Soulknife Battlemaster

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By Proven Paradox at Divided by Zero.

The Soulknife is a neat idea. A character producing a weapon from the power of one's mind or soul is a compelling and fairly common theme in fantasy. The DnD 3.5 equivalent is the Soulknife, which is an incredibly weak class. The commonly agreed upon problems are as follows:

  • The defining class feature--the Mindblade--is utterly sub-par. If the weapon is the focus of the class, it should be noticably and obviously more powerful than the weapon of another warrior of equal level. It's also restrictive. If you want to make anything but a sword, you have to take a feat for it. The enhancements you can give it are also artificially and needlessly limited. Switching between different enhancements is also a stupidly time-consuming affair, unless again, you take feats.
  • Psychic Strike. It's a neat trick at low levels, but when full attacks become available, Psychic Strikes become less useful.
  • Low BAB. This one is perhaps debatable. I see Soulknife as a skirmisher class like Rogue and Scout, which means that full BAB isn't necessarily suitable. However, if one is making a weapon with one's mind, one likely wants to focus on using it. A warrior Soulknife is needed.
  • Armor Proficiency. Again, this is debatable for the reasons above, but when viewing Soulknife as a front line warrior, light armor is not sufficient.
  • Psionics. Soulknife is a 'psionic class' that doesn't have anything psionic about it other than a worthless feat that gives it a couple of power points at first level so it can have psionic focus. This is nonsense.

A few players for an upcoming game have expressed interest in playing something with Soulknife involved, and in each case the class would work out well for them. You can use the Soulbound Weapon ACF for the Psychic Warrior, but it doesn't have quite the same feeling to it, and it runs into problems with the Psychic Warrior's very limited power point pool. As such, I have decided to re-write the Soulknife as two separate classes. To see the other class, check out the Soulknife Skirmisher.


The Soulknife Battlemaster

Hit Die: d8

Class Skills The Soulknife Battlemaster's class skills (and the key ability for each) are Autohypnosis (Wis), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Jump (Str), Knowledge (psionics) (Int), Profession (Wis), Psicraft (Int), Ride (Dex), and Swim (Str).

Skill Points at 1st Level (2 + Int modifier) ×4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level 2 + Int modifier.

The Soulknife Battlemaster

LevelBase Attack BonusFort SaveRef SaveWill SaveSpecialPP/DayPowers KnownMaximum Power Level Known
1st+1+2+0+0Mindblade (Masterwork), Weapon Aptitude0*11
2nd+2+3+0+0Mindblade (+1), Mind Blade Enhancement, Bonus Feat111
3rd+3+3+1+1Psychic Strike +1d8221
4th+4+4+1+1Mindblade (+2)321
5th+5+4+1+1Bonus Feat, Enhancement Set (2)431
6th+6/+1+5+2+2Mindblade (+3), Swift Strike642
7th+7/+2+5+2+2Psychic Strike +2d8, Bladewind842
8th+8/+3+6+2+2Mindblade (+4), Bonus Feat1052
9th+9/+4+6+3+3Swift Manifestation1252
10th+10/+5+7+3+3Mindblade (+5), Enhancement Set (3)1462
11th+11/+6/+1+7+3+3Bonus Feat, Psychic Strike +3d82073
12th+12/+6/+2+8+4+4Mindblade (+6)2673
13th+13/+6/+3+8+4+4Debilitating Blade3283
14th+14/+6/+4+9+4+4Mindblade (+7), Bonus Feat3883
15th+15/+10/+5+9+5+5Psychic Strike +4d8, Enhancement Set (4)4493
16th+16/+11/+6/+1+10+5+5Mindblade (+8)52104
17th+17/+12/+7/+2+10+5+5Bonus Feat60104
18th+18/+13/+8/+3+11+6+6Mindblade (+9)68114
19th+19/+14/+9/+4+11+6+6Psychic Strike +5d876114
20th+20/+15/+10/+5+12+6+6Mindblade (+10), Bonus Feat, Enhancement Set (5), Living Weapon86124
*The Soulknife Battlemaster gains no power points from her class at 1st level. However, she does add any bonus power points she gains from a high Charisma score, her race, and feats or other sources to her reserve. She can use these points (if any) to manifest her power.

