoring feedback data, we’ll continue to revise these two classes.

Once the classes have robust sets of features and options that are hitting the approval levels we aim for, we will make those classes available for playtesting in the D&D Adventurers League. This step indicates that the new class is slated for official release as part of a D&D product. This step’s goal is to put the classes through the same rigorous testing and DM feedback that the core fifth edition classes received during their open playtests.

Once that step is complete, we’ll add these classes to a future D&D product. We can’t predict how long each step will take, so we don’t have dates to share. We remain committed to releasing material only when it is ready.

Thanks for taking part in the Unearthed Arcana playtests and helping us to make 5e the best game it can be. Your efforts have helped D&D reach heights of popularity and success it has not seen in decades. We’re committed to building on that success by including you in the game’s evolution. Thanks for coming along on this journey with us!

Unearthed Arcana: The Mystic Class

This version of the mystic character class was originally released as part of the Unearthed Arcana web series. This download is the latest version of the character class. The mystic is in playtest. It has been made available so that you can use it in your games and provide feedback on its design.

The mystic is the master of psionics, the power of the mind. This versatile character commands a wide variety of talents, such as a psychic blast to hammer enemies or the ability to teleport by twisting and bending space.

 
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Reviews (22)
Discussions (41)
Customer avatar
Spencer S September 30, 2017 7:34 pm UTC
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I haven't actually played as this class yet but I've read the whole document and made an npc or two with it, which has led me to believe that the Wu-Jen Order is overpowered, specifically the Arcane Dabbler feature. With an 18 in dexterity, which characters can feasibly start with, a level one Wu-Jen mystic can reach 21 AC (23 if they took a feat that lets them have a shield). The discipline Mastery of Wood and Earth grants +1 AC from its Psi Focus, Mastery of Force grants base 14 AC mage armor, and Bestial Transformation grants another +2 AC. At level 6, were I the nefarious type hell-bent on destroying all game balance forever, I would take Shield, Haste, and Counterspell as my three Wizard spells, granting me 25 AC (with a regular shield from the feat), plus an additional 5 AC from the Shield spell as a reaction if I ever need it. It costs 9 Psi (5 for the 3rd level slot for Haste, 2 for Bestial Transformation, and 2 for Inertial Armor) to "power up" to 25 AC, meaning it can be used three times per...See more
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Joel H September 30, 2017 9:37 pm UTC
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This may be a matter of taste, but I and my group haven't rolled for stats even once since we began using 5th edition. Point Buy is the way to go to ensure that all of the characters have an equal footing and scale appropriately with the difficulty of the challenges faced in the game. Using Point Buy, the highest stat a character could possibly begin with is 17 and they are sacrificing other scores to get there.

Dedicating so many resources to defense, I don't see how this theoretical mystic would be much of a threat in combat or provide much utility outside of it. You also seem to be describing situations in which the mystic is using 2 or more reactions in a round (Shield + All Around Sight). Also, "I'm hard to kill" isn't really a character concept and if a player came to me with this I would have a chat with them about what what I expect from the characters and players in my game.

That said, there has been a ton of discussion here, and I think some consensus, that the...See more
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Joel H September 30, 2017 9:41 pm UTC
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Also, I think Bestial Transformation is pretty busted in plethora of benefits it can grant without requiring concentration.
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Matthew C September 30, 2017 6:58 am UTC
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Grains of Salt: I got no sleep, this may be terse. At no point should anything I write be interpreted as "there should be less", rather I think it needs redistributed.

The Mystic should not be a "one size fits all" for Psionics. For nearly the same word count they could turn it into the 1 class and a bunch of Class X-Archetypes as they should be. "Psychic Warrior" = Psi based Eldritch Knight, Mantle using Ardent = Cleric Domain, Wu Jen = Sorc Origin or Wizard Tradition, Soul Knife = Psi based Arcane Trickster. Note: I don't counsel reskins, just counterparts with "half manifester" and psychic features.

