The Soulknife: A Power-Point Psionic Striker {PEACH, early development}

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CLASS TRAITS
Role: Striker
Power Source: Psionic
Key Abilities: Constitution, Wisdom, Dexterity
Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, leather, light shields
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple melee, simple ranged, soulknife mind blade
Implements: soulknife mind blade, weapons with which you're proficient
Bonus to Defense: +1 Reflex, +1 Will
Hit Points at 1st Level: 12 + Constitution score

Hit Points per Level Gained: 5
Healing Surges per Day: 6 + Constitution modifier
Trained Skills: From the class skills list below, choose four trained skills at 1st level. Class Skills: Acrobatics (Dex), Athletics (Str), Arcana (Int), Endurance (Con), History (Int), Insight (Wis), Perception (Wis), Religion (Int), Stealth (Dex)
Class Features:

Mind Blade
A soulknife can forge a special semisolid blade composed of psychic energy distilled from their own mind. As a minor action, you can create a mind blade in any free hand. A mind blade counts as a weapon from the heavy blades category. A mind blade has the off-hand and the versatile weapon properties, a +3 proficiency bonus, and deals 1d8 damage. You do not gain your proficiency bonus when you use your mind blade as an implement.

Soul Bonding
By spending one minute with a magical heavy blade, you are able to attune an enchantment to your mind blade. An enchanted mind blade gains all of the benefits of a magical weapon, including any properties or powers that item may posess. After a weapon has been attuned, the enchantment disappears, and the blade becomes a normal, nonmagical weapon.

By spending another minute with a regular heavy blade, you are able to enchant the weapon again. Doing so removes the enchantment from your mind blade.

Soulbreak
Once per round, when you hit an enemy with an attack using your mind blade, you can spend a healing surge as a free action. Instead of regaining hit points, you deal extra damage to that enemy equal to your healing surge value. If you can make multiple attacks in a round, you decide which attack to apply the soulbreak damage to after all the attacks are resolved.

Soul Study
Soulknives use the power of their own minds, hearts, and souls to focus their energies in the form of a weapon. By drawing strength from their own essences, they learn to coalesce all of these parts of themselves into a viable combat style. Some soulknives draw from their strength of will, while others learn to feed off their emotions. Choose one of the following options:

Heart of the Blade: You gain a +1 bonus to damage rolls equal to the number of healing surges you've lost since your last extended rest, up to a maximum equal to your Constitution modifier. In addition, you gain Toughness as a bonus feat.

Calm of the Spirit: You gain a +1 bonus to damage rolls equal to the number of healing surges you have remaining, up to a maximum equal to your Wisdom modifier. In addition, you gain Durable as a bonus feat.

Powers:

Mindslice            Soulknife Attack 1
You forgo bodily harm, and instead cut directly into your opponent's psyche.
At-Will    - Augmentable, Psionic, Psychic, Weapon
Standard action
Melee weapon
Target: One creature
Attack: Constitution or Wisdom vs. Will
Hit: 1[W] + Constitution or Wisdom modifier psychic damage.
Augment 1: As above, and the target takes a -2 penalty to AC until the end of your next turn.
Augment 2: 2[W] + Constitution or Wisdom modifier psychic damage, and the target takes a -2 penalty to all defenses until the end of your next turn.

Agile Strike            Soulknife Attack 1
You add velocity to your attack, causing intense pain to your enemy.
At-Will    - Augmentable, Psionic, Weapon
Standard action
Melee weapon
Target: One creature
Attack: Constitution vs. AC
Effect: Before the attack roll, you can shift 1 square.
Hit: 1[W] + Constitution modifier damage.
Augment 1: As above, except you can shift a number of squares equal to your Dexterity modifier.
Augment 2: 2[W] + Constitution modifier + Dexterity modifier damage, and you can move your speed before or after the attack.

Psyburst            Soulknife Attack 1
You break your concentration on your blade, and force the energy outward, dawning your power on your foes.
At-Will    - Augmentable, Implement, Psionic, Psychic
Standard action
Close burst 1
Target: Each creature in burst
Attack: Wisdom vs. Reflex
Hit: 1d8 + Wisdom modifier psychic damage
Augment 1: Close burst 2
Augment 2: Close burst 3
Hit: 2d8 + Wisdom modifier psychic damage

Just got started on it. The idea was to build another V class, since I'm tired of designing boring old one main-attack stat classes.

