The soulknife class, as presented in the SRD and they Expanded Psionics Handbook, is an intriguing class that, sadly, has a less than spectacular implementation. It has the traits of both warriors and stealthy experts, but no real strengths in either role. Everything it can do, other classes can do better, often without much effort. It shoehorns players into a niche role without giving much leeway in the execution of that role.
For these reasons, the variant soulknife presented below was created. The variant soulknife completely replaces the standard soulknife presented in the SRD and the Expanded Psionics Handbook. It should provide for interesting and varied soulknife characters.
GAME RULE INFORMATION
Hit Die: d8.
Autohypnosis, Balance, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Escape Artist, Heal, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (Psionics), Listen, Move Silently, Profession, Sleight of Hand, Spot, Survival, Swim, Tumble, and Use Rope. Skill Points at Each Level: (6 + Int modifier). Skill Points at 1st level: (6 + Int modifier) x4.
Weapons and Armor Proficiency: Soulknives are proficient with all simple weapons, with their own mind blades (regardless of form), and with light armor and shields (except tower shields).
Mind Blade (Su): As the standard soulknife class feature, except as follows. A soulknife’s mind blade improves as the character gains higher levels. At 4th level and every other level thereafter, the mind blade gains a cumulative +1 enhancement bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls (+2 at 6th level, +3 at 8th level, +4 at 10th level, and so on). Note that the enhancement bonus of the mind blade cannot exceed +5. The soulknife may (and, indeed, must, after the enhancement bonus exceeds +5) apply a special ability from the table below instead of an enhancement bonus. A soulknife can choose any combination of weapon special abilities and/or enhancement bonus that does not exceed the total allowed by the soulknife’s level. The weapon ability or abilities remain the same every time the soulknife materializes his mind blade (unless he decides to reassign its abilities; see below). The ability or abilities apply to any form the mind blade takes, including the use of the shape mind blade or bladewind class abilities.
A soulknife can reassign the ability or abilities he has added to his mind blade. To do so, he must first spend 8 hours in concentration. After that period, the mind blade materializes with the new ability or abilities selected by the soulknife.
Wild Talent: A soulknife gains Wild Talent as a bonus feat. (This class feature provides the character with the psionic power he needs to materialize his mind blade, if he does not otherwise have the psionic subtype.)
Shape Mind Blade (Su): As the standard soulknife ability, except as follows. The mind blade retains the shape given to it using this class feature every time it is formed until the soulknife reshapes it. If the soulknife loses access to this class feature due to negative levels or level loss due to death, his mind blade regresses to its original short sword form.
Double Strike (Su): At 20th level, the soulknife’s mind blade can retain the energy needed for a psychic strike longer. When the soulknife makes a successful psychic strike with his mindblade, the next attack he makes will also do psychic strike damage, as long as it is made before the beginning of his next turn. Once this second psychic strike is made, the mind blade’s extra energy is used up and it will not deal extra psychic strike damage unless imbued again. Ability damage from Knife to the Soul lingers in the blade during a double strike, just like normal psychic strike damage.
CONSEQUENCES OF THIS VARIANT
Using this altered soulknife requires the following adjustments:
- General: If a feat or class feature specifies that it stacks with soulknife levels for the purposes of the mind blade and mind blade enhancement class features, it now only stacks with the mind blade class feature. This includes the increase due to prestige class levels.
- Half-Giant Soulknife: Change to 6+Int skill points from 4+Int. The Roots of Strength ability now replaces the soulknife’s bonus feat at 6th level instead of the Speed of Thought feat.
- Xeph Monk: All the class features of the soulknife still apply to the xeph monk’s ki blade, including the enhancement bonuses and weapon abilities granted by the mind blade feature.
- Xeph Soulknife: Change to 6+Int skill points from 4+Int. A xeph soulknife of 6th level or higher may add any melee weapon ability to his mind blade when he alters its weapon capabilities – until that level, he is bound to the list provided above. Expeditious Skirmish replaces the soulknife’s bonus feat at 6th level instead of the Speed of Thought feat.
- Blade of the Champion [Mantra]: When using this mantra with the Double Strike class feature, the damage from your psychic strike decreases by one die every two hits instead of every hit, and ability damage from Knife to the Soul persists for two hits instead of one. For example, if Darius (now a 20th level soulknife) were to charge his psychic strike with 2 points of Intelligence damage and +3d8 psychic damage, and attack while under Blade of the Champion, the first two attacks would deal +3d8 damage and 2 Intelligence damage, his third and fourth attacks would deal +2d8 damage (and no Intelligence damage), his fifth and sixth attacks would deal +1d8 damage, and his seventh and later attacks would deal normal damage. This is not all in the same round.
- Fill the Blade: If the attack imbued by this ability successfully deals psychic strike damage, you do not gain additional imbued attacks as per the Double Strike ability. Double Strike only applies to normally-charged psychic strikes.