Psion Prestige Class : Soulbow
"The bolts fell like a shower of stars, scything through the duergar raiders with lethal accuracy. The War of Reclamation had begun, and we led the way in a rain of glory." -Nathara Teng, a soulbow
In the tradition of the soulknife, a soulbow realizes the direct capacity of her own mind to give shape to weapons of psionic perfection. Through desire alone, a soulbow creates a semisolid blade composed of psychic energy, just as any soulknife can. Unlike a soulknife, however, a soulbow can also produce dazzling shafts of deadly grace that she can project with all the force of a composite longbow - using nothing but her mind.
The soulbow relishes her ability to attack foes at a distance. Accuracy, speed, distance, and lethality are all skills a soulbow pursues and perfects - and in so doing, discovers serenity in lethal mastery.
Any character with a desire to become a master of mental archery might be drawn to train as a soulbow. In practice, however, becoming a soulbow requires a character to take at least two levels of the soulknife class to gain the throw mind blade prerequisite.
To qualify to become a Soulbow, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Skills: Autohypnosis 8 ranks
- Feats: Point Blank Shot.
- Special: Throw mind blade class feature.
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
All the following are class features of the soulbow. The abilities described here turn a soulknife into someone who is proficient at ranged combat using a manifestation of the mind blade more akin to an arrow. In addition to that, the class generously hands out bonus feats ideal for making ranged attacks, and grants a few class-specific abilities.
Mind Arrow (Su): As a free action, you can create a semisolid arrow composed of psychic energy distilled from your mind. If your base attack bonus is high enough to grant you multiple attacks, you can create multiple mind arrows as part of an attack. You must have one hand free to create and project a mind arrow.
The bolt is identical in all ways (except visually) to an arrow shot from a composite longbow. For instance, a Medium soulbow materializes an arrow that speeds toward the specified target, and if it hits, deals 1d8 points of damage (crit x3) plus extra damage equal to the soulbow's Wisdom modifier. Soulbows who are smaller or larger than Medium create mind arrows identical to arrows shot from composite longbows appropriate for their size, with a corresponding change to the arrow's damage (see Weapon Size). You gain the usual benefit to your attack roll from a high Dexterity bonus.
Whether a mind arrow hits or misses, it dissipates round after being shot. A mind arrow is considered a magic weapon for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. A mind arrow can be charged with a psychic strike as if it were a mind blade. If a soulbow has enough soulknife levels to have the knife to the soul ability, that ability also applies to her mind arrows.
You can use feats such as Point Blank Shot or Precise Shot in conjunction with a mind arrow (see bonus feats provided by the class for further guidance). You can also choose mind arrow for feats requiring a specific weapon choice, such as Weapon Specialization. Powers or spells that upgrade weapons can be used on a mind blade. Any feats previously requiring specific weapon choice (such as Weapon Specialization) for your mind blade also apply to your mind arrow, if applicable.
Your mind arrows improve as you gain higher levels. At 3rd level, a mind arrow gains a +1 enhancement bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls, and at 7th level the bonus improves to +2. These enhancement bonuses stack with previous enhancement bonuses gained earlier for your soulknife class levels. Likewise, these enhancement bonuses also improve your soulknife base attack bonus. If your return to your soulknife class progression, these mind arrow enhancement bonuses on attack and damage are cumulative bonuses on top of any new enhancement bonuses gained, and they benefit both your mind blade and mind arrows.
Even in places where psionic effects do not normally function (such as within a null psionics field), you can attempt to attack foes with mind arrows by making a DC 20 Will save. On a successful save, you can freely produce mind arrows for a number of rounds equal to your class level before you need to check again. On an unsuccessful attempt, you must wait 1 round before trying again while you remain within the psionics-negating effect.
