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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Greywander's Avatar

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    Default Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    Since your psychic blades require taking the Attack action, they can't be used with Booming Blade. You also can't use them for OAs. Honestly, it's kind of baffling why they didn't just allow you to replace any weapon attack with a psychic blade attack. Sure, it's psychic damage, which is nice, but once you get magic weapons you'll probably be doing full damage most of the time anyway, and with a +X bonus to both attack and damage rolls. Since objects/constructs are usually immune to psychic damage, you'll probably need to carry a weapon anyway.

    It just seems like the psychic blades aren't worth using, especially after getting a magic weapon. The only benefit I can think of is that they leave your hands free, but I'm not really sure how to capitalize on that. Soulknives don't seem like especially good grapplers (they are rogues, so they already have expertise and Reliable Talent, but Soulknife adds nothing except Psi-Bolstered Knack), wait no, maybe they actually are decent grapplers. But is there anything else we can do with free hands and/or psychic blades?

    One concept I know gets talked about a lot is the assassin that leaves no mark, so there's no real indication that the target was murdered vs. dying of natural causes. I'm trying to think of specific feats and such one might take to support such a concept, and there doesn't seem to be a lot. Skulker or Actor might help with infiltration, and some cantrips like Mage Hand, Minor Illusion, or Prestidigitation can also help. Normally, Fey/Shadow Touched would be nice options, but Soulknife already gets a teleport and invisibility. Not much I can think of for helping boost the damage against the target, though. Alert is of course handy for making sure you get the first blow, but that's about it.

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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greywander View Post
    Since your psychic blades require taking the Attack action, they can't be used with Booming Blade. You also can't use them for OAs. Honestly, it's kind of baffling why they didn't just allow you to replace any weapon attack with a psychic blade attack. Sure, it's psychic damage, which is nice, but once you get magic weapons you'll probably be doing full damage most of the time anyway, and with a +X bonus to both attack and damage rolls. Since objects/constructs are usually immune to psychic damage, you'll probably need to carry a weapon anyway.

    It just seems like the psychic blades aren't worth using, especially after getting a magic weapon. The only benefit I can think of is that they leave your hands free, but I'm not really sure how to capitalize on that. Soulknives don't seem like especially good grapplers (they are rogues, so they already have expertise and Reliable Talent, but Soulknife adds nothing except Psi-Bolstered Knack), wait no, maybe they actually are decent grapplers. But is there anything else we can do with free hands and/or psychic blades?

    One concept I know gets talked about a lot is the assassin that leaves no mark, so there's no real indication that the target was murdered vs. dying of natural causes. I'm trying to think of specific feats and such one might take to support such a concept, and there doesn't seem to be a lot. Skulker or Actor might help with infiltration, and some cantrips like Mage Hand, Minor Illusion, or Prestidigitation can also help. Normally, Fey/Shadow Touched would be nice options, but Soulknife already gets a teleport and invisibility. Not much I can think of for helping boost the damage against the target, though. Alert is of course handy for making sure you get the first blow, but that's about it.
    Your psychic blades have no monetary value, so they can't be used with Booming Blade... although I expect every GM at every table to house rule the new Booming Blade at least a little, as right now there are serious problems doing something as simple as casting Booming Blade with a magic weapon (magic weapons have no actual monetary value, only a way to roll how much the merchant you found will sell this one for).
    Last edited by quindraco; 2021-04-19 at 09:55 PM.

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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    I've expounded before on why the new Booming Blade is even more broken (as in, non-function, not as is OP) than the original SCAG version, so I just continue to use the SCAG version. The Soulknife's psychic blades were one of the things I remember quoting as something that should work with BB but doesn't because of the costly material component. However, even with the SCAG version that doesn't have a costly component, BB still doesn't work with the psychic blades because the psychic blades specifically require an Attack action, which BB is not; it's the Cast a Spell action.

    It's true that picking up BB on a non-AT rogue requires a feat or a dip (or a high elf), but it's a straight upgrade to any non-TWF melee rogue and the control it offers is pretty nice, especially when paired with Mobile. So it's usually worth getting if you have the opportunity.

    I remember a while back someone complaining that the Soulknife looks like it's supposed to be a melee subclass, but the psychic blades actually push it toward using ranged combat. It basically gives you the benefit of Crossbow Expert for free. Perhaps the key to optimizing for using the psychic blades lies there: optimizing for ranged combat with a BA attack. Still, I feel like that extra feat you get by not grabbing Crossbow Expert has to really be meaningful to make it worthwhile.

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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    It's a throwing weapon that returns to you, and it's a bonus action attack without a feat (Crossbow Expert) or a fighting style (DW).

