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Balance Point Edit

With the potential for rogue (or higher) level power with a single feat from the same book that the powers come from (and which is in the SRD), this is incorrectly marked at the Fighter level of balance. --Ghostwheel 11:08, December 6, 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for going to the talk page. Now, for the issue's at hand, as they have already been stated in the edit summaries for whoever would be interested in reading them, the balance template was placed on this page due to a single person thinking that it might not be in their understanding of what it's balance point is, and then removed in light of the fact that the reasoning was invalid. Why was it invalid? Well, the arguement was that this class had access to high level powers, and therefore, at the very least, was Rogue level, which would seem to make sense, I admit, but looking closer, the powers that are on this classes list are weak, and already been admitted to make a psion be fighter level, should he take them. In fact, the class doesn't even get a 'SoD' spell until 18th level. It has already been admitted that a Wizard who takes Fireball or Lightning Bolt as their only spells, is more suited for Fighter level, and therefore not Wizard level. Wouldn't it therefore, by extension, be able to be assumed that, if a Wizard only had access to these spells, then the Wizard class would be Fighter level? Just goes to show, right?
But, then there is also the statment that there are still relatively strong powers in the list. Yes, there are relatively strong powers in the list, but they are almost all non-offensive powers. On top of this, lets compare, point by point, to another psionic class: The Wilder...
Okay, lets start out with the power points, since spell list has already been proven to be in the Wilders favor:
Wilder Time Bender What we glean from this
2 1 Wilder has twice as many PP as the Time Bender.
6 6 Oh, I caught up fast.
11 11 Holding steady.
17 16 Oh dear, fell behind one.
25 23 Two behind.
35 30 Falling exponentially farther behind.
46 37 Oh dear, 9 whole points behind, that's more than your ML.
58 69 This is assuming you chose the TE that granted 25 bonus PP, so you rise up to 11 points ahead.
72 78 Oh, dang, he's catching up fast, but you've been better off for 2 levels now.
88 87 fell behind by one point again, well, at least you held on for a bit.
106 96 Whoa, suddenly 10 points behind.
126 105 21 points behind, this is just getting annoying.
147 116 37 points behind, dropping like a fly.
170 127 43 points behind, no your eye's aren't fooling you, it's now 3 times your ML behind.
195 138 57 points behind, barely can see each other anymore.
221 149 72 points behind, four and a half times your ML behind.
250 162 88 points behind, and it just gets worse from here.
280 175 105 points behind, wow, three digit number.
311 188 123 points behind, 1, 2, 3, heh heh.
343 201 142 points behind, that's more than 7 times your ML.
So, as we can see from that, even after this class has been given a terrible list of powers, it doesn't get to use them hardly ever, even after a particularly poweful ability has been selected, granting you an entire extra 25 power points. Next up, there is the question of powers known, which, to be truthful, is merely an extension of the list of available powers, seeing as, it doesn't matter if you know the entire list, if you don't have anything worth having on it. Though, the Time Bender does know more, so, an empty victory for the Time Bender. Next up, though, is the maximum level of powers known, and, go figure, they're mark for mark, but that is pointless for the Time Bender cause he needs to have access to higher level powers in order to play on par with the Wilder of the same level. Next up there are the class features, and the Wilder gets the ability to raise their ML by +6 total, and that is without PP loss, but with a 30% chance of losing extra PP, seems okay, they also get a situational bonus to AC, and a boost to psionic defenses, while the Time Bender gains Evasion for Will saves, a pet homunculus, a small bonus to AC and ML, some bonus feats, a special defense, a situational bonus to certain things that would be better suited on a melee character, and a pretty decent punch of power at eighth level, which gives it some semblance of usefulness.