Bonus Feat: At 1st level, you can choose a bonus feat from the following list: Far Shot, Precise Shot, Psionic Shot, Greater Psionic Shot, Fell Shot, Rapid Shot, Manyshot, Greater Manyshot, Shot on the Run, Improved Precise Shot, and Mounted Archery. You must meet the prerequisites for the feat as normal. Feats that grant additional attacks, such as Rapid Shot, allow you to create additional semisolid arrows of psychic energy as needed to make additional attacks. The list of potential bonus feats can be expanded by the DM to include any feats from other supplements that improved ranged attacks. For instance, if your game makes use of Complete Warrior, this list might also include Improved Mounted Archer, Improved Rapid Shot, Ranged Disarm, Ranged Pin (in which case the mind arrow persists until the pinned character breaks the pin), Ranged Sunder, Sharp Shooting, and Zen Archery.
Choose another bonus feat from the list at 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th level.
Mind Arrow Enhancement (Su): At 2nd level, you can enhance your mind arrows with ranged special abilities. Choose any one of the weapon special abilities on the table below that has an enhancement bonus value of +1. From now on, mind arrows you produce as part of an attack possess that special ability.
At every four levels beyond 2nd (6th and 10th), the value of the enhancement you can add to your mind arrow improves to +2 and +3, respectively. You can choose any combination of weapon special abilities that does not exceed the total allowed by your soulbow level.
The special ability provided by this class feature does not stack with the soulknife's mind blade enhancement ability.
You can reassign the ability or abilities you have chosen for your mind arrows. To do so, you must spend 8 hours in concentration. After that period, all subsequent mind arrows you produce as part of an attack action possess the new ability or abilities selected by you.
Close Combat Shot: At 4th level, you can attack with your mind arrow while in a threatened square and not provoke attacks of opportunity.
Phase Arrow (Ps): At 8th level, you can take a full attack action (in lieu of your regular attacks) to expend your psionic focus and launch a mind arrow at a target known to you within range. The mind arrow travels to the target in a straight path, passing through any nonmagical or nonpsionic barrier or wall on its way. (A wall of force, wall of fire, wall of ectoplasm, or the like stops a mind arrow.) This ability negates cover, concealment, and even armor modifiers, but otherwise the attack is rolled normally.
|Soulbow||Hit Die: d10|
|1st||+0||+0||+2||+2||Mind arrow, bonus feat|
|2nd||+1||+0||+3||+3||Mind arrow enhancement (+1 bonus equivalent ability)|
|3rd||+2||+1||+3||+3||+1 mind arrow, bonus feat|
|4th||+3||+1||+4||+4||Close combat shot|
|6th||+4||+2||+5||+5||Mind arrow enhancement (+2 bonus equivalent ability)|
|7th||+5||+2||+5||+5||+2 mind arrow, bonus feat|
|10th||+7||+3||+7||+7||Mind arrow enhancement (+3 bonus equivalent ability)|
Playing A Soulbow
As a soulbow, you have learned to turn your mind blade into a deadly arrow of psychic energy, striking swiftly and with legendary accuracy. However, you don't require the base materials of either bow or wooden arrow - your mind is the bow, and it provides the psychic ammunition in endless quantity. With the power of your mind, you can pierce your enemies at will.
Other soulknives look upon your specialization with some envy, and might even ask you to train them in your methods. The ability to produce both a mind blade and a mind arrow is yours; however, you have decided to forgo further development of your mind blade to concentrate your mental resources on psychic archery. This is the same promise you extract from other soulknives before helping them find the mental key necessary to produce mind arrows of their own.
It isn't surprising that as a ranged attack specialist, you should consider positioning yourself away from the direct threat of melee, at least until you have gained your close combat shot ability. Still, you have the ability to damage your enemies from a distance, so you should take advantage of it as much as possible to preserve your health. Stay clear of melee combat and pepper your foes with mind arrows from a safe distance.
Because you have the ability to swap out the ranged special ability of your mind arrow, intelligence regarding possible foes is very valuable to you. If you can learn that you'll likely be up against giants in the next little while, for example, spend 8 hours (if you can) changing the special abilities of the mind arrows you create to resonate with the giant bane quality.
Taken in by the power of your own psyche, you trained as a soulknife and quickly learned the art of producing a mind blade. Not satisfied with that accomplishment, you learned how to project mind arrows. While some soulbows learn the key to producing mind arrows through unflagging study on their own, most learn after getting training from a group called the Reclaimers. The Reclaimers are a secretive organization that seeks out those with the ability to manifest a mind blade and offers them training. In return, the group lays some claim to the newly trained soulbow's affiliations. The Reclaimers take a dim view of self-trained soulbows who have no ties to their organization.