    Swashbuckler, too, is fairly redundant with a feat. Be glad you got more than a feat and +2 Initiative at level 3.

    A couple interesting things I noticed is that it works deceptively well for Barbarians (as it has 60 range and is a returning throwing weapon, allowing you to use your Strength score at a long range-mostly useful for AG's), and each blade is conjured separately (so they both benefit from Dueling for +2 damage).
    Last edited by Man_Over_Game; 2021-04-19 at 09:50 PM.

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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    I played a Soulknife at 11th or 12th level (I don't remember right now which) and damage was a complete non issue, I also took the Fighting Initiate feat for the Thrown Weapon Style, general thoughts:

    -The damage is more than okay, Sneak Attack carries a Rogue's damage regardless and it's a great baseline. Getting two attacks (with modifier) on a Rogue is fantastic.

    -If you want to dial up the damage, then grab Dueling or Thrown weapon, or heck why not both since they should stack

    -Buffing to dial up the damage is easily doable, but for a fight to be remotely worth it you'll have to fight for several rounds

    -With that said, if you want to up the Soul Knives:

    Thrown Weapon Style

    Dueling style

    Divine Favor

    Hex

    Hunter's Mark

    Rage (if Str build)



    But I have to ask this question: How did you come to the conclusion that they're not worth using after you get a magic weapon? Did you run the numbers and they didn't meet your threshold? What is your threshold?

    I've had this conversation on here before, and the Soulknife is competitive for the highest damage Rogue for the first two tiers of the game (handily taking Tier 1 easily) and remains more than competitive after that point (if you're accounting for accuracy, well then it might even be the highest since Homing Strikes is epic).
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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dork_Forge View Post

    -With that said, if you want to up the Soul Knives:

    Thrown Weapon Style

    Dueling style

    Divine Favor

    Hex

    Hunter's Mark

    Rage (if Str build)
    These all scale with number of attacks, and thus are a poor fit for a rogue, who only gets one attack (two with a BA). This isn't to say they're bad, you're just not getting as much out of them as the barbarian or paladin, or especially the fighter.

    But I have to ask this question: How did you come to the conclusion that they're not worth using after you get a magic weapon? Did you run the numbers and they didn't meet your threshold? What is your threshold?
    It's pretty simple math. The psychic blades are 1d6 weapons, just like a shortsword. As soon as you get a shortsword +1, they're outdated. You can also use Booming Blade with the shortsword. Now, it's true they can be thrown at a fair range and dual-wielded while adding your ability mod to the offhand damage, so dual-wielding daggers +X is probably a closer comparison. In any case, once you find higher tier magic weapons, those will replace your psychic blades entirely.

    Basically, its the same issue that unarmed builds have. Yes, the Unarmed Fighting style exists, and monks eventually get 1d10 unarmed strikes, but why use either of these options when you can get a weapon that already does 1d8 or 1d10 damage and has some other magical effect?

    Now, it's not that hard to sidestep this with a bit of homebrew. Your DM could easily take any magic weapon and turn it into a magic item that applies the same effect to your psychic blades. For example, instead of getting a shortsword +1, you might get a psi crystal that gives a +1 bonus to your psychic blades. Instead of a Flame Tongue, you might get a red psi crystal that imbues your psychic blades with additional fire damage. The issue can easily be solves with some homebrew, it just irks me that this is necessary.

    I've had this conversation on here before, and the Soulknife is competitive for the highest damage Rogue for the first two tiers of the game (handily taking Tier 1 easily) and remains more than competitive after that point (if you're accounting for accuracy, well then it might even be the highest since Homing Strikes is epic).
    True, Homing Strikes is quite nice, but it does consume a resource. You might want to save your psi dice for your other abilities, like your teleport or boosting skill checks. And when you run out, you may as well revert to a magic weapon. This also becomes a harder sell once you have a weapon +3, as you'll have to choose between getting a +3 bonus all the time and for free, or getting a +1d12 bonus only when you spend a limited resource. It is quite generous of them to only use up the psi die when it turns your miss into a hit, so it's never "wasted".

    Hmm, I can definitely see that there are pros and cons with Homing Strikes vs. a magic weapon. Perhaps this is intentional. It just seems weird for the psychic blades to be such a central aspect of the class (to the point that the subclass is named after them), and yet there's a strong argument to be made to ditch the psychic blades in favor of a magic weapon (or even a mundane weapon, if you're using Booming Blade).

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    I'll take the accuracy bonus of the AT's Shadow Blade (easy advantage) over the accuracy boost of the Soul Knife. Rolling another d20 (or two more, for an elf) is better than adding 1d10 to the roll. And while Booming Blade doesn't work with the soulknife, we have confirmation that it's supposed to work with Shadow Blade (as Shadow Blade has a value, just not a listed one).