What can we glean from all this though? Well, the Time Bender is miles behind in regards to PP and even farther behind in regards to what he can do with these PP. He is also suffering in regards to synergy of manifesting and class features, which the Wilder, is not. Now, the other side's strongest arguement would be that, with expand knowledge, you can be just as strong as other psionic characters. My rebuttal to this is that, yes, a Fighter can be an ubercharger and complete on Rogue level, with just a couple of feats, yes, a Rogue can use UMD a little flamboyantly and reach up into Wizard level, showing off his ability. Even a Monk can use feats and class levels to play a higher level game. This is the "be all you can be" mentality, but it's not a way to argue the balance of a class, due to the fact that Fighter is NOT Rogue level because he can be an ubercharger, Rogue is NOT Wizard level just cause he can use UMD flamboyantly, and Monks are NOT Figher level because they can take PrCs. The balance points are measures of the classes strengths, and what it, standing alone, would likely be able to do. This class, standing alone, would be able to do what a Wilder with a stupid player behind the wheel would be able to do. Wilder is Rogue level, Wizard is Wizard level, it has already been said that, should a Wizard be played stupidly, he's more on par with Fighter. Well, what happens when something weaker than Wizard is played stupidly? I'm being generous by calling this Fighter level.
Now, in all honesty, I hate calling my own work bad, I hate pointing out all the ways it's weak, I hate having to argue for a page and a half as to why it shouldn't be thought of as good, but the simple fact is that this class would be good when implemented into a Fighter level game, and, as other Fighter level classes, could actually potentially play well with a little optimization on higher levels, meaning that, well go figure, it's Fighter level. → Rith (talk) 13:01, December 6, 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm, where should I start...? Well, let's go with the beginning.
Saying that it's weaker just because it can't use its abilities as often isn't a good argument at all. Taking bonus PP from high Wis (pushed even higher with the bonus this class gets for one) into account, the difference of percentage shrinks. Rather than 51% of the psion's PP (176/343), you'd look more at something like 68% (316/463) of a psion's PP per day. Plus, like I mentioned before, the argument itself is completely bunk; an analogy would be saying that the wizard's less powerful than the sorcerer just because it's got less spells per day, when it's obvious to many people that that's not true.
Another point is that this class has Use Psionic Device, which effectively allows them to use a dorje or power stone from any class list. Another thing that pushes it to rogue level (see the rogue itself). Furthermore, with magic-psionic transparency (the default for psionics, I believe) this even translates into UMD.
In addition, many of the powers are far from weak. Ego Whip can easily take out many creatures, especially if it's augmented to a high level, Time Hop can win battles all on its own (not glitterdust [wizard] level, but certainly rogue level), Psionic Blast can disable foes for a while allowing your allies to quickly kill them (gasp! the exact same tactic as the god wizard!), and there are more examples.
Finally, psionics is inherently more flexible in power choice, since Expanded Knowledge is an inherent part of psionics. One could easily pick up Energy Missile at level 6, and be a very effective blaster with Overchannel--and that's a very low-tier example of what one could do, since there are far more effective powers out there.
One doesn't need Save-or-Dies to be considered wizard-level. A wizard has no real save-or-dies until Phantasmal Killer, yet it's wizard-level from level 1 with color spray and glitterdust, which can easily end encounters all on their own. In a similar vein, Wall of Stone is a good mid-level spell since it takes enemies out of combat for a few rounds--exactly the same thing that Time Hop does.
It seems as though you don't understand how balance ratings work. We don't take the worst example of what a class can do, nor a mid-level example of what a class can do, but the best of what a class can do. As part of being psionic, it's obvious that they'd get access to psionic feats--in fact, they get a number as bonus feats. Expanded Knowledge is one of the most versatile feats for manifesters--why wouldn't you take it? Saying that they're not necessarily going to take that is like saying that a wizard isn't necessarily going to pick up glitterdust and haste. And like I've shown before, some of the powers on the list are very powerful, and can effectively swing a battle one way or the other with judicious use. And by the way? A rogue is rogue level because he gets UMD, in part. Without it, and ignoring for the moment both the "unlimited" bonus feat and the ring of blink trick, he's not actually that powerful with some optimization.
With all that out of the way, let's look at the actual class skills. Due to the number of powers it has access to, we'll compare this to the psion. Where the psion gets more PP, they equal on bonus feats, they get a free psicrystal-equivalent as far as tricks like "The Big Guy's With Me" is concerned, though they get more HP than the psicrystal does. It also gains the ability to manifest powers on its own, something a psicrystal only gets at epic levels, if I remember correctly.
