Keeping Promises: PHB3 First Look

by Wimwick (Neil Ellis) on July 16, 2009

Last week Wizards of the Coast updated the Character Builder with the first release from the Player’s Handbook 3 and what an update it was. I really believe that WotC delivered on the promise they made back in June. What we as DDI subscribers are receiving is full content well ahead of its publication date. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the new classes, races and feats from the PHB3 over the next nine months.

Of course, everyone will have their own take on psionics and where it fits in the game. Ameron has a fairly rigid view and you can read about it in his article Psionics Suck!. Critical Hits also laments that science found its way into a fantasy game. One of the things we need to realize and accept is that the PHB3 is going introduce more psionic classes to the game. I expect at least half of the new classes in the PHB3 will be keyed to the psionic power source.

My initial thoughts on what the PHB may hold are that we’ll see four psionic classes, two divine classes and two primal classes. WotC has developed a new mechanic to deal with psioncis and I can’t see them doing that much work and then not support it with classes using the system. We already know that the Monk doesn’t use the new mechanic and so I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the new primal or divine classes does, just too really get some mileage out of the new mechanic.

While I haven’t had the opportunity to fully digest the new power point mechanic introduced with last weeks update I do want to research it and play test it. My problem is I don’t like the controller template and I like psionics even less, so I’ll likely be waiting for August’s update before I really dive into it.

What are your thoughts on the new power-point mechanic? Does it make sense to expand the rules in this direction? Do you think that it unbalances the existing classes? What about psionics in general? We want to hear from you.

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1 Dave T. Game July 16, 2009 at 11:02 am

I think your link to Critical Hits meant to go here instead of to yourself 🙂

I think I 4/2/2 split is likely, but also wouldn’t be surprised at 5 Psionic, 2 Primal, 1 Divine with the Monk taking the extra Psionic slot.

We tackled the question of power points and balance for the Psion in an analysis of how they compare to other classes.
.-= Dave T. Game´s last blog ..YouTube Tuesday: Side Effects May Vary By Cultist Edition =-.

2 Bartoneus July 16, 2009 at 11:05 am

Also, Dave’s inquisition wasn’t lamenting, it was asking the question for people to share their opinions for or against Psionics. 😛

@Dave: The question becomes, what would those two Primal classes be and what would that one special Divine class be?!?!
.-= Bartoneus´s last blog ..YouTube Tuesday: Side Effects May Vary By Cultist Edition =-.

3 Toldain July 16, 2009 at 11:13 am

After reading a few articles and comments I don’t think the power points will be a big problem, but I don’t see that they add a lot, either. Maybe the point is to illustrate how psionics aren’t magic, because let’s face it, there isn’t much difference to the casual observer.

I don’t think I’ll be using psionics in my fantasy campaign. They don’t fit, not at first. Maybe at some point there will be an Illithid invasion, and the Illithids will use psionics.
.-= Toldain´s last blog ..Time is My Enemy =-.

4 Wimwick July 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm

@ Dave
Sorry about that, I had baby brain while putting the finishing touches on the article. The link is now fixed. I agree that we may see a 5/2/1. Time will tell.

@ Bartoneus
Perhaps Lamenting was the wrong word. Either way it was a great article that generated some good discussion. I wanted to ensure that people who hadn’t found the article had a chance to read it.

@ Toldain
I’m not sold on Psionics for 4e myself. The controller was the wrong class (for me) to introduce them with a new mechanic. I look forward to seeing some of the other builds that they release and will reserve my final judgement until then.

I agree that so far the new mechanic looks fairly balanced. I’m fairly certain my current DM will allow them, however as we’re in a long term campaign unless a character dies I don’t see one of our players rolling up a Psion anytime soon.

5 Wyatt July 16, 2009 at 5:53 pm

I agree with Toldain that Psionics don’t fit into my world and that I don’t think the new mechanic really adds a lot to the game except being different than what was before. Especially since I’m unimpressed by some of the in-between augmentations (not at-will, but not reaching encounter-level power).
.-= Wyatt´s last blog ..Alternatives To Monster Math =-.

6 Ian Argent July 20, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Why is the controller the wrong class to introduce a new mechanic for? Controller, at least conceptually, seems to have the widest design space of the 4 roles.

7 Wimwick July 21, 2009 at 8:45 am

@ Wyatt
I think that Psionics will be allowed by DMs on a case by case basis. It fits with some people’s vision of a fantasy setting and doesn’t fit for others.

@ Ian Argent
As I mentioned above the controller is the wrong class for me, for others it might work brilliantly as the introduction to psionics. To me it’s another option, but not one I’m interested in exploring right now. I look forward to seeing what other psionic classes are introduced and will likely fully explore the new mechanic at that time.

8 Ian Argent July 21, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Fair enough

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