I Can Kill You With My Brain: The Psion's Handbook

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I Can Kill You With My Brain: The Psion's Handbook

Ialdabode



Discussion Thread

This is the discussion thread for I Can Kill You With My Brain: The Psion's Handbook. The contents of handbook itself can be found on the Wizards Community Wiki and are linked below.

The Psion's Handbook:

This is the place where people can discuss the ratings of various psion powers and feats, tactics for playing the psion class, interesting combinations and synergy, ideas for effective builds, or any other psion related topics. Although I've created and maintain the handbook, it is on the wiki so that can survive, should I someday not be able to continue updating it.

Any feedback is welcome!
I Can Kill You With My Brain: The Psion's Handbook - Wiki | Discussion Thread
This is my first attempt at a handbook, so I'm going to be taking a slow and steady approach.

When I first heard that psionics was going to be part of the core rules in 4th edition I was pretty stoked. I've always loved the idea of psionics and the psion was my favorite class in 3rd edition, so I'm looking forward to checking it out in 4th. The fact that psionic guru Bruce Cordell did the mechanical design of the 4th edition psion gives me high hopes that controllers will no longer be considered the 'disposable' role.

Any feedback is welcome!
I Can Kill You With My Brain: The Psion's Handbook - Wiki | Discussion Thread
Looking forward to it.

Daniel.
MIND BULLETS!!!!



Also: great quote for the thread title, Firefly was a great show.
MIND BULLETS!!!!



Also: great quote for the thread title, Firefly was a great show.

lol, indeed.
Matt James Freelance Game Designer Loremaster.org

Follow me on Twitter!
Please have a section where you seperate powers/effects/feats/items that give you a basic attack / ranged basic attack where you can use your RBA at-wills, separating them on the premise of weather or not you can augment them.
Getting an augmentable RBA is better than a non-augmentable RBA, the question is which types of things permit augmentation.
DPR King Candidates 3.0
How much damage should I shoot for?
You're fired : 1 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .2 KPR Fair Striker : 2 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .4 KPR Highly Optimized : 3 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .6 KPR Nerfbat please : 4 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .8 KPR It's OVER 9000!!!!!: 5 Kills Per 5 Rounds = 1+ KPR
DPR? KPR? KP4R? Bless you
DPR = Damage Per round ~= Chance to hit * damage on a hit KPR = Kills Per Round. 1 Kill = 8*Level+24 damage = DPR/(8*level+24) KPNR = Kills Per N Rounds. How many standards can you kill in N rounds?
Looking forward to this. As soon as I get the chance to play one I'll let you know what I've found.

Viva Chile mierrrr...!!!

Looking forward to this. As soon as I get the chance to play one I'll let you know what I've found.

Your avatar is so much a controller.
DPR King Candidates 3.0
How much damage should I shoot for?
You're fired : 1 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .2 KPR Fair Striker : 2 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .4 KPR Highly Optimized : 3 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .6 KPR Nerfbat please : 4 Kills Per 5 Rounds = .8 KPR It's OVER 9000!!!!!: 5 Kills Per 5 Rounds = 1+ KPR
DPR? KPR? KP4R? Bless you
DPR = Damage Per round ~= Chance to hit * damage on a hit KPR = Kills Per Round. 1 Kill = 8*Level+24 damage = DPR/(8*level+24) KPNR = Kills Per N Rounds. How many standards can you kill in N rounds?
Please have a section where you seperate powers/effects/feats/items that give you a basic attack / ranged basic attack where you can use your RBA at-wills, separating them on the premise of weather or not you can augment them.
Getting an augmentable RBA is better than a non-augmentable RBA, the question is which types of things permit augmentation.

According to the augmentable keyword sidebar, it looks like any ranged basic attack has to be an at-will discipline that is unaugmented (and specifically says it can be used as a ranged basic attack). The disciplines mind thrust, mind break and psychic brand also say as much. Am I missing something? It seems like you have something specific in mind...
I Can Kill You With My Brain: The Psion's Handbook - Wiki | Discussion Thread
Err, what's with the fake races?
Oh Content, where art thou?
This guide would benefit much from cutting out the stuff that does not yet exist in 4th edition, nor is guaranteed to ever make an appearance. Having it there appears either misleading or just plain erroneus, depending on the outlook.