Next, the Time Bender can remove effects from themselves with but a move action, gains Mettle for Will saves, free PR (and SR with transparency) penetration as well as extra AC that stacks with just about everything else, the bonus to ability scores I mentioned above (or other similar things) and finally a +4 bonus to most of the important rolls.
Does this all make up for the PP the psion has? ...I'm not sure. But is this class Fighter-level? No. --Ghostwheel 13:37, December 6, 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry for saying this, but you seem to be the one who is mistaken on balance levels, and I quote:
A step up from Monk Level is the balance level corresponding to the core Fighter. Materials in this category will remain competitive with higher categories up to level 12, though additional levels are possible with extensive optimization. After this point, the higher category content will pull away noticeably.
Therefore, the lower level powers would, yes, be acceptably on par with Rogue level, while still being Fighter. You could argue that these matters can be waived with a bit of augmentation, but it's still lower power in comparison to the powers others would gain at the same level. Though, you bring up the point of bonus feats, and being able to take these bonus feats to get powers known from other lists, and I shall quote another part of the balance page:
This balance point stretches roughly from the chain tripper Fighter to a Fighter whose primary goal in life is to wield a lance and use Spirited Charge and have very careful magic item selection (a build that is fairly competitive, if boring, against monsters at all levels of the game). The latter is an example of the level of optimization required to keep this content relevant with Rogues at high levels.
As can be seen here that getting bonus feats don't mean that you are stronger, considering that a Fighter can get the feats to be a spirited charger, and would then be on the Rogue balance tier, but the level below this is NAMED after the Fighter. So, your arguement about feats is invalid, and should not be brought up again, for fear of this turning into a "'yes it is'-'no it isn't'" arguement.
I had forgotten about UPD though, and that might be a valid point, if others think that a non-melee oriented class can benefit from it that much. Also, you say that getting more PP is irrelevant, my rebuttal to this is that the Wizard can actually be afraid at early levels due to the fact that they can run out of spells fast, and be suddenly naked. This class suffers the same problem, only, it suffers this problem at every single level of the game, lowering it's prospective power a good bit, so, in other words, the lower PP makes you much more vunerable than your Rogue counterparts, and therefore, does matter.
Another of your points would be the Fetch, and I'll have to take my time on this:
  • The Fetch does get more hp, but is a liability, since, if it dies, you need to spend a chunk of gold to get another one, or you go crazy.
  • Yes, the Fetch can manifest a few powers, but is limited in this respect as they are all very low level, and they gain this at later levels, where-as the psicrystal can get high level powers, and so is more high-level appropriate.
  • On top of this, the Fetch can't go very far, else the TB goes crazy, while the psicrystal can go 35.2 times as far, allowing for those powers it can cast to matter a bit more.
  • Next up the Psicrystal gets a long list of extra abilities that the Fetch does not, lowering the Fetches ability even further in retrospect.
Alright, that out of the way, your next point is that of the class features, and you point out AC, which never is raised above +5, and is very much needed due to the fact that this class sucks, the PR penetration part simply goes in tandum with the "big hit, but not much behind it" thing this class has going. This class can make a save DC be 2 points higher due to Noetic, can raise thier ML by +1, and get it higher than everyone else's. Though, these are all moot due to the fact that, despite they're packing a big punch, they can't follow these punches through due to the lack of any real power in their powers, not to mention the highly restricted number of powers they can pull off.
Also, your statement on Rogue is valid, but assumes standard use of UMD, not flamboyant use, as is what I was referring to. That having been said, I'm still a little iffy on UPD making this all that much more powerful, though I can still see it.
Now then, I've refutted the major points of your arguements, with the exception of UPD, which the jury is out on, but are there any more which you would like to bring up, so I can address them as well? → Rith (talk) 15:05, December 6, 2009 (UTC)
Red herring much? You barely touched any parts of my primary argument. I pointed out a number of powers that let you be effective past level 12, and I can point out a few more if need be. Furthermore, any that can be gotten through Expanded Knowledge also apply. As for the gold... yeah, that doesn't matter much either, since the cost doesn't scale, and doesn't amount to much at all after a few levels. And who cares about distance away from the Fetch? Most psions will always have it nearby in the case of "The Big Guy's With Me" or have it "hide" in their clothing and forget about it apart from the mechanical bits of being nearby, as often happens with familiars.
