Welcome to the Soulknife Handbook. The Soulknife, which can be viewed by clicking here, is a uniquely flavoured melee class printed in the Expanded Psionics Handbook, and is also common to the Eberron campaign setting. Soulknives are the only class with the ability to create their own weapons (also known as mind blades), and imbue these mind blades with magical enchantments. This being the main concept behind the class, many of the classes abilities are based around the training and use of this weapon.
This being said, the Soulknife is arguably one of the worst classes in the game, on par with the Truenamer and the Samurai. Many threads have been created on the debate of this subject, and several class fixes have been created in an attempt to bump this class into a more functional tier. My interest in creating this handbook is to present viable ways of optimizing the Soulknife by presenting the best and worst options available to the class.
In this Handbook, I will assess the Soulknife's functionality by presenting a wide variety of character options, and and assessing them based on their overall usefulness to the class and party. I have listed all of the flaws in the class, and listed several options for repairing these flaws without changing the mechanics of the original version. As well, I have provided role-specific "Repair builds" of the class that utilizes specific repairs and offers unique gameplay style without compromising balance or class mechanics. In addition, I have listed some works by other people in order to provide some exterior concepts that are also being constructed, including base classes, prestige classes, feats, etc.
I have also presented me own version of a Soulknife fix, a new base class. Essentially, this class fulfills a role and a specific aspect that I envisioned the Soulknife to fulfill. I have taken some concepts from the character Raziel in the Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver series, as well as some concepts from the Dark Templar from Starcraft. For the sake of avoiding confusion in this handbook, I will refer to this class as the Dark Templar. This handbook, although essentially has been created for the Soulknife and its repair builds, presents optimization options for the Dark Templar as well, for those who wish to playtest it properly.
Keep in mind that the opinions stated in this handbook are personal observations based on several things, such as overall function, individual and group-oriented utility, and a comparison to other classes. This handbook will be under continuous construction, and your thoughts, comments, links, builds and strategies are appreciated and will be edited into the handbook over time.
I would also like to take this moment to direct you to Todd's Soulknife Build Guide & Compendium, which also has some beneficial information not presented in this handbook. I extend much thanks to him, and to Dictum Mortuum for the creation of this Handbook. Dictum has a great deal of handbooks, including a handbook for writing handbooks, which have been great points of reference. Handbook Patches and EditsShow
The Feats section has been expanded to include an immense list of Mind Blade specific feats.
Racial Substitution Levels, Alternative Class Features, Soulknife Variants and Multiclass Variants have been added to the Class Features and Variants section. These details a wide variety of swappable class features you may mix and match, allowing you to make your character much more versatile.
List of Magical Enhancements has been added to the Class Features and Variants section, which details and critiques the specific mind blade special abilities.
A Lesser Tiefling Gish Mage Slayer build has been added to the Builds section, and a Goliath Cleaving Blade Mage Slayer is currently underway.
The main concept behind the Soulknife is that it can create and magically imbue his own weapons. However, the weapons that the soulknife can manifest are supbar to weapons that other characters of the same level will have. As well, the enchantments that a Soulknife may imbue are far beyond subpar. While any other character could essentially gain a +10 weapon by level 15 at the earliest, a soulknife only gains a +9 weapon by level 20.
The class itself was created to be a combat-oriented class with good maneuverability, but the core mechanics of the class do not agree with this. The class has moderate BAB, low fortitude saves, and can only wear light armor, so he doesn't serve as a very good tank. The soulknife has a high amount of hit points, which would allow him to serve as a solid "protector" type of class, had it the proper proficiencies with heavier armor types and shields.
This said, the class fulfills more of a striker/scout role in the party, like the rogue. This is reflected in the good reflex saves, great battlefield maneuverability, and Psychic Strike. Unlike a rogue however, who's Sneak Attack can be used automatically against anyone vulnerable to precision damage if they are caught flat-footed or flanked, the Soulknife must constantly sacrifice move actions to gain this additional damage. This is difficult on a class needing as many actions as possible just to keep its head above water. As well, a rogue has a great deal of skills and skill points, which a Soulknife is severely lacking.
Finally, the Soulknife being psionic is merely a fluff aspect. Nothing else. I know you psionics-lovers cringe at reading this, but it's true. Every psionic class, even the fighter-type, has a power point progression and can manifest powers. The only thing that makes a Soulknife psionic is Wild Talent, which is, in my opinion, is not enough to make a class psionic. The only things that this ability grants the soulknife is access to psionic feats, and the ability to manifest his psi-blade. Which is just another thing the Mind Blade needs, another restriction.
The highly restrictive nature of the Soulknife's level advancement creates a very powerful "straightjacket" effect, which punishes players if they want to multiclass into non-soulknife prestige classes or other base classes. However, in order to build the soulknife into any sort of great class, it requires multiclassing for certain builds and to enhance its general performance.
Ultimately, the Soulknife has combat, stealth and psionic aspects built in, but does not utilize any of them very well. It may use a multitude of abilities and skills to get itself in and around the battlefield, but struggles to keep up with other members of the party. Overall, this class does poorly what other classes do well. It does make a great Mage-slayer or Scout type of class though, using stealth, speed and maneuverability to dive and tumble around the battlefield.
d10 hit die, with good reflex and will saves. This offers the soulknife some great survivability on and off the battlefield.
4+Int skill points and a moderate skill list to select from.
Mind blade is always available. It cannot be lost, stolen, or disenchanted and for all practical purposes is immune to Sunder.
Can shape the Mind Blade into a variety of weapons at higher levels.
Unlike standard weapons, their mind blades may be customized for specific adventures to a limited degree.
Doesn't have to spend money on weapons, which gives the soulknife extra money which can be spent on other items.
Several class abilities are presented as feats, which give the soulknife prerequisites for other, more powerful feats.
Wide selection of soulknife based feats in the Complete Psionic supplement that allow the class to shape different weapons, deal more damage, etc.
Wild Talent allows the soulknife to select some excellent psionic feats otherwise unavailable.
Free Draw allows the soulknife to draw his mind blade as a free action instead of a move or swift.
Psychic Strike allows the soulknife to deal extra damage, especially in first strike situations.
Knife To The Soul allows the soulknife to act as an excellent mage slayer.
Mind Blade, Weapon Focus and Wild Talent. Soulknife obtains his signature ability, and gains 2 feats which are necessary prerequisites for better feats.
Free Draw and Shape Mind Blade. Soulknife can now draw as a free action, and create better weapons.
Bladewind and Greater Weapon Focus. Soulknife gains a better version of Cleave, and can make better attacks (which is the prerequisite for certain feats).
Mind Blade Enhancement +2. Most of the soulknife's best enhancements are +2.
Knife To The Soul. Another signature ability, which allows the soulknife to act as a mage slayer.
Mind Blade Enhancement +4. Allows the soulknife to carry two +2 bonuses.
Moderate Base Attack Bonus for a combat-oriented class is a massive limitation.
Limited to simple weapons and light armor, without multiclassing or burning feats. This can be difficult for a straight soulknife.
The Mind Blade is overall a terrible weapon. While other combat classes may select a variety of powerful weapons, the soulknife may only select a short sword. This improves at higher levels, but until then you are restricted to a very limited list of weapons.
The enhancement progression develops much later than characters and monsters around you, and the list of selectable enhancements is extremely short and limited, which further restrains the combat balance (other classes gain a wide selection of enhancements).
The mind blade may only be thrown once until level 17, while other characters with a rogue BAB gain 3 throw attacks with standard throwing weapons.
Can not manifest mind blade if the soulknife has no power points. This isn't too much of an issue, because you don't use power points for manifesting powers.
Can not manifest powers or cast spells without multiclassing.
Due to the structure of their class ability progression (mainly the Mind Blade and Mind Blade Enhancement), multiclassing is strongly punished.
Gain no flexible bonus feats like many other classes, such as the fighter, ranger, rogue, scout and wizard.
Best class abilities come a bit later in the build, also making multiclassing difficult.
Essentially, there are many bad levels. However, because of how the class abilities are laid out, many of the class levels are necessary to take. Good exit points for multiclassing would be at 0 BAB breakpoints, but essential class abilities are gained on those levels.
that has Psychic Strike makes a good exit point for multiclassing.
Multiple Throw. This ability should have been merged with Throw Mind Blade, and is not worth taking 17 levels to obtain.
The most difficult part of optimizing this class is specifically designating the role and style of which you want your soulknife to perform. This is caused by the Soulknife's lack of feats and the restrictive nature of its class features and level progression. However, this is made much easier once you can identify the various styles that the Soulknife has access to, and which of these styles you wish your soulknife to fulfill.