They should pare down what "The Mystic" does. Go back to a particular cluster of archetypes like Seer (ESP), Jean Grey (TK/Force masters), and Professor X (Telepaths). Make them prioritize by Archetype and able to dabble in the other 2.

I don't mind the existing discipline formats, but they are way too all encompassing....See more
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Joel H September 07, 2017 8:38 pm UTC
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Has there been any clarification as to how movement powers such as Wind Step and Mighty Leap interact with the total movement made in a round? It seems to me there are several possible interpretations as to what happens when you use these powers.

Say you are a human with a speed of 30' and you spend 1 psi point on Wind Step, so you can...
A) Walk 30' and fly 20' for a total of 50' of movement.
B) Walk 10' and fly 20' for a total of 30' of movement.
C) Fly 20' for a total of 20' of movement.

Which of these represents the maximum amount of movement allowed when using such powers?
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Dakota H September 10, 2017 12:53 am UTC
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I think it's A because the powers don't say they are adjusting your speed, only that they are magically moving you 20 feet per psi point spent on the power (but in both cases you have to take intervening space into account since you don't teleport).
B would only be in effect if Wind Step granted you a Fly speed of 20' per psi point spent.
C would only work if the powers replaced your other movement types/speeds with what the power grants you.
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Joel H September 13, 2017 3:55 pm UTC
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That seems reasonable.
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yak M September 05, 2017 6:54 am UTC
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After 13 pages and 17 questions, I stopped for now. In its current state, I would never use this class or allow it in an adventure with any kind of player.

These rules feel very number-crunchy, and combat-oriented. They are too often too light on the RP side of things. I really liked the promise of the 2e Psionics Handbook - it at least kept an RP focus on things. A D&D class is not done, if it isn't fun strictly from the RP perspective. The proposed class isn't done.

1. Does the psi limit only affect activating disciplines? Are other uses of psi points also affected by the limit? E.g. can a 3rd level spend 7 of their available 14 psi points on Hone the Blade, to get a +4 bonus, even though they have a psi limit of 3?
2. How does Consumptive Power interact with the psi limit? Do hit points spent bypass the limit?
3. How does Consumptive Power interact with other limitations on psi points?
4. How does Consumptive Power interact with temporary hit points?
5....See more
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Joel H September 05, 2017 8:42 pm UTC
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I do agree that they leave it pretty vague as to exactly what a mystic *is* and what their role in the world may be except to say that they’re weirdos that do magic with their minds. However, I have mixed feelings about heavy RP elements being baked into classes. I am currently playing a Wu Jen in our games; he is a fire genasi from a wealthy family (noble background) and, along with at least one other member of his family, has an innate affinity for the manipulation of primordial elemental forces that is tied to his heritage. At least that is how I’m playing him; the fact that he’s “psychic” never really comes up and I don’t RP him as such. His background, race, and personality dictate how I role play him; his class has little to do with it with the exception of a curiosity for arcane spell casting (being a Wu Jen). I think if he were a wizard, warlock, fighter, or rogue I could probably RP him the same way with very minor tweaks. The class may inform some of his interests, but it doesn’t inform...See more
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Joel H September 05, 2017 9:14 pm UTC
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One final note on the RP side of things. I feel like a lot of discipline powers are lacking, or very light (like 1 sentence), on flavor text because they wanted to fit everything into as few pages as possible. The way you do that is you simply get straight to explaining what the power does, mechanically.

