Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition Pre-Generated Player Characters

by Ex_Libris85   Twitch   Twitter 

 

Here are some pre-gen player character sheets for Warhammer 4e so you can jump right into an adventure. All of these PCs were created by the rules stated in the book with some of them rolling random for race/class and some of them choosing their careers and races, which gave them variable amounts of XP to spend on advances. They are all legitimate by-the-book starting PCs.

 

 

Click the pictures to be taken to a link where you can download each characters sheet. The sheets used is the same one created by me on this link:

https://www.encounterroleplay.com/warhammer-fantasy-roleplay-4th-edition-fillable-pdf-character-sheet/

 

Human Artist

 

Dwarf Engineer

 

Human Flagellant

 

Human Rat Catcher

 

High Elf Seaman

 

Human Warrior Priest

 

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition Fillable PDF Character sheet version 2

by Ex_Libris85   Twitch   Twitter 

 

I have created a fillable pdf character sheet for Warhammer 4th edition. I have also added a third page for nothing but notes as I find you can quickly run out of space for skills, talents, trappings, corruption and mutations and whatnot. I hope you enjoy using it!

 

Version 2 now live with clickable buttons that keep track of your advantage and auto fill skill blocks from your current characteristics blocks.

Please click the image below to be taken to the sheet. You can download it from there.

 

 

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition PDF Character Sheet

Warhammer Fantasy RPG 4th Edition is everything I ever wanted

by Ex_Libris85   Twitch   Twitter 

 

The wait is over and Cubicle 7 has delivered. Through some kind of sorcery they have managed to bring Warhammer into the modern age and maintain the tone and feel of the old games.

 

Percentile Rolls

Back are the popular percentile system using D100s. In order to pass a simple skill test you have to roll equal to or below your skill level. So if you are using your Agility score of 45 to jump over an obstacle you must roll a 45 or below on a D100.

Success Levels (SL)

Previous called “degrees of success” in 2nd edition, this value has become of prime importance in calculating several important actions, such as attacks and damage. It measures the full amount of “10s” that you succeed or fail by on the dice to measure the effectiveness of your test. If your skill is 49 and you roll a 21, you have a SL of 2. If you roll again on that same skill and you roll a 95 you have a -4SL since that is a hard fail.

Combat

Gone is the “whiff” factor of 2e, where low skill players facing low skill enemies miss each other several rounds in a row. Now each attack in combat is an opposed roll between the participants. If an attacker rolls on Weapon Skill and gets a success of 2SL and you compare that to the defender who succeeds as well on a 3SL then the defender has won the round and takes no damage. This type of opposed roll comparing SLs also means that even if both parties miss, damage can still be dealt and there can be a winner of each round. While some people might have a problem with the logic of this, I am fine with it for two reasons: keeping the flow of the game swift and for the cinematic aspect of picturing the players in desperate sword fight where every move of the blade matters.

Careers

Careers make a comeback, expanding upon the much loved careers of 2e. Now instead of gaining advances on your stats through XP and moving onto an advanced career, each career has four levels and you can stay or advance as you wish. It also is a lot easier to completely change careers. Unhappy with your rat catcher and want to become a knight? You certainly can, with the GM’s permission of course. I personally would allow such a drastic advance as long as there is a good roleplaying reason for it.

Spells

Spell casting has been simplified, where instead of rolling D10s and seeing if you beat the power level of the spell’s description you now measure your Success Level on your Comprehend Languages (Magick) skill. If you know you can’t cast your spell like this you can make a Channeling Test to gather the winds of magic each turn and when your SLs match the casting number (CN) of the spell it then goes off.

Lore

The Old World of Warhammer makes its return, taking place before the “End Times” story arch and the disappointing Age of Sigmar. The rulebook focuses the attention on the social and political atmosphere of the Reikland, the capital province of the human kingdom of The Empire. This makes sense as both a limit of scope in describing the world of Warhammer to new players and as a diverse sandbox to immense players in as it provides cities, sewers, swamps, forests, rivers, mountains, farmlands, villages, and more in an area easily managed by a GM.

I imagine later they will expand upon this in future supplements but it is a good size toolbox to pull from.

 

Conclusion

Cubicle 7 have done a wonderful job with Warhammer 4e and any fan of Warhammer will be pleased. Jim Davis from WebDM sums up the new edition perfectly:

“I think it’s a worthy successor to the WFRP tradition and clearly draws inspiration from prior editions while improving upon those aspects of the game that were notorious problem areas. Everything I’ve read so far makes me want to play this game and see how it does in delivering that classic WFRP experience.” – Jim Davis

 

 

As an added bonus I have created a form fillable pdf character sheet for online use. Its a far cry from a Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds sheet with roll macros in it, but it will allow for shareable electronic character sheets.

