Shaper - Psionic Controller (Psionics Returns)

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UPDATE: Finally, I return to the Shaper, and present an actual revision. This update brings it in line with the mechanics of the other two "completed" classes (the Telepath and the Soulknife), as well as adding some extra content. For a full run-through, see my last post in this thread.

The updated document can be found here (this is a link).

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Hello all.

A while back, I began working on implementing psionics in 4th Edition. In hindsight, due to the amount of work required to create unique and balanced classes in this edition (as well as my timetable hitting the wall that is Law School), my initial goals were a bit foolhardy.

A while back, I finished my first class: (The Telepath).

And today (finally), I have the second "done": (The Shaper).

Feel free to read, download, use and play this class. I only ask that, if you do, you provide me with your thoughts and feedback on the class. If anyone has the time to playtest it, I would very much appreciate as much actual playtest-feedback as I can get.

This class, in particular, needs some feedback on Utility powers. The class utility powers were the strongest sticking point, and at the moment, I'm none too happy with them.

You can access the PDF for the new class (which again, also comes with handy features, like magic-item conversions to psionic implements, a skill, a few feats, and an epic destiny) by following this link (this entire paragraph is the link).

From the document:

Build Options: Construction shaper, control shaper
Class Features: Astral Assistant, Ectoplasmic Savant, Ritual Casting

Shapers draw their power from the shifting, malleable ectoplasm of the Astral Sea, shaping it through pure force of will into whatever instruments they need. They use their ability to manipulate this material to shape the battlefield, modifying the terrain, and occasionally creating animate puppet-like creatures. Many shapers see themselves as a one-man-army, but nearly all of them find that their talents are greatly augmented by a group of companions.

As a shaper, you possess an innate understanding of the workings of the astral sea, and its interactions with the material world. You can shape the ectoplasm into crystalline formations, infuse it with elemental energies, or use it to create astral constructs to serve as your hands. You excel at dealing with multiple foes at a distance, and serve a vital role on the battlefield, allowing your allies to take on much more expansive forces with relative ease.

With a glimmer of energy in your eyes, you assess your situations and your environments, always searching for the way to best shape things to your advantage.

PS: And again, if anyone actually likes it, feel free to go tell Wizards of the Coast to hire me for their next handbook with psionics in it. I promise, I wouldn't mind.
:D
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
Thank you so much for your work on this. Admittedly, I've only read a little bit so far, but I'm impressed with it, even the utility powers that supposedly need looking at. I need to take a closer look to see what might be wrong (and to look at utility powers higher than 10), but so far I'm impressed.

Then again, I'm also looking at this work through the lens of "that could have been me having to do all that work, so why should I gripe?"
Thank you so much for your work on this. Admittedly, I've only read a little bit so far, but I'm impressed with it, even the utility powers that supposedly need looking at. I need to take a closer look to see what might be wrong (and to look at utility powers higher than 10), but so far I'm impressed.

Then again, I'm also looking at this work through the lens of "that could have been me having to do all that work, so why should I gripe?"

No no, gripe! Please, gripe away! :D

Remember, if you're griping when I asked you to, you're providing "useful feedback" so that I can improve the quality of the class overall.

Griping is essential. Unless it's perfect, and if you said that, I would know that you were lying to me.
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
Hehe! Good point. Okay, here's one.

What're the stats for the astral constructs that these powers can create?
Hehe! Good point. Okay, here's one.

What're the stats for the astral constructs that these powers can create?

... Damn, I can't believe I forgot that. This is what I get for compiling the final document from the complete and total mess that is my working document.

The short version: there are no stats for them. Since the class is built to current mechanical implementations for "conjuring," they use almost all of the conjuration keyword mechanics.

But here's the full keyword:

New Keyword:
Construction: Powers that create objects or creatures of ectoplasm drawn from the Astral Sea.

Constructions
Powers that have the construction keyword create objects or creatures of ectoplasm drawn from the Astral Sea.

A construction is treated as a conjuration, except for the following.

Unless a power description says otherwise, a construction can't be attacked or physically affected, and allies of the construction's creator can move through the space a construction occupies. Enemies of the construction's creator can move through the space a construction occupies, but they treat the space as difficult terrain, and the construction's controller can use it to make an attack against the creature as an immediate interrupt.

I've also updated the document itself. You specifically want the _v2 document, which includes this keyword now. I'm going to update the links in the original post as well.
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
Some of the grammar is kinda weak. Other than that its a good class, nice to see another controller added to the game. I am going to use this in my game.
Dude. I loved the heroic tier. Can't wait to see what you've added. Our telepath thanks you.
Hey, GF!

Any idea as to which class you will be (or are) working on next? The egoist or the soulknife?
I notice a lot of the powers, particularly the heroic tier, and at-wills are just re-flavored or tweaked Wizard powers. Otherwise, its pretty neat.
I am a: Lawful Good Dragonborn Paladin
This is nitpicking, but construction as a keyword is awkward. Construct would fit best.

radiant - radiance
fire - fiery
construct - construction
etc

Would also make a Construct Shaper.

