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Nerdarchy > Dungeons & Dragons  > Psionics  > The Cognizant, a Psionic custom class for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition | D&D 5e

The Cognizant, a Psionic custom class for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition | D&D 5e

Expanded Mageforge - Bastion - Custom magic item Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition
The Telepath, a Psionic custom class for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition | D&D 5e

Do you enjoy using a custom class in your games? Have you ever wanted to make your own class for D&D?

I answer yes to both of these questions all of the time.

For those of you who are interested in a walk through on creating a custom class let me take you along for the process as I create a psionic custom class for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition.

All-Seeing-Eye-The Cognizant, a Psionic custom for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition | D&D 5eToday I am finishing up the Cognizant. Some of you may know it by other names but it can be summed up by one concept- Sixth Sense.

This discipline is about perceiving what it hidden from those who do not understand how to cultivate the power of remote viewing and seeing beyond what is physically knowable and present to others. Their powers  include but are not limited to the following

  • Seeing into other places- specifically times and spaces where the Cognizant is not currently located.
  • Gaining insight, knowledge, and the wisdom of experience without physically being involved in said experiences.
  • Knowing and understanding supplied from a source that cannot be readily perceived / comprehended.

Think precognition, foresight, true strike, identify, speak with plants and animals, locate object, and contact other plane. You may be familiar with those abilities as 5th edition spells and they work in a similar fashion. This discipline is akin to the archetype of wise woman, seer, diviner, and is encompassed under the idea of clear knowing.

Please keep these examples in mind as I go through the class features.

Sounds like a unknowable set of abilities but don’t worry this custom class’ spells and abilities are mostly straight out of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide.

The Cognizant, a Psionic custom class for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition | D&D 5e

I made my own Psionics for D&D 5e because I wanted to show others how they could develop their own custom class without writing an entire separate book. That and I really like the theme of Psionics so I couldn’t wait until the class came out for D&D 5e.

98% of the spell powers for the Psionic class are right out of the 5th edition spell list (I have written up 3 cantrips and 3 other powers, i.e psychic blast). Everything else that gives the psionic flavor is built into the class features of each discipline.

If you haven’t seen it yet check out what the guys at Nerdarchy’s think about Psionic


The Cognizant happens to be developed off of a combination of Rogue and Sorcerer classes with Sorcerer as the base.

Why those two class combinations? It will become apparent soon. Now on to the class features.

Note- 1st through 20th level is the same for the Psionic class as it is in the Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition Player’s Handbook for the Sorcerer when considering the following: Proficiency Bonus, Cantrips, and General Class Features- except Sorcery points(1 per level). The loss of the Sorcery points is to adjust for the gain of the spell point system.

For the Optional Spell Point rules that are used to fuel psionic powers look here (Dungeon Master’s Guide, pg. 288).

Now onto the D&D 5e custom class: The Cognizant.

The Cognizant, a Psionic custom class for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition | D&D 5e

Class Features

As a Psionicist, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points: Hit Dice: 1d6 per Psionicist level

Hit Points at 1st Level: 6 + your Constitution Modifier

Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4)+ your Constitution Modifier per Psionicist Level after 1st

Proficiencies: Armor: none

Weapons: daggers, darts, sling, quarterstaffs, clubs, light crossbow Tools: none

Saving throws: Wisdom

Skills: Choose any two: Arcana, History,Insight, Perception, and Religion

Starting equipment similar to sorcerer

1st level

  • Class Feature- Discipline: Cognizant, gain Intelligence as a saving throw, add Investigation to your list of skill choices.
  • Spellcasting:  As per Sorcerer except Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for your Psionicist ‘s spells and use the DMG’s (pg 288) spell point system rather than the spell slots.
  • Number of Spells and Cantrips known as per Sorcerer. Spell list as per Kineticist (see below).
  • Sixth Sense: You have an understanding of how to move and where to stand in most situations, you cannot quantify it or explain it, you simply know based on analyzing the impressions gained by your special insights. When to be where you are now.
    • As long as you are conscious and not surprised you may substitute your Intelligence modifier in place of your Dexterity modifier in certain circumstances. Specifically you can now substitute your modifier (if positive) from your Intelligence score in place of your Dexterity modifier for Dexterity Saves, Initiative, and AC. Example: An intelligence modifier of +3 would give you a 13 AC
    • This does not count as an alternate way to calculate AC- it is simply a substitution. If you wore leather armor you would calculate your AC as 11 + Dexterity Modifier. You may then substitute your Intelligence modifier in place of your Dexterity modifier.
    • “Sometimes standing where you know the sword will not be is the strongest defense.”
  • Add the following spells to your known spells at the level listed
    • 1st Level: True Strike, Identify,  Detect Magic
    • 3rd Level: Detect Thoughts, Locate Object
    • 5th Level: Clairvoyance, Tongues
    • 7th Level: Arcane Eye, Locate Creature
    • 9th Level: Legend Lore, Rary’s Telepathic Bond

