Last Updated on October 21, 2023
If you’re a fan of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) and want to explore a unique rogue subclass that combines psionic abilities with traditional rogue skills, the Soulknife Rogue is your go-to choice. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve deep into the Soulknife Rogue subclass, discussing its role in the party, features, strengths, weaknesses, race options, skills, feats, and multiclassing opportunities.
Role in the Party
The Soulknife Rogue is unlike any other rogue, as it’s the only rogue subclass with psionic powers integrated into its toolkit. Originally, the Soul Knife was a subclass of the Unearthed Arcana playtest Mystic, but since then, it has evolved and adapted, incorporating some of the thematic and mechanical elements for use in new subclasses.
As a Soulknife Rogue, your primary focus is on wielding magical psychic blades that can damage the minds of your adversaries. However, your role within the party isn’t limited to psionics – you’re still a capable rogue. You can engage in all the usual rogue activities, but optimizing a Soulknife requires a unique approach compared to a standard rogue.
The Soulknife Rogue subclass can be found in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, so make sure to pick up a copy of this supplement to access the full details of this exciting class.
Soulknife Rogue Features
The core features of the Soulknife Rogue subclass are what set it apart from traditional rogues. Let’s explore these features in depth:
At 3rd level, you tap into your innate psionic energy, represented by Psionic Energy dice, each of which is a d6. You have a number of these dice equal to twice your proficiency bonus, and they power various psionic abilities, as outlined below.
Some of your powers consume Psionic Energy dice, as specified in their descriptions. You can’t use a power if it requires a die when all your dice are expended. Fortunately, you regain all expended Psionic Energy dice after a long rest. Additionally, you can use a bonus action to regain one expended Psionic Energy die, but you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest.
As you advance in levels, the size of your Psionic Energy dice increases, growing to a d8 at 5th level, a d10 at 11th level, and a d12 at 17th level.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the powers that rely on your Psionic Energy dice:
This power allows you to augment your non-psionic abilities. When you fail an ability check for a skill or tool you are proficient in, you can roll a Psionic Energy die and add the rolled number to the check. Importantly, you only expend the die if the roll succeeds. This means you have the potential to turn failure into success, making you incredibly versatile and reliable. You can use this feature 4-12 times a day, ensuring that you rarely fail an ability check that you’re proficient in.
One challenge with this feature is how it functions in situations where there’s no clear success or failure, such as ambiguous ability checks. The results of ability checks are not always straightforward, and this feature doesn’t address such scenarios. Nevertheless, Psi-Bolstered Knack is a fantastic addition to your arsenal, especially since it’s just one of your many abilities at this level.
With Psychic Whispers, you can establish telepathic communication with up to a number of creatures equal to your proficiency bonus. This telepathy lasts for a number of hours equal to the number rolled on a Psionic Energy die. You and the chosen creatures can exchange thoughts and messages without the need for spoken words, as long as you are all within 1 mile of each other. This feature enhances your infiltration and coordination capabilities.
The first time you use this power after each long rest, you don’t expend a Psionic Energy die. Subsequent uses do consume a die. This feature grants you a free form of telepathy, making it a valuable addition to your skill set.
Psychic Whispers is a versatile tool for teamwork and stealth, and it supplements your already impressive skill set as a rogue.
Also starting at 3rd level, you gain the ability to manifest psychic blades when you take the Attack action. These blades are created from your psionic power and can be used as simple melee weapons with the finesse and thrown properties. They have a standard range of 60 feet and deal psychic damage equal to 1d6 plus your ability modifier on a successful hit. Importantly, the blade disappears immediately after hitting or missing its target, leaving no trace.
After attacking with the psychic blade, you can make an additional melee or ranged weapon attack with a second psychic blade as a bonus action on the same turn, provided your other hand is free to create it. However, the damage die for this bonus attack is 1d4 instead of 1d6.
The Psychic Blades offer several advantages:
- Range and Simplicity: You can effectively engage opponents from up to 60 feet away, providing you with a ranged combat option without the need for ammunition. This is akin to having a free Crossbow Expert feat, making you a versatile combatant.
- Two-Weapon Fighting: You can engage in two-weapon fighting without the complications of object interactions, and you can add your ability score modifier to the bonus action attack. This feature significantly boosts your damage output, especially at lower levels.
- No Magic Weapons Required: Psychic Blades eliminate the need for magic weapons, as they provide a magical and versatile combat option. However, keep in mind that, in some situations, a magic weapon may still be preferable.
One limitation of Psychic Blades is that they cannot be used in conjunction with the Booming Blade cantrip, as it requires taking the Attack action, which is not possible with these blades. Additionally, you cannot make opportunity attacks with Psychic Blades, as they don’t qualify as the “attack action.”
In summary, Psychic Blades offer a unique blend of ranged and melee combat options, providing you with both offensive and defensive versatility.
At 9th level, your Psychic Blades evolve into Soul Blades, offering you additional abilities that utilize your Psionic Energy dice:
If you make an attack roll with your Psychic Blades and miss your target, you can roll a Psionic Energy die and add the rolled number to the attack roll. This can turn a miss into a hit, but it only consumes the Psionic Energy die if it results in a successful attack.