 

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition pdf character sheet

 

 

 

Why you should be excited for Warhammer Fantasy RPG 4th edition

by Ex_Libris85   Twitch   Twitter 

 

Cubicle 7’s release of the next installment of the popular Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying Game is imminent and we over here at Encounter Roleplay couldn’t be more excited. Warhammer’s grim and dark fantasy world of survival and corruption holds a special place in our hearts.

Here is why we are excited:

 

They are keeping a lot of the things that make the game great

The D100 percentile system returns as well as the recognizable Warhammer stat block. This is a very well rounded and well-thought-out block that served the previous editions well for decades.

Careers are also making a comeback as they are one of the most unique things about Warhammer RPG. They help immerse the player in the world and allow for more nuanced character choices.

She is lucky her GM lets her pick instead of roll

 

They are making smart changes to the stat block

Something new is the addition of a “dexterity” stat. This is to stand out from “agility” which is general acrobatics and ability to move and dodge quickly, while dexterity is more about meticulous and delicate work with the hands, like lock picking or jewelry crafting.

This is an agility check and not dexterity

 

Combat is more interactive

Combat in previous editions of Warhammer was brutal and very tactical, but suffered from several problems, the biggest of which was both players and enemies missing round after round.

To alleviate this Cubicle 7 has created the “advantage” system, which lets the combatant gain bonuses to their rolls, and by making a single attack action opposing rolls between both combatants. In a round of combat attacker and defender both roll against weapon skill and measure success. If attacker wins he does damage and gains advantage, if defender wins no damage is done and he gains advantage.

Artist’s depiction of 2nd edition combat encounter

 

 

GMs have more freedom on resolving player actions and rolls

The designers have created 3 separate ways to help keep the pace of the game up while allowing for complexity of action.

  • Simple pass/fail

Sometimes the best way to resolve an action with a possibility of failure is to just roll and see if you make it or not.

That’s a fail

  • Degrees of failure/success

Things such as climbing a rope on a tower, if you fail do you fall? Or rather how far do you fall? If you succeed do you simply make it to the top or do you make it up so quick you can gain a surprise attack on the wizard at the top?

When you make a low roll on a D100

  • GM Fiat

Need to make a 4 ft jump? Do you have both legs? Okay you pass, no need to get dice involved here.

mom get the camera

 

 

 

I think Cubicle 7 have nailed the sweet spot of keeping the spirit of the popular older editions while making important updates to the ruleset that make things a bit smoother to play.

I am incredibly excited for my character to be burned at the stake for religious heresy and thank you to Cubicle 7 for bringing the game I love into the modern age.

Call of Cthulhu Keeper Screen Pack

Art by David Ardila, Copyright Chaosium inc
by Ex_Libris85   Twitch   Twitter 

 

Call of Cthulhu Keeper Screen

 

While DnD may be the current front man of tabletop RPGs, Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu enjoys a large popularity among players, especially here at Encounter Roleplay. The creepy atmosphere combined with Lovecraftian horrors offers a unique experience not found in many games. The amount of supplementary materials may not be as extensive as the DnD library but there are a few quality products available including the nice Keeper Screen.

As far as most TTRPGs go the DM screen has never really been a required accessory. It is nice to have and usually has some helpful information for the person running the game on the back and of course keeps your player’s eyes off of your sneaky rolls, but you can run the game without it. Chaosium knows this and in order to entice customers to purchase their screen they package with several useful items including maps and 2 short adventures (probably one-shots based upon their page length).

The maps are full color and measure 17×22 inches and folded into quarters. They include a city map of Arkham, MA, “Lovecraft country” Massachusetts in 1922, and a world map that lists mysterious and mythos sites around the globe. These maps are nice and impressive, I particularly like the Arkham map as it appears it was made with water colors and is very pleasing. There are a few color handouts for the 2 adventures but one appears to be sized up from a smaller image and looks blurry, which is unfortunate.

There is also a 22 page booklet which includes summary tables taken from the Keeper’s Rulebook. Things like firearm and poison damage tables, mythos tomes, and manias are included here and more. It’s nice to have and keeps you from having to thumb through the book to find out the damage for a shotgun for example.

The screen itself is made from a nice hard cardboard and has a very beautiful and atmospheric painting on the back, credited to “Ardila”. Inside it includes the typical summaries of combat rules, rolls for extreme difficulty, sanity checks and everything else you need for a quick reference to keep the game running smoothly.

The absolute best part of this screen pack are the two adventures titled “Missed Dues” and “Blackwater Creek”. They are fully detailed with prologues, npc details, creature summaries, maps, adventure hooks, player character sheets and everything else you need to run a CoC game. I won’t spoil too much from these adventures but they both take place in classic 1920s Lovecraft era, but at least one of them can be easily converted to a modern time period without too much fuss. It involves a missing colleague from your university who went off to the sticks to conduct an archaeological dig, but after a few letters, each more distressing than the last, you receive no more replies and must go out and discover his fate. Both of these tales are exciting and well thought out. They would be a blast to play, and are short and simple enough for a new keeper to run without difficulty.