Class Features

All the following are class features of the Soulknife Battlemaster (henceforth referred to simply as Battlemaster).

Weapon and Armor Proficiency A Battlemaster is proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with all armor (heavy, medium, and light) and shields (not including tower shields).

Power Points/Day A Battlemaster’s ability to manifest powers is limited by the power points she has available. Her base daily allotment of power points is given on Table: The Soulknife Battlemaster. In addition, she receives bonus power points per day if she has a high Charisma score (see Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Power Points). Her race may also provide bonus power points per day, as may certain feats and items. A 1st-level Battlemaster gains no power points for her class level, but she gains bonus power points (if she is entitled to any), and can manifest the single power she knows with those power points.

Powers Known A Battlemaster begins play knowing one Battlemaster power of her choice. She unlocks knowledge of a new power as indicated on Table: The Soulknife Battlemaster.

Choose the powers known from the Soulknife Battlemaster power list. (Exception: The feats Expanded Knowledge and Epic Expanded Knowledge do allow her to learn powers from the lists of other classes.) She can manifest any power that has a power point cost equal to or lower than her manifester level.

The total number of powers a Battlemaster can manifest in a day is limited only by her daily power points.

A Battlemaster simply knows her powers; they are ingrained in her mind. She does not need to prepare them (in the way that some spellcasters prepare their spells), though she must get a good night’s sleep each day to regain all her spent power points.

The Difficulty Class for saving throws against Battlemaster powers is 10 + the power’s level + her Charisma modifier.

Maximum Power Level Known A Battlemaster begins play with the ability to learn 1st-level powers. As she attains higher levels, she may gain the ability to master more complex powers.

To learn or manifest a power, a Battlemaster must have a Charisma score of at least 10 + the power’s level.

Mind Blade (Su) As a move action, a Battlemaster can create a semisolid weapon composed of psychic energy distilled from her own mind. This can take the form of any melee weapon with which the Battlemaster is proficient, including exotic weapons. For simplicity, "mind blade" refers to any weapon created this way, included weapons that are not actually bladed. The Battlemaster chooses what shape the mind blade takes every time she creates it.

The weapon can be broken: it has hardness 10 and hit points appropriate for whatever form it currently takes. Should the weapon be broken, a new one can be made on the Battlemaster's next move action. The moment she relinquishes his grip on her weapon, it dissipates. A mind blade is considered a magic weapon for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

A Battlemaster can choose mind blade for feats requiring a specific weapon choice, such as Weapon Specialization. She gains the benefits of said feat no matter what form the mind blade currently takes, but the effects of taking such a feat for a mind blade and for a mundane weapon do not stack (i.e. Weapon Focus (Mind Blade) and Weapon Focus (Greatsword) do not both function if the Battlemaster's mind blade takes the form of a greatsword). Powers or spells that upgrade weapons can be used on a mind blade.

A Battlemaster’s mind blade improves as she gains higher levels. At first level, the weapon is of masterwork quality. At second level and every two levels thereafter, the blade gains a cumulative +1 enhancement bonus.

Even in places where psionic effects do not normally function (such as within a null psionics field), a Battlemaster can attempt to sustain her mind blade's power by making a DC 20 Will save. On a successful save, the Battlemaster maintains her mind blade as normal for a number of rounds equal to her class level before he needs to check again. On an unsuccessful attempt, the mind blade loses its enhancement bonus, though the basic blade (still of masterwork quality) remains.

