The meditation feats are nice and all, but lets be honest - this class is the reason you’re even taking them to begin with. So, let’s examine what it gives you in-depth to see if it’s worth the feat expense.
Chassis: d4 HD, 3/4 BAB, 9/10 manifesting, 2+Int skills, good Will save.
Class Skills: Autohypnosis, Concentration, Diplomacy, Knowledge (any), Profession (any), Psicraft, Sense Motive.
Inner Peace: Each level of Meditant reduces the time to awaken a center by 30 minutes, for a total of -5 hours per awakening at the capstone. You may be wondering why you’ll need a buff to awakening your centers when you’ve probably already awakened all 7 prior to even joining the class. (Read on to find out why.)
With this ability, a regular awakening is reduced to 3 hours per center, IM is reduced to 5 hours, and DIM is reduced to 6 hours. (See “Intense Meditation” below.)
Meditative Sustenance (Su): By contemplating your navel for an hour, you can do without food and drink for a whole day. Flavorful and handy in the right campaigns; combos well with Ethereal Form.
Deeper Psychic Meditation: More activations! You need as many of these as you can get; this is the primary reason to continue taking this class into epic, should your game go that high. Would have been better if they gave you 1/level instead of 2/2 levels, but one can’t have everything.
Intense Psychic Meditation: This ability is why you’d want to reset your centers after accessing all 7. While meditating to awaken a center, you can invest 2 of your activation uses; doing so will “prime” the center, increasing the strength of its buffs once you activate it later. Those 2 invested activations will stay locked into that center until the center is reset. If you’re familiar with Incarnum, this is a bit like investing essentia into a feat or class feature to make it stronger. While invested, these activations are unavailable for use, and your total number of activations is permanently decreased until you divest them from that center.
At 7th level, you can invest 3 activations instead of two for Deeper Intensity, getting the maximum potential out of a given center in exchange for further limiting the number of activations you get.
Further analysis spoilered for length:
If all your centers are already awakened (as they probably were before you entered Meditant) you will need to reset one in order to prime it with this ability, followed by taking the time to meditate and reawaken it. Note that priming a center for Intensity in this way adds 2 hours to the meditation time.
At the time you get this ability (Meditant 3), you should have 9 activations total (7 from your feats and 2 from Meditant 2.) You can therefore have up to 4 centers primed for Intense activation. Priming all four, however, will reduce your total activations to 1; in other words, you’ll only get to actually use one of your centers, and then only for an hour! Since centers do nothing unless activated, this represents wasted potential. In short, this is where the true strategy of the class comes into play; you’ll have to balance the number of activations you can play with (and thus, the duration/variety of your meditation-buffs) with the power you gain from each one via Intense Activation.
At the time you get Deeper Intensity (Mediant 7), you should have 13 total activations (7 from feats + 6 from Meditant levels.) This adds another layer of strategy, as you can now choose to gain a lesser benefit from each Intense center for an extra hour of activation time. Deeper Intensity centers also take an additional hour to awaken. See the combined table I posted in the strategy section for a summary of all the ways you can activate your centers.
My personal advice is to pick 1-3 key centers you’ll use above the others, prime these for Intensity (or Deeper Intensity, once you get it) and use the remainder of your activations keeping those buffs active at key times throughout the adventuring day. An alternative strategy is to prime more centers, and wait until combat to decide which ones to activate. This technique gives you a bit more flexibility as to which buffs you can get coverage with (for instance, you wouldn’t need the Sacral center if you’re not fighting a spellcaster, but if you do end up against one you’ll have it available), but if combat catches you unprepared this method can force you to burn a standard action or more activating your buff(s).
Experiment and see which approach works best for your playstyle/campaign.
Prepared Mind (Su): While focused, you can reflect single-target mind-affecting attacks back to their originator if you successfully save. Note that it says effects, not spells; this gives you a much wider variety of eligible effects to repel, like supernatural abilities (such as a Ghaele’s gaze attack) so long as they are single-target.
Ethereal Form (Su): 3/day, you can activate this ability to become ethereal (taking all your gear with you), and stay that way for as long as you want. (Psion Uncarnate, eat your heart out.) You could spend the rest of your life ethereal if you choose; with Meditative Sustenance, you never have to worry about starving while ethereal.
Practically, this ability (in addition to just being cool/fun) has more defensive applications than offensive. You can use it as a panic-button to get away from a nasty situation (like being grappled by something mean, caught in a cave-in/nasty trap/prison etc.) You can also just leave it active as you float alongside the party, using it to scout (you are invisible/soundless, and can walk through walls/floors/etc. but can still see just fine 60 feet into the material) or get the drop on foes who don’t realize there’s another member of the party lurking on a coterminous plane. It also gives you perfect flight, so use it to cross chasms, traverse large bodies of water, walk through lava or what have you. And unlike merely being incorporeal, even if baddies can see you you’re totally immune to their magical effects (save force and transdimensional spells/powers.)
The downside, of course, is that they’re also immune to all of your stuff, so you’ll have to shift back to contribute to combat most of the time. Though you can at least do so fully-buffed, and from a nice clear corner of the battlefield, or right in the middle of the enemies’ casters if you’re a gish meditant. With the right powers (like Schism) you don’t even need to waste actions doing this, as activating it is a purely mental ability.
Inner Harmony (Su): The phenomenal class capstone. Inner Harmony requires that you have all 7 centers awakened, and grants the following benefits:
- Activating a center may be done as a swift action. Note the “may” - which means you can still choose to activate a center as a standard action, i.e. you can activate two centers in one turn, or more with action manipulation. Now you can pretty much wait until combat starts before switching on some of your centers, helping you conserve activations.
- Each activation lasts 4 hours instead of 1 - quadruple the duration! This greatly obviates the increasing cost of activating the same center multiple times in a day, and makes the stat-buff centers especially (i.e. Throat and Base) much more attractive to keep going throughout the day.