Pathfinder - Phrenic Amplifications Breakdown
Last Updated: May 23, 2017
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I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that many colored items are also links to the Paizo SRD.
- Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
- Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances
- Green: Good options.
- Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.
Psychics get a total of 6 Phrenic Amplifications. Be sure to select options which you can use reliably because they are the only way to make use of your Phrenic Pool.
You get three phrenic amplifications before you can look at major amplifications.
- Complex Countermeasure (Ex): Too situational. This is neat for NPCs, but generally players are on the other side of effects like this.
- Conjured Armor (Su): Summoned monsters typically fall well below whatever you're fighting in terms of CR. This means that their numbers (including AC) are typically well below your enemies, making your summon relatively frail. A bonus to AC will help keep your summon on the field.
- Defensive Prognostication (Su): The AC bonus is nice, but there aren't many Divination spells that you'll cast in combat.
- Focused Force (Su): Conceptually, this should be a great option for a blaster. It's effectively +1 damage per damage die, and since most damage spells are 1 die/level, that's 1 damage per caster level. The issue with Focused Force is that Psychics get just two spells that deal force damage: magic missile, and force punch.
- Intense Focus (Ex): Situational, but fantastic to have when Concentration checks come up.
- Mindshield (Su): Morale bonuses to Will saves are common, but still useful if you don't have one. If you have a Bard in the party, skip this.
- Mindtouch (Su): You get Detect Thoughts at level 2.
- Ongoing Defense (Su): The listed spells are castable as an immediate action, and they use the "undercast" rules, so different versions of the spells are available at multiple levels with gradually improving effects. Extending the duration of these spells means that you can potentially combine the effects of multiple spells or use your Immediate action for something else.
- Overpowering Mind (Ex): Save-or-suck spells depend on their DC. This is an easy way to improve your DC, and it works on all of your spells. Much better than a feat spent on Spell Focus.
- Relentless Casting (Su): Better than Spell Penetration, and it's really cheap to use.
- Undercast Surge (Su): Spells which support undercasting often have dramatically improved effects on their higher-level version. Spending a few phrenic pool points could be a good investment, but you also get a ton of spell slots so hopefully you won't need to rely on this.
- Will of the Dead (Su): Undead have good Will save progression, but many of them still have weak will saves, which makes this a great way to do silly things like dominating an undead or hitting it with an illusion.
You get 3 at most.
- Dispelling Pulse (Su): Excellent against enemies that use spells or magic items. His them at the beginning of a fight and turn off all of their buffs an gear.
- Dual Amplification (Ex): You get a total of 6 amplifications, so it's difficult to find situations where you'll need to use two at the same time.
- Mimic Metamagic (Ex): Quicken spells without using a higher-level spell slots. This will eat a ton of your phrenic pool points, but it's worth the cost.
- Space-rending Spell (Su): Situational.
- Subordinate Spell (Ex): Better than quickening a spell in some some ways since this doesn't consume your swift action. However, you're limited to really low-level spells that target you, so you'll usually only use this to bring up low-level buffs with short durations. Mimic Metamagic is much more versatile, works on more spells, and it actually costs less to mimic quicken spell than it does to cast a Subordinate Spell of 3rd level or higher. But, again, this doesn't consume your swift action so you could cast three spells in a turn.
- Synaptic Shock (Su): This amplification has two issues. First, if your target fails a save against your linked spell it should be out of the fight and spending a point on this is a waste. Second, Confusion is a poor fallback. It's unreliable, unpredictable, and just as likely to hurt you as it is to help you. However, a guaranteed status condition can be useful. Attach this to a low-level spell like a cantrip or something and you can reliably confuse a target at little cost.
- Turning Shield (Su): Situational, but spells are a situation which comes up frequently, especially at high levels. One of my least favorite things about Spell Turning it that it wears out so quickly. This allows you to easily get more levels of spell turning than Spell Turning while also casting a different spell.