Having even a single inaccurate section in a guide like this can make a reader doubt the accuracy of the entire document.
There was a sig here. It's gone now.
Some comments about the Level 1 Daily powers, I thought spreading out dmg is what controllers are supposed to do? One target concentration is for Strikers.

Then also I want to point out that Human doesn't seem as good in Epic as you can't change that extra at-will you took at lvl one and they don't scale that well...
A Human has a lvl 13, 17, 23 and 27 at-will power at lvl 30.
Any other class has a lvl 17, 23 and 27 power if they always replace with
a higher lvl power.

This would be especially interesting to a Cerulean Adept, because he'd
have two 1-point augmentable powers.
A Human has a lvl 13, 17, 23 and 27 at-will power at lvl 30.
Any other class has a lvl 17, 23 and 27 power if they always replace with
a higher lvl power.

This would be especially interesting to a Cerulean Adept, because he'd
have two 1-point augmentable powers.

The Human at-will is not augmentable.
The Human at-will is not augmentable.

Right, a human will end up with a lvl 1 power which has no augments (but does have the agumentable keyword), and a 17, 23, and 27 at-will (assuming always replacing with a higher level power). (The lvl 1 power cannot be replaced because "the power you replace must have augmentations.")

A few comments about the guide:
- Would be helpful to recommend which at-wills to drop in favor of higher level ones
- I.e., at level 7, what are reasonable sets of the 3 at-wills you will have? I actually think dropping the lvl 3 at-will may be worth it, as dishearten and mind thrust are both better than betrayal or id insinuation. At least, I think they are... dishearten is a nice attack debuff, mind thrust is a nice defense debuff. Betrayal is just "ok"... its very situational without a double augmentation, and even then, you have to hit your target, then your target has to hit their ally. The daze effect is reasonable though. I would have rated betrayal as black.

Id Insinuation is worse than betrayal IMO. I would have given it purple, unless you are in a party where your allies have big-hitting fort-targetting powers, in which case it becomes more useful (probably dark blue), especially for a nova round. Blow an action point, set down 2 id insinuations (one with 1 augment, the other with the double augment), and you have a nice fort debuff + extra damage for the next (or all?) fort-targeting attack to hit the target before the end of your next turn.

Perhaps just laying down some replacement strategies would suffice... the viability of the new at-will will depend in part on what others you have.
Err, what's with the fake races?

I was just having a little fun...

This guide would benefit much from cutting out the stuff that does not yet exist in 4th edition, nor is guaranteed to ever make an appearance. Having it there appears either misleading or just plain erroneus, depending on the outlook.

Having even a single inaccurate section in a guide like this can make a reader doubt the accuracy of the entire document.

Point taken. I went ahead and removed all the references to classes and races that don't yet exist in 4th edition. I'm not sure what to call the second discipline in the article since they don't explicitly name it. I'm going to stick with kineticist and psychokinesis discipline for now...

Just for fun though, I'm going to repost here for anyone who wonders what we're talking about...
Warning!!! Made up content, just for fun!
Races - PHB3

None of the Player's Handbook 3 races are detailed yet (except the playtest Wilden). However, Githzerai will debut in August (although I think they'll make a better monk than a psion) and other races will follow. In the meantime, enjoy what I have seen in my mind's eye.

Dromite (+2 Dex, +2 Chr) – Although you're better off being a Wilder, some Wilder|Psion hybrids do exist.

Duergar (MM2) (+2 Con, +2 Wis) – Some Duergar fighters may want to multiclass into Psion.

Elan (+2 Int) – Elans continue the dominance they enjoyed in 3.5. You make a great psion of any dicipline.

Githyanki (MM) (+2 Con, +2 Int) – Far and away the best Swordmage|Psion hybrid combination out there.