Also, straw man. I didn't say that this class got more powerful because it could take fighter feats. Being able to take psionic feats, while having a high powers known progression allows it to nab specific powers that they want that can be very effective throughout its whole progression. Furthermore, there's a big distinction between a charging fighter and a manifester. Hopefully I don't need to explain that to you as well. (See: Needing to move, needing to attack, penalty to AC, etc etc etc.) This isn't "extensive optimization". It's as obvious as a swordsage or rogue taking Weapon Finesse. In fact, it's actually less optimization than that needed for the rogue to intelligently use UMD.
And no, that isn't a downside to wizards. Why do you think so many people complain about the 15-minute workday in D&D 3.x? When the wizard runs out of spells, or the psion out of PP, they call a rest through one way or another. Generally, a party doesn't continue on if it doesn't believe it can last through another encounter. Also, see the problems of trying to balance things per-day, rather than per-encounter; if a specifc DM throws a single encounter per game day at a party, this class has no problem running out of PP. You can't assume that every day the party will face 4 encounter or what-not.
So... yeah. Nothing refuted so far. Mostly smoke, and the smell of scarlet fish. --Ghostwheel 15:52, December 6, 2009 (UTC)
While I don't agree with all of Ghost's arguments, especially the Expanded Knowledge bit, I have to agree with him on the Rogue balance point. The class gets some solid powers (and some junk, but they get all of them for the level so it's not really relevant), some interesting abilities, and UPD. While they do have some restrictions placed upon them, they're fairly easy to overcome (like most restrictions sadly). Need more power points? Make more cognizance crystals (which you get a bonus feat for) and plan ahead. Need different powers? UPD it. Your fetch may be a liability, but it has a crap ton of type based resistances gains, defensive options as you level, and generally should be able to deal with any combat that doesn't kill you. And if enemies are targeting him specifically, you have powers on hand to get yourself out of there or otherwise protect him. So I'm not really seeing where the restrictions bring down the class instead of just providing the player with something to plan around.
That said, I think it's fairly low rogue, and you could probably push it either way. The low power points could be a meaningful restriction if they weren't able to use PP batteries for whatever reason. You could even get around the workday concerns, which I don't share but will bring up anyway, by further reducing their PP and giving them an hourly recharge. You should probably just dump UPD entirely if you're aiming for Fighter. I don't think the fetch is a big enough boon to worry about tweaking (though you could make it bigger if you wanted), and it is actually a target in a game where it isn't ignored by player and DM alike. With the other holes locked down I think you could pretty solidly call it fighter level. Or you could give it a bit more to work with and just roll with the rogue level of it. - TarkisFlux 05:45, January 2, 2010 (UTC)

Reverted Balance Point Edit

With the number of powers available to the Time Bender that are Rogue (and maybe even Wizard) level, I don't think removing UPD makes it fighter level all by itself. Sure, it helped, but it wasn't the only thing that pushed it up to Rogue level, especially with how much UMD/UPD can be restricted by the DM (the guy who decides which wands the party gets, which they might or might not be able to use). Rather than post here to discuss it, Rithaniel decided instead to make the change and assume that it would make the class Fighter-level. Do I need to create a new thread, continue debating, or can we just revert it to Rogue-level, despite the loss of UPD? Especially since it appears as though the author refuses to debate the issue, having not posted here even once. That said, in order to get it to become fighter-level, a number of the more powerful powers would need to be stripped away from the class; just that would probably fix it to the fighter-level balance point, but as it stands now, it's still (low) rogue-level, especially when you get access to some of the stronger powers. --Ghostwheel 11:22, January 16, 2010 (UTC)

Sorry dude, I've been busy with life, lately. I haven't been paying too much attention here. Of course, I have been discussing it with people, and seeing what they thought, just, haven't posted in this particular forum (so, go ahead, sue me, I don't mind). Now then, the vast consensus in this matter was that, yes, removal of UPD made the class fighter level. I didn't think that anyone would be too blatantly bewildered by the idea, beacause of this fact (in fact, the one voter in question, was one of the people I talked with). So, I made the edit, sorry if you disagree, but, the consensus on this website, is that there is no more need to make edits. → Rith (talk) 13:31, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
Claiming that something's true without evidence isn't a very good way to make an argument. If they believe it to be true, they should post here. If not, I can do an SGT without UPD to demonstrate that it's rogue-level. --Ghostwheel 13:38, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
Sure, go ahead and run it through the SGT once, there is nothing wrong with it. In fact, if I wasn't about to head into town, I'd do it myself. Though, if you like, you could very simply just post a list of the powers you think are too powerful for Fighter level, and we could discuss them, it'd probably go a lot faster too. Also, people will likely post when they get on, patience is a virtue. → Rith (talk) 14:24, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
Sorry Rith, I did say it probably needed to go (since it was the big hole in the "sufficiently restricted class is a fighter class") but I also said that it probably wouldn't be enough. So yeah, the loss of UPD hurts it, but I don't think it's sufficient on it's own. I'll go over the powers again and put up suggestions for additional tweaks, or you could disallow cognizance crystal use so that they didn't get sufficient use of any ability to really matter.