We already know that the Soulknife is built as a mobile mage slayer and scout, so it is probably best to optimize on these traits. Complete Arcane has some excellent options for mage slayers, while Complete Adventurer and Complete Scoundrel provide some intuiging options for scouting. As for the combat side of things, Complete Warrior also introduces some viable options for tanking builds. Deciding on your role in the party is vital to stabilizing your soulknife.
As well, you will need to determine which combat style your soulknife will be focusing on. Building up your chosen combat style is extremely important because of the number of feats that are required for some builds. A soulknife can create two mind blades to fight with at once, but the Two-Weapon Fighting chain is quite feat intensive. Here are some of the basic combat styles that the Soulknife can use without burning feats to shape different weapons:
Two Handed Mind Blade:
This is perhaps the best combat style to select. High strength is multiplied by 1.5, which is a good damage reward. As well, you only burn one feat to gain heavy weapons such as Dwarven Urgosh or the Orc Double-Axe, rather than burning 3 to use 2 weapons.
Two Weapon Short Sword Mind Blades:
A good combat style to choose, particularly role-playing wise. However, I would suggest going rogue or ranger for this style. A rogue can deal immense damage with 2WF, while a Ranger gains three free 2WF feats.
Two Weapon Mind Blade and Physical Weapon:
This is much better than 2WF with dual mind blades, because you have much more versatility. You can use a one-handed weapon in the mix, giving better damage, you don't have to worry as much about anti-magic field, and you have a greater selection of magical enhancements. Still, quite feat intensive.
Mind Blade and Shield:
This is good for defender types, and still quite powerful with a one-handed bastard sword.
Thrown Mind Blade:
Another excellent choice. Throwers can keep themselves at a moderate distance from enemies, which is crucial to a class with no armor proficiency. As well, they can use psychic strike with a thrown mind blade, and can thus use Knife To The Soul from a distance as well.
For those going the two-handed weapon route, additional Mind Blade Shapes include Dire Flail, Dwarven Urgosh, Orc Double-Axe and Two-Bladed Mind Blades. However, if you are interested in a different weapon, or even in the same weapon, I would suggest looking over the Shape Mind Blade feat I've created in the Homebrewed Feats section. It allows the use of any exotic weapon as a mind blade, rather than these 4 specific ones.
It's also important to note that there are at least 2 or 3 feats in the Complete Psionics supplement that you are probably going to want to select, just to make up for your Soulknife's slack. These feats will probably include Mind Cleave, Mind Empowerment and Swift Mind Strike, which in my opinion should be class abilities. However, because they're not, these feats are probably crucial to any Soulknife build. Keep this in mind before going for any advanced feat tree.
There have been many variations of how to fix the soulknife on these boards. Some people have gone as far as to recreate the class, while others prefer more simplistic perspectives such as feat trees or prestige classes to repair the concept. It seems to be a general consensus that the Soulknife concept is an intruiging one, but is something that is fundamentally flawed in its mechanics. In this segment, I will touch on some of the major flaws built into the class, as well as some minor repairs that can be done to make the class much more balanced.
If you are planning on introducing a Soulknife into your campaign, or are interested in playing a Soulknife with some of these repairs, it is important to note that not all of these repairs should be used in conjunction with one another. I will provide a list of Flaws, and a list of Repairs for each of these Flaws, followed by specific Repair Builds that include specific lines of these repairs. If you are interested in personally repairing the soulknife, I suggest you look at the various repair builds first, to get a general idea of what to tweak and what to leave alone.
Keep in mind that the Repair Builds presented provide the Soulknife with a boost to a very specific area, and further optimization could possibly push the Soulknife in the opposite direction in terms of balance. It is suggested that you include your GM in the optimization process if you choose to use one of the Repair Builds, due to the delicate balancing nature of editing classes.
Improve from Moderate to High. This gives the Soulknife +5 to their BAB as well as an additional attack per round.
Simple Weapons and Light armor is too basic for a combat-oriented class with moderate BAB and too few combat abilities.
How to repair:
Add a couple martial weapon and medium armor proficiencies. This adds some martial training and allows the soulknife to play a better defender.
Skills and Skill Points
Moderate-low skill list and skill points.
How to repair:
Boost the skill points to 6+Int and add a couple extra skills to the skill list. This offers a greater variety of abilities on and off the battlefield, and is essential for an efficient rogue-type.
Mind Blade Details
Weapon selection too limited (starts with short sword).
How to repair:
Allow selection of any two martial one-handed or light weapons; two-weapon fighting with two light weapons.
Mind Blade Enhancement Progression
+9 by level 20, and severely punishes multiclassing.
How to repair:
Provide a +1 enhancement bonus every 2nd level. This gives a reasonable progression that is comparable to the weapons other characters would have. Also allow progression to continue even if multiclassing (or offer a feat that allows this.)
List of Magical Enhancements
List is far too short, and enhancements only go up to +3 bonuses.
How to repair:
Add extra enhancements to the list; I've already created a carefully balanced list for the Dark Templar. An extended magical enhancement list offers greater battlefield versatility, which is what the soulknife is supposed to be about.
Only beneficial for feats, and does not make the class psionic.
How to repair:
This can be fixed by either keeping the ability and granting the class bonus psionic feats, or giving the class a power point progression.
Not entirely necessary if the target has a full BAB.
How to repair:
This doesn't really need to be repaired actually, but it's not necessary if the soulknife has a full BAB. If the Soulknife does not gain a full BAB, give a weapon focus bonus at first level, and every 5th level thereafter (1st, 6th, 11th, 16th). This accumulative bonus counts as Weapon Focus and Greater Weapon Focus for the prerequisites of feats. Alternatively, give the Soulknife Weapon Specialization and Greater Weapon Specialization at 6th and 16th levels.
Shape Mind Blade:
Provides weapons that other characters might have been using since 1st level.
How to repair:
Upgrade to one additional martial two-handed weapon, or exotic one-handed or light weapon; two-weapon fighting may now be done with one one-handed and one light weapon.
Throw Mind Blade, Multiple Throw:
Offers an ability that can already be used with standard thrown weapons.
How to repair:
Multiple Throw should be merged with Throw Mind Blade, since it's not anything special anyway.
Constant use of move actions
How to repair:
Not so bad as it stands, actually. However, a problem with this is the constant need for recharging, which means a soulknife is only dealing this damage in the initial round. Add Swift Mind Strike as a bonus feat to use as a swift action instead.
Flaw:Only usable in scenarios where the soulknife is surrounded.
How to repair:
Create a feat (refer to Bladestorm) that allows for Bladewind use with thrown mind blades. This would be a good ability if the soulknife had a higher BAB and higher armor proficiency, and/or if the ability could be used with thrown mind blades.
Class abilities that are feats should be selectable.
How to repair:
Allow a selection of the following feats every 5 levels (5th, 10th, 15th, 20th): Bladestorm*, Deep Impact, Focused Mind Strike, Ghost Attack, Mind Cleave, Mind Empowerment, Intensive Training* Psionic Charge, Psionic Meditation, Psionic Weapon, Greater Psionic Weapon, Reckless Offense, Shape Mind Blade*, Speed of Thought, Swift Mind Strike, Up The Walls, Wounding Attack.
The following builds offer a greater deal of variety for the soulknife class and fulfill more specific roles while still maintaining a fun and playable balance. I've created a generic build based on a balanced combination of some of the fixes listed above, with minor specific differences based on how you wish to play the soulknife. I've broken the builds into three categories: Fighter build, Rogue build and Psionic build. These builds are identical in all ways to the standard Soulknife, except that they have a certain amount of their flaws repaired.
All 3 builds gain Mind Cleave, Mind Empowerment and Swift Mind Strike as bonus feats, gain a minor bonus feat selection based on your chosen type, and gain additional benefits based on your selected build. In my opinion, this is how the Soulknife was intended to look. Repair BuildsShow
[b]Soulknife Repair Build
Level Class Abilities[/b]
1. [b]Mind Blade; Weapon Focus[/b] 2. [b]Mind Blade Enhancement +1; Throw Mind Blade[/b] 3. [b]Psychic Strike +1d8[/b] 4. [b]Bonus Feat; [/b] Mind Blade Enhancement +2 5. [b]Shape Mind Blade; Free Draw[/b] 6. Mind Blade Enhancement +3 7. Psychic Strike +2d8 8. [b]Mind Cleave; [/b]Mind Blade Enhancement +4 9. [b]Bladewind[/b] 10. Mind Blade Enhancement +5 11. [b]Greater Weapon Focus; [/b]Psychic Strike +3d8 12. Mind Blade Enhancement +6; Bonus Feat 13. [b]Knife To The Soul[/b] 14. [b]Swift Mind Strike; [/b]Mind Blade Enhancement +7 15. Psychic Strike +4d8 16. Mind Blade Enhancement +8 17. [b]Mind Empowerment[/b] 18. Mind Blade Enhancement +9 19. Psychic Strike +5d8 20. Mind Blade Enhancement +10; Bonus Feat
Skills and Skills per Level:
As the Soulknife.
