Psyknife (3.5e Class)
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A soul knife assassin capable of both stealth and damage 0 Psionics Other Full
|“||They say that light is the fastest thing in the universe. But remember that wherever the light goes, the darkness has gotten there first, and is waiting for it.||”|
|—old psyknife saying|
The psyknife is part assassin, part soul knife, and part monk. They train not only with the potent psionic energies of their psychic knives, but also strive to attune themselves to the plane of shadow, using shadowy essence to power their fantastic abilities. Their undetectable weapons and stealth make them able infiltrators, and many have perished who assumed a psyknife denied of stealth would be an easy opponent. They lack the skills and social graces of the rogue or bard, but can hold their own with most front-line fighters, though their meager hit points prevents them from staying on the front lines for extended periods.
Making a Psyknife
While lacking the hit points of a fighter and the skill versatility of a rogue, Psyknives blend stealth and combat prowess together with their own form of sneak attack to become formidable opponents. They focus exclusively on their signature weapon, their psychic knives. They make excellent support fighters, and with their stealth capabilities perform admirably as scouts, spies and assassins.
Abilities: Wisdom is the primary ability for a psyknife, it affects his attacks, damage and also makes his shadow abilities more difficult to resist. Dexterity is also important, making him more nimble and agile and more difficult to strike. Constitution is important as well, giving more hit points and boosting their Fortitude saves. Intelligence is somewhat useful as the psyknife receives fewer skill points than many stealth-based classes. Charisma is less useful, but a psyknife will eventually have to interact with others, and they might as well not suck at it. Strength is seldom needed: as a psyknife's will drives his body to perform feats that Strength could not, but is still helpful for physical skills and activities.
Races: Any, though they are found more often in races with more natural affinity for psionics (although Half-giant psyknives are extremely rare, most become psichic warriors instead).
Alignment: Any, but usually non-good.
Starting Gold: 5d4 ×10 gp.
All of the following are class features of the Psyknife.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Psyknives are proficient with all simple weapons, with their own psychic knifes, and with light armor and shields (except tower shields).
Psychic Knife (Su): As a move action, a psyknife can create a semisolid weapon composed of psychic energy distilled from his own mind, appearing as a black, shadowy blade-shaped energy projecting from the psyknife's hand. The psychic knife does 1d6 damage at 1st level, with a crit range of 19-20 x2. At 4th level the knife's damage does 1d8 damage, then 1d10 damage at 7th level, and finally 2d6 damage at 11th level. Rather than using strength, the psyknife adds his Wisdom modifier to his attack and damage rolls, as well as all special attacks that involve the mind blade (for example, a trip attempt with the mind blade would use the psyknife's Wisdom modifier, but a bull rush attempt would not). This damage is for a medium creature; for larger or smaller size creatures change the damage as appropriate.
The knife can be broken (it has hardness 10 and 10 hit points); however, a psyknife can simply create another on his next move action. He cannot be disarmed of the psychic knife as it projects out from his hand. The psychic knife counts as a light, one-handed blade for all purposes and is considered a magic weapon for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. A psyknife can use feats such as Power Attack or Combat Expertise in conjunction with the psychic knife just as if it were a normal weapon. He can also choose psychic knife for feats requiring a specific weapon choice, such as Weapon Specialization. Powers or spells that upgrade weapons can be used on a psychic knife.
Even in places where psionic effects do not normally function (such as within a null psionics field), a psyknife can attempt to sustain his psychic knife by making a DC 20 Will save. On a successful save, the psyknife maintains his psychic knife for a number of rounds equal to his class level before he needs to check again. On an unsuccessful attempt, the psychic knife vanishes. As a move action on his turn, the psyknife can attempt a new Will save to rematerialize his psychic knife while he remains within the psionics negating effect.
Nonlethal Substitution "(Su)": As a swift action, a psyknife can alter the energy of his psychic knife, changing all lethal damage dealt with the psychic knife to nonlethal damage with no penalty. Switching back to lethal damage requires another swift action.