2nd Level:

  • Danger Sense: You are learning what each warning signal from your sixth sense means and can now see danger a mere moment before it occurs.
    • You gain advantage on Dexterity saving throws against effects, spells, and traps as long as you are conscious and not incapacitated.

3rd Level

  • Metamagic: You gain the ability to twist spells to suit your need: Select any two metamagics abilities

4th Level

  • Ability Score Improvement

5th Level

6th Level

  • Clearer Knowing- Your ability to understand your insights into the future is growing. You can better decipher and identify the dangers you see just ahead of when they happen. This saves you from the brunt of even the most unavoidable attacks. “Getting shot in the shoulder beats getting shot in the heart any day and all I neede to do was wiggle”
    • If you are conscious and not incapacitated you may spend your reaction to reduce the damage by half from an attack that targets you as long as that damage is reducible.

Clairvoyant The Cognizant, a Psionic custom for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition | D&D 5e7th Level

8th Level

  • Ability Score Improvement

9th Level

10th Level

  • Metamagic: You become better at twisting spells to suit your need: Select one more metamagic ability

11th Level

12th Level

  • Ability Score Improvement

13th Level

14th Level

  •  Ease of Knowing: Your psychic conduit channels are strengthened by the constant flow of divination powers.
    • Whenever you use a divination power the spell points needed to activate that power are reduced by half (rounded up). This does not reduce the level of the spell, so you are still limited to one casting each of 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th level regardless of it being a divination power or not.

15th Level

16th Level

  • Ability Score Improvement

17th Level

  • Metamagic: You become better at twisting spells to suit your need: Select one more metamagic ability

18th Level, 19th Level

20th Level

  • Ability Score Improvement

The Cognizant, a Psionic custom class for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition | D&D 5e

The Cognizant’s Spells are a work in progress. Below are their current spell list for beginning levels. The final list may change by the time the other discipline’s are complete.

  • Zero level :
    • Blade Ward, Light, Mage Hand, Mending, true strike, vicious mockery, guidance, shillelagh, friends
  • 1st Level:
    • LongStrider, speak with animals, Unseen Servant, Shield of Faith, detect evil / goodMage Armor, Shield,, expeditious retreat, hunter’s mark, find familiar, alarm
  • 2nd Level:
    •  Enhance Ability, blur, darkvision, see invisibility, locate animals / plants, detect poison / disease, zone of truth, warding bond,
  • 3rd Level:
    • Daylight, speak with dead, speak with plants, counterspell, dispel magic,
  • 4th Level:
    • Freedom of Movement, stone skin, death ward, divination

I am still working on the spell list but it is all about re-skining spells for the Cognizant to match a benefit of prediction up with a game mechanic. I will use Stoneskin as an example of what I mean.

As it is written it is a terrible spell to give a cognizant thematically. But take that same stone skin spell and rename it Avoidance or Threat Sight and suddenly it sounds more a kin to a cognizant’s spell but still gives resistance to non-magical damage from slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning.

In the end Cognizant’s will have a full spell list. But for now this is how my vision of the Psionic custom class, the Cognizant, is looking for D&D 5e so far. Tomorrow is my updated Telepath.

Remember to share this with like minded individuals and let me know what you think.

Until next time, Stay Nerdy!

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Nathan Riggins

I would say my manner, skill sets, and subject knowledge are incongruous but they all seem to find a home under the umbrella term of nerd. I have a passion for studying science, religion, art, games, crafting, wine/beer-crafting, sustainable living, and green chemistry. I really enjoy gaming with friends and writing about my experiences as a nerd.


  • Art Wood
    April 22, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Looks like Dark Sun already made the class. Also, I think this class is WAY over thought. No offence Nate. It seems too complicated.