All simple, any 1 martial weapon of choice, Light armor, no shields. Also varies on build type.
As the Soulknife ability, with the following differences: can take the shape of any two martial 1-handed or light weapons; 2-weapon fighting may be done with two light weapons.
As the Soulknife ability.
Mind Blade Enhancement:
Mind blade gains an enhancement bonus equal to the number listed. This enhancement bonus may be a Weapon Enhancement to attack and damage, or a Magical Enhancement selected from the magical enhancement list. A Soulknife may never have a Weapon Enhancement or Magical Enhancement higher than +5. As well, he may change his weapon's enhancement by spending a full-round action in concentration.Mind Blade Magical EnhancementsShow
Mind blade may be thrown up to 30 feet as a ranged weapon, which can be used in conjunction with other abilities, and may be thrown a number of times per round equal to the number of attacks the soulknife can make.
As the Soulknife ability.
The Soulknife may select any Mind Blade feat for which the prerequisites are met, or a any feat from the alternative feat list which varies on the chosen build.
Shape Mind Blade:
Mind blade can take the shape of one additional martial 2-handed, 1-handed or light weapon, or one exotic 1-handed or light weapon; 2-weapon fighting may now be done with one 1-handed weapon and one light weapon.
As the Soulknife ability.
As the feat Mind Cleave.
As the Soulknife ability.
Greater Weapon Focus:
As the Soulknife ability.
Knife To The Soul:
As the Soulknife ability.
Swift Mind Strike:
Psychic Strike may be charged as a swift action instead of a move action, but causes your next attack to suffer a -2 penalty.
As the feat Mind Empowerment.
Base Attack Bonus:
Fortitude and Will strong.
Add all Martial weapons, Medium Armor and all shields except tower shields to the Item Proficiency list.
Add Intimidate and Ride to the class list.
Soulknife gains the feat Wild Talent at level 1.
Soulknife may select any Fighter feat for which he meets the prerequisite as a bonus feat.
Base Attack Bonus:
Reflex and Will Strong.
6+Int per level. Add Balance, Bluff, Disable Device, Disguise, Escape Artist, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Survival, Swim, and Tumble to the class list.
Soulknife gains the feat Wild Talent at level 1.
Soulknife gains the feat Weapon Specialization at level 6, and Greater Weapon Specialization at level 16.
Soulknife may select any Scout feat for which he meets the prerequisite as a bonus feat.
Base Attack Bonus:
Reflex and Will Strong.
Add Medium Armor to the Item Proficiency list.
Soulknife gains a power point progression equal to the Lurk.
Soulknife gains a number of powers known equal to the Lurk. He may select his powers known from the Lurk list of powers.
Soulknife gains 1 additional bonus feat at level 1, and may select any Psionic feat for which he meets the prerequisite as a bonus feat.
As any melee character, a high strength dictates attack bonus and damage output, and should be one of the primary abilities.
Due to the lack of armor proficiency, and the bonus it provides to AC and Initiative, this should be considered a vital attribute.
Though a Soulknife gets d10 HD, a high Constitution can still help improve that further, as well as boost his Concentration checks.
Having a moderate-high Intelligence could be helpful, because the standard 4+Int skill points per level do not provide many maxed skills.
The Soulknife has no use for wisdom other than his various wisdom based skills, and should thus be considered a dump stat.
The Soulknife has no use for Charisma other than his various Charisma based skills, and should thus be considered a dump stat.
Wrong class to choose for a Soulknife. Bonus to Cha and penalty to Strength, which is bacwards. Has few traits that are beneficial to a Soulknife.
The level adjustment really hurts the soulknife, but the Duergar's invisibility and expansion can be quite useful for scouting and tanking builds. Dwarf traits are great for fighter/defender builds as well.
Dwarven races are generally helpful for fighter defender builds, regardless of the type of dwarf.
Not particularly useful at all, though not terrible. Can use power points to gain semi useful abilities, though a Soulknife only has 2 power points to use. Repletion is possibly the most useful, as the Elan never has to eat or drink for only 1 power point daily.
An excellent race for the Soulknife. Penalty to dex hurts, but bonus to strength and constitution are much more helpful, and the powerful build trait is excellent for a melee build. Great for multiclass with barbarians.
Half Giant (XPH):
Like the Goliath but with power points and stomp, but has a level adjustment of 1.
Another great melee race. Bonus to strength and darkvision can be helpful.
One of the best possible races for a Soulknife, a class extremely hurting for more skills and feats.
Arguably the single best race for a Soulknife. Though the racial traits aren't entirely exceptional (they aren't bad either, and the racial fluff is awesome), this race has several excellent racial feats and a couple awesome racial substitution levels. Definitely a choice pick.
Nothing spectacular here. No bonuses or penalties, but for 4 rounds daily you can alter your attributes to gain +2 strength -2 int. Might as well just select a race with those traits.
A great race to choose despite its racial hit die and level adjustment. This race is great for multiclassing with Ranger, can use multiple mind blades due to having 4 arms, and is made for infiltration with its high hide and jump checks. An interesting choice for higher powered campaigns.
It seems that WotC built the Soulknife around the Xeph. In every image of a Soulknife, it is a Xeph wielding the weapon. This is more of a speed based race, and although it has a -2 to strength, it's +2 dex and Burst abilities allow the Soulknife to bounce around the battlefield with greater ease.
As a combat based class, normally this would be one of the best stats. However, due to the wisdom bonus to attack and damage (which will be high due to the natural wisdom synergy), this stat isn't as necessary. However, if you keep this pumped up, you can massively increase your damage output.
Due to the lack of armor proficiency, this is a vital secondary attribute. It allows for a greater AC and Initiative, which when combined with the Dark Templar's high BAB, allows for powerful first strike capabilities. As well, many of the Dark Templar's main class skills are dexterity based.
A player ought to keep Constitution at a moderate level, due to the Dark Templar's moderate HD.
Although it is not absolutely vital for a Dark Templar to have a high intelligence, it is beneficial for builds that want to utilize the high amount of skill selection available. A Dark Templar already has 6 skill points per level, but a moderate Intelligence is helpful to skill monkey builds.
This is the most important ability score, because it affects the Dark Templar's combat skills such as attack/damage, as well as how many Magical Enhancements he may learn, how many times per day he may use certain abilities, and the level of his scouting/perceptive skills. If multiclassing, this also determines magic abilities, monk skills, and other useful class features. Definitely keep this pumped.
Charisma is only necessary for multiclassing and one very vital skill: Use Magic Device. If the character does not put ranks into this skill, and/or does not multiclass into a charisma-based class, then Charisma is considered a dump stat.
No level adjustment makes this race one of the best selections for a Dark Templar, and brings a unique, holy flair to a class of shadow. +2 wisdom boosts the character's attack, damage, AC, and primary skills, as well as boosts various class abilities. They gain a charisma bonus which boosts Use Magic Device, while also gaining a racial bonus to Spot and Listen, Energy Resistance, a Daylight spell, and Darkvision 60'.
The +1 Level Adjustment is the only thing keeping this race from being one of the best possible selections. 40' speed is an excellent combination with Spectral Movement, and that +4 to dex is an excellent boost to your AC and initiative. The bonus to charisma is also very useful if you max out Use Magic Device, and low-light vision is also helpful to a class that is built for staying in the shadows.
Dwarf traits, but bonus to Hide/Move Silently and Listen/Spot checks, improved darkvision, immunity to poisons and phantasms, and invisibility. Penalties are light sensitivity, -4 cha and LA+1.
Dwarf, Deep (MM):
Standard dwarf traits can be somewhat useful for a combat oriented Dark Templar, though provide nothing spectacular. Boosted bonus to poison and spell resist as well as boosted darkvision, for light sensitivity. Ok selection seeing as you'll attempt to be hidden most of the time anyway.
Elves, High (PHB):
The bonus to dex is nice, and meditation for 5 hours is much better than resting for 8 with meditation for 1, but the hit to con with little in return is too much. You don't need the weapon proficiencies, and although the resistance to certain spells is nice, and the ability to find secret doors is always cool, it's nothing spectacular. If you want an Elf, look at the Twilight Elves.
A homebrewed race, built specifically for the Dark Templar. If it weren't for the level adjustment, this race would be the best for this class. Bonus to wisdom (which is rare in a race) allows the race to really utilize the class wisdom synergy. Bonus to dex is great for initiative, primary skills and AC, and Cha bonus is great for Use Magic Device. Bonus to hide, listen, move silently, search and spot, with ability to locate hidden doors. Meditation for 4 hours instead of 8 hours sleep, superior low-light vision, ability to speak with nature, create shadowy illumination, and hide in plain sight. Penalties to the class are strength and constitution, sun blindless and +1LA. Race can be found here.