Presuming you are not going it alone in your advancement, your tie to the Reclaimers essentially means that you are on call. The Reclaimers are a mercenary company whose members offers their services to organizations of commoners, druidic councils, psionic conclaves, and other organizations that they might be inclined to support (they have never taken a commission from any king, temple, church, or merchant guild - their philosophy is more in line with enlightenment than with the enforcement of jurisdiction). On rare occasions, you might be called upon to play a part in a short-term mission. More rarely, you might be asked to take part in a longer-term mission that could involve travel to distant areas. You can pass on the longer-term missions, but if you pass on more than one short-term mission in a row, your training by Reclaimer mentors is suspended. (This doesn't necessarily mean that you can no longer advance as a soulbow - it merely means that you are on your own in developing your abilities.)
As you advance in your training, one of the first feats you take should be Precise Shot, which offsets your penalty for firing mind arrows into melee. Rapid Shot should also be high on your list - the more shots you make in a round, the greater the chance you'll score a strike. As far as skills go, continue to buy ranks in Move Silently, since this skill is important for getting into a good position from which to launch your mind arrow volleys. Concentration is also an important skill for you - having a high Concentration modifier mean you'll be better able to regain you psionic focus.
As a soulbow, you can expect resources according to your persuasive ability, like any other character. If you represent yourself as a Reclaimer, however, you can expect aid from commoners and down-trodden in the form of a place to sleep, simple fare shared with a family, and - from particularly brave souls - a place to hide from authorities (should you require it). Reclaimers wear an amulet or shoulder patch featuring a silvery astral arrow.
Authority figures of various cities, city-stares, and countries are beginning to take a dim view of the Reclaimers and the soulbows and regular archers who make up the group's membership. If you are identified as a Reclaimer by an official of a particular city, even basic services might be denied to you. Reclaimers who wear their symbol openly also have taken to wearing a black bandanna or mask at the same time, so that once they finish a particular mission, they can remove mask and symbol to return to anonymity
Soulbows In The World
"When you see the silvery arrow on a masked man's shoulders in the street, you'd best hit the dirt. There's about to be a fight, and sooner or later the city watch will arrive, hell-bent on taking the soulbow down." -Willem Mart, shopkeeper
A lone soulbow is like any other adventurer - someone with above-average abilities seeking to make her own way in the world, seeking fortune, fulfillment of quests, and the serenity that accompanies an adventure concluded.
Few soulbows go through an entire career, however, without being approached by a recruiter from the secretive organization known as the Reclaimers.
Soulbows are free to join any organization, but the organization that is most closely associated with the prestige class is the Order of Reclamation, more commonly referred to as the Reclaimers.
The Reclaimers are devoted to ending tyranny in all its forms. The organization accepts commissions from supplicants it finds worthy, but also launches its own interventions on occasion.
Joining the Order: The Reclaimers accept soulknives who meet the minimum requirements of the soulbow prestige class (because these soulknives can be trained as soulbows), soulbows, and archers who use physical bows and arrows but can demonstrate supernatural, psionic, or magical prowess with their bows.
Benefits: The main benefit a PC can expect from being a member of the Reclaimers is the knowledge that he or she will continue to be trained in the soulbow class. At least as important to some characters is the feeling that they are fighting the good fight; such characters revel in the idea that they are agents working against oppression.
Headquarters: Because of the underground nature of the Reclaimers, the location of the order's headquarters, the identity of its top members, and the structure the defines the group are well-kept secrets. In fact, the group has a central location out of which it operates - a fortress located in an uncivilized waste. Three ancient psionic portals allow the Reclaimers (in their Fortress of Reclamation) to rapidly move to and from three important cities around the world. From those cities, they can mount missions or activate soulbow Reclaimers who are otherwise engaged.