Homing Strikes is akin to your Psi-Bolstered Knack, but for attack rolls rather than ability checks. It offers an invaluable tool for ensuring your attacks land, especially when you haven’t triggered your Sneak Attack yet in a round. Remember that this feature is exclusive to Psychic Blades, so it cannot be used with other weapons.
This ability significantly enhances your combat effectiveness, ensuring that you hit your targets more consistently. Plus, with your Psionic Energy dice scaling up to d8s at this level, the feature becomes even more potent.
As a bonus action, you can manifest one of your Psychic Blades, expend a Psionic Energy die, roll it, and throw the blade to an unoccupied space within a distance of up to 10 times the number rolled. You then teleport to the location where the blade lands, and the blade vanishes.
Psychic Teleportation grants you a unique form of mobility and utility. It allows you to quickly traverse the battlefield, reposition yourself, or reach otherwise inaccessible locations. This power enhances your overall agility and adaptability, making you an even more formidable rogue.
One aspect to note is that Psychic Teleportation does not specify whether you can throw the blade through barriers like a Wall of Force. This may be subject to the Dungeon Master’s interpretation, so be sure to clarify this with your DM.
The combination of Homing Strikes and Psychic Teleportation makes Soul Blades an impressive feature, boosting both your combat prowess and battlefield maneuverability.
At 13th level, you gain the power to weave a Psychic Veil, granting you invisibility for 1 hour or until you choose to end the effect. This invisibility extends to anything you are wearing or carrying. However, the invisibility ends prematurely if you deal damage to a creature or force a creature to make a saving throw.
After using this feature, you can’t use it again until you complete a long rest, unless you expend a Psionic Energy die to activate it once more.
Psychic Veil essentially grants you the Invisibility spell without the need for concentration. You can cast spells without breaking your invisibility, which is a significant advantage. While you may not rely heavily on spells, this feature can still be beneficial in various situations, allowing you to remain concealed while engaging in other actions.
Invisibility is a versatile and valuable tool for a rogue, providing advantages in both stealth and evasion.
Upon reaching 17th level, you attain the ability to pierce a creature’s mind with your Psychic Blade. When you use your Psychic Blades to deal Sneak Attack damage to a creature, you can compel that target to make a Wisdom saving throw. The DC for this saving throw is equal to 8 plus your proficiency bonus plus your Dexterity modifier. If the target fails the save, it becomes stunned for 1 minute. The stunned target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns to end the effect.
You can use this feature once before requiring a long rest, unless you expend three Psionic Energy dice to activate it again.
Rend Mind grants you a bootleg version of Stunning Strike, a powerful feature of the monk class. While it may not be as effective against high-level bosses with strong Wisdom save bonuses and legendary resistances, it can still stun formidable non-boss opponents occasionally. The ability to impose stunning conditions can be a game-changer in combat, providing you and your party with a significant advantage.
It’s worth noting that the three-die cost to use Rend Mind is relatively high, even with your ample daily supply of Psionic Energy dice. As such, it’s advisable to reserve this feature for critical moments or particularly challenging encounters.
Let’s examine the strengths of the Soulknife Rogue:
- Psi-Bolstered Knack: This feature transforms you into the ultimate skills rogue, enhancing your chances of success on various skill checks. With the ability to add extra dice to your checks and only expending them upon success, you can excel in numerous skill-based situations.
- Psychic Blades: Psychic Blades provide a blend of both ranged and melee combat options, allowing you to engage enemies from a distance while maintaining versatility in close quarters. This unique weapon is a powerful asset to your toolkit, especially at lower levels.
- Soul Blades Features: The abilities gained at higher levels, including Homing Strikes, Psychic Teleportation, Psychic Veil, and Rend Mind, elevate your combat effectiveness, mobility, and utility. These features make you a formidable force in the party.
- Telepathy: The ability to communicate telepathically with a group of creatures equal to your proficiency bonus enhances your team’s coordination and infiltration capabilities.
- Invisibility: Psychic Veil grants you invisibility without the need for concentration, providing you with an excellent tool for stealth and evasion.
Despite its strengths, the Soulknife Rogue does have some weaknesses to consider:
- Magic Weapons: Some magic weapons, particularly those with unique properties, may offer advantages that Psychic Blades cannot replicate. When choosing between a specialized magic weapon and Psychic Blades, you may need to make a difficult decision.
- Constructs and Unique Creatures: Psychic damage from your blades may not affect all creatures. Constructs are typically immune to psychic damage, and some other unique monsters or aberrations might also have resistance or immunity to psychic damage. You may need to consult with your Dungeon Master to determine the effectiveness of your blades in specific situations.
- Damage Scaling: As you progress to higher levels, your damage potential may not increase as dramatically as other rogue subclasses. This is due to your reliance on Psychic Blades, which may not benefit from certain abilities, such as the Booming Blade cantrip. Additionally, multiclassing to gain Shield proficiency may not be optimal with your dependency on Psychic Blades.
