As usual for the showcase, these builds are intended to spur discussion and perhaps inspire a few people in the spirit of the old CO boards. They come from members of my gaming group - me, TempestStormwind, DisposableHero_, Andarious, Sionnis, and Seishi - and I'll always identify who wrote the build at the start, so do not assume I'm the guy behind all of them (because I'm not!).
Unless otherwise noted, showcase builds use 28 point-buy, and have their snapshots evaluated using fractional base attack / saves (because it simplifies the math). None of them actually rely on fractional to be built, though. The format I use showcases their progression at key levels rather than just presenting the build and showing off a few tricks at level 20; most of these are capable of being played 1-20 if you so choose.
With that out of the way, let's get started. This week, we’ve got a particularly potent entry by DisposableHero_. Andarious and I finalized it, but the original theory and chassis was all DH’s idea.
You can’t stop me, I got SOUL!
Required Books: Expanded Psionics Handbook, Magic of Incarnum, Complete Psionics. A few equipment suggestions from the Magic Item Compendium are used.
Unearthed Arcana used: None.
Background: I’ll just post DH’s thoughts directly here.
So here is the idea for this build. I loves me some Psychic Warrior, I feel like they are one of the most fun classes ever designed, but the struggle of the psychic warrior is and always will be their power point pool, and managing it to maximize your power usage in a day. To this end I am making use of the Psychic Warrior's most abundant resource, bonus feats, to improve his manifesting efficiency through one of the most ill considered abilities of all time, Psycarnum Infusion. Particularly, we'll be focusing on using two focus expenditures with Psycarnum Infusion to power a pair of Psionic/Incarnum feats, Azure Talent, and Midnight Augmentation. For an essentia capacity of X, infusing these talents will provide us with 2X temporary power points, and X points of free augmentation on the power of our choice. Essentially this means, as long as we have sufficient buffing time to focus both the warrior and his crystal, we reduce the cost of a power by 3 times our essentia capacity. While this doesn't allow us to a lot of flexibility in combat, where we will still have to rely on gas guzzling combat option powers like Lion's Charge, it does give two important things: 1) an enormous increase in long term buff efficiency, 2) the ability to "run on empty" with powers that cost less than twice the essentia capacity of our feats as long as we maintain a single real power point to refocus with.
- Race: Azurin.
- Ability Scores: 14/14/14/8/16/8 to start with. This ability score set will actually suit you just fine from 1 to 20, so you have complete freedom as to where you want to put those level-based ability score increases. I personally like 2 in Strength, 2 in Dexterity, and 1 in Constitution, followed by +2 manuals for Str and Dex and a +3 manual for Con. 18 in your physical stats is plenty. Surprisingly, you don’t need to boost Wis as much as you might expect.
Skill Notes: Concentration is the only skill you need, it’s the only skill you have the ranks to max, it’s the only skill needed for prerequisites. Any questions? Didn't think so.
Basic Equipment: You’ll only need armor for levels 1 to 7; go with what fits your Dex bonus. A greatsword is, well, great for the first while; you may want to switch out to a glaive and spiked gauntlets after you take Improved Unarmed Strike. A backup ranged weapon
Magical Gear Goals: You absolutely must have a Torc of Power Preservation as soon as you can swing it. It’s necessary to manifest your highest tier of powers for free. Otherwise, buffs replace many of the melee character gold taxes; you don’t need to care that much about Strength boosters with Strength of my Enemy active. As you don’t have Evade Burst, Freedom of Movement, or True Seeing on this power list, consider the rings and goggles that grant their effects. You only need Wisdom boosters for increasing your Will save and protecting your manifesting from ability damage. That said, ability damage is a threat; the Orbs of Physical and Mental Renewal from the MIC are worth considering. Also useful from that book is the Ghost Shroud, which takes up the spot normally occupied by armor and lets your attacks hit incorporeal creatures without that pesky miss chance. As you won’t need armor from level 8 on, it’s worth considering. Oh, and a Third Eye Concentrate, don’t forget that.
Build Stub: Psychic Warrior 20
1 – Psychic Warrior – (Azure Talent, Psicrystal Affinity, Psycarnum Infusion) (Force Screen)
2 – Psychic Warrior – (Power Attack) (Expansion)
3 – Psychic Warrior – (Psicrystal Containment) (Offensive Precognition)
4 – Psychic Warrior – (Strength of my Enemy)
5 – Psychic Warrior – (Psionic Meditation) (Hustle)
6 – Psychic Warrior – (Improved Essentia Capacity) (Psionic Lion’s Charge)
7 – Psychic Warrior – (Vampiric Blade)
8 – Psychic Warrior – (Midnight Augmentation) (Inertial Armor)
9 – Psychic Warrior – (Cobalt Power) (Share Pain)
10 – Psychic Warrior – (Greater Concealing Amorpha)
11 – Psychic Warrior – (Improved Unarmed Strike) (Defensive Precognition)
12 – Psychic Warrior – (Improved Grapple) (Grip of Iron)
13 – Psychic Warrior – (Empathic Feedback)
14 – Psychic Warrior – (Expanded Knowledge) (Wall Walker, Schism)
15 – Psychic Warrior – (Combat Reflexes) (Perfect Riposte)
16 – Psychic Warrior – (Dispelling Buffer)
17 – Psychic Warrior – (Expanded Knowledge) (Inconstant Location, Touchsight)
18 – Psychic Warrior – (Expanded Knowledge) (Form of Doom, Power Resistance)
19 – Psychic Warrior – (Personal Mind Blank)
20 – Psychic Warrior – (Expanded Knowledge) (Mind Over Energy, Psionic Teleport)
Snapshot: You hit level 20, assuming level ups and manuals boosting your physical stats to 18 each, with 233 hit points, a base attack of 15, and saves of 17/11/12 assuming +6 enhancement items to Dex, Wis, and Con, but BEFORE any resistance bonuses from cloaks. You have a power point pool of 157, but that number is deceptively low, since you’ll rarely spend any power points when you combine Psycarnum Infusion, Azure Talent, and Midnight Augmentation. Let me explain how.
