Why "Phrenic" + Magic in the Blood is awesome-sauce...

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OK, this might be an old subject / idea, and I apologize if it is... I haven't seriously looked at psionics, so it was a new discovery to me (all old things, but with new personal realization to the significance).


My personal history with this concept
So, I've been looking (again) at wonky Binder builds, and maximizing SLAs. I'm in a game that allows LA Buyoff, and I was perusing the various books for templates that grant SLAs, to be combined with the Magic in the Blood feat (b/c racial SLAs are increased from 1/day to 3/day). I've only rarely had the opportunity to do LA Buyoff, though, so I haven't seriously considered it previously.


Getting into it...
OK, so I was looking at Whispergnomes, for the 3 SLAs per day that they get. All Cha-based. Added to that went in Fey Heritage, Fey Legacy, and Fey Presence. All Cha-based. Then I added Phrenic to the mix... Now, granted we worked a nice Marshall build from Carnivore with Magic in the Blood, and got a TON of SLAs to the mix. All Cha-based.


Then the "Whoa, holy smokes!" moment
Phrenic makes your Manifestor Level equal to your HD, so that means character level for most characters. Looking up Psi-Like Abilities, http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/monsters/overview.htm#psiLikeAbilities:
When a creature uses a psi-like ability, the power is manifested as if the creature had spent a number of power points equal to its manifester level, which may augment the power to improve its damage or save DC.

I was like, "huh, interesting...", then I looked at which powers this could affect:



Powers Affected (Not all powers granted)
Offensive -
Dominate Person: OK, so as soon as you get this, you can affect every creature type possible, or make it 1 day / ML for humanoids, or 3 targets. 3 times per day. Nasty!

Energy Current: Quite simply scales with level as a DD spell. Or, break it up into smaller chunks to make it work similarly to Chain Lightening.

Ultrablast: As Energy Current, more damage.

Aversion: Not so exciting, except the boost to the DC. Target the "meat" with this. EDIT: I've TOTALLY changed my mind on this one - after playing it in-game, I now realize that this is a "you can avoid this combat" ability when facing a single bruiser. Ends combat.

Psionic Blast: Uhm... Increase the duration to 2 rounds? As soon as you get it??? Uhm, yes, I'd like to give my party 2 free rounds at ECL 9! That's powerful!

Mind Thrust: Perfectly scaling DD, and more so.

There's several purely defensive abilities, too, which are also strong:

Defensive Precognition: Scaling this using psionics normally is a no-no, as its not cost efficient, but hey, if you aren't paying for it, a +7 insight bonus to saves and AC for 20 minutes is pretty good!

Force Screen: Same deal, but this gives a +8 shield bonus to AC for 20 minutes

Empty Mind: Although not as useful for my Binder, a general warrior type could get up to a +11 Will save as an immediate action, which is pretty freakin' good!

Brain Lock: Concentration takes a standard action, so this one could disable somebody for your standard action. Can affect anyone, but feels like a bad trade. Still, you get it for free. EDIT: I've TOTALLY changed my mind on this one - after playing it in-game, I now realize that this is a "you win this combat" ability when facing a single bruiser. It ends combat, and you get to kill the bad-guy.

Intellect Fortress: OK, so this now lasts >1 minute at 20th level, and is an immediate action... and halves spell and spell-like damage in transparency... Thats good.

Tower of Iron Will: as Intellect Fortress, but gives a radius Power Resistance... of up to 30. Uhm... I wouldn't pick this up if you asked me, but since its free, AND you can amp it up without wasting power points, I gotta say thats really nice!

Body Adjustment: So, d12 healed at L3, up another d12 every other level (maximum 9d12 at L19, average of 60 per use). Wow... Some classes have this sort of thing as a special ability, and it sucks compared to this.



Conclusion
I was then like "HOLY SMOKES!" I can't believe how strong this option is. I can't imagine a situation in which a Cha-based character wouldn't take this, even if LA Buyoff wasn't used. Even if Magic in the Blood weren't an option. Its just SO good... And I haven't even begun to talk about the Power Resistance (Spell Resistance in transparency), or the ability bonuses.