While most keeper screens could either come or go I really recommend this pack for the extra goodies it provides. The maps, reference material, character sheets, handouts, and especially the 2 adventures make this screen stand out from all the others.

 

Unearthed Arcana “Into the Wild”

By John Squyers Twitch   Twitter

Review of Unearthed Arcana article “Into the Wild” accessed here:

https://media.wizards.com/2018/dnd/downloads/UA_IntoTheWild.pdf

 

“Into the Wild” provides DMs with a short, handy guide at spicing up wilderness travel and expands upon the rules already present in the DMG and PH. The rules require the players to have a destination in mind, whether it be specific (the floating wizard’s tower) or general (the valley in between the two mountains) and then the players making a roll on a DC set by the DM.

The “navigation DC” as the article puts it is determined by how obvious the destination is and whether steps have been taken to try and conceal its location from the players. It ranges from 10 – lacks path but in open terrain, to 30 – hidden using powerful magic. The article doesn’t mention if there is a specific skill that needs to be rolled against this DC, so I am assuming they mean a Wisdom (Survival) check as mentioned in chapter 8 of the PH. The players conduct activities as normal while travelling and if the check is successful then the party has either reached their destination or moved in the right direction towards it. If they failed then they have become lost and must roll a D6 on a table to determine how far away from their intended target they have ended up. The article also recommends a random encounter while travelling and perhaps rolling twice if the players become lost. I suggest some curation here with encounters, 2 random ones in a row might be a bit much for your party so perhaps roll twice and then choose the most appropriate one for your players.

The next part of the article concerns flavoring your wilderness location and encourages mapping and highlighting specific features. It mentions using the mapping rules in the DMG with the exception to try and map out a day or two of travel to try and give each area the feeling of being unique and special. Contentious planning can really make an area come alive and using tools in various DnD books like the regional effects from the MM as foreshadowing for an upcoming monster can certainly help. The article also gives some skill checks you can have your players roll to help liven up the travelling like using Athletics to navigate difficult terrain and broken ground or Nature to determine what kind of creatures live in an area based upon natural clues. It is important as a DM to give your world a pulse and these rules buttress the sandbox you have created for your players.

The article ends with a sample region to analyze called the “Moon Hills”. I suggest opening the article and taking a look at its composition as it provides several paragraphs and random tables to bring this terrain to life. World building tools such as these are invaluable in campaigns and can be easily modified to suit a different region. This is yet another excellent resource for DMs to have in their toolbox and I highly recommend reading this article in its entirety.

 

Unearthed Arcana “Mystic Class” Part 4 (final)

By John Squyers Twitch   Twitter

Review of Unearthed Arcana “The Mystic Class” accessed here

http://media.wizards.com/2017/dnd/downloads/UAMystic3.pdf

Part 4: Talents and Disciplines

The bread and butter of the mystic class are the actual “spells” that define their psionic abilities: talents and disciplines. Talents are similar to cantrips in that they are considered minor powers and they don’t cost any psi points nor are they linked to any specific subclass while disciplines are specific to mystic orders and require psi points to be activated. I will cherry pick a few from the large list in this article to showcase the range of these abilities.

 

Talents:

  • Beacon – radiate light in a 20ft radius, lasts for 1 hour
  • Blade Meld – your weapon can’t be forced from your grip nor can you let it go.
  • Energy Beam – 1d8 damage after a failed Dex save, damage type is player’s choice. Scales with level
  • Light Step – Use a bonus action to increase movement speed by 10 and use no movement to stand up
  • Mind Meld – communicate telepathically with one creature within 120 ft and gain access to one of the target’s memories
  • Mystic Charm – choose one target within 120 ft, on a failed Cha save they are charmed until end of player’s next turn
  • Psychic Hammer – grab a target within 120 with a telekinetic hand. Target must make Str save or take 1d6 force damage. If target takes damage then you can move them up to 10 feet in a straight line of your choice. Damage scales with level.

Most of these meet my expectations for something on the same level with cantrips. Some are for utility, like the light talent, and some deal damage to your enemies. They are all situational of course so it’s smart to choose a variety.

Disciplines:

  • Bestial Form
    • Bestial Claws – manifest claws that deal 1d10 slashing damage per psi point spent
    • Bestial Transformation – change your physical form and choose a new form: amphibious, climbing, flight, swimming, tough hide (+2 AC), keen senses, etc
  • Celerity
    • Rapid Step – increase walking speed by 10 feet
    • Blur of Motion – turn invisible as an action
    • Surge of Action – as a bonus action Dash or make one weapon attack
  • Crown of Disgust
    • Eye of Horror – target within 60ft must make Cha save or take 1d6 psychic damage per psi point spent and target cannot move towards you
    • Wall of Repulsion – create an invisible wall of energy 30x10x1ft, any creatures moving through it must make Wis save they cannot pass through it.
    • Visions of Disgust – choose one target and they must make a Wis save or take 5d6 psychic damage and an additional 1d6 per creature within 5 ft at the end of each of its turns. Target takes half on a successful save.
  • Intellect Fortress
    • Psychic Backlash – Use a reaction to impose disadvantage on an attack roll against you and if you still get hit attacker takes 2d10 psychic damage
    • Psychic Parry – When you make a Wis, Int, or Cha save, use a reaction and expend a psi point to gain a +1 on the roll.
  • Mantle of Fury
    • Incite Fury – Give your allies a 1d4 bonus to weapon attack and damage rolls
    • Mindless Charge – 3 allies can immediately use a reaction to move up to its speed in a straight line towards its nearest enemy
    • Aura of Bloodletting – Give advantage on attack rolls to yourself and any creature within 60ft
  • Psychic Phantoms
    • Distracting Figment – Force an Int save on a target and if failed they take 1d10 psychic damage per psi point spent and perceive a threatening creature just out of sight. They also can’t use reactions and melee attacks against it have advantage.
    • Phantom Foe – Exactly the same as above, except 1d8 damage at the start of each one of its turns. It gets a save each time.

 

I chose these pretty much at random, so it may not be the best representation of the entirety of the discipline list but I think I got a good sampling in there. I also did not choose to list every ability listed under these disciplines as it would make my article far too long, I strongly encourage you to browse the list for yourself. As with most spell lists there is a large variety of different tools given to the player to have an effect on a wide range of environments and situations. There isn’t too much I have a problem with here but combined with the psi point and psi limit system I think some of these abilities come a bit too soon in the level but without actually playtesting these in a lot of different scenarios it is tough to judge.

 

Final Thoughts

The mystic class is a complicated one and I feel very unbalanced. With all of the published WotC material I can usually envision in my mind’s eye the strengths and weaknesses of each class and subclass, but for a lot of the mystic’s abilities this is a lot harder to do. My reservations stem from the fact that this article has so many moving parts with the addition of a brand new ruleset separate from the spell slot system of the main 5e rules. Even with the published Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, a fantastic book, there were no real changes to the main rules, everything was an expansion to the already existing infrastructure. A true supplement. The mystic class tries to change too much and the final effect is a really strange class that just feels like it does not fit into DnD 5e.

 

Part 1: Psionics
https://www.encounterroleplay.com/unearthed-arcana-the-mystic-class-part-1/

Part 2: Class Options
https://www.encounterroleplay.com/unearthed-arcana-mystic-class-part-2/

Part 3: Subclasses
https://www.encounterroleplay.com/unearthed-arcana-mystic-class-part-3/

Unearthed Arcana “Mystic Class” Part 3

By John Squyers Twitch   Twitter

Review of Unearthed Arcana “The Mystic Class” accessed here

http://media.wizards.com/2017/dnd/downloads/UAMystic3.pdf

 

Part 3: Sub Classes

For the mystic their subclasses are referred to as “mystic orders” and this article has 6 to choose from, a pretty substantial number for an Unearthed Arcana. Each Order gives the player access to their own unique list of disciplines, so choose your subclass wisely.

The first is “Order of the Avatar” where the mystic uses his psionic powers to amplify and manipulate the emotions of others. They can inspire and bring courage to their allies and to their enemies they can frighten and confuse.

At level 1 they get two additional disciplines from their unique list, proficiency with medium armor and shields. Pretty standard fare for a casting class. Level 3 grants “Avatar of Battle” which gives allies within 30ft +2 to initiative and at Level 6 they get “Avatar of Healing” allies within the same distance heal HP equal to your Int modifier whenever the mystic regains health from a psionic discipline. Lastly at level 14 you get “Avatar of Speed” which lets allies use the dash action as a bonus action.

 

Order of the Awakened” is the study of the mental powers that give the mystic their strength. They get two psionic disciplines, a new skill proficiency to choose from, “psionic investigation” which allows the player to focus his mental energy on an object for 10 minutes and learn something about the object and its environment from the last 24 hours. At level 6 the mystic can use “psionic surge” which allows them to impose disadvantage on a target’s saving throw against a psionic discipline. Finally at level 14 they can turn into a ghostly apparition and pass through solid objects and get resistance toward all damage.

 

Order of the Immortal” is when the mystic uses psionic energy to augment their physical being. They get to choose 2 disciplines from the appropriate list, “immortal durability” which raises their HP max by 1 per mystic level and gives them unarmored defense similar to a barbarian (AC = 10 + Con + Dex). Level 3 grants an ability which gives the mystic temporary HP equal to your int mod, and 6 lets you half damage against you as a reaction if you use your psionic focus. The pinnacle ability of this sub class is “immortal will” which lets the mystic gain HP equal to mystic level + con mod if you are at 0 HP at the start of your turn.

 

For mystics who desire to obtain knowledge join the “Order of the Nomad” and dedicate their life to travel and discovery. They of course get two additional disciplines from their own list, “breadth of knowledge” which lets the player gain two additional proficiencies with a choice between skills, tools, or languages. At level 3 they can teleport as a reaction to a spot that they have previously occupied since the start of their last turn, and at 6 they can buff their teleport discipline distance by 10 ft. Level 14 you can forfeit up to 30 feet of your movement to teleport the distance you forfeited.

