Author Topic: Kalashtar Psion/Thrallherd for an Undead-Heavy Campaign  (Read 479 times)

Offline Endarire

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Kalashtar Psion/Thrallherd for an Undead-Heavy Campaign
« on: April 09, 2018, 01:49:23 AM »
Greetings, all!

I intended to play a Kalashtar Psion/Thallherd for an Undead-heavy campaign.  I chose Kalashtar due to the extra power points and the ability to pass for Human (due to roleplaying reasons).  This will most likely be a a female Thrallherd with a male Human (or Human subrace, like Silverbrow Human) main thrall again for RP reasons.

Character creation details are to be announced, but all official 3.5 (and unupdated 3.0) material is presently fair game.  (No third party, including the spiffy Hyperconscious.)  This means books, magazines, web articles, etc. and we are using Complete Psionic's nerfs.  We'd likely start at ECL 5 or 6 and end no later than ECL15.  The rest of the party is to be determined.

Thus, what primarily discipline, powers, and feats are best for the Psion?  I want to be generally effective and was seriously considering Shaper for crowd control and the occasional damage ability.  Astral construct is still useful, even if it's only 1 active at a time.  (Build help for the Psion is the primary focus of our discussion.)

Also, what build do y'all advise for the main thrall?  I was seriously considering Inspire Courage support Bard with Silverbrow Human for Dragonfire Inspiration.

Offline Eldritch_Lord

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Re: Kalashtar Psion/Thrallherd for an Undead-Heavy Campaign
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2018, 10:41:42 PM »
Thus, what primarily discipline, powers, and feats are best for the Psion?  I want to be generally effective and was seriously considering Shaper for crowd control and the occasional damage ability.  Astral construct is still useful, even if it's only 1 active at a time.  (Build help for the Psion is the primary focus of our discussion.)

This depends a lot on whether you're going to heavily use your believers in combat.  If you are (which I'm guessing is the case if you're looking at a DFI bard thrall), Shaper probably isn't the best bet since crowd control would interfere with your believers quite a bit.  Instead, I'd actually go Nomad, which is usually fairly situational but is great here: dimension swap lets you leverage your many believers to move other PCs into melee or get yourself out of danger, psionic levitate and psionic fly gets you expendable and highly-mobile scouts, astral caravan is probably the only way you're going to be able to move all of your believers long distances since teleportation and plane-shifting spells and powers generally allow too few targets, and baleful teleport deals untyped, hard to resist, Fort-targeting damage which is very effective against "undead lieutenant" types (by which I mean minibosses and horde leaders like vampires, death knights, etc.).

If you're keeping them out of combat, Shaper is good, as is Kineticist, surprisingly: energy missile and energy current can clear out your stereotypical undead hordes with Fort-targeting blasting that's also great against lieutenants, control air is good control with a huge area, and control body is a poor man's dominate that works against undead.  Also, if Quori Power Link Shards are available (the ones that give you free augmentation a few times a day per shard) that makes Kineticist even more appealing, since using them with energy X powers is great because (A) they aren't capped like blasting spells are and (B) extra-augmented blasting powers aren't as abusive as save-or-lose powers, rather being on par with moderately-metamagicked blasting spells, so you generally wouldn't piss off the DM or overshadow other party members.

Some general advice, regardless of discipline:

1) Look into the stygian X powers in CPsi.  Stygian bane turns a group of longbow-wielding believers into a lean mean undead-slaying machine, stygian disruption is handy if you're forced into melee, stygian dominion is excellent for short-range scouting and infiltrating groups of undead (and disabling undead lieutenants in a pinch), and stygian erasure and stygian ward (via Expanded Knowledge) are helpful against energy-draining undead.

2) Look for powers that target undead weaknesses.  Forced share pain is a double whammy against undead lieutenants--hard to resist with their relatively low Fort and chips away at their relatively low HP (until HD start to inflate at higher levels, of course), and as a bonus it protects against attrition damage from hordes.  Energy flash targets Fort with all energy types (when normally only cold damage does, making energy powers less effective against cold-immune skeletons), and it dazes, which is one condition undead aren't immune to.  And so forth.

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Also, what build do y'all advise for the main thrall?  I was seriously considering Inspire Courage support Bard with Silverbrow Human for Dragonfire Inspiration.

If you're sending believers into combat, this is probably the best pick.  Don't forget to give him Requiem to be able to Fascinate and suggest undead, as well as Undead Bardic Knowledge and Inspire Turning from the Lightbringer bard substitution levels.

Alternatively, if you don't have an undead-smiting and/or healing-focused cleric in the party (or perhaps even if you do), an Ardent/Sangehirn would also be an excellent choice.  Ardent, because the Good, Life, and Light and Darkness mantles give a lot of good anti-undead powers, and with Substitute Mantles he can pick up whatever ones they don't already contain.  Sangehirn, because it eventually gets fast healing which makes empathic transfer-based healing during downtime very cost-effective, and his ability to use vigor on other people can give the entire party a very nice temporary-HP cushion before major fights.  And of course having another psionicist as a thrall lets you use metaconcert, feat leech, and similar powers on him for higher DCs, more Expanded Knowledges, and so forth.

Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: Kalashtar Psion/Thrallherd for an Undead-Heavy Campaign
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2018, 07:28:38 AM »
You can get Astral Construct via Hidden Talent. Nomad wouldn’t be a bad choice.
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Offline Endarire

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Re: Kalashtar Psion/Thrallherd for an Undead-Heavy Campaign
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2018, 01:13:58 AM »
EL: Thankee!  I had not seriously considered Nomad before that.  I've asked this question elsewhere and have been recommended every Psion discipline except Clairsentience.  Would Expanded Knowledge be better to obtain Nomad powers while going Shaper (for easy crowd control access) or Telepath (for telepathy/Mindsight)?

I probably wouldn't use believers in combat due to wanting to allow other players to play the game, but having a 'pocket Cleric' or 'pocket Artificer' is quite handy!

phaedrus: I seriously considered Hidden Talent: astral construct since it's just that useful, maybe even taking Boost Construct for better minions.

Offline snakeman830

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Re: Kalashtar Psion/Thrallherd for an Undead-Heavy Campaign
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2018, 04:18:19 PM »
Telepath loses some attraction since you mentioned this was an undead heavy campaign.  Not all of it, but knowing that the majority of foes are immune to mind-affecting powers does make me want to steer away from that path.
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Offline Eldritch_Lord

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Re: Kalashtar Psion/Thrallherd for an Undead-Heavy Campaign
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2018, 08:04:30 PM »
EL: Thankee!  I had not seriously considered Nomad before that.  I've asked this question elsewhere and have been recommended every Psion discipline except Clairsentience.  Would Expanded Knowledge be better to obtain Nomad powers while going Shaper (for easy crowd control access) or Telepath (for telepathy/Mindsight)?

I probably wouldn't use believers in combat due to wanting to allow other players to play the game

With mostly-noncombatant believers, yeah, Shaper or Telepath grabbing Nomad powers and the other discipline's powers via Expanded Knowledge is a good plan.  Shaper is probably your better bet with the bard cohort, since (A) most Telepath powers are useless against undead, as snakeman pointed out, and a bunch can be effectively duplicated with the free psionic charm and psionic dominat thrallherds get anyway, so you don't really need more than 3 or 4 powers from the list, and (B) bards are already Enchantment/Illusion focused so there would be some overlap there.

Mindsight is definitely great, but I don't think that makes Telepath the obvious better choice.  First, many DMs rule that it can't detect undead because it's sorta kinda mind-affecting despite lacking an explicit [Mind-Affecting] tag, so you'll want to check with your DM on that and might not be able to benefit from it anyway.  Second, the telepathy you get from the Shaper Mind's Eye ACF only has a range of 5 feet per ML so you'd have a fairly short range to start off, whereas Shape Soulmeld (Shedu Crown) + psionic open chakra gets you a full 100-foot-radius telepathy at ECL 7.  Third...

phaedrus: I seriously considered Hidden Talent: astral construct since it's just that useful, maybe even taking Boost Construct for better minions.

...the Shaper's Mind's Eye ACF gives you a free Quicken on one particular astral construct, and going from a 1-round manifesting time to a swift action is amazing even if you're not focusing on astral constructs (and if you are considering investing in Boost Construct and other astral construct boosters that's even more reason to go with the Shaper ACF), since that gives you a full extra round of a DFI-buffed construct to whack your enemies.  So it looks like going Shaper has more benefits in this case.


However:

Quote
but having a 'pocket Cleric' or 'pocket Artificer' is quite handy!

A pocket cleric or artificer would definitely be good...but why not both? If you go with the ardent cohort (which might make more sense given that your DFI bard would no longer be force-multiplying tons of believers), I'd actually suggest Telepath over Shaper:

1) The Creation mantle would give your cohort several of the better Shaper powers (astral construct, psionic minor creation, and fabricate), while none of the better Telepath powers except metaconcert are in mantles.  Substitute Mantles lets you get all the good powers from either list, but in that case the free Ectopic Form from a substituted Creation mantle edges out the skill bonuses from a substituted Communication mantle and it's easier to justify sticking all the Shaper powers in one mantle whereas the Telepath ones would thematically be split between Communication, Knowledge, and Mental Power, so it's still better for the PC to be a Telepath.

2) Using thieving mindlink or metaconcert (both Telepath powers) you can have the PC borrow powers from the cohort, saving you several feat slots on Expanded Knowledge and letting the PC be a Shaper when needed, while the reverse (a Shaper grabbing Telepath powers) isn't possible without loading the cohort up with Expanded Knowledges to steal with feat leech (which your DM might not approve of)...and the Telepath still gets the better deal if that's allowed because she can use feat leech in addition to thieving mindlink/metaconcert for even more bonus powers.

So you end up with a Telepath/Thrallherd who sticks strongly to the mental control/mental supremacy theme, and an Ardent (Creation, Freedom, Life)/Sangehirn who is both an excellent healer and an excellent constructor/controller and whose mistress can borrow his tricks as needed.  I'd say that works out pretty well.

Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: Kalashtar Psion/Thrallherd for an Undead-Heavy Campaign
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2018, 02:34:40 PM »
.
Sever The Tie power in the 3.0 book, is specifically anti-Undead, and not updated.

Erudite is technically a variant Psion.  Get a Beguiler as the thrall = learn all those tasty spells cheap + easy.

Clairsentience ... I'd prefer an Ardent into Visionary Seeker with a psiotheurgist feat = corner case early access.
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Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: Kalashtar Psion/Thrallherd for an Undead-Heavy Campaign
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2018, 12:31:12 PM »
If you’re going all in on the crazy, go check out Eddie near the bottom of this page: http://minmaxforum.com/index.php?topic=813.20

Even if you don’t go down the haunt shift route, the rest of it incorporates a lot of what’s been mentioned here.
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