The Psion, one month review

Tiefling on top of stack of power point tokens.

My Tiefling Psion on top of stack of power point tokens.

Now that I’ve played the Psion class for one month, I thought I’d give a retrospective review.

The Psion is a controller class unlike previous ones. It has only two area-effects, and its the attacks generally have a damage + debuff (increase enemies’ vulnerabilities) effect.  There’s also not a lot of movement like there are for some other classes.  For all its debuff attacks the class is kinda like a Leader, but without any healing abilities. The Mind Thrust ranged attack does a nice bit of damage along with debuff when augmented, and in that sense it reminds me a bit of my Ranger, in the striker sense.

My favorite attack power is Betrayal, in which you slide an enemy and force it to make a basic attack on one of its allies.  It feels a little like chess by moving pieces around the battle mat, and it’s just plain nasty to attack an ally. Unfortunately the way I understand how 4e works, is that pcs and npcs understand all the attacks and their effects, and so it’s absent the confusion and horror on bad guy’s face when his friend takes time out of combat to attack him.

The augmentable at-wills is an interesting mechanic and it works quite well. Because the at-will powers are pretty good by themselves, I don’t miss the encounter powers. The augmentation levels make sense and benefit of using 2 points to augment seems like its worth giving up 2 separate 1 point augments. I’ve been using poker chips as physical symbols of the my power point pool, and that made it quite easy to keep track of them.  There’s also a nice of feel of ante’ing up.

The weakest point of the Psion is melee. My character is limited to cloth armor and none of the attack powers are melee, so if a monster is next door, I have to risk the AoO or whack them with a mere 1/2 level + proficiency with my staff implement. In the combats I’ve been in so far, I am pretty well defended in ranged (especially with resistances and a good reflex and will), but whenever my character’s gotten to melee, his hit points have disintegrated fast.

As with almost all classes of the flavor differences between them plays out only on the battlefield. The thing the Psion is really missing is some kind of mind-reading or empathic ability. Since I have a very low Wisdom, my character’s Insight is my lowest skill, despite the fact that I can command someone to attack an ally. Even the Send Message utility power is pretty weak since a line of effect is implied. It would be more useful to communicate with someone further away. I’ve been using Bluff and Intimidate skills out of combat to pretend like my character is a mean-as-they-come mind-reading SOB.  So far no one has called me on that yet.

I am going to be on holiday for the next two weeks. I have set a new article to be published here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5pm while I am out. I won’t be able to approve or respond to any comments in that time. Cheers and have a good American Thanksgiving.
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