Gnome, Lesser Deep(PGF):
Dex and hide bonuses, excellent darkvision range, resistance to spells/spell-like abilities and stonecunning make this a good dungeoneering and mage-slaying race.
Gnome, Whisper (RoS):
Bonus to Dex and Con makes this race more battle hardy than other gnomes. Silence is useful for stealth, while darkvision and Spot bonus make for decent scouting.
Choose something else. Although low-light vision and bonus to listen, search and spot are beneficial, there are much better races to select. You won't really need elf weapon proficiencies, and diplomacy/gather information are skills you won't benefit from.
Terrible race. Strength isn't necessary as a Dark Templar, and the hit to Intelligence hurts alot when your class has a decent skill selection. The hit to charisma also hurts if you want to take advantage of Use Magic Device, and darkvision can be obtained by other classes. Orc-only weapons are useless since you can manifest your own weapons.
Bonus to climb, jump, listen and move silently make for excellent scouting, and the bonus to thrown weapons is useful if you have selected thrown weapons for your soul reaver. The dex bonus and saving throw bonus is also helpful.
Extra feat and skill points are vital on a class built for multiple builds which has lots of skills.
An average race, with little benefit to the Dark Templar class. However, this makes an excellent race for multiclassing.
Another excellent race for the Dark Templar. Huge bonus to constitution and hide/sleight of hand checks, with additional bonuses to specific saves, skills (appraise, climb, jump, listen, move silently, search and spot), and immunity to magic sleep. Sound imitation allows mongrelfolk to perfectly imitate any sound they've heard, but Emulate Race is one of the better abilities. Though the race takes a -4 hit to charisma, they can qualify as any humanoid race for using Use Magic Device, and gain a +4 bonus to the skill when emulating and non-humanoid. Also gain low-light vision, and -2 int. Best part is there's no level adjustment.
Penalty to Dex and Int with a Bonus to strength, Con and survival skills, and a bonus to attack roles on specific items is good if you select one of those items for your Soul Reaver. This class is only good if you plan on taking less than 4 level of Dark Templar, but useless once you obtain Intuitive Strike.
Not much specific to the Dark Templar itself, but being able to fly and having a bonus to climb, jump and spot checks is always great. Low-light vision is helpful, and Unerring Direction is also handy in those scenarios where you're lost in the wilderness.
Moderate race to select. Bonus to dex and strength, with penalties to charisma and intelligence. Skill bonuses in hide, move silently, search and spot checks while in darkness or shadowy illumination; minor darkvision, and attack bonus vs orcs, but a +1 LA really sets this race back.
Good for the same reasons as the Soulknife. Great for multiclassing with Ranger, can use multiple mind blades due to having 4 arms, and is made for infiltration with its high hide and jump checks. An interesting choice for higher powered campaigns, despite losing 4 class levels.
The only reason the Lesser Tiefling is not as spectacular as their Aasimar counterparts is because they do not gain a boost to the Dark Templar's primary ability score, and also gain a penalty to Charisma. However, they still gain a bonus to Dexterity and to Intelligence, which boost secondary abilities and provide the Dark Templar with additional skill points. They do however gain a darkness spell, which is obviously much more useful to a stealth class than Daylight, and they also gain a bonus to hide. Bluff is not entirely useful as it's not a class skill, but they do gain darkvision 60' and energy resistance.
Like humans, the Underfolk gain a large boost to their skill points. The reason Underfolk are much better than a Human for the job of a Dark Templar is because they also gain minor darkvision, a bonus to listen, and a massive bonus (+4, or +10 in rocky terrain) to hide. AC bonus is good, and weapon familiarity (light/heavy picks) is beneficial if you can't use your Soul Reaver. Light Sensitivity only dazzles you.
An intruiging option for those who wish to multiclass into something else. Best selected for Con bonus, light fortification, and plating options. However, the Dark Templar best serves this race up to level 3, as the Wisdom penalty really hurts the Intuitive Strike class ability.
All simple weapons, their own Mind Blade, light armor and shields (no tower shields).
Mind Blade/Mind Blade Enhancement (Su)
: You know a class is broken when it's signature ability is terrible. This ability, when compared to a standard weapon that any character could purchase, does not perform anywhere near how it should. While any other character with martial proficiency could purchase a bastard sword at first level, the soulknife only gains a single short sword. As well, the enhancements do not scale with any standard character's magical weapon. Every other character gains use of a +10 weapon by level 15 at the very earliest, and the soulknife gains a maximum of a +9 mind blade at level 20. Not to mention that the maximum magical enhancement you can gain is +3, and all the magical enhancements you have to select from aren't all too versatile.
Moderate enhancement. Bonus ac is always nice.
This is good since you don't have to waste a precious feat to gain a greater critical range, and alot of your other enhancements are dependent on critical hits.
A free rerolled attack roll can be quite beneficial if you need to land a hit.
Mighty Cleaving (+1):
This is useless if you don't have the cleave feat, which you shouldn't since you have bladewind.
Bonus damage is always nice, and the fact that it isn't affected by damage reduction is even nicer. Not much bonus damage though.
Grants the bonus feat Improved Sunder. Only useful if you plan on sundering weapons alot.
Nice damage to enemy but also harms you, so be careful with this one.
This is a decent enhancement, as it's always a straight damage bonus.
This is a great enhancement if you're fighting psionic creatures and you have a mind blade shape which deals alot of damage, such as greatsword.
Psychokinetic Burst (+2):
This is awesome when used with the Keen enhancement, or a weapon shape with a high critical modifier and/or threat range.
Excellent for Mage Slaying builds.
This is mostly only handy if you know you will be fighting the same creature for many rounds, or if another ally is also dealing con damage to the same creature. Otherwise, 1 con damage a round is little to get all too excited about.
If you have a high critical threat range, and a mind blade shape which deals alot of damage, this can be somewhat beneficial. However, because the temp HP doesn't stack, there are better enhancements.
Like bodyfeeder, except usable 1/day and has more restrictions. Also, a Soulknife has no use for additional power points.
This is excellent if you have a high critical threat range, because the negative levels can stack. These lost levels also result in permanent level loss if the creature doesn't heal the damage.
Weapon Focus (Mind Blade):
Gain +1 to attacks with the Mind Blade. Not bad, but nothing special either.
As presented in a previous segment, one of the fixes for this class is giving it a Power Point progression, as well as the ability to manifest powers. Wild Talent is a terrible excuse for keeping a melee class psionic, and it's sole purpose is to allow for Psionic Feats.
Throw Mind Blade (Ex):
The same effect can be achieved through buying shuriken or other ranged weapons, except that you don't have to wait until level 17 to throw multiple of them. This is a waste of an ability, and ought to be combined with Mind Blade (Su) right the beginning.
Psychic Strike (Su):
Deals an additional amount of damage on an attack. An alright ability, seeing as the Soulknife needs as much extra damage as it can get. A big drawback to this ability is the constant need to recharge, which wastes much needed actions.
Free Draw (Ex):
This is great because it doesn't even use a swift action to draw. Great way to dive into an attack without wasting any kind of action to draw.
Shape Mind Blade (Su):
You can now shape your Mind Blade into a Longsword or Bastard Sword, which makes the Mind Blade easier to use. However, this ability comes too late, because any other melee character is already using these weapons 4 levels earlier.
Speed of Thought:
+10 to base land speed is an alright ability, however this can just be taken as a feat, or the character can just get a magic item that does the same thing. Fast Movement is also viable.
This deserves some special mention. Bladewind itself would be an amazing ability if it could properly do what it seems to make a stretch at doing. Basically, you can make 1 attack against each enemy within melee range. Generally speaking however, if you find yourself completely surrounded by enemies, that's not the best position to be fighting in, let alone to be making single attacks against each one. If Bladewind had a range increment perhaps, or the Soulknife were better equipped to utilize this ability properly, it would be one of the class's better abilities.
Greater Weapon Focus (Mind Blade):
+2 to attack rolls. Better than "not bad", and you can now take any feats with Greater Weapon Focus as the prerequisite. Still, nothing worth making a class with.
Knife To The Soul (Su):
This ability really gives this class some much needed unique flair. With this ability, you can sacrifice Psychic Strike damage to deal mental ability damage instead. As a Mage Slayer, this is one of the Soulknife's primary abilities.
Multiple Throw (Su):
Unfortunately the class ends with an unsatisfying sizzle. A Fighter can throw 3 shuriken at level 11, and a Rogue can throw 3 by level 15, and even a Soulknife could throw 3 by level 15. So why is it that when it comes to fragmented mind blades, a soulknife gains a class ability that allows him to do a standard ability? This ought to be a given.
