Last Updated on January 22, 2023
Psi Warrior Fighter
In today’s article, we’re going to be talking all about the Psi Warrior. This guide will cover everything from the basics of the class’s pros and cons to the step-by-step process of creating your very own powerful kinetic warrior ready for battles of not just brawn but brains as well.
It is the warrior way to train not just your body but your mind and spirit as well. Whether you’re a knight, monk, or barbarian (okay, maybe not barbarian), you need to have the mental fortitude to carry yourself in battle. After all, the mind is the pathway to strong battle tactics, and it allows you to practice discipline in a fight.
Going off of all the kung-fu and samurai movies I watched growing up, this has to be true, but we don’t see a lot of this in D&D. Intelligence and wisdom often end up as dump-stats for the warrior types because, at the end of the day, this is a game where numbers matter.
Even the Battle Master fighter, the master tactician and one of the best fighter subclasses, has barely any focus on mental stats. They’re just naturally good at everything I guess; thus their charisma modifier comes into play more than a few times.
So what, do we have to be a monk if we want a warrior with a brain? No, of course not. The fighter has everything we’re looking for, and if you don’t want intelligence to be stretched all the way into the territory of spellcasting, you can jump into the Psi Warrior martial archetype.
This telekinetic, mind-power-wielding fighter has got to be one of my favorite subclasses, and while there’s a good chance that’s because they make the perfect template for playing a Jedi in 5e, they also have a lot of great features to sweeten the deal.
- Psionic Energy Dice
- Psychic Attacks
- Psionic Protection
The Psi warrior’s abilities are all pretty apparent when you look at the name. They’re a psi — psychically empowered — warrior — experienced soldier or fighter. In other words, they’re a fighter with psychic abilities, and it’s just about that cut and dry.
In order to utilize these psychic abilities, which affect this martial archetype in a number of ways, we get a form of resource called Psionic Energy dice.
Psionic Energy Dice
Most classes and subclasses have some form of resource pool to pull on when they want to activate an ability. The most common of these are spell slots, but monks get ki points, Battle Master fighters get Superiority dice, and even barbarians can only use their rage a limited amount of times before needing a long rest.
I specify this because it’s easy to feel like a subclass is getting the short end of the stick when all of their abilities require spending a resource, which is mostly the case for the Psi warrior. While a few features can be used once before spending a die, almost every single feature in this subclass is related to psionic energy dice in some way.
This isn’t a bad thing at all; it just requires us to be conservative and tactical with how we use our dice. We can make a direct comparison already with the Battle Master fighter, which is no doubt the best fighter subclass.
The Psi warrior gets a number of dice equal to twice their proficiency bonus, which means we start with four dice at 3rd level, but quickly increase and eventually end up with 12 dice by 20th level. On the other hand, the fighter starts off with four and only gains two additional dice over its progression.
This might seem like Psi warrior wins the game, but I did withhold a little bit of information. The Psi warrior only regains all expended dice on a long rest, while the Battle Master regains all on a short or long rest. The psi warrior does have the ability to gain one back per short rest though, so we’re going to say these are basically even with the psi warrior pulling slightly ahead of the race.
To be compared to the Battle Master and be able to stand toe to toe is pretty impressive, but we needn’t get too excited yet. We still have to look at how these dice actually get used.
The first piece of the puzzle is the psychic attacks this subclass makes, otherwise known as psionic strikes. Starting at 3rd level, you can expend a die once per turn when you hit a creature with a weapon attack to dish out some extra damage using your mind. Ironically, this is force damage, but that’s because we’re hitting them with a blast of telekinetic energy, not messing with their minds.
This is pretty solid, and since our dice start at d6 and eventually increase to d12s, it’s essentially like getting another extra attack in your turn, as if the fighter didn’t have enough already. Plus, we’ll be adding our intelligence modifier to the damage dealt, proving that we actually are a class where our minds matter.
What’s really great here is that this ability grows as you level up through this subclass’s progression. Once you hit 7th level, your kinetic burst of energy is enough to send the target of your attack flying.
In order to actually push a creature 10 feet with your psionic strike, they need to make a Strength save against a DC decided by your intelligence modifier (8 + proficiency bonus +Int modifier). If they fail, we can push them for some strategic movement, or we can knock them prone.
Obviously, knocking them prone is going to be the go-to here as it gives us advantage on the rest of our melee attacks against them.