I'd appreciate any input you may have.
Also, it goes without saying, standard Power Point rules and rate of acquiring apply.

Some basic-enough feats:

Deadly Mind Blade
Prerequisites: Soulknife, Mind Blade class feature
Benefits: Your mind blade gains the high crit weapon property. This cannot stack with any other feats that grant your mind blade a weapon property.

Brutal Mind Blade
Prerequisites: Soulknife, Mind Blade class feature
Benefits: Your mind blade gains the brutal 1 weapon property. This cannot stack with any other feats that grant your mind blade a weapon property.

Far-Reaching Mind Blade
Prerequisites: Soulknife, Mind Blade class feature
Benefits: Your mind blade gains the reach weapon property. This cannot stack with any other feats that grant your mind blade a weapon property.

Mental Reserves
Prerequisites: 11th level, Soulknife, Soulbreak class feature
Benefits: You gain 2 extra healing surges. At 21st level, you gain 2 more extra healing surges.
Question: Why bother stealing enchantments from heavy blades? Why not use a ki-focus?
This has made me open up my soulknife class (I call it a Psiblade as i didn't know what Soulknives were) and begin to finish it. I got about half way through the powers and justy stopped. Everything else was finished including PP's, feats, an ED and the hybrid rules I just got bored with it for two reasons;
1) designing different at-wills over and over again becomes tedious especially since you have to remember that the augments can be spammed over and over
2) My extra damage feature wasn't very good. It involved rolling damage twice and taking the highest result and when you roll weapon damage you add extra damage depending on your chosen class feature.

Edit: I'm probably going to convert my idea to a third Monk build. Good luck with this project.
Question: Why bother stealing enchantments from heavy blades? Why not use a ki-focus?



Ki focuses don't seem to fit the idea of a Soulknife well not to me at least, but then again I would never make one as an implement user.
Well we obviously can't make them weapon users, because that defeats the whole point of being a soulknife.

The lovely thing about Ki-foci is that as long as you have one you can use its enchantment for any weapon attacks you make, it's how the monk and assassin operate.

My suggestion would be to give the soulknife the ability to manifest a mind-blade that functions as a regular weapon of a given type (based on build and/or feats) with the exception of always being able to draw it as a free action, unlimited ammo, and all that good stuff. Then use the Ki-foci to set the mind-blade's enchantment.

 
Another advantage to rampant's method is you could pretty easily make a Soulbow Paragon Path, just have it give extra accessible properties.
Paragon path nothing you could make it a basic build.
Balance Issue:

While I like the Soulbreak feature alot, it strongly favors the con-based build, as they'd have more surges and a much higher surge value... and when he runs out, he's rewarded fro doing so with damage equal to his (higher) pool size.  A wisdom soulknife is penalized for using his striker bonus damage feature with damage that shrinks every time they do it (and the bonus is never as large due to their smaller pool.)


Other thoughts, for what they're worth:

I had tinkered, in my head, with the idea of a wand-using arcane melee(ish) striker class, which would have the following ability:

Conjured Blade (or something)
Flavor here
Minor - Arcane
At-Will  Personal
Effect: Choose a type of one-handed light blade with which you are proficient.  One wand you wield counts as that type of weapon until the end of your next turn.  You can end this effect as a free action when you use a Classname Implement Attack: that power gains the weapon keyword and deals 1[W] extra damage.  Increase this damage to 2[W] at 11th level and 3[W] at 21st level.

Basically, the class would reverse the normal trend of having the striker bonus damage be static die and the main damage be [W]s.
I've got a couple of suggestions:

I don't like the Soulbreak feature, for pretty much the same reasons outlines above. My suggestion would be to give the Soulknife the following:

Psionic Focus
Free Action - Arcane
Encounter - Personal
Trigger: You hit with an attack using your mind blade.
Effect: You deal an additional 2d6 psychic damage. This damage increases to 3d6 at 11th level and 5d6 at 21st level.
Special: You regain the use of this power when you spend a healing surge to regain hitpoints.

This accomplishes several things: First, it reduces the damage dealt. Surge value is a lot of damage past 5th level or so, far more than any other striker's damage ability, and it favors the Con-based build. This is roughly on the same level as the Rogue. Second, it can't be overused when the party expects a short adventuring day--you still need to use powers which allow you to spend surges in order to keep using this power. Third, it can be used roughly as often by both builds: the Wis-based build gets Durable, which roughly makes up for the Con build's higher surge count.



