View Full Version : Drow psion help

Sam K
2007-02-06, 10:15 AM
So, I may be joining a D&D campaign based in a drow city(proper evil drow that is, none of these drizzly little rejects). Most of my characters recently have been meleeists or hybrids, so I decided to go pure caster, but since I never really caught on to the D&D spell list system, psions are the casters for me.

Ofcourse, psions are by far the easiest type of characters to permanently cripple, considering how few powers they get and the trouble you'll have in changing them. And, ofcourse, there's a ton of feats and prestige classes out there to pick from, so Im feeling very lost in what to do. Thus, I turn to the collective nerdom of these forums for assistance :)

Basics of the campaign:

Drow dont have innate spell resistance, and have a +1 level adjustment.
Characters start at lvl 4, thus a drow char will start at lvl 3.
It will have a fair amount of 'adventuring'- being out on missions for our house, slave raids, and such, so combat viability will be quite important.
It's set in the DMs own world, so most likely any setting based prestige classes will not be allowed.

Im pretty open to suggestions on how to build this char, but I try to stay away from builds that wont come into power for 10 levels(how much fun is it for my party to carry me for 10 levels), that depend on being able to obtain specific magic items(not every DM keeps well stocked magic marts) or who rely too much on a single trick (unless that single trick is REALLY good).

2007-02-06, 11:30 AM
Ok first off when you think about a PrC think psion = wizard. It's not exactly true but pretty close, and psions are absolutely not like sorcerers in regards to PrCs. The only thing a sorcerer can lose to a PrC is caster levels and familiar advancement (which many people dismiss any use of). Like a wizard a psion will lose bonus feats, which may or may not be important to you, along with the caster levels.

Secondly, psions can class dip much better than arcane casters for one or two levels. If you can avoid dying or crafting psionic items more than the other players do, then picking up one level of fighter or psychic warrior can be a noticeable boost to your character. In a small party, or a no-fighter party, the access to full armor, all martial weapons, and Combat Expertise as a bonus feat can be very very nice at low levels for conserving power points and at high levels for playing with that nice armor and Defending weapon you looted.

You won't need more than a couple of direct damage powers, Crystal Shard is a good one in the long run, Energy Ray is a nice starter too but don't take both. If there's an arcane caster in the group then you won't need the detect psionics or identify powers. If you don't pick the psionic Dispell you aren't allowed to complain when the GM laughs at you and kills you with a buffed out codzilla. Call To Mind is nice if you play a knowledge skill using game. Energy Adaptation, Specified is very nice at manifester levels 7+, and at 13 you ought to take Energy Conversion if you got any use out of Adaptation. You can wait untill level 13 or so for Schism and Overchannel, they aren't really good untill that level. Telekinetic Thrust is much more useful than the strict text indicates once you start using it on your allies,

Psion: "I TK the unattended objects in that square, over to the square in front of the cleric."
Cleric: "I cast Last Breath on what's left of the fighter after it lands in front of me."
Fighter: "I grab my sword and stand up."
Psion: "I TK the fighter back at the slaughterstone behemoth."

When you choose feats look at the point costs on the metapsionic ones, the psionic focus requirements, and the Psionic Body feat. My current psion has only the SR/PR penetration feat and a couple of feats that work if the character is focused, all of which add hit points because of Psionic Body. It keeps the extra die rolling to a minimum and maximizes the returns for that character. Note that at higher levels a psicrystal can be an effective scouting tool, or alternate manifesting point if someone casts a spell on it or the GM allows it to "wear" a ring.

Make your character GM friendly. My current char is a dwarf nomad psion with a level of fighter, played from levels 3 to 18 so far. The GM was hesitant about psionics (this game started just after the XPH came out, it was still new) because of the problems with the old psi systems dating back to AD&D. Over time this has become one of the more powerful characters in the party. The ability of a psion to manifest the same power over and over again really only started to show when I picked up Psionic Teleport, and the Dimension Swap power was useful from the first use all the way to today. Don't worry about starting a strong character, you're a caster so you will be strong. Just don't lose more than a manifester level or two and pick up a variety of powers that you will use often. If in doubt pick a power that you can use in more than one way and augment, flexability will play to the classes strengths.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-06, 12:02 PM
Psions need manifester levels as much as wizards need casters levels (even more so, since it determines how much they can augment powers as well as what they can manifest). Don't lose them unless there's a REALLY good excuse. "Wearing armor" from a fighter or PsyWar level is NOT a good excuse.

Sam K
2007-02-06, 01:09 PM
Yeah, it's a tricky one. At lower levels, the advantage of heavy armor is obvious: I could preserve my limited power points for attack and utility powers, instead of buffing my AC. However, at mid and high levels it's not so obvious. With a bigger power point supply, I could easily afford some defensive buffs and still manage a respectable supply of power points.

If I take a level of psychich warrior (which has the ability to manifest powers), would that affect my psion manifest level, or would I manifest my one psychic warrior power at lvl 1, and my psion powers at my psion level(unaffected by the psychic warrior level)?