While most Psi warriors will be burning their psionic dice to dish out extra damage, some may choose to activate their protective field ability. Instead of stacking some extra damage on an attack, this allows you to reduce the damage a nearby creature would receive.
Again, we roll a die and add our intelligence modifier to the result. Even at early levels, this should be enough to pretty reliably protect our allies in a tough situation. It might not seem like we’re doing a lot, but even a d6 plus, let’s say a modifier of 2, is going to net us an average of 6 points.
At third level, when the average amount of HP is only 14 or so and the average attack is dealing 5 damage, this psionic protection is going to be the difference between life and death time and time again.
Interestingly, this ability doesn’t get consistently better or worse. As you near 5th level, 8th level, 11th level, and 17th level (the levels when your dice increase in quality), this will start to feel less and less effective.
Since the modifier isn’t directly related to level but rather to a tier of play, the higher levels of each tier are going to be a struggle to get through. Sure, each tier does offer a big jump in how much damage creatures are dealing, but they’re still steadily increasing along each CR.
When we look at this ability from all of its angles, even the unflattering ones, we see that it’s just okay. If we were to use our rating system on it (find that below) we’d probably put it in as a B.
You’re not going to be building a tanky guardian fighter because of this ability. You’re not going to siphon all of your Psionic Energy dice into minimizing damage. However, it’s still a great ability to have in your back pocket. It may be the difference between a TPK and a victory, or it might just keep an ally safe for an extra turn.
Now, there are other protective features that come into play that justify this ability a bit more and give you the option to roll with a much more protective fighter. There’s Guarded Mind, which gives you resistance to psychic damage and lets you more easily escape the charmed and frightening conditions, a great and straightforward feature if there ever was one.
Then, there’s Bulwark of Force. It comes in at 15th level, which is a bit too late to let it decide the build’s direction, but it’s definitely welcomed with open arms. This feature creates a protective barrier around a number of creatures up to your INT modifier and offers each of them the effects of half cover.
Half cover, as you may know, provides a +2 bonus to AC and Dexterity saving throws. Since this bonus lasts for a minute or until you’re capacitated, this is kind of like a nice concentration spell, except you won’t have to worry about actually holding concentration.
The last part of this subclass is where I think it gets really exciting. After all, what’s a psychically empowered warrior without the ability to move things around with their mind? I mean, okay, probably a telepath, but this fighter definitely cares more about the kinetic energy.
There are two ways we can move things around with our mind with the first coming in as soon as we take this subclass — an ability called Telekinetic Movement.
Telekinetic Movement lets us move a Large or smaller object or a willing creature other than ourselves up to 30 feet action. It also lets us move Tiny objects to or from our hand as part of this action.
This is really awesome. Sure, it’s not necessarily the greatest combat ability out there, but it’s going to allow you to overcome a lot of obstacles when interacting with the environment.
There are a couple of interesting things that I want to point out. Call them loopholes if you will.
First, with the way this is worded in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, the willing creature has no specified size. It’s a small win, but it’s very clear that we can move any creature around that we want so long as they’re willing.
The other piece of this is that it doesn’t specify how fast we move the object or creature. I mention this because 5e is normally pretty straightforward on whether or not something can be used as an attack. In more rules-lite RPGs or older versions of D&D, “not specified” always leans toward “open to interpretation,” whereas, in 5e, not saying something can be used as an attack is probably as good as saying it can’t be used as an attack.
I definitely tend to stray toward a rules-lite, “as the DM sees fit” approach to 5e and RPGs in general, so I’ll make my opinions/suggestions clear. In the right circumstances, whatever that means for your table, you should definitely be able to make a telekinetic movement attack when moving an object around.
Sure, it’s probably not going to get you a d12, and you might’ve just been better off shooting an arrow, but that doesn’t adhere to the foremost rule in all of D&D, the rule of cool.
Shenanigans aside, you’re going to be able to use telekinetic movement for quite a lot, although, as with any environmental abilities, it is still campaign dependent. In a campaign that is almost all combat and social interactions, picking something up and moving it around isn’t going to be incredibly useful.
Later on, and I mean much later on, we get our capstone ability Telekinetic Master, which allows us to cast the Telekinesis spell without components. Once we’ve cast it once, we can cast it again by expending a psionic energy die.
This spell is essentially a buffed-up version of our telekinetic movement, which makes a lot of sense and makes it a much better choice for our psionic energy dice most of the time.