Proficiencies only with simple weapons and light armor can be extremely difficult at times. However, Soul Reaver (Su) gives the Dark Templar the proper weapon proficiency feats for 2 martial weapons and 1 exotic weapon, so it balances out.
This is the signature ability of the Dark Templar. The Soul Reaver is a weapon that can be magically enhanced as a full-round action, and though it can be temporarily sundered or dispelled, it can never be permanently destroyed.
Reinforced Soul Reaver (Su):
Seeing as the Soul Reaver is really the only weapon a Dark Templar can use, this is a necessary ability and should always be used right after resting.
Spectral Reaver (Su):
Good for bypassing enemy armor, but requires a move action to use, though it lasts til you make an attack.
Soul Strike (Ex):
Extra damage on any touch attack. This is good cause it can be any touch attack, though this doesn't really benefit the Dark Templar until level 20 when he gets Scion of Balance.
Intuitive Strike (Ex):
This is great because it enforces a wisdom synergy. This is beneficial for multiclass characters going into any wisdom based class, like the Monk or Ranger.
Reaver Forge (Su):
This ability works best as higher levels, when the Dark Templar can switch between energy reavers. This allows you to get around a creature's resistance or immunity by selecting an energy type the target isn't immune to. This ability is absolutely amazing if you acquire Scion of Balance ability and use it in conjunction with the Symbiotic Aura feat, because you can have 2 Energy Enhancements will also affect all your allies. Requires 3 feats and class levels through to level 20 though, which leaves no room for multiclassing whatsoever unless you are going into an epic campaign.
Perceptive Defense (Ex):
On a character that can't use shields, a shield bonus is helpful. Works well on 2 weapon fighting builds that also wouldn't be holding shields.
This is good for muticlassing with a rogue. Greater invisibility makes for easy infiltration, and you can catch the enemy flat-footed until your daily duration runs out.
Spectral Movement (Ex):
This is meant for use with Vanish for easy infiltration and scouting, and for quick movement while in the Ethereal realm.
Nether Reaver (Ex):
Once Nether Shift is gained, you can attack enemies on the material plane from the ethereal plane. If you've already used Nether Shift or haven't gained it yet, it's still a handy ability for attacking ghosts and creatures that are blinking without miss chance.
Nether Shift (Su):
Really handy ability for transportation and infiltration. However, unlike the standard Ethereal Jaunt spell, you can only move through 5' of material. This slightly hinders your maneuverability in terms of how you can move about. Still, it's a very handy ability to have if you need to move through walls, doors, and perform reconnaissance or infiltration missions.
Wraith Blade (Ex):
A great ability that truly shows the Dark Templar's relationship with his Soul Reaver. With the right combination of weapon shapes and enhancements, the Soul Reaver can now perform some truly dangerous attacks.
Scion of Balance (Ex)
: This is perhaps the best ability the Dark Templar has, which is why it's only available at level 20. Character's aren't rewarded enough for staying a full 20 levels in a class, which is why so many builds have several classes in them. With this, you are gaining benefits from two Energy Enhancements, as well as dealing damage from two different energy types. This allows the Dark Templar to deal a max of +10d8 Soul Strike damage with associated energy types on any touch attack. Draw backs are still that it takes a move action (or any other touch attack) to deal this damage. Also, if you have the Symbiotic Aura feat tree, your Energy Enhancements also affect any ally within 30 feet. With these feats, the party can become quite powerful if the right Energy Reavers are selected.
Alternative Class Features
Replaces Wild Talent. I definitely recommend taking this substitution level, because you can do all the same stuff as with Wild Talent, except this feat allows you to learn any 1st level power from any list. This is also good because you can take this multiple times in any feat slot, which grants an additional 1st level power. This is great for Kalashtar soulknives.
Replaces Psychic Strike. This can be much more useful to a soulknife than Psychic Strike. Generally, you're better off using full attacks than constantly recharging your Psychic Strikes. You could also keep a couple levels of psychic strike and use the few bonus feats to gain feats like Swift Mind Strike, Mind Cleave, etc to enhance your Psychic Strikes. Careful with this though; some PrC's and feats, like Illumine Soul, require Psychic Strike to obtain.
Racial Substitution Levels
Align Mind Blade:
Gained at 1st; Replaces Wild Talent. Awesome exchange, especially because you're not losing anything. You trade Wild Talent, but Kalashtar already gain 1 power point per level (up to 20 power points), which in itself is already way better than Wild Talent. Definitely take this substitution if you're going Kalashtar.
Gained at 3rd; Replaces Psychic Strike +1d8. This is a great choice for mage slayers. You can dispel any mind-affecting effect on a target, and exorcize Quori possessors out of creatures, but you lose a valuable Psychic Strike +1d8. An awesome free debuff, and if you're really upset about the +1d8 then take Focused Mind Strike or Mind Empowerment.
Gained at 6th; Replaces Speed of Thought. This is a toss up. You lose some combat maneuverability, but you gain +2 AC if you maintain psionic focus and move 5 feet. This is better for defender and tanking builds, but the trade is about even.
Variants[indent]Each of the variants provided are, in one way or another, much better than the standard soulknife. The base Soulknife is difficult to utilize properly because it attempts to encompass several ideals in one class. Each of these variants focuses on one aspect of the Soulknife and builds on that aspect immensely. [/indent] Cleaving Blade (HiPsi)[indent]This class variant is an essential choice for players who want to be a powerhouse. The style of this variant is to deal as much psychic strike damage as possible to as many creatures in your immediate vicinity. This variant, couple with the Mind Cleave, Mind Empowerment, Focused Mind Strike and Swift Mind Strike feats under your belt as well, you will decimate most creatures on the battle field, pulling of multiple psychic strikes in a single round.[/indent]
Gained at 2nd; Replaces Throw Mind Blade. This is without a doubt an excellent replacement for melee soulknives that won't be using thrown blades much. Take with Deep Impact for serious damage.
Gained at 6th; Replaces Speed of Thought. Good when used in combination with Psychic Strike and Mind Cleave/Mind Empowerment.
Gained at 9th; Replaces Bladewind. This is almost identical to Bladewind, except that you can use this after a full attack, and only if you kill multiple enemies. Still, when used with Mind Cleave/Mind Empowerment, this feat is very powerful.
Gained at 17th; Replaces Multiple Throw. an extra 5 foot step might not be much, but it replaces a useless ability and allows some minor movement during a full attack.
Dual Blade (HiPsi)[indent]This entire build nothing short of is excellent for those who want to get into the dual wielding aspect of the class. This class variant offers the entire two-weapon fighting feat tree, so your Soulknife will never get stuck with low attack ratings just because he chose to dual wield.[/indent]
Gained at 1st and 5th; Replaces Mind Blade, Shape Mind Blade. This is pretty much exactly the same as Mind Blade, except that you can only ever create 2 daggers or 2 short swords. You lose a bit of versatility with the mind blade, but since you're going 1WF it's not that much of a loss.
Two Weapon Fighting:
Gained at 2nd; Replaces Throw Mind Blade. This feat tree is a great problem solver for soulknives who want to focus on dual wielding, because they no longer need to multiclass or burn precious feats to wield the mind blades well.
Two Weapon Defense +1:
Gained at any level with Psychic Strike; Replaces Psychic Strike. This is a decent trade, because you'll always have a bonus to AC just for wielding weapons. Coupled with the Defender's Blade feat, this could prove an especially potent combatant. This variant doesn't work with the Bonus Feat variant however, and you lose the ability to use psychic strike.
Improved Two Weapon Fighting:
Gained at 9th; Replaces Bladewind. As stated above, this is a nice feat tree to gain as class abilities.
Gained at 13th; Replaces Knife To The Soul. Since you're not gaining any psychic strike damage, this is a nice replacement for knife to the soul. However, you no longer possess any real mage slaying prowess unless you multiclass into something else to gain that back.
Greater Two Weapon Fighting:
Replaces Multiple Throw. The best possible trade in this variant is this one. Trade an underpowered class ability (that you won't be using much as a dual wielder) for standard base attack bonus with 2 weapon fighting. Very nice.
Throwing Blade (HiPsi)[indent]This is an awesome variant for players who want to focus on the Soulknife's throwing. You gain an increased range and thrown mind blade damage, which means you can take enemies down from far away. [/indent]
Throw Mind Blade:
Gained at level 1 instead of 2. Obviously better since you're gaining the ability a level earlier.
Gained at level 2; Replaces Throw Mind Blade. +1 bonus on throws while maintaining psionic focused. Obviously a nice ability since it doesn't actually replace anything.
Gained at 5th; Replaces Free Draw. Though you lose Free Draw, this is a godsend for throwing builds because it is gained 12 levels earlier where it should have been originally.