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    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greywander View Post
    These all scale with number of attacks, and thus are a poor fit for a rogue, who only gets one attack (two with a BA). This isn't to say they're bad, you're just not getting as much out of them as the barbarian or paladin, or especially the fighter.
    It doesn't matter if it's a better fit for other classes than a Rogue, they add damage to psychic blades and are relevant to a topic about getting the most damage out of psychic blades.

    It's pretty simple math. The psychic blades are 1d6 weapons, just like a shortsword. As soon as you get a shortsword +1, they're outdated. You can also use Booming Blade with the shortsword. Now, it's true they can be thrown at a fair range and dual-wielded while adding your ability mod to the offhand damage, so dual-wielding daggers +X is probably a closer comparison. In any case, once you find higher tier magic weapons, those will replace your psychic blades entirely.
    It isn't that simple, because the Psycic blades bring a bonus action attack (with mod) and a range to the table. So even if you Dual wield +x daggers, you're not getting range without losing those daggers. You're still gear dependent and you don't get any abilities that tie into said daggers.

    But since you present 'simple math' please tell me how many and how powerful magic items you need to break even with a Soulknife never mind exceed?

    Basically, its the same issue that unarmed builds have. Yes, the Unarmed Fighting style exists, and monks eventually get 1d10 unarmed strikes, but why use either of these options when you can get a weapon that already does 1d8 or 1d10 damage and has some other magical effect?
    Because magic items are mostly DM dependent? Because you want to play an unarmed character? Because you have abilities that make unarmed fighting worth it? And again, there's perks to not being gear dependent.

    Now, it's not that hard to sidestep this with a bit of homebrew. Your DM could easily take any magic weapon and turn it into a magic item that applies the same effect to your psychic blades. For example, instead of getting a shortsword +1, you might get a psi crystal that gives a +1 bonus to your psychic blades. Instead of a Flame Tongue, you might get a red psi crystal that imbues your psychic blades with additional fire damage. The issue can easily be solves with some homebrew, it just irks me that this is necessary.
    It isn't necessary.

    True, Homing Strikes is quite nice, but it does consume a resource. You might want to save your psi dice for your other abilities, like your teleport or boosting skill checks. And when you run out, you may as well revert to a magic weapon. This also becomes a harder sell once you have a weapon +3, as you'll have to choose between getting a +3 bonus all the time and for free, or getting a +1d12 bonus only when you spend a limited resource. It is quite generous of them to only use up the psi die when it turns your miss into a hit, so it's never "wasted".
    Having played a Soul Knife, the Psi Dice aren't really an issue, especially since a lot of the abilities have a free use and you can regen one a SR.

    You're assuming a Very Rare item, I wouldn't recommend that when evaluating abilties, a +1 is one thing,+3...

    But then it's a difference, you only have to use Homing Strikes when you miss, so it's not a straight comparison anyway.

    Hmm, I can definitely see that there are pros and cons with Homing Strikes vs. a magic weapon. Perhaps this is intentional. It just seems weird for the psychic blades to be such a central aspect of the class (to the point that the subclass is named after them), and yet there's a strong argument to be made to ditch the psychic blades in favor of a magic weapon (or even a mundane weapon, if you're using Booming Blade).
    The argument is well, arguable. The subclass is top notch, one of the best Rogue ones for combat and magic items exist beyond magic weapons.

    I'd recommend trying the class or at least looking at them beyond the scope of what theoretical magic items they may not get the most out of.

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    I'll take the accuracy bonus of the AT's Shadow Blade (easy advantage) over the accuracy boost of the Soul Knife. Rolling another d20 (or two more, for an elf) is better than adding 1d10 to the roll. And while Booming Blade doesn't work with the soulknife, we have confirmation that it's supposed to work with Shadow Blade (as Shadow Blade has a value, just not a listed one).
    Dependent on lighting conditions, spell slots, concentration, and a a bonus action to set it up.

    Then there's stats vs reality, whilst advantage might lead to a +whatever bonus to hit in terms of probability, in reality you can just roll two d20s that aren't enough, the Homing Strikes is at least additive.
    Last edited by Dork_Forge; 2021-04-20 at 01:22 AM.
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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dork_Forge View Post
    Then there's stats vs reality, whilst advantage might lead to a +whatever bonus to hit in terms of probability, in reality you can just roll two d20s that aren't enough, the Homing Strikes is at least additive.
    What are you trying to say here? 'cause the whole point of probability is to tell you how likely you are to roll two dice that aren't enough or two dice that are. Of course sometimes you'll roll high and roll low - but probability tells you how often that is likely to happen, which pretty much determines how much you'll get out of the ability.
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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    What are you trying to say here? 'cause the whole point of probability is to tell you how likely you are to roll two dice that aren't enough or two dice that are. Of course sometimes you'll roll high and roll low - but probability tells you how often that is likely to happen, which pretty much determines how much you'll get out of the ability.
    I think what he's saying is that if you have to roll very high in order to hit, adding 1d12 or so to the roll increases your chance to hit a lot more than simply having advantage.