 

Order of the Soul Knife” is the focus on physical weapons created through psionic energy. They receive proficiency with medium armor and martial weapons as well as “soul knife” which lets the mystic create a blade of psychic energy (martial melee weapon, light and finesse properties and 1d8 psychic damage) and use them to gain +2 bonus on AC. The rest of this subclass’ abilities focus on buffing the player’s soul knife, at level 3 they can expend psi points to gain bonuses to the attack rolls and damage of the weapon, “consumptive knife” at level 6 which lets the mystic regain 2 psi points after slaying a creature with a soul knife, and finally at level 14 they get “phantom knife” which makes the target’s AC 10 for one attack from the mystic regardless of the target’s actual AC.

 

Order of the Wu Jen” mystics specialize in attempting to control the forces of the natural world and focus on the elements and their mastery. Level 1 they get their two disciplines of course as well as a skill proficiency of their choice and at level 3 they can expend a psi point to remove a target’s resistance to damage dealt by a psionic discipline. Level 6 grants “arcane dabbler” which allows the mystic to learn any 3 wizard spells of their choice levels 1 through 3. The mystic can expend psi points to create spell slots for these spells, remaining until they finish a long rest. Lastly at level 14 if the player has resistance to a certain type of damage and receives damage of that type they can use their reaction to take no damage from it.

 

These subclasses seems pretty uneven to me. At the start of the list you have Avatar and Awakened and those two seem really weak compared to the other two, especially Wu Jen and Soul Knife which have some pretty strong combat abilities. Immortal seems okay, some nice defense bonuses in there and Nomad focuses on teleport stuff which can be useful but not in every scenario. Honestly I would probably only ever choose between Wu Jen, Soul Knife or Immortal depending on the game. It is not unusual to have some subclasses be more useful or powerful than others but the deck seems more unbalanced than usual.

 

Part 1: Psionics
https://www.encounterroleplay.com/unearthed-arcana-the-mystic-class-part-1/

Part 2: Class Options
https://www.encounterroleplay.com/unearthed-arcana-mystic-class-part-2/

Part 4: Talents and Disciplines
https://www.encounterroleplay.com/unearthed-arcana-mystic-class-part-4-final/

Unearthed Arcana “Mystic Class” Part 2

By John Squyers Twitch   Twitter

Review of Unearthed Arcana article “Mystic Class” accessed here:

https://media.wizards.com/2017/dnd/downloads/UAMystic3.pdf

 

Part 2: Class Options

In my first article on the Mystic class we discussed the mechanics of psionic casting and here we will delve further into the actual abilities of the class.

For the Mystic intelligence is the most important ability so toss your highest score in that, followed by dex or con to have a decent amount of AC and HP. They receive a D8 as a hit die, so the same as a bard, druid, cleric, or a warlock. Fairly standard. Their proficiencies are on par for a casting class with light armor and simple weapons with int and wis for their saving throws.

At first level the Mystic choose their subclass, referred to as “Mystic Orders”, and the player can choose from Order of the Awakened, Order of the Nomad, Order of the Immortal, Order of the Soul Knife, and Order of the Wu Jen (more on the subclasses in a future article). Their subclass grants them an ability at 1st, 3rd, 6th, and 14 levels.

At level 2 they get “Mystical Recovery” which allows them to immediately recover hit points back equal to the number of psi points they have just spent and they also get “telepathy” which allows them to speak to any creature within 120ft with their mind. I find the mystical recovery ability to be incredibly powerful, where the mystic can use a psionic discipline to cause damage to a target and then immediately after regain hit points. With limiting factors taken into consideration like psi limit and the amount of psi points you receive at any given level I still feel like it is overpowered. When they receive this ability at level 2 they will have access to 6 psi points with a psi limit of 2. So in three quick rounds, using only bonus actions and no spells slots or any other factor in their usage limitation the Mystic can regain what is essentially half of their HP. This of course scales with level but so does the psi points and the psi limit. Compared to the paladin ability lay hands it seems comparable, with the paladin able to dish out more healing at one time and to other people, but since the mystic can use a psionic discipline and then automatically receive healing I feel that this needs more work to be balanced.

At level 4 comes the typical ability score increase but also “Strength of Mind” where the mystic can replace their proficiency in wisdom saves for another save during a short or long rest. I find this ability to be a bit meta, or at least require outside knowledge of enemies to be really effective. If you know you are going to face a medusa for example, you would take a quick power nap and switch your save proficiency over constitution. In other circumstances this ability might be fine but paired with the already powerful “mystical recovery” it makes for a huge defense bonus.