Improved Mind Blade:
Gained at 5th; Replaces Shape Mind Blade. Acts as Shape Mind Blade, but allows a range of 50' for throwing.
Greater Mind Blade:
Gained at 9th; Replaces Bladewind. Since throwers can't and shouldn't really be using bladewind that well, a higher critical threat and increased throwing range is helpful.
Superior Mind Blade:
Gained at 17th; Replaces Multiple Throw. Increased damage, threat range AND throwing range is the best possible way to end this variant.
Multiclass Variants[indent]These variants offer alternative, psionic variations of their core counterparts, allowing the classes to manifest their own mind blades and gain various enhancements. As a basic prerequisite for all three variants, the character must have power points from some exterior means, such as a psionic race, or the feats Hidden Talent or Wild Talent.[/indent]Mind Blade Paladin (MU)[indent]A Mind Blade and some mind blade feats for a Paladin may be an interesting concept, but it certainly isn't worth the cost of spellcasting. However, this might be a decent alternative for non-magical paladin, who's weapon is granted by his god. In a general campaign however, this would not be a good trade.[/indent]
Gained at 4th; Replaces 1st Level Spellcasting. Gain the ability to manifest a mind blade, as the Soulknife ability; or gain a bonus mind blade feat if you can already manifest a mind blade. A good feat, but does not balance out the loss of spellcasting. If you take the Kalashtar racial substitution for 1st level, you gain Mind Blade and Align Mind Blade, giving you two free mind blade bonus feats for the Mind Blade Paladin.
Blade of the Slayer:
Gained at 8th; Replaces 2nd Level Spellcasting. Gain Blade of the Slayer as a bonus feat; or gain a bonus mind blade feat if you already have Blade of the Slayer. A good feat, but does not balance out the loss of spellcasting.
Align Mind Blade:
Gained at 11; Replaces 3rd Level Spellcasting. Gain Align Mind Blade as a bonus feat; or gain a bonus mind blade feat if you already have Align Mind Blade. A good feat, but you're better off taking the Kalashtar racial substitution for first level, and gaining this as a general mind blade bonus feat.
Gained at 14th; Replaces 4th Level Spellcasting. Gain any mind blade feat as a bonus feat. A good feat, but does not balance out the loss of spellcasting.
Mind Blade Ranger (MU)[indent]As with the Paladin, this class also takes a bit of a hit with the loss of spellcasting. However, you gain a great deal of bonus feats, and some of them are not entirely bad. This would make a better mind blade variant than the paladin, due to the amount of bonus feats gained.[/indent]
Gained at 2nd; Replaces Combat Style. Gain the ability to manifest a mind blade, as the Soulknife ability; or gain a bonus mind blade feat if you can already manifest a mind blade. Not worth the loss of Combat Style, but you gain any mind blade feat if you take 1 level of Soulknife. Best off to do that for an equal trade.
Mind Blade Focus:
Gained at 4th, 8th, 12th, 14th; Replaces 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Level Spellcasting. Gain any mind blade feat as a bonus feat. A good feat, but does not balance out the loss of spellcasting.
Gained at 6th; Replaces Improved Combat Style. Gain Hunter's Blade as a bonus feat. Not a bad feat, but Combat Style replacements would be better off as bonus mind blade feats rather than specific feats.
Gained at 11th; Replaces Combat Style Mastery. Gains the Soulknife class ability Bladewind. This is much better on this class than the Soulknife, since this class has a full BAB.
Mind Blade Rogue (MU)[indent]This is about an equal trade. You lose Uncanny Dodge and Evasion, but your Sneak Attacks will be dealing much more damage since you'll probably have lots of mind blade feats, and you get a broader selection of feats due to new class abilities. However, since you don't have the Psychic Strike class ability, you don't gain the entire benefit of Deceptive Blade either.[/indent]
Gained at 2nd; Replaces Evasion. Gain the ability to manifest a mind blade, as the Soulknife ability; or gain a bonus mind blade feat if you can already manifest a mind blade. Not too bad a trade, but not entirely great either.
Gained at 4th Level; Replaces Uncanny Dodge. Gain Deceptive Blade as a bonus feat; or gain a bonus mind blade feat if you already have Deceptive Blade. A free feint is great, but since you don't have psychic strike as a rogue, this feat has lost half its utility.
Blade of Silence:
Gained at 8th; Replaces Improved Uncanny Dodge. Gain Blade of Silence as a bonus feat; or gain a bonus mind blade feat if you already have Blade of Silence. Now this can deal alot of extra damage if you have alot of mind blade feats. However, you would be completely immune to crit hits here.
Gained at any level with a Special Ability. May select any mindblade feat as a bonus feat instead of a special ability or normal bonus feat. This is good because not only are you not really losing any class abilities, but it offers greater versatility because you are now allowed to select any mind blade feats. Keep in mind these mind blade feats boost your sneak attack damage.
This segment is for Soulknife feats published by WotC. They augment, enhance, even reshape the mind blade and its properties, allowing for a much greater mind blade experience. Some of these feats should have been Soulknife class abilities as well. Because they are not, however, many of these feats are vital to overcome the multiclassing issues or further enhance a generally weakened mind blade. Some of these are homebrewed feats, so be wary of what you choose for your soulknife. For example, a soulknife with Intensive Training isn't going to need Soulblade Warrior.
Adamantine Mind Blade (Dragon 341):
A moderate feat for overcoming DR, but is excellent if you plan on sundering weapons alot.
Align Mind Blade (Dragon 341):
A good way of overcoming damage reduction and is always active. Aligned Attack deals additional damage AND is aligned, but requires you to spend your focus.
Focused Mind Strike (CPsi):
Not necessary, but definitely helpful if you plan on using psychic strike alot.
Flowing Blade (Ebr):
Mind Blade is considered a Monk weapon for flurry of blows. Obviously, this is essential if you plan on multiclassing with monk.
Mind Cleave (CPsi):
This is awesome if used with the Cleave feat tree: every time you kill a creature, you recharge your psychic strike. This is just awesome with Bladewind or Great Cleave, because you gain multiple psychic strikes in a round.
Mind Empowerment (CPsi):
This takes 7 class levels to obtain otherwise; a great feat if you plan on using Psychic Strike or Knife To The Soul alot.
Psycarnum Blade (MoI):
This is a better version of Psychic Strike because it can affect creatures immune to mind-affecting effects. It also stacks with Psychic Strike damage as well, which gives you even greater first strike damage. Awesome feat if you have access to Incarnum Magic.
Practiced Mind Blade (Dragon 341):
My strategy is go Kalashtar and take this feat in conjunction with Soulblade Warrior. Your soulknife level is treated as 6 higher, which means you can multiclass almost as freely as you like without too much worry. Unless you're going thrower build, level 14-20 are strictly Mind Blade abilities (and 2 psychic strikes, which you can make up with Mind Empowerment) anyway.
Reshape Mind Blade (Dragon341):
This is just awesome if you have alot of martial proficiencies, because you can switch mind blade shapes 1/round as a free action. Also, take a level in Warblade to shape your mind blade into any exotic weapons you like, as long as you train with a physical version of that weapon for 1 hour.
Shield of Thought (RoE):
Kalashtar only feat; Manifest Shield, add enhancement to shield instead of sword. This is a decent feat for guardian builds, and works awesome with Soul Armor.
Soulblade Warrior (RoE):
Kalashtar only feat; Mind blade treated as being 2 levels higher. This is a necessity if your DM won't let you take the Intensive Training feat. Has the same name as the High Psionics feat, but this is the feat I am talking about where ever mentioned in this handbook.
Spiritual Force (RoE):
Kalashtar only feat; Expend focus to gain CHA bonus to damage rolls with mind blade. This is alright, but there are better things to expend focus on, and Cha is generally a dump stat.
Strategic Reassignment (Dragon 341):
Change mind blade enhancements in 10 minutes instead of 8 hours. Good ability, and is required for tactical reassignment.
Stunning Blade (HiPsi):
This is a great feat for monk/soulknives because it further synergizes the class abilities.
Swift Mind Strike (CPsi):
Another feat that should have been a class ability. Definitely take this if you ever plan on using psychic strike.
Tactical Reassignment (Dragon 341):
This is golden if for battlefield adaptability, and if your GM doesn't want you using any of the repair builds.
3rd Party Mind Blade Feats
These feats are 3rd party material, published by various soulknife fans from here on the boards it seems. Many of these feats are quite good for the soulknife, but ultimately are still considered homebrew because they aren't published by WotC or anyone who has worked on the WotC team. I suggest using a couple of these, but make sure to use with discretion as they are homebrew.
Blade of Silence (MU):
Great for soulknives that are multiclassing with rogues, who also happen to have alot of mind blade feats.