- Casting Time: 1 action
- Range: 60 feet
- Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes
You gain the ability to move or manipulate creatures or objects by thought. When you cast this spell and as your action each round for the duration, you can exert your will on one creature or object that you can see within range, causing the appropriate effect below. You can affect the same target round after round or choose a new one at any time. If you switch targets, the prior target is no longer affected by the spell.
Psi Warrior Only – On each of your turns for the duration, you may also use a bonus action to make a weapon attack.
- You can try to move a Huge or smaller creature. Make an Intelligence check contested by the creature’s Strength check. If you win the contest, you move the creature up to 30 feet in any direction, including upward but not beyond the range of this spell. Until the end of your next turn, the creature is restrained in your telekinetic grip. A creature lifted upwards is suspended in mid-air.
- On subsequent rounds, you can use your action to maintain your telekinetic grip on the creature by repeating the contest.
- You can try to move an object that weighs up to 1,000 pounds. If the object isn’t being worn or carried, you automatically move it up to 30 feet in any direction but not beyond the range of this spell.
- If the object is worn or carried by a creature, you must make an Intelligence check contested by that creature’s Strength check. If you succeed, you pull the object away from that creature and can move it up to 30 feet in any direction but not beyond the range of this spell.
- You can exert fine control on objects with your telekinetic grip, such as manipulating a simple tool, opening a door or container, stowing or retrieving an item from an open container, or pouring the contents from a vial.
(I have replaced sections where this spell states “an ability check with your spellcasting ability” with “an intelligence check” since the psi warrior uses intelligence as their spellcasting ability for this spell.)
As you can see, there’s a lot more that we gain from this feature, and it really feels like the completion of the subclass. It may just be one of the biggest power jumps for a subclass’s capstone, but we’re not here to complain. Well, at least not a lot.
With everything put together, this is a really impressive subclass. It definitely has its limitations, which I’ll get to in a second, but it certainly achieves the goal of creating a psychically empowered warrior character. Use your powers to protect your allies, throw your enemies around, or just move things with your mind because it’s cool and helpful.
- Not as good as the Battle Master
- Better Options for Kineticists
- Divergent Focuses
The 5e impetus behind each subclass is to create characters who feel truly powerful. All of the features you get are supposed to pile up so that you end up with an incredibly powerful character by 20th level, a master in your field and truly unique.
This isn’t an opinion, it’s an observation backed up by knowledge of 5e’s game-design tenets. One of the core tenets is to avoid mechanics, be they spells, features, feats, racial traits, or whatever, that overlap. No subclass should outshine another. There should never be a “clear winner.”
We’ve looked at the Psi warrior on its own merit, and it’s a pretty great subclass. Now, let’s look at it compared to everything else that’s out there.
The first place I want to start has nothing to do with all of the fantastical psychic abilities of this subclass. No, we’re looking at the fighter who, unfortunately, all other fighters need to be compared against. Since the Battle Master is hands down the best fighter subclass to date, it’s no surprise we’d want to see how things stack up.
Interestingly, these two martial archetypes are extremely similar, even if they’re thematically very different. Both classes use a pool of dice to activate numerous abilities, including increased attack damage and protecting your allies.
This is the core, and at the core, the Battle Master does it better. They start off with better dice (d8 rather than d6), can more easily refresh their pool (regaining expended uses on a short rest), and have so many more options to achieve their goals.
Interestingly, the Battle Master has a number of maneuvers that are extremely similar to those of the Psi warrior, and it’s not a far stretch to let a player flavor those abilities as being psionically charged.
The only unique and impressive thing that leaves us with this subclass is the ability to move things around with our mind. Oh no! That’s not unique either. In fact, one of the features is just access to a spell, and the other is a pretty insubstantial bout of telepathy.
A spellcaster could easily outfit themselves with a number of spells that are implicitly telekinetic or at the very least easy to theme as such. Then, there’s an entire feat called Telekinetic that gives you an empowered mage hand, something that requires no resources to move things around at will.
While this class is functional at attacking, defending, and producing feats of mental magic, it just isn’t doing any of these well enough to make it a better option than others. There’s not enough uniqueness here to let the subclass really stand in its own light.
That brings us to the last point. The Psi warrior tries to do a lot, which is admirable but also part of its downfall.
You see, there are two pieces of internal synergy that we should be concerned with when looking at subclass abilities. We want to make sure they fit together thematically and mechanically. Unfortunately, the Psi warrior features really only have a thematic tie, and that means it’s far too easy for us to unravel.
