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Let's say I'm a level 7 Ardent/4 Ectopic Adept. That combination makes me, for all intents and purposes, a level 10 Ardent when it comes to manifesting powers. Would I, at that level, assume my 5th psionic mantle? Or would my PP/day and powers known advance without me picking up any new mantles? I thought I'd read somewhere once that you do still continue to assume mantles, but that doesn't make any sense. It doesn't seem like I would gain any more mantles (assuming new mantles being an Ardent class feature rather than a function of their power manifesting).

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You do not get new mantles.

You gain new power points per day and an increase in manifester level (and powers known, if applicable) as if you had also gained a level in a manifesting class to which you belonged before adding the prestige class level. You do not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained.

(emphasis mine)

Anything that isn’t power points per day, manifester level, and powers known, you don’t get. Mantles don’t give you new powers known, they expand the list of available powers from which you may pick powers known, and are a separate class feature not covered by the prestige class advancement.

As an aside, note that ectopic adept’s only purpose is to partially-undo the Complete Psionics retro-nerf of astral construct. Note that this “retro-nerf” is not actually valid, by RAW (since errata rules specify that a supplement cannot overrule the primary source, only official errata can do that), and is almost-universally regarded as a terrible decision. It is fairly well-known that most of the team that worked on the Expanded Psionic Handbook did not work on Complete Psionics, and several of them have spoken out against some of its changes and poorly-implemented ideas (the divine mind, in particular, is a complete travesty that contradicts all existing psionics). While the ardent is widely considered a solid class, it’s one of literally three things in the book that are considered to be worthwhile (the others are the soulbow prestige class and the Practiced Manifester feat). Complete Psionics is frequently regarded as one of the worst books WotC published for 3.5, since it ruins both the fluff and mechanics of psionics, and is gratuitously heavy on stupid filler (fifty-some-odd feats named “[weapon type] Mind Blade” for instance).

I strongly recommend that your DM ignore the retro-nerf on astral construct, as it was completely unnecessary, and eliminate the ectopic adept as a thing. If you want a prestige class that focuses on astral construct, I suggest constructor, a far better-designed class.

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Can you link to the comments by disgruntled XPH authors? –  Hey I Can Chan May 22 at 17:18
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@HeyICanChan Those would be hard to find, but both Hyperconscious and most everything Dreamscarred Press ever did for 3.5 are results of dissatisfaction with Complete Psionics. –  KRyan May 22 at 17:20
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Note: I'm not actually interested in Ectopic Adept; the Complete Psionic just happened to be handy and I needed to pick a sample prestige class and it was either that or Ebon Saint. –  agradine May 22 at 17:41
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@agradine If you find a prestige class you want but need an additional Mantle, the Tap Mantle feat (dndtools.eu/feats/complete-psionic--59/tap-mantle--2888) might be useful. But personally, if you're playing an Ardent, I would stay in the class until you get the Dominant Ideal alternate class feature (wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/psm/20070629a), which lets you apply metapsionic feats to powers from one mantle without expending psionic focus. It is one of the few reasons I've found to play an Ardent over a Psion or Psychic Warrior. –  Thaliak May 22 at 17:49
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@agradine Fair enough, but I felt it important enough to say. That partiuclar rule in Complete Psionics sucks all the fun out of playing a shaper for no good reason and I wouldn't want someone to suffer through that without at least knowing that it's so widely reviled. –  KRyan May 22 at 17:50

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