Doing the math, the Phrenic character with MitB gets the equivalent of 16 PLAs, each usable 3 times per day, each boostable to HD... At 20th, that gives him the equivalent of 960 power points (!). Now, I know its not the same as actually having 960 power points on a free psionic character, but, damn... for just +2 LA?

Are there any other Psionic Templates that add Psi-like abilities?
I'm sure there are, but I can't recall any directly. They will probably be in strange places
Manifestor Level equal to your HD, so that means CL for most characters.

Are we sure about this? I know transparency was supposed to go far but...
arg did this crappy site kill my sig too?
yes... notice...from here:

Phrenic Creature

PHRENIC CREATURE

Seemingly no different from standard examples of their kind, phrenic creatures harbor mental might.

Monsters who naturally possess psionic ability are not found as phrenic creatures. Phrenic creatures are freaks among their kind, otherwise normal creatures whose minds are more powerful than those of their fellows. Similarly, creatures who advance by character class are usually not phrenic creatures - they simply take levels in a psionic class to hone their mental powers.

CREATING A PHRENIC CREATURE
“Phrenic” is an inherited template that can be added to any nonmindless creature that does not already have the psionic subtype (referred to hereafter as the “base creature”). A phrenic creature uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Size and Type: The creature’s type does not change, unless it is an animal (in which case it becomes a Magical Beast [augmented animal]). It gains the psionic subtype.

Psi-Like Abilities (Sp): A phrenic creature possesses the psi-like abilities indicated below, depending on its Hit Dice. The abilities are cumulative. Unless otherwise noted, an ability is usable once per day. Manifester level is equal to the creature’s HD. The save DCs for a phrenic creature’s psi-like abilities are Charisma-based.


HD Abilities
1-2
3/day - defensive precognition; 1/day - force screen
3-4
3/day - empty mind, mind thrust
5-6
1/day - body adjustment, brain lock
7-8
1/day - aversion, blast
9-10
3/day - intellect fortress; 1/day - psychic crush
11-12
1/day - psionic dominate
13-14
1/day - energy current, tower of iron will
15-16
3/day - psionic teleport
17-18
1/day - fission
19-20
1/day - ultrablast

Special Qualities: A phrenic creature has all the special qualities of the base creature, plus the following special qualities.

Naturally Psionic: A phrenic creature gains 1 bonus power point.

Power Resistance (Ex): A phrenic creature has power resistance equal to its Hit Dice +10.

Abilities: Increase from the base creature as follows: Int +2 (if Int is 3 or greater), Wis +2, Cha +4.

Feats: A phrenic creature can take psionic feats, if it meets the prerequisites for such feats.

Challenge Rating: Up to 5 HD, same as base creature +1; 6-10 HD, same as base creature +2; 11+ HD, same as base creature +3.

Level Adjustment: Same as base creature +2.

:D
I'm sure there are, but I can't recall any directly. They will probably be in strange places
Are we sure about this? I know transparency was supposed to go far but...

I think Carnivore meant Character Level with CL, not Caster Level, but maybe I missunderstood *g*
I'm sure there are, but I can't recall any directly. They will probably be in strange places
Are we sure about this? I know transparency was supposed to go far but...

I believe he meant Character Level, not Caster Level. Levels are essentially HDs, so levelling in any class boosts your manifester level for the phrenic template.

Yeah, it's that darn good. Magic in the blood + phrenic is almost too good. Then again, MitB should work with Half-Fey - another nice LA +2 - so why not?

Edit: I bow to you, rparavicini. Your ninja-fu is greater than mine. The Poduene ninja clan will avenge my defeat.
I believe he meant Character Level, not Caster Level. Levels are essentially HDs, so levelling in any class boosts your manifester level for the phrenic template.

Yes; I edited that part.
Brain Lock: Concentration only takes a move action, so this one could disable somebody for your move action. Can affect anyone.

Concentration takes a standard action.

Yeah, MitB is an incredible feat with the right templates. I made a 10th level half-fey cloistered cleric/shadowcraft mage with the LA bought off a while back with it that I was really looking forward to playing, but the game died after 1-2 sessions...
Oops, so you're right! Fixed.
Where is MitB from?
Where is MitB from?

