Rounding out our last of the three new UA subclasses is the Psychic Warrior, a psionic subclass for the fighter! To be quite honest the Fighter is what I least expected to get a psionic subclass, but it did come as a welcome surprise to me, since at this point I’m the group’s designated Fighter player. I’ll detail each of the subclass features and give my own two cents on it. So, let’s get right into it!
The 3rd and 10th level psychic warrior feature, this ability allows you to psychically augment either your defenses or your attacks. You choose which benefit you gain at the end of a long rest and it persists until you finish a long rest, effectively giving you 100% uptime for this ability.
Augmented Defenses lets you use your reaction when you or a creature you can see within 30 feet takes damage. It allows you to foll a d10 and reduce the amount of damage taken by the number rolled. At level 10, this die increases to a d12. This ability is pretty nuts, allowing the fighter that normally only uses their reaction for opportunity attacks to lean into a more defensive, protective role. At 3rd level, it’s not impossible to completely negate the damage from one attack with this ability, effectively trading your reaction for an enemy’s action. I’ll take that trade any day! Giving it that extra oomph of scaling with a d12 at level 10 is always appreciated, but only increases the average of the roll by about 1. Give me 2d6 instead and I’ll be a happy camper.
Augmented Strikes allows you to deal an extra 1d4 psychic damage – scaling up to 1d6 at level 10 – to a target whenever you hit it. However, you can only use this ability once during each of your turns. This feels kind of strange to me, since 1d4 damage is not necessarily a lot and I think would work very well with multiattack. Adding 2 damage on average per turn is fine at level 3, but once you get to 5th level it seems… counter-intuitive for a fighter to have an ability like this that doesn’t apply to all of their attacks. I kind of wish that at level 10 it removed the once per turn restriction. The way I see it, this ability pales in comparison to Augmented Defenses as is.
As is the case with all of these new UAs recently, we can’t just have one thing when you pick the subclass. Continuing this trend, the Psychic Warrior learns the mage hand cantrip at level 3, and they can cast it without components AND make the hand invisible! This is kind of just a spit in the face to the Arcane Trickster, who had a very cool and special niche in that they could make their mage hands invisible to do crime. Now the fighter of the group can just open doors from 30 feet away, lift books, etc. Thematically? Super cool, as it shows a telekinetic prowess that often couples with psionics. Mechanically? Sorry Arcane Trickster, the cooler invisible mage hand user is in town.
Strength of Mind
The 7th level feature, Strength of Mind allows you to use a bonus action to lash out at a creature within 20 feet of you. The target must make a strength saving throw against a DC equal to 8 + Proficiency + Intelligence. On a failed save, the target takes 2d6 + Intelligence mod and is pushed or pulled 15 feet away or towards you. On a successful save, they take half damage and aren’t moved. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Intelligence mod, regaining all uses on a long rest. What else to say, this ability is really good. It incentivizes you to play a Fighter that doesn’t dump intelligence, it takes advantage of a fighter’s lack of bonus actions, and normally these types of abilities don’t allow you to add your modifier. Battlefield control is something I’m always fond of, and being able to pull someone away from a caster or even push someone off a cliff is amazingly cool. Overall great ability, especially when most of the other fighter subclass level 7 features are fluff abilities.
I’m sorry, you thought level 10 just gave a buff to Psionic Armament? Telekinetic Bulwark allows you to forgo one of your attacks when you take the Attack action to project a bastion of psionic power in a 10-foot radius around yourself. It lasts for 1 minute or until you’re incapacitated. For the duration, you and your allies gain the benefits of half cover (+2 to AC and Dexterity saving throws) as well as advantage on Strength saving throws. You can use this ability once per long rest, but you replenish its use after you use your Second Wind feature. I think…. wow. Effectively giving Shield of Faith to yourself and every ally within 10 feet, a bonus to Dex saves, AND advantage on Strength saves… at the cost of one attack?? Next level you get 3 attacks! AND you don’t even have to concentrate on this! ANNND you can effectively use it once per SHORT rest, and TWICE within one short rest if you use it before you use Second Wind. For this to last a minute as well is pretty incredible, and I think who knows, maybe I’m looking at it with rose tinted glasses, but all of the benefits it gives at the cost of one attack is pretty crazy.
15th level brings in Agonizing Strikes. When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can deal 2d10 psychic damage to the target and force it to make a Constitution save against a DC equal to 8 + your Prof + your Intelligence mod. If they fail, they are knocked prone and suffer disadvantage on ability checks until the end of your next turn. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Intelligence mod and regain all uses on a long rest. Now, it never details that you can only use this once per turn, so all of a sudden a fighter using this 3 times in one turn, then action surging and adding 1 or 2 more creates an absolutely terrifying nova. Imagine if one of those crits? Ouch. Aside from that, knocking prone is always appreciated, and the disadvantage on ability checks makes it easier for you to say, knock them prone again with a Shove. I mostly see this being used for the damage or to set up for a Paladin or Rogue to get advantage on an attack when they’re prone. Great ability though, love it.
First of all…. what an amazing name. Second of all…. what an amazing description. “The power of your mind suffuses your entire being, making you a nigh-unstoppable force on the battlefield.” Third of all…. not really what I expected. As a reaction when you take damage, you can give yourself the following benefits for 1 minute: At the start of each of your turns, you regain 10 hit points. Your walking speed increases by 10 feet, and if you’re prone, you can stand up by spending 5 feet of movement. Now, this reminds me a lot of the Paladin’s capstones. However, I do think it’s just a little bit underwhelming. The heal at the start of the turn is great, but the extra walking speed and standing from prone just seem a bit… lackluster? I redact what I said earlier, I think that allowing you to add your Psionic Armament Augmented Strikes to every attack while you are in this Dreadnaught form would be an amazing buff and awesome thematically. Maybe allowing the Fighter to move through enemies? Maybe even make a 10 foot radius around them be difficult terrain? Personally I’d just add something to this to give it a bit more oomph, it’s a capstone ability and I think it should have a bit more power to it
All in all, I’m pretty happy with this subclass! It’s awesome to see another Intelligence dependent option, as I believe Intelligence is the dump stat of 5th edition unless you’re a Wizard/Eldritch Knight/Arcane Trickster. However, between these and the recent Artificer release, it’s very exciting to see that Intelligence is slowly on the come up as an important stat! This subclass just does a good job of making a Fighter better at what it does while also introducing some new options and really rounding out the Fighter’s action economy.
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