8th level Mystics get access to the “Potent Psionics” ability which grants a bonus of 1d8 psychic damage to any successful weapon hit. At 14th level the damage increases to 2d8. Lastly it mentions that the mystic can add their int modifier to any damage roll made from a successful hit. It is not clear however if this is supposed to occur at 8th level or restricted to 14th level as this comes in a new paragraph after what it mentioned above. We will need clarification from WotC for this.

10th level brings the ability “Consumptive Power” where the mystic can use his own HP to cast psionics instead of his psi points. When doing so the psi point cost associated with the discipline is instead taken from both current and maximum HP simultaneously. Once you use this feature you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest where your HP maximum resets to its former value. I don’t have a problem with this power as it is limited by “once per long rest” which seems to always be a good way of balancing out abilities. If the mystic could use this more than once then I would see a problem with it, especially coupled with “mystical recovery” but as it stands I imagine the typical strategy would be to use the recovery ability to get HP up to its highest, and then use this ability for a final blast of psionic energy, which seems fine.

At level 11 the mystic achieves “Psionic Mastery” which grants 9 special psi points to use on disciplines that require an action or bonus action to activate. I will be honest, I find the description of the ability to be very confusing as it adds some special rules and restrictions that don’t make a lot of sense to me. The article mentions that you can spend these points on one discipline or spread it across multiple but you “can’t also spend your normal psi points on these disciplines; you can spend only the special points gained from this feature.” It’s unclear whether this means that when you activate this ability these 9 points are the only points you can use, or rather the disciples you choose to use with these 9 points cannot be bolstered by the character’s psi points. Due to this confusion I can’t really make a true judgement about this ability. At level 11 the character is sufficiently powerful enough to gain a bonus to their spell casting ability so this is pretty normal but giving them 9 points but restricting on where you can spend them seems strange to me. I can only think that the designers found this ability to be overpowered and tried to limit its use for balancing purposes but missed the mark a bit.

The final class ability at level 20 is pretty epic as we would expect from a character of such power. “Psionic Body” grants the mystic resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage as well as immunity to disease and poison, the character no longer ages, and when your character dies you roll a d20 and if 10 or higher your body discorporates instead of dying and you will reappear a few days later. This is perfectly fine for 20th level and gives some nice flavor to the class.

My overall feelings of this class is that it has some very strong abilities that are either unchecked in their power or improperly restricted. Every class is supposed to have a balance with the others but this seems too strong in most aspects and then limited in confusing ways that make this class hard to understand. The Mystic class has a lot of moving parts to it and it takes a lot of care to introduce a new class that comes with its own new ruleset and I don’t think this UA has really accomplished this. As it stands the class seems like a mess.

 

Part 1: Psionics
https://www.encounterroleplay.com/unearthed-arcana-the-mystic-class-part-1/

Part 3: Subclasses
https://www.encounterroleplay.com/unearthed-arcana-mystic-class-part-3/

Part 4: Talents and Disciplines
https://www.encounterroleplay.com/unearthed-arcana-mystic-class-part-4-final/

Unearthed Arcana “The Mystic Class” Part 1

by John Squyers   Twitch   Twitter

Review of Unearthed Arcana “The Mystic Class” accessed here

http://media.wizards.com/2017/dnd/downloads/UAMystic3.pdf

Part 1: Psionics and how they work

This is the first part of a series of reviews of the famed Unearthed Arcana exclusive Mystic class. The Mystic class is the sole representative of psionics in DnD 5th edition and offers a really distinct experience for the player. I have been critical of this class in the past as I feel it is complicated and overpowered but we will take a look on why I feel that way. The first article will focus on psionics itself and how it works in the 5e ruleset.

With spellcasting in 5e being well-balanced, easy to learn, and easy to use it was pretty much a no-brainer for designers to emulate that as much as possible when creating a separate system to represent psychic powers. However there are some significant differences between spell casting and psionics. There are no “spell slots” but their closest equivalent is “psi points” and this is a fixed number granted at different levels the mystics use to activate their powers. This is coupled with “psi limit” which is the maximum amount of psi points you can spend on a psionic discipline at one time, and this too grows with the characters as they level. So instead of a certain number of times you can cast spells you instead use a number pool similar to “mana” in other games in which to use your psychic abilities. If you have 4 psi points for example and you use a psionic power that costs 2 psi points, you have 2 psi points remaining for other abilities. Pretty simple.

With points and their limits explained let’s examine the abilities themselves: talents and disciplines. Talents are minor psychic abilities that cost no psi points to use, similar to cantrips for spellcasters, and disciplines are greater psychic powers with different options to choose from and with different effects and psi point cost for each. Let’s examine one of the shorter psionic disciplines.

Iron Durability

Immortal Discipline

You transform your body to become a living metal, allowing you to shrug off attacks that would cripple weaker creatures.

Psychic Focus. While focused on this discipline, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.

Iron Hide (1–7 psi). As a reaction when you are hit by an attack, you gain a +1 bonus to AC for each psi point you spend on this ability. The bonus lasts until the end of your next turn. This bonus applies against the triggering attack.