This subclass isn’t a fighter who can easily overcome their enemies with psychic abilities. It isn’t a tanky warrior that can protect their allies with ease. It isn’t a master of telekinesis, throwing things about with their mind. It’s just a character with a bit of psionic energy that can do some of those things for a limited amount of time.
Black Citadel’s Ranking and Tier System
Color and Tier ranking is very helpful when you’re trying to digest a lot of information. In our ongoing series of 5e class guides, we use the following color-rating scheme:
- Red – C Tier. Red options can sometimes be situationally useful and might make for an interesting narrative choice, but they are largely less effective than other tiers.
- Green – B Tier. Solid but nothing that is absolutely critical for a build, or Green can be very good but only in very specific situations.
- Blue – A Tier. An excellent choice. Widely regarded as powerful in some way, useful, highly effective.
- Purple – S Tier. The top of our rankings. Objectively powerful or transformative in some way. No choice in D&D is essential, but these options are worth strongly considering when you create your character.
Our goal here is to provide scannable but comprehensive guides for you as you develop your character.
While we might sometimes make reference to unofficial or homebrew content to illustrate a point (or just because it’s too cool not to talk about), every option we suggest is legal in the official rules for D&D 5e as published by Wizards of the Coast.
When building a character, we start by figuring out which ability scores to focus on. For a rune knight, that’s going to be strength and constitution, without a doubt. While most fighters can use strength or dexterity interchangeably, the focus on strength and size we see in this class just further locks us into melee strength-based combat.
Below I’ve listed each ability score and just how important it is to this subclass.
- Primary: Strength
- Tier II: Constitution, Intelligence
- Tier III: Dexterity
- Dump Tier: Wisdom, Charisma
Strength: The most important stat. This allows us to actually be a fighter who can deal damage to our opponents — without that we’re just a glorified street magician.
Dexterity: While we won’t be using this for much, it’s still incredibly important that our AC is high enough to keep us alive before we’re creating half cover. Plus, while we could use heavy armor, this sort of build implies a bit more freedom of movement.
Constitution: Constitution is going to give us our hit points, and while that’s the only place it really comes into play, it’s still enough to place it as our 3rd priority.
Intelligence: Intelligence is used in most of our psionic abilities, meaning we’d be lost without it. We’ll want to have it as our 2nd-place score if not tied with constitution.
Wisdom: Wisdom is useful for insight, perception, and more, and it can be great for just generally discerning information. It’s not directly tied to our build, but that doesn’t make it a bad ability.
Charisma: We don’t have much use for charisma, although some multiclass builds might have a bit of desire to combine more telepathic and charismatic options with this for a full psionic spread.
Now that we know what we’re about and what we’re looking for, we can choose a race for our Psi warrior. This will affect our ability scores, and we’ll get some racial traits that can bolster our build in a number of ways.
Of course, 5e has had some big changes since it was first introduced in 2014, and we’ve seen the dawn of Custom Ability Score Increases as the new standard for races. While there are still plenty of races that offer up specific bonuses to one or two ability scores, many now give you the option to put +2 in one ability score and +1 in another or +3 in three separate ability scores.
Our recommendations are mostly based on the original type of 5e race since the Ability Score increase is definitely the most important aspect to consider. If we suggest a newer race, that’s because the racial traits are outstandingly fitting for this subclass.
Githyanki: +2 Strength and +1 Intelligence is a great start, but you can also take this class using the custom Ability Score increase if you need to swap things around a bit. This class has been reprinted since its original release, so you get the choice here of whether you want legacy or modern rulings.
Githyanki also get some innate spellcasting with intelligence as the spellcasting feature. Probably the best part of this is access to the Mage Hand cantrip with the slight modification that the hand is invisible. This is essentially a free and slightly weaker version of your Telekinetic Movement feature and an absolutely amazing way to conserve your psionic energy dice.
Mountain Dwarf: +2 Strength and +2 Constitution is the perfect storm for most fighters, and there’s no exception for this class. Even though intelligence is your secondary ability score, the +4 racial boost is welcome and beneficial. It means that you can put a good, natural roll into intelligence and also never deal with constitution again.
This race also provides dwarven resilience, a great way to reinforce your role as a more tanky character, at least whenever you’re dealing with poison.