My 2 cents.
General comment. I dislike the idea of rituals being tatoo'd onto the body. why not adopt the psicrystal into this role? At least until we see how familiars are handled in Arcane Power.
I'd rather see a general psionist, and maybe a more martial one as well, than rehashes of the 3rd ed. specialized varieties. It seems like the paragon tier could be used for more specific paths.

Tattooing was one of the worst ideas 3rd ed came up with.

Also, having psionic and psychic as keywords in the same powers? Redundant.
-- Claytonian
I'd rather see a general psionist, and maybe a more martial one as well, than rehashes of the 3rd ed. specialized varieties. It seems like the paragon tier could be used for more specific paths.

Tattooing was one of the worst ideas 3rd ed came up with.

Also, having psionic and psychic as keywords in the same powers? Redundant.

Okay, for concern #1, I offer this link. Also, GF has the egoist (psionic defender) and soulknife (psionic striker) in the works. Maybe we can convince him to rename his egoist into "psychic warrior," which in this case are one and the same.

For concern #2, all I can do is shrug. One man's trash is another man's treasure, I guess.

For concern #3, "psionic" is the power source and "psychic" is the damage type. You just basically said that having "arcane" and "lightning" in the same power is redundant for wizards, only in terms of a psionic character. What's next? "Shadow" and "necrotic" are redundant in the same power, too?
nah, Arcane and magical together would sound redundant. But what can ya do.
Tattoos really are cheese though.
-- Claytonian
Hey, GF!

Any idea as to which class you will be (or are) working on next? The egoist or the soulknife?

I am working on... Lawschool, at the moment (Finals are around the corner *shudder*), but I -was- working on Soulknife next (I'm essentially rebuilding it from the ground up - it won't be very similar to the first heroic draft in the original thread). It's going, but slow (as I said, finals within a month).

Heck, I never even saw that this thread got replies. Here goes a flurry of replies - woo.

I notice a lot of the powers, particularly the heroic tier, and at-wills are just re-flavored or tweaked Wizard powers. Otherwise, its pretty neat.

The original plan was, really, to just do a reflavor of the Wizard, so it's not really surprising. As it stands, I'm not very confident with the "Controller" role yet, so... yeah, I relied upon our one example (perhaps too closely).

This is nitpicking, but construction as a keyword is awkward. Construct would fit best.

radiant - radiance
fire - fiery
construct - construction
etc

Would also make a Construct Shaper.

My 2 cents.

Probably a better keyword, yes. My only concern with it is that the word has another meaning within the ruleset. I used the more awkward term for it to keep it distinct (which is why they are "Talents" instead of "Powers" as well).

General comment. I dislike the idea of rituals being tatoo'd onto the body. why not adopt the psicrystal into this role? At least until we see how familiars are handled in Arcane Power.

I'd rather see a general psionist, and maybe a more martial one as well, than rehashes of the 3rd ed. specialized varieties. It seems like the paragon tier could be used for more specific paths.

Tattooing was one of the worst ideas 3rd ed came up with.

Also, having psionic and psychic as keywords in the same powers? Redundant.

Okay, for concern #1, I offer this link. Also, GF has the egoist (psionic defender) and soulknife (psionic striker) in the works. Maybe we can convince him to rename his egoist into "psychic warrior," which in this case are one and the same.

For concern #2, all I can do is shrug. One man's trash is another man's treasure, I guess.

For concern #3, "psionic" is the power source and "psychic" is the damage type. You just basically said that having "arcane" and "lightning" in the same power is redundant for wizards, only in terms of a psionic character. What's next? "Shadow" and "necrotic" are redundant in the same power, too?

nah, Arcane and magical together would sound redundant. But what can ya do.
Tattoos really are cheese though.

A.) For tattoos-as-rituals: I actually enjoy the psionic tattoos quite a bit, and wanted to bring them in somehow. The tattoos-as-rituals was one of the first ideas that came to mind, so I ran with it. A crystal instead of a spellbook would work perfectly fine as well - I just wanted it to be a bit more distinct (instead of a reflavor of a spellbook, essentially).

For Clay's concerns:
1.) I don't really want to put together a "generalist" psion - "generalist" goes against 4th Edition design principles (or you end up with the Wizard, which looks generalist, but really is not, and should not be). The disparate disciplines will edge into different roles (heck, in 3.X, the different disciplines essentially played as different classes anyways). I will say, though, that if you want a "generalist" psion, just reflavor the current wizard (or write your own - it's a ***** to do full class write-ups for 4th, but I think it's worth the effort to get what you want).

2.) As I said above, I like psionic tattoos. Just as with things you don't like in the core books (only even more so), you don't have to use elements that you don't like. Ritual Tattoos can be completely ignored and replaced with the core Ritual mechanics with no ill effects.

3.) For the keywords, yes, it's silly, but it needs to be there. "Psychic" does not mean the same thing as "Psionic" on the keywords. There are arcane powers that have the "Psychic" keyword (because that's the damage type), and there are "Psionic" powers without the keyword (because that's not the damage type). Semi-redundant, yes, but through no fault of my own - blame the folks over at Wizards for that one.



