View Full Version : Build Critique/Gem Choice - Crystal Master Erudite [3.5]

2010-07-12, 07:55 PM

So I had this concept bouncing around in my head for awhile - a Psiforged Erudite (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/iw/20060406b&page=1)who goes into the Crystal Master (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/psm/20040625d) PrC. (I know, the above image is a human - someone with more photoshop skills than I possess, or a clear mind's eye, can color him more metallic and remove his nose :smallwink:)

I'll spoiler all the stuff that's incidental to my question - read it if you feel like.

Brief Backstory:

Chamber was designed to be the ultimate psionic repository - a walking archive of every psionic power that exists. An experimental configuration of his internal crystal matrix gave him near-limitless potential to learn the psionic talents of others.

However, while his repertoire was limitless, the number of powers he could consciously access became limited as a result. In computing terms, he has a large amount of hard drive space, but low RAM and a small paging file. While he can clear his cache, it takes him 24 hours between attempts to do so successfully.

From the flavor text of the below card:


Chamber is a work of art designed to finish himself - both by completing his mental repertoire, and by discovering the right gems to fill the receptacles in his body. Vaguely aware of this purpose, he has an uncharacteristic amount of vanity (for a Warforged) as a result.

Why Warforged?
I feel there is significant synergy between Warforged and the Crystal Master PrC. Several of the more useful gems are obviated by a Warforged's natural attributes/immunities.

- Amethyst: Warforged are immune to poison.
- Azurite: Warforged don't need to eat, sleep or drink.
- Blue Zircon: Warforged are immune to disease.
- Jade: Warforged don't age and are immortal.

This gives them substantial room for the more mechanically powerful gems, like Diamond, or the ones that cover for Warforged weaknesses, like Bulls Eye Agate.

The synergy between Crystal Master and Erudite is also significant: Not only do Erudites get one of the prereqs for free and have all the needed skills in class, the right gems can also cover for an Erudite's limited UPD.
In addition, Craft (gemcutting), required to enter the PrC and create its gems, can also be used to repair Warforged. This gives me a way to heal myself. Flavorwise, this would be particularly true for Psiforged.

My use of Psiforged is primarily for flavor reasons, though I do also plan on having him acquire/create an Expanded Reservoir and Power Crystal (MoE) - useful psionic components which only Psiforged can use.

- All WotC sources
- I'm trying to build using the table version of his UPD as a worst-case scenario. If I can convince my DM to allow more, great, but if I can be viable with just 11 UPD at 20 then I can handle anything.
- I'm also predicting the Erudite multiclassing restriction will extend to PrCs. Again, this is a worst case scenario; I'm confident I can talk my way out of that one too, but I'll be planning against it in any case.
- I'm considering Flaws, but I'll try to make a viable build without them first. It's pretty feat-starved though, even with 10 levels of Erudite.

This is where I need help. I've narrowed my choices down to 12, of which I can only have 5 (plus my psicrystal, which counts as a 6th-gem at the capstone, so long as it's nearby.)

- Aquamarine: Int bonus (up to +3) while focused.
- Bulls-Eye Agate: Fear immunity.
- Deep Crystal: expend focus, +2d6 to slam attack.
- Diamond: bonus PP (up to 24.)
- Emerald: SR (up to 29.)
- Jet: Fly (get it? Groan) as a PLA
- Moonstone: Insight bonus to AC/saves while focused (up to +6)
- Peridot: DR, up to 6/-.
- Red Jasper: immune to ability drain while focused, 6/day.
- Ruby: Con bonus (up to +3) while focused.
- Sapphire: Constant Touchsight field while focused (60ft.)
- Tourmaline: +6 Insight to Appraise, Knoweldge (gemology), Craft (gemcutting), and Search.

Bolded = Chosen

Which would you recommend? Also, any ideas for feats and powers? I need to strike a balance between a Psion and Wilder for UPD choice - i.e. spammable powers I won't mind being stuck with when I'm out of UPD slots.

