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Improved Arcana: Psionics and the Mystic
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Improved Arcana: Psionics and the Mystic


While I liked the concept of the Mystic introduced in the Unearthed Arcana by the official Dungeons&Dragons crew, I see a lot of problems in its implementation. Right now, the official playtest is highly unbalanced class with a lot of rough edges in it. It doesn't also adjust well to the psionics history, and most disciplines don't even work properly.
Nevertheless, the class has potential I started this pdf as a small, balancing revision of the mystic class, but has grown a lot since.

What's new?

  • Soulblade moved to Fighter Archetypes, instead of a psychic order, and rebalanced. Now they can use their powers on a modified weapon, called the Kindred Weapon, instead of relying only on a single fight style, so they can be used as strength characters too.
  • Order of the Far Hand added. Telekinesis is now more an effect than in the UA.
  • Rogue's Archetype added: the Scourge, a psychic spy and assassin who gets Sneak Attack on psychic talents and doesn't leave tracks on telepathy.
  • Psychic Mastery reworked. It now provides more effect options to the masters, and make permanent the Psychic focus.
  • Psychic focus changes limited to 1 per short rest. Many focuses altered to fit better.
  • Psi point progression revised. They now depend on Psi Dice (akin to Hit Dice) and Intelligence, to be further linked to the mystic's inner powers.
  • Mystical recovery linked to the Order's disciplines and limited to 1 per short rest.
  • Mystic now doesn't have light armor proficiency. "First line" psions, like the Avatar and the Immortal have their own ways to compensate for this (medium armor proficiency and Unarmored Defense).
  • Psionics is now again independant fro magic. Most disciplines changed to consider the effects against it.
  • Psionics now linked to the mental state of the mystic for balancing purposes. A mystic cannot use psionics anymore if it is charmed, frightned, stunned or poisoned.
  • Psionic disciplines revised.
    • Toned down the damage to their equivalent level in the DMG's guidelines to spell power.
    • Highly magic dependant features, such as most Wu Jen Masteries, have been reworked. Weather Mastery partitioned as Sonogenesis (thunder) and Galvanogenesis (lighning)
    • Added Mastery effects, with Psi costs higher than 7, and linked only to their Order's disciplines. They have limited uses, as the old Psychic Mastery had, and Mastery Focus, which are permanent.
    • Most disciplines now have 3/4 "simple" effects, and a few more from Mastery.
    • Several new disciplines added, such as Psychokinesis and Living Knives.
    • Several "small bonuses" now linked to Proficiency bonus or Ability Modifiers.

... and many many more.

Revise and revew! Between all of us, we can make this class work. If you like it, and you want to compensate me, buy another of my products. As this is a revision, I don't want to benefit with it.

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Discussions (16)
Customer avatar
cory W November 19, 2019 6:05 pm UTC
I dig it! Seems well-balanced, and addresses my other complaints admirably.

I worked out a homebrew race that might be of interest. ;P

Yoda's race, Tridactyl, for DnD 5e fantasy settings.

Tridactyls share the following Species Traits:

Ability Score Increase: Tridactyls receive a +2 bonus to Wisdom and +1 to Intelligence, and -1 Strength.

Size: Small [average 2 feet]

Speed: Tridactyls have a base speed of 20 feet.

Agile: Contrasting their short statures, Tridactyls have a natural aptitude for controlled movement. A Tridactyl can choose to reroll any dexterity-based ability check or saving throw, and must use the new roll even if it is worse.

Focus: Tridactyls have advantage on Concentration checks

Psionic: Tridactyls gain one extra Psi Point every level, and learn one extra Psionic Talent any time a Psionic Talent can be learned (for example, when gaining a level in a psionic class).

Automatic...See more
Customer avatar
cory W November 19, 2019 10:56 pm UTC
revised: Psionic now reads: "Psionic: Tridactyls gain one extra Psi Point every level." The extra talent was abusable with feats that allow more cantrips, etc, and not altogether representative of the race in the films (they seem to have a small bit of extra reserves, but not *also* a superior range of skills).
Customer avatar
Esteban R December 19, 2019 8:39 pm UTC
Yes, the extra talent was a bit too much.
Customer avatar
Slox N April 02, 2019 5:47 pm UTC
On page 1 under “Magic and Psionics” you specifically state that Psionics are completely different from magic and therefore spells like dispell magic and counterspell have no effect on them. But, on page 11 you state under “using a discipline” that they are magical and function like spells. I am a little confused as to if Psionic power is magical or not.
Customer avatar
Dominic W April 03, 2019 8:06 am UTC
from UA Mystic: 'Psionics is a special form of magic use, distinct from spellcasting'.
from Improved Arcana, Psionics, pg 3: Psionics is a special form of power, distinct from spellcasting and magic althogether.
It's like magnetism and gravity, they seem to work the same way yet are distinct in their spheres of influence. No contradiction there.
Customer avatar
Slox N April 04, 2019 8:26 pm UTC
Ok thanks for clarifying.
Customer avatar
Dominic W March 30, 2019 10:56 am UTC
Wu Jen Discipline - Mastery of Ice
Slowdown: 'choose a point..' + 'the area is deprived'
Question: How large is the area deprived from heat? I assume it's more than 5 feet as you mention 'each creature'.
Thank you for a very good job on the psionic. I will use it as a Kalashtar in Eberron.
Customer avatar
Alvin H January 08, 2019 5:29 pm UTC
ok, so I'm already liking this version over the hack job of a few others, I'll b giving this a good read and playtest it a LOT hahaha cause every time I make a mystic to play they are overpowered or so underpowered they don't work.