Githzerai (MM) (+2 Dex, +2 Wis) – Your psionic abilities lend themselves more toward a centered breath monk than a psion. Go Fist of Zuoken for you Paragon Path for ultimate goodness.

Half-Giant (+2 Str, +2 Con) – See the Psychic Warrior handbook, that's where you should be looking.

Maenad (+2 Chr, +2 Any) – Although you make a better Wilder, you also make a good Telepath.

Thri-Kreen (+2 Str, +2 Dex) – Your extra set of arms don't get much use as a psion, as a monk though...

Wilden (D374) (+2 Con, +2 Wis) – Available now as a playtest PHB3 race, but no feat support. It seems more suited to the druid class.

Xeph (+2 Dex, +2 Chr) – See the Soulknife handbook, that's your favored class.
I Can Kill You With My Brain: The Psion's Handbook - Wiki | Discussion Thread
Betrayal is just "ok"... its very situational without a double augmentation, and even then, you have to hit your target, then your target has to hit their ally. The daze effect is reasonable though. I would have rated betrayal as black.

Id Insinuation is worse than betrayal IMO. I would have given it purple, unless you are in a party where your allies have big-hitting fort-targetting powers, in which case it becomes more useful (probably dark blue), especially for a nova round. Blow an action point, set down 2 id insinuations (one with 1 augment, the other with the double augment), and you have a nice fort debuff + extra damage for the next (or all?) fort-targeting attack to hit the target before the end of your next turn.

Betrayal strikes me as very weak (purple?) because of the issues with double rolls. Even with a nice bonus to hit with charisma (+3? +4?), once is still looking at adding a 20% miss rate. It's hard for me to imagine wanting the power, except that all the other choices are worse.

Unfortunately, I agree with Morikal that Id Insinuation (red? purple?) is even worse except for unusual parties. Right now, there aren't many regular attacks against Fortitude, which makes the Fortitude-targeting nova rather poor except with a carefully designed party. Then it is amazing.
Discipline.

DiScipline.

That is all.
Point taken. I went ahead and removed all the references to classes and races that don't yet exist in 4th edition. I'm not sure what to call the second dicipline in the article since they don't explicitly name it. I'm going to stick with kineticist and psychokinesis dicipline for now...

Just for fun though, I'm going to repost here for anyone who wonders what we're talking about...
Warning!!! Made up content, just for fun!

Duergar (MM2) (+2 Con, +2 Wis) – Some Duergar fighters may want to multiclass into Psion.

Githyanki (MM) (+2 Con, +2 Int) – Far and away the best Swordmage|Psion hybrid combination out there.

Githzerai (MM) (+2 Dex, +2 Wis) – Your psionic abilities lend themselves more toward a centered breath monk than a psion. Go Fist of Zuoken for you Paragon Path for ultimate goodness.

No need to cut the MM1/2 races... just make note that the Gith will be getting more support come PHB3.
Right, a human will end up with a lvl 1 power which has no augments (but does have the agumentable keyword), and a 17, 23, and 27 at-will (assuming always replacing with a higher level power). (The lvl 1 power cannot be replaced because "the power you replace must have augmentations.")

Yes, that is why I think it should be mentioned in the guide as that make the extra at will kind pointless during epic... As you will probably be stuck with Memory Hole at Epic, 1d6 + INT and you are invisible to the target. Seems like there are a lot of better stuff to use in epic... So maybe the Human is strong during Heroic, but he will shine less and less during high paragon and epic...
Betrayal strikes me as very weak (purple?) because of the issues with double rolls. Even with a nice bonus to hit with charisma (+3? +4?), once is still looking at adding a 20% miss rate. It's hard for me to imagine wanting the power, except that all the other choices are worse.

Unfortunately, I agree with Morikal that Id Insinuation (red? purple?) is even worse except for unusual parties. Right now, there aren't many regular attacks against Fortitude, which makes the Fortitude-targeting nova rather poor except with a carefully designed party. Then it is amazing.

