Subclass Review: Psyborg: Fighter Subclass (Anthony Joyce): 4 Stars
Duergar blacksmiths uncovered the secrets to constructing psybernetic implants; mechanical devices which replace natural body parts and channel psionic energy. Recently, a mysterious organization has leaked these secrets, granting non-duergar access to psybernetic implants technology for the first time ever.
Anthony Joyce’s Psyborg is a fighter archetype the seems a combination of the Eldritch Knight and the Mystic. It features amazing art, like all of the Heir of Orcus publications, and offers a rich variety of roleplay and mechanical options. Like the mystic, its breadth is concerning, though it is in this versatility that the Psyborg presents both its inherent balance and its possibly maddening limitations for certain types of players. The Psyborg has amazing potential for the right type of player–one who can focus on just a few aspects and embrace the inherent roleplay of the class without being tempted to feel as though they’re missing out.
Themed Implants. The entire premise of the Psyborg focuses around 8 different implants, representing the 8 different schools of magic and replacing 8 different body parts. You can have 5 maximum, if you’re Constitution is high enough. The implants are themed, providing access to a different school of magic: eyeball for divination, brain for enchantment, the heart for necromancy, etc. Not only does this provide a unique approach to third-caster spell access, it also provides many opportunities for fun roleplay–how did you receive this implant? Does it do anything specific when you cast spells? Joyce’s execution of the implants brings a fresh perspective to this fighter archetype.
Breadth of Content. There is an amazing variety and flexibility available in this subclass. Darkvision, increased speed, increased damage, and telepathy–in addition to all the spells you receive, you can build this class to almost any role. The variety is encouraging in that this archetype could be almost universally appealing and brings even more versatility to a class that is already one of the most flexible. However, as we’ll see, if you try to do everything with this class, the breadth of options will actually result in a weak, ineffective character.
Artwork. As with all of the Heir of Orcus products, Dsurion’s artwork is amazing. It adds extreme value, uniqueness, and branding to the product and is almost worth buying for the artwork alone.
Spells. The new spells are probably my favorite part of this product. There’s quite a few of them, and they aren’t overly powerful, adding primarily utility buffs like speed, jump, and other things that are valuable but not just raw damage. The spells all pair nicely with the abilities and theme of the archetype itself, and do so in a way that don’t add an extreme amount of power. They help focus the class on a specific path rather than adding even more variability to it.
Ability Score Dependence. As a fighter, your damage is based on Strength or Dexterity. The number of implants you can have is built on your Constitution modifier (making it even more valuable than the traditional Eldritch Knight), and your casting ability in Charisma. It’s almost impossible to get “everything you want” out of this archetype, and it’s likely you’ll end up sacrificing a bit of damage for more durability or casting power. Don’t misunderstand me, Multiple Ability Score Dependance is a good thing, but for a certain type of player–one who likes to try and do everything a class can offer–it’s likely a build that lacks focus on one or two aspects of the archetype will lead to an ineffectual and frustrating outcome.
Scope of Power. Like the mystic, the psyborg has an immense scope of power which has the potential to step on the toes, roles, and power of other people in the party if in the hands of the wrong player. Unlike the mystic, the Psyborg is self-balancing, but without a player who can take into consideration the roles, desires, and builds of the other people in the party, it still easily risks encroaching on other’s space. Because it is not the traditional “fighter”, DMs and players need to have an ongoing discussion about how the psyborg will progress and it’s place in the party evolve. While some tables may not find fault in multiple people fulfilling the same role or overlapping in abilities and skills, I find it makes for a less fun experiences and resentful players.
We are giving the Psyborg 4 Stars and recommending it for responsible, non-“power gamers” who want a relatively unique and customizable perspective on the fighter. If you appreciate our reviews, click through the picture if you’re planning to buy.