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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    What are you trying to say here? 'cause the whole point of probability is to tell you how likely you are to roll two dice that aren't enough or two dice that are. Of course sometimes you'll roll high and roll low - but probability tells you how often that is likely to happen, which pretty much determines how much you'll get out of the ability.
    I'm saying that given the choice between advantage and an additive ability that triggers on a miss I'd always take the latter, since it is guaranteed to improve upon what you started with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greywander View Post
    I think what he's saying is that if you have to roll very high in order to hit, adding 1d12 or so to the roll increases your chance to hit a lot more than simply having advantage.
    Both this and reliability, which I value a lot.
    Last edited by Dork_Forge; 2021-04-20 at 01:52 AM.
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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dork_Forge View Post
    I'm saying that given the choice between advantage and an additive ability that triggers on a miss I'd always take the latter, since it is guaranteed to improve upon what you started with.
    Isn't the only thing that's relevant whether you hit or crit or miss? There are perks to each: advantage/reroll can turn a natural 1 into a hit while no amount of additive bonuses can do that and it increases your crit chance while +1d12 doesn't. OTOH additive bonuses always add something so they're good when you need to hit something with extremely high AC (though that's an extreme rarity in this game: mostly just NPC Wizards and few god-level beings have ACs where hitting can be difficult) - the higher you need to roll, the harder it is with advantage after all since advantage essentially gives you each number twice so you get stacking chance of rolling X or higher depending on how close to the max of d20 X is (to the minimum of 9,75% chance of rolling a 20).

    Mathematically, +1d12 is worth more than advantage about 60% of the time though so it does indeed net better hit rate, though about almost half the crits (on a Rogue in particular, crits are actually a thing you really do want making this somewhat relevant), which is probably equally important. Most of the bonus is "wasted" so to speak since there's a significant number of needlessly high rolls (way higher than any relevant AC value in this game) due to how condensed the AC curve is: the actual chance of hitting enemies isn't very different between the two unless you are fighting NPC Bladesingers or in general, Wizards with magic items using defensive spells.

    I do think it's generally correct to take Advantage if you have access to Elven Accuracy since 14,25% crit chance is already significantly higher than the default 5% and that's a huge increase in your expected damage as a Rogue. Expected damage for...say level 13 Rogue attacking with a +1 Rapier once (to keep it simple) vs. AC 15/18/20/25 [Tarrasque/Tiamat] does 31/26/22/14 DPR without anything, 37/35/32/23 with Advantage, 35/33/32/25 with +1d12 on miss, 39/38/37/30 with Elven Accuracy. So yeah, Elven Accuracy > Plain Advantage > +1d12 (except vs. Tiamat where you do want that +1d12). OTOH the differences aren't massive; all options are largely fine though if you have things adding more dice or damage or attacks, that of course exacerbates the differences. Notably Advantage + +1d12 doesn't really differ much from Advantage aside from the 25 AC value: it's 38/37/37/33. It still loses out to Elven Accuracy aside from vs. Tiamat. This is because the hit rate is already so high that missing is rare enough to be statistically almost insignificant - the extra crit chance from Elven Accuracy is greater than the extra hit chance from +1d12. Adding to Elven Accuracy makes the gains even more modest: 39/39/39/37. The only significant gain is, again, against Tiamat.

    This is because all of these are so likely to hit that you have hit chance leftover and thus you'd really want ways to convert hit to damage rather than just hit better. EA/+1d12 would actually be able to attack against Tiamat at -5/+10 and still net damage (admittedly only one point, from 37 to 38).


    In short, if you already have advantage, +1d12 is worth a fair bit less. It can come up and it can be memorable that one time but it's rare enough that it won't likely have much of an impact over a campaign unless you run a Sharpshooter build (where it is really good in spite of Rogues generally being poor Sharpshooters due to few attacks + high damage + reliance on landing that one attack).
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2021-04-20 at 03:12 AM.
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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Isn't the only thing that's relevant whether you hit or crit or miss? There are perks to each: advantage/reroll can turn a natural 1 into a hit while no amount of additive bonuses can do that and it increases your crit chance while +1d12 doesn't. OTOH additive bonuses always add something so they're good when you need to hit something with extremely high AC (though that's an extreme rarity in this game: mostly just NPC Wizards and few god-level beings have ACs where hitting can be difficult) - the higher you need to roll, the harder it is with advantage after all since advantage essentially gives you each number twice so you get stacking chance of rolling X or higher depending on how close to the max of d20 X is (to the minimum of 9,75% chance of rolling a 20).

