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View Full Version : Why are Soulknives seen as underpowered? (3.5)



Tempest Fennac
2008-11-01, 04:00 AM
Why is the Soulknife, http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/classes/soulknife.htm#bladewind , usually seen as a weak class? I'm just curious because the only real issues I can see with it is the lack of full BAB, and the fact that their weapon is limited as far as damage types are concerned. (I'm sorry about this being so similar to my Ninja question a while back, but I'm curious about Soulknives as well.)

InaVegt
2008-11-01, 04:24 AM
Soulknifes are UP for pretty much the same reason as monks. A supposed melee combat class with 3/4 BAB and very little class features that really matter to combat. Let's go by the class features:

Mind blade (and related class features): This basically means you don't have to buy a weapon, not impressive at all, even though it's the class's shtick.

Psychic strike: Move action to deal very little extra damage. This ability gets useless at high levels, when virtually all enemies are immune to Mind Affecting.

Bladewind: Make a full attack to attack everyone in reach, only starts to get effective when you have many enemies around you, meaning that you're pretty much screwed anyway, and should get to a more advantageous position, not continue to fight.

Knife to the soul: By the level you get this, many enemies are resistant to ability damage already, in addition, it's a negligible amount of ability damage, compared to what spellcasters of the same level can do. And again, it requires a move action.

And, finally, as a last complaint, ALL of the soulknife's abilities are (Su), which means that an antimagic or equivalent effect makes the soulknife even more useless.

Tempest Fennac
2008-11-01, 04:29 AM
Thanks for explaining. How would you balance them?

InaVegt
2008-11-01, 04:38 AM
I'd most likely give them full BAB and a minor amount of manifesting.

Alternatively, I'd rewrite them as a martial adept, but that would require a lot of modifications.

Tempest Fennac
2008-11-01, 04:39 AM
When you mentioned Martial Adepts, you were refering to making them more like a Tome of Battle class, right?

InaVegt
2008-11-01, 04:41 AM
Tome of Battle, yes.

Tempest Fennac
2008-11-01, 04:43 AM
(Sorry, I'll change that mistake). Would you give them the same Manifesting progression as Psychic Warriors, or would that be too powerful?

Drider
2008-11-01, 04:46 AM
Making a psionic warrior and re-flavoring it is probably is better. But if you were deadset on playing this exact class, except fixed up, I'd probably give it a small-mid number of power points per level and minor psionics(2-3 spells per level of spell) to use, full BAB, d10 hp and give a choice of what weapon you produce(instead of just a single knife), let you purchase enhancements for said weapon through a tattoo maybe.
Get rid of bladewind, and psychic strike, make knife of the soul a once daily quivering fist-like move.
At that point, it would still need some messing around with personl touches and such, but if you're group is'nt highly optimized, you should be okay. It's late and I kinda quick did this, but it should'nt be horrible. I don't use psionics a lot, so i'm not sure that's how it would be done, but if it's weird, pretened I said normal spell casting.

Tempest Fennac
2008-11-01, 04:48 AM
Thanks.:smallsmile: I'm not really asking for myself (I was just curious because I'm going to be using this character, http://mydndgame.com/?action=character-sheet&character=104 , in a game where the other 2 characters are a Soulknife and a Fighter (I think they are both new players).

InaVegt
2008-11-01, 04:51 AM
The manifesting progression of Psi-Wars is quite powerful (Psi-Wars are considered to be roughly the same Power Level as Martial Adepts, I believe)

But if you wish to make it an improvement similar to the swordsage improvement of the monk, just taking the base soulknife, and adding Psi-War manifesting to it would go quite well, I think. (I would not add full BAB then, however, perhaps even knock down the HD a bit.)

Tempest Fennac
2008-11-01, 04:53 AM
I never knew Psychic Warriors were that powerful (admittedly, I heard the "King of Smack" build is brilliant for melee damage).

CthulhuM
2008-11-01, 07:50 AM
There have been other attempts to homebrew soulknives into usefulness. In my campaign, I'm using the one found here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=50935), with the following additional changes:

At 1st level, soulknives may choose either a Skirmisher or a Warrior track.

