Psionic Conduit (3.5e Prestige Class)
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The Psionic Conduit is a psionic character that has studied power points - how they work, how they are manipulated, and -- most importantly -- how they are generated. Foregoing manifesting stronger powers, a psionic conduit focuses on gaining as many power points as possible. (This is intended as a replacement / fix for the commonly maligned metamind class.)
Becoming a psionic conduit
To become a psionic conduit, a manifester must possess the ability to manipulate power points, as well as a working knowledge of the connection between psionics, crystals, and the body.
|Skills:||Knowledge (psionics) 8 ranks, Psicraft 4 ranks, Autohypnosis 2 ranks|
|Feats:||Body Fuel, Psicrystal Affinity, Psionic Talent|
|Psionics:||Able to manifest bestow power, power leech, or leech field.|
|1st||0||0||0||2||Power source, improved Body Fuel, cognizance psicrystal, intrinsic psionics||-||1|
|2nd||1||0||0||3||Power thief||+1 level of existing manifesting class||4|
|3rd||1||1||1||3||Intrinsic psionics, lesser psicrystal power||-||9|
|4th||2||1||1||4||Font of power||+1 level of existing manifesting class||16|
|5th||2||1||1||4||Intrinsic psionics, psychic scavenger, lesser psicrystal power||-||25|
All of the following are class features of the psionic conduit.
Manifesting: At 2nd and 4th levels, you gains power points per day, an increase in manifester level, and new powers as if you had also gained a level in a manifesting class to which you belonged before adding the prestige class level. You do not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If you had more than one manifesting class before becoming a psionic conduit, you must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining powers, manifester level, and powers known.
Power Points/Day: Your ability to manifest powers is limited by the power points you have available. While the Psionic Conduit class does not grant its own manifesting, it does provide power points that are contributed to your common pool. Because the Psionic Conduit has no manifester level, these points are not increased by virtue of having a high ability score (though the manifester level increases granted by this class at 2nd and 4th level do grant bonus points as normal for the class they are applied to: see Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Power Points). Your race may also provide bonus power points per day, as may certain feats and items.
Power Source (Ps): Unlike most manifesters, you have access to the hidden resource of ambient power points that suffuse your environment. As a psi-like ability, you may produce the effect of bestow power once per day, plus an additional number of times per day per class level (including first), with a manifester level equal to your character level. You may target yourself with this ability. Because psi-like abilities do not cost any power points and gain automatic augmentation, a 5th level Psion/2nd level Conduit (character level 7th) using this ability simply grants her target 4 power points at no cost to herself.
Improved Body Fuel (Ex): When you use the Body Fuel feat, you gain an additional number of power points equal to your Psionic Conduit level. For example, a 1st level Psionic Conduit can take 1 point of ability burn to gain 3 power points, while a 3rd level Conduit gains 5.
Cognizance Psicrystal (Ex): You master the trick of storing excess power points in a psicrystal. Your psicrystal is now treated as a cognizance crystal capable of storing a number of power points equal to twice your class level, plus 1. (Thus, a 4th level conduit's psicrystal is capable of holding 9 power points.) This new ability also makes your psicrystal slightly tougher, granting it a bonus to hit points and hardness equal to your class level. For example, the psicrystal of a 5th level psion / 2nd level conduit with 26 hit points has 15 hit points (half its owner's, or 13, plus 2) and 10 hardness (8, plus 2), and can store up to 5 power points as a cognizance crystal. A psicrystal capable of manifesting powers has access to these points but does not add this capacity to its personal pool; it spends (or recharges) stored power points as any creature would a normal cognizance crystal.
Intrinsic Psionics (Ps): At 1st, 3rd, and 5th levels, you learn how to manifest psionic effects from within your own body. Choose any power you know that does not have an experience point cost. You gain that power as a psi-like ability usable once per day, with a manifester level equal to your character level. Using the ability takes the same amount of time that manifesting the power would (after taking into account augmentation effects, if applicable). If you select the same power more than once, you gain an additional use of the psi-like ability per day.
