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Under Manifesting Time in Psionics Unleashed p. 60 is written:

You make all pertinent decisions about a power (range, target, area, effect, version, and so forth) when the power comes into effect

And then it is said that

You can manifest a power at a lower manifester level than normal, but the manifester level must be high enough for you to manifest the power in question, and all level-dependent features must be based on the same manifester level.

Does Manifester Level count as "pertinent decision" about a power?

In other words, when manifester chooses his manifester level?

What is the proper manifesting sequence, lets say for a Wilder?

  1. Choosing a power, f.e. Crystal Shard
  2. Decision to use a Wild Surge
  3. Manifesting with a Wild Surge
  4. Roll for Wild Surge - 15%
  5. If 1-15% than psychic enervation = f. e. staggered + damage equals manifester level
  6. Power effect, choose target, range, manifester level
  7. Pay power points
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Based on the comments on the answers, something pertinent is missing from the question. I'm voting to hold as "unclear" until the real crux of the question is made clear. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 13 '15 at 17:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie It's not unclear; the answerers simply are less familiar with the system than they think they are. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Feb 13 '15 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ As one of those answerers, I regret that I must agree with @KRyan. \$\endgroup\$ – minnmass Feb 13 '15 at 18:48
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Yes

Manifester Level

You can manifest a power at a lower manifester level than normal, but the manifester level must be high enough for you to manifest the power in question, and all level-dependent features must be based on the same manifester level.

This is a choice made when manifesting the power, same as targeting, options described in a particular power, or options like Wild Surge. Just like each of these other choices (“pertinant decisions”), you are required to make the choice about the manifester level used when the power comes into effect. This may be relevant, for example, if a power requires 1 round (or longer) to manifest: in such cases, the power doesn’t come into effect until your next turn (or however many turns later). If for some reason you wanted to, you could choose at that point to use a lower manifester level.

Note that there are almost no reasons to do this. I cannot think of a good example of any case where you would want to. You basically always want your manifester level to be as high as it can be. Your manifester level does not affect how many Power Points a power takes to manifest – it just limits how many Power Points you can use to Augment it. You can choose not to Augment without having to lower your manifester level.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Upon re-re-reading, I believe that choosing to lower your manifester level would also limit the amount of Wild Surge available, so there's a convoluted scenario where you want to manifest a 2d6 crystal shard for 1 PP at level 3+, but it's a weird scenario. \$\endgroup\$ – minnmass Feb 13 '15 at 18:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @minnmass They don’t have to lower their manifester level for that. They can just choose to spend only 1 PP on the power – i.e. not Augment it as much as they could have – and then Wild Surge, applying the bonus PP from Wild Surge to Augmenting the power. Considering the danger of Enervation, though, that would be a really poor choice versus simply paying the PP normally. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Feb 13 '15 at 19:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think that they'd have to; if they're 4th level, Wild Surging would increase their manifester level by 2, and would augment the manifestation by 2 points, thus resulting in a 3d6 Crystal Shard. Mind, I agree that the Enervation would make this an extremely ... situational ... choice to make, but I think it'd be legal. \$\endgroup\$ – minnmass Feb 13 '15 at 19:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I will re-post what post one of the unlogged answerers: The question is if the following scenario is possible: Wilder (warrior surge) manifests metamorphosis by expending his psionic focus (ie. He pays the PP cost from wild surge) and chooses the temporary HP option. Roll for psychic elenervation is 14, so the wilder is struck by enervation, but with no real hit point loss, because of temporary hp gained via metamorphosis. \$\endgroup\$ – Carlos Satyros Feb 13 '15 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ what goes first? effect- temp hp or enervation-hp loss ... it sounds as possible abuse of PF rules \$\endgroup\$ – Carlos Satyros Feb 13 '15 at 20:10
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Manifester level is something that you choose, but it seems ... odd ... for a wilder to every manifest at less than their full level (especially when Wild Surging).