What he said. Some of the stronger powers: Cloud Mind (debatable), Dimension Swap (debatable--but has so much tactical potential...), Ego Whip, Hustle (for regaining of psionic focus), Id Insinuation, Psionic Blast, Time Hop, Mindwipe (debatable), Personality Parasite, Mind Probe (debatable, but potential MacGuffin-ending power), Psychic Crush, Crystallize, Fuse Flesh, Mass Cloud Mind (debatable), Temporal Acceleration, Hypercognition (debatable), Shadow Body (debatable), Greater Teleport, and Affinity Field. These are some of the strongest ones I saw, though some might be debatable, and I might have missed others. --Ghostwheel 20:30, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
Well, kudo's for admitting that you might be mistaken. Though, time to get into this, most of those powers are not good in the context that they are found in, others aren't actually good. But to, give you examples:
lolwut? Mistaken? I still stand by what I said before. Even without UPD, the class is at least rogue-level, a statement that Tarkis-Flux agrees with. --Ghostwheel 22:57, January 17, 2010 (UTC)
  1. Cloud Mind (good for sneaking around, but, only if there is only a single foe, and this is often better for melee characters, which you are not)
  2. Dimension Swap (again, better for melee characters)
  3. Ego Whip (Ah yes, the staple of psionics, very good power. Can't say that this isn't good, so finally one for the 'Rogue' pile)
  4. Hustle (again, good for melee characters for the vast majority of the time, which, you do not fall into the category of)
  5. Id Insinuation (Confusion, can be good, but, might backfire on you. Difficult to sell anybody on that one, but, a decent power)
  6. Time Hop (delaying a foe is not defeating them. Sure, you can run, but that's not a good strategy. This is why Rogues can't beat the SGT without UMD)
  7. Mindwipe (A decent power, but, requires several castings to have any real impact on the game. One more for the 'Fighter' pile)
  8. Personality Parasite (No impact at all, unless used against manifesters or other purely mental-using targets. Though, even then, it's difficult to call this powerful. It's neat, for sure, but, it will only stall your opponent, at best)
  9. Mind Probe (That's like saying Commune is powerful)
  10. Psychic Crush (If +2 DC is good, then +4 to save is ever better. This power goes ahead and gives the target that much of a boost on his saving throw. Though, this does give some power. It'll be seen as being one for the 'Rogue' pile)
  11. Crystallize (hmmm, seemed to have forgotten about this one. A single extra one for 'Rogue')
  12. Fuse Flesh (yeah, 'Rogue')
  13. Mass Cloud Mind (See before)
  14. Temporal Acceleration (Time Stop is only powerful when you have some huge impact on the game during the 'frozen' portions of time, such as a great ammount of buffing, or some other benefit. Sadly, this is where the Time Bender suffers)