    Mathematically, +1d12 is worth more than advantage about 60% of the time though so it does indeed net better hit rate, though about almost half the crits (on a Rogue in particular, crits are actually a thing you really do want making this somewhat relevant), which is probably equally important. Most of the bonus is "wasted" so to speak since there's a significant number of needlessly high rolls (way higher than any relevant AC value in this game) due to how condensed the AC curve is: the actual chance of hitting enemies isn't very different between the two unless you are fighting NPC Bladesingers or in general, Wizards with magic items using defensive spells.

    I do think it's generally correct to take Advantage if you have access to Elven Accuracy since 14,25% crit chance is already significantly higher than the default 5% and that's a huge increase in your expected damage as a Rogue. Expected damage for...say level 13 Rogue attacking with a +1 Rapier once (to keep it simple) vs. AC 15/18/20/25 [Tarrasque/Tiamat] does 31/26/22/14 DPR without anything, 37/35/32/23 with Advantage, 35/33/32/25 with +1d12 on miss, 39/38/37/30 with Elven Accuracy. So yeah, Elven Accuracy > Plain Advantage > +1d12 (except vs. Tiamat where you do want that +1d12). OTOH the differences aren't massive; all options are largely fine though if you have things adding more dice or damage or attacks, that of course exacerbates the differences. Notably Advantage + +1d12 doesn't really differ much from Advantage aside from the 25 AC value: it's 38/37/37/33. It still loses out to Elven Accuracy aside from vs. Tiamat. This is because the hit rate is already so high that missing is rare enough to be statistically almost insignificant - the extra crit chance from Elven Accuracy is greater than the extra hit chance from +1d12. Adding to Elven Accuracy makes the gains even more modest: 39/39/39/37. The only significant gain is, again, against Tiamat.

    This is because all of these are so likely to hit that you have hit chance leftover and thus you'd really want ways to convert hit to damage rather than just hit better. EA/+1d12 would actually be able to attack against Tiamat at -5/+10 and still net damage (admittedly only one point, from 37 to 38).


    In short, if you already have advantage, +1d12 is worth a fair bit less. It can come up and it can be memorable that one time but it's rare enough that it won't likely have much of an impact over a campaign unless you run a Sharpshooter build (where it is really good in spite of Rogues generally being poor Sharpshooters due to few attacks + high damage + reliance on landing that one attack).
    Okay, what you wrote was very reasonable but then looked like you started talking yourself into advantage and the summary doesn't seem reflective of the actual post or context you made it in (unless that was intended to be a summary only a portion of the post, but that didn't seem intuitive when reading it).

    Yes if you have EA then advantage gets way better, it's an incredibly potent feat, but that wasn't really in question.

    Crits as a Rogue are nice, but unless you're dipping deep enough for Extra Attack, or are picking up a bonus attack from somewhere, crit fishing as a Rogue (especially on a -5+10 build) is a lot of eggs in a small basket.

    To circle back to what you were actually replying to, my stance hasn't changed:

    Given the chance between the additive and the advantage, I'd still choose the additive. Though now you've supplied a number to confirm what I felt was right, it's better for actually hitting things. Crits are nice, but when I play a Rogue my focus is purely hitting for Sneak to begin with, crits are a nice bonus (and tbh I'd probably chase an expanded crit range if I were to crit fish a Rogue anyway).
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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dork_Forge View Post
    Okay, what you wrote was very reasonable but then looked like you started talking yourself into advantage and the summary doesn't seem reflective of the actual post or context you made it in (unless that was intended to be a summary only a portion of the post, but that didn't seem intuitive when reading it).

    Yes if you have EA then advantage gets way better, it's an incredibly potent feat, but that wasn't really in question.

    Crits as a Rogue are nice, but unless you're dipping deep enough for Extra Attack, or are picking up a bonus attack from somewhere, crit fishing as a Rogue (especially on a -5+10 build) is a lot of eggs in a small basket.
    It's worth noting that as Sneak Attack procs on the first hit, if you want to critfish as a Rogue, Extra Attack is actually sort of counterproductive: you risk hitting but not critting on the first hit making any further crits anemic. You want your Sneak Attack to be the crit so EA single hit is generally the best way to go. That's, however, pretty reliable: 3 dice is not a small basket by any means. You get over 97% of hitting AC18 with the above example (roughly 1 in 40 attacks will miss; it's fully possible to go a full adventuring day without missing once if you are fighting things with mean AC under 20), while still running the 14,25% crit chance (so about 1/6 attacks or once every two encounters), which is not insubstantial. Assuming 7 encounters per day and 3 rounds per encounter of which you attack on all you'll probably miss once every two adventuring days.