I had both the level 3 disciplines mislabeled. They've been fixed. Betrayal is black because of the augment 2 option. Daze + slide is a strong option even if the normal and augment 1 options are subpar. I have a hard time making Id Insinuation red since there's only two level 3 disciplines. After the release of PHB3, that's where it might end up. For now it's purple, situationally useful.
I Can Kill You With My Brain: The Psion's Handbook - Wiki | Discussion Thread
Discipline.

DiScipline.

That is all.

Oops! Fixed.
I Can Kill You With My Brain: The Psion's Handbook - Wiki | Discussion Thread
No need to cut the MM1/2 races... just make note that the Gith will be getting more support come PHB3.

They weren't cut, they've been moved to the 'Races - Other' section under MM and MM2.
I Can Kill You With My Brain: The Psion's Handbook - Wiki | Discussion Thread
Some comments about the Level 1 Daily powers, I thought spreading out dmg is what controllers are supposed to do? One target concentration is for Strikers.

Spreading damage around is usually not a good tactic unless we're talking about minions. Killing one enemy is better than damaging three. However, with the aberrant mark of madness feat, ravening thought becomes a great power. I've updated the entry to note that.

Then also I want to point out that Human doesn't seem as good in Epic as you can't change that extra at-will you took at lvl one and they don't scale that well...

The big drawback is that your third at-will is unaugmentable. I've downgraded humans to blue.
I Can Kill You With My Brain: The Psion's Handbook - Wiki | Discussion Thread
Regarding the level 1 Dailies, I think you're overestimating Mental Trauma and underestimating Ravening Thought. The majority of targets you really want to hit with Mental Trauma will also probably have some sort of bonus to saving throws. Thus, you may not even be able to benefit from the psychic vulnerability. OTOH, Ravening Thought's ongoing damage is guaranteed to tick at least once, and the splash effect is an effect line. It also has the side effect of working very well with the Aberrant Mark of Madness. Really, I'm having trouble seeing what's so great about Mental Trauma. It seems...well, pretty bad to me.
I seem to be missing something. Could someone explain to me why

-The extra 1st lvl At-Will a human gets can't be augmented?
-I can't replace this power with a higher lvl one?

Thanks in advance.
I seem to be missing something. Could someone explain to me why

-The extra 1st lvl At-Will a human gets can't be augmented?
-I can't replace this power with a higher lvl one?

Thanks in advance.

The extra 1st level at-will a human gets is a racial trait and is therefore subject to the constraints detailed in the description of the augmentable keyword (i.e. it loses its augmentations). Under replacing at-will attack powers it says that the power you replace must have augmentations. Hope this helps!
I Can Kill You With My Brain: The Psion's Handbook - Wiki | Discussion Thread
Under replacing at-will attack powers it says that the power you replace must have augmentations. Hope this helps!

Where? It says it must be augmentable, which being at-will doesn't affect.
Where? It says it must be augmentable, which being at-will doesn't affect.

the human at-will loses the 'augmentable' keyword, and thus is not an 'augmentable' power.
Oh Content, where art thou?
the human at-will loses the 'augmentable' keyword, and thus is not an 'augmentable' power.

Not true, it loses its augmentations but not the keyword. It is therefore considered to be used unaugmented every time you use it. (some feats that relate to this)
Spreading damage around is usually not a good tactic unless we're talking about minions. Killing one enemy is better than damaging three. However, with the aberrant mark of madness feat, ravening thought becomes a great power. I've updated the entry to note that.

Yes, with that it rocks! Still think it is better than the other lvl 1 daily though. As if you miss the first attack, the target takes half damage + ongoing 3 AND you still get to do the secondary attack. And I do think it is the Strikers job to drop solo's and the Controllers job to put status effects or bomb everything... (which Ravening Thought does a lot better)


The big drawback is that your third at-will is unaugmentable. I've downgraded humans to blue.