My other suggestion is half fluff, half mechanics: I don't really like the soul bonding mechanics, or the flavor. What I'd personally do is the following:

Soul Bonding: You can attune a physical melee weapon from the heavy blade or light blade category to your mind blade by spending a short rest working with it. Once the weapon is attuned, you can wield it as though it were your mind blade: it gains any abilities and properties that your mind blade does, but it keeps its own damage die and proficiency bonus, and if it is enchanted, it keeps any abilities from the enchantment. If a power requires that you use your mind blade, you can use this weapon instead.

You can attune your mind blade to a new weapon by spending another short rest working with the new weapon. The old weapon ceases to be attuned.



So for example, if you have a +2 flaming longsword attuned, and you have the Deadly Mind Blade feat, you can attack with the longsword, and it gains High Crit. You can use its item powers, and you can use it with your at-wills.
Psionic Focus
Free Action - Arcane
Encounter - Personal
Trigger: You hit with an attack using your mind blade.
Effect: You deal an additional 2d6 psychic damage. This damage increases to 3d6 at 11th level and 5d6 at 21st level.
Special: You regain the use of this power when you spend a healing surge to regain hitpoints.

This accomplishes several things: First, it reduces the damage dealt. Surge value is a lot of damage past 5th level or so, far more than any other striker's damage ability, and it favors the Con-based build. This is roughly on the same level as the Rogue. Second, it can't be overused when the party expects a short adventuring day--you still need to use powers which allow you to spend surges in order to keep using this power. Third, it can be used roughly as often by both builds: the Wis-based build gets Durable, which roughly makes up for the Con build's higher surge count.



That's a pretty laughably weak striker damage mechanic.  On your own you'd be able to use it exactly twice during an encounter, and recharging it would take a standard action in most cases.  Even with a leader in the party, you're wasting his heals to allow a striker to do damage.  Intelligent monsters would simply avoid dealing the Soulknife any damage to make him (a) waste healing resources trying to keep his damage high or (b) have him deal no striker bonus damage.

Second, while "surge value" damage is very high for a striker mechanic, at also eats up a daily resource.  A level 30 dragonborn with 16 starting con pumped every pissible level will have a surge value of around 70 and around 15 healing surges (depending on his class)  By comparison, a ranger gets about 13.5 damage out of his surge value each time he uses it at epic, but can use it every atack with no resource expendature.  In a 4 encounter workday with 8 rounds per encounter, this means he'll be dealing 432 with his feature over a normal day.  A soulknife will be dealing about twice that, 1050 damage, but will use every healing surge he has to do so.  If we assume he uses half his surges for keeping himself alive (reasonable) the damage is more-or-less equivalent.

That said, I don' think them getting bonus damage for surges spent/not spent is appropriate, and I feel having a class feature so wrapped up in surge value and # of surges should be Con primary, so all builds have a fair shake.
Why not have implements as ki foci (makes sense) and turn the attuned blade into a striker feature? The normal soulknife/soulbow was notable for being able to steal weapon enchants without buying items to do so. Getting a weapon ability and a ki focus ability at once is an interesting, if nigh-unbalanceable striker feature.

How about this: they get a relatively boring striker feature (d6es like rangers) but they get to choose a keyword that it applies to the damage/attack. Your weapon is "flaming" if it's dealing fire, "frost" if it's dealing cold, "vampiric" if you add invigorating...you'd probably want a specific list, rather than allowing any and all keywords. This would make an otherwise boring striker feature have interesting flavor.
What if we give them a flat bonus to damage when using their psi-blade, like how the sorc gets a damage boost to arcane spells, base it off the modifier for whichever secondary ability score the build favors, and then let the build stack up extra damage with its powers.

For instance a two-blade build would be pretty easy to stack up damage with, just add stabbing.

A heavy weapon build might get burst attacks, shockwaves, yadda yadda.

------------or----------

Give one or more of the at-wills that grant psionic focus or some equivalent and then the attack powers that don't grant focus turn around and do something extra special nasty when you use them while focused.
Why not have implements as ki foci (makes sense) and turn the attuned blade into a striker feature? The normal soulknife/soulbow was notable for being able to steal weapon enchants without buying items to do so. Getting a weapon ability and a ki focus ability at once is an interesting, if nigh-unbalanceable striker feature.