    Without Elven Accuracy you are, admittedly, only 91% to hit so you're missing about 1/11 attacks or maybe twice per day. You're also critting about twice a day, once every 10 attacks so you can expect a crit about once every three encounters, which is still not insubstantial though of course, being uncontrollable does make it somewhat worth less.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dork_Forge View Post
    To circle back to what you were actually replying to, my stance hasn't changed:

    Given the chance between the additive and the advantage, I'd still choose the additive. Though now you've supplied a number to confirm what I felt was right, it's better for actually hitting things. Crits are nice, but when I play a Rogue my focus is purely hitting for Sneak to begin with, crits are a nice bonus (and tbh I'd probably chase an expanded crit range if I were to crit fish a Rogue anyway).
    Well, it's better for hitting things if they are hard to hit. For e.g. hitting AC 18 on level 13, advantage generally wins out simply because natural 1 off a single die is an automiss. But yeah, I can see how that might feel better even if it's not really so.
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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    *Whole bunch of amazing analysis*
    All of your posts are so detailed and interesting, thanks for taking the time to do it! So often I'll be reading a bunch of thoughtful insight and think "This sure seems like an Eldariel post" and more often that not it is! :)

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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    It's worth noting that as Sneak Attack procs on the first hit, if you want to critfish as a Rogue, Extra Attack is actually sort of counterproductive: you risk hitting but not critting on the first hit making any further crits anemic. You want your Sneak Attack to be the crit so EA single hit is generally the best way to go. That's, however, pretty reliable: 3 dice is not a small basket by any means. You get over 97% of hitting AC18 with the above example (roughly 1 in 40 attacks will miss; it's fully possible to go a full adventuring day without missing once if you are fighting things with mean AC under 20), while still running the 14,25% crit chance (so about 1/6 attacks or once every two encounters), which is not insubstantial. Assuming 7 encounters per day and 3 rounds per encounter of which you attack on all you'll probably miss once every two adventuring days.

    Without Elven Accuracy you are, admittedly, only 91% to hit so you're missing about 1/11 attacks or maybe twice per day. You're also critting about twice a day, once every 10 attacks so you can expect a crit about once every three encounters, which is still not insubstantial though of course, being uncontrollable does make it somewhat worth less.
    Sneak Attack doesn't proc on the first hit, it's a player choice:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sneak Attack
    Once per turn, you can deal an extra 1d6 damage to one creature you hit with an attack if you have advantage on the attack roll.
    So you can critfish with Extra Attack+Bonus Attack, and you can do so every turn whereas permanent advantage doesn't exist in the game for anyone but the Barbarian (and even then at great cost).

    Well, it's better for hitting things if they are hard to hit. For e.g. hitting AC 18 on level 13, advantage generally wins out simply because natural 1 off a single die is an automiss. But yeah, I can see how that might feel better even if it's not really so.
    Again with this, you literally said it was better, and now you're doing the thing were you kind of admit that, but talk down about it.

    The actual context for the conversation was Shadow Blade AT vs a Soulknife, my general preference for additive over advantage remains, but let's bring it back into context:

    The conditions a Soulknife has to meet are:

    -Have a psi die

    -Miss

    The conditions the AT must meet are:

    -Be in dim light or darkness

    -Have a slot to burn on the spell

    -Burn a bonus action on casting the spell

    -Maintain concentration on the spell

    Then if they want to cheese EA as well, they need to limit themselves to being an Elf, that's a pretty significant choice they likely can't change later without a new character or reincarnation, and was a side note in parenthesis of the poster. My subsequent stated belief was also, I'll take additive over advantage, EA being an incredibly powerful feat is neither new nor surprisingly nor what I was talking about.

    So not only is the original situation a lot harder to meet conidtions for, there's additional risks, like Counterspell and Dispel Magic.

    If there was some way to get always on, no risk advantage, sure I'd probably pick that instead, because it's so good it doesn't actually exist in the game. And even though advantage is not hard to get, it's nowhere near as easy as triggering homin strikes and you're up a creek if your whole thing is advantage and you start off at disadvantage RAW.

