Shardminds as Psiforged, anyone?

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When I first saw the Psiforged, I was thrilled by the idea of psychic warforged, al embedded with psychic crystals and stuff....

So, with the Shardmind coming in PHB3, and they  being living constructs, I was curious :P

Am I the only one thinking of reflavoring them as the Psiforged? 

Haven't seen the shardmind yet (book's en route!). I liked how the psiforged were handled (feat-based subrace instead of a whole new racial entry), which means that I was fond of the psiforged themselves, and wouldn't mind their return.

How well do the two line up? Close enough for family resemblance, mechanically?
Why not just use psionic Warforged to represent the Psiforged?
Why not just use psionic Warforged to represent the Psiforged?


Because Shardmind stats are more mentally-oriented and because Shardmind = Psiforged is just too perfect a fit to pass up, really.  Unless Shardmind fluff knocks my socks off, I'll probably be doing this exact thing.
(I employ zie/zie/zir as a gender-neutral counterpart to he/him/his. Just a heads-up.) Essentials definitely isn't for me as a player, and I feel that its design and implementation bear serious flaws which fill me with concern for the future of D&D, but I've come to the conclusion that it isn't going to destroy the game that I want to play. Indeed, I think that I could probably run a game for players using Essentials characters without it being much of a problem at all. Time will tell, I suppose.
How well do the two line up? Close enough for family resemblance, mechanically?


Not particularly. Shardminds are constructs made out of seperate crystals hold together in a roughly humanoid shape by the will of the shardmind. Its powers tend to consist of falling apart in a whirlwind of sharp shards and reshaping in a different square. They seem to come into existence more or less randomly, and they can be destroyed. The backstory is about them being the remnants of the gate between the normal universe and the Far Realm which was destroyed by some unknown deity (Tharizdun?). They are now trying to restore the gate and drive off the aberrations from the  Far Realm that have invade the world.

It is relatively easy to stick to the core story due to the presence of the Dhelkyr. Although with a small twist you could tie them to the Quori, which makes more sense since psionic powers are associated with Dol Qor and not necessarily aberrations. The shardminds might be remnants of the moon destroyed by the giants, working on restoring the moon and the balance. The destruction of the moon might very well have created the Dreaming Dark and its restoration would bring it to an end (or so the shardminds belief).

     It could also be fun to say that a soul trapped in a khyber shard somehow managed to shatter its prison through sheer force of will (or some other means), and is now using the remnants of said prison as a corporeal body.
(I employ zie/zie/zir as a gender-neutral counterpart to he/him/his. Just a heads-up.) Essentials definitely isn't for me as a player, and I feel that its design and implementation bear serious flaws which fill me with concern for the future of D&D, but I've come to the conclusion that it isn't going to destroy the game that I want to play. Indeed, I think that I could probably run a game for players using Essentials characters without it being much of a problem at all. Time will tell, I suppose.
Ooh, Eberron, Siberys, and Khyber shards... nice!

Thinking along those lines, what would it do to a warforged's whole sense of self to know that these other living constructs exist? Constructs that didn't come from a forge, never fought except for themselves... all sorts of fun to be had there. So close, and yet so unalike.
Ooh, Eberron, Siberys, and Khyber shards... nice!

Thinking along those lines, what would it do to a warforged's whole sense of self to know that these other living constructs exist? Constructs that didn't come from a forge, never fought except for themselves... all sorts of fun to be had there. So close, and yet so unalike.



I for one don't believe they'll compare themselves at that level, since Warforged were created by Humans, and Shardminds, seem to be created by "nature" itself (be it magic, planar cataclysm, or w/e). I don't think Shardmins would even consider themselves akin to the Warforged IMO ^^ 

That's exactly my point, MDosantos-- they're alike in their living-construct-ness, but unalike in every other way. Warforged are created, shardminds are ocurring; warforged are new, shardminds are the bones of the world (if they're E/S/K shards, in one interpretation); warforged are trying to establish a new identity, shardminds don't give a toss (I'm guessing).