Hidden Talent: A psyknife gains Hidden TalentXPH as a bonus feat. (This provides the character with the psionic power he needs to materialize his psychic knife, if he has no power points otherwise.)
Psychic Assault (Su): If a psyknife can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from attack, he can quickly channel extra psychic energy into his psychic knife for extra damage.
The psyknife’s attack deals extra damage any time her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the psyknife flanks her target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 every two psyknife levels thereafter. Should the psyknife score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied.
Ranged attacks can count as psychic assaults only if the target is within 30 feet (once he can throw his psychic knife, see below).
A psyknife can use psychic assault only on living, non-mindless creatures with discernible anatomies—undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to psychic assault. A psyknife cannot use psychic assault while striking a creature with concealment or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.
Psychic Assault is not precision-based damage, however, it will stack with sneak attack and other forms of precision damage, at which point all the damage becomes precision damage.
Shadow Poison (Su): By attuning his weapon and the shadow essence within himself, a psyknife can poison his psychic knife. This requires a dose of poison, one minute and a concentration check with a DC equal to the save DC of the poison being used. If the concentration check fails, the poison is rendered useless but the psyknife suffers no ill effects. Any poison may be used as a psychic poison and the effects remain unchanged, but the delivery type changes to injury and only affects a single target. Only one dose of poison can be absorbed at one time, and may be held within the psyknife for up to 24 hours.
The psyknife delivers the poison via a successful psychic assault on his target. Instead of the extra damage from psychic assault, the psyknife delivers the poison in addition to the psychic knife's normal damage.
AC Bonus: Starting at 2nd level, the psyknife adds his Wisdom modifier to his AC, but the bonus cannot exceed his HD. This bonus applies against touch attacks, but functions only when the psyknife wears light or no armor. A psyknife who is immobilized, helpless, or carrying more than a light load loses this bonus to AC. This bonus does not stack with any other Wisdom-based AC bonus such as the Monk's AC bonus.
Knife Enhancement (Su): A psyknife of 2nd level or higher can apply or change the enhancements to his psychic knife by meditating for 8 hours. At 2nd level he can imbue up to a +1 enhancement into his psychic knife, and gains an additional +1 every even level. The player can select from straight enhancement of special weapon properties, but as normal for weapon enhancements the psychic knife must have at least a +1 enhancement bonus before accepting any additional properties. Also like enhancements, the highest number straight enhancement a psychic knife can possess is +5 (or +10 including special properties such as flaming) pre-epic levels. Enhancements with only a monetary value (such as SizingMIC) cannot be selected by this class feature and must be purchased.
Throw Psychic Knife (Ex): A psyknife of 2nd level or higher can throw his psychic knife as a ranged weapon with a range increment of 30 feet. Whether or not the attack hits, a thrown psychic knife then dissipates. A psyknife can use a thrown psychic knife in conjunction his special abilities (such as psychic poison, psychic assault, etc). A new psychic knife forms in the Psyknife's hand after being thrown, allowing him to make multiple thrown attacks in a round if he would normally be capable of multiple attacks.
Evasion (Ex): At 2nd level and higher, a psyknife can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If he makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the psyknife is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless psyknife does not gain the benefit of evasion.
At 12th level the psyknife gains improved evasion. This functions exactly like evasion, but the damage is halved if the psyknife fails her saving throw.
Shadow Sight: The darkness parts under the gaze of a psyknife, revealing their hidden secrets. At 2nd level psyknife gains low-light vision and gains Darkvision out to 60 feet. If the character had Darkvision from another source such as a racial feature, he may extend the range of his Darkvision by +30 feet.
Shape Psychic Knife (Su): At 3rd level, a psyknife has sufficient mastery to shape his psychic knife into forms other than just a glowing blade at the end of his hand. With the same action taken to manifest the blade, the psyknife can choose to shape it into any light or one-handed melee weapon with which he has proficiency. The psychic knife's damage, critical threat range and critical multiplier become that of a weapon being imitated. Despite the weapon's new shape, the psyknife may still throw it as normal. The psychic knife still counts as it's base form for all other purposes, including feats such as Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization. Any weapon enhancements currently chosen for the psychic knife that cannot use the new weapon form (such as Keen on a bludgeoning weapon) are suppressed until the psyknife chooses a compatible form for his psychic knife. The psyknife may change the form of his currently manifested psychic knife as a move-equivalent action.