Goliath: +2 Strength and +1 Constitution makes this race another fighter, or even just martial, staple. We also get Stone’s Endurance, a feature that lets us reduce incoming damage by 1d12 once before recharging the ability on a short or long rest. That’s one option to conserve our psionic energy dice, which is always something we’re looking for.
Half-Orc: +2 Strength and +1 Constitution. Orcs are one of the few races that are going to give us some serious benefits in combat. Their Relentless Endurance is going to have us drop to 1 hit point instead of 0 if we wouldn’t die outright, a trait we can use once a day.
More importantly though, Savage Attacks lets us roll one of our weapon’s damage dice an additional time when we score critical hits. With the amount of attacks available to fighters, this is going to stack up to a whole lot of additional damage over time. It might not relate to our psionic abilities, but it can certainly help us out with being a better fighter.
Skills allow us to overcome obstacles outside of combat, whether those are puzzles, traps, or the scariest of all, social interaction. The skills we choose will often define how we roleplay our characters, so while I’ll be making suggestions, it’s important to choose the ones that interest you.
Fighters choose two skill proficiencies from Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics, History, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, and Survival.
Acrobatics: This is a useful skill and could certainly come in handy for us. While our abilities don’t directly synergize with nimbleness, it can be useful to move around and get where we need to be to better exert our influence over a situation.
Animal Handling: Animal handling is very campaign dependent. Some campaigns will hardly feature animals that can be handled, making this useless. Still, if you’re interested in taking it, you can always mention your interest to your DM in hopes that more opportunities to use it will arise.
Athletics: This is the only strength-based skill in 5e, which makes it a viable choice for most fighters.
History: There isn’t much to suggest that this subclass would be knowledgeable about history, but again, take it if it suits you.
Insight: If we want to have a go at social interaction, we can grab this, but it’s not innately useful or synergistic.
Intimidation: If we want to have a go at social interaction we can grab this, but it’s not innately useful or synergistic.
Perception: Perception is always a useful skill as it’s one of the few that we use even passively. Adding proficiency here can protect us from surprise and give us the upper hand in many different scenarios.
Survival: Leave survival to the rangers and druids.
Choosing a background is mostly about flavor. It gives us a foundation on which to build our backstory and also tells us how we make money and/or survive in the world. Additionally, backgrounds often offer us some starting equipment, proficiencies, and a feature or two that are all useful in the overworld.
In truth, there really are no “optimized” backgrounds. Plus, for this class, the origin of your powers is going to be much more based in your backstory than your background. We are put in an interesting situation. Since there are no backgrounds that clearly relate to psychic abilities, we can pick whatever we want without even having to worry about thematic symmetry.
You could create a soldier that was part of some form of MK Ultra / super-soldier experiment. You could opt for the sage background and have your psychic abilities be the result of years of honing your mental powers in a monk-like fashion. You could have your character given these powers at birth, with whatever level of mystery attached to that that you want.
No matter what background you choose, you can apply the Psi warrior to it in some way and vice versa.
Psi Warrior Fighter Progression
Features that you automatically obtain through the Fighter class will appear in Yellow and features that you gain through the Rune Knight subclass will appear in Gray.
Filling Out the Character Sheet (Level 0)
- Hit Dice: 1d10 per fighter level
- Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + your Constitution modifier
- HP at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + your Constitution modifier per fighter level after 1st
- Armor: All armor, shields
- Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
- Tools: None
- Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
- Skills: Choose two skills from Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics, History, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, and Survival
You start with the following equipment in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) chain mail or (b) leather, longbow, and 20 arrows
- (a) a martial weapon and a shield or (b) two martial weapons
- (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) two handaxes
- (a) a dungeoneer’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
Choose a fighting style from the list below:
- Archery. Gain a +2 bonus to ranged weapon attack rolls.
- Blind Fighting. You have blindsight with a range of 10 feet.
- Defense. Gain a +1 bonus to AC while wearing armor.
- Dueling. When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.
- Great Weapon Fighting. When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll, even if the new roll is a 1 or a 2. The weapon must have the two-handed or versatile property for you to gain this benefit.
- Interception. When a creature you can see hits a target, other than you, within 5 feet of you with an attack, you can use your reaction to reduce the damage the target takes by 1d10 + your proficiency bonus. You must be wielding a shield or a simple or martial weapon to use this reaction.
- Protection. When a creature you can see attacks a target other than you that is within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll. You must be wielding a shield.
