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Tips for a Psychic Detective


Advice


I am playing a psychic detective in a Strange Aeons game (not super important, just for context). We have just started book 3 (level 7) and I am beginning to feel very ineffective in combat, and was wondering if anyone had any ideas for improving my combat contributions. A substantial portion of the foes we encounter are either mindless, or non-humanoid, and wouldn't you know it most of my spells are mind effecting, or for humanoids only. Although the flavor is great for the campaign, the psychic spell list seems to be a bad fit.

Current Feat/Spell list is as follows:

Spells
0- Detect Magic, Detect Poison, Read Magic, Detect Psychic Significance
1- Find Traps, Color Spray, Detect Thoughts, Vanish, Ill Omen
2- Mirror Image, Silence, Hold Person, Mind Thrust II,
3- Haste, Telekinetic Maneuver

Feats -
1 – Combat Reflexes
3 – Power Attack
5 – Extra Talent: Extra Amplification (Will of the Dead)
7 – Amazing Inspiration

In combat I mostly stab with my +1 Inspired Spear for underwhelming damage (d8+16), although I am beginning to run into more and more creatures whose DR/immunity are reducing it even further.

The rest of the party is a Crossbow Ace (big DPS), Phantom Blade Spiritualist (also big DPS and bad touch spells), and a Life Oracle.

I am willing to retrain pretty much anything that can be retrained.


Investigator's aren't designed to be big dps characters, but here's what I did to get a little more damage out of the class (I have one in PFS). I gave my weapon a spell storing enhancement on top of the inspired enhancement. My amplification is focused force which I combine with the spell force punch (turns d4s into d6s) and store the spell into my swordcane. If you want to cheese it more get a lesser empower or maximize rod. You can also use that amplification for twilight knife which will provide you a flank plus a free extra attack with increased die damage since the spell does force damage.
You still won't do as much damage as the crossbow ace or the spiritualist, but I don't see them disarming traps and discovering lore as well as the psychic detective.

Liberty's Edge

1d8+16 is pretty alright damage. Not really spectacular, but alright.

A significant part of your problem is just being level 7. That's a very weak level for any Investigator in terms of DPR, because at 8 your Studied Combat goes to +4 (which is nice) and more importantly your BAB goes to +6/+1. That second attack is a huge DPR boost...really the combination of that and the increased accuracy and damage makes for almost doubled DPR (or 1.5 times damage on top of Haste).

Speaking of which, are you usually casting Haste the first round of combat? That's probably the biggest DPR enhancer in the game, but makes it look like your DPR is terrible, so some of this could be illusory due to that.

Thirdly, no Investigator, not even a Psychic Detective, or any other 6-level caster, is really a particularly good focused offensive spellcaster at anything beyond the very earliest levels without a kind of monomaniacal focus you seem to not have put in...and the other part of the problem here seems to be that you're aiming to do that and investing a fair amount of resources into it, but not with the kind of dedication required to make it optimal...which is a less than ideal situation. I mean, Psychic has a host of buff spells you've only dabbled in. Shield, Longarm, Ironskin, Heroism...the list goes on. Investing in those rather than some of your offensive spells is a good call.

I'm not suggesting ditching offensive stuff completely or anything, but lets be honest, Color Spray and Ill Omen are pretty much past their prime and Hold Person may be a less than ideal option in this AP.


If you've got your heart set on offensive spells despite what DeadmanWalking has said, here are a few to think about.

For 1st level spells:

Silent Image is always a winner (and isn't mind-affecting). You can make walls (fences, shrubs, Nyarlathotep, etc.) where there wasn't one before in order to make fighting easier.

I like Deja Vu (if you can plan ahead) since there's no save. Cast it on the full-attack monstrosity on the first turn when it moves and then attacks, it moves and attacks on its second turn (instead of taking a full attack).

Murderous Command is a cute action waster/damaging spell.

For 2nd level spells:

Minor Image is nice in the same way that Silent Image is (except that it persists after you cease concentrating and it makes sounds). Kind of redundant if you've taken Silent Image.