For example, Desiccate, in Mastery of Water, just says it deals necrotic damage. Now, my interpretation of that is that you are literally yanking the water right out of the target. It doesn't say that, but that's the only way I can imagine it. They could have included some flavor text to that effect, but if they did that for every power, it likely would have added another couple of pages to the overall length of the document.
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Armand A August 31, 2017 4:41 pm UTC
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Is this the place for PLAYTEST feedback on the class?
Anyway:
1. Numbers of Psi Points available is to big for the class to be balanced. On level 1 to 9 mystic can outsmite Paladin and outcast a Wizard.
2. Abilities like Blink available before 5th level. WTH?
3. Mastery of Force, Push should be Bludgeoning Damage not Force.
4. Please clarify Soulknife's Psionic Blades physical interactions. Currently it is not clear wheter they act as material weapons or only harm beings capable of taking psychic damage. What happens when you hit the wall with them?
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Joel H August 31, 2017 8:30 pm UTC
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1. The psi points gained are in line with a variant rule for spell casting presented in the DMG. Under the variant rule, a 5th level wizard would have an equal number of spell points as a 5th level mystic would have psi points. They simply borrowed that progression to come up with psi point progression. For example. When a wizard levels from 4th to 5th level, she gains 2 5th level spell slots. A 5th level spell slot is worth 5 spell points so with the variant rule, they would gain 10 spell points instead of 2 5th level slots. A mystic that levels from 4th to 5th level goes from having 17 psi points to 27 psi points; she gains 10. Just like the wizard. It's the exact same progression, just expressed as points instead of spell slots. You can look at the Wu Jen's Arcane Dabbler feature to see what the conversion rate of points to spell slots looks like.

Paladin smite doesn't miss. Every mystic power that adds damage on a melee or ranged attack can potentially whiff and be wasted. I'm not really...See more
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Michael H August 06, 2017 9:09 pm UTC
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Is anyone else bothered by the fact that there are six archetypes, but only five get powers to use? The Soul Knife at 20th level has 71 psp's to use for one ability that lasts for 10 minutes at a time. They get no disciplines, that makes no sense at all. It is a wasted resource, you might as well make psp's and discipline progression specific to each Order. Ive just started really looking at this class (spent most of my time looking into the Artificer, and that has it's own problems) and that is just one of many problems. I think that scrapping three of the six Orders and really tightening down those would be better. After those work, then expand it to another three...but not the wu-je why are they psionic?
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Tanya A August 08, 2017 2:30 am UTC
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What do you mean? The Soul Knife only has 2 less disciplines than the other archetypes. They have plenty of things to spend their PP on.
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Joel H August 08, 2017 3:56 am UTC
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Like Tanya said, the Soul Knife gets the same discipline progression as every other archetype; they just miss out on the 2 bonus disciplines at 1st level. Soul Knives choose 1 discipline at level 1 (other archetypes choose 3; at least 2 of which must be from their Order) and will have 8 disciplines by level 18 (others will have 10).

I think all of the orders have their own flair and their core concepts are encapsulated in their disciplines. Of all of them, I think Order of the Nomad is the only one that I'm pretty "meh" about. And although Wu-Jen have traditionally been arcane casters, I think they saw the class mechanics they were constructing for the mystic and thought it would be a good fit for the Wu-Jen as an element manipulator and blaster, which fits them quite well. I'm currently playing a Wu-Jen mystic in a game and I don't really play him as a psion so much as a character with an innate affinity and ability to manipulate raw elemental forces.
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Michael H August 27, 2017 7:56 pm UTC
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Okay, I see what I missed. I was under the impression of when you chose an Order, you only selected from that orders powers. I see that I was wrong. Still, a few Soul Knife specific powers would be nice.
And I still don't like the Wu Jen as an Order.
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Joel H September 01, 2017 4:56 pm UTC
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I wouldn't mind the Wu Jen being broken off into it's own class (using spell points instead of psipoints) and dropping some of the obviously-psychic features like Telepathy in exchange for more arcane elemental features, but still keeping the point-based resource pool and discipline structure of the mystic. I don't play my Wu Jen like a psychic, I woudln't mind if he wasn't one.