    Oh and since nat 1s are coming up as a weakness of the additive approach, but EA is being heavily mentioned, I guess then Halfling Soulknife, hopefully one racial edge case nullifies the other and we can be done with it.
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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dork_Forge View Post
    Sneak Attack doesn't proc on the first hit, it's a player choice:



    So you can critfish with Extra Attack+Bonus Attack, and you can do so every turn whereas permanent advantage doesn't exist in the game for anyone but the Barbarian (and even then at great cost).



    Again with this, you literally said it was better, and now you're doing the thing were you kind of admit that, but talk down about it.

    The actual context for the conversation was Shadow Blade AT vs a Soulknife, my general preference for additive over advantage remains, but let's bring it back into context:

    The conditions a Soulknife has to meet are:

    -Have a psi die

    -Miss

    The conditions the AT must meet are:

    -Be in dim light or darkness

    -Have a slot to burn on the spell

    -Burn a bonus action on casting the spell

    -Maintain concentration on the spell

    Then if they want to cheese EA as well, they need to limit themselves to being an Elf, that's a pretty significant choice they likely can't change later without a new character or reincarnation, and was a side note in parenthesis of the poster. My subsequent stated belief was also, I'll take additive over advantage, EA being an incredibly powerful feat is neither new nor surprisingly nor what I was talking about.

    So not only is the original situation a lot harder to meet conidtions for, there's additional risks, like Counterspell and Dispel Magic.

    If there was some way to get always on, no risk advantage, sure I'd probably pick that instead, because it's so good it doesn't actually exist in the game. And even though advantage is not hard to get, it's nowhere near as easy as triggering homin strikes and you're up a creek if your whole thing is advantage and you start off at disadvantage RAW.

    Oh and since nat 1s are coming up as a weakness of the additive approach, but EA is being heavily mentioned, I guess then Halfling Soulknife, hopefully one racial edge case nullifies the other and we can be done with it.
    Okay, fine, let's put this simply in cliff notes to put this to rest:
    - Low AC (Bonus + 9 or lower): Normal Advantage gives you a better hit rate unless you are a Halfling
    - High AC (over Bonus + 9): +1d12 gives you a better hit rate
    - Regardless of AC Advantage gives you better crit rate and thus generally higher average damage outside extreme AC numbers
    - Elven Accuracy pretty much always gives you a better hit rate than +1d12 even on a Halfling.
    - If you have Advantage, +1d12 is worth less than otherwise
    - If you use +1d12, Sharpshooter gets better because it converts the excess hit bonus from +1d12 into damage

    Those are the facts, do with them what you want. I'm not about to discuss the minutiae for a millionth time here.
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2021-04-20 at 11:14 PM.
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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    Now that I've got some time, I wanted to reply this post.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dork_Forge View Post
    It isn't that simple,
    True, I was oversimplifying it. The psychic blades are probably more similar to a hand crossbow with Crossbow Expert (which can also attack in melee with no penalty). From a pure white room numerical perspective, a magic weapon with a simple +X bonus has higher numbers, but doesn't take into account many of the other nuances that would come up in actual play.

    Because magic items are mostly DM dependent?
    This is true, and it makes it tricky to rate certain features. Kensei monks have a feature that is really good if you never get magic items, but becomes basically useless if you get a +3 weapon. On the one hand, it's nice having that safety net to fall back on in case you don't get a lot of magic items, but on the other hand it feels like a waste of a class feature if you do. Psychic blades are also pretty nice if you never get magic weapons, but obviously if you do get magic weapons then they have to compete with each other.

    It doesn't seem unreasonable to assume that magic items will be obtained eventually, however. Some DMs may hand them out more freely than others, but as long as the campaign is still in progress it makes sense that any given magic item will be obtained at some point. The campaign may end before that point is reached, but a campaign that continues indefinitely will eventually see every magic item drop, no matter how stingy the DM is. Of course, that's only theoretically; no campaign is indefinite, all campaigns end sooner or later, and you could truly have a DM who never hands out magic items. But as a general rule, it makes sense that the longer a campaign runs, the more likely you are to get that powerful magic item you want.

    Having played a Soul Knife, the Psi Dice aren't really an issue, especially since a lot of the abilities have a free use and you can regen one a SR.
    [...]
    I'd recommend trying the class or at least looking at them beyond the scope of what theoretical magic items they may not get the most out of.
    You're probably right. They do get a nice handful of psi dice, and being able to regain one on a short rest (with no limit, unlike e.g. Arcane Recovery) can extend them quite a bit, particularly if you have other short rest classes like monks or warlocks in the party. I really like that the psi die isn't expended on most uses unless it actually does something, allowing you to use it without worrying if it will get wasted.