I like Aversion, but you may draw GM ire/arguments when his big bad fails a save in a 50'x50' room.

Suggestion is always good in my opinion and has nice non-combat utility. It's still a problem if you're having trouble with things that don't speak your language or don't have minds.

Up to you whether you want to retrain feats/traits to make your saves more powerful.


Yeah. The player guide to it mentioned Humanoids as the second most common enemy after aberrations, so I thought it would work out fairly well. Unfortunately it hasn't really panned out that way. Way more undead and outsiders. My other Phrenic Amplification is the one that buffs combat maneuvers, so that is definitely a prime target for retraining out.

I think I have enough feats invested into melee really. I really want to future proof the character, but don't have much experience beyond 9th-ish level play (I do most of my play in PFS). I'm just concerned that I will become less and less effective as we level. I think if I can focus more on spell casting, or using my spell casting to enhance my melee it would be better. I'm just not sure how to proceed with that. (Although Mista Moore's idea is a good one).

Ideally I would like to keep buffing to no more than the first round of combat. I had been using it for Mirror Image (which has honestly saved my character more times than I can count) but Haste seems to be the way to go moving forward.

At least I am undeniably effective as the parties skill monkey. =)

Liberty's Edge

Saleem Halabi wrote:
Yeah. The player guide to it mentioned Humanoids as the second most common enemy after aberrations, so I thought it would work out fairly well. Unfortunately it hasn't really panned out that way. Way more undead and outsiders. My other Phrenic Amplification is the one that buffs combat maneuvers, so that is definitely a prime target for retraining out.

Yeah, that sounds like the thing to retrain. What Investigator Talents do you have, too?

Saleem Halabi wrote:
I think I have enough feats invested into melee really.

Agreed. All a Str character really needs is Power Attack.

Saleem Halabi wrote:
I really want to future proof the character, but don't have much experience beyond 9th-ish level play (I do most of my play in PFS). I'm just concerned that I will become less and less effective as we level.

This is not how things work out in my experience, an Investigator's Studied Combat plus long term buffs scale really well, and that's as true of Psychic Detective as the baseline version. Like I said, 7th level specifically is a weaker level, but that's an anomaly.

Saleem Halabi wrote:
I think if I can focus more on spell casting, or using my spell casting to enhance my melee it would be better. I'm just not sure how to proceed with that. (Although Mista Moore's idea is a good one).

That idea is indeed good, as are buffs. It's offensive spells with Saves that are the thing that has trouble scaling on a 6-level caster IME.

Saleem Halabi wrote:
Ideally I would like to keep buffing to no more than the first round of combat. I had been using it for Mirror Image (which has honestly saved my character more times than I can count) but Haste seems to be the way to go moving forward.

Eventually a Lesser Rod of Quicken (while pricey) can help with this. In the much shorter term, Heroism plus a Lesser Rod of Extend will currently net you 140 minutes of a very solid long-term buff. And scouting can potentially prepare you for more pre-buffing.

Saleem Halabi wrote:
At least I am undeniably effective as the parties skill monkey. =)

This is very unlikely to change. :)


Deadmanwalking wrote:


What Investigator Talents do you have, too?

3 – Phrenic Amplification: Kinetic Enhancement

5 – Investigator Talent: Quick Study
7 – Investigator Talent: Enhance Potion

and

Feat
5 – Extra Talent: Extra Amplification (Will of the Dead)
7 – Extra Talent: Amazing Inspiration

Although I just realized that Enhance potion is an alchemist discovery so is ineligible for me to take, so I'll have to switch it out.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I highly recommend Sickening Offensive as a replacement. Sickening everyone you ever hit is great and basically nothing is immune to it.

Silver Crusade

For silent kills of specific opponents on reasonable range, I would definitely add the 2nd level spell: instigate psychic duel.

Since you're an investigator, you're more than able to seek out the correct sort of target and then target them while you're hiding. The combination of reasonable hp and bab with psychic casting will make you win most duels, I'm sure. None the wiser who was the killer.

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