The Battlemaster may shape more than one mindblade for use in two-weapon fighting. Doing so requires more power, causing the two shaped weapons to be less powerful individually. Whenever a Skirmisher shapes two mind blades, the enhancement bonus on both is reduced by one. She can shape more than two weapons (such as for multiweapon fighting) but each additional weapon shaped reduces the enhancement bonus on all weapons by one. If shaping additional blades would reduce the weapons from +1 to +0, the weapons are masterwork. Shaping an additional weapon when the blade(s) shaped is of masterwork quality causes all weapons to become non-masterwork, and no more additional blades can be shaped thereafter.

Battlemasters can shape their mindblade into a shield. Doing so counts as an additional weapon, and has all the effects described above. A mindshield can be used for shield bashes, but cannot be enhanced as a weapon for that purpose.

Weapon Aptitude (Ex) For the purposes of qualifying for feats, treat every level of Battlemaster as a level of Fighter. This allows the Battlemaster to qualify for feats usually reserved for Fighters only, such as Weapon Specialization.

Mind Blade Enhancement (Su) Starting at second level, a Battlemasters's mindblade gains an enhancement bonus of +1, which improves by one every two levels after second. A Battlemasters may distribute these points freely between granting an enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls or granting her weapon special abilities excluding those that are limited by daily uses (such as Stunning Surge), Spell Storing, or Power Storing. She may choose any weapon enhancement she pleases (or, if she has a shield shaped, she may apply any armor enhancement she wishes). Unlike with mundane weapons (and armor), she does not have to have a minimum enhancement bonus of +1 before she applies special weapon abilities, nor does she have a maximum enhancement bonus of +5. Altering which weapon enhancement her blade currently carries requires half an hour of uninterrupted meditation, after which she may re-assign his enhancement bonus any way she chooses.

Note, a mindblade whose enhancement bonus exceeds 5 does NOT penetrate DR/epic. At 21st level, the Skrimisher's mindblade does this automatically, regardless of the weapon's enhancement bonus.

Bonus Feat (Ex) At second level, and again every three levels thereafter (5th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, 20th) the Battlemaster may select a feat from the following list for which she meets the prerequisites: Adamantine Mind Blade, Align Mind Blade, Combat Expertise, Combat Manifestation, Deflective Armor, Deep Impact, Expanded Knowledge, Focused Shield, Heavy Armor Optimization, Mind Cleave, Mind Strike Focused, Mind Empowerment, Narrow Mind, Psionic Body, Psionic Meditation, Psionic Weapon, Greater Psionic Weapon, Power Attack, Quick Draw*, Silver Mind Blade, Weapon Focus (Mindblade), Weapon Specialization (Mindblade), Greater Weapon Focus (Mindblade), Greater Weapon Specialization (Mindblade), Wounding Attack.

  • The Quick Draw feat allows Battlemasters to shape their mind blade as a free action. This means they can reshape their weapons during a full attack. Each attack may come from a differently shaped weapon. Some Battlemasters like to re-shape their weapons as they fight to keep their foes off balance.

Psychic Strike (Su) As a move action, a Battlemaster of 3rd level or higher can imbue her mind blade with destructive psychic energy. This effect deals an extra 1d8 points of damage to the next target she successfully hits with a melee attack.

A mind blade deals this extra damage only once when this ability is called upon, but a Battlemaster can imbue her mind blade with psychic energy again by taking another move action.

Once a Battlemaster has prepared her blade for a psychic strike, it holds the extra energy until it is used. Even if the Battlemaster drops the mind blade, it is still imbued with psychic energy when the she next materializes it.

At every four levels beyond 3rd (7th, 11th, 15th, 19th), the extra damage from a Battlemaster’s psychic strike increases by 1d8.

