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Thread: Unearthed Arcana: The Mystic

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Dallas, TX


    Quote Originally Posted by Weldon Chen View Post
    That's an interesting take. Do you think Mike Mearls intentionally or unintentionally doing this because of a misogynistic view of women? Do you think it could be due to not having read such fiction by those authors?
    Quote Originally Posted by Cam Banks View Post
    I don't think any of it is intentional or personal. I think it's systemic - it's built into the culture, often invisible to those engaged in it. I think D&D comes loaded with a bunch of tropes and baggage that's hard to untangle from the rest of it. Mike is a great guy and the 5e team made an effort to make 5e feel accessible to anyone, but it's still present regardless.

    Plenty of members from the 5E team say the only thing in Dragonlance is the War of the Lance, which leads me to believe they haven't read much Dragonlance, or other fantasy for that matter. I agree with Cam in saying it's systemic and more than a bit narrow-minded.
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  2. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Castle Eastwatch


    I think WotC is trying to make use of D&D's long history with psionics (all the way back to the white box era!). Psionics are being re-built from the ground up, and in a way that works a bit better with the fantasy feel of D&D. For too long, one of the big criticisms of D&D psionics has been the pseudo-science feel of them. Personally, I hope the pseudo-science comes back if WotC ever does a modern or futuristic game. But we'll see.

    So here's kind of a breakdown of the orders, what psionic discipline they represent, and where they came from.

    Order of the Avatar (no prior psionic discipline)- The ardent. The biggest criticism of this class in 4e was the name, which wasn't really a noun. While "avatar" sounds cool, I don't think it really fits so much. Also, since the Realms is the main D&D setting, there are some issues as the term "avatar" holds a special meaning there.

    Order of the Awakened (telepathy) - The psion (psionicist in 2e). You're basically Charles Xavier.

    Order of the Immortal (psychometabolism) - The psychic warrior. Maybe a bit of the battlemind from 4e. And who doesn't like playing a shardmind battlemind?

    Order of the Nomad (Psychoportation) - A subclass of the psion. He teleports around a lot.

    Order of the Soulknife (no prior psionic discipline) - The soulknife. Some folks equate this to the Jedi.

    Order of the Wu Jen (Psychokinesis) - The wu jen. In prior editions, the wu jen was an arcane caster in the Oriental Adventures books (1e and 3e). It had taboos (now mystic quirks), and focused on elemental magic based on the Chinese elements (earth, fire, metal, water, and wood). The wu jen mystic subclass misses metal, combines earth and wood into one, and adds air, force, ice, light and darkness, and weather. Sound a bit like the Realms of Sorcery? While I thought this would be a wizard subclass, I do like the idea that it gets a few arcane spells, at least as a nod back to its origins.

    The only psionic disciplines not covered metacreativity (in 3.5, creating something out of nothing) and metapsionics (in 2e, the psionic version of metamagic). Clairsentience has been folded into the Awakened as the precognition discipline.

    Anyway, I wanted to pass on some of the origins of the various parts of the 5e mystic. I can see now how they've held true to a lot of psionics, while still trying to make it sound more fantasy-like.
    Trampas Whiteman

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  3. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2004


    Quote Originally Posted by Weldon Chen View Post
    That's an interesting take. Do you think Mike Mearls intentionally or unintentionally doing this because of a misogynistic view of women? Do you think it could be due to not having read such fiction by those authors?
    I think it's more likely that 5E is very much about the "D&D tradition", and the books Cam mentioned aren't D&D books or part of the stuff that influenced Gygax when he wrote OD&D and AD&D, many of them being later than that, for one reason.
    Last edited by Matthew L. Martin; 03-15-2017 at 06:55 PM.
    Matthew L. Martin, Chronicler of the Martinian Canon, the Anti-Canon, Desolate Krynn and numerous other 'wrong' versions of Krynn.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2004


    In the end D&D is a business, and while the theosophic and pseudo-science feel of the psionic classes have always been cool, a book based on psionics generally didn't sell well. Most D&D rules designers love psionics, which is why it gets updated every cycle, but it generally doesn't get widespread adoption by the average D&D player and is often banned from traditional D&D settings (such as Dragonlance, and the Forgotten Realms) because it doesn't really fit with high fantasy. By recasting the traditional psionic casters as monastic orders (sort of spellcasting monks), they fit slightly better. Psionics with their wierd cystals, and ectoplasm, and far realm wierdness would be hard to incorporate into Dragonlance, and if we are honest with ourselves, we've never really worried about incorporating it. It was only when the monk became a psionic class in 4e did we even give much thought to the possibility that psionics could be a substitute for mysticism at all.

    However, you can write all the weird flavour text back in without changing the class at all. You just have to support it on the world-building side of things, rather than having it baked right into the rules. For example, if I wanted to do a campaign with Yak men, alienists, astral projection, magic crystals, etc. etc. I can still use these classes as is, even though the flavour text is more friendly to the narrow high fantasy assumptions of most D&D worlds.

    I think the 5e mystic is an excellent replacement for the 5th Age mystic because it covers most of powers that the alteration channeling, meditation, mentalism and sensitivity spheres. I'm not all that keen on the healing powers, because I've always felt mystic healing undercuts Chronicles, but with the recast of mystics as monastic orders, you can simply have the monks and mystics of the pre-cataclysm era be largely religious (Majere/Zivilyn/Gilean) and withdraw with the clerics. With the Age of Mortals, you can have secular or even atheistic mystic orders, with emphasis on inner growth and enlightenment. For necromancy and spiritualism, I am content with the explanation written Dragons of a Lost Star, that it was the dark art of necromancy and it was only accepted as mysticism due to the lies of Takhisis.

    Finally, I think this class works well to represent "House Mystic" of Silvanesti. Dragons of Winter Night described some weird telepathy magic wielded by Alhana Starbreeze (why does she have the name Starbreeze anyway?) but never really carried it further. Perhaps house Mystic would be a good place to put the Wu Jen.

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