Skirmishers receive d8 hit die, 6 + Int skill points per level, good reflex and will saves, proficiency in light armor and shields (but not tower shields), evasion at 4th level, uncanny dodge at 8th level, improved evasion at 12th level and their choice of rogue special abilities at 18th level.

Warriors receive d10 hit die, 2 + Int skill points per level, good fortitude and will saves, proficiency in light, medium and heavy armor, as well as shields (but not tower shields) and a bonus feat from the fighter bonus feat list at 5th, 10th, 15th and 20th levels.

Really, the main changes are upping the base attack, changing psychic strike to a swift action, and buffing the mind blade so that it's actually better than the weapons you'd be likely to own at that level anyway (which it really should have been from the beginning, considering it's their main class feature).

Fishy
2008-11-01, 08:30 AM
And, finally, as a last complaint, ALL of the soulknife's abilities are (Su), which means that an antimagic or equivalent effect makes the soulknife even more useless.


Even in places where psionic effects do not normally function (such as within a null psionics field), a soulknife can attempt to sustain his mind blade by making a DC 20 Will save. On a successful save, the soulknife maintains his mind blade for a number of rounds equal to his class level before he needs to check again. On an unsuccessful attempt, the mind blade vanishes. As a move action on his turn, the soulknife can attempt a new Will save to rematerialize his mind blade while he remains within the psionics negating effect.

Whereas your Fighter buddy's magic sword turns into a hunk of metal. AMFs suck, but a Soulknife can actually be a little dangerous in one.

Glyde
2008-11-01, 09:35 AM
I would probably make the Psychic Strike ability no longer be mind affecting, making it just pure added damage, increase the damage on the mind blade to a d8 (Longsword), and have it able to be changed into a bastard sword, greatsword or fullblade (Possibly still requiring the feat to use), and then full BAB progression.

It *still* wouldn't be very effective, but it certainly wouldn't suck as hard.

InaVegt
2008-11-01, 09:42 AM
Whereas your Fighter buddy's magic sword turns into a hunk of metal. AMFs suck, but a Soulknife can actually be a little dangerous in one.

The soulknife is still worse off than the fighter, because while his mindblade still functions, it only provides the soulknife with a few magical bonuses, and an amount of attack bonus to cover the difference. The remainder of his class features lack such a clause.

Meanwhile, the fighter, lousy as he might be, still has his bonus feats.

Net balance: A few minor effects for the soulknife, many minor to reasonably useful effects for the fighter.

(As a comparison, Keen, a +1 enchantment, is equivalent to a feat, the soulknife gets +5 (not counting the enchantment bonus, which is mostly cancelled by the Fighter's higher BAB and masterwork bonus), ergo, five feats. The fighter has eleven feats)

So, even in an AMF, the soulknife still doesn't do as well as the fighter.

SilverClawShift
2008-11-01, 10:29 AM
My group's found that just amplifying the hell out of the mindblade features themselves is good.

Yeah, the soulknife ends up with a way better weapon than standard level would indicate. But considering that making the blade is the classes SOLE REASON FOR EXISTING, it SHOULD be way better than a norrmal weapon you can buy.

Tempest Fennac
2008-11-01, 11:00 AM
I know what you mean about how it should be better. The paths sound interresting, CthulhuM. Do you do that with other classes as well?

RagnaroksChosen
2008-11-01, 11:00 AM
the problem is with soulknives you want to stay a soulknife the whole way. Multi-classing nerfs the class.. because of there weapons progression.

I would just add Full bab to the class.. and make psychic strike into a non mind effecting ability. Also give them an option about every 4-5 levels or when appropriate to get one of the other Mindblade weapon feats free.

Adumbration
2008-11-01, 11:41 AM
Taking the Soul Bow prestige class from Complete Psionic is actually a fairly good choice - better than keeping the Soulknife path. It gives the normal soulknife progression, but allows you to shoot mind blades - mechanically equivalent of composite longbow, except that you get your wisdom to hit. You also get bonus feats and abilities related to archery.

Tempest Fennac
2008-11-01, 11:56 AM
I'll look up that PrC thanks. :smallsmile: Looking at the party's set-up, that could be a good PrC for the guy who's using the Soulknife.

