Author Topic: Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection  (Read 6994 times)

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Saeomon

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Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection
« on: August 24, 2010, 02:51:33 AM »
Hey all. I'm playing a Psion (Shaper) in a currently-low-level campaign. We've got a Fighter, a Rogue/Cleric and a Druid in the party, besides my Psion (Shaper). Everybody just made level 2. Thus far the Fighter is a two-handed power attacker, the Rogue/Cleric is a ranged attacker and the party's face, and the Druid is focusing on being pure melee and a healer.

My character has the following powers:
Minor Creation, Vigor, Matter Agitation, and I just added Astral Construct and Entangling Ectoplasm

While progressing from level 1 to level 2, my character did a few nifty things with Minor Creation outside of combat. During combat, Matter Agitation was really useful. Being able to stand back and let others soak up the damage was great.

Looking to the future, I'm having trouble deciding which powers it would be best to take. We have a tank and we have a party face, so I'm not worried about filling those roles. We also have quite a bit of healing. So I'm looking to take powers that will best benefit the party.

The DM is allowing material other than core, but has a serious preference for core-only material. The party is also optimization-light. Furthermore, she is being coy about how magic and psionics interact in this world; psionics is a lot less common than magic so powers like Dispel Psionics may not be the best choice. Finally, she seems to want to move things along at a pretty clipped pace, so neither research nor item creation may be all that viable. That makes Expanded Knowledge seem like a really great choice for the bulk of my future feats.

So, here's a few questions about the usefulness of certain powers:

Levitate vs. Share Pain at level 3+
Do I take Levitate and swap it out later with Psychic Reformation, or just take Share Pain and hold onto it?

Levitate is useful to me up until Metamorphosis becomes available at level 9, through Expanded Knowledge. It has the added bonus of being useful inside and outside of combat.

Share Pain is a combat-only power, but it'll be useful to me throughout my whole career. It is one of the few Psion buff powers that has a range other than Personal. The Share Pain + Vigor combo is a well-known catch-all buff for oneself.

How many direct damage powers is too many?
Psions have access to so many great direct damage powers. As an eventual Anarchic Initiate, any direct damage power with variable, numeric effects is a real attraction.

Taking Expanded Knowledge: Energy Missile at level 5 seems like a no-brainer to me. The power is generally considered awesome. However, would it be better to take Energy Stun, instead, and save the feat?

As an alternative to the above, would it be better both Energy Missile AND Concussion Blast, since the latter is a Force effect? I'd eventually swap out Concussion Blast once my Astral Constructs can manifest it.

Is it a bad idea to take and rely on Energy Wall as an area-effect power until Hail of Crystals is available?

Telekinetic Thrust looks like it would be a great catch-all attack, but is it worth in a build that has both the versatility of psionic Energy-based attacks and an instantaneous creation effect attack power?

On the usage of save-or-die powers
For Psions, most of the save-or-die powers are Mind-Affecting. Shapers get access to Crystallize, but most builds, including the one I've planned out, don't bother with it, opting for Disintegrate instead. That said, there seem to be two general categories of save-or-die: ones that kill outright or put the target into a state of helplessness on a failed save, and ones that do such a massive amount of damage that failure to save is certain death. Crystallize falls into the former category and Disintegrate into the latter.

As an eventual Anarchic Initiate, is it better to focus on the latter kind of save-or-die, pumping damage up into the stratosphere, or to work in a few of the former kind? I already plan to take the two Cocoon powers, so I have two of the former category that have the added bonus of targeting Reflex, but are there any other save-or-dies that target either Fortitude or Will which I ought to try to include?

How useful are these powers, really?
Ego Whip. This power seems like it'd be great, especially with Anarchic Initiate's Chaotic Surge. I've read about its use as a utility power, to take out enemies without actually killing them, or to debuff Charisma-based casters. Those benefits considered, I do see a few downsides. First, it's Mind-Effecting. Second, in a non-optimized group, most of the players are going to be doing hit point damage throughout their careers. Would it be better to avoid this power and just focus on contributing to bringing the enemies' HP to zero as fast as possible?

Control Sound and Quintessence. Aside from Minor Creation, these powers are the most frequently mentioned as being useful if you are creative. Not all DMs throw the players into situations where creativity is useful, however. So, bottom line, are they really worth taking, or would it be better to take a power that has less flexibility but which is likely to see more use, such as either Energy Adaptation or Energy Adaptation, Specified?

Major Creation. I've already got Minor Creation. Is it worth having both on my list?

Touchsight and True Seeing. Again, is it worth having both, or should I pick one or the other?

The use of Immediate actions
Which powers are best to get the most out of Immediate actions? Mental Barrier looks useful, but there are ways to get a semi-permanent deflection bonus, so I'm not sure its that good. Intellect Fortress also seems like a good choice, since it protects the whole party, but so can Damp Power. The former can last longer, if augmented, the latter has to be augmented to even effect the whole party, but it will reduce damage even further. Which one's better?

