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Stegyre
2009-11-22, 08:18 PM
How should Psycarnum Infusion work in conjunction with feats such as Azure Talent and Azure Toughness?

My principle thought is, if one interprets these feats to grant infinite power points or infinite temporary hit points, youíre necessarily doing it wrong: whether or not that interpretation may be supported by RAW, it breaks the game on its face.

My RAW understanding is that in both cases, the Azure feats provide that essentia may be invested "once per day," and they produce the resulting temporary power points or hit points. No matter how many times a character uses Psycarnum Infusion on these feats, he does not get any additional power points or hit points after the first investment or infusion, because nothing in the PI feat trumps the underlying featís once-a-day text.

How do others interpret the interaction of these feats and why?

Gpope
2009-11-22, 09:37 PM
Temporary HP don't stack with themselves, and there are other ways to get a handful of temporary HP at-will without using your move action to psionically focus, so I'd be inclined to let Azure Toughness be used this way (it's not like the feat is really worth much otherwise.)

Refilling PP is a different matter, though. I'm too lazy to go dig up MoI, but... does it actually specify that Azure Talent is granting temporary PP? Otherwise, I don't see any reason why you wouldn't simply lose however many PP you gained from Azure Talent as soon as the effects of psycarnum infusion wore off. (If not I'd do it that way anyhow, because yes infinite PP reserves is stupid and broken as all get out.)

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-22, 09:46 PM
I thought this combo was only usable when at 0-ish PP? I remember some incarnum fellow in a game I was in who, when at 0 PP, could recharge up to 2 PP indefinitely.
I ought to just check the book.

Stegyre
2009-11-23, 11:27 AM
I thought this combo was only usable when at 0-ish PP? I remember some incarnum fellow in a game I was in who, when at 0 PP, could recharge up to 2 PP indefinitely.
I ought to just check the book.
I'm pretty sure that would be impossible by RAW: you must have at least 1 pp to become focussed, and you lose your focus if you drop to 0 pp. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/skills/concentration.htm#gainPsionicFocus)

Person_Man
2009-11-23, 12:00 PM
As you've said, you can only invest in an Essentia feat once per day. And every essentia class feature and feat has a very limited maximum essentia capacity, limited by your hit dice (though you can expand it by a few points with the right feats/class abilities/items). And unlike soulmelds, once you've invested essentia in a feat, it's essentially gone for 24 hours.

So there really isn't any broken essentia/psionics combo that I'm aware of - although using Midnight Augmentation to reduce the cost of a psionic power is pretty awesome.

Stegyre
2009-11-23, 12:41 PM
. . . - although using Midnight Augmentation to reduce the cost of a psionic power is pretty awesome.
Meh. MA would be awesum if it applied to the base power cost, but limited (a) to augmentation costs, and (b) to no more than the power level, so one gets no more than a free +1 for 1st level power, +2 for 2nd level powers, etc.

Incarnum feats that I do think work well with Psycarnum Infusion are the Azure saving throw feats, which would allow a character to get an on-demand save bonus by expending his focus.

Amphetryon
2009-11-23, 12:42 PM
DisposableHero_'s Trick (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=6349.0).

Gpope
2009-11-23, 12:50 PM
As you've said, you can only invest in an Essentia feat once per day.

The catch is that Psycarnum Infusion makes it so that one of your essentia receptacles is "treated as though it had maximum essentia invested." The fact that you can only invest in an incarnum feat once per day doesn't really matter because Psycarnum Infusion gets around that.

I had forgotten that focus requires having power points available, though, which neatly avoids any abuse of Azure Talent. If you use Psycarnum Infusion on it when you have PP remaining, you still end up losing your power points anyhow, and you can't use it once you're out. Then you're just left with tapping Azure Toughness for a couple temporary HP whenever you need it, something that there are feats in other splatbooks which explicitly let you do anyhow.

Stegyre
2009-11-23, 01:00 PM
The catch is that Psycarnum Infusion makes it so that one of your essentia receptacles is "treated as though it had maximum essentia invested." The fact that you can only invest in an incarnum feat once per day doesn't really matter because Psycarnum Infusion gets around that.
It does and it doesn't, at least by my read.
I see two basic effects of the "once per day" language: first, how long the receptacle ties up the essentia, preventing it from being invested anywhere else; second, how often the feat produces the effect. It's the second that is at issue.