Power Thief (Ps): At 2nd level, you learn to apply your skills to forcibly drain power points from other manifesters. As an alternative use of power source, you may imitate the effects of power leech, as a psi-like ability. Your manifester level for this ability is equal to your existing manifester level, and the DC to resist the effect is 12 + your class level + your Cha modifier. Unlike the power, maintaining concentration on this ability requires only a standard action. Using power thief counts as one of your uses per day of power source.
Lesser Psicrystal Power (Ex): When you become a 3rd level psionic conduit, your cognizance psicrystal gains the ability to manifest simple powers. Choose one power you know of 3rd level or lower. Your psicrystal can now manifest this power once per day at your manifester level (the psicrystal gains sufficient power points to manifest the power once). You cannot bestow a power upon your psicrystal if the power normally has any experience point cost. This works just like the epic feat Psicrystal Power except you are limited to powers of level 3 or lower. When you reach 5th level, your psicrystal gains knowledge of a second power (and sufficient power points to manifest that power once) that you know of up to 4th level.
Font of Power (Ps): At 4th-level, you can act as a living cognizance crystal, producing seemingly endless power points for a number of rounds per day equal to your Psionic Conduit level. Your eyes shine like tiny stars, and faint illumination seems to beam out of your mouth and the end of each of your fingers. While so empowered, you can manifest any known powers (and augmentations, if applicable) without drawing from your power point reserve. You find the power points you need welling up within your own body. At the beginning of each round while font of power is active, your psicrystal (and its cognizance psicrystal aspect) is refilled to its maximum capacity.
Psychic Scavenger (Ex): At 5th level, your awareness of your psychic environment, coupled with your skill with manipulating power points, grants you a limited leech field effect. Any time you succeed on a saving throw to negate the effect of a power (but not a psi-like ability) on you, and the power is one that leech field is effective against (see below), you may take an immediate action to capture some of the psychic energy. Your body is surrounded in a brief flash of crackling dark energy, and you gain 1 power point. You cannot gain power points that would cause you to exceed your normal daily maximum. Leech field is effective against any power that targets a single creature and allows the target a saving throw to negate it, except those that are delivered by a touch attack or a ranged touch attack (including a ray). This ability is always active, but you must be conscious (and not flat-footed) to use it. If you are also under the effect of the leech field power, the effects stack (you gain half the power point cost of the incoming power, and you may take an immediate action to gain an additional point).
Playing a Psionic Conduit
Psionic conduit PCs and NPCs are much like any member of the class they belonged to before taking the prestige class. They have fewer powers known and lower manifester levels, but they have deeper pockets when it comes to using those powers (or any ability that costs power points). (While relatively rare, psychic warrior conduits might wield a deep crystal weapon and focus power through it all day.) Much of this power point increase comes from a psi-like ability, making them somewhat less vulnerable to power point draining effects. Perhaps most importantly, however, the power source ability can be a great boon to psionic allies (who likely have access to stronger powers) that may need a bit more power to get through a particularly tough encounter (or more encounters than usual).
Combat: With a lower damage output (and save DC) than other manifesters, powers focusing on aiding allies and manipulating the environment are more efficient uses of power points. The conduit's power point manipulating abilities can also come in handy against a psionic opponent.
Advancement: Because this class grants psi-like abilities using character level instead of class level, it can be a very attractive option for multiclass psionic characters, albeit at the a steep prerequisite cost. If you're already playing something like a fighter/psychic warrior and find yourself running low on power points, it may be worth purchasing the cross-class skill points in Psicraft for the extra boost.
Tip: When selecting powers for the intrinsic psionics ability, keep in mind that psi-like abilities gain "free" augmentation, so select powers that benefit the most. Also note that while your manifester level for your normally manifested powers is less than it would otherwise be, your manifester level for these abilities is your character level -- so take advantage of this small peek at the power you left behind.
Note: Because it is based on character level and not capped the way class progressions are, power source is a relatively effective way for epic manifesters to get "free" (without taking epic feats) power points beyond the normal maximum. This is negligible and even balanced for most gameplay (particularly in light of the feat prerequisites for the class), but at very high levels (50+) the DM may decide to restrict it. Incidentally, this is the reason this class only has 5 levels -- an epic progression with many uses/day would be far too much, but a slower progression of the ability would unduly cripple the nonepic levels.