  • Nathan Riggins
    April 24, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    Thanks for your input. I took a risk with the new mechanic at 1st level. All of the rest of the powers are in the PHB. I haven't looked at the Dark Sun Material bc I didn't want to be influenced by it. So I have no idea what their Seer/Cognizant looks like or even what it is called

  • Andrés Ruiz
    April 25, 2015 at 12:19 am

    I like it so much I almost wish I saw this complete before I started my actual Cleric of Knowledge. But there are a few things I'm not sure about.

    * About the Clearer Knowing. Shall one halve the damage before it is rolled or can it be done after the damage is rolled??


  • Alex Maxwell
    April 25, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Nate, I've noticed that in all of your creations you list a single saving throw in base stats, and the show the second saving throw proficiency as a First level character acquisition. So If I multi-class Fighter which gets Str, con saves….your builds would grant a third proficiency in a saving throw. That's a Feat level advantage.

  • Alex Maxwell
    April 25, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Doesn't seem complicated except for using the optional spell point variant. Otherwise it could almost be a archtype of sorcerer.

  • Alex Maxwell
    April 25, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    The Dmg allows the idea of using the unarmored combat that monk and Barbarian enjoy , and substituting INT for WIS doesn't seem like a big deal. The dmg suggests losing armor proficiency for unarmored proficiency. But, Sorcerers don't get armor , so this is a major class feature. What did the sorcerer template give up for it? INT as a SAve proficiency is a horribly weak save.

  • Andrés Ruiz
    April 25, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Maybe in terms of 3.5 Ed. Feats but now on 5th Feats are more powerful. I don't think it's at that level. But it certainly is an advantage if one chooses to multi-class.

  • Nathan Riggins
    April 25, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Hmmm that was an unintended consequence of the way I have worded the additional save. I only wanted the saves to make sense based on the type of psionic discipline selected. Since I am currently in the process of constructing the online guide to my homebrew psionics I will look at rewording that as the following. "When you select your discipline you gain "X" as a saving throw if you do are not already proficient in 2 or more saving throws.

    Let me know if that better aligns the rules for the classes with my original intentions

  • Andrés Ruiz
    April 25, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Nathan Riggins I'd say absolutely yes! It works exactly like the sub-racial second ability modifier.

  • Nathan Riggins
    April 25, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Alex Maxwell Well the two choices that serve as examples for the sorcerer are Dragon Origin and Wild Mage. The Dragon Sorcerer gets AC 13 + 1 hp each level (Something I copied for Metabolist)

    ~I just remembered that in the Unearthed arcana article: Modifying classes they make a favored soul and it takes the dragon origin as the base and makes a really great class out of it. Check it out if you haven't seen it here- http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/modifying-classes

    That was my mark for giving them divination spells as known spells (favored soul gets a cleric domain added to their known list). I took away the hp per level and gave them some spells.

    With the unique mechanic of swapping Intelligence and Dexterity modifiers for AC and Saves I didn't just want it to be unarmored defense that required their intelligence but perhaps that would work better overall to just make it as a monk's unarmored defense that uses intelliegence and dex to calculate its AC. This would be of a similar power level to the Dragon origin.

    The original concept for this was that the cognizant's wisdom was the primary stat and how they obtained the information about the future and their ac is augmented by their intelligence bc that is the stat that would "process" all of the incoming data and make the decision to stand here to have the sword miss or dodge right to put the tree in between you and the fireball blast.

  • Nathan Riggins
    April 25, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    I am glad you like the class. I am happy that there is at least one Nerdarchist needing the Psychic warrior.

    Clearer knowing will allow for the damage to be rolled and then you choose to half it using your reaction. Similar to the retroactive quality of the shield spell. With the shield spell you are hit first and then cast shield.

    I will reword it to read as the following, "If you are conscious and not incapacitated you may spend your reaction to reduce the damage by half from an attack that damages you, if that damage is reducible." I hope that makes it clearer than before.

  • Alex Maxwell
    April 26, 2015 at 11:05 am

    Most of the classes like Fighter say your proficient in Str and Con, so a strong and a weak choice. Why do it differently?

  • Alex Maxwell
    April 26, 2015 at 11:06 am

    I've been allowing your classes except for the original weapon master, but you've fixed that I believe.

  • Nathan Riggins
    April 27, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Alex Maxwell Great, I want Nerdarchy to be a place where people can go to pick up some unique classes without their DM automatically shooting it down. As far as the weapon master is concerned I think we did fix that to be more in line with 5th edition thinking and bounded accuracy.

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