For Azure Talent or Azure Toughness, for example, the feats "once per day" produce power points or hit points, respectively. Using PI, you can get that effect without ever investing any actual essentia (benefit: you do not tie up those essentia points all day). However, the feats themselves still cannot produce their effects multiple times per day, because it makes no difference, with Azure Talent (for example), whether the essentia was invested from 8 am on Tuesday until 8 am on Wednesday or PI-infused a hundred different times through the day: the feat is still limited to its daily max production of power points.

For the Azure saving feats, on the other hand, while they also tie up essentia all day, they produce their benefit all day long, whether you need to make one saving roll or a thousand. There's no limit to how often the benefit may be used.


I had forgotten that focus requires having power points available, though, which neatly avoids any abuse of Azure Talent. If you use Psycarnum Infusion on it when you have PP remaining, you still end up losing your power points anyhow, and you can't use it once you're out.
Well, no, actually: if this mechanic actually worked, all a character would need to do is make sure that he always retains at least one "real" pp, and only expends the temporary pp generated by AT + PI. That would just be ferociously broken, as a sixth level character with Improved Essentia Capacity and Psychic Meditation could throw out 3rd-level powers (even augmented with a point) every single round, without ever using a single "real" pp. That's almost as powerful as my planned DMM(Heighten) + reserve feat abuse, and much more versatile.

Stegyre
2009-11-23, 01:04 PM
DisposableHero_'s Trick (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=6349.0).
I think that by the time you reach the end of that thread, you find out the trick does not work, by RAW. Midnight Metamagic has the same sort of absolute daily limit as Azure Talent.

(That thread is the "inspiration" for this thread. I'm all for defensible RAW exploits, and PI looks like it may have some real potential, but there are limits, and I'm looking for the best arguments for and against the different limits.)

Gpope
2009-11-23, 01:23 PM
The language is "You gain three temporary hit points per point of invested essentia"/"You gain bonus power points equal to twice the invested essentia" vs. "You gain an insight bonus on Fortitude/Reflex/Will saves equal to the invested essentia." I'm not seeing how there's any difference that would limit the former two but not the latter. In all three cases you're limited by how often you can invest essentia, but all three cases spell out the benefit the feat gives you from having essentia invested regardless of whether you used your allowed 1/day investment.

Midnight Metamagic differs in that the 1/day investment process actually involves making selections, and the feat does not describe any actual benefit to investing essentia otherwise. If you have 2 essentia in Cerulean Reflexes, whether you invested it directly or through Psycarnum Infusion, then you get +2 to Reflex saves. If you have 2 essentia in Azure Toughness, whether directly or through Psycarnum Infusion, then you get +6 temporary HP. If you have 2 essentia in Midnight Metamagic... it doesn't actually do anything. Having 2 essentia in Midnight Metamagic allows you, 1/day, to apply up to 2 levels of free metamagic, but it doesn't give you anything on its own.

Stegyre
2009-11-23, 02:24 PM
The language is "You gain three temporary hit points per point of invested essentia"/"You gain bonus power points equal to twice the invested essentia" vs. "You gain an insight bonus on Fortitude/Reflex/Will saves equal to the invested essentia." I'm not seeing how there's any difference that would limit the former two but not the latter. In all three cases you're limited by how often you can invest essentia, but all three cases spell out the benefit the feat gives you from having essentia invested regardless of whether you used your allowed 1/day investment.
The difference, as I see it, is that once per day, you make this investment, and then you gain (a) a specific number of bonus pp; (b) a specific number of temporary hp; (c) or a bonus to saving rolls (plural). If you didn't actually make any of these investments, but instead used PI, then

(a) you'd get the specific number of bonus pp for one turn, "as if" you had made the all-day investment; if you didn't spend any of them, they would disappear at the end of the turn, but you could repeat this trick on subsequent turns and get them back (again, for a single turn each time). If you spent some of them, then the next time you infused this feat, you'd get the max minus that "some," because the feat cannot produce a total number of tpp in a day that exceeds the stated max.

(b) the same would be true with thp: you'd get the thp for one turn, "as if" you'd made the regular investment, then they'd disappear; but thp "used up" by hits, etc., could not be regained with future psycarnum infusions that same day (unused thp would come back in a later infusion); or

(c) you'd get the bonus on your saving roll for one turn, "as if" you'd made the regular investment. Unlike the other two feats, this is not a use that creates anything that gets "consumed," like tpp or thp. Whether you powered these feats in the ordinary fashion or with repeated PIs, you'd get the benefit on every applicable saving roll.

