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Base assumptions:

Character is a 21st level Spell to Power Erudite with the Epic Manifesting feat (allows the use of 9th level spells/powers outside of the Erudite spell list) and this character exists in a campaign with 3.5 material converted to Pathfinder.

Convert Spell to Power Erudite

Benefit: You add Spellcraft to your class skill list, which allows you to attempt to convert an arcane spell into a power you can add to your repertoire. You treat the spell as a discipline power for the basis of learning it, and you must first succeed on a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + the spell's level) and then a Psicraft check as per the normal rules of learning a discipline power (see page 154 of Complete Psionic).

Character has undergone the transformation into a Mindborn and has Astral Projection and Form of the Dragon in their repertoire.

Per the answer to this question, Incorporeal creatures can't use Astral Projection. However, if we use Form of the Dragon or any other spell that changes the character into something with a physical body then presumably we can use it.

This raises several questions that add up to answer the big one:

  • When we project, does that body remain as is until AP is dispelled?
  • Does the duration expire? Or can it be dismissed normally for the protection, returning them to an Incorporeal state?
  • If the duration is the same for both bodies/the spell is linked to both in some way, when the original body returns to the Mindborn state, does Astral Projection snap you back into that body because it's not a physical body anymore?
  • And finally, is there a better way to do this? Astral Projection is one of the best save-your-life-while-adventuring spells out there and if I can find a way to cheat around the physical body problem I'd really like to.
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    \$\begingroup\$ There are so, so, so many threads out there for “cheating” into invincibility in 3.5e, in a massive variety of ways, with or without astral projection (which is not generally preferred really). You might want to do some research into various approaches that have already been optimized—it could save you the effort of trying to roll your own, and even if you still want to for the fun of it, knowing what’s out there will give you more knowledge and skills to bring to the problem. SE isn’t really a great place for doing optimization, after all. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jan 8 at 2:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ The other question that I answered, I added a bit at the end of my answer, because I see the point of KRyan (he has way more experience than me so I trust him) but I think it's a matter of opinion at this point on that spell, Hey I Can Chan agrees with me but also believes it's a matter of opinion, so @Aleph if you are not the DM just check with the DM how he rules it, attaching the silvery cord to the psicrystal was a suggestion of mine. it could work on your incorporeal form too, even though i would rule it does not work, your DM decides, give me some news if it goes into play! \$\endgroup\$ – Maxime Cuillerier Jan 9 at 11:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ This was less about invincibility and more about working out the rules interactions around Astral Projection. I'm fascinated by these weird quirks of rules and whenever possible I like to let the rules speak through expertise. (All of you.) I'm inclined to agree that Incorporeal creatures can't use Astral Projection because of the lack of a body that the spell refers to. And I'm glad to see confirmation that you can work around it as I thought by giving yourself a corporeal body. Now if I go to a DM with these situations and ask how they feel, I have a by the rules approach I can work with. \$\endgroup\$ – Aleph Jan 9 at 12:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ So I should be the only invulnerable person in the Astral Projection party? If we get a TPK while projecting for example, and something finds out where we were projecting from and kills everybody else, I'm still stuck frozen in time. If by "revives from its state of suspended animation" you mean both stasis and projection being ended by ending projection, I don't buy that. Those are separate spells acting on separate instances of suspended animation with no dispelling of the stasis spell going on. Plus the "your condition remains fixed" clause might prevent suspended animation from ending. \$\endgroup\$ – Aleph Jan 11 at 0:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ I feel the following should be pointed out separately (because it hardly on-topic enough to be an answer): the whole Polymorph subschool description starts with "a polymorph spell transforms your physical body to take on the shape of another creature." So, if you have problems with Astral Projection requiring physical body to work, you may have exactly the same ones with your 'workaround tactic'. \$\endgroup\$ – annoying imp Jan 11 at 20:41
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We can answer precisely none of your questions here. The first three are going to have to be questions for your DM, and the last is something you’re going to have to do your own research on because it’s too broad for a question here.

  • When we project, does that body remain as is until AP is dispelled?

Unclear.

Your body is in “suspended animation,” which (in other spells, and in narrative precedent) means time isn’t moving for your body. Astral projection’s use of “indefinitely” to describe how long you can project also suggests a lack of aging.

What’s unclear is whether or not spells effecting that suspended body are also suspended—the rules don’t say. You’ll have to ask your DM.

  • Does the duration expire? Or can it be dismissed normally for the protection, returning them to an Incorporeal state?