Is it worth spending a feat to gain Fate of One at higher levels?

Bottom line: how does a Psion optimize the use of immediate actions without burning through PP too quickly?

Certain powers from Complete Psionic
The general consensus is to avoid this book like the plague, though most acknowledge there are at least a few good things in it, like the Anarchic Initiate PrC, and the various powers related to the action economy, like Synchronicity and Anticipatory Strike. Here are a few powers which look pretty good to me on paper, and a few questions to go with them.

Damp Power. Is this worth taking over Intellect Fortress, or is the latter generally more useful?

Burrowing Bonds. As a Shaper, would this be preferable to Ectoplasmic Cocoon, or is it better to save the 4th level slot for something else?

Energy Barrage. The fact that this is an SR: No power makes it really attractive, but is it really worth it? Furthermore, in an Anarchic Initiate build, would it be better to take this than Energy Conversion?

Dimension Twister. How does this one far as a damaging power? It seems interesting, since it can be used for utility, too.

Finally, a few questions about feats
One thing, first: I know many consider Linked Power to be wonderful, but I don't plan on taking it. This is because the DM tends to strictly interpret the rules. Thus, since Linked Power says "The power that is manifested in this round is not altered in any way, nor is the linked power
that goes off in the next round," she's likely to interpret that to mean that, for powers that take more than one round to manifest, the required period of concentration in order to manifest that power begins on the second round. So none of the Linked Power, Minor Creation combos would be viable.

Now, here's my feat-related questions:

When is it really necessary to take either Psicrystal Containment or Psionic Meditation? Some of the progressions I've worked out only have Extend Power in them. How often does Extend Power really find use inside of combat?

Are there any other metapsionic feats I should consider taking? Enlarge Power looks pretty nice, especially since it could let me drop Astral Constructs in places I otherwise couldn't, and since it doesn't cost any extra PP to use. If I took that I'd definitely take Psionic Meditation. I feel like Empower Power could also be a good choice. Coupled with Chaotic Surge, I could lay down lots of damage if I roll really well!

Finally, Expanded Knowledge. I definitely plan on using it to get Metamorphosis and Schism. Should I hang on to EK: Metamorphosis or try to snag a Skin of Proteus? I definitely want to take Metamorphic Transfer, since it offers so much utility. I'm just wondering if holding onto the power through the feat is worth it. Also, are there any other powers that are really worth taking through Expanded Knowledge? I've seen discussions about the coolness of Dimension Swap, and eventually picking up Clairtangent Hand could effectively add four powers to my repertoire at the cost of one feat.

Conclusion
I'm really looking to cover all of my bases, here, without spreading myself too thin. I've read many of the various guides and builds available on this forum and on others, and I feel like I can make a good character. Perhaps, with your advice, I can make a great one. Thanks!

awaken DM golem

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Re: Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2010, 08:44:09 PM »
Carnivore's builds on the psion guide ... (clicky to the guides board) ... are still more than good enough.

The A.i. PrC has stuff that interacts with the Augmentation class function.
Depending on when you go into A.i., can change when you use the +1 Augs ability (or the +2 later).
Normally I like an Ennervated PC to be in the back line, away from the action,
so the dazed condition doesn't Fubar everything.
Throw in a Torc of Power Preservation, for more discounts.
Looks to me like the party might want you to be the "wizard" ... if so
versatility can be had via power selection.

awaken DM golem

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Re: Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2010, 08:30:06 PM »
... and another active thread asking the same thing
http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=9103.0

Metamorph can be used to make a Skin of Proteus, then retrain away.

Endarire

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Re: Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2010, 05:48:00 AM »
Psicrystal Containment gets you telepathy.  Telepathy gets you Mindsight.

Power-wise, consider amethyst burst.
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Speaking of which:
Don't even need TO for this.  Any decent Hood build, especially one with Celerity, one-rounds [Azathoth, the most powerful greater deity from d20 Cthulu].
Does it bug anyone else that we've reached the point where characters who can obliterate a greater deity in one round are considered "decent?"

carnivore

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Re: Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2010, 07:42:32 AM »
can you post your character so far?

i will try to get something later .... that might help

 :D

carnivore

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Re: Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2010, 02:32:07 PM »
Human Shaper build

Psion (Shaper) 10/ Anarchic Initiate 10

(28 point buy)
8 Str
14 Dex
14 Con
32 Int(16 base+5 lvls+6 item+5 Tome)
14 Wis
8 Cha


Feats:
Psicrystal Affinity(Psion Bonus)
Knowledge Devotion(Human Bonus) ..... from Complete Champion.... otherwise pick the next one
1st lvl: Overchannel
3rd lvl: Talented
5th lvl: Boost Construct(Psion Bonus)
6th lvl: Psionic Meditation
9th lvl: EK:Metamorphosis
10th lvl: Psicrystal Containment(psion Bonus)
12th lvl: Metamorphic Transfer
15th lvl: Link power
18th lvl: Extend Power