With a Torc of Power Preservation at level 20, the Psycarnum Warrior spends 9 pp on a 25 pp Inertial Armor at the beginning of his day (that's +16 ghost touch armor, with no max Dex bonus or armor check penalty, that lasts for 20 hours), and then spends the next few minutes setting up the following buffs, which he enjoys for free the rest of the day:
- 13 pp Force Screen (+7 shield)
- Huge Expansion (+4 to Strength, up two size categories, -4 to Dex)
- 16 pp Offensive Precognition (+6 insight to attack rolls)
- 15 pp Strength of my Enemy (that's a +16 max enhancement bonus to Strength)
- Vampiric Blade
- Share Pain with his psicrystal (increasing your hit point pool by at least 50%)
- Greater Concealing Amorpha (50% miss chance)
- 16 pp Defensive Precognition (+6 insight to AC and saves)
- 15 pp Grip of Iron (+11 to grapple checks)
- 16 pp Empathic Feedback (up to 16 empathic damage on every melee attack returned to sender)
- Wall Walker
- Perfect Riposte
- 15 pp Touchsight (that's 110' radius blindsight)
- Dispelling Buffer
- Inconstant Location
- Form of Doom (frightful presence, + 5 natural armor, +4 untyped to Strength, +10 movement speed, 4 2d8+1/2 Str tentacle attacks, DR 5/-, and a slew of nice skill bonuses)
- Power Resistance (that’s PR 32)
- Mind Blank
- Mind Over Energy (immunity to an energy type of your choice, immediate action to manifest when you want to switch)
I repeat, you get all that for free. It leaves you with plenty of PP left over to manifest those 26 pp Psionic Lion's Charges (for 10 ‘real’ pp apiece). That's a +23 circumstance to damage rolls on that full attack at the end of your charge. With a +5 glaive and a +5 amulet of mighty fists, you will charge with +34/+29/+24 huge glaive attacks (3d6+40 damage each, 50 damage average) and +29/+29/+29/+29 tentacles (6d6+32 each, 53 damage average), and that’s without the suggested -4 to Cobalt Power or any enhancement bonuses to Strength from SomE. If you want to control? You have a grapple bonus of +48 with all those buffs active. You can also manifest Hustle and Psionic Teleport for free, in case Inconstant Location and Wall Walker aren't enough mobility. And for added fun? That big ol’ list? Take a look at how many of those buffs you can share with your psicrystal, turning it into a frightful combatant in its own right.
Overall Strengths: This build kicks the Psychic Warrior straight into Tier 2; this is as close as you get to entering “up up down down left right left right A B start” when you pull out your character sheet. Your charging full attacks will deal over 200 damage easy at the high levels with a bit of Power Attack, and over 300 or even 400 damage if all attacks hit and or you’ve got a high enough Strength bonus from Strength of my Enemy up and running. Having all those amazing defensive buffs up makes you incredibly hard to kill, and you can control the battlefield for your party very well against anything not immune to grappling.
Overall Weaknesses: Ummm…I’m sure he’s got some weaknesses somewhere…I think? Someone could attack him in his sleep? His social skills suck and your GM is likely to ban Psycarnum Infusion when he sees you go all day in God Mode. That’s about it.
Variants: Switch up the buffs? Great options that didn’t quite make the cut in this round include Bite of the Wolf, Claws of the Beast, Prevenom Weapon, and Skate. (Inertial Barrier and Biofeedback were considered, but Form of Doom scoops them pretty hard) If you feel mobility would be a concern, Dimension Slide or Dimension Door wouldn’t hurt to include. You can also switch up the feats. Power Attack and Cobalt Power were DH’s original picks, but you could switch them out and move the Improved Grapple and Combat Reflexes feats earlier in if you want more Expanded Knowledge options. EK: Astral Construct would give you a buddy all day, and if you feel like being a mageslayer, using Expanded Knowledge to snag Dispel Psionics and Crystal Shard works well. It’s trivial for this build to manifest fully augmented Dispels for free, and you can have your Schism ready actions to interrupt any casting with 14 pp Crystal Shards (also, yes, for free). Another tangent considered the possibility of dipping into Anarchic Initiate for Wild Surge, but that’d involve skill shenanigans this build can’t do in its current stat loadout.
There you have it. In case you were wondering, this is why we don’t showcase DH’s stuff as often; he makes us look pretty amateur.
Next up: Take your pick from [DH] Eat, Sleep, Gank, [AR] Heavy Weapons Elf, and [RT] Edge of the Light. I’ll be passing the baton back to Tempest, so let him know what you want!