Really looking forward to this. and will come to you with any questions I don't already see answered so excited =D
Customer avatar
Bob J December 10, 2018 2:29 am UTC
Does any talent or discipline ability other than thought bolt not reveal the psion to the attackers? Thought Bolt is the only one that specifies that, is that related to the fact that it has attack roll?
Customer avatar
Esteban R January 16, 2019 11:29 pm UTC
The same as most magical attacks, unless it is evident, it shouldn't be considered to reveal the psion. It is mostly A DM's adjudication, unless there is any specification
Customer avatar
Finde L November 14, 2018 7:35 pm UTC
This is really great! I've always found psionics interesting, and I'm glad I know have a way to use them in-game. 1/ Just for for clarification: Disciplines are kind of like tiered spells (and work sort of like when you cast a spell at higher level) and Talents are kind of like cantrips, correct?

2/ How does mastery work? Is it a single spell or do you have mastery in the all of the spells in your order

3/ How does the spell focus work? Is it like concentration or something?

Customer avatar
Esteban R December 06, 2018 8:30 pm UTC
1- Disciplines are not exactly like tiered spells. They are more like a "cluster" of different but related spells that you learn or "unlock" whenever you have enough mastery. Talents are exactly like cantrips.
2- You have mastery in an entire discipline; that unlocks further powers (mastery powers, akin to the Arcanum of the Warlock), and improves Psychic focus.
3- There are no spell focus, there are psychic focus. It is not related with concentration, it is a passive bonus you can change relatively easy, sort of like certain warlock's Invocations.
Customer avatar
Brandon D October 27, 2018 6:12 am UTC
So I used this in a one shot and the only major issue we ran into was the wording on some of the discipline abilities is a bit unclear. On one ssuch as Flying Knives (From living knives) and Unlimited Power! (From enhanced force) both are concetration and use an action to cast, but are onclear on how they fuction in rounds after the first. Does it cost an action ever turn, and does every effect proc on the enemy every turn? If so, the cost of these is quite low for 4d10 or 8d6 per turn for a minute.
Customer avatar
Esteban R December 06, 2018 8:50 pm UTC
Flying knives demand an action every round. 8d6 is 27 points of damage to a single target, and it is subject to a Saving Throw each time you attack it. It seems a lot of damage (27 damage each round for one minute is seemingly a lot), but it has a long list of detrimental conditions (you need enough weapons, armored creatures have advantage, and shielded creatures have cover, and it requires concentration).

Unlimited Power is indeed worded weirdly, I've just realized that. It is a nod to the Emperor of Star Wars. And yes, it requires an action every round.
Customer avatar
Bob J October 08, 2018 2:32 pm UTC
Is the AC calculation from Inertial Armor, Force Fields Discipline supposed to be 10 + dex mod + int mod or dex mod + int mod? Because the second is going to be less than normal base AC unless the mystic has super high Int and Dex.
Customer avatar
Esteban R October 13, 2018 5:03 pm UTC
The first, of course.
Customer avatar
Bob J October 15, 2018 11:35 pm UTC
Ok, the wording seems to indicate the later, so I was checking.
Customer avatar
Ryan R October 08, 2018 5:30 am UTC
I really like the content of this pdf, but there is no convenient book marks or a table of contents.
Customer avatar
Esteban R October 13, 2018 5:07 pm UTC
No, it isn't. I forget that, because it was a looooong document.
Customer avatar
Gost 8 August 01, 2018 10:53 am UTC
Hi i love what you did with a mystic. I have a question though about spending psi points on other order's disiplines. I asume that you can't spend more then 7 points on them but what does the last sentence means "Members of other order’s can’t spend Psi Points in your Order’s discipline."?
Customer avatar
Esteban R August 11, 2018 9:02 pm UTC
That means that you can spend more than 7 pp only in your order's discipline, but none of the others. Several disciplines have "at will" points, that make incremental effects when you expend more resources on them, besides the Mastery effects. Mastery effects can only be unlocked if the you have the Psychic Mastery and apply it to a power. The same applies here: you can only Master a given power if it is from your order.
Customer avatar
Eddy W July 15, 2018 7:15 pm UTC
First, thank you for your job. The mystic is more fun and balanced and it's a real pleasure to test these rules with my mates !