Steel Hide (2 psi). As a bonus action, you gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage until the end of your next turn.

Iron Resistance (7 psi; conc., 1 hr.). As an action, you gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage (your choice)

 

Iron durability is a very simple discipline and it can only be used by the “immortal” sub-class as indicated in the description (more on the sub-classes in a future article) and lists a few options for the mystic to use this discipline. The first aspect of this is the “psychic focus” which grants +1 AC. Each discipline has a “psychic focus” option which is a passive ability the mystic gains while activating this focus. It costs no psi points and a player can only have one focus active at a time unless they are incapacitated or expend a bonus action to change focus.

The first point costing option is “iron hide” which costs 1 to 7 psi points, players’ choice, and the character gains a bonus to AC equal to the point expenditure as a reaction to an attack, lasting until the end of their next turn. If you are a level 1 or 2 character then due to your psi limit you can only use a maximum of 2 psi points for this ability.

Next is “steel hide” which for 2 psi points the mystic gains resistance to physical damage until the end of their next turn.

And so on and so forth.

Psionic talents are not as numerous or as varied as disciplines as it is in their nature to be simpler for the mystic to use and as a result they are not as spectacular. Some examples include “Energy Beam” which deals 1d8 of chosen damage to a target on a failed dexterity save, and “Mystic Charm” which charms one creature within 120ft on a failed charisma save. Pretty standard for something spell-like that costs no components to use.

Even though this article adds a new ruleset to the game, something I am extremely wary of, it is not too bad. We will explore the psionic powers more in depth in a future article but the new psionic “casting” is pretty straightforward. Still though I am not really sure why they decided to invent this new system and not just use the tried and true spell slots. Sure, psionic powers are not spells but there is no reason you can’t argue that mystics have limited powers much like wizards do and that the slots represent the limits of their mental strength and need a rest before they refresh.

The only thing I can think of is that the game designers intentionally wanted to pigeonhole players into disciplines, since these give you multiple cast options but are rather limiting when compared to spells. Arcane or Divine casters can choose spells across multiple schools to have a variety of casting options but the mystic is stuck with disciplines that all have the same relative bonuses to them (see above Iron Durability where each option is defensive in nature, either a bonus to AC or resistance to damage).

As it stands I think I still prefer the spell slot system but the points system is playable. I am not a fan of the limitations of the disciplines however and I still prefer the flexibility of spell casting classes. In the next article we will go more in depth into the talents and disciplines themselves followed by the class and sub-class options. All along we will discuss the pros and cons of each section.

 

Part 2: Class Options
https://www.encounterroleplay.com/unearthed-arcana-mystic-class-part-2/

Part 3: Subclasses
https://www.encounterroleplay.com/unearthed-arcana-mystic-class-part-3/

Part 4: Talents and Disciplines
https://www.encounterroleplay.com/unearthed-arcana-mystic-class-part-4-final/

Unearthed Arcana “Eladrin and Gith”

by John Squyers   Twitch   Twitter

 

Review of Unearthed Arcana “Eladrin and Gith

Accessed here: https://media.wizards.com/2017/dnd/downloads/UA-Eladrin-Gith.pdf

 

This article adds a few more races to the game, the Eladrin sub-race for Elves and introducing into fifth edition, the Gith. Fans of the great video game “Neverwinter Nights 2” will recognize the Gith and their two sub-races the Githyanki and the Githzerai.

The Eladrin (also known as “High Elves”) are chaotic beings from the feywild and as such they have strong and swiftly changing personalities. This is represented by linking their mood swings to the four seasons: autumn for contentment, winter for sorrow, springtime for elation and joy, and summer for fury and excited energy. The idea behind these is that for each emotion you are currently feeling you have your own specific personality trait and flaw. The article includes random roll tables for the personality traits which I think is a cool thing to do but keeping track of your character’s emotions may become a bit too complicated a task as you stumble around trying to get the right traits organized in your mind. But for an experienced role player who is up for a challenge it could make for some great random fun.

The Eladrin’s racial bonuses are a +1 to intelligence or charisma, “fey step” a 30 ft teleport as a bonus action used once per day, and “shifting seasons” an ability that allows a player of this race to shift their seasonal alignment during a rest which grants them a new cantrip as mentioned in the following table. The Eladrin loses the previous season’s cantrip as a result.

 

Autumn – Friends

Winter – Chill touch

Spring – Minor illusion

Summer – Fire bolt

 

I think this race is pretty interesting and I think they would make a great bard or sorcerer. Due to their shifting personalities I feel that Charisma would be their strongest attribute and I would like to see an optional rule added that when the character suffers some great emotion or turmoil to make a charisma save or randomly switch seasons. This type of personality chaos should only be attempted by an experienced player as I think for beginners it may be a bit difficult to keep of your personality traits if you switch too often.