Starbuck_II
2008-11-01, 12:10 PM
Thanks for explaining. How would you balance them?

1. Lower level Bladewind gained (6th level instead of 9th)

2. Lower level when they can Multiple Throw (11th instead of 17th)

3. give them a choice for bonus feats instead of having to choose Speed of thought (knight and Scout does that approach)
Basically 6th, (and every 6 levels thereafter gain bonus feat off list)

4. Increase proficiency to with light and meduim armor (they should get the choice)

5. Let them at higher levels charge MindBlade with Psychic strike as a swift action.

6. Let Psychic Strike deal 1/2 damage to creatures immune to mind affecting (still not best, but still somewhat better than zero).

7. Let Soulknife gain Weapon Supremecy (Mind Blade) at higher levels (18 or 20).
8. Capstone ability (level 20): Soulknife Potential Unleashed-
1+wis mod/day, can use a Psionic power with Soulknife level as manifester level. Save DC (if needed) 5 +Soulknife level + Wis)
Ideas such as: 1) Psionic, Divine Power, 2) True Metabolism, 3) True Seeing Psionic, 4) Fission/Fusion, 5) Form of Doom, 6) Strength of my Enemy
Also using spell compendruim:
1) Psionic, Bite of Werebear, 2) Psionic, Mass Curse of Impending Blade, 3) Psionic, Elemental body, 4) Psionic, Giant Size (Wu Jen's spell) 5) Psionic Invisibility Superior, 6) Psionic Iron Guard, 7) Psionic, Resistance Superior, 8) Psionic Ruin Delver's Fortune,

Theodoxus
2008-11-01, 12:42 PM
IMO, I'd just make the soulknife ability, itself, into a psionic power.

A bit like the old Paladium Rift's cyber-knight vs mind-melter. Both can manifest a mind blade, but the knight got better bonues.

Allow a psychic warrior to gain it at 3rd level, a psion at 5th and let it increase in power for every 3 manifester levels...

Something along the lines of:

Psychic Weapon
Psychokinesis
Level: Psionic Warrior 2, Psion/Wilder 3
Display: Material and visual
Manifesting time: 1 standard action
Range: personal
Duration: 10 min./level
Saving throw: None
Power Resistance: Yes [see text]
Power Points: Psychic Warrior 3, Psion/Wilder 5

You create a weapon of pure mental energy, and weild it against your enemies.

Upon manifesting this power, you create a psychic weapon of your choosing. The weapon does 1d6 points of physical damage. The power can be manifested in an anti-psionic field with a successful DC 20 Will save.

Augment: For every 3 additional points you put into the power, the enhancement bonus increases by +1 to a total of +5. The damage die also increases by one step (1d8, 1d10 to a max of 2d6). Additionally, for every +1 enhancement placed into the power, you can choose to manifest a special ability, chosen from the list below: [yank the chart from the soulknife class]

Aquillion
2008-11-01, 01:13 PM
You could give the Soulknife bonus Fighter feats that they can only use while wielding their soul-weapon, too. That would fit thematically... they should be unnaturally skillful at using it. Instead, they're worse at using it than a fighter is at using an inert hunk of metal.


I never knew Psychic Warriors were that powerful (admittedly, I heard the "King of Smack" build is brilliant for melee damage).It's not so much that they're absurdly powerful in the CoDzilla or Wizard mode, but they have a lot of good powers, including several that can be activated as a swift or free action, or as part of another action. This ensures that they're never useless.

More importantly, all of their powers support them in combat -- most of the game's gish classes suffer from the fact that with every action they can either be a middling fighter or a middling caster. The Psiwar is really less of a gish, though, and more of a proto-ToB class; their powers let them do neat things as a fighter-type, instead of just having them stop and use psionics separately for a moment.

Of course, the fact that they have many valuable powers that grant them unique or near-unique abilities that few other fighting class can get so easily helps a lot, too (Expansion, Hustle, Psionic Lion's Charge, to name a few. Extra actions and size categories are some of the few things worth giving up BAB in a fighting class for.)