I completley agree that some order of the soul knife disciplines would be nice. I think there is an action-economy issue with soul knives in that many of the powers that fit teh melee-mystic playstyle require bonus actions, which Soul Knives need more than most. Some Soul Knife disciplines that allow them to do cool melee things without eating up their bonus actions would be very nice.
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Amy W July 28, 2017 9:10 pm UTC
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I dislike the Psychic Assault Awakened Discipline's Psionic Blast Feature. You literally just do damage, no attack roll, no save, they just take it, and it does 1d8 per psi point spent. That can do a lot of damage scaled up, at 9th level you could do 7d8 which is unfair for something that can't fail. Not many monsters resist psychic, so you're getting free damage with little to no mitigation.
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West B July 30, 2017 10:51 pm UTC
It's basically a slightly better magic missile
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Joel H July 31, 2017 5:56 pm UTC
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We can use the Wu Jen arcane dabbler feature as a guideline for comparing psi points to spell slots. Magic missile is superior at lower levels (cast as a 1st or 2nd level spell) but is overtaken in damage by psychic assault at 3rd level (5 psi points) and beyond. It also has the benefit of potentially targeting multiple enemies. That said, I think MM is rarely going to be the best option for the use of a 3rd or higher level spell slot. You're going to have access to many effects that hit multiple targets and/or deal similar or better damage, even if the target makes their save. MM just scales terribly.
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Joel H July 10, 2017 4:57 pm UTC
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I finally had the opportunity to play my elemental bending Mystic (Wu Jen with Mastery of Fire, Air, and Weather to begin with) in a couple of sessions and I've run into an issue with the Whirlwind power from Mastery of Weather. It think, as written, it is possibly the most effective offensive power available for 2 psi points. The power creates a 20' radius area that deals 1d6 bludgeoning to those who fail a strength saving throw and, more importantly, allows you to move those who fail to unoccupied space within the sphere. It occurred to me at some point before our first session that spheres are 3 dimensional and, as written, this power seems to allow you to hurl people into the air. Depending on the area on the ground that you want to affect, you could throw people 20-35' into the air (depending on the height of the point of origin), meaning that a failed save results in 3d6-4d6 damage and the prone condition. Additionally, heavy objects such as tables or stones could be positioned above opponents so that...See more
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Alister L July 10, 2017 10:06 pm UTC
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No. A "space" just means a square or a hex on the board or, alternatively, a 5x5 area in your imagination. The flaw in your reasoning is that, while spheres are indeed 3 dimensional, spaces are not. As per rules, spaces are just an area on a 2D plane so any ability that moves creatures to a new space only moves them horizontally. In a nutshell, spaces have no bearing on vertical positioning and thus Whirlwind cannot change the height of creatures or objects. A creature on the ground stays on the ground, a creature hovering at 20 ft will stay hovering at 20 ft.
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Joel H July 12, 2017 4:44 am UTC
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My DM and I discussed it and we both agreed that, as written, the spell seems to allow for vertical movement. However, we decided to only allow for "horizontal" repositioning, i.e. you can't lift enemies or objects off of the ground.

Alister, as far as the rules are concerned, a space is simply the area a creature occupies or, in this case, could potentially occupy.
"spaces are just an area on a 2D plane" - True, the PHB only discusses "space" as being a 2 dimensional area controlled by a creature.
"so any ability that moves creatures to a new space only moves them horizontally" - That isn't stated anywhere in the PHB or in Sage Advice or any other official material, as far as I can tell.