Player's Guide to Faerun. The Consolidated Lists Archive is your friend.
Where is MitB from?

Magic in the Blood[Regional](PGF p40)req: Must be from one of the following races & regions:[indent]
Dwarf – Oldonnar, Underdark [Darklands]
Elf – Menzoberranyr
Gnome – Great Dale, Thesk, Underdark [Northdark]
Planetouched – Calimshan, Mulhorand, Unther[/indent]
Racial Spell-Like abilities that your race can use once per day, you can use these abilities 3 times per day. For example, a Gnome’s Dancing Lights.

:D
Here's the Half-Fey list. I think its good, but just not quite as boostable. We use the HD=CL for each of these abilties, but this generally means that they last longer. Its also not as combat-oriented, either (though some effects are; Confusion, Glitterdust, and Otto's come to mind, in particular).

1-2 Hypnotism, 1/day; Faerie Fire –or– Glitterdust,1/day
3-4 Detect Law, 3/day, Sleep –or– Enthrall, 1/day
5-6 Protection from Law, 3/day;
Tasha’s Hideous Laughter or Suggestion, 1/day
7-8 Confusion –or– Emotion, 1/day
9-10 Eyebite –or– Lesser Geas, 1/day
11-12 Dominate Person –or– Hold Monster, 1/day
13-14 Mass Invisibility, 1/day
15-16 Geas/Quest –or– Mass Suggestion, 1/day
17-18 Insanity –or– Mass Charm, 1/day
19+ Otto’s Irresistible Dance, 1/day
heres an interesting idea:

1)since 1/2 Fey can be taken as an Accquired Template(as per Savage Progressions)

2)take Phrenic as Inherited Template at Character Creation... also take the Magic in the Blood Regional Feat

3)Buy off the LA, at level 6 and 9

4)take the 2 levels of the transition Classes for 1/2 Fey

@ ECL 20 .... you will have 18 Regular Class levels +2 Transition class levels... + Phrenic Template =

1/2 Fey Phrenic xxxxx 18

there is a Lot you could do... you have a Huge number of Spell-like abilities per day + at will Charm, Flight, PR

:D
heres an interesting idea:

1)since 1/2 Fey can be taken as an Accquired Template(as per Savage Progressions)

2)take Phrenic as Inherited Template at Character Creation... also take the Magic in the Blood Regional Feat

3)Buy off the LA, at level 6 and 9

4)take the 2 levels of the transition Classes for 1/2 Fey

@ ECL 20 .... you will have 18 Regular Class levels +2 Transition class levels... + Phrenic Template =

1/2 Fey Phrenic xxxxx 18

there is a Lot you could do... you have a Huge number of Spell-like abilities per day + at will Charm, Flight, PR

:D

So, that makes for 29 special abilities, each usable 3/day. Sorcerers, eat yer heart out!

It doesn't even matter what class you pick after that; make it a dang CW Samurai, just to prove a point, lol.
i was thinking of trying a CW Samurai next ;) , just to show that virtually anything can be optomized :P

:D
i was thinking of trying a CW Samurai next ;) , just to show that virtually anything can be optomized :P

:D

Maybe skip that one, and go directly to the Vow of Poverty Truenamer :D.
Maybe skip that one, and go directly to the Vow of Poverty Truenamer :D.

..... i dont have access to ToM right now... know anyone with it in PDF form... or an online source?

:D
I feel I should point out that not everyone will interpret your SLA/PLAs gained from templates as "racial".
I feel I should point out that not everyone will interpret your SLA/PLAs gained from templates as "racial".

how could they be classified as anything else? .... a Template is simply an alteration of an existing Race... everything it provides is based on Race not Class or Feats(although some feats affect racial abilities)

http://www.systemreferencedocuments.org/35/sovelior_sage/improvingMonsters.html#acquired-and-inherited-templates

:D
It's been a long time (a few years by now... I feel old) since I've been here regularly, and I apologize if this has come up before - but wouldn't Inspire Greatness allow (temporary) access to the higher-HD SLA's - and if not, at least beef up your current ones since your manifester level would go up?