And, of course, they get bonus feats. Bonus feats are good. They're not good enough to make the fighter useful when they're the only class feature, but for the Psiwar they mean that you can put together a few useful tricks by selecting them to go with your powers.

Most people do say that the ToB classes are better (they have a more versatile mechanic, generally, and get full BAB.) But Psiwars are still one of the better fighter-types in the SRD.

Eldan
2008-11-01, 01:40 PM
I have a skirmish-focused soulknife somewhere, if I can find it, I'll post it. Otherwise, I'll attempt to redo it.

Okay, I can't find it. Probably deleted it. Short version was this:

-Psychic strike is activated as a swift action and is unnamed damage

-Their speed bonus from speed of thought increases as they level up, and they gain more maneuverability bonuses, like something similar to Up the Walls, the ability to ignore difficult terrain and, on high levels, to walk on water and other liquids if they end and begin their move on solid ground.

-They gain some skirmish damage, but not quite as much as the scout

-They gain their wisdom bonus to their armor class, even when wearing light armor, just like the swordsage.

-I had some other mobility stuff, but I can't remember it.

-They could change their mindblade in different weapons at higher levels, first a martial weapon of their choice, then an exotic weapon.

Adumbration
2008-11-01, 02:04 PM
-They could change their mindblade in different weapons at higher levels, first a martial weapon of their choice, then an exotic weapon.

There are feats for that, I think. Complete Psionic again?

Starbuck_II
2008-11-01, 02:42 PM
IMO, I'd just make the soulknife ability, itself, into a psionic power.

A bit like the old Paladium Rift's cyber-knight vs mind-melter. Both can manifest a mind blade, but the knight got better bonues.

Allow a psychic warrior to gain it at 3rd level, a psion at 5th and let it increase in power for every 3 manifester levels...

Something along the lines of:

Psychic Weapon
Psychokinesis
Level: Psionic Warrior 2, Psion/Wilder 3
Display: Material and visual
Manifesting time: 1 standard action
Range: personal
Duration: 10 min./level
Saving throw: None
Power Resistance: Yes [see text]
Power Points: Psychic Warrior 3, Psion/Wilder 5

You create a weapon of pure mental energy, and weild it against your enemies.

Upon manifesting this power, you create a psychic weapon of your choosing. The weapon does 1d6 points of physical damage. The power can be manifested in an anti-psionic field with a successful DC 20 Will save.

Augment: For every 3 additional points you put into the power, the enhancement bonus increases by +1 to a total of +5. The damage die also increases by one step (1d8, 1d10 to a max of 2d6). Additionally, for every +1 enhancement placed into the power, you can choose to manifest a special ability, chosen from the list below: [yank the chart from the soulknife class]

Doesn't Call Weaponry + Soulborn Weapon Psi Warrior alternate class feature do that?

Eldariel
2008-11-01, 02:48 PM
I really like the changes presented in "Untapped Potential: New Horizons in Psionics". It basically improves the Mindblade faster (+1 at level 4 and one improvement every two levels thereafter, ending up at +9 on level 20), gives you open feats la Psychic Warrior (level 2 and every 4 levels thereafter), losing the automatic Speed of Thought in the transition (which you could just pick up if you so desire). Finally, on level 20, he gets "Double Strike", which allows him to deal Psychic Strike-damage twice a turn. Oh yeah, and "Shape Mind Blade"-effect is made permanent unless you choose to reshape it - so if your Mindblade is dispelled or whatever and you shape it again, it's in the form it was before you lost it.

Basically, it allows your mindblade to actually develop at the speed, normal weapons do (or well, a bit behind but not as far as usually - one of the primary issues normal Soulknife has is that manufactured weapons are simply better) and gives you some bonus feats so you don't feel totally upset by the Fighter. A total of 5 bonus feats is actually fairly good. It'd still be a bit behind, but much, much better than it is presently.

Eldan
2008-11-01, 03:10 PM
There are feats for that, I think. Complete Psionic again?