Warforged: Hey, check us out! Silicon cousins! We're both non-fleshy, we're both, uh...
Shardmind: ...
Warforged: Hey, hello?
Shardmind: We're sorry-- were you talking to us, creature?

And I know not all warforged are naive, contemplative questers stuck in existential dilemma, but for those that are, it's fun to picture them meeting the shardmind and being encouraged by the similarities (living construct, sentient, apparent free will) just enough to be disappointed in the differences (everything else). 

When I first saw the Psiforged, I was thrilled by the idea of psychic warforged, al embedded with psychic crystals and stuff....


So, with the Shardmind coming in PHB3, and they  being living constructs, I was curious :P

Am I the only one thinking of reflavoring them as the Psiforged?



I actually thought the same thing when I first laid eyes on the shardmind. However, the fact that they have the immortal subtype along with living construct turned me off from that idea.

I think Madfox has the right idea. Shardminds could be pieces of the 13th moon that was destroyed by the giants in their war with the quori. We could meld the default POL story with Eberron's; in PHB3, the shardmind have genocidal tendencies towards each other because it is the general belief that when a shardmind dies, its life energy returns to the Living Gate or 13th Moon and eventually restore it once all the shardminds are dead.

Another idea I've had was that the shardminds are the surviving psicrystals whose kalashtar owners were captured and experimented on by the Daelkyr (remember Bassingthwaite's Dragon Below trilogy?). W/e experiments were inflicted upon them, the result was the shardmind; when the katalarash died at the end of the trilogy, there was a feedback of energies that transformed their psicrystals into shardminds. Telepathic just like the kalashtar AND immortal because they're made from residual quori essence (incarnum anyone). Howzzat?
It is relatively easy to stick to the core story due to the presence of the Dhelkyr. Although with a small twist you could tie them to the Quori, which makes more sense since psionic powers are associated with Dol Qor and not necessarily aberrations. The shardminds might be remnants of the moon destroyed by the giants, working on restoring the moon and the balance. The destruction of the moon might very well have created the Dreaming Dark and its restoration would bring it to an end (or so the shardminds belief).



Psionic power in Eberron seems to come from both planes of the mind (Xoriat for Madness, Dal Quor for Dreams), so a connection between the Daelkyr wars and the shardminds is easy to make, and a lot of the backstory can be kept in tact that way. Remember one of the quintessential Xoriat horrors, the illithids, are psionic after all.
That said, I like the idea that they're fragments of the lost moon rather than the Living Gate, which would tie them to Quori more than the Daelkyr.

A connection to the plane of dreams would explain a lot of their characteristics, too. They're humanoid in form, and fragile, because they were born with the collapse of millions of dreams when Dal Quor was cut off.

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Misattributed quote! That was Madfox11, Trolls. (I blame it on the boards utility.)
Oops, must have deleted the wrong quote tag. Fixed now.
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Psionic power in Eberron seems to come from both planes of the mind (Xoriat for Madness, Dal Quor for Dreams)... Remember one of the quintessential Xoriat horrors, the illithids, are psionic after all.


This is indeed the idea, and something mentioned in the "Touched By Madness" article in Dragon 332.
"I for one don't believe they'll compare themselves at that level, since Warforged were created by Humans, and Shardminds, seem to be created by "nature" itself (be it magic, planar cataclysm, or w/e). I don't think Shardmins would even consider themselves akin to the Warforged IMO ^^ "



One could make the argument that Shardminds would see themselves as having more in common with Devas and Wildens.  Beings who spontaneously appear - and re-appear in one fashion or another - in times and places where the universe and/or the world need to take action to 'course correct.'  They could all see themselves as sorts of white blood cells emerging to fight off the metaphysical sickness of ... [your threat here].