Rapid Draw (Su): At 3rd level, a psyknife becomes able to materialize his psychic knife as a free action instead of a move action. He can make only one attempt to materialize the psychic knife once per round.
Shadow Awareness: The psyknife trains himself for constant vigilance, searching every shadow for hidden dangers. At 3rd level an unencumbered psyknife in light or no armor adds his Wisdom modifier to his initiative as well as his Dexterity modifier.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 4th level, a psyknife can react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. He retains his Dexterity and Wisdom bonus to AC (if any) even if he is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, he still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. If a psyknife already has uncanny dodge from a different class he automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead.
Shadow Speed (Ex): At 4th level the psyknife begins to alter the physiology of his body, suffusing it with shadow essence, making himself lighter. His weight decreases by one-quarter, and he gains an enhancement bonus to his base land speed of 10 feet. A psyknife gains an additional +10 foot bonus every four levels afterwards (8th, 12th, etc). A psyknife in medium armor or carrying more than a light load loses this bonus.
Psionic Thrust (Su): At will, the psyknife may alter the makeup of his psychic knife as a swift action, allowing it to bypass armor. He makes a touch attack instead of a normal attack, then deals damage normally. This ability takes 1 round after each use to recharge.
Shadow Fear (Ex): The shadow essence of a psyknife unnerves most creatures. The psyknife gains a bonus to intimidate checks equal to his levels in Psyknife.
Improved Psychic Assault (Su): At 6th level the psyknife learns to affect almost any creature with a psionic assault, disrupting the very energies that give them life (or unlife). The psyknife can now use his psychic assault ability on undead, constructs, oozes, plants, and even incorporeal creatures. He must still follow the normal rules for psychic assault, and this does not allow the psyknife to score critical hits on creatures normally immune to criticals.
Shadow Fade (Su): At 6th level a psyknife learns to wrap nearby shadows around himself, seeming to fade from view. The psyknife can use the Hide skill even while being observed. Except in areas of bright sunlight, so long as he is within 10 feet of a shadow, a psyknife can hide himself from view. He cannot hide in his own shadow.
Vampiric Knife (Su): At 7th level a psyknife can use his psychic knife to draw psychic energy out of his victims and use the power to heal himself. If he deals damage to a living creature with a psychic assault, he gains hit points equal to the damage dealt by the psychic assault. Activating this ability is a swift action, and lasts until the end of the psyknife's turn.
Improved Shadow Sight: The darkness hides nothing from a psyknife. At 7th level his darkvision extends out by +30 feet, and can pierce even magical darkness.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A psyknife of 8th level or higher can no longer be flanked. This defense denies an opponent the ability to sneak attack the character by flanking, unless the attacker has at least four more class levels in a sneak attack-granting class than the psyknife does.
If a character already has improved uncanny dodge from a second class, the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum level required to flank the psyknife.
Critical Multiplier (Su): At 8th level, a psyknife's psychic knife becomes even deadlier. The critical multiplier increases from x2 to x3, but only while in it's base form.
Bladewind (Su): At 9th level, as a full attack, when wielding his psychic knife, a psyknife can give up his regular attacks and instead fragment his psychic knife to make one melee attack at his full base attack bonus against each opponent within reach. A psychic knife can use this ability once a day at 9th, twice at 12th, and once more at every 3 levels.
Each fragment functions identically to the psyknife’s regular psychic knife. (For example, if the psychic knife had a +1 keen enhancement due to the psyknife’s mind enhancement ability, each fragment attacks and deals damage as a +1 keen blade.) When using bladewind, a psyknife forfeits any bonus or extra attacks granted by other feats or abilities (such as the Cleave feat or the haste spell). The psychic knife immediately reverts to its normal form after the bladewind attack.