I think they are, I just gave it as a class feature.

mabriss lethe
2008-11-01, 10:45 PM
There's a feat in one of the dragon mags for the soulknife. Practiced mindblade. works similar to other Practiced X feats, allowing the character to multiclass a bit more freely. If that feat and the other mindblade improvement feats are allowed, Soulknife 6/Psywar 14 is a naaaaaasty bit of work. Use those Psywar bonus psionic feats to purchase your soulknife upgrades and still have a boatload of feats free for other shenanigans.

Aquillion
2008-11-01, 10:58 PM
There's a feat in one of the dragon mags for the soulknife. Practiced mindblade. works similar to other Practiced X feats, allowing the character to multiclass a bit more freely. If that feat and the other mindblade improvement feats are allowed, Soulknife 6/Psywar 14 is a naaaaaasty bit of work. Use those Psywar bonus psionic feats to purchase your soulknife upgrades and still have a boatload of feats free for other shenanigans.Not really. Why would a Psywar want to waste six levels and all their feats on a weapon they could just buy a better version of?

mabriss lethe
2008-11-01, 11:14 PM
I figured it out once, I'll have to see if I can find the sheet on file somewhere. The gist of it came down as

-by lvl 20 your manifester level and mindblade level are both 18. You lose out on 6the level psywar powers,(This gives you a free +4 weapon with a total of +4 enhancements that you can rearrange for different situations.)

quickdraw your mindblade. nice to have. (I forget exactly why I chose to take soulknife to 6 instead of 5, but I remember there was a reason.)

If you also take.....Psionic Body as one of your psywar bonus feats, you get +2 HP for every psionic feat, including Practiced Mindblade and practiced manifester. There are a couple of feats that allow you to reallocate your enhancements faster than the standard.....whatever absurdly long time it takes to rebuild a mindblade into a new configuration. Tactical and Strategic Reassignment. Mind Cleave is also pretty nifty to add in.

Knaight
2008-11-01, 11:20 PM
Its underpowered because its mind blade basically lets it catch up to the fighter wielding a normal weapon, no magic, with one less attack. As for fixing it full BAB, mind blade is ex, ignores all DR, including epic at level 10+, d10 hit die, and not needing to use psychic focus to do the ability drain, but being able to do that once per round as part of a full attack, or even attaching it to every successful attack.

Eldariel
2008-11-01, 11:32 PM
After a bit of meditation, I've come to a conclusion: Soulknives should not exist. More precisely, the class is simply a psionic warrior, who uses his psionic powers to shape a blade. That seems like perfectly normal fare.

Now, Soulknife shapes this mindblade, but seems to do so to the exclusion of all their other psionic powers. In other words, Soulknives focus on one psionic ability to the exclusion of all others. What other classes follow this pattern? Spell Specialist PrCs (Master of the Unseen Hand, Swiftblade, etc.). In other words, Soulknife as a base class should not exist.

Instead, Psychic Warrior should have an augmentable level 1/2 power called "Mindblade". Every 2 points of augmentation gets one extra effective level of enhancement to it just like would happen if a Soulknife manifested their Mindblade (from Soulknife's list) - heck, many other of Soulknife's abilities could be made simple augmentations. This would make perfect sense - if you want to make a Soulknife, you simply pick up Psychic Warrior, pick Mindblade-power, get Weapon Focus: Mindblade (if you wanna be really loyal) and still have all your Psy War feats and powers to fool around with.

Now, as I said before, Soulknife is very much like the spell specialist PrCs. So it should be a PrC that focuses on this Mindblade-power: entry requirement being the knowledge of the power "Mindblade" and Weapon Focus: Mindblade or something. You get something like 6/10 manifesting advancement, but full effective levels to your Mindblade (or maybe even some free extra augmentation or such). Then you get all the boons from your Mindblade-focus in the normal Soulknife class features (and then some - just come up with few cool ones), such as Psychic Strike, Throw Mindblade, Shape Mindblade, etc. in 10 levels while gaining useful manifesting (at the expense of levels of manifesting and feats - seems fair).


This seems like the most rational way to keep them in game - as it stands, they have no business existing, but they make for a decent PrC.

Knaight
2008-11-01, 11:39 PM
I like them, and it makes sense that there would be people who could only create a weapon, it simulates a latent psychic ability and focus way below and above(respectively) that of the PsyWar.