How many times has Dal Quor been reborn? We know its happened at least once before. What if there were Quori who didn't want to die when Dal Quor underwent this process? In an effort to rupture their ties with the plane of Dal Quor, they created bodies for themselves to possess. Thus the Shardminds were created.

This raises the question, would they involve themselves in the war between the Dreaming Dark and the Kalashtar? If they did, which side would they chose? And would they be trusted?

---------
That said, I'm not too happy with that interpretation and I'll have to think about Shardminds a lot more before I decide on how to incorporate them.
How many times has Dal Quor been reborn? We know its happened at least once before. What if there were Quori who didn't want to die when Dal Quor underwent this process? In an effort to rupture their ties with the plane of Dal Quor, they created bodies for themselves to possess. Thus the Shardminds were created.



That did happen, except the vessels the quori created were the original warforged, rather than shardminds.
See Secrets of Xen'drik. ;)
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How many times has Dal Quor been reborn? We know its happened at least once before. What if there were Quori who didn't want to die when Dal Quor underwent this process? In an effort to rupture their ties with the plane of Dal Quor, they created bodies for themselves to possess. Thus the Shardminds were created.



That did happen, except the vessels the quori created were the original warforged, rather than shardminds.
See Secrets of Xen'drik. ;)



Ah, but maybe shardminds were the prototypes that the quorforged were based on! Think about it... maybe the impending implosion of Dal Quor was signaled by small detonations around the plane, detonations that tore holes between the already closely aligned planes. Let's say that these holes tended to appear in areas with high dragonshard concentrations - Quori get blown out into Eberron, where they get stuck in the crystals (I'm particularly enthralled by the idea of them appearing in the Ring of Siberys, sending their bodies hurtling towards the surface amidst a rain Siberys shards). Realizing they've discovered a way to allow their kind to affect the material world (and possibly escape the coming destruction of their home plane), the new Shardminds try to duplicate the process by creating rough copies of wood and metal (the quorforged) for the oncoming flood of Quori refugees.

As for the Shardminds of today, maybe they are the last remnant of those proto-warforged invaders during the Age of Giants. Their spirits are permanently bound to reincarnate within masses of dragonshards rather than Dal Quor... maybe by accident, maybe by design. Either way, even though they managed to escape the birth of the Dreaming Dark, they're still subject to the same loss of personality that all Quori face when they are destroyed and remade, so they've long forgotten who they are.

But maybe they can be made to remember...
Very interesting idea, stmunks.

I particularly like the idea of them reincarnating into dragonshards, and I especially love the idea of them forming in the Ring of Siberys and falling to Eberron. And it all fits so neatly into Eberron's history, with the added bonus of an ominous plot hook!
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Oh, they may SAY that they're quori spirits, sure. But you and I both know that the heart of a Shardmind is a fragment of a Khyber crystal containing the essence of an Overlord of the First Age. Right now they're spread out across the world. But when the time is right they'll start killing each other, with the victor collecting the essence-shards of the fallen - and the final victor having the key to release (and become) the Overlord.

What's that? Your player character knows nothing about this? Well, first, that's a nice story, but I don't think I believe you. And even if I did... perhaps you're a tiny spark of goodness that existed in the Overlord's soul. Perhaps you're just too small a piece to have the memories... but just wait until you kill another Shardmind and the memories come back. What? You don't WANT to be an Overlord? Well, you could ignore it, but the others will still try to kill you. Or perhaps there's some way you could take your spark of goodness and magnify it - to recreate the Overlord as something new, just as the Quori spirits of the kalashtar turned from their dark roots. Of course, if you find another benevolent shardmind... do you have to kill it, or can you both exist separately?

Yeah, demons and rakshasa aren't innately about psionics... but then again, rakshasa often have a gift for telepathy, and if the Overlord in question is someone like the Voice in the Darkness - or anyone having to do with fear, madness, secrets - it could happen.

Your rantings make for a nice story, particularly the part about the "tiny spark of goodness." I'm sure that helps you sleep at night.