Crippling Assault (Su): A 10th level psyknife may forego psychic assault damage in order to deal ability damage instead. For every 2d6 of psychic assault damage he gives up, the psyknife deals 1 point of damage to the attribute of his choosing. Creatures immune to ability damage are immune to this effect.
Shadow Climb (Su): Using the shadow essence to cling to the shadows around him, a psyknife gains a climb speed equal to half his land speed, except in areas of direct sunlight.
Shadow Senses: At 11th level the psyknife's senses become even more acute, and he gains blindsight out to 30 feet, except in bright sunlight.
Improved Critical: A 12th level psyknife gains the Improved Critical feat as a bonus feat, but usable only with his psychic knife.
Shadow Mind (Ex): At 12th level, the psyknife can use his shadowy essence to protect him from enchantment and compulsion. If a psyknife is affected by an enchantment spell or effect and fails his saving throw, he can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. He gets only this one extra chance to succeed on the saving throw.
Blade Beam (Su): At 13th level, as a full attack action, a psyknife can hurl his psychic knife along a 60-foot line, making a singe melee attack at his full base attack bonus against each opponent who's square it passes through. The blade then dissipates and a new psychic knife appears on the psyknife's hand.
Shadow Immunity (Ex): At 14th level, a psyknife's shadow essence has changed his physiology enough that he becomes immune to poison and diseases, even magical diseases such as Mummy Rot.
Improved Psionic Thrust (Su): At 15th level the psyknife can now activate his psionic thrust ability as a free action, and recharge it as a swift action.
Shadow Step (Su): As a swift action, a 15th level psyknife can instantly transfer himself and all his possessions from one shadow to any other shadow within 60 feet to which he has line of sight. Both shadows must be large enough for the psyknife to hide in. Upon emerging in the new shadow the psyknife can make a hide check as a free action.
Improved Critical Multiplier: The 16th level psyknife's blade cuts like the sharpest scalpel. The psychic knife critical multiplier increases from x3 to x4, but only while in it's base form.
Hail of Shadows (Su): As a full attack action, a 16th level psyknife can spray shadowy daggers in a 60-foot cone. Anyone caught in the cone takes damage equal to the psyknife's psychic assault dice, a Reflex save with a DC of 5 + 1/2 the psyknife's HD + Wisdom modifier halves this damage.
Mindcrush (Su): At 17th level, a psyknife can give up his psychic assault damage and dominate the creature he struck with his psychic knife. This functions exactly like the dominate spell, only the duration is 1 min/ level.
Lobotomy (Su): At 18th level, a psyknife can give up his psychic assault damage and duplicate the effects of the decerebrate power. A Fortitude save with a DC of 7 + 1/2 the psyknife's HD + Wisdom modifier negates the effect.
Shadow Discorporation (Ex): When a 19th level psyknife takes enough hit point damage to kill him, he instead dissipates into tiny shadows. One day later the psyknife reappears in the closest shadow to the spot of his discorporation. If there are no shadows within 100 yards, the psyknife is pulled into the plane of shadow until he can escape. This ability functions once per week, beginning with the psyknife's reappearance.
Shadow Body (Su): When a psyknife reaches 20th level, he becomes more shadow than material creature. At will the psyknife becomes a living shadow. His body and all equipment are subsumed by his shadow, blending perfectly into any other shadow and vanishing in darkness. He appears as an unattached shadow in areas of full light. Living shadows do not need to breathe, and cannot eat or drink, but if the psyknife remains as a living shadow for too long, when he returns to his normal form his body will suffer the effects of starvation or dehydration, as appropriate.
He can move at his normal speed on any surface, including walls and ceilings, as well as across the surfaces of liquids.The psyknife's space does not change, so he cannot move into locations he would not normally be able to move into. While a living shadow, he gains damage reduction 10/- and is immune to extra damage from critical hits, fatigue, exhaustion and ability damage. He takes only half damage from acid, electricity, and fire. A living shadow can be detected by effects that read thoughts, life, or presences (including true seeing), or if you make suspicious movements in lighted areas. While not completely incorporeal, you are immune to all non-magical forms of attack, and have a 50% chance to ignore damage from a corporeal source (except for positive energy, negative energy, force effects or weapons with the ghost touch property, and spells with the [light] descriptor).