The build, of course, is Erudite 10/Crystal Master 10.

Fouredged Sword
2010-07-12, 08:23 PM
The +int and +PP are without a question. They make your powers better and let you do them more.

saphire for touchsight would be good.

So is the jet, and free up a power known.

Then I would round out with moonqstone to stack with forcescreen and inertal armor for a good AC.

2010-07-12, 08:34 PM
I agree completely on the Moonstone and Sapphire (AC/saves + constant Touchsight.) Those are definitely in.

But the Aquamarine, I'm hesitant about. Is +3 Int really that good compared with, say, fear immunity? How will it affect my PP reserve if I lose and regain my focus during the day? Ditto the Diamond - are 24 PP really worth it compared to ability drain immunity? (If a tad limited.)

And Jet... I know it'll free up a UPD, but Fly is probably something I can count on wanting to cast repeatedly, so I wouldn't regret "locking it in." Or would I?

Fouredged Sword
2010-07-12, 10:29 PM
I would think your willsave would be very strong due to the good willsave from your classes and the Moonstone, so I would step down the need to be fear immune unless your DM is really going to OP a NPC or creature. Then again, immunity is immunity. Though fear can be blocked by other means, though not always perfectly.

I would, looking back, consider the emerald. That is enough SR to be useful even up into level 20. At CL 20 that SR grants about a 45% chance of blocking most save or suck.

I didn't realise that the stat bonus disapeared when you lost focus. That's not cool. I wouldn't then take it unless you needed a boost to the DC's of your powers.

Ok, if you aren't feeling pressed for PP, then drop the Int boost and PP. You are a psion, so you will likely have enough. Let's look into getting things hard to get elsewhere.

Sapphire and Moonstone locked in. Now lets pick up Peridot to help out that low HP total do it's job. DR 6/- is hard to come by, and it makes you that much less squishy. It won't help if you face a charger, but it makes the concentration check that much lower when your smart DM has a archer henchman readied with a bow to shoot you as you manifest.

Red jasper is tasty indeed. Now you can really dump str into the floor and not fear going flat the first necromancer who tries to damage your str. It's a nice buffer that provides something unique.

Emerald would fill out my fourth. SR is nice. It gets high enough to be really worth the gem.

I would ether still pick up the extra PP to make up for the lost manifester levels or bullseye agate for fear immunity, depending if you think your DM will try to fearlock you over your willsave of yes. Those lost manifester levels hurt a lot. PM can gain back the manifester level, but not the PP. You loose 63 PP from class alone with those levels. You may really feel the hurt by the end of the day.

2010-07-12, 10:48 PM
Well, what I was thinking concerning the fear immunity is that it also blocks "shaken" - effectively removing the drawback to powers like Temporal Acceleration (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/powers/temporalAcceleration.htm) But that's still narrow enough that I think you're right... my will save will be buff enough most of the time thanks to Moonstone.

You sold me on Diamond, locked in. Between that and my Psiforged body I've made a decent chunk of the lost PP back. Hopefully the party cleric won't mind one night when I rummage through his pack and start scraping away with a riverine pocketknife. :smallbiggrin:

You're right that Jasper is great; I've realized though that it might mostly shine against undead. If I'm sure to be up against them I'll take it, but otherwise I'll hold off.

Emerald... I'm torn. You're right, it's quite a boost (only 3 less than the power, but on all day) but the annoyance of constantly lowering SR for buffs could be a pain. I'll have to think about it.

Peridot, you've also sold me on - I thought of the HP it would save me but not of the bonus to my concentration checks. It's effectively +6 untyped. :smallamused:

Fouredged Sword
2010-07-12, 11:20 PM
Then yeah, if you don't want to mess with shaken ever and don't want to deal with SR take the Bulls-Eye Agate. There looks like some nice uses of avoiding drawbacks that you could use very well if you wanted to go in that direction.