While these weaknesses exist, they can often be mitigated with careful planning and adaptability.
Best Race Options
Choosing the right race for your Soulknife Rogue is essential to maximize your strengths. Here are some recommended race options:
- Kenku: Kenku offer two skill proficiencies, allowing you to apply Psi-Bolstered Knack to a wider range of skills. Their unique ability to generate advantage on proficient skill checks can be a valuable asset, especially for high-DC skill checks.
- Astral Elf: If you’re looking for a race that complements your psychic abilities, Astral Elves are a strong choice. They allow you to select a skill proficiency at the end of a long rest and grant you a d6 bonus to a d12 when you fail a check with that proficiency. This offers excellent versatility and a free Perception proficiency.
- Starlight Step: While somewhat redundant with your teleportation ability, Starlight Step can provide additional teleportation options and improved mobility.
- Custom Lineage and Variant Human: If you aim to maximize your skill proficiencies, these races offer excellent options. With the Skilled feat, you can potentially gain four extra skill proficiencies, making you an incredibly skilled rogue.
Choosing the Right Skills
As a Soulknife Rogue, your unique abilities allow you to excel in a wide range of skills. Here are some considerations for choosing the right skills:
- Psi-Bolstered Knack: This feature enhances your skill checks, making it advantageous to invest in a wide variety of skills. Even rarely used skills can benefit significantly from the extra d6 to d12.
- Perception: Perception is a crucial skill for a rogue, ensuring you don’t miss hidden dangers or treasures. Proficiency in Perception is highly recommended, and you might even consider Expertise in it.
- Stealth: While Stealth is a classic rogue skill, you may find that expertise in Stealth becomes less necessary if another party member has access to the “Pass Without Trace” spell. Proficiency might be sufficient.
- Dexterity Skills: Skills like Acrobatics and Sleight of Hand can be useful for a rogue, providing agility and finesse in various situations.
- Persuasion and Deception: These skills can be valuable in social interactions and subterfuge, making you an adept infiltrator and negotiator.
- Athletics: Proficiency in Athletics can be helpful, especially when your party lacks strong characters for physical checks. You can become as capable as a fighter in these areas.
In general, aim for a broad selection of skills, capitalizing on your ability to enhance them with Psi-Bolstered Knack.
Several feats can enhance your capabilities as a Soulknife Rogue:
- Skill Expert: This half-feat is an excellent choice, offering a boost to any ability score, Expertise, and proficiency in another skill. Skill Expert can improve your damage, accuracy, and utility, making it highly advantageous.
- Skilled: While not as powerful as Skill Expert, Skilled provides three additional skill proficiencies, further enhancing your versatility.
- Lucky: The Lucky feat allows you to reroll dice, providing a high degree of reliability in various situations. It’s particularly beneficial for saving throws, where none of your subclass features offer a bonus.
- Telepathic and Telekinetic Feats: If you desire additional psionic abilities, consider the Telepathic and Telekinetic feats. They provide you with mind-reading and telekinesis powers, expanding your repertoire of psionic abilities.
Choosing the right background can complement your role as a Soulknife Rogue:
- Wildspacer: If you’re looking for a thematic and powerful background, Wildspacer is an excellent choice. It can grant you the Tough feat, offering increased hit points and durability.
- Urchin: The Urchin background aligns well with the rogue class, reflecting a background of growing up on the streets and acquiring roguish skills. It also provides you with an opportunity to flex your incredible psychic power on your Criminal Contact.
- Criminal: Another classic rogue background, Criminal, is a fitting choice for your rogue persona. You can use your criminal connections to further your goals and adventures.
Exploring multiclassing options can add depth to your Soulknife Rogue character:
- Fighter: A one-level dip into Fighter offers valuable armor proficiencies, a fighting style, and Second Wind. Consider taking three levels to access the Psi Warrior subclass at higher levels, offering a separate pool of proficiency-based psychic abilities. While it’s a decent choice, keep in mind that other Fighter subclasses, such as Rune Knight and Echo Knight, may be stronger alternatives.
- Ranger: Three levels of Ranger, specifically in the Gloom Stalker archetype, can enhance your capabilities in the first round of combat and in darkness. This can make you a formidable combatant and scout.
- Wizard: Multiclassing into Wizard, particularly at higher levels, can open up new options. You may consider using spells like Booming Blade in place of your Psychic Blades, especially with a potent magic weapon. Additionally, the Shield and Find Familiar spells offer utility and defense. Depending on your Intelligence modifier, you can opt for the Bladesinger or Divination subclass, offering unique benefits.
In conclusion, the Soulknife Rogue is a compelling and unique subclass that offers a blend of psionic power and traditional rogue skills. With the right choices in race, skills, feats, and background, you can maximize your character’s strengths and overcome its weaknesses. Whether you prefer stealth, combat, or versatility, the Soulknife Rogue offers a diverse set of abilities to excel in a wide range of situations. If you seek a character with both psychic prowess and rogue cunning, the Soulknife Rogue is a fantastic choice in your D&D adventures.
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