Missions: Itinerant Reclaimers (as the majority of soulbows tend to be who are part of the group in the first place - including player characters) usually discover their next mission in the form of a message engraved on a wooden arrow delivered in a cloth-wrapped parcel from some unknown source. Except in extraordinary cases, only a single itinerant soulbow is activated for each particular mission, according to the character's ability and proximity to a given problem. It is up to the activated soulbow to gather what resources she believes are necessary to get the job done. This might mean finding hirelings, or asking for the help of other PCs.
Sample missions might include freeing a wrongfully accused prisoner from a king's dungeon, breaking the iron grip of a group of half-orc racketeers down on the docks, or infiltrating a temple that is suspected of hiding an unsavory, evil secret.
An itinerant Reclaimer is activated at most two or three times during her career, unless she requests more missions.
The general populace looks upon both lone soulbows and those who are openly tied to Reclaimers with respect and perhaps some affection, especially if people have been personally aided or know the story of someone aided by a soulbow Reclaimer. NPCs who know of the prestige class have a starting attitude of friendly toward such a character. On the other hand, some city watches know to bring in any person they see wearing the silver arrow and black mask for questioning at least, and perhaps worse. In cities with a reputation for tyranny or harsh rule, PCs can expect a starting attitude of unfriendly from members of the city guard or other government officials.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (local) or Knowledge (psionics) can research soulbows to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs.
- DC 10: Soulbows? I think they've got mind powers of some sort.
- DC 15: Soulbows can project arrows straight from their minds - they don't need bows for their archery.
- DC 20: Many soulbows belong to the Reclaimers - thats a group that supposedly exists to right wrongs and help the little guy. But if that's so, why do they wear black masks?
- DC 30: Characters who achieve this level of success can learn important details about specific soulbows in your campaign, including notable members, the areas where they operate, and the kinds of activities they undertake.
PCs who are interested in finding or setting up a meeting with a soulbow should first check with any local psionic guild or college. Next, investigate archery ranges or other similar places - soulbows like to hone their accuracy as much as the next archer. Finally, PCs should try to use Gather Information to learn who has seen the symbol of the silver arrow, when, and in what location - finding active Reclaimers will likely lead the PCs to a soulbow.
Soulbows In The Game
Soulbows give mind blade throwers an offensive ability on par with expert archers, but without the need to rely on anything other than their own minds. As with other psionic prestige classes, soulbows are great additions to any game that uses psionic rules.
Soulknives might take only a few levels in this class to upgrade their ability to affect foes at a distance, though they might find that continuing the progression is a worthwhile endeavor - the ability to defeat foes at range is always a tactical advantage.
In the EBERRON campaign setting, kalashtar characters should take to the soulbow prestige class as willingly as they take levels in the underlying soulknife class. The concept of the Reclaimers is one that can fit into most campaigns, though it is also easily jettisoned if the concept of a secret freedom-fighter group doesn't fit well with your concept of the soulbow or the kind of organization you'd like to add to your game.
Player characters might become entangled with a soulbow in a city by simply being entered in the same archery competition. On the other hand, they could find themselves on the wrong end of a Reclaimers mission if the PCs took a commission from a noble, a merchant house, or some powerful group that could be interpreted as oppressing the downtrodden.
El 8: On some late-afternoon or nighttime journey through the city, the PCs come upon a soulbow with a black bandanna face mask and a silver arrow shoulder patch lying stunned and bloodied in an alley. If they offer aid, the soulbow (Narhara Teng) recovers in time to warn the characters, "'Ware the flayer!" Seconds later, a mind flayer moves from its hiding spot behind a ragged banner (Spot DC 30 to detect) to use its mind blast power on the soulbow again, along with any PCs caught in the same cone; the mind flayer attempts to catch as many PCs as it can in the area of its blast.
Nathara Teng is on a mission for the Reclaimers to gather intelligence on a particular house. Reports have come in of some group kidnapping beggars who are then never seen again. Complaints to the city watch have gone uninvestigated, and Teng got tapped to look into the situation.
It turns out that a cabal of three mind flayers lives in the decrepit building and has been feeding on the city's detritus for years. If Narhara Teng can discover the truth, she might be able to put a stop to it with the PCs aid.
Source: Complete Psionic