Duh... I just said that it might be useful in heroic as the unaugmented one (Memory Hole or whichever you take) has some situational uses but after that it doesn't really scale very well and kinda becomes moot.
Where? It says it must be augmentable, which being at-will doesn't affect.

Hm... Well yeah, you can interpret it that way too, it is not wrong but not the intended meaning of the word augmentable in the section for switching at level 7 and above. (and not the way it works in CB)

What they mean with augmentable there is of course that it should be able to be used augmented which the human at-will isn't (still has the keyword though, but not the same).

If they meant the way you want it to mean they would probably write "replace one of your at-will powers with the augmentable keyword".
Under replacing at-will attack powers it says that the power you replace must have augmentations. Hope this helps!

"..., the power loses its augmentations. However, the power does not lose the augmentable keyword."

"At 7th, 13th, 17th, 23rd, and 27th level, you can replace one of your augmentable psion at-will attack powers with another one of your level or lower."

Where? It says it must be augmentable, which being at-will doesn't affect.

Hm... Well yeah, you can interpret it that way too, it is not wrong but not the intended meaning of the word augmentable in the section for switching at level 7 and above. (and not the way it works in CB)

What they mean with augmentable there is of course that it should be able to be used augmented which the human at-will isn't (still has the keyword though, but not the same).

If they meant the way you want it to mean they would probably write "replace one of your at-will powers with the augmentable keyword".

That argument does not fly. The same argument could be made against your interpretation:
If they meant it the way you want it to mean they would probably have
written "replace one of your at-will powers that has augmentations..."

Fact is they used the word 'augmentable' and 'augmentable' is a keyword, and
whenever they mean to use that keyword and not some homonym.

That to me sounds more reasonable. Why introduce keywords if you're gonna
disregard them and make things less clear by using them.

To say it stronger yet:
They make a distinction between a power with augmentations and a power
with the 'augmentable' keyword. Then they say, If power x is augmentable,
then you can replace it at lvls y,z,z'.

You could ofcourse very well say that the power with which you replace it
loses it's augmentations also... but then you're trying so desperately to
stop this, you're not reading the rules, you're ruling the text.
"..., the power loses its augmentations. However, the power does not lose the augmentable keyword."

"At 7th, 13th, 17th, 23rd, and 27th level, you can replace one of your augmentable psion at-will attack powers with another one of your level or lower."

The sentence immediately following this one is "The power you replace must have augmentations." While the racial power is augmentable, it does not have any augmentations, and thus cannot be replaced in this manner.
That argument does not fly. The same argument could be made against your interpretation:
If they meant it the way you want it to mean they would probably have
written "replace one of your at-will powers that has augmentations.."

Ah, yes, it can be used the other way around. I was working off the impression that it was quite obvious that that was not their intention since in the CB it doesn't work the way you/Sithobi1 want it to. Oh, and another thing, under Human it says "You know one extra 1st level at-will attack power from your class", ie you can't all of a sudden change it to a level 3/7/... whatever.


Fact is they used the word 'augmentable' and 'augmentable' is a keyword, and
whenever they mean to use that keyword and not some homonym.

That to me sounds more reasonable. Why introduce keywords if you're gonna
disregard them and make things less clear by using them.

To say it stronger yet:
They make a distinction between a power with augmentations and a power
with the 'augmentable' keyword. Then they say, If power x is augmentable,
then you can replace it at lvls y,z,z'.

You could ofcourse very well say that the power with which you replace it
loses it's augmentations also... but then you're trying so desperately to
stop this, you're not reading the rules, you're ruling the text.

Augmentable is a keyword, but also it has the meaning (like many other -able words) of that you are able to augment it. Sadly there is also a conflict (probably supports your side except that it is not possible to change due to the Human racial feature) that says "The power is unaugmented when you use it, unless you augment it with some other means". So the text is really a bit confusing, but hope the comment earlier on the Human feat makes it clear?
Regarding the level 1 Dailies, I think you're overestimating Mental Trauma and underestimating Ravening Thought. The majority of targets you really want to hit with Mental Trauma will also probably have some sort of bonus to saving throws. Thus, you may not even be able to benefit from the psychic vulnerability. OTOH, Ravening Thought's ongoing damage is guaranteed to tick at least once, and the splash effect is an effect line. It also has the side effect of working very well with the Aberrant Mark of Madness. Really, I'm having trouble seeing what's so great about Mental Trauma. It seems...well, pretty bad to me.