Blade of the Slayer (MU):
Multiclassing Paladins will find this feat an essential if they have lots of other mind blade feats.
This is definitely something worth considering if you are going with a throwing build. Even if you're not, it's still a beneficial feat since you don't have to worry about using Bladewind and being surrounded.
Deceptive Blade (MU):
This is an excellent feat for rogue multiclassing, and even best if you have some decent psychic strike damage. The additional feat requirements for the special ability is the only thing that kept this feat from being sky high.
Defender's Blade (MU):
An excellent choice for defender builds, since the AC bonus is doubled. Make sure to use this with Shield of Thought and Soul Armor for a massive AC boost.
Dual Wielder (MU):
Two-Weapon Fighting is usually a bit of a loss for Soulknives, but this allows for more balanced enhancement bonuses. Something to consider if you're going down the 2WF path.
Dueling Blade (MU):
A good feat for lockdown builds, and also good for defender and even basic offensive builds.
Enlightened Warrior (MU):
This is an amazing feat for multiclassing soulknives which are going into a wisdom based class, such as monk or ranger. If you pick this, not only will your melee be high, but as will your scouting skills, and spellcasting or AC bonus. A great synergy for scouts.
Executioner's Blade (MU):
A great feat for crit trees, but unfortunately you have to be using Keen weapon enhancement AND maintaining your psionic focus. Not too much to ask though, and provides a nice bonus.
Extended Throw (MU):
This is a must for throwers. If you use this feat with Far shot, you gain a throwing range of 200 feet!
Ghost Hunter (MU):
This is a great feat if you plan on fighting alot of undead, for obvious reasons.
Hunter's Blade (MU):
This is a great feat when multiclassing with Ranger, dealing additional damage AND alerting you.
Monastic Blade (MU):
This is an awesome feat for multiclassed soulknife/monks, seriously pumping up the damage output. Combine this with Flowing Blade and Reshape Mind Blade, and a Soulknife/Monk can dish some nice damage.
Oversized Blade (MU):
This is a nice feat to have, especially as a Goliath or a large sized creature.
Reckless Blade Wielder (MU):
This is just awesome for charger builds, and even better if you have Favored Power Attack and Deep Impact.
Soul Armor (MU):
Nice AC boost makes for a better guardian build, and helps the soulknife survive longer in battle.
Soulblade Warrior (MU):
Has the same name as the Kalashtar feat, so this might create some confusion. This is good for gaining the first strike, and it counts as Quick Draw for meeting feat/PrC requirements.
Xeph Bladestorm (MU):
This is an amazing feat which allows the Xeph to fully utilize his combat maneuverability. Definitely take this if you are Xeph, and make sure to grap Spring Attack as well for that special movement.
Feat Descriptions from Dragon 341 and The Mind UnveiledShow
Adamatine Mind Blade Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, BAB +1. Benefit: Mind Blade is treated as adamantine for all purposes. Special: You may not select the feat Silver Mind Blade if you select this feat.
Align Mind Blade Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, BAB +6. Benefit: Choose a part of your alignment (chaos, evil, good or law). Your Mind Blade is treated as having this alignment for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
Blade of Silence Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, Sneak Attack. Benefit: When making a sneak attack with your mind blade, you deal an additional amount of damage equal to the number of mind blade feats you have. As well, you may add coup de grace to the list of magical enhancements.
Blade of the Slayer Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, Smite Evil. Benefit: When using smite evil with your mind blade, you deal an additional amount of damage equal to the number of mind blade feats you have. In addition, when using your smite evil ability, your critical threat range is increased by 2.
Bladestorm Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, Bladewind. Benefit: As a full attack, when wielding your mind blade, you can give up your regular attacks and instead one mind blade to a number of opponents equal to twice the number of attacks you could normally make.
Deceptive Blade Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade. Benefit: You may feint in combat as part of the action used to materialize your mind blade. As well, add Bluff to your list of class skills. Special: If you possess the Improved Feint and Focused Mind Strike, you may also charge your psychic strike as part of the action used to materialize your mind blade.
Defender's Blade Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade. Benefit: This feat is only active while you have the defending special ability active. While maintaining psionic focus, double the bonus to AC provided by the defending special ability. If you expend your focus, you gain a +4 dodge bonus to AC for one round.
Dual Wielder Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, Two Weapon Fighting. Benefit: When wielding more than one mind blade, the penalty to your enhancement bonus for materializing more than one mind blade is reduced by one, to a minimum penalty of 0. Special: You can take this feat multiple times, and its benefits stack.
Dueling Blade Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade. Benefit: If you are fighting defensively with your mind blade, and an opponent misses you in melee, you may make an attack of opportunity against that opponent with your mind blade. Ignore the penalty for fighting defensively when making this attack. Special: If you possess the Combat Expertise feat, you may use this ability when using that feat instead of fighting defensively. As well, when using your mind blade, you may increase the penalty from Combat Expertise up to your base attack bonus instead of the normal -5.
Enlightened Warrior Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade. Benefit: You may use your Wisdom modifier instead of your strength modifier to determine your attack and damage bonuses while using your mind blade. Special: A Monk can select this feat as one of his bonus feat if he meets the feat requirements.
Executioner's Blade Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade. Benefit: This feat is only active while the Keen special ability is active. While maintaining your psionic focus, you gain a +4 insight bonus to confirm a critical threat. If you expend your focus, you automatically confirm a critical threat.
Extended Throw Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, Throw Mind Blade. Benefit: The range increment of your thrown mind blades increases to 100 feet.
Ghost Hunter Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade. Benefit: Add the Ghost Touch, Undead Bane and Disruption special abilities to your list of mind blade special abilities.
Hunter's Blade Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, Favored Enemy. Benefit: Add the Bane special abilities to your list of mind blade special abilities. In addition, whenever your mind blade is drawn, it vibrates slightly whenever one of your favored enemies is within 30 feet, alerting you to their presence.
Monastic Blade Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, Flurry of Blows. Benefit: You can add your unarmed strike damage to the damage dealt by your mind blade. In addition, for the purpose of spells and powers, your mind blade counts as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon. Special: A Monk can select this as one of his bonus feats if he meets the feat requirements.
Practiced Mind Blade Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, concentration 4 ranks. Benefit: Your soulknife level is treated as being 4 higher for the purpose of determining your Mind Blade Enhancement and Special Abilities.
Oversized Blade Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, Shape Mind Blade. Benefit: The damage for your mind blade increases by one step, as if it were one size category larger. Special: This feat does not stack with other feats or items that provide a similar bonus.
Reckless Blade Wielder Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, Dexterity 13. Benefit: When charging, you may choose to reduce your Dexterity bonus to your armor class by any amount (up to your maximum Dex bonus to AC), and add that number to your mind blade damage. Both these changes last until the beginning of your next turn. Special: If you possess the Power Attack feat, and are wielding your mind blade with two hands, you may instead add twice your reduced Dexterity bonus to your mind blade damage.
Reshape Mind Blade Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, BAB +4, Shape Mind Blade. Benefit: Your mind blade can take the shape of any simple, martial or exotic weapon with which you are proficient.
Silver Mind Blade Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, BAB +1. Benefit: Your mind blade is treated as alchemical silver for all purposes. Special: You may not select the feat Adamantine Mind Blade if you have selected this feat.
Soul Armor Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, Shape Mind Blade, Shield of Thought. Benefit: You gain a deflection bonus to your AC equal to the enhancement bonus of your mind blade.
Soulblade Warrior Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade. Benefit: You can manifest your mind blade as a swift action instead of a move action. In addition, you gain a +2 bonus on initiative checks. Special: This feat counts as the feat Quick Draw for the purpose of meeting requirements.
Strategic Reassignment Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, Mind Blade Enhancement +1, Concentration 7 ranks. Benefit: You may reassign your Mind Blade's special abilities in 10 minutes of meditation instead of 8 hours.
Stunning Blade Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, Stunning Fist. Benefit: You can choose to channel a stunning fist attac through your mind blade instead of through an unarmed attack.
Tactical Reassignment Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, Mind Blade Enhancement +2, Concentration 11 ranks, Strategic Reassignment. Benefit: You may reassign your Mind Blade's special abilities as a full round action by succeeding a DC 25 Concentration check.
Xeph Bladestorm Prerequisites: Able to manifest Mind Blade, Xeph. Benefit: When you make a full attack with your mind blade, you may make an additional attack at your highest base attack bonus. When you do this, all other attacks rolls suffer a -2 penalty until the beginning of your next turn. Special: If you have the Spring Attack feat, and are under the effects of your racial Burst ability during a Xeph Bladestorm full attack action, you may move your full speed before, after or in between attacks, and may split this movement up as desired.
The Soulknife gains access to psionic feats due to gaining Wild Talent as a 1st level bonus feat. However, because he does not manifest powers, there are many psionic feats that he still does not have access to. Here are some of the better psionic feats that he may select.