How about this: they get a relatively boring striker feature (d6es like rangers) but they get to choose a keyword that it applies to the damage/attack. Your weapon is "flaming" if it's dealing fire, "frost" if it's dealing cold, "vampiric" if you add invigorating...you'd probably want a specific list, rather than allowing any and all keywords. This would make an otherwise boring striker feature have interesting flavor.



Huh, ineresting concept.  Here's what I'm thinking would work well, building off the idea I presented earlier.

Soul Blade  Soulknife Feature
Flavor Text Here
Minor Action * Implement, Psionic, Conjuration
At-Will   Personal
Effect:  Chose a one-handed light blade with which you are proficient: you conjure a weapon of that type in a free hand.  This weapon has the enhancement bonus of a ki focus you are attuned to, and the magic properties of any weapon enchantment of your level or lower that can be applied to the weapon. 
- If the conjured weapon leaves your posession for more than one round, it vanishes.
- Once per round, when you use a Soulknife Power and you are wielding a soul blade, you can add the weapon keyword to that power.  The power deals 1[W] extra damage if it hits.
- Increase this damage to 2[W] at 11th level and 3[W] at 21st level.

So it would be an implement class that uses W damage as it's mechanic.  Like other strikers, they'd be able to spend a feat for a bigger damage die (rapier) but also for bonus features like high crit, brutal, or defensive.


Huh, ineresting concept.  Here's what I'm thinking would work well, building off the idea I presented earlier.

Soul Blade  Soulknife Feature
Flavor Text Here
Minor Action * Implement, Psionic, Conjuration
At-Will   Personal
Effect:  Chose a one-handed light blade with which you are proficient: you conjure a weapon of that type in a free hand.  This weapon has the enhancement bonus of a ki focus you are attuned to, and the magic properties of any weapon enchantment of your level or lower that can be applied to the weapon. 
- If the conjured weapon leaves your posession for more than one round, it vanishes.
- Once per round, when you use a Soulknife Power and you are wielding a soul blade, you can add the weapon keyword to that power.  The power deals 1[W] extra damage if it hits.
- Increase this damage to 2[W] at 11th level and 3[W] at 21st level.

So it would be an implement class that uses W damage as it's mechanic.  Like other strikers, they'd be able to spend a feat for a bigger damage die (rapier) but also for bonus features like high crit, brutal, or defensive.



Just a little note. "Once per round, when you use a Soulknife Power and you are wielding a soul blade, you can add the weapon keyword to that power." - would be overpowered. You would have to say "Once per round, when you use a Soulknife Power and you are wielding a soul blade, you can replace the implement keyword with the weapon keyword." This would stop the implement/weapon crossover.

One example off of the top of my head would be to use superior implements with weapon powers, which shouldn't happen.
Ok what if the soulknife wants to take an attack of opportunity?

Furthermore ki foci come with their own abilities and are designed with classes like the monk and assassin in mind. Why complicate everything by involving magic weapons at all?

If you must have a certain magic weapon property for your soulknife just convert a weapon enchantment to a Ki-focus.



 


Huh, ineresting concept.  Here's what I'm thinking would work well, building off the idea I presented earlier.

Soul Blade  Soulknife Feature
Flavor Text Here
Minor Action * Implement, Psionic, Conjuration
At-Will   Personal
Effect:  Chose a one-handed light blade with which you are proficient: you conjure a weapon of that type in a free hand.  This weapon has the enhancement bonus of a ki focus you are attuned to, and the magic properties of any weapon enchantment of your level or lower that can be applied to the weapon. 
- If the conjured weapon leaves your posession for more than one round, it vanishes.
- Once per round, when you use a Soulknife Power and you are wielding a soul blade, you can add the weapon keyword to that power.  The power deals 1[W] extra damage if it hits.
- Increase this damage to 2[W] at 11th level and 3[W] at 21st level.

So it would be an implement class that uses W damage as it's mechanic.  Like other strikers, they'd be able to spend a feat for a bigger damage die (rapier) but also for bonus features like high crit, brutal, or defensive.



Just a little note. "Once per round, when you use a Soulknife Power and you are wielding a soul blade, you can add the weapon keyword to that power." - would be overpowered. You would have to say "Once per round, when you use a Soulknife Power and you are wielding a soul blade, you can replace the implement keyword with the weapon keyword." This would stop the implement/weapon crossover.

One example off of the top of my head would be to use superior implements with weapon powers, which shouldn't happen.



Ah, good call.  Yes, it would be fairly broken to have both keywords.
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