I agree with Fuzzd. Save-ends vulnerability could theoretically be saved against before you ever get a chance to exploit it. Ongoing damage, however, is guaranteed to happen at least once.

The only case in which Mental Trauma would be better would be as a lead-in to a nova, or if the rest of your party all had psychic attacks. Otherwise, Ravening Thought is better.

I'd peg Ravening Thought at Black and Mental Trauma at Purple.
I agree with Fuzzd. Save-ends vulnerability could theoretically be saved against before you ever get a chance to exploit it. Ongoing damage, however, is guaranteed to happen at least once.

The only case in which Mental Trauma would be better would be as a lead-in to a nova, or if the rest of your party all had psychic attacks. Otherwise, Ravening Thought is better.

I'd peg Ravening Thought at Black and Mental Trauma at Purple.

After some serious thought and comparing it to other class powers, I've decided to downgrade mental trauma to purple. I was thinking of using mental trauma as a nova-setup, but that's slightly situational and it just doesn't do enough damage to compete with other class's nova capability. I'm actually pretty unimpressed with both powers and ravening thought may be downgraded to purple as well when the other level 1 dailies are released.

Just for fun though, here's a sample nova turn using mental trauma...

Nova Turn

Assume: Level 2 Human Psion, 18 Int, 16 Chr, Action Surge, Aberrant Mark of Madness (AMoM), and Discipline Adept feats
Minor Action: Distract
Action Point
Standard Action: Mental Trauma – +9 vs Will 3d8 + 4 damage and vulnerable psychic 5 (save ends) and -2 to will (AMoM)
Move Action: Distract
Standard Action: Mind Thrust (Augment 2) – +8 (includes AMoM penalty) vs Will 2d10 + 9 damage and -3 to all defenses until end of your next turn
I Can Kill You With My Brain: The Psion's Handbook - Wiki | Discussion Thread
Augmentable is a keyword, but also it has the meaning (like many other -able words) of that you are able to augment it. Sadly there is also a conflict (probably supports your side except that it is not possible to change due to the Human racial feature) that says "The power is unaugmented when you use it, unless you augment it with some other means". So the text is really a bit confusing, but hope the comment earlier on the Human feat makes it clear?

Here's the way I see it:

I imagine there could be feats or PPs that add new augmentations to powers
or I don't know what, I think it's best to lay it to rest until we can see it in a bigger context.
Nova Turn

Assume: Level 2 Human Psion, 18 Int, 16 Chr, Action Surge, Aberrant Mark of Madness (AMoM), and Discipline Adept feats
Minor Action: Distract
Action Point
Standard Action: Mental Trauma – +9 vs Will 3d8 + 4 damage and vulnerable psychic 5 (save ends) and -2 to will (AMoM)
Move Action: Distract
Standard Action: Mind Thrust (Augment 2) – +8 (includes AMoM penalty) vs Will 2d10 + 9 damage and -3 to all defenses until end of your next turn

I don't think you'd have to use Distract a second time. Distract makes a creature grant combat advantage until the end of your next turn. The stipulation is that it is only granted to the first person to attack the target after Distract is used.
Here's the way I see it:

I imagine there could be feats or PPs that add new augmentations to powers
or I don't know what, I think it's best to lay it to rest until we can see it in a bigger context.

Yes, I guessed that too. So it really doesn't matter in the debate about the human as their racial feature explicitly says it should be a level 1 at-will and the CB works like that.
Worth mentioning that even Telepaths will want a 12 or 13 in Wisdom, for related skills, and to qualify for Dark Fury (Pre-req Con and Wis 13). Scaling damage to all powers with the necrotic or psychic keyword. (Out of PHB.)
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