 

The Gith are a race of outsiders, much like Genasi or Teiflings, who were enslaved and tortured by the mind flayers. Eventually they grew a resistance to their master’s telepathy and won their freedom in a large revolution. The race disagreed on how to continue their fight against the Illithids and split into 2 sub-races, the warlike Githyanki and the monk-like Githzerai.

The Gith racial traits are: +1 to intelligence, size and age similar to humans albeit more slender, movement speed of 30, and their natural languages are Common and Gith. Then the player will choose between the two sub-races.

The Githyanki are trained from birth to be warriors and as such their traits are: Strength +2, tend toward lawful evil alignment, “decadent mastery” which permits the learning of any new language and either any skill or tool proficiency, they can use light or medium armor, and “Githyanki Psionics” which allows the Gith to learn the cantrip Mage Hand at level 1, Jump at level 3, and Misty Step at 5th level, the latter two you can cast once refreshed by a long rest.

The Githzerai focus more on mental discipline than physical and therefore make great clerics or monks. Their traits are: +2 to wisdom, tend toward lawful neutral alignment, “Monastic Training” which grants +1 to AC when not using shields, medium armor, or heavy armor, and “Githzerai Psionics” which grants the mage hand cantrip, shield at level 3, and detect thoughts at level 5, and they can cast the leveled spells once per long rest. Their spell casting ability is Wisdom as opposed to the Githyanki’s intelligence.

I have always been fascinated by the Gith and I’m glad to see an option for them to jump into 5e. I think these subraces are well thought out and balanced, as neither is obviously more powerful than the other. I was a little concerned about their psionic abilities as I think psionics is not implemented well into 5e and I am relieved to see the game designers have decided to interpret those psychic powers as a handful of pretty straightforward spells and cantrips. One thing I would add is resistance to psychic damage as I think it fits well with their lore and is not too overpowered an ability due to the rarity of that damage type.

Unearthed Arcana “Elf Subraces”

by John Squyers   Twitch   Twitter

Review of Unearthed Arcana “Elf Subraces”

Accessed here: https://media.wizards.com/2017/dnd/downloads/UA-ElfSubraces.pdf

DnD 5th edition is known for giving the players tons of options when it comes to creating the character they want to play. Sub races give an extra point of customization to players and this article focuses on Elven race. In addition to the ones listed in the players’ handbook and other WotC sources this adds the Avariel, the Grugach, Sea Elves, and the Shadar-kai.

 

The Avariel, or winged-elves, are rare creatures that still exist in small colonies around the material and air planes. Fans of the Baldur’s Gate video game series will recognize the npc Aerie as an Avariel. Benefits of this sub race are a flying speed of 30 feet with the restriction of no medium or heavy armor, and they learn the language Auran. That’s all the benefits they receive but don’t discount the flight ability. I can’t tell you how many times I have bypassed traps or obstacles with flight. Plus you usually would get advantage in melee attacks from the height. I really like this race and the roleplaying aspect is interesting as well.

The Grugach are greyhawk natives and are considered strange, even to other elves. They are wood-folk, preferring the forest and nature than the cities of man and punishing any intruder who dares to trespass into their domain. The benefits of this race are: Strength increases by 1, proficiency with spear, shortbow, longbow, and net, one cantrip from druid spell list, and the Sylvan language, BUT they DO NOT learn common. This language restriction could potentially be deleterious to a group but it might make for some fun pantomime RP if they are up for it. The bonuses to this class are nice and I especially like the weapon proficiencies and cantrip. This is a great option for a ranger or other missile class.

Sea elves are adventurous sailors who forsake the earth and trees of the world to sail on the blur oceans of Toril. Their colonies are small and hidden in the ocean shallows and in the plane of water. Their race bonuses are: constitution increases by 1 (great for an elf), proficiency with spear, trident, light crossbow, and net, a swimming speed of 30 feet, ability to speak with small swimming creatures, and you learn the language Aquan. This is a great race for an elf swashbuckler, I really like the extra constitution and the weapon proficiencies. The swim speed is nice, I don’t think characters end up in water too often but it might save your butt one day. Speaking to small swimming creatures and Aquan language is fine I guess but I can’t really think of any situation where they would be too useful.

The Shadar-kai is a race I recognize from Shadowfell. I never really thought of them as “elves” per se but I suppose that it is not unimaginable to classify them as so. They seem more like elves from Shadowrun than the forgotten realms, with piercings and tattoos with pale skin and black eyes. Their benefits are: charisma increase by 1, learn a cantrip (either chill touch, spare the dying, or thaumaturgy), and blessing of the raven queen which allows a magical teleport within 15 and resistance to all damage when activated. This is a nice class that would work well for an assassin or a sorcerer. I can imagine some tension caused by these shadow creatures and it makes for a real interesting characters. The teleport ability is pretty powerful and is a good way to escape a troublesome situation.

 

I really like it when Unearthed Arcana adds new options for PCs to take. It is usually in the form of class options but race is another large aspect of what makes a character. I would love to see more. Sub races for orcs, for dwarves, humans, gnomes and everyone else.