Psionic Manifesting says:

You can manifest a power at a lower manifester level than normal, but the manifester level must be high enough for you to manifest the power in question, and all level-dependent features must be based on the same manifester level.

Wild Surge says:

A wilder can choose to invoke a wild surge whenever she manifests a power. When she does so, she gains +1 to her manifester level with that manifestation of the power.

and

At 3rd level, a wilder boosts her manifester level by two instead of one. At 7th level, she boosts her manifester level by three; at 11th level, by four; at 15th level, by five; and at 19th level, by six. The wilder always wild surges for the maximum amount possible, for unleashing emotions in the fashion of a wild surge does not lend itself to using finesse.

So, the wilder can choose her starting manifester level, but she cannot choose how much to Wild Surge, just whether to do so.

... so, a wilder, when manifesting a power, would:

  1. choose power
  2. choose to lower their manifester level or not
  3. choose whether to use Wild Surge (and, thus, increase effective manifester level)
  4. choose target/range/effect/version/feats/... to employ as appropriate/needed
  5. pay power points (if needed)
  6. the power is manifested as the wilder wishes (barring saves, illusions, null-psionics zones, etc.)
  7. roll for ennervation (if needed)

Note that, the vast majority of purposes, all of the above steps happen as a single "action". Further, for (virtually?) all purposes, steps 1-5 happen simultaneously: "I cast Crystal Shards, with a lowered Manifester Level of 1, Wild Surged to ML 2, targeting the goblin on the left; having spent a power point, if I make this touch attack, he's taking 2d6 piercing damage" is a nigh-uninterruptable "event" encompassing steps 1-5, and ending with a d20 roll to determine how step 6 plays out.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ ok, so when exactly manifester chooses manifester level? In what point 1, 2, or 3? On p. 56 is written - You can manifest a power at a lower manifester level than normal, but the manifester level must be high enough for you to manifest the power in question, and all level-dependent features must be based on the same manifester level \$\endgroup\$ – Carlos Satyros Feb 13 '15 at 17:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wow, completely spaced that. I'll update my answer when I get back to a real keyboard. \$\endgroup\$ – minnmass Feb 13 '15 at 17:49
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Your Manifester Level is not 'chosen'

It stays the same. Unless it is boosted by a spell, item, or by leveling up.

You always pay the base power point cost of the power. The 'augment' options in the power entry require you to pay extra power points to activate, and you can only pay a number of power points on a single power/PLA equal to your manifester level.

My guess is that you are confusing 'Manifester Level' with 'How Many Extra Power Points You Spend To Augment A Power'. Hopefully that clears this up.

Manifester Level: A power’s effect often depends on the manifester level, which is the manifester’s psionic class level. A creature with no classes has a manifester level equal to its Hit Dice unless otherwise specified. The word “level” in the power lists always refers to manifester level.

There is no fixed order of selecting target(s)/targeted area and deciding how far you'll augment the power (if at all). But generally the order is 'declare power used', 'declare target', 'declare how much you're going to augment it', 'dice are rolled (saves, damage dice)'. There is no separate actions or anything. If you're trying to apply overly-detailed MtG interrupt rules or something, in PF/3.5, Immediate actions can be inserted at ANY point, they interrupt actions explicitly even if you've already starting that action. The only thing they can't do is be retroactively effect - after you've already failed a saving throw you can't retroactively Rapid Counter to disrupt the spell, for example.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ ... so, a wilder, when manifesting a power, would: 1.choose power 2.choose whether to use Wild Surge (and, thus, increase effective manifester level - if he is f.e. on 5th lvl he can still choose to manifest the power on 1st lvl - p. 56 Psionics Unleashed) 3.choose target/range/effect/version/feats/... to employ as appropriate/needed 4.pay power points (if needed) 5.the power is manifested as the wilder wishes (barring saves, illusions, null-psionics zones, etc.) 6.roll for ennervation (if needed) \$\endgroup\$ – Carlos Satyros Feb 13 '15 at 17:36

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