I tried looking for Sage Advice regarding using Misty Step to teleport vertically, because Misty Step uses the "unoccupied space" wording, but came up empty handed. Then I remembered the Monk's Shadow Step power and there is a question and...See more
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Alister L July 12, 2017 1:15 pm UTC
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I just checked out that SA and you're totally right, my bad. I'd just assumed that offensive abilities doing that would be too strong otherwise. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
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Joel H July 24, 2017 4:07 pm UTC
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I posed the question on twitter to Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford. Mike Mearls responded that he didn't believe the intention of the power is to allow for throwing people up into the air, so the way that my DM and I agreed to use the power seems to be what was intended.
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Thomas M August 02, 2017 7:01 pm UTC
The Wu Jen I am DM'ing for included himself in the sphere, took the damage and used it to move himself to the roof of building while moving his attackers to the ground. It was very, very effective and cool.
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Joel H August 08, 2017 4:00 am UTC
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@Thomas M, I've recognized that same potential in the power though I haven't had the opportunity to use it yet. In our game we were exploring a goblin cave/abandoned mine and the party members were crossing a rather old and treacherous rope bridge. I readied an action to use whirlwind should any of them fall to "catch" them and deposit them on the edge of the ravine. It turned out not to be needed, but I think the power is an incredible tool to have in my belt.
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June 30, 2017 12:17 pm UTC
I have a question concerning the class that I hope someone can help with.
The Nomadic Mind discipline has the ability to locate creature even on different planes of existance. My question is, if the creature that the mystic is searching for is dead would the mystic sense the body of the creature with this ability or the soul of the creature?
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Joel H June 30, 2017 7:22 pm UTC
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I think that'd be up to the discretion of the DM. As a DM, I'd go with whatever is the most interesting for the narrative. I think it'd be very interesting if the party is tracking down the Big Bad only to discover he's already been turned into a corpse by someone worse.

My main concern with this particular power is that it doesn't specify anything about how familiar you need to be with the target. Is a name enough? Do you have to have seen them before? Could it be as simple as "I want to locate the creature that killed this person?" This is potentially game and narrative breaking for such a low-cost power.
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Alister L July 02, 2017 3:52 pm UTC
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The way my group has been playing is simply that
1. You have to know who you are tracking (ie. "I want to find Valonar of Thay" and not "I want to find the wizard with red robes and markings on his head")
2. You are allowed to track it's soul. This means that if it has died it will almost always be in a different plane unless the soul is trapped in something like a Ring of Mind Shielding or a Night Hag's bag (We started playing this way during a quest where we had to intercept a Night Hag before she reached Hades with the soul)
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Joel H June 27, 2017 4:59 pm UTC
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Some order-specific comments and suggestions, some of which have been mentioned by others:

Order of the Avatar:
Avatar of healing, while powerful, is only usable when with the use of a psionic discipline that belongs to another order. Either some healing abilities need to be rolled into one or, preferably, several Avatar orders or psionic restoration should be an Avatar order.

Order of the Immortal:
Psionic Resilience is rather silly at lower levels, as the psion will be getting 3 or 4 temporary hp per round very early in the game. Some degree of scaling independent of intelligence score might be preferable, such that it starts at 2 and scales to 5 or 6 by level 20.

Order of the Nomad:
Superior Teleportation adding just 10' of extra teleport distance is pretty lackluster at level 6, especially when you look at what teleportation abilities are available. This should be replaced with something else.

Order of the Soul Knife:
Martial weapon...See more
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Daniel C August 21, 2017 1:20 am UTC
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the reason they gave soul knife martial weapon is because your soul knifes are martial weapons....now i realize that doesn't change your statement about its usefulness but if your looking for a why that's the why.
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Joel H August 22, 2017 2:42 am UTC
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Ah snap. You're absolutely right.
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Dakota H September 10, 2017 12:00 am UTC
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Re: Order of Avatar. The healing bonus applies to any character in the radius that receives healing from a discipline, not only when the Avatar herself activates a healing discipline. So in a group with more than one Mystic, if multiple people have Psionic Restoration they all benefit from the single Avatar's Int bonus when healing (if multiple Avatars are in a group, only the highest bonus would apply as per the effect stacking rule).
Rr: Order of the Immortal- the Immortal is supposed to be hard to kill, that's literally what the description of the order says, so having a refreshing temporary hit point pool every round fits with the concept. Considering there's a feat that lets a character wearing heavy armor ignore 3 points of damage from every non-magic weapon attack (and a human can have that feat at first level) having a buffer of up to 5 hit points (barring magical increases) isn't game-breaking in the slightest.
Re: Order of the Nomad- Actually, I think that could be quite useful when combined...See more
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Joel H September 12, 2017 10:02 pm UTC
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RE: Avatar: That may be true, but (A) it seems unlikely that they released class playtest material intentionally balanced around having multiple members of the class in a single party and (B) that doesn't change the issue that Avatar has buffs to healing while having no healing disciplines.

