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When talking about blasting in psionics, we usually talk about Psion Kinethicist, or Wilder. The former one has more powers, and the latter one has more "bang" in each blast - like "+6 to ML" at 19 level which means +6 dices for the most useful damaging powers (the ones that do +1 damage dice per PP). But then I thought about something...

Sneak Attack rules allow to use weapon-like effects for sneak attack. As long as you have to roll for attack, you may add sneak attack damage to your attack - like, if you cast a Shocking Grasp for 5d6 and have +3d6 Sneak Attack, you may sneak attack with it for 8d6 damage, which will be all electricity. Which made me think - outside of gestalt rules, it's kind of a patchwork over loosing several levels of spells/powers/whatever or risking by using UMD (since until really high levels, you are prone to NOT rolling that UMD on a Wand of Fireballs in the worst time at all)... Through, I remembered that at least ONE sneak-attacking class has both decent spellcasting AND Sneak Attacking abilities. I'm talking about Psychic Rogue

[the Mind's Eye Archives are currently down, so here's an alternate link]

The Psychic Rogue class is, basically, an SRD Rogue, that is slightly less competent in roguish ways, but gets Psionic Powers to compensate (or OVERcompensate) that. He's low on power points, learns up to 5th level powers from an unique, mostly utility power list, but his Manifester Level is his Character Level. And that's where I start to make my point

By taking either Hidden Talent on 1st level, or Expanded Knowledge later, the Psychic Rogue can take a power from ANY power list, including psychic warrior, ardent, divine mind, psion/wilder and discipline powers, Say, if he takes a blasting power (like, Energy Ray), he's able to use it at full manifesting level. Not bad.

Then, he adds in his Sneak Attack (+7d6 by 19th level). That's painful. But then, he adds a little bit more - the Overchannel feat that allows to raise manifester level by 3 at 15th level (and doesn't work with Wild Surge, by the way). Basically, at 20th level it's a 20d6+3d6+7d6=30d6 (30-180) of pure energy damage at 20th level... Without any items, metapsionic feats, or what else that may make it even more powerful (Like Ioun Stone of -1 ML, perhaps?). Sure, he's got enough PP just to manifest his uber-blasting power 3-5 times a day, but it's still powerful, and by far, the most hit dices of damage a psionic blaster can achieve without tapping into the action economy, for the price of just two feats (Overchannel+a feat to get a blasting power), which lets to use other feats to build something else

P.S. Also, there is an option to increase your Sneak Attack while you are psionically focused which can be granted up to 3 times... So that's another optional +3d6 8)

Did I miss/miscalculate it on some point, or is this trick fully legit?

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2 Answers 2

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To answer the question at the end: Yes, the "trick" of using Sneak Attack with a power like Energy Ray works, and can yield a relatively high number of damage dice per manifestation under good circumstances.

To answer the question implied by your title: Hardly. The Psychic Rogue is harshly limited by his power list, power point total and feat availability. Consider the damage potential of any full manifester using multiple actions/round and (preferably multiple) metapsionic feats.

The short version: It works, but it's less awesome than you think it is. Full manifesters do blasting better, let Psychic Rogues stick to... rogue'ing.

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Heh, yeah, when you take stuff like Schism into account, 33d6 points of elemental damage does not sound all that amazing. Guess I'd better rename the question into something more suitable XD –  Baka-Mastermind Aug 1 at 19:33

The trick is legit, interesting, but ultimately suboptimal

This trick basically involves paying 23/100 power points for 30d6 burst damage. It is limited to a 30 foot range, and is single target. You still have to deny them their dex bonus to AC somehow, which either means

This isn't bad, but at the same level a kineticist can do 8d6 single target + 17d6 area (ref for half) to everything in a 40 foot spread, and move everything in their area about randomly. At a range of 1200 feet.

A better way to go about this would be to be to somehow gain full round action telekinesis and apply sneak attack to it, since you could deal 15d6+15*(sneak attack).

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Now that you mention it... Yeah, taking the Telekinetic Thrust (which may be done by 18 level via Expanded Knowledge) will allow the same Psychic Rogue up to 15 damage dices with massive Sneak Attack bonuses on the side. If we use weapons with 1d6 damage (like short blade), 15 Telekinetic Thrust Sneak Attacks will get us 120d6 of damage (that is, if you didn't raise your SA damage while focused). Add in a flanking buddy from a 1st level Martial Maneuver, and it's a 1-round heavy nuke (as long as most attacks hit). Okay, now THAT'S scary XD –  Baka-Mastermind Aug 1 at 19:43
    
Correction: you can take it at 15 level since it's a 3rd level maneuver. At that time, it's a 90d6 damage for 5 points. More if you augment it for hurling heavy stuff –  Baka-Mastermind Aug 1 at 19:48
    
No, to deal sneak attack damage multiple times in the same turn the action has to be a full-round action, hence needing to obtain it as a spontaneous spell and apply a 0-level metamagic adjustment onto it. –  Arkhaic Aug 1 at 21:40
    
Er... To deal more than one Sneak Attack, the conditions for the Sneak Attack must still apply after the first one - that is, the opponent still has to be flat-footed, or flanked. Using Telekinetic Thrust is a standard action regardless of how many items you hurl at your enemies (so the usual "full-round for multiple attacks, hence multiple sneak attacks" does not apply here), and the easiest way to achieve the Sneak Attack conditions is, basically, flanking –  Baka-Mastermind Aug 2 at 4:38
    
Examples in the rules text included a quickened scorching ray—Rules Compendium page 42. "A form of attack that enables an attacker to make multiple attacks during an action other than a full-round action, such as the Manyshot feat (standard action) or a quickened scorching ray (swift action), allows precision damage to be applied only to the first attack in the group. –  Arkhaic Aug 2 at 4:54

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