Powers
total Powers(assuming Psion 20.....keyed on VERSATILITY): ... mostly Core... with some Complete Psionics

1st level:
Astral Construct
Minor Creation
Vigor
Precognition, Offensive
Inertial Armor

2nd level:
Crystal Storm
Psychoportive Shelter
Share pain
Identify

3rd level
Dispel Psionics
Energy Wall
TK thrust
Touchsight

4th level:
Burrowing Bonds
Correspond
Divination
Wall of Ectoplasm
EK:Metamorphosis

5th level:
Hail of Crystals
Anticipatory Strike
Major Creation
Plane Shift

6th level:
Fabricate Greater
Disintegrate
Temporal Acceleration

7th level:
Mass Ecto coccon
Energy Conversion
Mind Blank, Personal

8th level:
Recall Death
Teleport greater
True Metabolism

9th level:
Genisis
Assimilate
Affinity field
Reality Revision


 :D

Saeomon

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Re: Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2010, 01:28:53 AM »
I just hit level 5 with this character. I wound up taking both Crystalstorm and Concussion Blast at 4th level. The DM kept throwing us up against enemies immune to Mind Affecting powers, and also pitted us against foes at range so the picks made sense in light of game circumstances.

With my level 5 feat I originally planned to take EK: Energy Missile. I'm starting to thing that might be too many blasting powers, especially since I'm going to take Energy Wall, which can be blasty-lite at these low levels, in addition to all of its utility. On the other hand, AI, which I'll enter into at 6th level, just seems to mesh so well with Energy Missile.

So here's the question for anyone who wants to chime in: should I stick with the original plan, or drop EK: Energy Missile for something else? Any suggestions? Of the other level 1 and 2 psionic discipline-specific powers, the following look tasty: Psionic Charm, Empathic Transfer, Dimension Swap, and Clairvoyant Sense (this last one especially).

Havok4

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Re: Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2010, 01:37:28 AM »
A really good option could be the personal contruct ACF to give you free quickened astral constructs.

Saeomon

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Re: Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2010, 01:55:27 AM »
A really good option could be the personal contruct ACF to give you free quickened astral constructs.

Ooo...good call! I'd forgotten about that!

Psithief

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Re: Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2010, 05:34:43 AM »
Psicrystal Containment gets you telepathy.

How's this?

carnivore

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Re: Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2010, 11:25:27 AM »
Psicrystal Containment gets you telepathy.

How's this?
not quite Telepathy ... but close:

Telepathic Speech (Ex): If the owner is 5th level or higher, the psicrystal can communicate telepathically with any creature that has a language and is within 30 feet of the psicrystal, while the psicrystal is also within 1 mile of the owner.

 :D


Psithief

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Re: Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2010, 12:54:09 PM »
Mindsight requires "Telepathy special quality".
I know I wouldn't allow it.

Also, Psicrystal Containment <> Psicrystal Affinity!

Saeomon

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Re: Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2010, 02:42:09 PM »
Psicrystal Containment gets you telepathy.

How's this?

How does Psicrystal Containment give you telepathy? That's not in the feat description.

Rebel7284

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Re: Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2010, 03:10:56 PM »
How does Psicrystal Containment give you telepathy? That's not in the feat description.

Psicrystals gets a limited form of telepathy as pointed out above.  Psicrystals also RAW get feats (feels like an oversight on the writer's parts, but that's how it works)
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Saeomon

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Re: Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2010, 03:34:52 PM »
How does Psicrystal Containment give you telepathy? That's not in the feat description.

Psicrystals gets a limited form of telepathy as pointed out above.  Psicrystals also RAW get feats (feels like an oversight on the writer's parts, but that's how it works)

My DM ruled that psicrystals don't get feats.

Leram

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Re: Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2010, 03:52:59 PM »
On direct damage powers, consider Celestial Conduit (CPsi). +1 DC per PP (instead of 1 per 2 as standard), 120 ft line (ref half), PPd6 damage positive energy (ignores incorporeal undead concealment), +2 damage per die vs undead. Crystal Shard/Amethyst Burst also quite good for various reasons.

As for save or dies, Decerebrate is the clear winner (although microcosm has the best flavor), it's a teleportation effect making it more likely to pierce defenses. Sadly it can't be augmented for a higher DC, at least it's 7th level.

The feat 'mark of the dauntless' (requires a dragonmark) will make you immune to daze thus enervation won't suck nearly as bad.

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Re: Psion/Anarchic Initiate Power Selection
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2010, 06:47:33 PM »
If you can get it:

Inconstant Location (CPsi):  Psion 6, for 1 minute get a swift action teleport up to your move speed once per round.  It frees up your move actions for things like regaining your psionic focus or concentrating on powers.

It does compete with the other excellent level 6 powers, though.  EK is an option, but it limits when you can get it.