A bard, especially with Words of Creation, with the Phrenic (or Half-Fey, for that matter, for more flavour synergy) template, could get access to some very nice powers in the mid-levels (9-15) this way...
how could they be classified as anything else? .... a Template is simply an alteration of an existing Race... everything it provides is based on Race not Class or Feats(although some feats affect racial abilities)

http://www.systemreferencedocuments.org/35/sovelior_sage/improvingMonsters.html#acquired-and-inherited-templates

:D

As much as I like the CO-ness of it, this is one of those things where as a DM I would smack my player with a DMG. When I see reference to racial abilities, I generally assume it means base race.
i know what you mean ... but there is some reference in the FAQ to support it:
If you make a character with the reptilian template and the base creature is a human, do you still get the extra feat and extra 4 skill points at 1st level, or do you lose these due to the benefits gained from the template? I suppose this applies to any template.

When applying any template, treat racial traits as special qualities. If a template says the new creature retains the special qualities of the base creature, then any racial traits also are retained. Humans retain their extra feats and skill points, elves retain their skill bonuses and weapon proficiencies, dwarves retain their saving throw bonus, and so on. Thus, when you apply the reptilian template to a human, the base creature retains its human racial traits: an extra feat and 4 extra skill points.

the Racial Abilities of the "New Creature"(base+Template) are what the feat affects..... since it is still considered a member of its original Race... it will qualify for the Feat

:D
*shrug*

This is one of those things where I leave it up to the individual DM and player to sort out. I generally interpret rules conservatively (with laxitude towards melee types to help keep them on par with casters). On another thread around here I have similar feelings for draconic aura: vigor, and I don't even bother debating with the Otherworldly feat.
*shrug*

This is one of those things where I leave it up to the individual DM and player to sort out. I generally interpret rules conservatively (with laxitude towards melee types to help keep them on par with casters). On another thread around here I have similar feelings for draconic aura: vigor, and I don't even bother debating with the Otherworldly feat.

The vigor aura thing I totally agree with you on, personally.

But, I agree that the rules on heritage and ancestry are very vague. I feel the same way about rules on souls (like, where do they go, what do they remember, etc). I think in this case it seems more clear than that, though, even though the designers of MitB clearly didn't have this in mind.
I'm now looking at the non-boostable powers.

I just reread fission.

On the Binder idea that I had, this would double the frequency of use. For example, binding Amon, Orthos, and Haures at EBL 18.

So, over 5 rounds, the actions are:
1 Phantasmal Killer, Fire Breath 18d6 50'
2 Whirlwind Breath 18d6, Phantasmal Killer
3 Fire Breath 18d6, Whirlwind Breath
4 Major Image, Major Image (or use SLA)
5 party like its 1999 (or use SLA)
repeat
Kind of a bump, but I just noticed something, from here. The Half-fey template makes one a fey-typed creature (and give a +4 Cha).

Charming the Arrow: Now you use your Cha on ranged attack rolls (bow and xbows).

So, thats one more reason to play a Magic-in-the-Blood Half-fey. Add in Divine Might and maybe bind Tenebrous or just play a Cleric / Dread Necromancer / Paladin and get Cha to damage as well. Your Binder / Paladin / Dread Necromancer essentially becomes 2-stat dependent: Cha and Con, and Con isn't really all that necessary if you stay ranged.
Your Binder / Paladin / Dread Necromancer essentially becomes 2-stat dependent: Cha and Con, and Con isn't really all that necessary if you stay ranged become a Necropolitan.

FTFY. :D
FTFY. :D

LOL, fair enough! :D
Nifty.
Too bad that, like Surreal, I can't see myself pulling it on any DM...

OoP's characters
My current character in Real Adventures Play-by-Post games:

 

  • Maeve in The Lost History of Istar


 
Nifty.
Too bad that, like Surreal, I can't see myself pulling it on any DM...

I'm actually playing one now (Phrenic Whispergnome Binder 7 w/ one LA bought off, also using 3rd party material Secrets of Pact Magic and Villains of Pact Magic - yes, it is a tabletop game), so if you played w/ the same DM, you'd be allowed.
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