Eldariel
2008-11-01, 11:41 PM
You could simply pick no other powers for your Psy War to make for a very accurate replication. Single power/spell specialists are all PrCs outside Soulknife, so I don't see a reason they should be treated any different. Not to mention, condensing the class to 10 levels would make it automatically fairly good.

mabriss lethe
2008-11-02, 12:01 AM
Tangent:

I've used a soulknife in a campaign once that went rather well. The DM didn't really want to introduce psionics into the game world so we refluffed the SKs abilities so represent a form of magic drawn from the shadow plane. The psionic feats wound up representing the character's growing ability to "break the rules" Run up walls, move fast, charge in zigzags, etc because the shadows growing inside him allowed him to slip slightly out of sync with reality. It was a low-level game, so then being underpowered was never an issue

Knaight
2008-11-02, 12:03 AM
Yes, but then it should only require a feat to get in, plus rogue and fighter are both pretty close to soulknife in versatility.

Eldan
2008-11-02, 06:30 AM
Many people here try to fix the soulknife by moving it closer to a full fighter or psychic warrior, with a manifestation progression, higher BAB or feats.
However, isn't that a mistake? I mean, we already have Psywars and fighters, shouldn't we try to give the soulknive it's own niche?
Now, the problem is that most of the things a soulknive can do can be done better by someone else. Throwing a mindblade is mostly useless. The monk or scout have a lot more mobility. The psywar can do the same thing with summoning swords. The fighter is the better warrior, obviously and also seen as boring.
So, what can a soulknive do that no one else can? That should be the question, not how to make it closer to the fighter or psywar, because then it has no reason to be in the game.

Tempest Fennac
2008-11-02, 06:33 AM
I know what you mean. (My approach towards fixing things tends to involve improving their existing features while adding new ones which fit. Eg: I had an idea for fixing Healers by giving them spontaneous casting, more buff spells as well as some non-lethal battlefield controll spells, while possibly giving them a Unicorn 2 levels earlier. I'm not sure if it would be balanced, but I think the improvements fit well).

RMS Oceanic
2008-11-02, 06:40 AM
Here's how I'd do it:

1. Proficiency with Simple weapons, Light Martial Weapons, Longsword and Two-handed Bastard sword (See 8 for reasoning)
2. Full BAB
3. Medium Armor
4. Swap fortitude and reflex will save progression.
5. +1 Enhancement bonus at level 3, improved by +1 every three levels (+6 at 18)
(The special ability thing always confused me: Do you just stick to the table presented, or can you pick any special ability for melee weapons? Either way:)
6. +1 Special ability at 4th level. Total increases by +1 every three levels (+6 at 18). Can pick anything relevant for slashing/piercing melee weapon.
7. Bonus Fighter/Psionic/Soulknife Feat at first level, at fourth level, then every four levels. Also, Speed of Thought at sixth is retained, as is Weapon Focus/Greater Weapon Focus.
8. Reshape: At 5th level you can reshape your mind blade into any melee weapon that does only slashing and/or piercing damage. Depending on the weapon, the enhancement bonus of the weapon is reduced:
Simple Weapons, Light Martial Weapons, Longsword, Bastard Sword (Two-handed): -0
The following penalties apply only if the Soulknife is normally not proficient with the weapon. The penalty lets the Soulknife act as though proficient with the weapon. If he gains proficiency with a weapon as a feat or a racial trait (such as the Dwarven Waraxe), the penalty is eliminated:
One-handed Martial Weapon: -1
Light Exotic Weapon: -1
Two-handed/Double Martial Weapon: -2
One-handed Exotic Weapon: -2
Two-handed/Double Exotic Weapon: -3
Manifesting Identical Light/One-handed weapons in each hand: Additional -1. Standard two-weapon fighting rules apply.
9. Psychic Strike: +1d8 at third level, then +1d8 every two levels afterwards (+8d8 at 19th level). Can be manifested as a swift action after sixth level. Knife to the Soul gained at 9th level.
10. Bladewind gained at 9th level. Can only be done when the mind blade is in a form the Soulknife is actually proficient in. Multiple Throw gained at 11th Level.
11. At 15th level, Bladewind can be performed twice, with a -5 penalty on the second attack. At 20th Level, it can be performed a third time with a -10 penalty.

