Dark Matter is my new favorite Sci-Fi RPG



The RPG community has been itching for a quality science fiction RPG for quite some time. The current market offerings leaves much to be desired, but Mage Hand Press has just released an Alpha of their Dark Matter rulebook and I expect this to become everyone’s favorite sci-fi RPG.

The Dark Matter ruleset is based upon Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition and even though that has a high magic fantasy focus the DnD rules are beautifully and seamlessly woven into this space setting. Stats and skills are very familiar and players who are used to DnD will need not fret about learning a whole new system.



In addition to the traditional races offered in the 5e Player’s Handbook, Dark Matter offers several new space-faring races and sub-races to explore the galaxy. This includes the shape changing Ameoboids, the bird-like Avia-Ra, the insectoid Skathari, and more. Each race is depicted with beautiful artwork and plenty of backstory and lore that brings these creatures to life. Racial traits are reasonably balanced for a 5e based game and there are lots of flair and character written into them. There is also a “near human” variant race that is rather generic but I am assuming purposefully so, as it gives a lot of leeway for the player to define their own character or own race as they see fit.



Dark Matter presents a whole host of new subclasses for the traditional DnD classes (they still have bards and fighters in space!) and they introduce their own new class: the Gadgeteer. Barbarians can now choose the path of the wrecker and focus on smashing machines, Clerics can venerate the domain of the Void, Fighters can be the iconic space marine, Rogues can become infiltrators and focus on teleportation technology, and much, much more. They even include options for Mage Hand Press’ own class creations such as the Gunslinger, Shugenja, and Warmage.


Skills, Feats, and Backgrounds

More character options available in Dark Matter include a new set skills such as Data, Piloting, and Technology (proficiency determined by class as usual). Based upon your intelligence stat these skills add a lot more options to interact with the environment than the basic DnD ones. There is a large list of feats available as well, divided between general (available to all) racial, faction-based, and role (specifically starship roles like engineer or pilot). Add to these several new space inspired backgrounds to choose from such as Technologist or Exile and you have yourself a hell of a character.




The section I am most excited about is the spaceships. I have fond memories of playing Star Wars D20 and my favorite thing to do was pilot around the galaxy getting into trouble and I have no doubt Dark Matter is going to give me that same feeling. The vehicle chapter is chocked full of information about ship types, speeds, distances, weapons, combat maneuvers, Racial and Legendary spaceships and more. The amount of information here is very impressive and I am eager to give it a shot in a long campaign.


Spells and Monsters

The book ends with two large and extensive chapters detailing their own monster manual and spell lists. The monsters are varied and interesting from rogue AIs to psionic squirrels to giant space worms. It is an impressive list of foes and NPCs and I think some of the best art in the book comes from this section.

The spell list adds a few dozen space inspired spells, in addition to the ones already offered by the official Dnd books. They include comet strikes, Logic bomb (for computers), intensify gravity, and more. It is a good solid list of spells and I am curious to see what players come up with as far combinations of arcane and scifi spells.


Dark Matter comes with its own setting and lore, but you don’t have to stick with it if you don’t want to. It is flexible enough to run Star Wars, Star Trek, Warhammer 40k, Firefly, or any of your favorite sci fi properties without any problem.

Mage Hand Press have a real gem on their hands, Dark Matter is one of the best RPG books I have seen in the last 2 years, and that includes offerings from industry giants like Wizards of the Coast and Chaosium. There is a huge demand in the TTRPG community for a science fiction space game and I think this is going to be a big hit.


Check out Mage Hand Press Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/mfov

And stay up to date on MHP news and releases on their blog: http://mfov.magehandpress.com/

And you can get your own copy of Dark Matter (currently in Alpha) here: https://darkmatter.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders

But where that Sun at tho? And other Important Questions about the Actuality

by Ethan Hudgens Twitter


What is The Invisible Sun?


The newest creation from the team over at Monte Cook Games isn’t just a Table Top Roleplaying Game. It is an event. It is a mystery that starts with summoning the Black Cube, a nearly featureless cube about 14 inches on a side and weighing more than you’d expect. That’s because along with the four books, maps, boards, cards, character sheets, art books, tokens, and a statuette of a golden hand, the Cube is full of secrets. Lots of secrets.

But let’s talk about Suns. There are nine suns in the Actuality, one of which is the Invisible Sun and radiates magic upon all the other. For those familiar with the Planes of D&D, these are similar but instead of element each represents an Idea, like the Silver Sun is the sun of birth, beginnings, and potential, while the Grey Sun (“our reality” sun) which is the sun of lies, distortion, and illusion.

At the start of the game it is assumed that the player’s characters are Vislae (magic users) all returning to the Indigo Sun (sun of truth) from a brief exile into the Grey sun. So your players get to experience the world with their characters who are re-experiencing it the strange and surreal landscapes.




Yes, Invisible Sun is a world of magical surrealism, something better seen than described. But in essence it is the taking of the mundane and twisting and distorting it. Most might recognize the melting clocks of Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory. Strange “normal” things that occur in Invisible Sun are things like Key Storms (where keys fall out of the sky), a living bar that is never in the same place twice, and a man who is Monday, the day of the week.


You mentioned Secrets?


I recently spent two days trying to hardcore casually decode a secret language that adorns many of the pages the book. Some of these “sentences” will direct you to a website with a search engine that demands you fill it with more secrets. Sometimes the cipher just says “Secrets” and you get real upset.

Other than that there are clock puzzles, mysterious symbologies, and just really cryptic red text that says things like “Where do the feelings that have yet to be felt dwell?” There are a lot of secrets, and for me its been like a game I can play while we aren’t playing.


Okay, but why is this game special?