Overall, thanks for the feedback, I'll definitely come back to it and apply what I can when I go through another revision (though probably not until Christmas Break). For now, though, keep it coming. If anyone else has anything to input, just let me know.
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
I sound a little negative, but good job overall!
-- Claytonian
It's been a while, but, I'm about ready with the latest revision (now with Psionic Modes, bringing it in line with the concepts of the other classes).

For anyone who's played with the Shaper, or who has at least read through the document, what specific elements need to be fixed/changed that you've caught? I've taken a look through it all m'self, but I'm really not that great at catching all the little thing, and would at least like to offer the chance for some more feedback while I finish up the document (putting together the Blue as a race at the moment - once that's done, it'll be attached to the Shaper_Beta document).
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
So, finally, a real "update" and revision to the Shaper class.

So, what was changed?


Well, the builds were changed, and the "Ectoplasmic Gift" feature was changed to "Ectoplasmic Savant." The few feature replaces the old, and eliminates the "elemental" build option. It also changes the second secondary ability score from Constitution to Dexterity. The two builds focus on Astral Constructs, or on more "traditional" control.

In addition, and indeed as the major point of revision, the class has been "updated" to the system of Psionic Modes - utility powers that alter the way other powers work, and which can be expended to further augment a single power. Each Ectoplasmic Savant option provides one of the two class feature modes, much like with the current builds of the Telepath and Soulknife.

Unlike the beta revision of the Telepath, few, if any, shaper powers were individually reworked. The problem here is twofold: first, there has not been a lot of specific feedback upon which to base changes; and second, many of the powers were build with Wizard powers as the base, and thus should most likely be "balanced" from the get-go. Given the release of the Player's Handbook 2, and the several tasty new Controllers within it, I expect to do another revision in the future, when I get ahold of the book and can get a better "grasp" on Controller power design.

In addition to the changes, there are two more Paragon Paths included, to bring it up to the "core" number of 4. First is the Tainted Maker - a shaper who is corrupted by the energies of the Far Realm, and whose constructs reflect the madness of that plane. Second, we have the Virulent Crafter - a shaper whose mind tints ectoplasm with corrosive venoms as he shapes it.

You might also note a few little blue boxes scattered about. Those boxes are usually nothing more than a bit of flavor information - my take on how the shaper "works" in-universe. Feel free to disregard them, though I plan on adding similar "info-boxes" to the other class pdfs as they go through further revisions.

Oh, and finally, as with the last two "revised" pdfs, this contains a draft write-up for a psionic race - this time, the Blue. While not a core race in the previous edition, I've always loved the little buggers, and so I put together my own take on them. The race itself is ideal for the Telepath class, but will work well with the Shaper (also, I'm simply attaching the races to documents as they are completed). Consider it a "bonus," and remember that it has not had nearly as much work put into it.


Short Version / Summary: Revised Shaper (Beta_v1) document is now available. It also has a write-up for the Blue (race) attached.

Here's the link. It can also be found in the first post in this thread.

And as always, feedback is very welcome.
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
Three out of four complete classes down. In a sea of writers who give us the heroic tier of a single class then disappear, you truly are an epic trooper.

I don't have much constructive to say, though you yourself point out that the power line-up didn't need much tweaking to bring it in line with the mode styles. And the modes for the shaper sound especially useful. I also like the reason you stuck with conjuration rules rather than turning to summoning rules. It makes good sense, IMHO.

I probably won't use blues in my personal campaigns... I really wish they gave them a more menacing name than "blue"... since I can't get little three-apple-tall fey creatures singing merrily in their white jumper pants and floppy hats out of my head. But it looks well written. The number of racial feats surprised me.
Three out of four complete classes down. In a sea of writers who give us the heroic tier of a single class then disappear, you truly are an epic trooper.

The Egoist is going to be... a pain. I feel like the majority of what I had planned for it has been done, and perhaps better, by the recent Primal Classes (and the rest I cannibalized in fleshing out the Soulknife).

I don't have much constructive to say, though you yourself point out that the power line-up didn't need much tweaking to bring it in line with the mode styles. And the modes for the shaper sound especially useful. I also like the reason you stuck with conjuration rules rather than turning to summoning rules. It makes good sense, IMHO.

Yes. I was happy to see that the Shaman actually sticks to Conjuration rules as well. I see astral constructs as simply a step between Conjurations and Summons. I'm glad somebody besides me likes it. And the modes took a while to get, but I feel went really naturally with the concept.

I probably won't use blues in my personal campaigns... I really wish they gave them a more menacing name than "blue"... since I can't get little three-apple-tall fey creatures singing merrily in their white jumper pants and floppy hats out of my head. But it looks well written. The number of racial feats surprised me.

Haha, fair enough. Maybe I need to run a "Help Me Rename the 'Blue'"-thread somewhere - I'm not a huge fan of the name either. It's okay as a nickname, but it's just not a race-name. That said, I love the little buggers. Oh, and the number of feats? Thank the Drow for that. "Blue Haze" is built around the same concept as the Drow's dark cloud power thing, so I felt many similar feats were appropriate.
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
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