- Superior Technique. You learn one maneuver of your choice from among those available to the Battle Master archetype. If a maneuver you use requires your target to make a saving throw to resist the maneuver’s effects, the Saving throw DC equals 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength or Dexterity modifier (your choice.) You gain one superiority die, which is a d6 (this die is added to any superiority dice you have from another source). This die is used to fuel your maneuvers. A superiority die is expended when you use it. You regain your expended superiority dice when you finish a short or long rest.
- Thrown Weapon Fighting. You can draw a weapon that has the thrown property as part of the attack you make with the weapon. In addition, when you hit with a ranged attack using a thrown weapon, you gain a +2 bonus to the damage roll.
- Two-Weapon Fighting. When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.
- Unarmed Fighting. Your unarmed strikes can deal bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier on a hit. If you aren’t wielding any weapons or a shield when you make the attack roll, the d6 becomes a d8. At the start of each of your turns, you can deal 1d4 bludgeoning damage to one creature grappled by you.
The best choices in this feature for a rune knight are probably Great Weapon Fighting and Superior Technique. GWF will greatly increase your damage output while gaining a few battle maneuvers can bring a lot of diversity to this subclass’s abilities.
On your turn, you can use a bonus action to regain hit points equal to 1d10 + your fighter level. You must finish a short or long rest before you can reuse this feature.
On your turn, you can take one additional action. Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again. Starting at 17th level, you can use it twice before a rest but only once per turn.
This feature is hugely beneficial and should definitely be used while you have one of your minute-long effects up and running so that you can get the maximum value.
You get a pool of Psionic Energy dice, which is a number of dice equal to twice your proficiency bonus that can be used to activate a number of abilities offered throughout this class. You regain all expended dice on a long rest and can also use a bonus action to regain a single expended dice, but you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest.
These dice start off as d6 but increase at 5th level (d8), 11th level (d10), and 17th level (d12).
At 3rd level, you gain the following uses for your Psionic Energy dice.
Protective Field. When you or another creature you can see within 30 feet of you takes damage, you can use your reaction to expend one Psionic Energy dice, roll the die, then reduce the damage taken by the number rolled plus your Int modifier (minimum 1).
Psionic Strike. Once on each of your turns, immediately after you hit a target within 30 feet of you with a weapon attack, you can expend one Psionic Energy die, rolling it and dealing additional force damage to the target equal to the number rolled plus your Int modifier.
Telekinetic Movement. As an action, you target one loose object that is Large or smaller or one willing creature, other than yourself, within 30 feet of you that you can see and move it up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space you can see. If you target a Tiny object, you can move it to or from your hand.
Once you take this action, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest or until you expend a Psionic Energy die to take it again.
You can either increase one ability by 2 points or two abilities by 1. Alternatively, you can choose a feature; if you already have great stats, this is a great choice.
Martial Versatility (Optional):
Whenever you receive an ASI, you can also choose to do one of the following:
- You can choose to switch out your fighting style for a different one.
- If you know any Battle Master maneuvers, you can replace one you know with a different maneuver.
Fighters get to make a second attack whenever they take the Attack action as a part of their turn. This increases to three attacks at 11th level and four at 20th level.
You gain two new ways to use your telekinetic abilities.
Psi-Powered Leap. As a bonus action, you can gain a flying speed equal to twice your walking speed until the end of the current turn. Once you take this bonus action, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest unless you expend a Psionic Energy die to take it again.
Telekinetic Thrust. When you deal damage to a target with your Psionic Strike, you can force the target to make a Strength saving throw against a DC equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier. If the save fails, you can knock the target prone or move it up to 10 feet in any direction horizontally.
You can reroll a saving throw that you fail, and you must use the new roll. Indomitable can’t be used again until you finish a long rest. This feature can be used twice between long rests starting at 13th level and three times between long rests starting at 17th level.
You have resistance to psychic damage. Additionally, if you start your turn charmed or frightened, you can expend a Psionic Energy die and end every effect on yourself subjecting you to those conditions.
Bulwark of Force:
As a bonus action, you can choose a number of creatures up to your Intelligence modifier that you can see within 30 feet of you. Each of these creatures is protected by half cover for 1 minute or until you’re incapacitated.
Once you take this bonus action, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest unless you expend a Psionic Energy die to take it again.
You can cast the Telekinesis spell, requiring no components, and your spellcasting ability is Intelligence. On each of your turns, while you concentrate on the spell, including the turn when you cast it, you can make one attack with a weapon as a bonus action.
