I have a Psion(Egoist)/Thrallherd with Psychic Reformation. I'm wondering whether I can use Psychic Reformation to drop the points in Diplomacy and the Inquisitor feat, and reassign the points to something else. Also, when I reform myself, I remain a Thrallherd. Does this mean I don't have to spend 8 points on Diplomacy, as it's already a class skill, thus letting me just put the required 4 points into Diplomacy, and use the other 4 on something else?
Leaving aside the question of whether any self-respecting DM would let you pull this kind of crap...
As per the SRD, "the subject can choose to spend its most recently gained skill points differently". To me, that means that you get to spend those points within the same constraints as when they were originally used, so you wouldn't get to count Diplomacy as a class skill.
And if you're planning to get them in a new level, you're forgetting that once you no longer meet the prerequisites to enter a PrC, you can no longer gain a level on that PrC until you meet them again (and, depending on whose word you take, you also lose all benefits of the PrC). Therefore, as soon as you level up, you won't be able to gain a new level of Thrallherd.
Thank you for not making this rules-as-written because
Opinions Abound, but Absolute Answers Are Absent
In every errata file there's the Errata Rule, which says
When you find a disagreement between two [Dungeons and Dragons] rules sources, unless an official errata file says otherwise, the primary source is correct. One example of a primary/secondary source is text taking precedence over a table entry. An individual spell description takes precedence when the short description in the beginning of the spells chapter disagrees.
Another example of primary [versus] secondary sources involves book and topic precedence. The Player's Handbook, for example, gives all the rules for playing the game, for playing PC races, and for using base class descriptions. If you find something on one of those topics from the Dungeon Master's Guide or the Monster Manual that disagrees with the Player's Handbook, you should assume the Player's Handbook is the primary source. The Dungeon Master's Guide is the primary source for topics such as magic item descriptions, special material construction rules, and so on. The Monster Manual is the primary source for monster descriptions, templates, and supernatural, extraordinary, and spell-like abilities.
The Dungeon Master's Guide--the primary source for information about meeting prestige class requirements--says
Unlike the basic classes found in the Player’s Handbook, characters must meet requirements before they can take their first level of a prestige class. The rules for level advancement (see page 58 of the Player’s Handbook) apply to this system, meaning the first step of advancement is always choosing a class. If a character does not meet the requirements for a prestige class before that first step, that character cannot take the first level of that prestige class. (176)
Thus, according to the Dungeon Master's Guide, it's totally legit for the thrallherd to employ the power psychic reformation [telepathy] (XPH 127) to remove the skill ranks and feats that he used to meet the prestige class's requirements yet continue taking levels in thrallherd. The character--to use the Dungeon Master's Guide's language--already took that step.
Complete Warrior, the FAQ, and Complete Arcane
Complete Warrior says
It’s possible for a character to take levels in a prestige class and later be in a position where the character no longer qualifies to be a member of the class. An alignment change, levels lost because of character death, or the loss of a magic item that granted an important ability are examples of events that can make a character ineligible to advance farther in a prestige class.
If a character no longer meets the requirements for a prestige class, he or she loses the benefit of any class features or other special abilities granted by the class. The character retains Hit Dice gained from advancing in the class as well as any improvements to base attack bonus and base save bonuses that the class provided. (16)
The FAQ cites the Complete Warrior when answering the question
What happens when an assassin becomes non-evil?
A character who no longer meets the requirements of his prestige class not only can’t advance any further in that class, but he also "loses the benefit of any class features or other special abilities granted by the class." (CW 16) You retain Hit Dice (and the hit points derived from), base attack bonus, and base save bonuses granted by the prestige class.
Complete Arcane says
Should a character find herself in a position (because of changed alignment, lost levels, or the like) where she no longer meets the requirements of a prestige class, she loses all special abilities (but not Hit Dice, base attack bonus, or base save bonus) gained from levels of the prestige class. (17)
Complete Warrior and Complete Arcane are the only texts removing prestige class features upon failing to meet prestige class requirements. And while language identical to that in Complete Arcane was present in the Dungeon Master's Guide (2000), it's absent from the Dungeon Master's Guide (2003) and the Dungeon Master's Guide (2012).1
Thus, according to Complete Warrior and Complete Arcane, if the thrallherd employs the power psychic reformation to remove the skill ranks and feats that he used to meet the prestige class's requirements, he loses all thrallherd special abilities but retains the thrallherd Hit Dice, base attack bonus, and base save bonus. The requirements are always looking at the character's sheet to confirm the character continues to meet those requirements.