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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Okay, fine, let's put this simply in cliff notes to put this to rest:
    - Low AC (Bonus + 9 or lower): Normal Advantage gives you a better hit rate unless you are a Halfling
    - High AC (over Bonus + 9): +1d12 gives you a better hit rate
    - Regardless of AC Advantage gives you better crit rate and thus generally higher average damage outside extreme AC numbers
    - Elven Accuracy pretty much always gives you a better hit rate than +1d12 even on a Halfling.
    - If you have Advantage, +1d12 is worth less than otherwise
    - If you use +1d12, Sharpshooter gets better because it converts the excess hit bonus from +1d12 into damage

    Those are the facts, do with them what you want. I'm not about to discuss the minutiae for a millionth time here.
    (Y)

    Quote Originally Posted by Greywander View Post
    Now that I've got some time, I wanted to reply this post.

    True, I was oversimplifying it. The psychic blades are probably more similar to a hand crossbow with Crossbow Expert (which can also attack in melee with no penalty). From a pure white room numerical perspective, a magic weapon with a simple +X bonus has higher numbers, but doesn't take into account many of the other nuances that would come up in actual play.
    Such as the blades basically having a built in feat yes, it is never very clear cut.

    This is true, and it makes it tricky to rate certain features. Kensei monks have a feature that is really good if you never get magic items, but becomes basically useless if you get a +3 weapon. On the one hand, it's nice having that safety net to fall back on in case you don't get a lot of magic items, but on the other hand it feels like a waste of a class feature if you do. Psychic blades are also pretty nice if you never get magic weapons, but obviously if you do get magic weapons then they have to compete with each other.
    On the flip side as magic weapons that come up tehy can go to other characters first, but then there's also:

    magic items =/= magic weapons

    The items that come up could be a cloak of protection, a Cloak of Elvenkind etc. or not combat related at all, since most games don't even get into Tier 3/4 worrying about Very Rare and above weapons seems a bit, much I guess? If your DM is giving out magic items and you're playing at those levels they could homebrew one if it's an issue or just give you ones that aren't weapons.

    It doesn't seem unreasonable to assume that magic items will be obtained eventually, however. Some DMs may hand them out more freely than others, but as long as the campaign is still in progress it makes sense that any given magic item will be obtained at some point. The campaign may end before that point is reached, but a campaign that continues indefinitely will eventually see every magic item drop, no matter how stingy the DM is. Of course, that's only theoretically; no campaign is indefinite, all campaigns end sooner or later, and you could truly have a DM who never hands out magic items. But as a general rule, it makes sense that the longer a campaign runs, the more likely you are to get that powerful magic item you want.
    In principle yes, in practicality I don't think it's really a concern.

    You're probably right. They do get a nice handful of psi dice, and being able to regain one on a short rest (with no limit, unlike e.g. Arcane Recovery) can extend them quite a bit, particularly if you have other short rest classes like monks or warlocks in the party. I really like that the psi die isn't expended on most uses unless it actually does something, allowing you to use it without worrying if it will get wasted.
    It's worth noting that the recovery mechanic for psi dice is an ability itself really, you can regenerate one die at any time as a bonus action, once per rest, rather than Arcane Recovery which needs a rest to function. So even if you only take one short rest, you can still recover two dice over the day.

    The Psi Warrior consumes Psi dice at a much faster rate, just through the nature of their abilities, from playing one I think:

    -In levels 3 and 4 a Psi Warrior could struggle if they don't learn to manage their pool

    -Once you hit level 5 and your pool jumps to 6 I think that even players that have trouble managing resources won't have too much trouble with psi dice unless the difficulty is high and short rests low.

    Playing a Soulknife I actually wanted to look for ways to get flashy since I had so many dice left to spend
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    Default Re: Soulknife vs. Booming Blade, and getting the most out of Psychic Blades?

    Quote Originally Posted by quindraco View Post
    Your psychic blades have no monetary value, so they can't be used with Booming Blade... although I expect every GM at every table to house rule the new Booming Blade at least a little, as right now there are serious problems doing something as simple as casting Booming Blade with a magic weapon (magic weapons have no actual monetary value, only a way to roll how much the merchant you found will sell this one for).
    I think it would be more precise to say that the monetary value of such things is unlisted and therefore undefined, which doesn't necessarily mean it's zero, so much as it means that it requires a DM ruling.

    Note that the developers have commented on this particular issue, saying that the change was NOT intended to stop Booming Blade from working with Shadow Blade, and that they would allow it in their own games.

    They say the only intended purpose of the "worth at least 1sp" line is to clarify something you already knew: the weapon isn't a free component you can automatically pull out of your component pouch.

    In other words, they were "solving" a problem/confusion that (as far as I can ascertain) nobody ever had, and in the process creating new confusion.
    Last edited by LudicSavant; 2021-04-21 at 03:55 AM.
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