In each case, for the turn of the Psycarnum Infusion, the character is treated "as if" he had invested maximum essentia in the feat at the start of the day, without actually having to tie-up his essentia for 24 hours. That is the RAW benefit of PI.

PI trumps the language that essentia must be invested in a feat all day to gain the benefit, but nothing in the feat description trumps the language about how often the benefit of a feat may be gained, so Azure Talent still only produces "x" total tpp per day, Azure Toughness still only produces "y" total thp per day, but Cerulean F/W/R will benefit every appropriate save in a day.

Gpope
2009-11-23, 02:52 PM
That's... quite a stretch. It stands to reason that you lose whatever unused temporary hitpoints you have when the essentia effect wears off, so I'm not sure why you would get it back at all if you were following that interpretation. For that matter, I don't know that I buy that saying "You can invest essentia in this feat once per day" would constitute a recharge mechanic, so by your reading it's unclear that the spent temporary hitpoints are ever regained. Which makes Azure Toughness only marginally more useless than it would be if you don't allow Psycarnum Infusion to top off temporary HP more than once per day.

Stegyre
2009-11-23, 03:08 PM
That's... quite a stretch. It stands to reason that you lose whatever unused temporary hitpoints you have when the essentia effect wears off, so I'm not sure why you would get it back at all if you were following that interpretation. For that matter, I don't know that I buy that saying "You can invest essentia in this feat once per day" would constitute a recharge mechanic, so by your reading it's unclear that the spent temporary hitpoints are ever regained. Which makes Azure Toughness only marginally more useless than it would be if you don't allow Psycarnum Infusion to top off temporary HP more than once per day.
Practically speaking, the thp from Azure Toughness are small enough that when you use them to defray a hit, you'll probably use them all up anyway, but if you did not, there is no reason you would not get the unused thp back the next time you used infusion in the same day. After all, that is exactly the position the character would be in if he had invested real essentia at the start of the day.

There is a very supportable distinction between thp or tpp "lost" because the infusion effect expires versus those that are actually used up, either in absorbing damage or manifesting a power. The FAQ has an applicable analog in how the effect of attribute boosts are treated for abilities that get an increased number of uses for high attribute modifiers. Read it on page 12, here (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/er/20030221a).

Just as a cleric may not get infinite instances of turn undead by repeatedly temporarily raising his Charisma, an incarnum character cannot get infinite thp or tpp using PI.

Contrariwise, a character that does not use up the benefit of such a boost in one instance may draw upon any remainder in a later instance. In both cases, the character is treated as if he had the raised benefit (whether that's a boosted Charisma or a maximum essentia investment) for the entire day.

Gpope
2009-11-23, 03:52 PM
Practically speaking, the thp from Azure Toughness are small enough that when you use them to defray a hit, you'll probably use them all up anyway, but if you did not, there is no reason you would not get the unused thp back the next time you used infusion in the same day. After all, that is exactly the position the character would be in if he had invested real essentia at the start of the day.

There's no reason you would get the unused THP back, either, because it's unclear that there's anything to get "back." Temporary hitpoints are a transient resource--either you have them or you don't. The comparison to abilities with a daily limit is flawed, as Azure Toughness does not define any kind of "daily THP pool."

Not to mention, that's not the most accurate description of how boosts to daily powers work. It's got nothing to do with "partially using up" a boost and "getting back" the remainder when you get the boost a second time. A cleric with 18 Charisma can turn undead 7 times per day, so if they've turned undead 7 times since they last refreshed their daily abilities then they can't turn undead. If they go down to 14 Charisma and back up to 18, that doesn't change the fact that they've already used as many turn attempts as they're allotted.

Stegyre
2009-11-23, 04:11 PM
Whatever. I've stated my reasoning on the point and don't have more to add. As already noted, the point is largely academic, as most times, the character will use up the full benefit in a single PI surge.

More to the point, however, even if this line of reasoning were completely wrong, it has no bearing on the important issue: multiple uses of PI will not grant additional tpp or thp.

Gpope
2009-11-23, 07:24 PM
More to the point, however, even if this line of reasoning were completely wrong, it has no bearing on the important issue: multiple uses of PI will not grant additional tpp or thp.

Well, not in games you run. You're certainly free to interpret the feats as you wish.

HamHam
2009-11-23, 07:26 PM
Nevermind.