As a living shadow your psychic knife functions as an incorporeal touch attack, but only against non-mindless creatures.
|21st||Epic Psychic Knife, Epic Psionic Thrust, Psychic Assault (+11d6), Bladewind improvement+5|
|22nd||Epic Shadow Sight, Knife Enhancement +11|
|23rd||Psychic Assault (+12d6)|
|24th||Bonus Feat, Shadow Glide, Knife Enhancement +12, Bladewind improvement +6|
|25th||Epic Vampiric Knife, Epic Shadow Body, Psychic Assault (+13d6)|
|26th||Knife Enhancement +13|
|27th||Psychic Assault (+14d6), Bladewind improvement +7|
|28th||Knife Enhancement +14|
|29th||Psychic Assault (+15d6)|
|30th||Shadow Travel, Bonus Feat, Knife Enhancement +15, Bladewind improvement +8|
4 + Int modifier skill points per level.
Epic Psychic Knife: Your psychic knife now counts as an epic weapon for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction.
Epic Psionic Thrust: You may now instantly recharge your psionic thrust ability.
Psychic Assault: Your psychic assault damage continues to increase by +1d6 at every odd level.
Epic Shadow Sight: Your eyes turn a solid, shadowy grey. You are immune to blindness, your blindsight extends by +30 feet and gain tremorsense out to 30 feet.
Knife Enhancement: You continue to gain an additional +1 enhancement bonus at 22nd and every even level after. You may go beyond the +5 (+10 with special properties) enhancement cap from pre-epic levels.
Shadow Glide: In areas of anything but bright sunlight, the epic psyknife can walk on air as if under the effects of an air walk spell. If exposed to sunlight or an magic-nullifying effect, the psyknife floats downwards at 60 feet per round for 1d6 rounds. If those rounds expire, the psyknife falls, but may change to his shadow body form and negate all fall damage.
Epic Vampiric Knife: The limit on the maximum amount of temporary hit points you gain from use of your vampiric knife now increase by +30 at 25th level, and every five levels beyond.
Epic Shadow Body The epic psyknife's shadow body becomes a truly terrifying form. Your damage reduction becomes 15/epic, and become immune to mind-affecting effects and ability drain.
Bonus Feats : The epic psyknife gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of fighter, psionic, or epic psyknife bonus feats) every 5 levels after 24th.
Shadow Travel: At 30th level the epic psyknife can transport himself and up to 1 willing medium-sized ally per three levels to the plane of shadow and back at will as a full-round action. The allies must be holding hands. A large ally counts as two allies, two small allies count as one medium ally, a huge ally counts as four medium-sized allies, and so forth.
Epic Psyknife Bonus Feat List: On my to-do list.
Human Psyknife Starting Package
Weapons: Psychic Knife.
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 4 + Int modifier.
Feat: Improved Initiative.
Bonus Feats: Dodge.
Gear: Leather armor, backpack with waterskin, bedroll, and 1 days' trial rations.
Playing a Psyknife
Religion: Psyknives may worship any deity, usually according to their own individual race or alignment. .
Other Classes: Psyknives get along fairly well with most classes, though paladins and clerics of lawful deities frown on the psyknife's sneaky tactics. Most fighters welcome the support a psyknife lends in melee, and monks tend to respect the psyknife's mental discipline as being similar to their own. Psyknives welcome the company of rogues, since while being stealthy themselves, psyknives are not as skilled with locks and traps as rogues or bards often are, and lack facility with magic devices. Psyknives welcome the beneficial magic of arcane and divine magic users, often providing support in the back ranks of the party when needed. Druids are often edgy around a psyknife, since the psyknife's attunement to the plane of shadow gives off a subtle unnatural aura that druids find unpleasant.
Combat: Psyknives are support fighters, flanking with the front line fighters or guarding the casters from attacks. Their quick speed helps them move from one position to the next, usually with a standard action left over for a quick strike. Occasionally when the psyknife is able to surprise his opponents and act first, he will dart in and attempt to take out the weaker casters with a single psychic assault, then retreat back behind the protection of his fighter allies.