Then, I have some questions about the rules :
1/ Psionic Mastery :
At 11th level, I must choose a discipline and I gain the Mastery Focus and the Mastery effects of that discipline (with 1 use / short rest for the mastery effects with a given cost).
But what can I do at 13th level (= what is the meaning of the words "You gain new Masteries") ?
a) I only can choose the same discipline, which give me 2 uses / short rest for the mastery effects with a given cost of that discipline
or b) I can choose an other discipline which give me 1 use / short rest for the mastery effects of the 1st discipline and 1 use / short rest for the mastery effects of the 2nd discipline

2/ What is the Psychic Focus of the Nomad discipline "Eye of the Mystics" ?

3/ What is the radius of the "Baleful anchor" (Nomad...See more
Customer avatar
Esteban R July 17, 2018 3:20 pm UTC
Hello! Thanks for the reply. If you like, give me a Review and if you like to support my work, I hope you buy another of my products. Check on my name!

Now, to the actual reply:
1/[b]Mastery:[/b] I know I've not explained it well, as it is a relic of the first version. The actual answer isn't there: you gain another discipline, and another use. You can use the new Mastery to re use a used Mastery, a little like spell slots, and less like the warlock's Mystic Arcanum.

2/ I didn't realize that it hadn't. I added to the document.

3/ The same that the Dimensional Anchor.

4/ It isn't a line, exactly, as it twists and bends its direction. The new document has an image as example.

All in all, I've updated the document at your feedback. I've noticed a few more mistakes (like using Psychic and Psionic Mastery alternatively).
Customer avatar
Søren K July 14, 2018 8:03 am UTC
Maybe Unlimited Power! Should do 3 or 2 d10 because of Call lightning and Maximilian’s Earthen Grasp?

Sozin’s Coat is to cheap 10 psi point minimum
Customer avatar
JONATHON B April 21, 2018 12:50 pm UTC
So i have a question, just how many Psi points do you get?
it says
"You gain Psi Points each level equal to your Psi Dice plus your Intelligence modifier. The Psi Point Dice column indicates which dice you use, and stablish your Psi Points Maximum."

i'm not sure what that means, does that mean your psi point total increases each level by the dice +intelligence (which gives you a lot of psi points to play with btw) or is it just that dice + intelligence (which feels way too low)

also typo
Customer avatar
Esteban R June 30, 2018 10:06 pm UTC
Each level increases your max points in an ammount equal to the dice result plus your intelligence modifier. It is the same as the hit points advance. And it is listed the size of the dice.
Customer avatar
Anthony C March 20, 2018 4:52 pm UTC
I've been playing the UA Mystic for a few months now. I also have been using the old 2e module "Dawn of the Overmind" which is CRAZY heavy on psionics, and have also been reading entirely too much of the Illithiad. The 5e psionic rules -- as you note -- don't fully address all the coolness that is illithid psionics. You've got a picture of them, but don't address how they'd be re-envisioned within this psionic ruleset.

Would you say to just take the Mind Flayer Psion from Volo's being a 10th level caster and swap it out to be a 10th level mystic?
Customer avatar
Esteban R June 30, 2018 10:09 pm UTC
It could be. The main fact is that the psionics as per the Mystic UA are just another type of magic, and classic psionics aren't magic at all. They are another force entirely, based on different assumptions.

The document also assigns which are the limits of psionics (basically, you have to be clear of mind: charmed, frightened and stunned conditions prohibit psionics althogether, a thing that magic doesn't share.)
Customer avatar
Aaron W January 28, 2018 7:36 pm UTC
So on Page 36 in the Psionic Talents section, theres a typo with Thought Bolt

Psionic Talent
Range: 120 feet
Duration: instantaneous
As an action, you make a psionic attack against a
creature you can see. You make 1d8 psychic damage on a hit, and you don’t reveal yourself if you are hidden.
The talent’s damage increases by 1d8 a when you reach 5th level (2d6), 11th level (3d6), and 17th level (4d6).

You Probably meant 2d8, 3d8 and 4d8
Customer avatar
Esteban R June 30, 2018 10:10 pm UTC
Thanks, I'll revise it.
Customer avatar
Jeronimo E August 21, 2017 8:15 pm UTC
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