Eclipse d20 – The Soul Knife

Knife blade-late neolithic-PRE.2009.0.189.2.IM...

Yeah. I think we can do better than this.

For today it’s another quick question – how to build a Soul Knife in Eclipse.

That’s actually pretty easy – so here’s the level-twenty breakdown:

Basics (330 CP): d10 HD (120 CP), 92 SP (92 CP, 52 CP after Adept, 18 CP after Adept and Fast Learner), BAB +15 (90 CP), Saves +30 (90 CP), Proficient with all Simple Weapons and Mindblades (6 CP), Light Armor (3 CP), and Shields (3 CP).

Special Abilities (83 CP):

  • Mind Blade: Spirit Weapon (6 CP), with Imbuement (6 CP).
  • Weapon Focus/Mind Blade: +1 BAB/Specialized in Mind Blades, Corrupted/Does not add to Ieterative Attacks (2 CP).
  • Wild Talent: +2 Power. Mana as Power, Specialized and Corrupted/one-third effect (1d6) (2 CP).
  • Throw Mind Blade: Buy “Ranged” on your Spirit Weapon (3 CP).
  • Psychic Strike: Augment Attack/+5d8 Damage to Spirit Weapon; required limited circumstances; only affects living targets with minds, does not affect creatures immune to mind-affecting effects, requires a move action to activate for one shot (20 CP).
  • Free Draw: Reflex Training/summoning the Mind Blade becomes a free action (6 CP).
  • Shape Mind Blade: Immunity/the need to have your Spirit Weapon emulate a specific weapon (Common, Major, Major, Specialized and Corrupted/only to change into various types of swords, 3 CP). In Eclipse the ability to split a mindblade into two identical short swords for two-handed fighting is simply a special effect on Bonus Attack. Special Effects generally have no cost (0 CP).
  • Mind Blade Enhancement: Add “Improved”, “Focused”, and “Versatile” to the Mind Blade’s Imbuement (18 CP).
  • Speed of Thought: Celerity, Specialized/only if psionically focused and not wearing heavy armor (3 CP).
  • Bladewind: Enhanced Strike/Whirlwind, with +4 Bonus Uses, Corrupted/only with Mindblade (8 CP).
  • Greater Weapon Focus/Mind Blade: +1 BAB/Specialized in Mind Blades, Corrupted/Does not add to Ieterative Attacks (2 CP).
  • Knife to the Soul: Trick/may trade in d8’s of Psychic Strike damage (with the same limitations) to do points (one per die) of attribute damage with any given strike, Corrupted/can only damage mental attributes (4 CP).
  • Multiple Throw: Since I didn’t bother to corrupt anything to KEEP this character from actually using the attacks he or she was paying for through BAB, this doesn’t cost anything (0 CP).

That gives us a net cost of 413 CP out of the 504 CP a twenty-level build will normally have available – 91 CP, or almost four full levels worth of points, short. Sure, that wouldn’t be quite so bad without Adept or Fast Learner – but those are in the system to allow emulating current builds. This basic problem is why the “Tier” system puts Soulknives down on Tier 4. They just aren’t very well-designed.

A point-buy build will be better of course, simply by virtue of getting to spend those leftover points – but it will probably be a good deal more efficient too.

The Pathfinder Version (Psionics Unleashed, by Dreamscarred Press) spends most (if not quite all) of those leftover points. It gets another +5 BAB (+30 CP), “Superior” Imbuement (+6 CP), a wider variety of abilities that they can grant their mind blade (no cost, since I didn’t bother to restrict the selection in the basic build), and replaces some of the abilities above (notably Bladewind and Knife to the Soul, -12 CP) with a choice of ten “Blade Skills” – each basically equal to a an Eclipse-style feat, or about 60 CP. It also saves 6 CP on Skill Points and uses the Pathfinder Package Deal (free). That’s another 78 CP spent – providing a rough total of 491 CP out of 504; still a bit shy by Eclipse standards, but a MUCH better match than the original build.

6 Responses

  1. My apologies, but could you walk us through how the cost reductions in skill points via Adept and Fast Learner work? I can’t quite seem to follow them.

    The 92 skill points is easy to understand – 4 skill points per level, with quadruple that at 1st level, is 92 over all twenty levels.

    Reducing that to 52 skill points via Adept seems fairly straightforward, since now four of the (presumably most central) class skills cost half of what they used to. Presuming that you take all four at half-price, that’s a gross savings of 46 points, plus the 6 CP cost of Adept, for a net savings of 40 CP.

    It’s the savings from Fast Learner that I’m having a hard time with. There’s a net gain of 34 SP that I can’t seem to place. Is it being specialized in skills for double effect and costing 6 CP? I can’t seem to make the math add up there.

    • You’ve pretty much got it there. Admittedly, it’s a bit of an assumption – but classed characters have a strong tendency to keep a set of skills at the maximum where they’re most useful.

      So to expand the condensed notation there: 92 SP as built, which drops to 46 SP and 6 CP with the assumption that the character would be buying Adept and keeping four skills maxed out. Fast Learner, Specialized in Skills for Double Effect yields 40 SP over twenty levels at a cost of 6 CP – taking the basic builds skill costs down to 6 CP for Fast Learner, 6 CP for Adept, and 6 CP for the remaining six skill points.

      The pathfinder version – which only gets 80 SP – doesn’t actually need to buy any skill points directly.

      Now if I was tweaking one… I think I’d cut down one of the saves to poor (saving 18 CP), drop the Wild Talent (saving 2 CP), probably add a Restriction (cannot learn arcane or divine magic; the focus needed to maintain their mind blade prohibits such destractions, +20 CP). That would give me 131 CP to spend – enough to buy a full twenty Psychic Warrior Spellcasting Levels (120 CP), Luck with Bonus Uses Specialized in Saving Throws (6 CP), and a small package (very limited Enthusiast and Create Relic totaling 5 CP) to create some extra minor boosters.

      For the Star Wars enthusiasts call your spell theme “Force Powers” and make a focus-hilt to boost your Mind Blade a bit more and you’ve got a rather good Jedi or Sith there. If you want to corrupt the spell progression by insisting on the Jedi Code or Sith Insanity… that works even better.

      • Thanks for that, I understand completely now.

        I like the idea of adding the restriction against using spellcasting, though it always seemed a touch sly to me, since it’s to prohibit you from taking something you had no intention of taking to begin with. Though I suppose it’s up to the GM to make sure that you feel that prohibition.

      • Oh, you’re quite welcome.

        Restrictions are really mostly a reward for “I have a strong concept and a development plan for this character”. I don’t usually put them in example characters and those I make for people simply because I’ve usually got no idea where the eventual player might want to take the character. They can hurt though; a lot of the more “organic” characters (who get built as they play through levels rather than all at once) wind up dipping into all sorts of abilities along the way, and restrictions often say “you can’t take something that you’ve just realized would be really helpful”.

        Pathfinder later implemented the same sort of thing with their version of a “Favored Class” – although their version applies to everyone instead of being voluntary, and so is a bit less restrictive.

  2. […] Soul Knife: Along with how to upgrade them to make them […]

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