And a couple of feats for this new version:

Exotic Mind Blade Training [Soulknife]
Prerequisites: Mind Blade Reshaping, Wis 15, BAB +8
Benefits: The enhancement bonus penalty for reshaping your mind blade beyond weapons you are proficient with is reduced by one.


Two Mind Blade Fighting [Soulknife]
Prerequisites: Dex 15, Wis 15, Mind Blade Reshaping, BAB +6
Benefits: The enhancement bonus penalty for forming two identical mindblades is eliminated. For the purpose of your mind blade, you have the two-weapon fighting feat.
Special: This feat is considered as TWF for any feat or class that has it as a prerequisite.

Siegel
2008-11-02, 07:18 AM
You could maybe combine Lurk and Soulknives to give them a niche ?

Talic
2008-11-02, 07:25 AM
I would consider an "imbue Mind blade" ability. Something that allowed them to combine their mind blade with a physical weapon, garnering the special abilities of each.

Aquillion
2008-11-02, 08:29 AM
I figured it out once, I'll have to see if I can find the sheet on file somewhere. The gist of it came down as

-by lvl 20 your manifester level and mindblade level are both 18. You lose out on 6the level psywar powers,(This gives you a free +4 weapon with a total of +4 enhancements that you can rearrange for different situations.)

quickdraw your mindblade. nice to have. (I forget exactly why I chose to take soulknife to 6 instead of 5, but I remember there was a reason.)

If you also take.....Psionic Body as one of your psywar bonus feats, you get +2 HP for every psionic feat, including Practiced Mindblade and practiced manifester. There are a couple of feats that allow you to reallocate your enhancements faster than the standard.....whatever absurdly long time it takes to rebuild a mindblade into a new configuration. Tactical and Strategic Reassignment. Mind Cleave is also pretty nifty to add in.I would rather have 6th level manifesting (and, uh, all my psywar feats, which are probably more valuable) than an 18th level mindblade. You can buy a sword, you can't buy 6th level manifesting.

Even with Tactical Reassignment, it still takes a stupid full-round action to reassign your blade. While there are some nice weapon abilities out there, if you really want to use them you can just buy them with gold, then spend one feat on quick-draw, and get them as a free action instead of wasting an entire round. Heck, even without quick-draw it's only a move action.

And your answer to the Soulknife/Psywar fusion being a horrible sink for your levels and feats is to... throw even more feats into it? At this point you're spending all your bonus feats (Practiced Manifester twice, Practiced Mindblade three times, Strategic and Tactical reassignment) just to get a bunch of free swords in one (although it still takes a full round action and a concentration check to switch between them.)

What's the point of all that? If you just like the fluff, be a psywar and use call weaponry.

Starbuck_II
2008-11-02, 09:23 AM
Instead, Psychic Warrior should have an augmentable level 1/2 power called "Mindblade". Every 2 points of augmentation gets one extra effective level of enhancement to it just like would happen if a Soulknife manifested their Mindblade (from Soulknife's list) - heck, many other of Soulknife's abilities could be made simple augmentations. This would make perfect sense - if you want to make a Soulknife, you simply pick up Psychic Warrior, pick Mindblade-power, get Weapon Focus: Mindblade (if you wanna be really loyal) and still have all your Psy War feats and powers to fool around with.


http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/psm/20070214a
Soulbound Weapon: alternate Psi warr class feature.

Really, that is what Psi Warr can do to emulate Soulknife.
Only drawback is no Psychic Strike. But it works great.

Eldariel
2008-11-02, 09:40 AM
Meh. It should just be a power. Simplier that way.

serow
2008-11-02, 10:26 AM
After a bit of meditation, I've come to a conclusion: Soulknives should not exist. More precisely, the class is simply a psionic warrior, who uses his psionic powers to shape a blade. That seems like perfectly normal fare.