2007-02-06, 01:11 PM
with practiced manifester and overchannel feats a couple levels dipped else were won't hurt to bad because you can augment powers to the same level as some of the new powers you missed out on. and the armor/ wepon proficiencies can help. I got my DM to OK human paragon caster level advances to include manifester levels so my human psion got 3 levels of that and only lost 1 manifester level. but with practiced manifester I still manifest at 22nd level (we just hit epic) when I over channel I can get 25th level and if I use epic over channel I can go into the 40s (but I usually die if I try that).

2007-02-06, 02:13 PM
Manifester levels from Psion and Psychic Warrior do not stack. It's the equivalent of Wizard caster levels and Sorceror caster levels. So you're hurting yourself with Psion if you take PsyWar, unless you come up with a way to mitigate that.

2007-02-06, 02:16 PM
Manifester levels from Psion and Psychic Warrior do not stack. It's the equivalent of Wizard caster levels and Sorceror caster levels. So you're hurting yourself with Psion if you take PsyWar, unless you come up with a way to mitigate that.

The manifester levels don't stack but the power points do and powers do so if you take practiced manifester you don't lose very much at all and you gain extra powers, points, a feat, and weapon and armor proficiencies.:smallsmile:

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-06, 02:27 PM
The powers don't stack. You can only manifest PsyWar powers as a PsyWar--you gain one extra power, same as you would have as a psion, except it's first level, you can't augment it or anything and it has ML 1.

2007-02-06, 02:49 PM
I think the point isn't that the psion's don't need manifester levels, it's that manifester levels are all they need for the most part.

That is a psion 3/fighter 3 with the practiced psionic (or whatever the equivalent is) feat is a more effective combo than a wizard 3/fighter 3 with practised spellcaster, and unlike the wizard he won't lose as much as he goes up in level.

This combo works better with a psychic warrior because then you at least get some power point advancement in the mix, and although you can't manifest psychic warrior powers as a psion, there are at least a few powers which don't need to be augmented to be useful.

It's certainly no ultimate combo, and you do still lose psion effectiveness but you're not as hobbled by it as a wizard or sorcerer.

2007-02-06, 03:10 PM
I think his better off staying as a full psion, psions are very versatile and you can build very different characters without using any other class.
But it depends on what kind of character do you want, read through the exclusive powers of each discipline and see witch you like the most.

2007-02-06, 03:38 PM
The powers don't stack. You can only manifest PsyWar powers as a PsyWar--you gain one extra power, same as you would have as a psion, except it's first level, you can't augment it or anything and it has ML 1.

I only meant that the power pulled from the same pool of power points and if you have over channel it applies as well so you can at least augment a little.

Sam K
2007-02-06, 03:49 PM
Thanks for the help everyone!

I've decided to go with a pure psion, atleast for now. While the extra utility of armor would be nice, Im not likely to receive first pick on the good armor (it will go to people who try to melee). If we would happend to have a surplus of heavy armor, I can always take a level of a melee class later on.

I looked over the prestige classes, but cant say that I find anything that looks very appealing (cept thrallherd, but I think that one's more suited to solo play campaigns or political campaigns, not adventuring), so likely a straight up psion. Looking at egoist or kineticist right now, mostly because they get my favorite skill (autohypnosis).

Any feats or powers which people consider 'must haves'? I have a few I like the look of, but there's so damn many of them around! Only thing Im certain about is that I wont take any item creation ones.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-06, 04:02 PM
You can wear armor, you have no spell failure. All nonproficiency means is that you take the Armor Check penalty to attack rolls, and you won't need to hit things.
If you do want to wear armor, hit things, etc, take Psion X/Ranger 1 into Slayer (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/prestigeClasses/slayer.htm).

1st level: Psionic Grease; Defensive Prescience, Vigor, Dimension Hop (from Complete Psionic, use Expanded Knowledge)
2nd: Id Insinuation, Share Pain (with your Psicrystal--coupled with Vigor, this is a great damage mitigator; both of you gain the temporary PP since you share your Vigor, and both of you take half of your damage. It's like doubling Vigor's temp HP), Psionic Identify (no material component!), Energy Stun. Ego Whip is good against low-CHA enemies.
3rd: Touchsight, Solicit Psicrystal (+TK powers)
4th: Schism, snag it with Expanded Knowledge (Telepath power), Death Urge, Dimension Door, Fredom of Movement
5th: True Seeing, Shatter Mind Blank

2007-02-06, 04:15 PM
Pick up Psychic Reformation as a 4th level power and you can undo any mistakes that you make with Power/Feat selection.

Personally, I favor Shapers, but only if you can get your DM to approve the Constructor PrC which can be found on Wizards' website here (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/psm/20040625b). Astral Constructs are like much better Summon Monster spells that you can customize to wreak some serious havoc. Normally, they aren't worth it, but the Constructor makes them much better than usual.

You do lose two manifester levels, though, which can hurt (especially considering your +1 LA already). Look into it, though.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-06, 04:21 PM
Shaper--meh. Just pick up Astral Construct with Expanded Knowledge if you really want it.