Psionic Energy Dice

On November 25, 2020, D&D Principal Rules Designer clarified that the Psi Warrior and Soulknife get different pools of Psionic Energy dice, which they can only spend on the powers from their own Psionic Power class feature:

As such, the analysis below is wrong, but will be maintained for archival purposes.

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything came out this week, heralding the introduction of the first official psionic subclasses into 5th Edition D&D!

Two of these psionic subclasses, the Psi Warrior (Fighter) and the Soulknife (Rogue), have a class feature called Psionic Power, that gives them Psionic Energy dice to fuel different powers.

Psionic Energy dice scale in number (twice your proficiency bonus) and size (along with class level).

Double Dice?

You might be inclined to multiclass into Psi Warrior/Soulknife to double your available Psionic Energy dice pool. Not so fast.

That’s not how it works. While you won’t find this new class feature among those duplicated features with special treatment (Player’s Handbook p. 164), 5e actually has some additional patched-in rules about game effects that have the same name (Dungeon Master’s Guide p. 252). If you crack open an early printing of the DMG, you might not even find this rule. It was added during the 2016 errata:

Combining Game Effects (p. 252). 

This is a new subsection at the end of the “Combat” section:

Different game features can affect a target at the same time. But when two or more game features have the same name, only the effects of one of them—the most potent one—apply while the durations of the effects overlap. For example, if a target is ignited by a fire elemental’s Fire Form trait, the ongoing fire damage doesn’t increase if the burning target is subjected to that trait again. Game features include spells, class features, feats, racial traits, monster abilities, and magic items. See the related rule in the “Combining Magical Effects” section of chapter 10 in the Player’s Handbook.

While this errata language is a little robust for applying to our example (see also this tweet from Principal Rules Designer Jeremy E. Crawford), it’s clear as to the two rules that apply:

  1. “When two or more game features have the same name, only the effects of one of them…apply.”
  2. “Game features include…class features.”

So, if you multiclass into Psi Warrior 3/Soulknife 3, you will get the additional options for using your Psionic Energy dice. You will not get additional Psionic Energy dice, because that’s the same benefit from a class feature with the same name.

Example: On a Psi Warrior 3/Soulknife 3, you’d have 6 Psionic Energy dice (2x your +3 Proficiency Bonus) which are a d6 (Psi Warrior) or d6 (Soulknife). If you level either class up to 5, then you can take the d8 Psionic Power die from the higher class. Since your proficiency bonus scales independently of dice, the number of dice you get is not affected by multiclassing.

Psionic Power Progression

Since you may still be interested in multiclassing Psi Warrior/Soulknife to pick up all the psionic goodies you can wrap your mind around, here’s some helpful charts to help you plot out your Psionic Energy dice pool progression.

If you’re looking to get a jump on that psionic power right away, here’s some charts that show the Psionic Energy dice pool progression once you’ve multiclasses into Psi Warrior 3/Soulknife 3.

Since the most effective class progression probably doesn’t jump straight into Psi Warrior 3/Soulknife 3, here’s some additional charts to consider for players that will sooner chase the Fighter’s extra attacks:

If you want to run your own Psionic Power progression charts, you can use the Psionic Energy Dice calculator on the ThinkDM Patreon!

Today’s cover art is a hue shift of Andrew Mar’s official art for the Mind Sliver from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.

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