Aside from the surreal setting, there’s two major elements why this game plays differently than any other I have played: Character Arcs and Development Mode.

Unlike most ttRPGs (including other MCG titles like Cypher System, which iSun draws many of its mechanics from) the major drive for the story is not pre-designed plot beats and stories coming from the GM, but from Arcs that players themselves choose during character creations (and can invest more of later as they become relevant). Invisible Sun is a player character driven experience, where the GM’s primary job is to make memorable people and places along the way for them to interact with. It takes some getting used to, but it makes for a unique play experience.

As does “Development Mode.” Invisible Sun doesn’t stop when your players leave the table. You can keep playing. Whether by meeting in person or playing via text in the Invisible Sun phone app, the game encourages players to continue play by having side scenes of things that they do between sessions (sometimes ranging in weeks to months in a time lapse).


These Arcs sound important. Can you give an example?


Of course!

Let’s say I want to start a business. Any business. This is the Actuality we could have a business about self-shining shoes, a bookstore that only sells books written by ants, or a taco shop that pulls the exact taco you want from your dreams.
First we have to complete the Opening, which in the case of the Enterprise arc requires that we Draw up a Plan. Basically saying what business venture we want to take and how we want to achieve it.

Next we have a number of Steps that can be completed in any order. So for our Dream Taco stand we’re first going to need to get some financing, find a place to build this shoppe, and then actually build the establishment. For each of these steps completed you receive experience that can be used to improve your character later.

Once each step is complete we come to the Climax. Does our business venture succeed or fail? If we do well, we get Joy for the pride of capitalism. Otherwise we gain a point of Despair. Each Joy and Despair being another type of experience.

And then comes a Resolution where we think back on what we did.
These Arcs can take months of ingame time, but generally should be completed in about five sessions or so. And once you’ve completed an Arc you can “purchase” a new one from the list and continue developing your character!


But is it worth the money?


Most people look at the cost of the Black Cube and wince at its price tag. The truth of the matter is that if you take your collection of Dungeons and Dragons material, like the three core books, add in a module, some very nice professional character sheets, tokens, and all the spell cards it is actually quite the deal. And unlike many other new RPG systems, this one does a very good job at making sure you don’t leave it sitting on your shelf for too long.


At time of posting, the second Kickstarter still has a couple days left to get in on the second printing, so if you’re interested I highly recommend you just go do the thing. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/montecookgames/invisible-sun-return-to-the-actuality


“From the Arcane Archive” is a real magical tome

“From the Arcana Archive” by Mage Hand Press
by Ex_Libris85   Twitch   Twitter

Mages, Wizards, Bards, Warlocks, Clerics, Druids, and all other practitioners of the arcane and divine winds! Ever wanted a bit more oomph in your invocations? Need more pizazz in your illusions? Extra mojo in your enchantments? Then I have a book for you!

“From the Arcane Archive” by Mage Hand Press is an OGL supplement for DnD 5th edition and it is the closest you will ever come to a real life wizard’s tome. This book contains hundreds of spells for all the casting classes in DnD 5e, plus a few more custom classes including Mage Hand Press’ own creation the Shugenja.

This book is a wonderful supplement and helps add a lot more utility and, dare I say, humor into 5th edition’s repertoire of a 1000 evocation spells that deal fire damage. Jokes aside, it does help fill a hole that I feel is left by the published WotC material and adds greater depth into spell casting.

One of the nicest things about “Arcane Archive” is that it not only includes spells for the traditional fantasy setting but they are forward thinking enough to add futuristic spells (tailored for Mage Hand Press’ Dark Matter setting) as well as a Renaissance tag for an era that includes rudimentary firearms and a larger scientific presence. These give a lot of flexibility to the GM who wants to create a game that isn’t pigeonholed into a particular setting. Personally I think the futuristic and renaissance tags are good resources for adding spells to my homebrew steampunk world.


Here are some interesting spells from the Archive (click to enlarge):

This spell is bananas, I love it. Hack a friend apart, hide them in your shopping bag and infiltrate the evil castle like a Trojan horse. Just make sure you do it in less than an hour!


Consecrated Armor is a good lower-level armor spell and honestly it is good to see something besides mage armor. A solid example of the useful spells in this book.



A novel situational spell. Not something that would come up too often in a traditional setting but certainly very effective if you are in a place with lots of water based foes.


A little meta here but this is a fantastic cantrip. Good damage and scaling, but more importantly it just looks like it is fun to use.


A nice and fun alternative to Tiny Hut. This spell has a lot of character and the imagery that comes along with it makes me smile. This may seem a weak spell for 5th level but the HP max increase and charm immunity are very valuable effects.


There is a lot more to this book than I could ever put in digestible review. What I can assure you is that this book contains something for everyone. Games set in forgotten realms, spell jammer, modern urban fantasy, steampunk, and futuristic settings will all find this book useful. There are utility spells, damage spells, and just weird and fun spells in here. This is an incredible work and a benefit to any 5e player or DM.





Mage Hand Press can be found here on Patreon where they release books such as these as awards to their patrons: patreon.com/mfov/

Follow them on twitter here: @MageHandPress

And here is their blog where they post news about their work: http://mfov.magehandpress.com/

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:



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.


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 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.


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.


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.



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:



“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


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.



  • 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.


  • 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

Part 2: Class Options

Part 3: Subclasses

Unearthed Arcana “Mystic Class” Part 3

By John Squyers Twitch   Twitter

Review of Unearthed Arcana “The Mystic Class” accessed here



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

Part 2: Class Options

Part 4: Talents and Disciplines

Unearthed Arcana “Mystic Class” Part 2

By John Squyers Twitch   Twitter

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



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

Part 3: Subclasses

Part 4: Talents and Disciplines