Once you cast the spell with this feature, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest unless you expend a Psionic Energy die to cast it again.
Feats are an excellent way to customize, specialize, and optimize your build. You can use them to pick up the slack in areas where your build is lacking, or you can use them to bolster the abilities that are already powerful.
Fighters get access to one more ASI than all the other classes, meaning they can get one more feat than other classes.
Below are a few suggested feats that fit perfectly with the Psi Warrior.
The telekinetic feat is probably the best feat for this subclass. I mean, it’s a way to make any fighter feel like the Psi warrior, so it’s definitely a way to improve the Psi warrior.
This feat gives you a +1 to your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma score, and we’ll clearly be choosing Intelligence. More importantly, it gives you access to the Mage Hand cantrip (or increases the range by 30 feet if you already have access to it) and makes it invisible when you cast it.
You can also now use this mage hand to shove a creature you can see within 30 feet of you. To do so, the target must make a saving throw against your Spell save DC for this spell (8 + proficiency bonus + intelligence modifier). If they fail or if they choose to fail, they are moved 5 feet away from or toward you.
We’ve already discussed that the Battle Master is a better version of this subclass, so one way we can improve is by just stealing their features. This feat gives us two Battle Master maneuvers and a superiority die, which is a d6. It’s just two uses per day, but it’s enough of a bonus to make us better at what we’re trying to focus on, and it can be easily flavored as extra psychic influences.
Psi Warrior Fighter Build
For the following example build, we’ve used the standard set of scores provided in the PHB (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8) when deciding ability scores.
This section will provide you with a collection of the best choices from this article put into a single character build along with explanations of different synergies and a general path for progression.
- Race: Githyanki
- Background: Soldier
- Ability Scores: STR 16, DEX 12, CON 13, INT 16, WIS 8, CHA 10
- Skill Proficiencies: Perception, Athletics, Intimidation, Acrobatics
- Language Proficiencies: Common, Gith
- Tool Proficiencies: Vehicles (land), one type of gaming set
- Equipment: Chain mail, glaive, great axe, two handaxes, explorer’s pack, an insignia of rank, a trophy taken from a fallen enemy, a deck of cards, a set of common clothes, a pouch containing 10 gp
- Fighting Style: Superior Technique
- Feats: Telekinetic, Martial Adept
- Battle Master Maneuvers: Disarming Strike, Parry, Precision Attack
This Psi warrior takes everything they can get to bolster their abilities. The two main things that we’re focusing on are improved telekinesis and more combat options.
For telekinesis, we’re going to lean heavily on the Mage Hand cantrip. While it has its limits, it’s still a free-to-cast spell that lets us move things with our mind. Taking it as a Githyanki makes it invisible, and then picking up the Telekinetic feat at 4th level gives it an extra 30 feet of range and lets us shove people with it.
This means that at 4th level we have a free-to-activate, invisible, spectral hand that we can use to move creatures 5 feet as a bonus action on our turn. With this, we only need to use Telekinetic Movement to manipulate objects weighing more than 10 pounds or to do some serious movement of our allies.
Next up are the Battle Master maneuvers we’ve picked up. We get one from our fighting style at 2nd level and two more from the Martial Adept feat that we can take at 6th or 8th level. Along with two dice per rest, or four dice a day, we have some seriously improved ability to manipulate the battlefield.
The options I’ve chosen all feel like they could be achieved through psionic abilities, which is the main point, but they’re also mechanically synergistic. We won’t want to over-rely on them, but unless we’re getting into several combats per day, we’ll have plenty of resources to activate our abilities when we need them.
This build altogether is much closer to the power level of a Battle Master, and it’s not just because of the addition of the maneuvers. The further focus on being a combatant, along with more reliable ways to avoid using our resources outside of battle, all pull together to give us a Psi warrior who actually holds their own.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide and that it’s given you everything you need to create the perfect Psi warrior build for you. Be sure to check out some of our other fighter subclass guides to get a full idea of your options, and as always, happy adventuring.
- About Author
- Latest Posts
As a kid, I was often told to get my head out of the clouds and to stop living in a fantasy world. That never really jived with me, so I decided to make a living out of games, stories, and all sorts of fantastical works. Now, as an adult, I aspire to remind people that sometimes a little bit of fantasy is all you need when life gets to be too much.