But I have it on good authority that they more certainly ARE Quori spirits. None of that drivel about "proto-quorforged" you heard about earlier. I mean they're the Quori of today. It's their latest pet project, and is why they've been shipping in all those dragonshards from Xendrik. They're the next step up from the Chosen - perfect killing machines for the Dreaming Dark.

I know, because I saw them working with the Harmonious Shield when they slaughtered my unit on the Summit Road. Our telepath couldn't even touch them. Maybe they thought I was dead, or maybe they just wanted me to watch as they slaughtered all those refugees we were escorting. So many dead... And let me tell you, even if those things don't have proper "faces," I could tell those crystal monstrosities were LOVING it. Even their Chosen commander looked a bit taken aback.

Which gets me to thinking... maybe they're meant to replace the Chosen as the new favored vessels of the Inspired. Those poor, pretty, pampered princes are going to get a nasty retirement real soon now, mark my words.

But you want to know the worst part? I've actually heard a few of these monstrosities have been admitted into Adar! They claim to have no idea what they are, and maybe they even believe it, but they're just a thrice-cursed Fifth Column made of crystal waiting to wake up and open the gates for the Dreaming Dark. The Elan were bad enough, but this is the last straw. I've gotten a few more Summit Guides together, and we're going to go take care of the problem, even if we have to punch out the Speaker himself to get at them.

But I have it on good authority that they more certainly ARE Quori spirits. None of that drivel about "proto-quorforged" you heard about earlier. I mean they're the Quori of today. It's their latest pet project, and is why they've been shipping in all those dragonshards from Xendrik... maybe they're meant to replace the Chosen as the new favored vessels of the Inspired.


Personally, I prefer this to the Quori-of-the-last-Age theory, since you don't have to deal with the "What have you been doing for the last 35,000 years?" aspect, or reveal too much about the previous Dal Quor. The DD is certainly exploring new forms of vessels, and a PC Shardmind could be a failed prototype... Part of a batch that developed its own consciousness that couldn't be overwritten and escaped. Sort of a Dark Angel scenario.

Alternately, Shardminds could be an experimental second lifestage for kalashtar... not unlike the idea of a kalashtar transfering its consciousness into a psicrystal. Perhaps the kalashtar developed embedded shards that would catch the spirit of the bonded kalashtar on death and allow it to make the leap to this new form of life. Of course, while this saves the mortal consciousness and memories, this might actually sever them from their bond with their Quori spirit - explaining the loss of Kalashtar dual-mind abilities and why they don't have skills from a previous life; they have memories, but the transition is disorienting and traumatic.
Wow, I never imagined I'd be getting so many good ideas from this thread, forget the Psiforged, i'll rule them as any psionic classed Warforged. With this  thread Shardminds have earned they're right to be a full fledged race on my campaign! 
Oh, they may SAY that they're quori spirits, sure. But you and I both know that the heart of a Shardmind is a fragment of a Khyber crystal containing the essence of an Overlord of the First Age. Right now they're spread out across the world. But when the time is right they'll start killing each other, with the victor collecting the essence-shards of the fallen - and the final victor having the key to release (and become) the Overlord.

What's that? Your player character knows nothing about this? Well, first, that's a nice story, but I don't think I believe you. And even if I did... perhaps you're a tiny spark of goodness that existed in the Overlord's soul. Perhaps you're just too small a piece to have the memories... but just wait until you kill another Shardmind and the memories come back. What? You don't WANT to be an Overlord? Well, you could ignore it, but the others will still try to kill you. Or perhaps there's some way you could take your spark of goodness and magnify it - to recreate the Overlord as something new, just as the Quori spirits of the kalashtar turned from their dark roots. Of course, if you find another benevolent shardmind... do you have to kill it, or can you both exist separately?