Advancement: As no other classes advance the psyknife's abilities, multiclassing weakens the psyknife. However, dipping into beneficial classes can be helpful, and the wise psyknife will do so with an eye to increasing his flexibility. Examples include the Psychic Warrior to gain more power points and psionic powers. Some psyknives will take levels in a Martial class such as Warblade for the full BAB, increased HD, good fort saves and access to maneuvers and stances. SPECIAL: A monk with levels in psyknife may treat his psychic knife as a monk weapon.
Psyknives in the World
|“||Lots of teachers tell you to think of your weapon as an extension of your arm. We psyknives took that one pretty literally.||”|
|—Master Striss Cairnhollow, Half-Elven epic psyknife|
True, psyknives make excellent assassins and excel in ambush and infiltration. But for all their dark abilities, not all psyknives embrace evil. Their ability to deal nonlethal damage has made them welcome protectors in many holy orders that devote themselves to peace. And many a would-be assassin thought his target vulnerable and unguarded until the strike of a psyknife bodyguard.
Psyknives are not common, and the masters of the psyknife way are a extremely rare. It is said by some that after perfecting their craft they become part of the plane of shadow and fade from the world forever. Experienced old adventurers will sometimes shudder and whisper tales of fighting an opponent who seemed both real and made of shadow, immune to all but the most potent magics and powerful spells.
Daily Life: Psyknives are seldom hard-pressed to find work. Whether freelancing as a mercenary or attached to a military unit or noble house, their combat abilites are in high demand. When not on the job, most psyknives can be found in the darkest corner of whatever room they're in, away from bright lights or the sun. Since their weapons require only experience to become more powerful, most psyknives spend their gold on protective magic items, or items that increase their combat flexibility.
Notables: The Shadowspawn is an assassin of near mythical prowess, and a known psyknife. He has never failed an assignment. Master Striss Cairnhollow founded The Temple of Unfolding Dark, one of the few schools dedicated to training psyknives.
Organizations: The Temple of Unfolding Dark is a school dedicated to training psyknives, though occasionally soul knives and soulblades will train there as well. Not all finish the rigorous training there, but those that graduate can find work almost anywhere. Some psyknives start on their own and come to the Temple to hone and advance their skills.
The Nightwind are a loose guild of psyknives who hire out for jobs too big or difficult for one psyknife alone. Joining entails a combat trial, though this is sometimes waived for Temple graduates. The Nightwind's symbol is a dark gray lotus blossom against a black field.
NPC Reactions: With their light armor and lack of weapons, many psyknives are taken for messengers or minor nobility, or even off-duty guards. Only when trouble starts is the psyknife revealed for the danger he is.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Psionics) can research psyknives to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|10||Psyknives use a combination of stealth and a psychic blade to cut down their enemies.|
|15||Psyknives draw their powers not just from psionics but from the plane of shadow itself as they grow in experience. They train in a monastary called the Temple of Unfolding Dark, and have a guild known as the Nightwind Guild.|
|20||The most powerful psyknives can become living shadows, nearly impossible to detect or defeat.|
|30||Knowledge of Guild locations and notable individual psyknives. Master Cairnhollow is said to be the only living being who knows the true identity of the Shadowspawn.|
Psyknives in the Game
Sample Encounter: PENDING.
EL 10: PENDING.
|Article Balance||High +|
|Class Ability||Psionics + and Other +|
|Class Ability Progression||Full +|
|Identifier||3.5e Class +|
|Minimum Level||0 +|
|Skill||Autohypnosis +, Balance +, Bluff +, Climb +, Concentration +, Craft +, Disguise +, Disable Device +, Escape Artist +, Gather Information +, Hide +, Intimidate +, Jump +, Knowledge +, Listen +, Move Silently +, Diplomacy +, Profession +, Search +, Sleight of Hand +, Spot +, Tumble + and Use Rope +|
|Summary||A soul knife assassin capable of both stealth and damage +|