Examples in Play
- Under the Dungeon Master's Guide's rules, an arcane archer doesn't lose his arcane archer special abilities if he's brought back to life as a young adult non-elf or non-half-elf2 after he's the target of the spell reincarnate [conj] (PH 270). Under the Complete Arcane and Complete Warrior rules, he does.
- Under the Dungeon Master's Guide's rules, an arcane trickster or assassin doesn't lose his prestige class special abilities if his alignment is changed from chaotic evil to lawful good by failing the Willpower saving throw versus the helm of opposite alignment (DMG 275) (4,000 gp; 3 lbs.). Under the Complete Arcane and Complete Warrior rules, he does.
- Under the Dungeon Master's Guide's rules, a dragon disciple (DMG 183-5) doesn't lose all his dragon disciple special abilities upon gaining the 10th-level dragon disciple class feature dragon apotheosis. Under the Complete Arcane and Complete Warrior rules, he does.
- Under the Dungeon Master's Guide's rules, a thrallherd (XPH 156) who manifests the power psychic reformation doesn't lose his special abilities if the manifestation leaves him without ranks in the skill Diplomacy and without the feat Inquisitor (XPH 48). Under the Complete Arcane and Complete Warrior rules, he does.
An Unpleasant Compromise
The strictest reading is that the prestige classes in Complete Arcane and Complete Warrior follow the rules given in those books for losing prestige class requirements,3 but prestige classes from other sources don't.
Talk to the DM
I suggest the DM make clear his house rules about prestige class requirements before play begins.
- The current printing does include errata about prestige classes not incurring experience point penalties.
- For perspective, though, one's chance of being brought back from the dead this way as an elf is 12% and a half-elf 10% .
- Complete Arcane lacks the advance farther language of Complete Warrior. Thus a character who loses a Complete Warrior prestige class requirement loses the use of the prestige class's special abilities and can no longer advance in the prestige class, but a character who loses a Complete Arcane prestige class requirement loses the use of the prestige class's special abilities yet can continue to advance in the prestige class. Odd stuff.
I really feel like this use of Psychic Reformation goes against the intent of the power. The power is intended to let you remake poor decisions, not eliminate prestige class prerequisites. As a DM, I would never allow a player to Psychic Reformation away their prestige class prereqs.
That said, the rules text backing that up is very shaky. There's no mention of prerequisites in the test of the power, and there is no errata mentioning them either. The only thing that's related that I can find in the text of the power is:
The subject must abide by the standard rules for selecting skills and feats, and so it
cannot take feats for which it doesn’t qualify or take crossclass skills as class skills.
This makes me believe that you cannot end up with an invalid character after you finish redoing skills and feats. Since you can't take Thrallherd without first taking its prerequisites, you can't Reform those prerequisites away.
Again, this is not a strict rules interpretation, it's more of an inference about what the intent of the power is, and a logical extension of the power's rules. In any case, if you no longer meet the prerequisites for Thrallherd, you can't take further levels of the class.
Sounds good to me. Neither the skill points nor the inquisitor feat are required for any of the thrallherd's abilities to function, so losing the feat/skills wouldn't de-power it's abilities, you simply couldn't gain further levels in the class till you reacquired the pre-reqs. Though, if you're only going for 1 level, it might be worth more to just pick up the leadership feat. Though, after reading through power documentation, it seems fully possible, if you're willing to spend the xp on it, to take 10 levels of thrallherd, then Reformat yourself back 10 levels and reapply all those skills and feats however you want. Sure your DM can rule however they want, since their word trumps source material, but by the wording itself this is perfectly acceptable.
And no where in the description does it say you must spend the skills based on your character at the time. So yes, you technically could take the 8 points out of the 4 cross class, and respend them as a class skill which it now is.
If anything, the only problem I see is that the power level seems a bit low for what it can do. The only arcane or divine way of replicating this effect is through wish or miracle and since it's not listed as a safe wish, the DM will probably screw you for trying it. Maybe if the power was 8 or 9 and/or the xp cost was 50 xp per character level per level you wanted to revision, it might be a little more balanced.
If you no longer meet the pre-requisites for anything - feat, prestige class, spell, skill trick, magic item - anything at all - you lose the benefit of that thing until you once again meet the pre-requisites.
I am aghast that all these answers and no-one has mentioned this.
For a prestige class, you retain the hitpoints, skillpoints, BAB, and saving throws but you lose any special abilities, any spell advancement, and may no longer take additional levels in the class until you once again meet the pre-requisites.
Since this makes the option moot, unless you were in it for that stellar Thrallherd BAB, I believe that's Question Answered.