RE: Immortal: I was in no way suggesting that Immortals shouldn't be tough. I actually really like psionic resilience. I'm just suggesting that it scale up at a slower pace so it doesn't max out at such low levels. I think the progression of proficiency bonus is a good model for what I think would fit. However, 5e favors simplicity over complexity and I can't think of any other class class ability that scales with proficiency bonus, so I don't expect it to change from the current form of the ability.

RE: Soul Knife: I really do think action economy is a problem. For me, it really just boils down to the fact that Soil Knives have more useful things to do with their bonus actions (which are already...See more
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Kevin R June 27, 2017 6:06 am UTC
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Excellent, I am so excited to playtest this. I can already tell that the Immortal needs work, it lacks the weapon/armor profs it needs and is much too MAD. The Soul Knife is like a psychic wolverine, I hope they end up allowing players to change the appearance of it.

After some playtesting at a homebrew, some of the powers are OP. Overall though, excellent.
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George L June 25, 2017 10:25 pm UTC
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So I've had more time to play the Mystic and I really enjoy these Psionic classes. There are some more balance issues that I think they need to work on however. I recommend checking out the Psionic Handbook, which adds a number of these balances including the following:

1) Mystic Recovery is now based on Mystic Orders. Thus making those Disciplines more valuable and giving players a reason to use them more often.
2) They moved some of the Disciplines into the Order of the Soul Knife, so they too can heal via Mystic Recovery.
3) The Soul Knife ability now functions similarly to the Warlock's Pact of the Blade, allowing the Soul Knife to take different forms (for flavor), but the damage remains at 1d8 no matter the form. It also allows players to merge magic items into their Soul Blades, so players have a reason to continue using them at higher levels when they would be otherwise be better off using found magic weapons.
4) They dropped the level 14 ability Phantom Attack, which completely...See more
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Joel H June 23, 2017 10:25 pm UTC
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I'm posting this here because DMs Guild seems to now be the official way to give feedback on the Mystic to WotC.

I feel compelled to chime into the discussion for the mere fact that there seems to be so much hate for the Wu Jen and the elemental disciplines (particularly Mastery of Fire). The Wu Jen has always been an elemental caster type and I love that they saw this iteration of the Mystic/Psion as a set of mechanics to realize that concept. I don't want to see this order or the elemental disciplines removed; I think they're fine. If you don't want to play a psion with elemental powers, don't pick them. Nobody is twisting your arm to make use of class options that don't fit your character concept. I have no intention of ever playing an Arcane Trickster, but I'm not going out of my way to lobby that WotC remove that option.

For me, the Order of the Wu Jen and the elemental disciplines are going to allow me to realize a character concept I've been eager to attempt ever since I first...See more
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Mike F June 20, 2017 11:34 pm UTC
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Updates are so supposed to be on here. How will we know when it's been updated?
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Julian L August 26, 2017 12:09 pm UTC
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you have to go to your library and filter it to only updated files
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Vinicius H June 18, 2017 4:00 pm UTC
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Does this class is suposed to let you spend psi points even if you miss the attack? (that seemed a little diferent from the other class mechanics)
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Joel H June 25, 2017 11:24 pm UTC
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Psionic abilities that require an attack roll, like the bestial claws or the acid touch attack, would expend your psi points whether the attack hits or not.
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Vinicius H June 18, 2017 3:58 pm UTC
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What is the action needed to activate bestial claw, from the bestial form discipline?
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Alister L June 18, 2017 6:53 pm UTC
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The activation of the claws is included in the attack you have to make. Bestial claw is basically just taking an attack action against a creature but the damage of that attack is what you spend the psi points on. The claws only last for that attack so if you take an opportunity attack or something similar you do the damage from the claws.

In short, the whole thing is a single action in which you simultaneously manifest claws and attack.
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This title was added to our catalog on May 31, 2017.