For personal-range spells, probably not: in order to dismiss a spell, “You must be within range of the spell’s effect,” which isn’t true for a spell on your original body while you, yourself, are an astrally-projected copy of that body.

For spells that could be targeted on others, you definitely have to get your projection within range of your original body to even try it. At that point, though, you’ll have to ask your DM: is it still “your” spell, when you are a “copy” of the one who cast it? Who knows! For that matter, can a spell effect be ended, from the outside, on a creature in “suspended animation”? Unclear! Temporal stasis supplies a bit more detail on what “suspended animation” means (at least for the purposes of that spell), and says “no force or effect can harm” the suspended creature, but is dismissing a spell effect a “harm”?

The rules have answers for none of these questions.

  • If the duration is the same for both bodies/the spell is linked to both in some way, when the original body returns to the Mindborn state, does Astral Projection snap you back into that body because it's not a physical body anymore?

This is the question of whether or not 3.5e implements “active targeting,” which has come up before. See the answers to this question for more details. The short answer is, the official rules are silent on this issue, the official FAQ claims that 3.5e does not have constant targeting (so astral projection won’t care if you stop being a legal target), but the FAQ is frequently wrong and near-useless as an authority, so really you’re going to have to ask your DM.

  • And finally, is there a better way to do this? Astral Projection is one of the best save-your-life-while-adventuring spells out there and if I can find a way to cheat around the physical body problem I'd really like to.

Many, many, many better ways to accomplish invincibility, if that’s what you mean by “this.” If nothing else, Pun-pun exists as a thing that can be in done in 3.5e, at which point it’s literally impossible to stop you from doing literally anything you want, whenever you want, and astral projection is entirely unnecessary. Trying to list all of them is vastly out of scope for a question on this site, much less a tangential fourth bullet point.

If you instead mean using astral projection specifically, I mean, to begin with, being in “suspended animation” might already be a perfect defense not needing any improvement. Temporal stasis suggests nothing can “harm” you in that state, so what does it matter if you’re incorporeal or not?

Beyond that, frankly I don’t buy that astral projection actually requires you to have a corporeal body in the first place—I simply don’t think it’s good practice to read so much into the descriptions used in 3.5e. When they want a hard restriction like that, they usually write it, so absent that, I think natively-incorporeal should have no problem casting astral projection. For that matter, I’m also not giving 3.5e’s editors credit sufficient to be willing to read “you must cast it from the Material Plane” in between the lines, so you could, in my opinion, cast the spell from some hardened demiplane.

However, since no effect in the game can save you if the silver cord is cut, astral projection seems to me like a poor approach to invincibility, so each of these opinions is largely moot. Note the silver cord is incorporeal without you having to do anything special about it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If you disagree that astral projection requires you to have a corporeal body, have you concidered contributing an answer to the linked question? Not saying you must, of course. \$\endgroup\$ – annoying imp Jan 8 at 18:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Astral projection states that your physical body is in suspended animation (the same wording is used in Temporal Stasis as well) I was surprised when you wrote: Time hasn’t stopped for the body, it is implied that the body does not age, nor does it need food etc. if you die in your astral form you return to your body and it is being revived from its state of suspended animation. Hibernate as similar wording too but is a lower level spell and is not as good. What makes you think that the body still age because of time or what exactly did you mean by ''time'' in this context? \$\endgroup\$ – Maxime Cuillerier Jan 9 at 6:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ ''You and your companions may travel through the Astral Plane indefinitely. Your bodies simply wait behind in a state of suspended animation until you choose to return your spirits to them'' ''indefinitely'' would not be mentionned if your body would still age. But if you only meant the spell duration of Form of the Dragon, yes I totally agree, a spell duration vs the age of the body etc. has no direct link \$\endgroup\$ – Maxime Cuillerier Jan 9 at 10:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MaximeCuillerier Oof, correct you are. I’d literally just read the description of astral projection the other day for another question, could have sworn it just says you go unconscious, and didn’t double-check. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jan 9 at 12:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Suspended animation may be induced by different means differently. Astral Projection's one just keeps you alive, it doesn't protect you from harm. "The spell lasts [...] until it is terminated by some outside means, such as [...] the destruction of your body back on the Material Plane (which kills you)." Don't know if you age/count the duration of buffs on you. As for "indefinitely", the spell may mean it doesn't have build in duration. But if aging kills you, it is terminated because of the (effective) destruction of your body back on the Material Plane. \$\endgroup\$ – annoying imp Jan 9 at 17:54

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