Now, Soulknife shapes this mindblade, but seems to do so to the exclusion of all their other psionic powers. In other words, Soulknives focus on one psionic ability to the exclusion of all others. What other classes follow this pattern? Spell Specialist PrCs (Master of the Unseen Hand, Swiftblade, etc.). In other words, Soulknife as a base class should not exist.

Instead, Psychic Warrior should have an augmentable level 1/2 power called "Mindblade". Every 2 points of augmentation gets one extra effective level of enhancement to it just like would happen if a Soulknife manifested their Mindblade (from Soulknife's list) - heck, many other of Soulknife's abilities could be made simple augmentations. This would make perfect sense - if you want to make a Soulknife, you simply pick up Psychic Warrior, pick Mindblade-power, get Weapon Focus: Mindblade (if you wanna be really loyal) and still have all your Psy War feats and powers to fool around with.I like this idea, makes me think of a PsyWar chara whose aim is to emulate the mystical (and no longer existing) Soulknifes by learning how to "create" his own "soulknife".
Cool!

Eldan
2008-11-02, 10:37 AM
A rather strange idea that just occured to me when someone mentioned merging soulknives with lurks: merging them with ninjas, another weak class. If one were to give them more mobility based powers and the ability to become ethereal, they would make very fine infiltrators.

FMArthur
2008-11-02, 10:55 AM
See all the places in the Soulknife level progression table that say '+X mind blade' or 'mind blade enhancement +X'? Replace all of them with Signature Weapon (as seen in the Kensai PrC, CWar) progression for your mind blade and add it to 2nd level as well. Remove the 24-hour meditation period for enhancements. There, a mostly comptetent Soulknife that fits the fluff. Change Psychic Strike to be lesser action (swift/free), and you should be okay.

Greenfaun
2008-11-02, 04:00 PM
There are already some great replies on this thread, but I'll go ahead and chip in with how I'd fix soulknives.

Here are my three ideas in order of my preference, although I'd let a player pick any of the three:

1: Give the soulknife a unique, thematic ability other than not having to spend money on a weapon. I'm thinking a melee-based save-or-suck ability would be thematically appropriate and the hefty power increase that they need.

Incorporeal strike: A soulknife may decide, when manifesting her mindblade, to make it corporeal or incorporeal. A corporeal mindblade acts as the original, can be sundered, does physical damage, and (unlike the original) its psychic strike adds physical damage as well. An incorporeal mind blade afflicts whatever it touched with unbearable psychic pain. It cannot be sundered, does no HP damage, and cannot affect inanimate objects or creatures immune to mind-affecting effects. An incorporeal strike is a touch attack, and if it is successful the target must make a Will save (DC: 10+1/2 soulknife level + WIS) or become dazed for 1 turn.

Incorporeal strike cannot be used with the throw mind blade ability, it relies on creating a momentary psychic link between the Soulknife and the target.

Additionally, psychic strike works differently for an incorporeal strike, inflicting a different condition for 1 turn, according to the dice of damage it would normally do:

1d8: +3 to save DC; Target is Stunned
2d8: +4 to save DC; Target is Confused
3d8: +5 to save DC; Target is Confused, and Dazed on a successful save
4d8: +6 to save DC; Target is Paralyzed, and Dazed on a successful save
5d8: +7 to save DC; Target is Paralyzed, and Stunned on a successful save
(The player can always choose to inflict a lesser condition if they prefer, for instance replacing Confused with Stunned)


This would make a Soulknife useful in combat for more than just flanking. Still not as good as a swordsage, but with a good solid chance of locking down an enemy, or she can just do damage. Against some enemies this would be cheesy-strong, and against others it'd be useless. I think in 3.5 that counts as balanced. :)

2 Actually make them a psionic class. Power points, a power list, manifester level, etc. Or just fold them into Psywar, which does it right already. Basically, this has been covered upthread, but I'd also change Psychic strike to the ability to channel pp's through the mindblade to increase damage, to replace the current mechanic of blowing a move action.

3. Psionic Kensai: full BAB, move all mind blade enhancements up two levels, so they end up with +5/+5 rather than +5/+4. Maybe some bonus feats, too, it still wouldn't be that strong a class. People have covered this upthread too, it's playable, but it just doesn't have much reason to exist.