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Psicrystals have no penalty on death. Literally none. Which stands to reason, unlike familiars, have no cooldown or have no xp loss.

Psicrystal Affinity, being a Psionic feat, is a supernatural ability.

The entire Expanded Psionics Handbook does not say what action is required to obtain a Psicrystal. No 24 hour ritual. No 100gp cost. Which means, because all supernatural abilities are a standard action unless stated otherwise, it is a standard action to obtain a psicrystal.

So if we put all this together, you can create a psicrystal and send it to its death over and over as a standard action all day everyday.

And if you grab the Elemental Envoy feat, you can do the same thing with the Elemental Stewards you get. Essentially giving you something on the same wavelength as Summon Elemental Reserve Feat at 1st level.

Is this correct? Can you really spam infinite Psicrystals/Elemental Envoys as early as level one (max 1 at any time)?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I can imagine an intelligent fragment of your personality will just love being sent off to its death over and over. Hmm, maybe that can let you excise pieces of your personality you don't like. Interesting, if horrifying, thought. \$\endgroup\$
    – Phoenices
    Feb 1, 2023 at 21:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Phoenices It's obviously an exaggeration to get the question across. In a real game I'd probably polymorph and buff my psicrystal to high heaven before sending it into the fray. That is if this works. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1, 2023 at 21:43

3 Answers 3

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Yes.

As you correctly pointed out

  1. All Psionic Feats are supernatural abilities.
  2. All supernatural abilities are a standard action to use unless otherwise noted.
  3. p.21 of Expanded Psionics Handbook

A psicrystal is a fragment of a psionic character’s personality, brought into physical form and a semblance of life (via the Psicrystal Affinity feat).

The psicrystal description directly says Psicrystals are brought to life via the feat.

4.

Benefit

This feat allows you to gain a psicrystal.

The feat allows you to gain a psicrystal, and the feat brings the psicrystal to life. Contrary to the other answers posted here, it is 100% clear that you use the feat to gain a psicrystal. Since the act of gaining a psicrystal is not "otherwise noted", as a supernatural act, performing the "act of gaining" is a standard action. Open and shut, no grey area. Default rules exist for a reason.

The sheer vehemence this combination of rules elicits from people is self evident in the other answers as one tries to use fluff text as their argument and the other dismisses the RAW without giving reasons as to why and tries to push house rules.

I have personally play tested this "RAW" ruling and it truly did not amount to anything. I used metamorphosis to turn the psicrystal into flying tentacled monsters and sent it into combat repeatedly and I found it severely lacking. I will never understand why pointing out by RAW psicrystals are replaceable as a standard action draws so much vehemence from the community.

Anyways, by RAW, it's a standard action to replace a psicrystal. Full stop.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Makes sense. Feat gives you the ability to gain a psicrystal, such ability is a supernatural ability therefore a standard action. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 9, 2023 at 16:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Would be significantly improved without the commentary on other answers. Regardless of whether that commentary is correct. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Nov 9, 2023 at 18:54
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No, the feat is not a power and cannot be manifested

Manifesting allows you to manifest a power. A feat is not a power, as you can see from Psicrytal Affinity not being on the list of powers. You also can see this from the fact that the feat does not cost you power points, while manfesting powers costs you power points:

To manifest a power, you must pay power points, which count against your daily total.

The text of the Psycristal Affinity feat is minimalistic:

You have created a psicrystal.
Prerequisites: Manifester level 1st.
Benefit: This feat allows you to gain a psicrystal.

It says You have created a psicristal. That's literally it. It does not say you gain the ability to create psicristals. It allows yo to gain a psicristal. Singular. You habe created one psicristal, past tense, by taking the feat. It looks like you better take good care of your psicristal, because once it is destroyed, it's gone.

The situation is the same for elemental envoys.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, few rules about how to re-gain a psicrystal. I'd probably allow retraining the feat, into the same feat, or doing the same process as for a feat if it was a class feature, to create a new psicrystal. Dead feats/features are a permanent punishment I wouldn't expose my players to, as is cutting off expected routes of advancement. \$\endgroup\$
    – From
    Feb 2, 2023 at 10:56
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The first line of a feat is a description, not proscription. It describes roughly what the feat is about; it isn’t the place for specific rules and limitations on it.

Those are part of the Benefits section. Thus, when we look to the rules for Psicrystal Affinity, we are unconcerned with that first line, and its use of the past tense. We are interested in the Benefits section.

That says the feat “allows you to gain a psicrystal.” This is present-tense, and worded specifically as an ability you now have, to gain a psicrystal.

Unfortunately, almost nothing about the process is described. We aren’t given an action or timing for how long it takes, we aren’t told what, if anything, it costs, we aren’t even given any limitations on its use—despite the fact that the game repeatedly refers to “your psicrystal” as if there can only be one.

Ultimately, with rules this sparse, it is necessary for the DM to make some rulings on some of these things. Your first psicrystal, it seems pretty clear, is made as part of the process of leveling up—the rules are intentionally vague on this to give your DM room to decide what that looks like, but it’s generally assumed it’s not literally “ding!” and a psicrystal pops into existence. Rather, the Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide talk about how maybe the DM should expect some downtime, some training, etc. If nothing else, it’s assumed that the character has been working on the abilities of their new level during the previous level, in the background. The level-up is just the “Eureka!” moment where it all comes together and suddenly works. So the first psicrystal happens during that.

What about psicrystals after that? You have a feat that “allows you to gain a psicrystal,” and nothing says you can’t gain a psicrystal after you already have one. There’s a lot of circumstantial evidence that a given character isn’t supposed to have more than 1 psicrystal—again, see everything talking about “your psicrystal”−but this, too, has to be a matter of ruling. I would expect most DMs would—and should—say you are limited to having just one.

But if that one is lost or destroyed? You have the ability to gain a psicrystal. You should (be able to) use it. As a standard action? No, I wouldn’t recommend that—yes, there’s a RAW case for it, but this seems a clear omission. But as a process requiring a moderate amount of downtime? That seems reasonable. I’d probably call it one block of 8 hours’ work, myself.

What doesn’t seem reasonable is limiting the psicrystal to 1, ever. Contrast Psicrystal Affinity with, say, the Exalted feats from Book of Exalted Deeds—that book goes to considerable lengths to say if you lose the feats, you just lose them and can’t get them back. That’s necessary because dead feats aren’t a normal part of the system. The rules for psicrystals don’t make any such explicit statements, and they are necessary here. Reading them into the feat, on the basis of the tense used in the description (or on any other basis), is a considerable twisting of the apparent intent for psicrystals, and a DM should—at the very least—make this painfully clear to the player before Psicrystal Affinity is selected.

On the other hand, gaining multiple simultaneous psicrystals, particularly as a standard action, while on much stronger footing, RAW, is also a considerable twisting of the apparent intent for psicrystals. A player likewise should make painfully clear that this is their expectation and plan and not spring this on a DM.

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