     I love it, Keith.  The moment I saw the bit in the book about shardmind hunting other shardmind I thought to myself 'there must be some way to turn that into Highlander'.  Consider it stolen.
(I employ zie/zie/zir as a gender-neutral counterpart to he/him/his. Just a heads-up.) Essentials definitely isn't for me as a player, and I feel that its design and implementation bear serious flaws which fill me with concern for the future of D&D, but I've come to the conclusion that it isn't going to destroy the game that I want to play. Indeed, I think that I could probably run a game for players using Essentials characters without it being much of a problem at all. Time will tell, I suppose.
I think I'll incorporate shardminds as simply being a natural consequence of khyber shard properties. If someone, particularly a psionic creature, dies near a suitable khyber shard, there's a chance said shard might bind a portion of their mind. They've existed for thousands of years, spontaneously emerging in different places.

There have been times, however, when they've been created en masse, both accidentally and deliberately.

In ancient times, the shattered prisons of rakshasa broke into dozens or hundreds of individual shardminds at once. The fractured mind of such a being was largely incapable of conscious action, but the created beings had a way of acting out its will. Over the ages, most of these sort of shardminds have been destroyed, with agents of the Silver Flame (in various incarnations) destroying them to assemble the rajah essence safely.

In the Age of Giants, the quori experimented with various forms of manifesting corporeally on Eberron. They tried with the shardminds but were only partially successful. While it was possible to transfer a quori spirit into a khyber shard, which would then animate a body for itself of mundane crystals, the identity of the quori was lost in the process. The shardmind was simply a blank slate. This form of "reincarnation" didn't suit the quori and they abandoned their experiments in this field, moving on to the warforged. However, as the age turned, the quori were becoming desperate, and hundreds fled their plane's apocalypse by becoming shardminds. Their hope was that, in time, they could rediscover their memories and personalities. If not, continued existence, even in this diminished state, was preferable to oblivion. 

Far beneath the Mror Holds and its rebel clans, the dwarven empire flourished for centuries. In time, they discovered Khyber shard properties and bound their greatest leaders to them, so that the wisdom of their most excellent kings could be preserved. When the daelkyr came, the great library of royal minds was collapsed - but fragments of dwarven wisdom linger on in the shardminds who were born from the disaster. While the empire is gone, dozens or hundreds of dwarven shardminds linger on, taking vengeance against the aberrations.

In the time of the Dhakaan Empire, hobgoblin temple breeders discovered isolated, spontaneous shardminds and captured them. As they realized the potential of psionic power, they experimented with methods to breed psionics into their own race. They ground up the shardminds they captured and fed them to infant goblins, some of whom manifested powers of their own. Ritually killing them with khyber shard spikes, they were able to turn some of these into more shardminds. Alternately breeding goblins with shardmind essence, and then turning those goblins into more shardminds, the hobgoblin breeders eventually created the Blue Goblins, whose psychic abilities promised a new age of power for Dhakaan. Unfortunately for the empire, this new race never grew into its full power, as the daelky arrived at this time to make war (and they were perhaps drawn by the blue/shardmind experiments).

At the Lair of the Keeper in the Demon Wastes, pilgrims of the Dark Six pray to their god of death and greed. Occasionally, this deity grants permits them to witness a miracle: khyber shards containing the souls of the faith's greatest champions come to life. These shardminds always arise in groups; they leave the Lair and enter greater Khorvaire to collect the most interesting, unique, or powerful souls in the realm for the Keeper's glory. The Keeper's shardminds walk the world, killing people whose souls they feel will most please their god.

When the plane of Irian become coterminous with Eberron, shardminds are always born. Unlike their khyber cousins, these shardminds of Irian are bound to dragonshards of all kinds. Filled with the life and radiance of Irian, most seek only to understand the variety of living things in the world. Some, however, lament at the darkness that pervades Eberron, and become terrible crusaders for light and truth.