I would keep the Jasper even if you don't see it used every day. It looks like it would work to really prop up your weaknesses. Your dump stats that you need to keep that con and int through the roof are very nice to keep shielded. Stat damage takes out more high level PC than anything else in most of the games I am in. You, as warforged, are immune to poison though. So the only effects that are likely to damage your stats are magic and undead. That will happen eventualy, but can likely wait for later levels.

As for the DR/-, that is something I learned the hard way. I have seen a single level one sorrcer lock down the party mage with a potion of fly and magic missle readied to hit him when he cast. Magic Missle is the counterspell for the savy mage. Auto hit and 1d4+1 damage or more will make low to mid level casters caught with thier pant's down fail hard.

2010-07-13, 02:47 AM
I would argue against taking Jet, just because compared to one of your few, few embedded gemstone choices, an item that will do the job for you (Wings of Flying, Cloak of the Phoenix, or something fancier) is a lot less of an opportunity cost.

Ruby looks good, just because you really can never have too much CON. I guess that depends on how often you plan on expending your focus, though. I do like both of the immunity ones, though, so I don't think you'd really regret taking either of those.

2010-07-13, 08:55 AM
Zaq, you're definitely right than an item can handle flight if I need it... I was just thinking that as a PLA I can cast it on the other party members as well. But truth be told, some other caster can probably handle that, or the party can get items of their own. Also, I just thought of that Warforged component that grants metallic wings, that would look pretty cool on my gem-encrusted guy.

I've gone over you guys' recommendations, and I've decided that Jasper is more situationally useful than in general - handy in an undead campaign, for instance, in which case I'd be better off getting my hands on a Death Ward spell or scarab. Beyond ability drain, very little should be able to harm my ability scores due to being Warforged. Therefore, I think I'll get more mileage out of Bulls-Eye Agate or Emerald. Since I already have a green gem (Peridot) that pushes me towards BEA.

Yes, I can be petty :smallbiggrin: Thank you guys for your help, I definitely have different choices than I came into this thread with. Any feat recommendations?

Fouredged Sword
2010-07-13, 10:28 AM
Feats are likely to be like normal erudite. Go with the metapsionic feats that fill the party roll you want. Take the feat that allows you to refocus as a move action. Psicrystal is a must. Then pack as many focuses into that thing as you can.

As for items take a lot of ion stones. That would look awsome for the gem look. Also I think those wings are artifacts. They are cool though.

2010-07-13, 12:46 PM
I am interested in what feats are taken here. I'd see what you could do to boost your UPD, PP, and saves, but it's up to you.

2010-07-13, 01:52 PM
Well, the nice thing about Erudite is that I'll rarely, if ever, need Expanded Knowledge. Whatever my other weaknesses, I'll have a leg up on a normal Psion in that respect.

The free psicrystal is another leg up, as I still get the level 1 bonus feat. So I'm thinking a setup like the following:

Eru 1: Psiforged Body, (Psicrystal Affinity), Overchannel
Eru 3: Talented
Eru 5: Psicrystal Containment
Eru 5/CM 1 (6): (Improved Psicrystal)
Eru 5/CM 2: Peridot
Eru 5/CM 4 (9): Linked Power, Diamond
Eru 7/CM 5 (12): Metamorphic Transfer
Eru 7/CM 6: Moonstone
Eru 8/CM 7: (15) Metapower (Hustle, Linked Power)
Eru 9/CM 8: Sapphire
Eru 10/CM 8 (18): Practiced Manifester, Quicken Power
Eru 10/CM 10: Red Jasper

It occurs to me that I could technically qualify for Crystal Master at level 4 with Overchannel raising my ML to 5. (I can satisfy the skill reqs at level 1.) Is that possible? I'm not sure if I'll be better off by doing that though.

Fouredged Sword
2010-07-13, 03:03 PM
Overchannel read as upping effective manifester level, not manifester level. so I don't think it would count for class prereqs.