Aligned Attack (XPH):
Gain +1d6 damage and mind blade gains alignment for overcoming DR if you expend psionic focus. Alright feat, but only take this if you have spare feats (which you probably won't).
Deep Impact (XPH):
Expend focus to make next attack a touch attack. This is an excellent combination with Power Attack, and is a must take for melee builds.
Fell Shot (XPH):
As Deep Impact, but for throwers. Excellent feat if you need to get past armor.
Ghost Attack (XPH):
Unfortunately the Soulknife does not have the Ghost Touch/Strike enhancement, so he must instead burn a feat to attack incorporeal creatures.
Instant Clarity (ToB):
This is a good feat because you can recover focus as a swift action, though it can only be used 3 times per day, and it requires the use of a martial strike. Acts as the feat Psionic Meditation for feat and prc prerequisites, so this could be good if you have ToB class levels.
Instinctive Consummator (CPsi):
Auto confirm crits? Works great with the crit tree.
Psionic Meditation (XPH):
Absolutely essential if you have feats that require you to become focused or expend focus, because those full-round actions add up against you rather quickly.
Psionic Shot/Greater (XPH):
This is a powerful combination for throwers with Psychic Strike, if you have Psionic Meditation and Swift Mind Strike (even more so with Mind Empowerment). Can land you extra damage up to +4d6 +2d8 +current Psychic Strike damage, on a single attack. Uses an entire round though.
Psionic Weapon/Greater (XPH):
As Psionic Shot, but with melee. Because of psychic strike this is not necessary, but still interesting if you want a greater damage output.
Sidestep Charge (XPH):
Bonus vs charges, and attack of opportunity is the charge is a success. Good for lockdown builds.
Up The Walls (XPH):
A cool mobility feat allowing you to scale any type of wall. Good for scouting builds.
Wounding Attack (XPH):
Expend psionic focus to deal 1 con damage in addition to normal damage. Not particularly handy alone, but interesting if you can deal other con damage, or is someone else is also dealing con damage.
The feats in this section focus primarily on melee and ranged combat, as well as combat mobility. It is important for the Soulknife to have a balanced amount of combat and psionic feats, due to the restrictive nature of the class's abilities.
Brutal Throw (CW):
Strength mod for throwing can be pretty good for throwing builds. Keep in mind however that due to the first strike nature of the Soulknife, with the lack of armor proficiency also means that the Soulknife will naturally need a high dex anyway, so this feat is not essential.
It's a trick! This feat works wonders with Mind Cleave, as it allows you to use psychic strike twice in a round, but the Bladewind class ability functions as a much better version of cleave. You don't need this feat.
Combat Reflexes (PHB):
Needed by almost every lockdown feat, and works well if you have a high dex.
Danger Sense (CAdv):
Decent feat if you need to get the first strike.
A terrible feat, but a necessary prerequisite for many other mobility based feats.
Excellent feat for throwers, because it keeps you that much farther away. Usable with psychic strike as well.
Improved Critical (PHB):
The soulknife has the Keen weapon enhancement, so this feat is not worth it unless you plan on taking the whole critical tree.
Improved Initiative (PHB):
A decent ability to ensure that you always gain the first strike. This is quite helpful in mage-slaying builds.
Great for larger Soulknives, as it allows you to move your enemies around the battlefield.
Leap Attack (CAdv):
Good for chargers, and for that extra bit of damage. Excellent combination with Knockback.
Mage Slayer (CArc):
This feat is, obviously, excellent for mage slaying builds, because it opens up the Mage Slayer feat tree, and casters can not cast defensively. However, DO NOT take this feat if you are a caster of any kind, because your caster level will be treated as being 4 less.
Great for moving around the battlefield. This is an interesting combination with Leap Attack and Knockback.
Mounted Archery (PHB):
Required for mounted throwers.
Mounted Combat (PHB):
Required for mounted melee soulknives.
Pierce Magical Concealment (CArc):
This is another excellent Mage Slayer feat, allowing you to see through any obscuring effect caused by a spell. Also allows you to spot which image caused by Mirror Image is real.
Pierce Magical Protection (CArc):
Pierce through any kind of magical armor bonus, AND dispel that effect? Just great.
Point Blank Shot (PHB):
Good feat and a prerequisite for many PrC's and feats.
Power Attack (PHB):
Excellent feat when used with Deep Impact, and is the prerequisite for many feats and PrC's.
Power Throw (CAdv):
Excellent feat when used with Fell Shot.
Quick Draw (PHB):
You don't need this, because you already gain Free Draw.
Rapid Shot (PHB):
Unless you use a Repair Build, this feat is not useful until after you gain Multiple Throw at level 17.
Decent feat if you need to land a hit, but penalty to AC leaves you exposed. Just take Deep Impact if you need to land a hit.
Spring Attack (PHB):
This is a necessary feat for mobile attackers.
Stand Still (XPH):
Stops enemies in their tracks. Good lockdown feat.
Two Weapon Fighting (PHB):
A necessary feat for dual mind blades.
Weapon Finesse (PHB):
A moderate feat if you want to focus on dex and mobility.
Whirlwind Attack (PHB):
You don't need this, as bladewind allows you to attack all enemies anyway.
The feats listed here are generally based on scouting and multiclassing, as well as some feats I have created to help improve aspects of the Soulknife.
Divine Might (CD):
Additional damage always helps, and this is an especially good feat for paladin multiclassed characters.
Divine Vigor (CD):
Additional movement and HP is helpful as a high HP and movement based character.
Favored Power Attack (CW):
Just awesome if you take a couple levels of ranger.
Improved Smiting (CD):
Another paladin based damage feat.
Kalashtar Thoughtshifter (RoE):
Kalashtar only feat; Burrowing Blade allows you to ignore Shield bonus. This is good, because you can ignore certain armor by using 1 power point, rather than expending psionic focus to ignore all armor. Has other maneuvers too.
This is always a beneficial feat; however, seeing as Charisma is a dump stat for a Soulknife, I would avoid this feat.
Open Minded (XPH):
This is better than most other skill feats, because it provides +5 skills which can be distributed anywhere.
Path of Shadows (RoE):
Kalashtar only feat; Bonus to Tumble, use dance instead of concentration. Not worth the feat though, because performance (dance) isn't a class skill.
Quick Reconnoiter (CAdv):
Great for scouting, and the bonus to initiative helps with getting the first strike.
Strength of Two (RoE):
If you remain psionically focused, gain +1 to will saves. Expend focus to gain +5 to will for 1 round.
Unless you multiclass into a class with the survival skill, this is not a feat worth taking.
With 4+Int Skills per level, a Soulknife without an intelligence bonus is always going to be able to have at least 3 skills maxed out at any given time.
This is always a beneficial skill for those who have the rare chance of taking it. It has a multitude of uses, from stopping death to resisting poison and fear, etc. Especially for a melee class, this is worth a few ranks.
This is a worthy skill if you plan on playing the scout of the group.
Unless you are taking a feat or class that requires a high use of this, this skill isn't really worth spending precious skill points in.
Again, not worth spending your precious skill points on.
This is a great skill for the soulknife. With a high enough hide, you can constantly recharge your psychic strike without taking hits from being in the middle of combat. You can also fulfill certain stealth roles as well.
A decent skill to have for combat mobility.
Knowledge Psionics (Int)
This doesn't benefit the soulknife very much.
This is very handy skill, especially for scouting builds, and can be helpful in those scenarios where you need to pull off the first strike. I would put points in this or in spot, if you can't afford both.
Move Silently (Dex):
This is a great synergy with Hide, and is especially recommended for stealth builds, and allows you to get close to the enemy without giving up your position.
Much like craft, stay away from this.
Same thing as Listen. Definitely throw a couple ranks in either of these. I would select this over Listen, however, if you're planning on selecting some Skill Tricks.
As a mobility based combat class, this should be maxed out.
Back To Your Feet:
This is a great trick if you've been bullrushed or knocked down and don't want to waste precious move actions that could be used for psychic strike.
Clarity of Vision:
This is a decent trick if you're fighting incorporeal creatures. However, unlike Back To Your Feat, it's extremely situational. Only pick this if you know you'll be fighting alot of incorporeal creatures.
This is an excellent trick if you've gone the leap attack route, because it furthers your mobility.
Another situational trick, but it has its moments.
Listen To This:
This is only good if you've selected Listen and need to perfectly repeat a message or sound. I wouldn't recommend it though.
Point It Out:
This is an awesome trick, because it provides allies with a free spot check and a +2 bonus to the check. Usable in all situations, and helps your allies from being caught flat-footed if they failed their own check.
Spot The Weak Pont:
Another excellent spot trick. Allows your next attack to be dealt as a touch attack.