  15. Hypercognition (Commune)
  16. Shadow Body (uh huh?)
  17. Greater Teleport (running away is not winning)
  18. Affinity Field (Ignoring obvious cheese (As, if we didn't, then Psionics, as a whole, would be Wizard level), this is a lateral boost, and cannot be claimed as a chip in the Rogue level pot)
Now then, at the end of that, you find that there are 5 powers out of that list that might actually be set in stone as 'Rogue' level powers, and that the others are not quite up to par. However, what this boils down to, is "Do a grand total of 5 Rogue level powers make something Rogue level?". I obviously do not think so. → Rith (talk) 21:09, January 17, 2010 (UTC)
Now, I'm not going to go through them one by one, but rogue-level (and wizard-level) stuff isn't only for combat. When you can bypass a whole adventure by the use of a single spell/power (Mind Probe, Hypercognition, Greater Teleport, Personality Parasite...), that spell is certainly not fighter level, or even rogue level--show me a ToB class that can completely ignore having to journey a hundred miles with a single action. Or can can force someone to reveal their deepest, darkest secrets.
You're also ignoring the tactical value of spells like Dimension Swap and Hustle. The first is great for tactical positioning--I can't describe how many times the spell Benign Transposition (basically the same thing) saved my butt. The second is often used for psionic focus shenanigans, and in the right hands can easily be rogue-level. And ignoring the cheese on things like Affinity Field would be like ignoring the cheese on things like Planar Binding or Leadership or the Artificer. That's not a good way to judge the strength of things--at all, and could be akin to saying, "As long as we ignore all the wizard- and rogue-level stuff of the wizard, it would be fighter level!" ...Yeah. Doesn't work. Oh, and Time Hop? It's an INCREDIBLE spell--you can use it to time hop a door out of the way, split the enemies' forces in half (incidentally, what most god-wizard battlefield control spells do) and be able to save a friend who's about to take a finishing blow. Obviously, you haven't thought deeply enough on the uses of this power, or you'd know that it's certainly at least rogue level. --Ghostwheel 22:57, January 17, 2010 (UTC)
I'm going to defer to Ghost's list, since I don't play enough psionics to have a good sense of problematic powers. So, working with that, here's my thoughts on the powers and your responses in numerical order:
  1. Solid utility power that seems sorta off flavor for the class. Maybe a dump.
  2. Solid utility power that seems completely in line with the flavor of the class. Keeper.
  3. Yeah... you can spend your limited pile of PP stunlocking / Cha murdering one dude... could go either way.
  4. Flavor fits, and it's not particularly awesome for you. Keeper.
  5. Requires concentration, so it's good with Hustle. Still, fits with the madness theme... could go either way.
  6. Solid power. In a group, delaying a foe is basically defeating them, since you can beat up a few less guys and deal with this one when they get back. It's probably the strongest power in the list yet, but it's also not one I want to see lost, it's too fitting.
  7. The memory loss is cool, the level loss is harder to see. Maybe a dump.
  8. Agree with your assessment. Keeper.
  9. It is actually "powerful", just not in a standard sense. It's also out of character with fighter level games. Might work at a higher level, but it doesn't seem to fit flavor. Probably a dump.
  10. Saves in fighter level games don't keep up with DC scaling. So that +4 bonus is nice, but not necessarily enough to not make this a really really good power at that level. Probably a dump.
  11. Yay flesh to crystal. Out of character and power level. Probably a dump.
  12. Fuse flesh is nasty. It's got a duration, so I'm not as worried about it as other powers, but it doesn't seem to fit the flavor. Maybe a dump.
  13. Same thing as the single version.
  14. It's similar to hustle actually, and has the same response from me. Keeper.
  15. Same as mind probe, though it might work as a level 9 power for the time bender. Could go either way.
  16. If you had more offensive powers, this could be awesome. But you don't, and it's kinda meh. Could go either way.
  17. Teleport is not a fighter level thing, like at all. That said, I don't actually care about it here for the same reasons that I don't care about psionic plane shift being here (though it wasn't mentioned). It's a high level travel power. Keeper.
  18. Affinity field is probably unquantifiable balance level wise, in that the effects it passes around are based on the effects in the game. In a fighter level game it's likely to be a fighter level power. Keeper.
So yeah, I think a few things could stand to go. You're trying to make a fighter level utility class, and that's really hard because the fighter level is marked by a lack of utility powers on top of their not keeping up with the CR advancement schedule, and it means that some of the extraneous things should go. Not all of these are extraneous though. - TarkisFlux 23:13, January 17, 2010 (UTC)

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