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I have a player who's playing a Mystic from Unearthed Arcana: Psionics & the Mystic, Take 2. The Mystic class has been recently updated to a complete class, and some very significant changes were made in Unearthed Arcana: The Mystic Class.

The character my player is using currently wears heavy armor, wields a greatsword, and has invested feats into using both of those things well. This worked well with the previous version of the Mystic, which allowed for proficiency in heavy armor, and synergized well with the greatsword by giving options that don't rely as heavily on dexterity for survivability as the current version does.

Other players have expressed some level of discomfort with the version of the class we are using now, such as it completely outperforming the paladin in ways that the paladin should be built to shine–by adding significant amounts of damage on hits, similar to the paladin's Divine Smite. Some of those concerns would be mitigated by moving forward with the update, but it also seems to open up a lot more concerns, such as overshadowing the wizard in a similar manner, by taking Mastery of Fire, which allows the Mystic to use Detonation, which outshines the wizard's signature Fireball and control spells by doing both at once for the same cost.

We discussed before the game started that changes might be made to the class, and had agreed to review and analyze those choices before settling on a course of action. However, we had not anticipated that the changes would be so severe as to change the identity of the character.

I see several options forward, but none seems to be a perfect solution to maximize the fun of the effected player, and the balance against other players.

How can I mitigate these identity-altering rules changes while keeping the game fun for the player affected, and well-balanced with the other characters?

Ideally, answers will be backed up by experience with a similar situation, in this system or others, and will provide–or help my group arrive at–a solution to help improve the game experience for everyone affected.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast - That concern was shared with me by the wizard, and I've edited the question to be more specific on what the expected issues are there. \$\endgroup\$ – inthemanual Mar 14 '17 at 21:44
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I think the primary questions you need to ask yourself are...

  1. Is everyone at the table enjoying the character under the old playtest rules? Is it not too strong, not too weak, and do you anticipate that being true going forward?
  2. Is the player going to enjoy using the new rules more than they would sticking with the old ones?

If the answer is yes to 1 and no to 2, then I don't see any reason to switch to the new rules. If either 1 is no or 2 is yes, then you should consider changing, even if there needs to be some suspension of disbelief about the character changing its abilities for no good reason (note that this often happens when characters level up and they magically forget an old spell and retrain it to a new one, on Monday they can cast sleep and on Tuesday they've forgotten it but are all of a sudden chucking magic missiles around).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The answer to both questions is "No" and that's why this is a difficult question. I hurt one player's fun by keeping the rules as-is, and another's by changing them. \$\endgroup\$ – inthemanual Mar 27 '17 at 0:48
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Are you using the playtest rules primarily to test the rules and provide feedback to the developers or to have a great game?

If the primary goal is to test the system, then you should have the player retcon the PC back to the newest version of the rules. This way, your playtest feedback will be consistent with the rules you're testing.

If the primary goal is to play a fun game, then you should discuss with the player how they would prefer to proceed. Give them the option of retconing to the latest rules, playing the old rules, or perhaps an in-game "transition phase" of a level or so as they phase out the old stuff and phase in the new.

But either way, you shouldn't dictate the path forward. Talk to the player and work with them to decide what's best for your group.

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Talk with your players.

Explain that in light of the new release, it looks like WotC thinks the current mystic is OP. Do they think so? If the party feels like the mystic has been overshadowing the rest of the players, and they feel like they are taking a back seat to this player, you should seriously consider nerfing the mystic to make it more balanced to your party.

Changing the Mystic

If the party has determined that you need to change the character, work with the player to make the changes. Are they happy with their current play style? Make mechanical (especially numerical) changes to reduce their overall power without changing their play style or character type.

If your player is not enjoying their current play style, but wants to continue to play a mystic, then take a look at the new Mystic and see if that fits their vision for the character better than the existing.

If not (and if you're feeling up to it), try your hand at homebrewing some new content. Maybe you just need to swap out a feature or two. Maybe you need a new archetype. If you're feeling super adventurous, you could try a complete overall or even creating a whole class from scratch. Feel free to borrow some ideas from other homebrew mystics or similar classes. The Unearthed Arcana subreddit and DandDwiki.com have lots of homebrew content to pick through.

Warning: DanDwiki.com is almost entirely comprised of significantly OP content. Be careful pulling from there. Great for conceptual inspiration, poor for integrating in their entirety into your campaign. If you don't feel up to the task, don't bother.

For Future Reference

This would be a good exercise to periodically with your players if your run any UA or homebrew content. Sit down and figure out if people think this character is OP. If so, make small adjustments. UA and homebrew content tends to be OP compared to official content, so almost all of your changes will be nerfing (which IMO is easier than buffing, since it requires less creativity). If you feel so inclined, send your changes off to WotC or the homebrew creator, they'll be thrilled to hear about your findings, so that they can incorporate them into updated versions of the material.

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