The Aegis is a class from the Pathfinder book Ultimate Psionics
. At first glance, the Aegis is to armor what the Soulknife is to swords, creating equipment with a thought that basically turns out equal to normal gear you would have at that level anyway.
This is quite far from the truth. An Aegis isn't just saving some money on a breastplate.
The Astral Suit of an Aegis, their core class feature, is a toolbox of (mostly) physical enhancements, potent tools and, yes, protection you would expect from armor (but frequently better).Why play an Aegis?
Despite not inherently having any manifesting ability (more on that later), an Aegis has more in common with prepared caster classes than other martial characters. While most martial classes offer multiple templates to choose from, the Aegis dumps a box of Legos at your feet and says "Have fun."
The modular nature of the class is extensive and highly customizable to taste, campaign, or even situation. Generally speaking, if you're not stuck in an anti-magic field, you can probably find something to contribute in just about any combat situation and most non-social encounters as well.
It also works well as a dip class for more martially minded characters, or even those that just want a bit of extra protection on-demand. Even a Rogue can find significant use of the Harness Shard customization, which is available with a 1 level dip.
Finally, the class is almost NAD (No Ability Dependant). You want an INT of at least 14 (more is useful, but unnecessary), but other than that, almost any stat spread can work. You want STR and/or DEX to be good, and Wisdom doesn't fuel any
class features or important class skills, but the class is flexible enough to even make a frailer high CHA build an option (albeit, not a great one).
Without further adieu, let's get into the class mechanics. I'll be using the following color scheme for grading:Awful
The worst. Avoid using this unless you're desperate to squeeze out every last bonus, or you really have nothing else you can use instead. It's still better to have this than nothing at all.Bad
Not something you will want to take, but you will occasionally pick this up willingly. Some items in the handbook will default to this category because they're situational in use, but in that situation, they may jump up multiple categories in rating (eg: water breathing for an underwater adventure).Average
General use stuff. Not exciting, but you'll never feel punished for using it.Good
It's good! You won't always use this, but it's usually on your mind when making your selections.Fantastic
If you're not using this, you really should have a good reason.The FrameD10 HD
You're a martial character that gets free armor. While you don't have to be on the front lines, a D10 is not going to leave you lacking in survival when you do take a hit.Full Base Attack Bonus
You don't have much (read: anything inherent) that doesn't need attack rolls to hurt people. Thankfully, you're good at attack rolls.Good Fortitude and Will saves
The two most important saves and you are strong in both.Poor Reflex Saves
Obviously not a good thing, but your high HD helps make up for it, and with proper customization selection, a surprising number of other reflex saves become meaningless.4 Skill Points/level
The Aegis asks for some points in Intelligence, so this isn't as low as it first looks. Even so, just 4 skill points covers basically all of the class skills you really need, so anything beyond that is gravy.Use Magic Device as a class skill
Most powerful skill in the game and you get it. While class skill vs. cross-class skill means much less in Pathfinder than 3.5, that free +3 bonus for having it as a class skill gets you to using wands reliably significantly sooner.Proficient with all simple and martial weapons
A wide range of proficiencies. A pretty common set, but at
least you're not blowing feats just to get good weapon options.Proficient with Light Armor and non-tower shields
It's a good idea to have a set of light armor, just so you're not caught with your (ectoplasmic) pants down. The lack of proficiency with heavier armors is mostly irrelevant, since your Astral Suit (which you are always proficient with) mimics the best medium and heavy armor anyway.The BodyPower Points/day
Although you don't have many, for most Aegis characters, you also don't have much to spend them on. The Aegis only gets one class feature that spends power points to use, and it doesn't arrive until 4th level. This pool is at the awkward size where it's either way more than you will use, or nowhere close to enough. Thankfully, you do get bonus power points based off your INT score as though you were a Psion of your Aegis level.Astral Repair (Ps)
At-will object repairing is pretty niche, but it's on-theme and being able to repair anything so long as you have all the pieces given a bit of time can be useful. This isn't even limited to non-magical items, but it will only repair physical damage, not restore spent charges.Astral Suit (Su)
The entire reason for taking the Aegis class. To be more accurate, the reason is the customizations to your Astral Suit than the armor itself. By default, this can take one of three forms: Astral Skin, which functions like a Psychoactive Skin and is created as a swift action, Astral Armor, which starts as masterwork chainmail, then gets upgraded to masterwork breastplate and is created as a move action, or Astral Juggernaut, which starts as masterwork half-plate and gets upgraded to masterwork full-plate and is created as a full-round action. Each version has free customizations attached to it, but other than these, your selected customizations are shared between all three forms. If you double-up on a customization that can only be taken once in this way, you have to deal with the wasted customization points. Same with passing the cap on those that can be taken multiple times. Still, this is easy to plan around.
All customizations can be re-assigned with 8 hours of concentration. Planning ahead has significant payoffs. All three varieties can be dismissed as a free action, which is especially handy for the heavier versions.Craftsman
Flavorful, but weak. The bonus only ever reaches up to +5, making this by far the weakest class feature of the Aegis.Damage Reduction
Not only does it start at 2/-- and increase to 8/--, but you can spend customization points to raise it further. Derugar can really pump this up with their favored class bonus, reaching a maximum of 17/--. Always taking less damage from physical attacks is good, especially when they get more than barbarians.Invigorating Suit (Su)
Endurance feat while your astral suit is shaped. Oh, except it never calls out the feat. On the upside, this stacks with the feat. On the downside, you still have to take Endurance if you want anything that requires it.Reconfigure (Ex)
As a standard action, reassign your INT mod in customization points. When you find yourself needing particular customizations, this is the best way to get them, especially if you need them for more than a couple rounds.Augment Suit (Su)
The only class feature that uses power points, this allows you to temporarily gain an extra customization for your INT mod in rounds as a standard action. You can only have one instance of this ability active at once, but there is no hard limit to the number of times you can use this, unlike Reconfigure. This is perfect for things like the Ram customization to open a door or a swim speed when you get surprise-dropped into a river.Master Craftsman
You get master Craftsman as a bonus feat, which allows you to take and use Craft Magic Arms and Armor or Craft Wonderous Item. Be careful, though, as RAW it's limited to only items made by a single Craft skill. Don't discount it entirely, though, as it is an option for guaranteeing at least a couple pieces of gear for each party member, and you do get a freebie bonus to one Craft skill of your choice anyway.Cannibalize Suit (Su)
Dismiss your astral Suit to heal hit points equal to your total customization points. This is some free post-combat healing (using it means you can't create your Astral Suit for 1 minute), and really nothing more. I guess it's a couple fewer charges off the party's wands of Cure Light Wounds?Perfect Merger (Su)
Your Astral Suit can't be removed by anything but a Null Psionics Field (or Anti-magic Field) unless you want it to be. In addition, you can completely reset all of your customizations by spending two uses of Reconfigure. This is the best part of the ability. Finally, you can use Cannibalize Suit once per day to restore all of your missing hit points (which, given this is after 20 levels of a D10 HD, can be quite a lot!,) at the cost of being unable to re-summon your suit for 10 minutes. The first part of this ability is rarely going to matter, but the other two are going to be used much more often.