In the ruined city of Making in Cyre, many thousands of khyber shards were crushed and buried in the wake of the Mourning. Thousands of dead, anguished souls cannot find their way to Dolurrh, and they are drawn into the pulsing crystal fragments. After years, some are learning to animate these fragments and create bodies for themselves. They don't know their origins, but these newborn shardminds feel an almost immeasurable rage at the inexplicable destruction they find around them. They want to understand what happened and, if someone is to blame, take vengeance.
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(Ooh-- I like that Mourning option.)

Another option that interests me:

Character A is a Khyber-shardmind warlock: a walking, talking lock on some rajah's prison. Character A's powers are a result of "leaks" in the containment field; it uses these powers to track down and quell the rajah's agents.

Character B is a Gatekeeper druid/leader. Character B's goal is to KEEP CHARACTER A ALIVE.

Together, they fight crime. ;)
(Ooh-- I like that Mourning option.)

Another option that interests me:

Character A is a Khyber-shardmind warlock: a walking, talking lock on some rajah's prison. Character A's powers are a result of "leaks" in the containment field; it uses these powers to track down and quell the rajah's agents.

Character B is a Gatekeeper druid/leader. Character B's goal is to KEEP CHARACTER A ALIVE.

Together, they fight crime. ;)

I'd watch it.
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I don't know if something like this has been said but:

What if the Shardminds are actually Syberis shards, seeking to restore the progenitor dragon, so that s/he(can't remember which gender Syberis is supposed to be) can save the world from both the Dhelkyr and Quori?

I also like them being peices of the 13th moon, and that fits with my charecter ideas:
 
    A shardmind is discovered in the ruins of Xendrick. He has had little uuse in years, and a group of adventurerers think he just a crystal statue. They return him to Sharn thinking to sell him to Morgrave university for a high profit, until he wakes up and begins using his telekenetic powers to free himself once in Sharn, after being talked down by a member of the citadel he is brought in as an agent of the crown. He feels a certain pull however to fufil a purpose he doesn't quite understand.
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This is what I'll be using; I liked the idea of 'Elan as Quori Prisons', but there are no 4e stats for them, and I like Shardminds better. Therefore;

Shardminds were among the first experiments of the Dreaming Dark for creating a vessel that would allow Quori entry onto Eberron. These experiments failed, however; a Quori bound to a shardmind 'husk' lost all traces of identity and memory. The project was shelved in favor of the work that eventually led to the creation of the Chosen.

It wasn't until later that the Quori discovered another use for Shardminds; a prison for rogue Quori. Due to the amnesiatic effects of the binding, it could easily 'shut away' such a Quori, and its dangerous thoughts, indefinitely. These shardminds are then thoroughly indoctrinated into the ways of the Path of Inspiration, to ensure their obedience, though they are never truly trusted.

Some of these prison-shardminds manage to escape, and many flee to Adar. As a result, there is currently work under way in Adar to develop a means to bind an unwilling quori into an 'empty' shardmind.

Shardminds are composed of various sorts of mundane crystals, along with choice bits of crysteel and dragonshards. At the heart of each shardmind is a reinforced Khyber shard; so long as that shard remains intact, the shardmind will, over time, reform itself. In this way a Quori can remain bound, potentially forever. However, such a reformed Shardmind would have lost all mental traces of its previous 'life'.

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Hmm, Quori prisons are actually a pretty cool idea for them, I like that.

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I was flipping through my friend's copy of Monster Manual 5 for 3.5. The Shardsoul Slayer caught my eye. They are created by the Derro by breaking apart an elemental and binding the pieces into some construct bodies. It got me thinking that the Shardminds could be a refinement of this process. Perhaps give them some racial powers, paragon path, and/or epic destiny to gain some shardsoul slayer powers. Perhaps the Derro have been trying to create a new construct warriors like the warforged and finally succeeded in creating the shardmind. The shardsoul look vary different but that could be do to the large amount of metal used in the original process which made them tough (DR in 3.5).

The shardsoul slayer and another variant was included in the 4E FR campaign guide.

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I don't use Shardminds, so I can't say one way or the other.   I kind of like the idea of the Quori of the Past using them as vessals, however.

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