Enhancement Set (Su) Beginning at fifth level, a Skirmisher may quickly switch between a limited number of pre-determined mindblade enhancement configurations. At fifth level, she may have two such enhancement sets. Every five levels thereafter (10th, 15th, 20th), the number of sets the Skirmisher can have prepared increases by one. Switching between these sets is a swift action. A Skirmisher may chose to re-arrange all of her sets after thirty minutes of meditation. It is not necessary for different sets to have different arrangements. Abilities must be listed in the order in which they would be lost to effects that would reduce the Skirmisher's enhancement bonus (such as manifesting multiple weapons). In the case of manifesting multiple mindblades, each blade uses a different enhancement set. Skirmishers who shape shields can have that shield default to providing its entire enhancement bonus as AC, or dedicate one of their enhancement sets to containing shield properties.

Swift Strike (Su) Starting at 6th level, a Battlemaster may charge her blade to make a Psychic Strike as a swift action, allowing her to both charge a Psychic Strike and make a full attack in the same round.

Bladewind (Su) At 7th level, a Battlemaster gains the ability to momentarily fragment her mind blade into numerous identical blades, each of which strikes at a nearby opponent.

As a full attack, when wielding her mind blade, a Battlemaster can give up her regular attacks and instead fragment her mind blade to make one melee attack at his full base attack bonus against each opponent within reach. Each fragment functions identically to the Battlemaster's regular mind blade.

When using bladewind, a Battlemaster forfeits any bonus or extra attacks granted by other feats or abilities (such as the Cleave feat or the haste spell).

The mind blade immediately reverts to its previous form after the bladewind attack. If the Battlemaster's mind blade was charged for a psychic strike, it deals the extra damage to all targets struck by the bladewind.

Swift Manifestation (Su) Beginning at 9th level, whenever a Blademaster manifests a power that enhances her mind blade, if the manifesting time was a standard action, it decreases to a swift action.

Debilitating Blade (Su) Beginning at 13th level, when a Battlemaster executes a psychic strike, she can choose to substitute Strength, Constitution, or Dexterity damage (her choice) for extra dice of damage. For each die of extra damage she gives up, she deals 1 point of damage to the ability score she chooses. A Battlemaster can combine extra dice of damage and ability damage in any combination.

The Battlemaster decides which ability score her psychic strike damages and the division of ability damage and extra dice of damage when she imbues his mind blade with the psychic strike energy.

Living Weapon At 20th level, a Battlemaster has honed her psionic abilities to the point that her mental power causes him to undergo a physical transformation into a living weapon. She gains DR 10/Adamantine (which stacks with DR provided to him by any powers he manifests) and treats her mindblade (whatever form it currently takes) as one size larger when determining its damage dice.

Once per day as a free action, she may enter a state of psionic overdrive, which causes her mindblade to glow with a brilliant light. While in this state, her Psychic Strike ability is constantly charged, requiring no action from the Battlemaster to maintain. This state lasts for one minute. While in overdrive, she may only utilize her Debilitating Blade ability once per round.

Soulknife Battlemaster Powers

First Level

  • Biofeedback
  • Expansion
  • Force Screen
  • Grip of Iron
  • Inertial Armor
  • Metaphysical Weapon*
  • Precognition, Defensive
  • Precognition, Offensive
  • Prescience, Offensive
  • Stomp
  • Thicken Skin
  • Vigor

Second Level

  • Animal Affinity
  • Body Adjustment
  • Body Purification
  • Dissolving Weapon*
  • Energy Adaptation, Specified
  • Hustle
  • Prowess
  • Psionic Lion's Charge
  • Strength of My Enemy

Third Level

  • Dimension Slide
  • Evade Burst
  • Exhalation of the Black Dragon
  • Keen Edge, Psionic*
  • Vampiric Blade*

Fourth Level

  • Energy Adaptation
  • Immovability
  • Inertial Barrier
  • Weapon of Energy*

[*]These powers affect a Soulknife's mindblade. A Soulknife can only affect his or her own mindblade with these powers, not other mundance weapons. They are also quickened by Swift Manifestation when the Soulknife gains that ability.

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